NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: CROWN ROYAL PRESENTS THE CURTISS SHAVER 400 AT THE BRICKYARD
July 28, 2012Eastern Indiana Sports
July 28, 2012
KERRY THARP: We're going to start with our post?qualifying for tomorrow's Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Big Machine Records, and we're going to go ahead and start. Our second fastest qualifier for tomorrow's race is Carl Edwards. He drives the No.99 Fastenal Ford for Roush?Fenway Racing, and our third quickest qualifier is Joey Logano, and he drives the No.20 Dollar General Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Carl, I heard you out on pit road talking about all the effort that everybody has put in the last few days, and just talk about how that played out here today with a good qualifying effort.
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, this is huge for us, and I think it's a testament to our whole team and everybody at the shop, the ability to rally around a cause. After Loudon we were all scratching our heads. We met on Monday, and Bob was?? he finally let us in on all the stuff he was struggling with, and we realized two things about him, just how tough he is, and he was able to perform through everything that he'd been going through the last year or so, and then second, I learned how humble of a guy he is, to be able to say, hey, look, the best thing is to have Chad going forward, and however I can help is how I want to help, and that's pretty amazing for a guy to be able to do that.
To come here two weeks later and have a qualifying effort like this I think says a lot about Bob, Jack, Chad, all the engineers, everybody who's put their effort into this. It's a great lap for us. I know it's just one lap; anything can happen in the race, but it's really good. And I also have to say Scott Borchetta from Big Machine Records, he came down and talked to me a little bit before qualifying, so I'm going to have to ask him to do that each week now. He's good luck, and he's letting me introduce Justin Moore for his concert tomorrow before the race, so I'm pretty excited about that. I get to go on stage introduce my buddy before he plays for everybody. Just a fun weekend, and glad I got started this way.
KERRY THARP: Joey Logano, certainly an outstanding qualifying effort for the No.20 Toyota. Talk about it.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, our guys did a really good job between the first and second practice. We unloaded today not very good. I think we were about 30th on the chart or worse, and we were really struggling. They made some good changes in between practices. We focused pretty hard in qualifying making five qualifying runs and got our car pretty good. I think we were third in the second practice there.
Felt like we had a shot at the pole. Didn't feel like I hit my lap as good as I needed to, and our car was just a little bit too tight. But either way, we definitely made some big improvements, and we were able to go back to race trim and make some gains there, too.
We're improving as the weekend goes. We did the same thing with our Nationwide car. We didn't unload good there, either, and we're slowly making improvements there, so we'll see what happens when the races start.
Q. Can you just talk about the importance of really qualifying well here just in terms of track position, just the long straightaways and just overall the setup coming up here?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, I don't know. I don't think I've ever qualified well here until now. Seems like it would help, though.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, same thing. I've blown up in practice here twice and had to start in the back, and I know it's really, really hard and it takes all day to get up there. So starting towards the front is going to be?? I think it's more important here than probably anywhere we go. So it should help.
Q. Carl, just observing you in the media session in here today, it seems as if you're looser, maybe more relaxed. Has the change maybe helped and it's just a clean sheet of paper for the entire team and you guys maybe just didn't think about how the season has gone to date and just went out there and did well?
CARL EDWARDS: Maybe. It might just be that we had an off weekend. I don't know what the different levels of?? it's like you're in denial, then bargaining, finally acceptance. I think we accept that we've just got to do it. There's nothing really to say.
So part of that, I think, is just that this is all kind of new. Somebody asked me, What's it like working with Chad? What's he like? I said, I don't know; I don't even know him. We're just going and racing. And so yeah, that might make us a little looser to know that we're throwing it all on the table. We don't really have anything to lose at this point, and maybe that?? maybe you are overanalyzing it, but maybe there is something there, I don't know.
Q. Talk about what went into today's run. What made it happen for you? How did you achieve success?
CARL EDWARDS: That's a good question. It starts at the shop, and I think that today specifically was just what we talked about earlier, the fact that all the guys got together and worked towards this common cause. You know, Jack Roush, by Monday at noon, we knew what our plan was going into this weekend as far as who was going to be working where. Everybody has worked really hard for the last 12 days or however long that is to make this happen, and it's just one lap. Anything can happen.
But this is the first step towards our comeback to make the Chase, and I think everybody did a good job. But it's about people. Jack Roush is a guy that's not afraid to work and not afraid to make change, and I'm just really happy that this is going well so far.
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.