Denny Hamlin , No. 11 FedEx Express Impala SS, Finishes Third At Richmond ON YOUR RACE: "We had a really good run. We stayed in the top seven pretty much all day long. When that green-flag run happened we had to make that green-flag pit stop...
Denny Hamlin , No. 11 FedEx Express Impala SS, Finishes Third At Richmond
ON YOUR RACE:
"We had a really good run. We stayed in the top seven pretty much all day long. When that green-flag run happened we had to make that green-flag pit stop and our car just never was right after that. We spent what seemed like the rest of the day trying to make up for it. just not enough there at the end."
HOW DO YOU LIKE RACING HERE NEAR WHERE YOU GREW UP?
"I can't drive any harder than I drive ever single weekend but it seemed like I always crack a little bit more when it comes here to Richmond. We've run really well here in the past. It feels good to be competitive here, leading laps and I definitely noticed when I see my apparel out there more at this racetrack than any other. A lot of people support. Virginia is a very, very tight state and it seems like everyone is kind of rallying around me, trying to get me a win but we just come up a little bit short each time."
WHAT WAS IT LIKE OUT THERE WITH THE CRASHES?
"All that stuff happened behind me. I really didn't see anything in front of me - we stayed up front most of the day. I tell you, it was so track-position sensitive that I could see why guys were being as impatient as what they were because if you were out front you could hold them. No matter how good our bad your car was, if you were 15th then your car was terrible. We saw the No. 2 and the No. 29, it took them all race to try to get back to the front. I experienced that same thing in Phoenix. I can see why the accidents happen because when you get back in the back, it's just very frustrating as a driver to know you have a good car, you've just got a guy in front of you who's slower that you can't get around."
IS IT FRUSTRATING TO SEE THE HENDRICK DRIVERS WIN ALL THE NEW-CAR FORMAT RACES?
"It's tough. I'm looking in my front windshield and I see all the Hendrick cars and me. And then there's some sprinkled behind me. I'm happy that I'm the only other guy that's really being competitive week in and week out with them but at the same token I think we're as good as them. Myself, Tony (Stewart), J.J. (Yeley). Our team is as good as Hendrick, it's just they seem to be in the right place at the right time. Today we got beat. We didn't lose the race on our own. We got beat because we got too far back mid-point or three-quarters of the way through the race; it just took too long to get back to the front three. We were turning lap times at the end as good as the No. 48 and No. 5. Better then them. But we can't get so far back mid race."
DO YOU THINK IT'S DISCOURAGING FOR THE FANS TO SEE HENDRICK DOMINATION?
"You can argue that Hendrick has all the best drivers. It's tough to beat when you've got four very, very good teams. When you've got four like they have and they're all competitive, all up front every single week. The information they exchange is going to be better than if you've got three cars and one runs front, one runs middle, one runs back. You cant really exchange information. With all their cars, they can fine-tune them a little bit more so we need to work on basically getting our team cars closer together each week."
DO YOU SEE ANYTHING THE HENDRICK GUYS ARE DOING THAT MAY BE GIVING THEM AN ADVANTAGE?
"Nowhere, really. We're as good as they are, we're better at times and we're worse at times. They've got all the wins because they haven't made any mistakes. I've made mistakes, my pit crew has made mistakes. Tony's guys have been in contention to win races. It's just they put themselves in a position to win at the end of the races where nine times out of ten I'm having to battle back from something. This race I didn't have to but I got too far back on that long green-flag run and just took too long to get back to the front. The cautions didn't help us at all. So when you've got three Hendrick cars that are very, very good up front and you keep having caution after caution, one of them is going to win. You may be put myself or somebody else second or third, yeah, maybe we've got a shot at it. But they put themselves in a position to win and that's how they do it."
IS IT FRUSTRATING TO ALWAYS BEING SO CLOSE TO WINNING HERE?
"It's frustrating but I'm leaving here very happy with our run. Nothing bad happened on pit road, thank goodness. It was just a smooth race for us. We got beat on the race track today. We didn't beat ourselves and that's fine. We can work on our race cars and things like that but it's hard to swallow when you've got the best car and you don't win. Today, we didn't have the best car. We did at times but not at the right times."
HOW DIFFERENT DOES THIS TRACK RUN DURING THE DAY?
"I mentioned to my crew at one point in the race that thinking about the characteristics of what our car did in the test from day to night, that I though ' if we were in this race last night, we were going to be really, really good'. We had a nice sunny day when we qualified and we looked at the weather; it didn't look too bad on Saturday so we set up for night. For us it's a total different setup. We spent most of the day taking rubbers out, rubbers in. A lot of track bar and wedge adjustments. I'm happy that we have that adjustable of a race car but I knew that if we raced last night our car was going to be really good, beating the characteristics that we had today during the race."
-credit: gm racing