Ford Performance Daytona Media Day (Blaney, Bayne and Menard)

RYAN BLANEY – No. 21 Ford Fusion – HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE AT TEAM PENSKE? “It really hasn’t changed a lot. It’s been pretty seamless, the transition between the Wood Brothers and the Penske group. A lot of the same people are coming over, so I’m really not meeting new personnel. You already kind of feel like a family, so that’s been really simple it’s just a matter of trying to perform.”

HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE MOVED OVER? “Really, there are only four new people. There’s a new front mechanic, a new rear mechanic and then two pit crew members are different. Everyone else is the same.”

HOW WAS HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS WITH ONE OF YOUR FANS YESTERDAY? “Michael was the fan’s name and his son’s name was Natty. They tweeted me and we did a few places at Disney, but we were at Hollywood Studios and I saw that and his kid was wearing my shirt and said he was my biggest fan and they happened to be at Hollywood Studios as well. We were eating and we were able to meet up with them and talk with them a little bit. That was pretty cool how they were out there and they took time to come hang out and meet us for a little bit and be able to talk. His whole family was there and he had a couple other kids who were fans too, so I thought the timing there was pretty cool. They were in the same spot as us and pretty happy to make that happen.”

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YOU WENT TO EPCOT AND HAD A CHALLENGE? “I’ve never been to Epcot and the countries before. There are 11 countries and I got to Canada is the first country we visited and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna try this new Canada beer I’ve never had.’ I was with my sister and my younger sister is 20, and I was with a buddy of mine and I was like, ‘Let’s do a beer in every country.’ I figured really fast that was not gonna happen because you don’t realize how close the countries are. I got done with Canada and we walked into the UK and I still had like half of my beer left and I was like, ‘This is not going to end well.’ So we got to country five or six and I was like, ‘This is not happening.’ My sister’s name is Erin and she was driving back anyway, but I’m like, ‘I can’t. I’ve got to be at media day tomorrow. I’ve got to be ready.’ I’m gonna try that sometime. I’ve heard some people do it. Some fans have given me some strategies on how to make it happen.”

CAN YOU LEARN FROM JOEY AND BRAD AT RESTRICTOR PLATE TRACKS TO MAKE YOU BETTER? “I think definitely Brad is probably the best one right now as far as restrictor plate, but Joey is right up there with him. There is some stuff you take away from him, especially running more and more with him and in the Clash of what Brad did to try to get the lead and keep it.”

WHAT DO YOU TAKE AWAY? “I can’t tell you. I can’t give away secrets. I do a lot different stuff thinking about it from the Clash to try and beat him. Whether that would work or not, I don’t know, but just the way he controls lanes is very impressive. He knows where to go at what time and he just makes it look so simple, and then getting the lead as well he does a great job of pulling cars back and trying to get runs at the right time. The way he does that, the communication between Brad and Joey Meier, his spotter, is pretty crazy. I can learn from them, but they’re not gonna tell me everything. I tried to talk to Brad a little bit after the Clash and he was just like agreeing everything I said. He wasn’t giving me any answers. I thought I was sure I could get something out of him, but I would agree. They’re two of the best and we try to help each other out as much as we can.”

HOW DID YOU MEET DARRELL WALLACE JR.? “We really just met racing together. We were running Bandoleros at the same time at the little fifth-mile outside of Charlotte Motor Speedway. That track and then the Summer Shootout inside the race track we just started racing there and there’s a kid who is pretty much the same age as you who is racing too and you just become friends with him. We raced together for a really long time between there and Legend cars and Late Models we kind of split. He did more Late Model stock stuff and I did supers, and then we got back together in the K&N and Truck stuff and then here on out, so we’ve always kind of lived next to each other a lot, so he’s just someone that if we weren’t racing together I think we’d be friends just because we have a lot of the same interests, but it’s been cool to get to know him through the years and now to see him running on Sundays is very special too.”

HOW MUCH OF HIS SUCCESS WILL BE DUE TO HIS PERSONALITY? “I think he balances both very well. He’s really talented on the race track, but his personality is very great as well. He’s great for the sport and the way he kind of handles himself off the race track he’s not afraid to speak his mind. People like that. He’s not a robot and I think that’s pretty cool. I think he’ll be half in half. I wish him the best of luck and success with racing. Obviously, that’s where we want to excel is on the race track, but I think he could do great things on both sides of it.”

