Travis Kvapil, driver of the No. 28 Zaxby's Ford Fusion, doesn't have the greatest starting spot for tomorrow's Kobalt Tools 500 -- starting 42nd -- but that hasn't dampened his enthusiasm from last week's eighth-place run at Las Vegas Motor ...
Travis Kvapil, driver of the No. 28 Zaxby's Ford Fusion, doesn't have the greatest starting spot for tomorrow's Kobalt Tools 500 -- starting 42nd -- but that hasn't dampened his enthusiasm from last week's eighth-place run at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kvapil spoke about the momentum his Yates Racing team has established and how today's cold weather will impact tomorrow's feature event.
YOU START IN THE BACK BUT IT'S A LONG RACE, SO WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES? "We just need to keep the momentum going. We had a great week in Vegas and we had a great car at California, but just didn't get the results there. We've struggled so far this weekend, but I feel confident that we can look back at our November test notes and at our teammate's information and somewhere along the line somebody is gonna hit on something and we'll find some speed in these cars. We made a bunch of chances so far on our car here and I'm just really anxious to get out there on the track and get to work on it. I think our team is confident. I'm confident and I know we've got fast race cars, so we just have to keep the momentum going and keep the solid finishes. As we do that, we'll build and just keeping getting stronger and closing in on wins."
MOST OF THE TEAMS SEEM TO BE UNHAPPY WITH THEIR CARS, SO YOU'RE NOT ALONE IN THAT FRUSTRATION. "Unfortunately, the car just doesn't feel good right now. We've got to have that comfort level. Once the car gets driving comfortable, we'll be OK. Like I told Todd yesterday, 'Man, I'm gonna wreck this thing if we don't really make some big adjustments,' so we're really gonna stay with it in practice and try to make some huge adjustments and find something I can drive hard and feels comfortable and can stay under me for 500 miles. I guess speed is not a huge concern as long as you know the car drives comfortably and secure for 500 miles."
HOW DOES THIS COLD WEATHER CHANGE THINGS OR DOES IT? CAN YOU STILL LEARN SOMETHING OUT THERE TODAY? "I think we'll learn a lot today just because we tested here in November and, as a group, we felt like we were OK when we left here. In the meantime, they made a tire change and we're actually on a different tire than what we tested here, so all of that information we had and logged and felt confident in is pretty useless. We're all really starting over and we're still trying to understand what springs and swaybars and shocks we need to have in these cars to have the speed and the comfort. The weather conditions aren't ideal, but, more than anything, we can make laps and get the car traveling and just figure out the basics of the ride and the grip level and how much the car can travel and, along with that, we'll log information that will definitely work on Sunday."
CAN YOU DESCRIBE HOW YOUR TEAM HAS GROWN SINCE IT WAS PUT TOGETHER DURING THE OFF-SEASON TO TODAY? "I think going into it, I think Doug (Yates) and Max (Jones) built a solid team with a veteran winning crew chief and myself as a driver, who has had experience at the Cup level before and had success on the truck level. We've got a great pit crew and everything, so we felt like we built a solid group and a solid foundation, but I think there was probably just quite a bit of question. You don't really know how it's gonna work out. Obviously, teams that have been working together for a few races or a couple of years know what they've got and know where they stack up. We just didn't know where we were really gonna stack up, but the relationship with the Roush group was something we didn't really know how that was gonna work and it's working out great. We've got great race cars that we've been able to purchase from the Roush Fenway group and the information that we can obtain from their engineering group has been a huge asset to us, so I think our team sees a lot of things falling in place. At California and Las Vegas we showed we had strong race cars in both races and not that I didn't believe in myself already, but I think the team is like, 'Wow, we've really got something here now. Let's just keep digging.' I think we all know we can be a contender here before long."
-credit: ford racing