Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Monte Carlo SS, met with media and discussed Aric Almirola's new ride, his relationship with Tony Stewart, his outlook for the upcoming races and the Chase, if switching from the Monte Carlo SS to the Impala SS...
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Monte Carlo SS, met with media and discussed Aric Almirola's new ride, his relationship with Tony Stewart, his outlook for the upcoming races and the Chase, if switching from the Monte Carlo SS to the Impala SS affects him, why he thinks he's an underdog for the Chase, on going to Pocono, Matt Kenseth, how the weather will affect qualifying, comparing his season last year versus this year, J.J. Yeley's talent and opportunity with Joe Gibbs Racing, the difference between the Cup and Busch Series cars next year and the effect it will have and Kyle Busch.
Select quotes from driver interview:
ON WHY ARIC ALMIROLA MAY HAVE MADE THE SWITCH TO A DIFFERENT TEAM: "I think for the last year or so everyone at Gibbs has been trying to figure out where Aric's going to fit in. We kind of had a situation where we didn't know where he was going to fit in in the grand scheme of things. (Joey) Lagano is coming up in the next couple of years, myself and Tony are there for the long haul and I think J.J.'s getting a ton better. So yeah, they want to go to a fourth team eventually but it wasn't their immediate future and I think he just got offered a better situation for immediate success with Ginn at the time. They asked me opinion of it and I definitely thought he made the right decision and taking the job opening that he had immediately because ultimately.that's what got me my chance. You never know if he stayed with Gibbs, when was he going to get that full-time ride or part-time. We didn't know. We don't have a car for him right now. They had a situation where there had a seat open for him so I told him if worse comes to worse you get y our name out there and that's going to help you get a ride somewhere else if you're not successful there and I definitely think it was a good move for him."
WHEN YOU'RE HAVING STRESS WITH ONE OF THE MORE POPULAR DRIVERS ON THE CIRCUIT, WHAT'S THE PUBLIC REACTION YOU FACE? "For the most part, people have just come in to me - I'm not trying to pat myself on the back - but in the way I handled it and taking the high road and I think I would still do the same thing today if we had another incident. I'm going to take the high road because the controversy and all, it's not worth it. I think he learned in the long run too especially with a teammate that it's not going to be good to blast me on TV or whatever because all it did was cause two total weeks of stress for us. It was a pain to have to deal with it and at the end of our meeting, we were like 'now we can just tell everyone it's over and it's done' and I think it was really getting to him as much as it was getting to me that we hadn't talked and really that's why I chose not to talk to him because I wanted to get in his head a little bit that look, just because you're the elder here and the team leader doesn't mean I'm just going to roll over for you."
ON THE MOMENTUM A VICTORY HERE BRINGS WITH THE RECORD OF MANY BRICKYARD WINNERS GOING ON TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP: "I'm watching TV and I see all the guys that have won the championship and the Brickyard in the same year, I think it's because every team just pulls out the best of what they have here at this race track. They don't reserve it for next week, where a lot of race tracks we go to they don't want to race their good car because they want to save it for two weeks down the road. I think that everyone brings their best here and the guys that win have obviously the best stuff and their the best drivers and that just shows that really it's the guys who are up front every single week that run well here."
ON LOOKING AHEAD TO THE UPCOMING RACES: "I think the important thing for us is we need to capitalize on the weeks that we know we can win - here, Pocono, Bristol in a few weeks. There's a couple of other of race tracks that we have really good shots at winning the race and on the race tracks where we feel like maybe have a shot at a top five but a win would be a stretch, then we need to venture off and do different things to try to help us for the Chase. We're not locked in by any means but we feel like we're in a somewhat of a comfortable position right now so right now it's just all about trying to capitalize and not start too far behind the Chase starts. Right now we're 30 behind that's if those guys don't win another race before the Chase starts which odds are they probably will so we need to win two, three races between now and the Chase."
-credit: gm racing