Denny Hamlin Quotes
What will it take for you to get your first win at Indianapolis?
“I think we’ve shown at Indy that we have what it takes to win there and the team really builds great cars for this track. It’s a track where JGR cars have won before and a track that I really like from the driver’s seat so we go there feeling like we can unload fast, get better in practice and compete on Sunday. To win here you need the car, the driver and the crew all at their best, and then have a lot of things go your way. We have had our share of issues at Indy, but if you take those away there is no reason we can’t run up front.”
FedEx Express Notes
New Hampshire Recap: Denny Hamlin dominated the most recent NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race — at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 15 — in the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, leading five times for a race-high 150 laps at the ‘Magic Mile.’ However, a pit road miscommunication during the event’s final caution dropped Hamlin from the lead to 13th for the ensuing restart, where the 31-year-old driver marched through the field only to come up one position short, finishing second to Kasey Kahne. Hamlin had the strongest car throughout the event, and looked poised to win his third race of the 2012 season. The final caution came on Lap 235, and crew chief Darian Grubb planned a two-tire stop. Hamlin and Grubb discussed the strategy, and after Hamlin radioed that he wanted grip, Grubb audibled to a four-tire change. Unfortunately, the majority of lead lap cars opted for two tires, moving Hamlin deep in the running order for the restart. Putting on an impressive display of driving for the final 62 laps, Hamlin picked off positions on a charge to the front. He ran out of laps in the end and crossed the finish in the runner-up position. Hamlin started third and was comfortable in that position for the opening run. After taking the lead on Lap 72, the #11 machine was out front for 149 of the next 163 circuits. The finish moved Hamlin up to spots to fifth in the NASCAR standings following New Hampshire, now 79 points behind leader Matt Kenseth after 19 of 26 regular season races.
Brickyard Bound: Following the season’s final off-weekend, NASCAR heads to Indianapolis Motor Speedway this Sunday for a 400-mile event on the famed 2.5-mile oval. Hamlin has a pair of top-10 finishes in six starts at the ‘Brickyard,’ taking the checkered flag 10th in his 2006 rookie season and posting a career-best third-place result in 2008, when he led 26 laps. One year ago, Hamlin spent the majority of the last half of the 160-lap race in the top-10, but fell victim to fuel strategy, dropping to 30th after his final pit stop only to see the majority of competitors stretch gas to the finish line without another stop, relegating the #11 team to a 27th-place finish. Hamlin will also compete in the Nationwide Series event on Saturday at Indianapolis for the series’ inaugural race at Indy.
Kyle Busch Quotes
What does it take to be successful at Indianapolis?
“Indianapolis is probably one of the trickiest places we go to on the schedule – Pocono being one, Darlington being one, Indy being another. It’s so hard to find a particular line that really, really works for you or really works for your car because the groove is so narrow. It’s plenty wide for one or one-and-a-half cars but, the line you run around there, you vary 6 inches and it feels so different. You really have to be particular in hitting your marks and getting your car set up. The way it changes throughout the weekend, going from practice, when there’s not much rubber on the racetrack, and then to the race, with a lot of rubber on the racetrack – the trajectory of the corners changes. How wide do you enter the corner? How long do you stay out? How sharp do you turn down? Indy’s definitely a particular racetrack and it’s exciting for us all to go there, especially with the history there and the prestige of winning that event. I’d love nothing more than to win there on Sunday with my M&M’s Camry. It would be something cool. Been close a couple times, but I’d like to get a little closer.”
Where does Indy rank on the list of prestigious wins in this series?
“It’s number two. It’s right there. Daytona is one, Indy is two. They’re both pretty close. Indy is an important racetrack for a lot of people. The history of that place, it’s all been Indy cars. But it’s still one of the first big superspeedways in America dating back to the early 1900s. There’s a lot there that everyone always wants to win.”
How do you approach the races leading up to the Chase?
“The races leading up to the Chase – you just have to approach them the way you have the other races all season, already. You go there and try to do the best job you can, you want to win that weekend, so you work as hard as you can all through practice trying to figure out what you need in your racecar to make it the best you can. It needs to be comfortable to drive so you can drive it for 400 or 500 miles. You try to make the best speed out of it you can, but if it’s ill-handling, you’re not going to be able to try to go any faster or harder to make speed out of the car. At least if the car handles well and drives well, you can try a little harder to make speed out of it.”
Do you remember when you first heard the words Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy 500, Brickyard 400?
