NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Crown Royal presents the Curtiss Shaver 400
Topics: Crown Royal presents the Curtiss Shaver 400
July 28, 2012
KERRY THARP: Carl, Joey, thank you, and good luck tomorrow.
Our Coors Light pole winner for tomorrow's Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Big Machine Records is Denny Hamlin, and Denny drives the No.11 FedEx Express Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Denny, congratulations on getting the pole here at the Brickyard. That's got to be quite an accomplishment for you.
DENNY HAMLIN: Yeah, it's just a great day. No matter what happens in the Nationwide race now, it's been a good day. So yeah, it's just our FedEx team just did a good job. We started off today not where we wanted to be speed wise and car handling, but we identified a problem with our car, and ever since then it's just‑‑ realistically we had about 30 minutes to practice because everything else for the first two and a half hours was useless until then, until we fixed our problems.
So we fixed it, and it looked like our car picked up speed, and obviously it was a great qualifying run.
Q. Denny, talk about what makes it special to be successful here at the Speedway as opposed to other tracks on which you run.
DENNY HAMLIN: Well, you know, you don't want one of NASCAR's most prestigious races to be at one of your bad racetracks, and so I feel like this is one of our strong racetracks with our team even though stats wise it may not show that. I feel like when we come here, we can win every single time. You ask me that about a couple other tracks, I would say no.
This is very, very high up on my list of tracks to want to win. I consider it as high as the Daytona 500 personally, so this is a great start to our weekend knowing we have the No.1 pit stall, we have obviously a fast car, and I have a great pit crew that's going to hopefully keep me out front all day.
All those things put together leads to success on Sunday, and I think we've got a good start to that.
Q. Denny, you tweeted earlier this week that you weren't sure if you'd ever been more excited to get to a track. Is this why? Did you know the car was going to be this good? We've seen you when you've been that confident call your shot before at Richmond. Are you able to do that for tomorrow?
DENNY HAMLIN: I'd hope so. I think you put me out front on the last run, no one is going to get around me, I don't think. So it's all going to be about maintaining track position and maintaining the balance of your race car.
Now, I've been good here before and not been able to pass, and there's always been about two cars in every single race here that's been capable of passing and everyone else just kind of runs where they're at. All you can do is hope you've got a fast enough car to be one of those two, where if you do get set back, you can be one of the cars that can get back to the front.
One thing about it is having No.1 pit stall now, that's going to be an advantage on pit road, so I think that it's hard to point to the outfield right now, but we've got the bat halfway raised.
Q. Did you know, and that's why you were so confident?
DENNY HAMLIN: I mean, we knew that ‑‑ this is the turning point of the season. We feel like from Indy until Richmond is when you're going to start to see who's going to fight for a championship. Everyone has got their Chase cars prepared, bringing them to the racetrack, starting to tune on them, and that's when you want to start running good. Every year that we've been part of the Chase with six, seven races to go before the Chase, we start running all‑out in the sense of trying to see where we're going to stack up against the field.
And if this is any indication, I think this is hopefully 2010 all over except for the very ending part.
Q. You look like the least excited pole winner I've seen here. Is it because you had enough time and now you've already shifted into Nationwide mode?
DENNY HAMLIN: I don't smile that much, so my muscles get weak after a while. I had already smiled for 10 minutes or so.
No, I mean, this is‑‑ trust me, inside the hauler, I was as excited as I had been if I would have won the race. You get a little time to let it sink in, and now I'm kind of getting back into my mode of I know I've got to get ready to go run this Nationwide race. So it's just I shift my focus. I know I've got a lot to celebrate about right now, but I've still got 100 laps of work to do before the day is over, and then we can rekindle some of this pole winning stuff later on.
Q. And which couple cars are you most worried about if qualifying is one part of the game? Which are the other couple cars you're most worried about?
DENNY HAMLIN: I think that there were a few cars. I thought a few Hendrick cars were pretty good. You know, I think my teammates, I think Kyle and Joey will be pretty good. Obviously any time they qualify good, it's pretty indicative of how fast their car is. I think they're going to be the guys we're going to be battling. Anyone who ran good at Pocono I would assume is going to be racing for a win here.
KERRY THARP: Denny, thanks a lot this afternoon, and good luck tomorrow.
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