Dover: Winning team interview

Denny Hamlin recorded his second NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) victory of 2008 tonight at Dover. Hamlin started second and led the field three times for 131 laps in his HJoe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 18 Joe Gibbs Driven ot Rod Oil Camry. It Hwas...

Denny Hamlin recorded his second NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) victory of 2008 tonight at Dover.

Hamlin started second and led the field three times for 131 laps in his HJoe Gibbs Racing (JGR) No. 18 Joe Gibbs Driven ot Rod Oil Camry. It Hwas his second NNS win at the ‘Monster Mile'.

Earlier this season, Hamlin registered a NNS win at Richmond driving a JGR NNS entry.

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 18 Joe Gibbs Driven Hot Rod Oil Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finished: 1st

What does this win mean to you?

"It means a lot. It was four years ago that J.D. Gibbs (team owner), Steve de Souza (driver development, Joe Gibbs Racing) and Joe Gibbs (team owner) gave me an opportunity as a development driver to get in this 18 car at Darlington. It's a lot of these same guys are still on this team and they went through so many struggles for so many years so I'm just proud of this whole group -- Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and the entire Joe Gibbs Nationwide team. It definitely means a lot to come out here in different cars. I've just got to thank the fans. Those fans that stuck it out for so many hours here to watch this race -- it's amazing. We've got such great fans in NASCAR."

Did you have a bet with the rest of the drivers on Joey Logano today?

"Yeah, I told everyone he'd finish in the top seven and he proves me right. He wins me a little bit of money which is good. This is also a special win because this is the Joe Gibbs Driven Hot Rod Oil Car. This car right here is funded by Joe, J.D. and Coy Gibbs. It's extra special to them because this car is the one that they put out there with on their own money."

Can you talk about your win today?

"It's a great win for us in the Joe Gibbs Racing Driven Hot Rod Oil Car. I tell you, we just bided our time and ran as hard as we needed to at certain points of that race and everything paid off there at the end. I would've loved to battle it out with Joey Logano but what a great debut for him to come out of here with a top 10 finish. It's a shame to see Kyle (Busch) get torn up right there because it really would've been a great race at the end."

Can you talk about the adjustments your crew made coming down the stretch?

"The run that we pulled away the most is when we made the biggest adjustments going to the last run right there -- we made a ton of adjustments. We were the class of the field but I just knew if those guys got back up there and they were going to work on their car we needed to work on ours. Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) made a huge swing at it and it was good -- that last run."

Can you talk about your race today?

"It was fairly uneventful. There wasn't a whole lot of passing from where I was standing because our car was good there at the beginning. The track really tightened up there on that one run when Kyle (Busch) and the 88 (Brad Keselowski) got by us. We just made some big adjustments. Even though it seemed like we had our best run and pulled away the furthest, we really decided when we came on pit road that we were going to make the biggest adjustments we made all day right then. It paid off in the end because I think if we didn't have those then we were going to be in trouble."

How strong do you think Kyle Busch was?

"His car looked strong at the beginning for sure. I was surprised that he didn't make up as much ground as he did once he got in the pack, but it's just that these cars are aero-sensitive. The cars tomorrow are even worse when it comes to that. If you can get out there in clean air then your car can really take off. He was able to get close enough to me to kind of get me loose and my car was a little loose at the time and when he was able to get by me his car took off and ours just struggled a little bit and that was our worst run of the day. We definitely improved on our car. I don't know if there car was as good at the end as it was at the beginning, but I think our car was better than it had been all day right there at the end."

Is this a track you are becoming more comfortable with after two consecutive NNS wins?

"Yeah. It's been a good track. The first few times I came here I just ran terrible here. This was the track I liked the least amount, but of course we've run a lot better since then. It's just become a real racy race track. It's a track where you can move around and adjust on your car basically with the line that you take. There's not a lot of race tracks out there like that where the driver can make up a little bit of difference if his car is not exactly working right and this is one of the tracks where you can do that. It's a great race track when it comes to being able to race and make up positions and make up time if you're behind."

