HERRING KNOWS HOW TO BATTLE BACK: Drew Herring’s last two NASCAR Nationwide Series starts, coming at Nashville Superspeedway and Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, have produced results of seventh and eighth respectively. At least, that is what the box score will show. But Herring has taken a lot more away from those two races… and he’s proved a lot in those two races to a lot of people. In each race, Herring struggled once the green flag flew. In Nashville, he fell a lap down early (due to a problematic left rear tire) and was as low as 22nd in the running order. In Indianapolis, Herring spent much of the early portions of the race battling a tight racecar, running at the tail end of the lead lap, most of the time in the 15th-18th position range. However in both races, Herring never let the early struggles get to him. And in each race, Herring battled back, thanks to his determination and communication, solid pit stops from the JGR team and great adjustments from crew chief Adam Stevens. At Nashville, Herring recovered to race his way back onto the lead lap and went from 22nd to seventh at the finish. At LOR, Herring made a late charge in the final 20 laps and found himself fourth on the green-white-checkered finish before dropping back to eighth after contact from behind got him loose and caused him to check up in those final laps. The moral of the story… Herring never gives up.
CHASSIS: The No. 20 JGR team will take chassis #20108 to Iowa Speedway this weekend. The car has run several events in 2011 (Las Vegas, Darlington, Texas) and most recently raced at Kentucky Speedway with Joey Logano behind the wheel . Chassis #20127 will serve as the team’s backup.
“I can hardly wait for this weekend to get here. And I say that even though I’ve run the last two races with the No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota and with all of the Joe Gibbs Racing guys. I’m just pumped because the last two weeks, we’ve run so well and had such great cars. I think we’ve been a lot better than where we finished even though we’ve got top-10s in both those races. We were a top-five car at Nashville but just ran out of laps there at the end of the race. In Indy, we were a top-three car there at the end of the race, we just got beat around on that last restart and knocked back to eighth. And now, we are heading back to a track that I’ve already worked with the guys at. So, I’m as excited to get back behind the wheel as I have all year long. In fact, I’m about as excited and happy as I’ve ever been in racing.
“We ran really good in Iowa back in May. We started up front and we led laps. We just didn’t finish where we should have. I would easily say we were a top-five car that day too, I just screwed up. I had a lot of problems on pit road and that cost us. I’ve never felt as bad in racing as I did after that day. But I’ve worked on my stops and I’ve been fine since then. So, if we can go back and run like we did in May, I think we’ll have a great shot at a top-five and maybe even a shot to be looking for the win there at the end of the race. You never know with these races. I just want to come out of the weekend getting the finish that we deserve. If we are a top-five car, I want to get a top five finish. That is what these guys deserve.
“I’ve learned a lot in these three races with JGR this year. The guys working on this team are absolutely phenomenal. They are all so smart and they all know their jobs as well as anyone. Having Mark (Robertson) spot for me has helped a lot. He can really teach me just by watching my line at some of these tracks I’ve never been too and telling me where some of the other guys are running and beating me. And Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and I have great communication. Adam listens to what I have to say, I listen to what he has to say and he always gets the car handling better. We have a game plan and that always helps out. Working with everyone has just been an amazing experience and I think the results have showed on the track. It’s just awesome and gratifying to know these guys are sticking behind me, a kid coming in here and trying to make it in the Nationwide Series with one of the best teams around.”
“I’m anxious to get back to the track because I feel like we left something out there last time. We started up front and led laps, but because of pit problems, we finished 12th. I know we were better than that and Drew knows we were too. We ran really strong all day long. Since then, Drew has worked on his pit stops and we’ve had no issues, so if we can go back there and run like we did in May and not have the problems on pit road, I see no reason we can’t be up near the front of the race all day long. I would be really happy to come out of here with a top-five finish or even better, to be running up front and challenging for the win.
“The biggest difference now will be running at night. We’ve got a lot of good notes from before, but running in the evening will change some things. But it will be nice to go back to the same track with Drew. He had a great feel for the track last time and getting to come back here a second time together should take some of the pressure off of him and he should be a little more relaxed. In the end, hopefully that will translate to good things for the No. 20 team.”