Atlanta II: Mike Ford - GM Saturday interview

Q & A WITH MIKE FORD, CREW CHIEF, NO. 11 FEDEX CUP MONTE CARLO SS: On missing most of second practice: "Sitting here, we are playing a little bit of a guessing game as to where the track went, and talking to Tony (Stewart) and Zippy (Greg ...


On missing most of second practice:

"Sitting here, we are playing a little bit of a guessing game as to where the track went, and talking to Tony (Stewart) and Zippy (Greg Zipadelli) to see what they learned during the second practice. Just trying to juggle that and make the best changes based on that for tomorrow."

On starting the race during the day, and finishing it at night:

"The biggest thing with having Denny (Hamlin) being a rookie, you have limited laps here, and this track is tough. We have a very small notebook, and you want to grow that for what you need to change for tomorrow, and where you need to be, but we've got teammates to rely on, and we'll try and make the car adjustable, and we do have some time during the race, since it is a pretty long race. Hopefully, we just get a big window and narrow it down at the race goes on."

On the changes of pressure as the Chase tightens up:

"Pretty much the majority of the guys on the team have been in this position before and being the guys that aren't supposed to be in the Chase, we're not really-I won't say feeling the pressure- but if we are, it is because it is brought on by yourself, but we handle it pretty well. It is a little different to be here and not really be expected to be here, than it is to have the pressure of having to be in the Chase. We are enjoying it. At times it is a little frustrating, but you have to come back and say okay, this is a rookie driver and a second year team, and put things in perspective at times. But that is good, because that shows that everyone is a competitor and wants more out of this season than what we have gotten so far. We are looking forward to it, we try not to put the pressure on, but it is there at times when you have a day like today when the practice gets cut short, you feel like you have one arm behind your back, but sometimes that works out for the better because that makes you think more and be more aware of the changes and your thought processes. Hopefully, we can turn it around and make a positive out of it."

On maturity in Denny Hamlin in the 2006 season:

"I think the thing that surprised me is the longevity he has shown. He came in at the end of last year and we had some good runs. It's a lot easier to run a good race than it is to run a good season. He's been very patient, and he doesn't act like a rookie, so I don't treat him like he hasn't been here before. I treat him like a race car driver, and I don't view him as a rookie, because he doesn't make the stupid mistakes that rookies are stereotyped with. The longevity of the season has been very consistent, from the drivers standpoint he has kept himself in decent shape in both series, and figured it would be more of a physical demand on him than what its been, but he's handled that well, and we're as competitive now as we were in the beginning of the season and midpoint of the season. That is probably the No. 1 thing that surprised me."

On Success Of Season With Or Without Winning The Championship:

"Absolutely we have had a successful season. You don't ever look backwards when you are in the fight. But to put things in perspective, sitting here in January if we weren't the ones to win the championship, we would look back and have a smile on our face just because we accomplished something. There is more on the table and we know what is possible and the competitor in you wants to get everything. Right now that is what we are looking at but, if we look back at it, we can say, yes, we did what we had to. There are things we have dropped the ball on and things we have made mistakes with during the course of the year, but everyone can say that. This is a very very tough series. It seems like each year multiplies three-fold. We are very pleased to this point with the season and I think that is what can keep smiles on our faces right now and not let the pressure get to us."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Denny Hamlin