Can you assess Joey Logano's performance today? How many side bets did you win with him finishing in the top-six?

"I won two -- one from Kyle (Busch) and one from Michael Waltrip. I said he would end up in the top-seven and I was looking up at the scoreboard those last few laps and I was hoping he was going to hang on. He's really done just a great job. I wish we would have gotten to race a little bit. Of course, him being further up versus us being further back -- to kind of see. I recorded the race to try to get a feel for where he was at and I would like to see how well he did. By the finish it looks like he did great. He had to battle back it looked like from a pit road incident. Coming into victory lane he told me that he messed up and he's really taking it hard on himself that he did mess up on pit road, but that's just part of it. This is a lot different than the series that he's raced in before. There's probably only been five or six cars pitting with him at the same time where here you have so many competitive race cars -- pit road can get pretty jammed. It's probably one of the first times that he's had to deal with that. His on track performance looked good and he was able to make up positions at the beginning and the end so that's a good sign."

Did Joey Logano's debut take the spotlight off of you this week?

"I had my own issues from last week. I didn't mind anyone taking the spotlight away to tell you the truth. He deserves it. You only have your first race one time. It definitely is good for him to get the publicity that he got, proving that he is worth the hype that has been given to him. Now he's able to go out there, he's got his first race behind him and now he can go out there and work on being more competitive next week than he was the previous week. I think it's just going to be a matter of time before that 20 team is back in Victory Lane with the fourth driver."

Do you have to take up more of a mentoring role with Joey Logano in the 20 car?

"You definitely feel like you want to be the person that he can turn to and (for him) not be afraid to turn to for some advice. I definitely was in his shoes at one time and needed some -- first of all he's way beyond where I was when I first came into this sport when it comes to experience and talent level. I came basically right out of late-models and where we're running 90 miles- per-hour. He's racing Busch East races and what have you so his experience level is a lot different. You want to open up yourself to him to put the questions that he's going to have and he had more questions than actually I thought he was going to have leading into this race. It's just the little things that it takes to be competitive in these races he may not know. He definitely asked me a few questions. I feel like I was a help to him and that's just a role that you feel like you'd like to have. You'd like to have someone looking up to you and kind of having someone that you can guide along and show the right and wrong way to do things."

JASON RATCLIFF, Crew Chief, No. 18 Joe Gibbs Driven Hot Rod Oil Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

How was the race today from your perspective?

"The track was obviously green from all the rain so we knew it was going to change quite a bit from the start of the race. It started off good so we didn't make many adjustments early in the race. We just weren't where we needed to be -- we knew we had one last shot at it there at the end and the track was still changing because it was just taking more and more rubber. We weren't doing enough to keep up with it so we had to go maybe 50% more than what we had been all day and just get enough to get us here."

Did you have to take more of a mentoring role with the 20 car this week?

"Through practice Dave (Rogers, 20 crew chief) and I always compare notes, and even throughout the week prior to the race and when practice is over and us doing that this week is not anything new. What probably was different -- some of the changes that Dave (Rogers) made throughout practice yesterday -- we applied some of that to our car and get feedback from Denny (Hamlin) to see if it would match maybe what Joey's (Logano) feedback was just because Denny had been here so many times and had a good feel for the race track. Maybe Joey didn't know exactly where he needed to be for the race. For the most part, like Denny said, he did a really great job. He's very talented and I would bet on the guy to win Nashville next week."

Has this car been setup for a while?

"We've had quite a few weeks off so this car has been ready for two weeks really. This car was ready. Our Kentucky car is ready and sitting in the truck. We've stayed pretty far ahead and we've been able to assist the 20 on some of their races and wind tunnel and testing and things like that because we have had some extra time. We're three weeks ahead of schedule because we are running a limited race schedule."

-credit: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Coy Gibbs , Brad Keselowski , Denny Hamlin , Joey Logano , Kyle Busch
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing