Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Impala SS, met with members of the media to discuss the carbon monoxide situation in Bristol, his opinion of the Impala SS, the mentality it takes to be successful at Martinsville and more. CAN YOU GIVE US A ...
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Impala SS, met with members of the media to discuss the carbon monoxide situation in Bristol, his opinion of the Impala SS, the mentality it takes to be successful at Martinsville and more.
CAN YOU GIVE US A RUNDOWN OF WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEKEND WITH CARBON MONOXIDE PROBLEMS WITH THE EXHAUST? WAS IT A TEAM SITUATION? WERE THE PIPES TOO THIN? DID THEY BREAK? "We can't directly relate it to carbon monoxide. We thought maybe it was a possibly being that I picked up a real bad headache half, three-quarters of the way though the race. We had exhaust problems during practice. We fixed that and when we took it back to the shop after the race there were no issues. I don't think that was necessarily the case but Bristol has always been bad anyway because you're inside of a bowl, you've got all the cars exhausts running, you've got all the generators on the tractor trailers that are running during the race and nothing can escape. It's all inside in the bowl right there. I think that and it was our first really warm race of the year and your bodies just don't adapt that fast to change in weather so I think there are a lot different things that played into me and probably several other drivers not feeling as well as we normally would."
ON IF THERE WAS ANY BREAK IN THE EXHAUST PIPES: "I haven't asked my guys if that was the case or not but I know ours did break during practice. They blamed it more so on the fact that it was mounted solid to the frame instead of like we what we have on our normal cars where they can move around a little bit. When you have something solid something's got to give and they crack and they break."
ON THE EXHAUST FOR THE RACE: "Ours didn't. No, we went with a totally different style exhaust for the race and had no issues."
WHAT'S YOUR OPINION ON NASCAR'S NEXT GENERATION RACE CAR? "I'm fine with it really. Obviously our cars are running really well so I'm happy with it now of course but for the most part I think it's a change for the good. Even being here for the second week in the cars, they're starting to look more and more like the old cars in my opinion. When you get in them it's not that big of a difference. I think it's going to be more of a minority to go back to the other car after we run these five, six weeks of this Car of Tomorrow. I think that a lot of teams are going to start changing their mind wishing we would just go back to the Car of Tomorrow because a lot of effort is being put in to try to make them run well and when we have to go back to the way things were it just adds a lot of work for the team and what not but I think it's a good. I think in a couple of years it will be all we ever know."
HOW MUCH DIFFERENCE DO YOU EXPECT THIS RACE TO BE NOT HAVING THE CHANCE TO TEST THE IMPALA SS ON THIS SURFACE? "You know when I went out there for the first practice it was almost like the Bristol test. You had a lot of cars that unloaded off the truck and were running the corners just like they had in the old car, everything was fine, and you had some guys that looked like they just really missed it. We were kind of middle of the road. We weren't that great but I think these teams are so smart. It was amazing to me to see even the guys that were just absolutely terrible in Bristol practiced the last practice before the race and somehow in the next four hours of the course the race they figured it out and we had a close field at the end. I think it's going to be the same way here. I think the field is going to be diversified at the beginning and you're going to see guys come to the front towards the end."
ON APPEARING TO HAVE A PROBLEM AT THE END OF THE RACE SIMILAR TO WHAT TONY STEWART HAD EXPERIENCED WITH THE FUEL PUMP. DID YOU FIGURE OUT WHAT THAT WAS? "Yeah, initially we thought it was the same problem as the 20 but it was a different problem. We had the same problems that the 18 had at Homestead last year. We ran out of gas basically with four galloons still in the tank. Typically during these races we don't take on fuel to run kind of light towards the end of the race. Bristol's a track where the banking is so steep fuel cells have a trap door where the fuel sloshes in. Well you sit there on the banking and it all runs out and basically we didn't have enough fuel for our car to pick it up so we ran out of fuel with four, five galloons still left in it so we're going to have to totally redesign our fuel cells so when we go back to a banked track we won't have any issues. (But) nothing broke, no."
HAVE YOU TAKEN OXYGEN ON A RACE WEEKEND OR IS THAT SOMETHING YOU WOULD CONSIDER? "Yeah and actually I talked to my trainer about that (the) possibility of maybe just having some in the motorhome after a race, just take 20 minutes or so of it. I don't think they'll let us have oxygen tanks in the haulers for hazard reasons. In my case I was hoping I wasn't the only one that was feeling as bad as what I was and on Monday at my workout session I was telling him (my trainer) how bad I felt and everything. So he called various other drivers' trainers and every single one of them said that they took the day off. They just didn't feel like getting up and doing anything and a lot of them were still in bed so I'm glad I wasn't the only one that had a problem. I think it's just something we're going to have to adapt to."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT TEXAS? "Texas has kind of been an up and down race for us. We've had good races and bad races there. I like going to Texas obviously I have a lot of family that lives there but I think it's going to be a big change after we run all these Car of Tomorrow races. We've got a week off and then we go to Texas. I think it's going to take a little bit of time to adapt back to the other cars again but I think it's going to be great racing once again. I think they worked on those bumps which I think they really needed to do over the tunnel so I think overall the racing is probably going to be better."
ON THE MENTALITY IT TAKES TO BE SUCCESSFUL ON A SHORT TRACK PARTICULARLY HERE WITH 500 LAPS WHERE YOU CAN'T LET A LITTLE BUMP EARLY IN THE RACE BOTHER YOU: "There's a lot different approaches guys take to short track races. Some of them drive their hearts out and beat and bang on each other every single lap and can get away with it fine. We found to be really successful on the short tracks just running half, three-quarter speed for the first part of the race. No matter what happens you can get into an accident or what have you. We've typically been pretty good and stuck around until the end. We had a hiccup here last year, this was our only DNF during this race so I think I've learned a lot through paying for stuff on my own in the late model days, I learned to respect the cars that I'm under and I try to keep myself out of trouble and I think that's probably been the biggest factor in our short track success."
-credit: gm racing