Dover Notes and Quotes
Denny Hamlin Quotes
How can the FedEx team continue its momentum of recent success?
“The key for us is to get this race team running its best for the Chase. We are fortunate to have a couple wins already this year, which gives us the opportunity to try some things and work to get our cars better each and every week. Darian (Grubb, crew chief) and the guys have done a lot of work back at the shop to prepare these cars, and we can work on them at the track all summer to get our program at its best. We’ve had some solid runs the last four or five weeks, and hopefully that continues at Dover. Dover is one place that I have yet to completely figure out, so we’ll rely on our teammates to get some information this weekend. That’s always been a tough place for me, but it’s my job to give the team feedback to get our car as good as we can.”
FedEx Express Notes
Charlotte Recap: Denny Hamlin finished second in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota for his best career finish at the 1.5-mile oval and seventh top-10 finish in 2012. Starting from the eighth position, Hamlin spent the first half of the race in the back of the top-10. The crew made several adjustments to try to free up the car, and while the handling improved slightly, the team was still looking to gain valuable track position for the final 100 laps of the race. The opportunity presented itself during a caution with 80 laps to go. Crew chief Darian Grubb made the call to keep the car on the track when the majority of lead lap cars headed to pit road for a pair of tires. The decision paid off and sent Denny to the front of the pack coming out of the restart. Hamlin would lead twice for a total of 13 laps before giving way to eventual race winner Kasey Kahne. The second-place finish moved Hamlin up one spot into third place in the NASCAR standings, only 16 points behind leader Biffle after 12 of 26 regular season races.
FedEx 400 Preview: The Series heads to Dover International Speedway for Sunday’s FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks. It marks the second year that FedEx has been the title sponsor of the spring race at the ‘Monster Mile.’ The first 11,000 fans through the gates on Sunday morning will receive a #11 mini-diecast car that also doubles as a coupon to participating FedEx Office locations. Hamlin is making his 13th-career Cup Series start at Dover on Sunday, and has four top-10 finishes in 12 races on the tricky, one-mile concrete oval. His best finishes of fourth came in June 2007 and May 2010. He finished 16th in the FedEx 400 one year ago.
Kyle Busch Quotes
Has your team turned the corner from where you were earlier in the season?
“I think we’re good. We’re definitely a contender each and every week with our M&M’s Camry. We’re just not able to get over that hump, aside from Richmond, to get us some more wins. I wish we knew what it was to get us to that point, but I know we’re consistently running up front and we’re competitive every week. There’s just a little bit of something lacking, whether it’s speed or whether it’s longevity in the runs that’s kept us from winning even more than we have. Both our car and Denny’s (Hamlin, JGR teammate) car have been very competitive and everyone at JGR continues to work hard, and I feel like we are making strides each week. We want to find what we need by the time the Chase comes around and have a shot at this championship.”
What does it take to be successful at Dover?
“Dover, being a concrete track, is challenging. They’re all a challenge, but Dover is especially so, just because of the way you have to run around that place. The way tires sometimes wear out. The way the rubber gets put down there. You’ve got to be fast through the corner. Two-thirds of your lap time is through the turn rather than down the straightaway, so you definitely have to make sure you have a good-handling racecar – one that’s good in the beginning of the run on low air pressures and one that’s good at the end of the run on high air pressures, and even through traffic, too. Some of the most challenging times are when you’re trying to get through traffic with guys.”
Do you enjoy racing at Dover?
“It’s definitely a fast racetrack. It’s a fun racetrack, too. It makes it interesting when you get to traffic, when you have to pass guys, when you’re kind of falling down into the hole and jumping back up out of the hole to the straightaways. It’s a good place to race. It’s a competitive racetrack and, when the rubber gets laid down, it definitely changes the whole atmosphere and the whole way you run around that place.”
Does going from concrete to asphalt change the way the car handles?
“We don’t run on an asphalt racetrack that’s banked like that or shaped like that. The mile tracks we go to that are asphalt are Phoenix and Loudon, and they are relatively flat. The concrete just changes the feel a little bit, of course, and changes the way you approach the racetrack, too.”
You have two Sprint Cup wins and a competitive history at Dover. What is your outlook with your past history there?
“I love that place. It’s fun to race there and it’s a place I’m looking forward to going to with our M&M’s Camry. I went there when I was 18 to race in the Nationwide Series for my first time. It will scare you the first time you race there. You carry so much speed at this racetrack and, for it to be a mile in length and for it to be concrete – concrete surfaces that we race on, anyway, are a little bit slick. It’s definitely a roller-coaster ride and you need to treat it like it’s fun and not to be scared of the place, I think, because you can get so much out of that place. There are two ways about it – you can probably be really, really good there, or really, really bad there. Some days you’re going to be better than others, obviously, with how you can get your car set up compared to the competition.”
