Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Impala SS, met with media and discussed heading into the Chase, whether consistency or winning races was more important for the Chase, his mindset on who he is racing right now, next year's program and the media...
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Impala SS, met with media and discussed heading into the Chase, whether consistency or winning races was more important for the Chase, his mindset on who he is racing right now, next year's program and the media tour in New York City.
Full transcript of interview:
THOUGHTS ON HEADING INTO THE CHASE: "We definitely feel a little bit of confidence coming into this weekend and next weekend but practice didn't go as well as we hoped for and we've just got some things that we've got to work out on the car and figure out how to be better at. So I think if we can do that, should be alright."
DO YOU THINK CONSISTENCY IS MORE IMPORTANT OR WINNING RACES? "We definitely haven't got the wins that other guys have had but I feel like we've been pretty good. As far as consistency, we're trying to get back to that. I feel like that's what it's going to take to win the championship - to top-five them to death. Really, we just need to run a little bit better to get back to that. I feel like the beginning part of the season we were a little bit stronger than what we are now and I think it's just the Car of Tomorrow program. A lot of teams have caught up and surpassed us so I think with a little work we should be alright though."
IS YOUR MINDSET THAT YOU ARE RACING 11 GUYS NOW OR STILL 42? "I'm racing 11 guys, for sure. You're definitely not racing some of those guys and you're going to drive that way on the race track for sure. You're going to probably expect a little more courtesy but you're probably not going to get it and get frustrated. Ultimately you're looking at 'where did I finish among the Chase guys' at the end of the day when the results come out. Really, I think you're going to see the top-12 guys probably going to finish in the top 15, top 20 unless something goes wrong. So really, you're going to have to run in the top five each and every week to be a contender down the stretch."
IS THERE A GREATER SENSE OF URGENCY KNOWING THAT NEXT YEAR WILL BRING A FULL-TIME NEW CAR PROGRAM? "No, I don't think so. We don't see this as the end of our winning days at the end of this year. We're going to be just as competitive next year, without a doubt. Without a doubt we will just as competitive. I think that it's going to take some time to make us to where we're championship contenders, where the No. 24 and No. 48 are every single year. But we're not at that level right now. So we're there. we have been last year and this year but I feel like those guys can run 75 percent and that's my 100 percent. Their cars are just really good right now. That can change over the off-season; I think as long as we do our homework we're going to come back just as strong, if not stronger next year."
HOW WAS NEW YORK CITY? "New York was good. I definitely felt like we. it was tough. It's tough to have a day like we had yesterday doing so much media stuff and then having to come here and practice in the morning. I wish things were a little more spread out or compact, one of the two. So that way it didn't last so long and take up so much of the week. But it's definitely the kickoff of the playoffs, basically for us. I think they do a good job of trying to get us to as many media outlets as possibly and I definitely felt like we hit a lot of avenues that we normally wouldn't hit, just at the race track. So it's definitely better than not being there, for sure, so you've got to appreciate it a little bit."
-credit: gm racing