TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Denny Hamlin — Notes & Quotes Pocono Raceway

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing What are your thoughts on the ‘wild card’ for the Chase? “You have to win to be one.  That’s about it.  For us, we’re trying to get in there by points — if you’re a wild card then that means you’re not in the top-10 in points.  If not, that would be a pretty disappointing year if we end up outside the top-10 in points.  We’re not going to be really worried about that or counting on that at this point anyway.”  

Is this a good time for you to race at Pocono? “It certainly is — we feel like we’ve been in contention for a couple wins here these last three or four weeks.  It comes at a good time.  This is a new car and it seems to have some pretty good speed in it.  It’s a good part of it.  We’re racing here in the middle of the day — conditions are going to be hot and slick on Sunday.  All those things factor into what usually caters to us.  I think this is a good time and hopefully it’s a chance for us to get in victory lane for the first time this year.”  

How much emphasis do you place on this race? “It’s tough to say that it’s any more or less than any other week, but you just have a little more confidence I guess you could say, when we come here.  I know what feel that I’m searching for in the race car.  For me, unlike other race tracks where I haven’t won, I’m constantly searching for something I don’t know in the race car.  Here, I know what I need and know what I want to be competitive and to win.  It’s easier for me to give good feedback I feel like.  I feel like our cars are better when we come and race here because I know what it takes to win.  I think those type of race tracks — that’s why when we win somewhere, we win multiple times is because once I get this feel that I like then it’s kind of easy to duplicate.”  

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Does shifting at Pocono change your strategy for the race? “It does — it takes a little bit and it’s another element that gets changed.  It will.  I think that we’re really only shifting in one corner — it turn one.  It’s tough for me to say.  You’re still going to have the guys that typically run good here — looking at the practice speeds, it looked like the typical guys were pretty good.  I don’t think it will change a whole lot, but I do think it’s going to be tough on the reliability of these race cars for 500 miles.  Shifting takes its toll on engines for sure.   Somebody will break one.”

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