WHAT KIND OF TIME DO YOU SPEND AT THE SHOP? “Here is the least amount of time we’ll spend at the shop. We’re here since last Friday and a lot of us stay here in Daytona, where a lot of the shop guys go home Sunday after the Clash. They’re back at the race shop for three days, so this is probably the limited time that we get to spend there. Every other week after Sunday I’ll be in there Monday, Tuesday and probably Wednesday just to debrief and prepare for Atlanta. This is definitely the least amount of time just because we’re here, but everywhere else we’re in there for at least two days a week.”

WOULD YOU LIKE TO PUNCH UP ANOTHER DRIVER DURING THE RACE? WHAT WOULD YOU SAY? “It would be a mixture of good things and bad things. If someone ticks you off, you might patch into them and say some curse words to him, or if you make a mistake – actually, I think it would be really helpful if you legitimately messed up and like don’t mean to run into him, and be like, ‘Hey, that was unintentional,’ or something like that I think would be the most effective use of that tool. We used to be able to do that with only teammates. You could patch into your teammate at restrictor plate tracks, but I think it would be pretty neat. I think you’d have some guys messing with each other though. You’d have like an open mic. Someone would turn to your channel and just open mic it, but I think accidental run-ins on the race track would be mostly, but it would be really neat if someone really made you upset you could patch into them and give them a piece of your mind in that moment because it always changes. If it happens in the race or after the race, but in the moment there would be some pretty nasty things said. That would be a great show. You should do that. You should lobby NASCAR for that.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT DATA SHARING? “The data sharing stuff is a lot of drivers are for it and a lot of drivers are against it. Me personally, I’ve always been a fan of it’s great how teammates can look at each other’s data because you’re all in it together. You’re really wanting to learn about what they’re doing and that’s an organization thing. That’s what you want to do to help each other, but I’m not really a huge fan of someone from a completely different team being able to look at my data, but that’s just a personal opinion. I know a lot of veterans are more against it than younger drivers.”

WHY IS THAT? “Just because it’s not what they’re used to. They didn’t even have ECU data sharing between the teams 10 years ago and now you can see everything, and let alone you can see everything in your team. Now everybody can see what you’re doing and I could see how – this is how we make our living, our personal driving style. It’s how we’ve gotten to where we need to be, but I think it’s a pretty unique thing and some drivers are for it and some are against it.”

WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON BUBBA’S FACEBOOK WATCH THING? “I’ve been a part of it. I’ve known about it for a little bit now and I think it’s gonna be pretty cool. I know they’ve been promoting it a lot, but I think it’s gonna be a cool insight of what he does away from the race track and his rise to the Cup level. I walked in on an episode they were doing and I didn’t really know and then all of a sudden I was a part of the episode, but I’m interested to see it. I haven’t seen any cuts of it or anything other than the previews, but I think it will show a great personality side of him.”

ARE YOU ON THE DRIVER’S COUNCIL THIS YEAR? “I am. It was a great insight on some things last year. It’s cool to sit down and talk with Steve Phelps and O’Donnell and things like that, along with other drivers and try to voice your opinions or get information pretty early of what they’re thinking of doing, whether it’s tracks or safety or competition stuff. It’s nice that they talk to the drivers. There are some things that they’ve come up with that they thought were great ideas and after they talked to the drivers and maybe we weren’t for it, they kind of ditched that idea. That’s what it takes. It takes people talking to make everything work on the competition or safety side or things like that. Now, I wasn’t really outspoken a lot last year because it was my first time on it and you just kind of listen, but now I feel like you get a little bit more experience in it and experience in the Cup Series and stuff like that you can kind of voice your opinion a little bit more. You just feel a part of the group a little bit more. I’m not really outspoken anyway and in those things I may not be able to give the best opinions, but you definitely speak up a little bit more as you are in it. You don’t want to be the new guy in it and just talk the whole time, but now you can kind of give a little bit more of your thoughts.”

