Michigan II: Hamlin - Friday media visit

Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Kinko's Monte Carlo SS, met with members of the media and discussed the addition of Kyle Busch to Joe Gibbs Racing next year, how he'll fit in with Tony Stewart and Kyle next year, the advantage of having Kyle as a ...

Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Kinko's Monte Carlo SS, met with members of the media and discussed the addition of Kyle Busch to Joe Gibbs Racing next year, how he'll fit in with Tony Stewart and Kyle next year, the advantage of having Kyle as a teammate, the leadership efforts and relationship with J.D. and Joe Gibbs, what he'll do over the next four races to prepare for the final 10 races, how he handles speculation about what manufacturer they will drive next year, Chevrolet's success this year and how it affects his opinion regarding manufacturers, the teammate situation during the Chase, changes in Kyle since last year, on the grey area between being aggressive and too aggressive, the challenge of being patient, if he's tested at Bristol and the possibilities of Kyle winning championships.

Select quotes from driver interview:

ON WHAT KYLE BRINGS TO JOE GIBBS RACING AND HOW IT WILL AFFECT THE TEAM IN A POSTIVE WAY: "Well I think just his speed and talent is going to be a huge asset. I think he's going to bring sponsors because guys are going to want to join up with him because they know he's going to be part of this sport for years to come so I think he's very attractive to sponsors and I think really just his talent is going to force me and Tony to be better. Me and Tony right now are feeding off of each other now to push each other to be better than the other because ultimately there's a rivalry amongst teammates on who's going to be the best of the teammates so when he's winning like he is, that's fueling me to go harder, go harder and when it's the other way around it's vice versa so I think when you have a third element in there that's just as competitive it's going to really just push us to be better and that's what I'm excited about next year."

TONY STEWART SAID ON HIS RADIO SHOW THAT IF HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ASKED ABOUT KYLE LAST YEAR HE WOULD HAVE SAID NO AND THAT HE HAD A LOT OF GROWING UP TO DO BUT THAT THIS IS PERFECT RIGHT NOW. DO YOU AGREE? "I definitely think so. I think Kyle's definitely changed a lot over the last year or so and I mean he's still only 21, 22 years old. He's a way better driver than I was at that age. He's got a whole lot more experience and everything but really he's maturing faster than what I thought he would and in my opinion he'll be a guy that's going to be a champion probably within five years."

ON WHAT J.D. AND JOE GIBBS DO THAT HAS IMPRESSED OR SURPRISED HIM THAT HAS BEEN EFFECTIVE IN WORKING WITH THE DRIVERS: "I think personally J.D. is one of the better car owners to drive for just because he's kind of like us. He's our age. He kind of relates to us. He jokes around a lot so really J.D., I think he's there a little bit more than the other car owners. The other car owners they're the big part of the company but when J.D. walks through the shop everyone's not scared of him. They want to talk to him because he's a funny guy and he's very personable so I think that's a good part about driving for Gibbs. But when you see the coach walk in that's different. He's the intimidating guy but he's not at the shop all the time so J.D.'s there running things and I think it's just a good balance that everyone and all the employees and the drivers can really relate to the car owner and have a good relationship with him and I think that's why it's going to be so good for Kyle to come here."

WHAT WILL YOU DO OVER THE NEXT FOUR RACES TO PREPARE FOR THE FINAL 10? "You got to make sure you don't wreck race cars, that's for sure, because we don't want to get behind on getting these things ready for the Chase because we know which ones really we want to have lined up to run in the Chase. We are still going to run them in these next four simply because we still need to get some wins. We got to be somewhat careful, yeah we can throw a little bit of caution in the wind when it comes to pit strategy but as far as on the race track really I got to be careful to not get ourselves in trouble and get ourselves behind."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing