TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Denny Hamlin — Notes & Quotes Kansas Speedway

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing How does it feel to get back into the top-12 in the NSCS driver points? “I think we’ve gained about eight spots in the last five weeks. Obviously, it could have been a lot better — finished 10th last week when we had really a race-winning car. That was the first time really since Richmond, Martinsville — those tracks, that we’ve had race-winning cars and Charlotte is a mile-and-a-half, and obviously we have some of these tracks coming up. I’m looking forward to it. Obviously, we feel like this is our strong point in our season, here in the next two months or so . Be making some big moves.”

Do you feel like the most difficult part of your season is behind you now? “I hope so. Hopefully, it’s downhill from here. That’s the thing, when you have engine failures and you have wrecks and things like that so early in the season, and you leave a race track with five points — it takes a long time to kind of build that back up. Obviously, we’ re slowly working our way back into the top-10, where we need and should be. It’s just the new points system rewards consistency. Like Kurt (Busch) said, he’s got just two top-fives and he’s sixth in points — he’s just been consistent and right there around the 10th spot for most of the year. That’s something — we’ve just been up and down and now that we’re getting kind of more consistent, you’re starting to see us kind of creep our way back into the mix again.”

Do you think Ford has a competitive advantage over the competition? “I’d say right now they do. I think that all the Fords are probably a step above everyone at this point in the season. Last week, even when we were down a lot of horsepower throughout the race, we were really the only car that wasn’t a Ford in about the top-six or seven all race last week. Those guys obviously did some homework and got their cars really good. I think a lot of it — some of it is chassis — but I think a lot of it is motor and they kind of have it all working right now. It’s similar to what I felt like we were in the middle of the summer last year to where we couldn’t miss in the sense of whatever we put in the car just kind of worked. I think those guys are kind of in a rhythm right now and that’s the zone they’re in at this point.”

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Is it ever difficult to transition to driving away from the track as a race car driver? “It’s tough — I mean for me it’s not that hard to kind of turn off the switch — but we all have moments. I agree a lot with what Dale Jr. (Earnhardt) said, everyone speeds at one point or another, we just don’t get caught. That’s pretty much the bottom line, there are times we get caught and there’s times we don’t get caught. We’re all professional drivers and we know what we’re doing, bu t that doesn’t make it right and it doesn’t make us any less apt to get in an accident than anyone else. I’m pretty mindful of that. Obviously, he (Kyle Busch) just had a lack of judgment for a brief moment. Was he speeding at any other point in time? I don’t know

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