IT MUST BE NICE TO BE A PART OF SOMETHING LIKE THIS THAT WASN’T EVEN AROUND FIVE YEARS AGO. “That just shows the communication that NASCAR wants to have with the teams between the Driver Council and the RTA and things like that. Everyone is talking and whether we don’t agree on things sometimes, it’s good that we can talk and be like, ‘No, that’s a stupid idea.’ They don’t take anything to heart. You want to be honest in these meetings and I think that’s the best thing is when you can have a small, confined meeting you can be more honest than when it’s with a bunch of people and you’re maybe afraid to voice your opinion. But in these, everyone is very open and I think that’s what it’s gonna take for the drivers and teams to communicate with NASCAR and things like that. That part is nice that we’re having this council and it’s really cool to be a part of as well.”

IS PATIENCE NECESSARY ON RESTRICTOR PLATE TRACKS? “Yeah, it is. I think that’s kind of true in everything too, but especially restrictor plate racing. Sometimes, like if we were in a straight line like that, single-file line in the Clash like it was Sunday. If that was me three years ago, I would have jumped out of line the first lap and might have went all the way back to 17th. You take your time a little bit more and you think more things through and you can kind of try to feel out how these races are gonna go and where lines are gonna run to and what’s the better thing to pick, so I think with experience and age you think about things more. Before, you’re just on the gas and on kill all the time, and now you can step back and slow things down and be like, ‘Maybe this isn’t the best move to make.’”

DO YOU HAVE A BETTER SENSE OF WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN? “Yeah, and that just comes with races. You can see if the bottom line is going to form up with enough cars to be able to jump down in it, whereas now if you’re like, ‘Oh, it’s only five cars I’m not gonna risk that because there’s not enough to go,’ that’s just experience. You see these things and you’re a part of it and you witness it first hand and that just comes with time and races.”

SOME DRIVERS MENTIONED YOU AS BEING ONE OF THE BETTER PLATE RACERS? “Did they really? I wouldn’t have guessed that. That’s pretty special. That’s cool. I think our cars have been great on speedways. That makes it better when your cars are really fast and they handle pretty well, but it just comes down to having good communication with your spotter and the driver anticipating things and how smart can a driver be. Brad is one of the smartest guys out here and that’s why he’s a good restrictor plate racer is because he knows what’s coming, what lines are moving and he knows where to go at what time. I didn’t know that. That’s pretty nice.”

DO YOU FEEL YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO WIN LAST YEAR’S RACE? “I don’t know. There are certain times to be in that mindset and there are certain times to know when to relax in these plate races. Thinking back on last year, we kind of came from the back of that line to the front. It wasn’t like we were defending anything. My run just kind of stalled when I got to Kurt. Maybe one of the things I could have done last year was lay back to AJ a little bit more, but I was laying back to him and I thought he was gonna pass me and we would have had no shot at it at all, so I went when he was a few car lengths back. If I would have known he would have stayed in line with me, I would have really laid back to his bumper and we would have got a run, but you think about those things, but you don’t really dwell on them too much just because you can’t do anything about them now. You just try to learn from them and apply them for next time.”

IS THERE A POINT WHERE YOU CAN HAVE TOO MUCH DATA? “Maybe a little bit. You wouldn’t look at everybody’s data. You might look at the top few drivers’ data in practice or something like that. You can get overloaded pretty quick, but if you try to change up your driving style so much that you’re getting overloaded, then I don’t think that’s a good thing. That’s why I’m kind of back and forth on the data sharing. Yeah, it’s great to look at other driver’s stuff, your teammates’ things if you’re struggling a little bit, but at the end of the day I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at Brad and Joey’s data if they’re better than me on a weekend and I actually start driving like them. You kind of just go back to how you’re driving just because it’s how you do it. It’s how your right and left foot works, so the data sharing thing I’d like it to stay within teams, but it’s what NASCAR wants is what they’re gonna get. You could get overloaded, but I don’t look at enough people’s to really get that way, I don’t think.”

HOW MANY CARS WILL IT TAKE TO GET A RUN AND MAKE ONE LANE WORK? “I think Sunday is gonna be way different than the Clash just because you’ve got 40 cars. With 17 it’s hard to get enough people to commit down there to want to go. I know there are maybe four or five cars that at one point tried to go and the couldn’t. That’s kid of a product of who is leading the top lane, honestly. Brad’s car was super-fast, so the top lane was really fast, so you won’t see that Sunday. With 40 if one car pulls down, you’re gonna have 10 of them go down there, especially if you’re 25th on back. Why not? What have you got to lose? You won’t really see that, but it’s a lot about the lead car, who is leading that group. If it’s a fast-enough car and they can kind of pull that lane and then they know how to slow up the top lane and then go to the bottom of the race track, so it’s a lot about the lead car, but a lot of people will be more willing to do it Sunday than the Clash just because there are a lot more cars.”

