DENNY HAMLIN , No. 20 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finished: 1st Can you describe the emotion you have winning at Richmond? "It's unbelievable that we were able to get this done in my home state. This is my biggest win in Cup...
, No. 20 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Can you describe the emotion you have winning at Richmond?
"It's unbelievable that we were able to get this done in my home state. This is my biggest win in Cup or anything -- it doesn't matter, this is my biggest win by far. It means a lot to finally breakthrough in Richmond." What did your crew chief, Dave Rogers, say to you at the end of the race? "He just said that we didn't have the best car, but we'll take it. It means as much to him as it does to me and he knows how much it means to me. It's just an unbelievable day for this whole 20 team and thanks for all their support. They're the ones that put me in this car three years ago and got me to the level that I'm at. Thanks to Z-Line, Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing and everyone involved."
How good was your car during the race?
"We weren't that good most of the day, but Dave (Rogers, crew chief) just kept making the car better and better throughout the day. Just an unbelievable finish for us. I always said that circumstances were going to have to come our way for us to get a win here. It seems like we never win whether we have the best car or the worst car. When those guys decided to stay out and not take tires, I knew this was our race to lose. I hated to see all those cautions, but it's very gratifying to get a win here in front of the hometown crowd."
What were you thinking after your last pit stop?
"It was our race and I knew it. I told them as soon as we left pit road that we were going to get those guys. Kevin (Harvick) and those guys had a dominant car all day. We had a third-place car there at the end and the circumstances worked out and one finally came my way."
What does it mean to win in front of your family and friends?
"It's great -- I can hear them. All the commotion in victory lane and I can still hear the fans. That means more to me than anything anybody could give me or any trophy I could ever have."
How special is it to win at Richmond?
"It's my biggest accomplishment as a race car driver so far in my career, even with all the Cup victories and everything. This one just stands out. The pole I got earlier today (in NSCS) was as equal to any Cup win that I've had. It's just one of those situations where things worked out finally in our favor. We may not had the best car all day, but we did when it counted."
How do you feel going into tomorrow's race?
"I was almost satisfied after I got the pole today -- I was like, 'you know all I want to do is not end up mad after this Nationwide race.' We had about a third-place car at the beginning and just got off on the adjustments there and it seemed like the track went through a huge transition where it changed and we just didn't keep up with it. We fell back and right there I was thinking, 'gosh, I'll just take a top five out of here.' As soon as we came down pit road and got all those adjustments out and then added some other ones -- and the next thing you know it took off again. Dave (Rogers, crew chief) just did a great job of catching back up to the race track after it got away from us."
Does this give you a boost of confidence for tomorrow night?
"It definitely does. I always wondered and I would think to myself, whether we were coming here to Richmond or going somewhere else, I would always think, 'I wonder if I even have what it takes to win at Richmond -- do I know what I need to feel in the car?' I've come here and I've run second through fifth almost every time I've come here, but never won a race or never put myself in position to win the race at the end. I just wondered if I would ever get it figured out and I was starting to think that I was getting better at it. I think it comes with more experience and how much you need to adjust on the car throughout the race and maybe tell the crew chief it's doing something that it's not, but it's something you're anticipating it's going to do if it keeps going. It was just a matter of time and hopefully, if we kept putting ourselves in second and third position, one of these days the race is going to lay out in our lap and this one did."
What adjustments were made early in the race that weren't working and how did you correct them?
"We really didn't change that much and that's what surprised me that we got so far off there. That's why I think the track just went through a huge transition and hopefully I can use that for tomorrow because we're going to be starting around the same time. All of the sudden we came on pit road and when we came out the car was just a total different car than what we had at the beginning. They were very minor adjustments, air pressure mostly. Once we got that back in there and adjusted some different spots, the car was just unbelievable."
What will you do tonight to celebrate?
"It's tough to say. I will probably have everyone at the motor home and celebrate that way and then probably have a cookout tomorrow at the motor home. You have to pace yourself, drink responsibly."
DAVE ROGERS , Crew Chief, No. 20 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What does it mean for you to get your third straight NNS win?
"Asking for a raise. To be honest with you, Denny (Hamlin) asked me to come over and do this 20 car for him a couple years ago and what we're experiencing this year is just a culmination of the work he and I and all the guys at this 20 car have put in it over the years. We just keep making it better and making improvements. This is a big win for us to reward Denny with a win at his home track makes it all worth while."
-credit: toyota motorsports