DENNY HAMLIN, NO. 11 FEDEX EXPRESS MONTE CARLO SS, 6TH IN POINTS, MET WITH MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA DURING THE WEEKLY TOP-10 BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT TO DISCUSS HIS EXPECTATIONS, THE TRACK AND OTHER SUBJECTS ON EXPECTATIONS FOR THIS...
DENNY HAMLIN, NO. 11 FEDEX EXPRESS MONTE CARLO SS, 6TH IN POINTS, MET WITH MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA DURING THE WEEKLY TOP-10 BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT TO DISCUSS HIS EXPECTATIONS, THE TRACK AND OTHER SUBJECTS
ON EXPECTATIONS FOR THIS WEEKEND: "Hopefully, it'll be another top-five finish. We had a really good run here in the Spring and not so stellar in the Fall, so we're hoping to get back to the rhythm of things with this car and hopefully we're still on top of our game."
ON THE ELIMINATION OF THE "BUMP": "Just from running the Busch car here it really seems like it's been effective. It looks like the speeds were a little higher than in the past. We had it kind of set up for the bump otherwise the car would get airborne. We can get a little more aggressive on our packages because of the smooth surface. I didn't run up high so I don't know if it's been fixed up high as well but certainly down low it's a lot better."
ON NEXT WEEKEND AND RUNNING THE IMPALA SS AT PHOENIX: "The biggest concern for me is going to be how aero tight we're going to be. How hard is passing going to be next weekend. We know from testing at Richmond that you can't even get close to anybody before it pushes. You can be three-tenths faster and all of sudden you're three-tenths slower. It's a concern for us but we've just got to work through it."
ON THE YEAR SO FAR: "We knew all along that this year's car was hopefully going to be better. We had to see if all the work we did was going (to make it) better than the opposition . It's been a year we've been hoping for."
IS THERE SOMETHING YOU'VE DONE DIFFERENTLY? "Well, no. It's just part of our team. We don't talk about things we're struggling with when we're at a racetrack. The only time we think about it is when we read about it in the paper or see it on the news. The rest of the time we're just handling business."
ANY PROBLEMS WITH FRIDAY THE 13TH? "Other than it's probably going to rain? I think that the other time it was Friday the 13th we actually had a pretty good practice."
NO SUPERSTITIONS THEN? "I used not to like the color green on any racecar but one of my favorite race cars (a FEDEX car) was green so that blows that out of the window. So there are no real superstitions for me."
WHERE DO YOU THINK THESE SUPERSTITIONS HAVE COME FROM? "Over the years, people watching, deciding what's good luck, what's bad luck."
ON WHY THERE HAVE BEEN NO REPEAT WINNERS AT TEXAS. "One guy's not gotten hold of this racetrack since we starting coming here. Well I think that the track changes every time we come back here. Since it was brand new each time we've come here it's got faster, it's got wider. And the competition has got tighter. I think that's why there have been so many different winners."
IS IT GOING TO BE A DIFFERENT RACETRACK AGAIN THIS WEEKEND? "Somewhat. A few things are going to change but for the most part it's going to be the same old Texas. It became a two, three wide racetrack and now with the bump gone it's going to be even better."
ON RACING CLOSELY WITH JEFF GORDON AND JIMMIE JOHNSON: "All of us we race against each other every week. We're all around each other every weekend. If I was with a guy I rarely raced it would be different. Maybe I'd be more aggressive. We're competitors with each other every week and we have to respect that.
ON MARTINSVILLE FINISH VERSUS LAST YEAR'S CHASE BATTLES: "Last year we were in the middle of the Chase battle was different. I knew that if he (Gordon) hit me or I hit him and took each other out the Championship would be over. That's what I was thinking at the time. This year if it had been the same situation I maybe would have been more aggressive - but I would have still had the same respect for him."
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM RACING GORDON AND JOHNSON AND THE FINISH AT MARTINSVILLE? "I think Gordon pushed it to the absolute limit that he could push it without stepping over the team. I think that Johnson did exactly what he had to do in the race. It's hard for me to fault any one of them. If I'd been in the same situation I would have done the exact same thing . In fact I was watching them and thinking I would have done the exact same thing."
IS THERE ANY MENTAL TRAINING YOU CAN DO TO GET YOURSELF READY FOR THE RACETRACK? "I've got a lot of good people on the radio keeping me informed and calm ... helping with decisions. There's no real way to prepare yourself for those (race) situations. You have to always know in the back of your mind that (things) can happen."
IS THERE ANY CONCERN OVER THE DOMINATION THAT HENDRICK IS HAVING? COULD THEY RUN AWAY WITH IT?"There's nothing to say they could run away with it. There's too many good cars. I mean, it is hard to argue with the way that the #48 has started and the way the #24 has started. But they're not going to be up front all year long. We're still only six races in. A lot of times it takes a little time for a team to catch up. I think that Gibb is one of the organizations (that can). We've just got to get back into the rhythm of things to be where Hendrick's at."
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WORK WITH (CREW CHIEF) MIKE FORD, WHO HAS SO MUCH EXPERIENCE AND HAS HAD SO MUCH SUCCESS?"I get excited at some points and he's the guy who keeps me level. I think it's a good combination with experience and some inexperience. I think we can be very successful."
DO YOU LIKE TEXAS, THIS TRACK?"Yes. Texas is one of the best big tracks we go to."
ARE TIRES GOING TO BE AN ISSUE? "I don't think so. I don't think they've had a whole lot of tire issues at this racetrack. It's a good racetrack where we don't have to be so aggressive with our setup. I think the worst part is going to be pretty good."
HOW'S THE NEW CHEVROLET R07 ENGINE GOING TO HOLD UP?"That's hard to say. I'd like to get out there and practice and see what I've got. Everything should be better with this engine. We've run it through many tests. We're very excited about it."
-credit: gm racing