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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Sylvania 300

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Sylvania 300

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Sylvania 300

Denny Hamlin
September 20, 2009


THE MODERATOR: We're now joined in the infield media center by driver of the No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota, Denny Hamlin. Tell us about your run today.
DENNY HAMLIN: It was a solid run. You know, we didn't really have a race-winning car until probably 50 to go after we came out there on the green flag pit stop and we were catching the 5 and the 2 really, really fast, a half second a lap, and I was like, man, if this thing goes green we've got a shot at it. The caution came out, and I knew that wasn't going to be good for us because it put us in the bottom lane. I got killed every single restart on the bottom lane, and I'd get stuck three wide in the first corner and then I'd have to battle my way back.
To come out second when I should have been about fifth with those restarts, I was pretty proud of that.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions from the media.

Q. Denny, in that last scramble there, Juan Pablo was saying at one point Mark sort of stopped in the middle of the bottom of the corner down in 1 and he had no place else to go, and he said it was a calculated move. He would have done the same thing, but finally there's a move that Mark Martin made that somebody questioned. Did you see that, and also, did it help you? Was that a factor in your getting second place away from Juan Pablo?
DENNY HAMLIN: Yeah, it was. The 42 was kind of bottled up on the bottom of the 5. I knew it was going to be interesting because I think his spotter came over and told my spotter that he wasn't lifting until the 5 did get into Turn 1. So I knew it was going to be extremely exciting getting into the first corner.
But the 5, I mean, when you're on the outside, you're just -- the guy on the inside had mercy on you. And I was the same way; I was stuck in third on every single restart and the 48 was on the outside and I kept running into him because I was trying to gain positions but the error is so bad down there that you can't go anywhere.
The 42 was in a bad spot. Even though his car may have been quicker, it didn't matter because the 5 had position on him and the 5 used it to his advantage. He just kind of held the 42 low, and when he did that, there's just no gripping your race car.

Q. If that had been you down there and the 5 stopped in front of you, would you have gone ahead popped him and moved him or would you have checked up?
DENNY HAMLIN: I don't know. I would have probably gone for the win. But I don't know. I mean, you always think about who it is. You think about whether that guy has knocked you out of the way at the end of a race or not, and Mark never has. I don't know, it's tough to say what I'd do in that situation.
THE MODERATOR: Just a quick update, the scoring has now come in. The finishing order was 5, 11, 42, 48, 18, 2 and 39.

Q. Denny, did you think -- the racing seemed kind of dicey out there a lot. Chase guys were going three wide really early in the race. Do you think that that's the way you guys have got to race now, or was that a little unnecessary, considering how far there is to go in this title hunt?
DENNY HAMLIN: I think everyone is just -- I think everyone panics. When you see at the beginning of the race the top 10 and they're all Chase guys, you're like, man, I've got to fight for every position I can, and track position means so much that I think every hole that you see on the racetrack you immediately go for because it doesn't matter if your car is two tenths faster than the car in front of you. If he runs your line, you're not going to get around him.
So I think everyone is just jumping to every opportunity that they can, and that's why you see the three wide is everyone is just trying to make up all the spots they can, and a lot of it has to do with the excitement of the start of the Chase.
Five races in, not sure if you'll see that.

Q. When the 44 spun out there, taking the white flag, and was all the way back around when you were coming through 4 when they threw the caution, was it kind of surprising to come around and see everybody -- was it surprising to you or did it kind of catch you off guard?
DENNY HAMLIN: Well, he said that there was a car spun off 4, and he said he was going; he was taking off. But I was more than listening to the spotter, I was mainly looking at the light to see if the yellow was out, and it still wasn't out. And then by the time it did come out, I was already in smoke, so I couldn't see it.
So I thought I was racing to the checkered, and the 5, I come to the smoke and the 5 is nearly stopped in the middle of the racetrack. He obviously knew the caution was out before I did.
I think NASCAR just thought that car was going to get going quicker than what it really did, and at least they let us race it out to the finish as long as we could without endangering someone.
THE MODERATOR: Denny, congratulations. Thank you for your time.

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