Richmond Quotes & Notes
Denny Hamlin Quotes
Do you always feel the excitement of racing at your home track?
“It never goes away – it’s still the race I look forward to the most. For me, having my charity race as part of Richmond week makes it all that more special. Getting a couple wins here was really important to me and this team and we absolutely want to come back and do it again. We feel like this track is a place where we can run up front every time we come here and I know we all would be disappointed to come here and not perform at the level we expect to. This team could use a solid weekend, and I can’t think of a better track to come to for just that.”
What does it mean to host your charity event at Richmond this year?
“Richmond was the first track I ever watched a race at when I was five years old, and all these years later to be able to move the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown there is a dream. The race has been really rewarding and it’s become a big part of what the Denny Hamlin Foundation does. I learned a lot from FedEx about the impact you can have in the community as I was starting out in the Cup Series, and have worked to make sure my foundation follows that model. To give back through this foundation has been really rewarding for me and it makes me proud to know that we can help raise money and that the money is going to a really good cause. We have a great driver lineup again this year, and will put on a great show for the fans.”
FedEx Express Notes
Denny Hamlin and the FedEx Racing team recorded a 23rd-place finish in the most recent Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (April 17). Hamlin qualified 29th in the #11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry and spent the majority of the 188-lap event biding his time until the end. Working the tandem draft with Ryan Newman, Hamlin’s strategy was to avoid trouble early in the race to make a late push for the win. A late tire issue for Newman caused Hamlin to search for a new partner, finding one in Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammate Joey Logano. The duo ran among the top-10 until three laps to go, when a spin in front of them caused the two cars to separate and Hamlin to lose the lead draft. Without a caution or draft, Hamlin was forced to ride out the final laps and accept a disappointing 23rd-place result. The finish, however, moved Hamlin up three spots in the Sprint Cup Series point standings to 17th after eight of 36 races, 100 points behind leader Carl Edwards.
Home Sweet Home:
Following an off-weekend, the Series shifts to Richmond International Raceway (RIR) for Saturday’s 400-lap, 300-mile race. Hamlin, from nearby Chesterfield, Va., considers RIR his home track and is the most recent race winner at the facility. Last September, Hamlin started 14th and led 251 laps en route to victory lane, edging JGR teammate Kyle Busch. Busch is the two-time defending spring race winner at Richmond, and coupled with Hamlin’s first Richmond race win in the fall 2009 event, the duo has won the last four events at the three-quarter-mile track. Hamlin is making his 11th career Richmond start Saturday night, with top-10 finishes in half of his 10 trips to RIR. Despite only two wins, the 30-year-old has led more than 100 laps in a race four times at Richmond, including a career-high 381 (of 400) from the pole in the spring 2008 event before a cut tire relegated the team to a heartbreaking 24th-place finish. Hamlin’s first Richmond pole came in his second start at the track in the fall of 2006. In total, Hamlin has an average finish of 8.0 at RIR, has completed all but four laps (4,006 of 4,010) and has led 1,150 of the total laps (29 percent) at the track since his rookie season in 2006.
Kyle Busch Quotes
Do you enjoy racing at Richmond?
“I like going to Richmond. It’s a fun racetrack. It’s a nice short track that we get to go and run at. For me, the success I’ve had there, I’m not sure why, but it’s just been a good place for me to run. I’m excited about getting back there to get another run in the top-five and try to go after a win with our M&M’s Pretzel Camry like we did there the last two spring races.”
You’ve had plenty of success at Richmond over the years with an impressive average finish of 5.2. Is there a way you drive the racecar there that has helped you?
“At Richmond, you try to be easy on the brakes getting in so you don’t lock up getting into the corner or get too loose getting into the corner. It’s really particular there. The center (of the corner) always seems to be a little tight with these cars. And the exit, today, has been so loose. Nobody has any forward bite coming up off the corner, so it’s pretty bad. That should make for a pretty interesting race. It’s a fun short track. It’s pretty fast and it usually spreads out, and you’ll get a lot of grooves to choose from. You can pretty much count on the usual exciting short-track race when you go there.”
What is it like to go to short tracks like Bristol and Richmond and know you are always one of the guys to beat?
“It’s pretty cool. You go to those places and I’m, like, ‘Alright, well, we’re here to win this weekend, obviously.’ If you can put it all together, you’re going to be the guy to beat. Probably Joe Gibbs Racing is the team to beat here since Denny (Hamlin) won the fall race and I won the other one and finished second to Denny in the second race. You wouldn’t say I’m the guy to beat at a place like Michigan or something like that, where my record is horrendous. I don’t know. It gives you a little bit better pep in your step and a little bit more confidence. It gives you a better feeling for how your weekend should go, barring any catastrophic failure or something like that. Richmond is the same. I expect to go there and I expect to run top-three at Richmond. You always want to go to the racetrack to win, but you have some realistic expectations, first. I feel like, yeah, we can win this weekend, but we’re going to start with a top-five. Yeah, I can win at Richmond. I’m going to start with expecting a top-three.”
