Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Monte Carlo SS met with media to discuss the last race in the Monte Carlo SS, the 2007 season, his bad luck in the Chase, this year's Chase compared to last year's, on Hendrick's success, on Jimmie Johnson being...
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Monte Carlo SS met with media to discuss the last race in the Monte Carlo SS, the 2007 season, his bad luck in the Chase, this year's Chase compared to last year's, on Hendrick's success, on Jimmie Johnson being conservative and not lose the championship but still try to win, preparing for the switch to Toyota, if he would buy back any of his old race cars and more.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT YOU LAST RACE IN A CHEVY? "I'm excited. I'm really more happy that the season to be over than I am anything. But we've had a good relationship with Chevrolet over these last few years and it's got its ups and downs. I mean GM has really helped this race team get a lot of wins and championships. We're excited to have that partnership work as long as it did."
WHEN YOU LOOK BACK, WHAT STANDS OUT ABOUT YOUR SEASON? "We had an up and down season. It seemed like the first three-quarters was all good and then the last 10 was just a struggle. You try your best to peak at the right time, but really, our performance stayed pretty much level for the full season. The luck at the end changed."
THIS IS THE LAST RACE FOR THE OLD BODY STYLE. ARE YOU READY FOR A CHANGE OR ARE YOU GOING TO SHED A TEAR WHEN YOU GET RID OF THIS CAR ON SUNDAY? "Somewhat, because these cars are a little bit more maneuverable than what the car of tomorrow is. But hopefully we're going to make changes with that car in the future. Hopefully NASCAR is open to that. If we are, then it'll get to where this one is now, eventually."
IS THAT CAR AS BIG OF AN UNKNOWN GOING INTO NEXT YEAR AS IT WAS GOING INTO THIS YEAR? "Somewhat; especially on the bigger tracks. But to me, everyone is pretty much happier with it on the bigger tracks than they are on the short tracks. Aero is such a big deal with those things when you go to a flatter race track it's just tough to pass. When we went somewhere like Dover, it was definitely a lot better. So, really, I think everyone is probably more excited about it going to a bigger track because you can definitely move around there and not have to run right behind the other guy."
THIS YEAR, THE BREAKS JUST HAVEN'T GONE YOUR WAY. "You really can't predict this kind of stuff happening because we've had such a wide range of things happen to us through this whole Chase. Really last year, it seemed like we were kind of taking our lumps from what we didn't have last year. Through the season and through the whole Chase we never had a whole lot of back luck. It's all just compounding here in the last ten."
HOW DIFFERENT IS IT COMING TO HOMESTEAD THIS YEAR COMPARED TO LAST YEAR WHEN YOU MATHEMATICALLY HAD A SHOT AT THE TITLE? "It's a lot different for sure; not having to come for media day and all that stuff. It's a lot different, especially in the position we're in now when we know we can't go any further back in the points. It's kind of a carefree attitude I guess you could say."
DO YOU APPRECIATE LAST YEAR MORE NOW THAT YOU'VE BEEN THROUGH THIS YEAR? "Definitely. It definitely makes you appreciate it more. Last year, when it happened, I kind of thought this year would be just a breeze to do the same thing. On track performance, yeah, we could do the same thing. I never imagined having the trouble that we've had so many weeks in a row. I know every now and then you're going to have a stretch of two or three weeks, but eight or nine straight weeks of something bad happening is pretty amazing."
-credit: gm racing