HAMLIN CONVERSATION -- INFINEON: You added win number five to your haul last weekend and did so at a 2.0-mile track -- which was a first for the FedEx team. Can you add a road course win this week?: "To be honest we've always been better on road...
HAMLIN CONVERSATION -- INFINEON:
You added win number five to your haul last weekend and did so at a 2.0-mile track -- which was a first for the FedEx team. Can you add a road course win this week?: "To be honest we've always been better on road courses than the results have shown so it's not too much of a stretch to think we can go to Sonoma and be a car to beat. So much of the racing there comes down to fuel strategy and track position so if we can get ourselves in position I think we'll have as good a chance as anyone. We are really showing that we can go to any kind of track and be competitive and that started at Homestead last fall. That was our first win on an intermediate and then we went to Texas and won and it gave us a lot of confidence that we had improved a ton on the tracks that usually caused the most problems. We'd been good on short tracks and good on the superspeedways but our program on the intermediates has really picked up and we feel like we can unload anywhere with a chance to compete for a win."
With some experience to point to, what are your impressions of Infineon?: "Infineon demands you to be really consistent on each lap. The turns are sharp, you have some big elevation changes that throw the car around a lot, and the speeds are actually slower than Watkins Glen so you need to be methodical and fast, but also really careful. I got off track in practice during my first year here and ended up tearing up a good race car so I know what can happen on these courses. In 2007 I lost my shift knob early in the race and I had to fix it on the fly. The guys handed me a replacement knob and some tools through the window and I had to remove the broken piece and attach the new one during the cautions. I was steering with my knees and working on it all at the same time. I figure we won't have a more unusual problem than that."
Do you count yourself among the road course fans?: "I get this question a lot and I definitely do count myself among the road course fans. In fact, I think we should consider adding a road course to the Chase. I can honestly say I look forward to running these courses. I know some folks go back and forth on that subject but I really think they should be a part of the series because they offer different challenges for the teams and the drivers. It's the same car, but you are preparing it differently and it's not just turning left and right - you have elevation changes and different forces to deal with and in this new car, especially, that is a fun challenge. I think my background running flatter tracks has really helped me learn how to run a road course and I have been able to translate that experience to good races at Infineon, and also up at Watkins Glen where we finished second and in Mexico where we had some really good runs in the Nationwide Series."