How do you communicate what you feel in the race car, and does that help you at short tracks?
“That’s always been there. I have a good knowledge of what I’m feeling. Dave (Rogers, crew chief) doesn’t know exactly what I’m feeling in the car, so I know what a track bar does, what a wedge does, I know what air pressure does. I know what all that does, so when they ask me about a change, they’re like, ‘Let’s do wedge,’ and I’m like, ‘No, that’s not really going to help with what I need.’ Sometimes Dave can look at the timing and scoring and say we’re two-tenths off from where we need to be and I can say, ‘Yeah, I just need half-a-round of wedge.’ Then he says, ‘We need something a lot more than that. We’re going to have to swing at this thing to get it right.’ That’s when you rely on information from both sides. It’s like what I’m feeling is this and what Dave is seeing on the stopwatch is that, so you have to work back and forth. We work together on those decisions.”
You sit sixth in the standings, now. When do you start looking at where you are in the points?
“I think you actually want to try to do that sooner rather than later, knowing some things happen like they did at Talladega that are sometimes out of your control. It’s about Charlotte time – about the end of May – when you get into the season and you look at where you’re at. You can pretty much say you’re going to be four or five positions one way or the other – you can be four positions better or five positions worse once you get down to Chase time. It can go either way. If you’re really good, you can be four better. If you kind of hit a roadblock and have some bad races, you can probably be about five worse. That’s how we look at it. Right now, I think we’re solid fourth (Busch currently is sixth in the standings), or something like that. I don’t even watch or even pay attention to them right now. If you have good results, then they’ll take care of themselves.”
Kyle Busch: Better than Average at Richmond
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (April 26, 2011) – Kyle Busch – winner of 93 races among NASCAR’s top three divisions – has never been described as average.
Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Pretzel Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), is not only better than average at most venues on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule, he’s well above average when it comes to Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, site of Saturday night’s Crown Royal 400.
Why would he be described at well above average at Richmond? Busch’s numbers at the .75-mile short track tell the story. His most recent win there last May was the second of his career to go with four runner-up finishes and an amazing 10 top-fives in just 12 career Sprint Cup starts at Richmond. The Las Vegas native has an average finishing position of 5.2, tops among active drivers at Richmond, where he sits ahead of JGR teammate Denny Hamlin, whose average finish there is 8.0. Busch has completed all 4,810 laps available to him. Of those laps completed, Busch has run in the top-15 for 4,253 laps (88.4 percent), second-most among active drivers.
While he has always had strong runs at Richmond, Busch’s first Sprint Cup victory there came in May 2009, where he became only the second driver in Sprint Cup history to celebrate a victory on his birthday, a feat first accomplished by Cale Yarborough twice. Yarborough won on his March 27 birthday at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway in 1977 and at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1983. Since then, Busch has finished no worse than fifth at Richmond during the 2009 and 2010 seasons, recording wins in both spring races and fifth and second, respectively, in the fall races the past two seasons.
While his birthday isn’t until this coming Tuesday, the soon-to-be 26-year-old would like nothing more than to add another Richmond win to his resume and celebrate his birthday a few days early in victory lane on Saturday night at Richmond.
So, little wonder that a visit to the “Capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia” is one of Busch’s favorite stops on the NASCAR tour. Besides, he’s been anything but average there.
Joey Logano Quotes
On Hamlin’s Charity Event:
“Denny’s charity event should be a ton of fun, especially now that it moved to the big track in Richmond. There were so many fans last year that hopefully moving it to RIR will bring in more fans and more money for his charity. I’m driving for a different team this year. It’s a Clint King Motorsports Late Model out of Thomasville, NC. It will be painted up in Home Depot colors again though. I didn’t get to test it last week, so I’m not sure how it will go but at least I get a few practices in before we race.”
“The last few races at Richmond have gone well for the Home Depot Team. We’ve had really good race cars, too. It just takes us a little bit longer in the race to get our car good. Last time we were there, we took off really slow at the beginning of the race and went down a lap. We got our lap back and drove up to fourth – so we finished up there – it just took us a long time to get there. We’re going to focus on starting off a little bit better this time. It seems like the longer the race goes there, the better we get most of the time as the track rubbers up a little bit. I think it helps your team a lot to have all three cars running good there. I’m not running the Nationwide race this weekend, so I can focus solely on the Cup car. We’re finally coming off a top-10 run in Talladega, now we need to carry that momentum and work our way up in the points.”