TREVOR BAYNE – No. 6 Ford Fusion – THERE ARE A LOT OF UNKNOWNS THIS YEAR. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? “There are lot of unknowns. It’s good to be back here. I’m excited to be here, always am here at Daytona and always feel like we’ve got a shot to win. Our cars have had speed at the superspeedways the last couple of years and this year is no exception. I think we’ve got a good shot to come win this race. You want to start out the season with that and make your life a little bit easier the next few weeks, but Daytona has been great to us. I love this place, love the fans here and there’s a lot of change, a lot of unknowns. We got to see some of that in the Clash. I think being up top on the spotter’s stand, I always like to go up and watch that race. I’d love to be in it this next year, but I was able to watch and learn and the draft looks different. Some of that was just guys being calm and not being two or three-wide at the end of that race, but if you’re the last guy in line, you were getting dropped fast. That’s one component of it. The pit stops were another component. I’m sure you guys are covering well. Just watching which teams have figured it out better, which ones were better with the new guns. It’s gonna be way different for everybody, so I’m excited about the unknowns and ready to go racing.”

WHY HAS FORD BEEN SO GOOD ON PLATE TRACKS THE LAST FEW YEARS? “There are a lot of components to it. There’s not gonna be just one magical ingredient, but I’ll start with Roush Yates Racing Engines because that’s a common denominator in all of the Fords. Our bodies are a common denominator and then our teams. If you look at the organizations that have been good at restrictor plate races those organizations have been good there. You watch Brad and Joey and how they work together and now Ryan Blaney has been doing that, and I’m sure Paul will help as well in that Penske camp. Ricky and I have worked well together, and then you look at the Stewart-Haas camp and they’ve been able to do that too. That’s a big part of it. If you watch us in practice, we’re working together. If you watch us in the race, we’re working together. You have to have that. You can’t do it on your own, so that’s kind of preached through the Ford mindset is, ‘We’re a team.’ It’s about getting a Ford to victory lane and we all understand that, but you’ve got to have a fast car too and our superspeedway program at Roush Fenway has come a long way. I do feel like the rear spring changes, not being NASCAR springs this year, everybody coming out with all these crazy-looking ride heights, I feel like that hurt us in qualifying, but I think our cars will drive better in the race. We qualified 20th or 22nd but I didn’t pay too close of attention because it doesn’t matter until after the Duels, but that’s not typical for us. We’ve been in the top 12 the last few restrictor plate races, but that’s because everybody was able to drop their cars down, get them to qualify well, but in practice my car drove great. A lot of the guys I’ve talked to they’ve been all over the place – loose, the reverse skew that you’ve seen in all the cars, a lot of them are pointed to the airport when they get to turn three, and mine doesn’t drive like that, it drives really normal, so I think we’ll race well.”

HOW MUCH ADJUSTABILITY DO YOU NEED AT A PLACE LIKE DAYTONA? “In 2011 with the repave you didn’t need any. Now, handling is a big deal. You start getting really tight off turn four. We’ve watched the Hendrick cars snap loose out of nowhere. That was kind of characteristic for them, but not exclusive to them. We’ve seen a lot or organizations have that trouble, but Ricky and I have been able to drive our cars hard and that’s why we’ve run good here at Daytona. They’ve been fast, but when it comes race time we aren’t having to lift to stay on the bottom, we can just run wide-open and the cars handle good. That’s really helped us and then having the track bar adjuster is new this year at the restrictor plates. Last year we didn’t have those in, so you’ll be able to tame your car down if it’s really tight off four, you can free it up some. If it’s loose on entry, which I don’t suspect it being an issue with the ride heights being lower now, you can tighten it up. I think it’ll be good.”

