Toyota Racing – Denny Hamlin
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quotes
RICHMOND, VA. (September 20, 2019) – Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin was made available to media at Richmond Raceway:
DENNY HAMLIN, No.11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Did you figure out what happened to the car last week?
“Yes, we figured it out.”
Do you feel you have an obligation to approach some of the drivers in the back of the pack with advice?
“No, not really. Everybody is fighting for their own particular race and everyone has their own finishing positions they consider victories. I think you really have probably 15 cars in the field that probably know when they show up that they’re not going to win unless you have something like the 77 (Justin Haley) at Daytona. They’re running for their own personal victories. Whether it be for money o it be for trying to get some sponsors and things like that. Everyone is out there doing their own thing. I’ve always helped everyone that’s approached me asking for help, but certainly we’re so caught up trying to make our own stuff run good and it’s so competitive up at the front that on a race weekend specifically, you don’t have much time.”
How long does it take for Kyle Busch to become less animated as a teammate and does it make it difficult the following week?
“I’m not sure, I’m not really sure to be honest with you on how it affects him for days or weeks to come after that. I think it’s just frustration. Obviously, everyone handles frustration differently and that’s kind of how he handles his, which is okay.”
Is there an etiquette drivers should follow when they’re laps down in a race?
“No, I find it tough to really put any blame on the 52 (Garrett Smithley). I think he held his line and he didn’t switch lanes. Now I didn’t see the previous corners or anything like that. I don’t know if he ran a different lane than what he had run in the previous laps, but as cars are passing you, I can relate basically like at Darlington. I had a damaged car, so I was a second off the pace. It’s a tough job to stay out of the way. I literally had to run the apron in the dirt just to make sure because everyone runs a different line. There’s no way their spotter or the driver can keep up with where everyone is running that’s coming up behind you. You just try to stay in that one particular lane and hope everyone – it’s really the spotter’s responsibility of the fast car to tell you where he’s been running. As long as you know where he’s been running, you can adapt and get around him usually without any problem. Like I said, I didn’t see any lane change or anything in that particular corner, but I don’t know about the laps before. He had someone below him, but I didn’t really see any fault from anyone. I think Kyle (Busch) just drove in there and guessed wrong on where he was going to be and ran into the back of him.”
Are you still in a mindset of sharing information with your teammates in the Playoffs?
“I don’t change anything, especially this early in the Playoffs or really anytime. I don’t change anything because I hopefully rely on that same information to get exchanged back to me when I need it. I think it’s in all of our best interest to share everything as much as we can and feed off of each other. Usually, when someone has good information it relates to the other and the other people can put that in their car and then when they find something better yet, that goes back to the other guy. It helps each other. You’re helping a teammate to then get closer to you so when you’re racing each other or in practice and they’ve got the same thing and they find some more speed, that information comes back and you get faster. It’s just a circle of trust.”
Your first win at your home track here at Richmond Raceway came 10 years ago. Can you talk about what that win meant to you?
“Yeah, that one was great. We definitely had a handful before that that slipped away from us. That one was special because we had been so fast here every time we came and finally came through in that year in 2009. It was special. That one holds a special meaning. For the longest time I had the date of my first Richmond win on my shoes for probably five or six years, so it was definitely significant being that it is in the hometown.”
You had a solid car in practice; it seemed that you might be the runaway favorite at this point. How do you feel going into tomorrow night?
“I felt pretty good with it. I thought that we had a few decent runs. There are five or six other guys that are right there pretty close. I don’t anticipate a runaway. If we do, it will be a great change of pace. Just looking back at the spring race here, we had to start last due to a qualifying deal and it took the entire race to get up to the top-five. It’s amazing how much aerodynamics play on such a short track like this. It’s very tough to pass. Not impossible, but it’s tough. If you get in the back of the pack, if you make a mistake, you will not win this race. Nobody with a speeding penalty will come back and win this race. You can mark that down. Or any pit road penalty.”
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