Kyle Busch: New Month, Same Results?
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (May 30, 2012) – The month of May couldn’t have been much better for Kyle Busch and his No. 18 M&M’s Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR).
The talented 27-year-old driver started his current hot streak with a win at Richmond (Va.) International Speedway April 28, and carried that momentum through the four May races by posting a runner-up finish at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on May 6, fourth at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on May 12, fourth at the non-points Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on May 19, and third in the May 27 Coca-Cola 600 last weekend to end the month.
With the month of June now upon him, Busch hopes to maintain his hot hand and keep cranking out strong results in June as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Dover (Del.) International Speedway for Sunday’s FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks. The 1-mile concrete oval – appropriately named the “Monster Mile” – can be demanding on driver and equipment, so patience over the course of the 400-lap race, along with solid work from the over-the-wall crew, is vital for a successful day at Dover.
Busch will not only try to keep his momentum from the month of May going this weekend, he’ll also be shooting for his fifth consecutive top-10 finish at the “Monster Mile” and hopes to recreate the magic of his May 2010 race that saw him lead 131 laps en route to his second career Sprint Cup victory at the track. Busch has not finished worse than sixth in his last four Dover starts, beginning with his June 2010 win there.
And, on the subject of streaks, Busch has finished no worse than 11th since the April 14 event at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, a string that includes four consecutive top-five finishes and five consecutive top-10s. During that time, the Las Vegas native has vaulted from 16th to his current position of eighth in the Sprint Cup standings.
So, as the series heads to the Delmarva Peninsula this weekend, Busch knows that, based on recent history, Dover is an ideal venue for him to carry his May momentum into the month of June on the right foot.
Joey Logano Quotes
“We had a frustrating weekend at Charlotte but we are working hard to put that behind us and move onto Dover. We’ve got a new package that we are taking to the track and we’ve learned a lot of stuff about practice and such over the last couple of weeks. I think that is going to help us get back to the point where we were to start the year when we rattled off a couple of top-10 finishes and were right there in the top-10 in the point standings. We are working hard to turn it all around and we’ll start this weekend in Dover.”
“I’ve always been a big fan of Dover which surprised some people considering most people just remember my flip there back during my rookie season. But Dover has a lot of special memories to me. It’s near home, it’s the place I made my first Nationwide Series start and I’ve been really close to some Nationwide Series wins here. It’s a fun track that just takes a lot of concentration, but you have to be aggressive too. You just have to watch yourself and not be overly aggressive though because 400-laps here is a long time. I think we will be good and I’m looking forward to the race.”
No. 20 Home Depot Toyota News & Notes:
- DOVER HOLDS PLENTY OF (GOOD & BAD) MEMORIES FOR LOGANO: Dover International Speedway, conveniently nicknamed the “Monster Mile” holds a bunch of memories for Joey Logano, both good and bad. Logano wrapped up his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Championship at Dover International Speedway in 2007, capping off a remarkable and record-breaking K&N Pro Series East that saw him win seven races over the course of the season. Logano then made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut on May 31, 2008 at Dover International Speedway, where he came home with a ninth-place start and a sixth-place finish. Logano also suffered one of the biggest accidents of his career at Dover in 2009, when he barrel-rolled his No. 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series machine a total of seven times down the banking of turns three and four and was involved in another hair-raising accident after just missing the win in last year’s NASCAR Nationwide Series event at the mile-track.
- GETTING READY FOR SOME LEFT/RIGHT ACTION: Logano and the No. 20 Home Depot team, along with several other teams, spent Tuesday testing their racecars in preparation for the upcoming Sonoma and Watkins Glen events at Virginia International Raceway. The track, located just across the border into Virginia from North Carolina and two hours from the JGR home base in Huntersville, NC, is a common destination for Cup and Nationwide teams looking to practice their road course programs. The teams planned on testing Tuesday and Wednesday at the track.
- LOOKING TO REPLICATE 2010: In six career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Dover International Speedway, Logano’s best race came in the fall event of 2010. That day, Logano started the race 19th but spent little time back there, getting his Home Depot Toyota into the top-10 and riding there for much of the afternoon. As the race was winding down, Logano made another charge toward the front and came home with a fifth-place finish. Logano also has a 10th-place finish to his credit at Dover, coming in the summer event at Dover that same season.
- STILL IN THE HUNT FOR A CHASE BERTH: Despite finishing 23rd in last week’s event at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Logano finds himself 16th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. Logano dropped one position last week but is just 58 points out of the top-10 after 12 of 36 races.
- RACE INFO: The FedEx 400 benefitting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway (Dover, DE; 1-mile oval) is set for Sunday, June 3 at 12:30 pm ET. The race will be broadcast on FOX (TV) and MRN (radio).