“Probably the first time I knew of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, or the Indy 500, was back in the ’80s – probably ’89, maybe even 1990. Of course, the first time I knew of the Brickyard 400 was ’94, being a big Jeff Gordon fan and following him growing up in Las Vegas. When he came into the sport a few years earlier and won the Coca-Cola 600 and carried that into the Brickyard 400, and then won that race right off the bat was quite an accomplishment, for sure.”
What is it about Indianapolis Motor Speedway that makes it unique compared to other tracks that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits?
“It’s very tight down the straightaways. You roll through (turns) one and two, and there are people on the inside, there are people on the outside, there are people in the grass, just sitting along the back straightaway on the inside. You’ve got the golf course there, and fans sitting on the hills underneath the trees. You start back up into turn three, with the grandstands going around (turns) three and four, and then down the frontstretch and, again, there are two tunnels. There’s a tunnel at the (turns) one and two side, and on the (turns) three and four side. There’s a center road that runs all the way through and then, coming down the frontstretch again, looking on both sides of you, you’ve got the pit road, which is really narrow and really tight, and the grandstands on the inside and the outside. So, you’re going down a ‘V’ of just people – a sea of people. Coming to the Pagoda and the media center, the way it is, and of course the scoring pylon being as tall as it is, you come down there and, if you’re leading the race, sometimes you can’t see that high, so you’re kind of wondering who is second and third, or who is behind you. It stinks when you’re running in the back because you can see yourself (car number) right there.”
Joe Gibbs Racing has won at the Brickyard three times – twice with Tony Stewart, once with Bobby Labonte. What are your thoughts on Coach Gibbs’ history at Indianapolis and what it would mean to add a Brickyard 400 trophy to your trophy case?
“Coach, being as successful as he has been there with Tony, and him being a big name from Indiana, wanting to win there, being a Hoosier, himself, that’s cool. I’m sure it was big for those guys. Bobby (Labonte) winning the year he won the championship for Joe Gibbs Racing at that racetrack was cool, with Jimmy Makar and all those guys. I’m just wishing one day I can put my name on that list by getting a win at that track and trying to run up front. You always want to win the big races. You want to win the Brickyard 400, the Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600 – some of those big races – before your career is over.”
Kyle Busch: Looking To Add a ‘Crown’ Jewel to the Resume
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 24, 2012) – Kyle Busch’s 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories have come at 16 different racetracks of virtually every shape and size – living proof of the talented 27-year-old’s versatility and fierce appetite for checkered flags.
Always looking for more, the driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) can’t help but think about the voids on his racing resume, one of which he would most certainly love to fill this weekend. On Sunday, he’ll have his sights set on one of NASCAR’s “Crown Jewel” events when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard – aka the Brickyard 400.
Busch would like nothing more than to add to his win list a race he and his fellow competitors consider part of Sprint Cup’s “Big Three” – the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, and the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis.
In the process, Busch will hope to snap out of a bad-luck streak that has hindered his team the last seven races, where several great runs have been thwarted by a combination of mechanical issues and other unfortunate circumstances. Still, Busch sits in the second wild-card spot as the highest driver in the standings with one win. Another win would certainly bolster his chances as the Chase for the Sprint Cup field is set seven races from now.
So, earning the right to kiss the “Yard of Bricks” come Sunday afternoon – the winning driver and team’s tradition at Indianapolis –would shoot straight to the top of Busch’s growing list of accomplishments, for certain, but also could mean much more as the season reaches NASCAR’s playoffs in September.
Joey Logano Quotes
“I’m always excited to go to Indianapolis for the Brickyard 400. It’s one of the biggest races of the year and one of the races that everyone wants to win. We all go out there trying to win every weekend, but I’d say a lot of people try a little bit harder this weekend just so you can say you’ve won at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That is a really big deal in this sport and would be really big for any driver. For me, it would be huge. I’ve won a Nationwide race at Daytona so I’ve got the thrill of winning there. And to win at a place like Indy would be just amazing. The history in Indy is really unmatched. So we are going to go out there and try our best. I think it would mean a lot to me and to a lot of guys on my team and it would mean a lot to Dollar General as well. A lot of the guys on the have won at Indy in the past, but to get everyone back to Victory Lane again, and what it would mean for our Chase hopes and the Wild Card hopes, would be pretty awesome. And with Rick Dreiling (Dollar General CEO) being such a big fan of motorsports, getting DG a win at Indy would be huge.”