WHERE DO YOU FEEL ROUSH IS RIGHT NOW? “I think we’re gonna be better than some teams we weren’t better than last year, but there’s a lot of unknowns with new manufacturer bodies. You have different things going on. You don’t know who is where, really. You look at test data and you can’t judge everything off of one or two test, so you don’t really know until you get there. We always talk about we’re excited for Daytona the first one, but then you hear people talk about Atlanta being the first real test for what you’ve got for race cars and that’s pretty true. You get to Atlanta and you find out how your aero program is on downforce, you find out how your engines are on bottom end coming up out of the corner, you find a lot of things and really communication, which is a huge part of our sport. That’s the first time you have a driver complaining about the way his car drives with the crew chief and they’ve got to figure it out. You learn a lot about your team, a lot about your equipment at Atlanta and Vegas and Phoenix and that whole west coast swing.”

WHAT DID YOU LEARN AS A WHOLE LAST YEAR? “We tried to focus in on our weaknesses. You can work on your strengths and make them better, but you’ve got to really zone in on your weaknesses and minimize that. Bristol has been a strength for us. The last couple years we’ve run top 10 there and Martinsville last year we finished top 10 in both races, which wasn’t normal. That was a weakness we improved on. If I look at this year what is that weakness we have to improve on, it’s the short, flat tracks. You look at Loudon, Phoenix, those kind of places. Ricky seemed to find something he liked there and I didn’t, and then I had some places he didn’t like, so I think just trying to match that together and try to figure out both of our strengths and work together that’s gonna be important for us, but those short tracks are something I loved growing up and I was really successful at and XFINITY, so now trying to figure that out at the Cup level is something I have to work on pretty hard.”

WHAT ABOUT THE INTERMEDIATE TRACKS? “You race there so much. If you don’t have a winning car at mile and a halves it’s half your schedule or more. We have to keep pushing there for sure to catch guys like the 78 or some of the Penske guys or even Stewart-Haas guys. I can’t say that we can’t go win because there are other Fords doing it and that’s where we need to be. My goal is to be the best car at Roush Fenway, Roush Fenway needs to be the best of the Ford group and the Fords need to be the best in the field and that’s how you win races. That’s what we’re going to push to do.”

WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT STAGE RACING? “My perspective was everybody is making a big deal about how important the points were. I knew that kind of going in that it was going to be a big deal, but you can’t get points by thinking about points. You can’t finish better in a stage by thinking about finishing better in a stage. It comes down to having fast race cars. It comes down to qualifying well and then holding that track position throughout the stages. If you get behind, it punishes you, so you can’t make mistakes. That costs you stage points and you’ve got to be fast and from there you get what you get. Truex got the most stage points because he was the fastest car and he made the least mistakes and that’s what we aim to do.”

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY WHEN YOU COME HERE? “Obviously, winning, but I think the morning after is the thing I haven’t talked a lot about. You wake up and you’ve got all this media buzz and you check your social platforms. Back then I think it was just Twitter and you’ve gained 100,000 followers and you’re like, ‘What is going on?’ And you go and everybody is handing you cell phones to do interviews on and just a whirlwind of that is crazy. The thing I remember when everything slowed down on the plane when we were leaving here, over at the airport right across the street, I looked down and saw the 500 ring and realized I had joined Dale Earnhardt and those kind of guys that had won that race and that emotion hit me for the first time. It was the first time things were still and you kind of soak it in that it wasn’t a dream. You woke up the next day and you still have the trophy and the 500 ring. That was a cool moment for me.”

PAUL MENARD – No. 21 Ford Fusion – WHAT HAS THE TRANSITION BEEN LIKE TO THIS TEAM? “It’s been good. The offseason is always kind of hectic trying to get everything in that you can in a short period of time, but this offseason we just stayed at home and spent as much time as I could at the shop and with my guys, trying to learn everything because going to a new race team there are a lot of new things and a lot of things to learn. I feel like we had a really productive offseason just getting to know each other with my road guys, with Greg Erwin. I spent a lot of time with my crew chief. I think we’re ready to go. We’re in Daytona already. We’ve already qualified. We have really good speed in our race car and I’m looking forward to the Duel.”

WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE COMING TO FORD? “It’s different. The Fords have different switches and they have different ways they go about fixing a problem if you have an electrical issue and things like that, but it’s nothing crazy. It’s still a race car. It still has 800-and-some horsepower engine in it and it’s all the details, all the little stuff.”

ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH JOEY AND BRAD AND RYAN? “Yeah, we’re a single-car team, but we do have that alliance that a lot of these teams have and ours is with Penske. We did a test a couple weeks ago in Las Vegas and Brad was out there. We shared notes. We shared driver traces. The crew chiefs and engineers were all talking and sharing information, so it’s a big asset to have. I feel like I can text Joey, Brad or Ryan – we’re actually on a group text that we talk quite a bit – so it’s all good. Those are good assets to have.”

SO THEY’RE GOOD TEAMMATES TO HAVE. “For sure. They’ve been good. I’ve raced against those guys for a long time. Ryan is the young guy out of the group, but Brad and Joey and I have raced together for almost 10 years probably.”

WHAT’S YOUR PERSPECTIVE OF THE RIDE HEIGHT RULE? “I thought it would be more different than it was. I can’t talk for everybody else, but my car drove really good in the draft on Saturday. We had a 12-car pack and it’s as big a pack as you could hope for on a practice day, so we got out and mixed it up and I thought the cars would be a little more out of control. Some guys were. My car felt really stable and a lot of the other guys looked really stable. It opens up a can of worms where you can pretty much do whatever you want. Some guys hit it and some guys don’t.”

WHAT IS YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON STAGE RACING AFTER GOING THROUGH IT FOR THE FIRST TIME LAST YEAR? “Going into last year I knew that stage points would be important, but I didn’t think they would be as important as they wound up being. I think after the first month or two of last season it kind of opened our eyes that we had to get all the points we can even if it hurts you at the end of the race to some degree. You can’t leave points sitting on the table, so it definitely makes you be more aggressive on strategy and maybe staying out towards the end of a stage, trying to just hang on for a few laps until a stage is done to collect some points. At the end of the day you still want to win the race and put yourself in position at the end, but you can’t just let those points hang out there.”

THE WOOD BROTHERS HAVE WON THIS RACE FIVE TIMES. WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO GIVE THEM THEIR 100TH WIN IN THE DAYTONA 500? “Coming down here this is gonna be my 400th start and obviously the Wood’s are sitting at 99 and wanting to get 100 and we’re in Daytona. If all the stars lined up and we made that happen, I don’t know what the hell we’d do, but we would definitely cherish it.”

WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM WATCHING THE CLASH? “Greg Erwin and myself and our engineers all watched the Clash together and I didn’t really see anything stand out in the Clash that we’re really focusing on. You could get some big runs, but whoever was the leader was relatively safe compared to years before. I felt like the leader could still get really good pushes and was fairly safe. Of course, they all ran along the wall the last 30 laps or so, but nothing really stood out for me. I thought the cars would be a little bit more out of control and there were some guys that were pretty out of control, but, for the most part, it was plate racing as usual.”

WHEN YOU WERE IN THE CAR HOW OUT OF CONTROL DID YOU FEEL? “Not really. In some circumstances the car felt better this year than last year. Other circumstances the car felt better last year than this year. The thing we don’t really know is when we get three-wide. We saw Jimmie spin out in the middle with no contact. We’re taking downforce out of these race cars to reduce drag, so it’s when you’re in the middle – the circumstances that are really hard to practice and test for is what’s going to catch you off guard. When we’re all riding side-by-side or single-file the cars feel pretty good, I think. It’s the unknown circumstances that you can’t really practice for is going to catch you.”

WASN’T THE MIDDLE AN ISSUE A FEW YEARS AGO? “It’s kind of always been that way. You come out of turn four and the middle to the exit of turn four – in the middle – sucks because in year’s past the back end comes up the car gets light and then kind of bucks up and you spin out. Now the car doesn’t do that. The tires are taking a lot more of the force, but you don’t have the downforce, so that’s the circumstance that I just don’t know. You kind of use the Duel to try and put yourself in that position because you have to know what to expect, but you have to do it with the right people and at the right time. There’s a lot to learn in the Duels for sure, but none of it is really that different. It’s all the little things.”

WHAT IS YOUR GAME PLAN FOR THE DUELS? “We’re gonna race. I’ve never enjoyed laying back in these races, but the Duel is always a tricky one to prepare for because obviously you want to win the Duel, but if you finish third versus fifth it doesn’t really matter, and you could potentially hurt your race car. We have our primary car down here. It’s the fastest of our two cars. We don’t want to pull out our backup car, so you have to be smart about it. It would be pretty special to get a Duel win too, so it’s hard to prepare for.”

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