The Home Depot Team Notes of Interest
- It’s back to the short track for Joey Logano and The Home Depot Team this weekend for the 400-lap race at Richmond International Raceway. Logano will be making his fifth start at the .75-mile track. He has finished inside the top 20 in all four NASCAR Sprint Cup races at the track including a fourth-place run last September.
- About the last race: The Home Depot Team and Logano raced to their first top-10 finish of the season at Talladega Superspeedway on April 17. Logano, despite losing his drafting partner in the final laps, was able to find a car and push his way to a 10th-place finish.
- Logano will run a Home Depot-themed Late Model Stock Car in the fourth annual Short Track Showdown to benefit his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin’s Foundation on Thursday night at Richmond International Raceway. The event will feature more than eight NASCAR drivers, celebrities and local racers battling it out on the short track to raise funds for individuals and families suffering from cystic fibrosis. The foundation also supports organizations like The Children’s Hospital of Richmond, St. Jude’s Hospital and Victory Junction.
- The Home Depot Team and Logano gained four positions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings following the race at Talladega Superspeedway and now sit 24th. They are 12 points behind David Ragan who is 20th in the standings, and 66 points out of the top10.
- Welcome aboard The Home Depot associates from store #4412 in St. George, Utah. The store number will ride along with Logano under the lights this weekend on the rear quarter panel of The Home Depot Toyota.
- The No. 20 Home Depot Team is taking chassis #303 to Richmond this weekend for the Crown Royal 400. This chassis has never been raced; however it has seen practice laps this season at Martinsville Speedway. The chassis received extensive damage in practice and a back-up car was utilized for the race. The back-up chassis is chassis #278 which Logano drove most recently at Bristol in March.
- To access information on The Home Depot Team visit: www.joegibbsracing.com and follow twitter.com/homedepotracing, twitter.com/joegibbsracing and twitter.com/jlogano.
Brian Scott Quotes
On Racing at Richmond International Raceway:
“Richmond is a short track and I always look forward to racing at the short tracks. They’re fun and seem to make for good, fun racing. I also think the fans like the short track races because there just tends to be a lot more action. The one thing about short tracks is that most drivers got their start running on short tracks. It’s basic, grass roots racing and I know for myself it is the type of racing where I have more experience so I always look forward to running at the short tracks. It’s fun to be able to be aggressive, rub paint with someone and use that to gain positions on the track. I think short-track racing is why most people got into racing and why a lot of people follow racing. It’s just more exciting.”
How does Richmond compare to some other tracks at which you’ve raced this season?
“Well the biggest thing for this weekend is that it is nice to be going back to a track that hasn’t changed with this new car. We are going to Richmond with a bit of a folder for this race and information on the new car that we can use. We raced this car at Daytona and Talladega last year obviously but with the tracks making changes we basically had to start from scratch so it will be nice to have at least a baseline for this weekend. I think short tracks have been this No. 11 team’s strong point. I consider Nashville a shorter track and we were running well there before the accident. We run well at Phoenix and are taking the same car we raced there to Richmond this weekend so I think we should be fast at Richmond.”
No. 11 Shore Lodge Team Notes of Interest
- Brian Scott and the No. 11 Shore Lodge Toyota team travel to Richmond International Raceway looking for redemption in the BUBBA Burger 250 after a tough weekend last week in Nashville.
- Scott will make his fourth career NASCAR Nationwide Series start this Friday night at Richmond. In three previous starts at Richmond Scott’s best finish is 28th – a result he earned in this event one year ago. Scott’s other two finishes at Richmond (32nd and 38th) were the result of being caught up in accidents.
- Last Race: Scott spent the first half of the Nashville 300 running in the top 10 last week. The day went south just past the halfway point when the No. 11 Shore Lodge Toyota was hit from behind as Scott slowed on the track for a caution. The team made multiple stops to repair the damage and Scott eventually limped his way home to a 22nd-place finish despite sheet metal and alignment damage.
- Scott remains eighth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver point standings after the race at Nashville. He is currently 36 points out of the lead which is currently shared by Justin Allgaier and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
- Chassis #111 is the car Scott will race this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. Chassis #111 is the same car Scott raced to a ninth-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway earlier this season. Chassis #106 will serve as the backup. This car has not yet been raced in 2011.
- To access information on Brian Scott and No. 11 Team visit: www.joegibbsracing.com and follow twitter.com/bscottracing and twitter.com/joegibbsracing.