Hamlin and Gibbs Toyota team on winning at Loudon

Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 1st

How was today's race? "Just can't say enough for this whole FedEx race team. This is -- it doesn't hurt to have a little confidence in your team. I know we made a couple of big mistakes in the last two weeks, but I said we were fast enough to make it up and we were. I'm going to have these guys' backs until they die on me. This is my team. Just excited about everything, so can't thank Toyota enough -- everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing in the fab shop building these race cars. These are lightning fast race cars that they're giving me. This is a huge, packed crowd tonight. Can't thank Jerry Gappens (New Hampshire Motor Speedway general manager) and his crew enough for having me up here to promote this race. I told them I had a great shot to win it and now I can touch that trophy."

Were you confident at this track? "Yeah, you don't want to sound too cocky, but I knew what we were capable of. Our car was extremely strong and I have a really good knack for this race track and it just -- the two together with a crew chief like Darian (Grubb), it's a winning combination."

Did you feel comfortable predicting the win? "If you're going to say something like that, you've got to run extremely well. This team just gave me a great car this weekend and it was just untouchable here. That's all I can say is it was easy to drive. Didn't handle the greatest, but had great speed. This is what you dream of as a race car driver to have cars like these."

Were you worried about pushing too hard at the start to make up positions? "It was easy to be patient, because I knew we had a race-winning car. So, I had kind of a timeline in which I wanted to get to the front. We got there a little bit earlier than I expected, but really just took out time."

What have you learned over the years that makes you a legitimate championship contender? "You know, there's a lot of reason why you handle things differently. But, you know, you just learn from over time, what it takes to build a championship team and what makes these guys tick. You don't think as a driver that your emotion has any bearing on how they perform, but it really does. I find over the seven years that I've been here -- it's just that they really feed off of your attitude and your outlook, and obviously when I have confidence they have a ton of confidence. So, I just learned that over time, and really for me, I just learned to handle the bad days better and knowing that I'm one of a handful of drivers that have a great ride, an awesome sponsor, and have a championship-winning team backing me. So you know, I can handle the bad days when I put the grand scheme of things in a bigger picture."

DARIAN GRUBB, crew chief, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

How strong was your race car today? "It's a lot of fun just to bring a piece like that to the race track. The whole Joe Gibbs (Racing) organization did an awesome job preparing that one, especially for Loudon. It's the best car in our shop. We knew it was going to give us our best chance to win and as we ran here in the spring we knew we had a shot at it, so wanted to make sure we gave Denny (Hamlin) every chance to get that out there. We are just disappointed we didn't show the qualifying effort, because I think we could have won everything this weekend. But, that just made the show that much better with Denny being able to drive from the back and put on a show there."

JOE GIBBS, owner, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

How difficult was it for Denny and the No. 11 team to overcome adversity? "For two weeks in a row, we had two things happen on our race team that really -- two of our best people, and I think the way Denny (Hamlin) reacted both times was just absolutely great and I think that meant a lot to his team. And, I think the way you handle things like that, being the guy that's wheeling the car, I think is a big deal. Last week, he was real relaxed afterwards and that person took it real hard. This week, I turned around when we figured out kind of what we thought it might be in the pit area and Denny just grabbed the crew member in a headlock and was laughing with him like that. I thought for a minute it was going to be a headlock and a punch, but it wasn't. I really appreciate the way he handles everything. Darian (Grubb, crew chief) just does a great job of that too. It would be easy for the guy in charge to go off on somebody, but you know really, many times that can make the difference down the road because those guys -- those guys are going to remember that -- the way they were treated and I think they would die for them both, so I really appreciate that. It was a huge day for us. Bobby Labonte came into victory circle and I appreciated Bobby, Dale Jarrett, Jimmy Makar, everybody when he first started, Tony (Stewart), so it took a lot of people down the road. But, certainly, gosh, think back on my 21 years -- just doesn't seem like it was that long ago and you realize that we've got a hundred wins. That was a huge deal for us."

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 4th

How was your race today? "We had a solid race car. Denny (Hamlin) had a fast race car. We all knew that all weekend long from the time we unloaded he was the class of the field. Hats off to him. He called his shot and backed it up. Our 5-hour Energy Toyota was -- like I said -- solid, but we needed a little bit more. I fought loose in and off most of the day. Never really did get our rear grip where we needed it. It was a solid finish and kept us in the game going to Dover."

What do you think of your position in the Chase? "Well, there's a lot of racing left. Certainly, we're still in the thing -- just got to keep these solid finishes coming. Really proud of our race team. We've been doing a good job and we've got to keep going."

How strong was Denny Hamlin? "He (Denny Hamlin) was the class of the field from the time we unloaded. I don't know what they figured out -- but they figured it out in a big way. He was extremely fast all weekend. That's a classic example of the fastest car won. Our 5- hour Energy Toyota was good. It was a little bit down on rear grip. I was kind of fighting loose all day long -- couldn't go on the restarts like I needed to. All in all, it was a solid finish for us and kept us in the game."

BRIAN VICKERS, No. 55 Freightliner/Jet Edge Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 9th

How has this season been racing for Michael Waltrip Racing? "It's been pretty good. Really proud of the guys -- everyone at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing), Toyota -- just this 55 crew. Rodney (Childers, crew chief), all the guys did a great job all day -- all year really."

Source: Toyota Motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Michael Waltrip , Denny Hamlin
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing
Article type Interview
Tags gibbs, grubb, hamlin, loudon, nhms, toyota