“I’ve always run really well at Indy. In fact, I think I’ve run better than our results have showed. A couple of years ago, we were one of the fastest cars there all weekend, but things just didn’t work out to get the finish we deserved. Indy does drive a lot like Pocono and you traditionally see a lot of guys who are good at Pocono be pretty good at Indy. After winning Pocono, I really hope that is the same for us. Track position is really key at Indy because it is a hard place to pass. So getting a good qualifying lap in and getting a good starting spot, along with a good pit stall, will be pretty important. You will see a lot of that focused on Saturday in practice and qualifying. With the interesting schedule there and all of our practice and qualifying on Saturday, it will be intense. I’m hoping that having the Nationwide Series cars run there this year and giving us a little extra track time will be beneficial. I’m pumped about the weekend.”
No. 20 Dollar General Toyota News & Notes:
- THE START OF A BUSY END TO THE SEASON: This weekend’s Brickyard 400 will mark the first of 17-straight races to end the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. There are only seven races until the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship and Joey Logano is still fighting for one of the spots in the Chase. Logano currently sits fourth in the race for the two Wild Card spots, just three points behind his next closest competitor. Logano is one of four drivers who are vying for the two spots that have won at least one race this season. With seven races to go, Logano feels it’s going to take another win, maybe even two more, to lock down one of those final two Wild Card spots.
- OFF-WEEKEND TOP-FIVE: While most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers spent their final off weekend of the year vacationing overseas or at the beach in some tropical location, Logano was doing the only thing he really knows how to do – racing a car. Logano took part in the annual IWK 250 at Riverside International Speedway in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, one of the biggest Super Late Model events in Canada. Logano was this year’s “special guest” and had a great weekend both on and off the track. Logano was fast in his No. 12 Super Late Model and qualified third for the race. Logano traded the lead with local standouts John Flemming and Donald Chisholm early in the race. However, his car just wasn’t good enough on the long runs to challenge the leaders and Logano eventually settled for a third-place finish. In addition to racing, Logano also spent Thursday afternoon at the IWK Health Care Centre in Halifax visiting with patients and their families. The IWK 250 annually raises up to $100,000 for the IWK Health Car Centre.
- INDY ONE OF THE “BIG ONES”: There are certain races on the Sprint Cup Series schedule that standout: The Daytona 500, The Coca-Cola 600 and The Southern 500. But what may be one of the biggest of the year these days, just behind the Daytona 500, is the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This will be the 19th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, what may be the most historic track in all of the United States. The facility, which was opened in 1909, annually holds the Indianapolis 500, the biggest Indy Car race in existence, and opened its doors to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 1994. Logano has an up-and-down history with Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He finished just outside the top-10 (12th) in his rookie season and then came back to grab a top-10, a ninth-place run, at the historic track in 2010. Last season, Logano struggled with the setup and came home with a 25th-place run. His best career qualifying effort at the track came in his rookie season, when he qualified 18th.
- BACK TO DOUBLE DUTY: After a couple of weeks with no NASCAR Nationwide Series race on the agenda, Logano will get back to double-duty work this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Logano will drive the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the Nationwide Series event this week, giving him extra track time on the 2.5-mile oval throughout the Indy “Super Weekend.” It will be the first-ever race for the Nationwide Series at IMS. The series previously raced at the Indianapolis Raceway Park short track just down the road from Indy.
- BOB, TOM & JOEY: Joey will make an in-studio appearance Friday morning on the nationally-syndicated “Bob and Tom Show” radio program. With a foundation built around comedy and talk, The Bob and Tom Show features news, sports, lifestyle content and interviews with today’s top actors, authors and newsmakers. It began national syndication in 1995 from its flagship station, WFBQ Q95, in Indianapolis. The show has won five Marconi Awards – the absolute highest award in radio from the National Association of Broadcasters. The program airs live weekdays from 6am-10am EST. Logano is scheduled to be on the show at 9am ET.
- THIS WEEK ON THE NO. 20 DOLLAR GENERAL TOYOTA: Dollar General vendor partners Ragu, Delsym, Huggies, STP, Colgate, Slim Jim, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Today and Always, Glad and Gildan will be featured on Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota Camry this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
- THE RACE:The Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Speedway, IN; 2.5-mile superspeedway) is set for Sunday, July 29 at 12:00 pm ET. The race will be broadcast on ESPN (TV) and the IMS Radio Network (radio).