Daytona II: Hamlin - front row interview

DENNY HAMLIN, DRIVER OF THE NO. 11 FEDEX KINKO'S MONTE CARLO SS WILL START THE PEPSI 400 ON THE OUTSIDE POLE NEXT TO JEFF GORDON: ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT A GREEN RACE TRACK TOMORROW? "Not really. This race track is less sensitive to tire...

DENNY HAMLIN, DRIVER OF THE NO. 11 FEDEX KINKO'S MONTE CARLO SS WILL START THE PEPSI 400 ON THE OUTSIDE POLE NEXT TO JEFF GORDON:

ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT A GREEN RACE TRACK TOMORROW?

"Not really. This race track is less sensitive to tire rubber than probably any race track that we go to so it's really not going to be a big difference over what it would be normally especially if they get that Busch race in tonight. I think it'll be no real concern to us at all."

ON COMING OFF THE WIN AT LOUDON AND WHAT KIND OF MOMENTUM THAT GIVES HIM FOR THIS RACE:

"Definitely, I think our team has been very, very strong here lately. I definitely kind of get a championship kind of feel to our season so far. It's really going well and once the Chase starts I think that's when we're really going to hit our stride. The only thing we got to be concerned with is what we're going to do over the next couple of months is really throw caution to the wind when it comes to bringing cars to the race track that we know nothing about and things of that nature. We're in a comfortable position right now to where we feel like we can kind of shoot for wins and just experiment but there's going to be weekends I have a feeling in the next couple of months where we're going to run probably 30th at times and that's part of it. I think we're not worried about where we're at in points going into the Chase as long as we're in there. I think these next few months it's going t o be tough to really maintain a good attitude when we're probably not going to run well at times but we know deep down inside we've got a great race team and we're going to get back to our stride really when the Chase starts."

FOR TOMORROW NIGHT'S RACE ARE YOU MORE OR LESS LIKELY TO EXPERIMENT WITH THIS BEING THE LAST PLATE RACE WITH A SPOIILER CAR?

"We met and decided that we have one really good intermediate car from last year that we're continuing to run and we don't want to keep running that car. We want to kind of save that one and start running some cars that we haven't run before or haven't run very well in the past to try to build some depth in our chassis and stuff. As far as our setups and stuff, this is a prime example this weekend that we're really off the wall with what we have in the car just trying to get a little bit of an advantage for the Chase or Talladega when it comes around."

CAN YOU EMPATHIZE WITH THOSE DRIVERS WHO DIDN'T QUALIFY OR MAKE IT IN?

"That's got to be tough. Believe me, myself, I would rather we qualify and I end up 30th or 35th and let those guys do what they earned than back into a second place start like we did today. It's really not worth it to me because we know what all those other teams are going through just trying to make these races. Yeah, you definitely sympathize for them. I hate to see.maybe we couldn't of done it some other time. I mean the conditions aren't going to be that much different. Even when it was bright and sunny outside and very, very hot, the times didn't pick up when it was cooler at night. You're going to run what you're going to run so I think for the most part it's kind of a shame to see things didn't work out for those guys but we're under a schedule so they got to keep it."

DOES IT WORRY YOU ABOUT FALLING INTO THE TRAP OF EXPERIMENTING TOO MUCH?

"Yeah, well we talked about that too. We didn't want to lose focus of what's really important but for the most part we said if we get into a situation where we're starting to get too off track then we need to get back to where we're strong. The thing is we're only going to be experimenting on the tracks 'til we feel like we have an outside chance of winning. The shorter flat tracks where we know we're good, we're going to bring what we know there because obviously we're going to go for wins. We need some more wins. But on tracks like here, Chicagoland, we feel like that's not a race we'd look at and say we can win easily there so let's try something different there but the tracks like Indy, you know we're going to take our best stuff and of course Pocono, take our best stuff. We're going to balance between experimenting and going with what we know."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup