Denny Hamlin Quotes
What does Bristol Motor Speedway mean to you?
“Bristol is such a special place to every driver. When you pull off Exide Blvd. and see this huge arena where we actually get to race, it’s unbelievable to me. My family attended a lot of races when I was growing up, and Bristol was one of the tracks we had to see. I came here for the first time when I was 13 or 14 years old and it has been special ever since. Pre-race gets your chills going and it’s awesome to hear the rumble of the cars inside the track.”
How special is it to have the race named after former track president Jeff Byrd?
“I have only been around for five or six years, so I didn’t get to know Jeff (Byrd) as well as some of the other drivers, but you can’t say enough about what he did for the track and their fans. He did a lot to make Bristol fun for the competitors, but kept it such a fun experience for the fans. Whenever people ask what track they should go see a race, I always tell them — and I’m sure a lot of drivers do, too — that they have to watch a race at Bristol. Jeff is a big part of that.”
How has the progressive banking changed the racing at Bristol?
“We’ve seen the new race track at Bristol provide great racing and great finishes over the past couple years. It just allows so much more passing. For me, it brings out the best racing. You don’t have to dump a guy if you’re faster than them. One thing that hasn’t changed is the trophy. It has been the same trophy for years, and I love the old-school type trophies. The Bristol trophy has a lot of history to it, and hopefully I can add one to my collection.”
As a basketball fan, who do you think will win the NCAA tournament?
“I am going to have to go with Duke this year. I think they have the coach and the experience to make a deep run in the tournament. It seems like a couple of those guys have been there forever, but that’s what you need when it’s ‘one-and-done.’ All of those guys went through it last year. I’m just surprised that the (Virginia Tech) Hokies didn’t make it. I thought they were in after they beat Duke a couple weeks ago, but I guess not.”
Las Vegas Recap: Denny Hamlin and the #11 FedEx Racing team posted its best finish of the season with a seventh-place result in the most recent race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (March 6). A pre-race engine change negated a 17th-place starting position and moved Hamlin to the rear of the field for the green flag, and the team was never able to capitalize on strategy to improve track position. Picking off positions during long green flag runs and tidy work on pit road helped the #11 Toyota move up in the running order during the 267-lap event won by Carl Edwards. The finish moved Hamlin up six spots — from 14th to eighth — in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings after three of 36 races, as the team heads east following an off-weekend for a 500-lap race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Hamlin is 18 points behind leader Tony Stewart.
Back at Bristol: Hamlin is making his 11th career Cup Series start at Bristol this weekend in the #11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, looking for that elusive first win on the half-mile, high-banked ‘bullring.’ The 30-year-old has three top-five finishes and five top-10 results in 10 previous trips to the track, including a second-place run in the spring 2009 event. Bad luck has bitten the #11 FedEx team a couple times in previous spring races at Bristol. In 2007, Hamlin led 177 of 504 laps before fuel pickup issues 20 laps from the finish caused intermittent power and a 14th-place result. One year later, Hamlin led 98 laps — including at the start of a ‘green-white-checkered’ overtime finish — when pickup issues arose again and yielded a sixth-place finish. Hamlin finished 19th in the spring 2010 event at Bristol after an early cut tire and contact with the wall caused damage to the #11 machine. A broken drive shaft in the most recent race at Bristol last August relegated the team to a 34th-place finish, 27 laps off the pace after extensive time in the garage for repairs. In total, Hamlin has led 282 laps at Bristol, with an average finish of 14.6.
Kyle Busch Quotes
How satisfying was it to win all three races at Bristol last August?
“It was pretty cool because, when you come so close and then don’t get it, it’s pretty frustrating. In 2009, we won the Truck race and we were leading the Nationwide race and we got crashed out, and then we ended up winning the Cup race. So, it was probably a year delayed. There have been some other times we’ve come close to getting it done at other places, too. It was pretty special. It was cool to be able to put it all together in a complete weekend, with the truck, with the Nationwide car and with the Cup car.”
What is it about Bristol that you’ve figured out?
“It’s just kind of really worked well together. It’s a fun place that you go to that you like going to. You enjoy the race around there. We grew up at the (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) Bullring and stuff like that. Maybe not as banked as Bristol is, but I love going and racing at Winchester (Ind.), Slinger (Wisc.), and Salem (Ind.), where I’ve raced before. Those are all really high-banked racetracks that are a half-mile in distance, or a quarter. They’re really fun to race around and you kind of get a great feel for racing in a bowl. You go down the straightaway and you slam it into the corners and you mash the gas and you kind of sling right back out of the corners. It’s a lot of fun to do that. It’s kind of an art. Some guys are really good at it, and some find a knack that makes them really good at it and make it seem easy. I remember last spring we were horrible there. You can definitely snap that string pretty quickly.”
What is it about Bristol Motor Speedway that makes it so unique and a place that fans love?
“Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the best racetracks on the circuit. All the fans love it because of the excitement, the run-ins, and the close-quarter action with all the cars being packed on top of one another at a half-mile racetrack with us 43 lunatics running around in a tight circle. With the fans, the atmosphere there always makes for a good time. We have the SAFER barrier on the outside wall taking up a little bit more racing room up off the corners since they’ve run the wall further down the straightaway. But it’s taking up some racing room and it makes the racing even tighter and we are probably going to see some more action.”
You’ve won four Sprint Cup races at Bristol. What is it that makes you so good there?
“I’m not exactly sure what makes me so good at Bristol. I’ve just had a lot of success there, but I’ve also had some misfortune there, too. Ever since I got through my rookie year, I’ve just taken a liking to the place. Of course, I’ve been able to get some help from my brother. He’s always been really, really good there. But when they changed the track to this current surface, I just really took to it right away. I really liked it and I’ve been fast there but, also, I’ve had great racecars from Joe Gibbs Racing. I’ve been able to win the last three Camping World Truck Series races there, too, so it’s just a fun racetrack no matter what series I’m running there. You really have to be on your game because, you make one mistake or someone else makes one mistake, like what happened in the fall Nationwide Series race there in 2009 with a car with a flat tire coming down the track and essentially ending our day, that’s it. Hopefully, we can keep that good luck going there in the Sprint Cup Series this weekend with our M&M’s Toyota.”
How have you had to change your driving style there since the track was resurfaced?
“Your driving style has had to change at Bristol a lot. Bristol used to be a track where you could charge the corners a little bit and get it right in and down to the bottom of the track. You kind of would go through the middle of the corner and then slingshot out on the exits. And now it’s just so smooth that you’re easy in, you’re kind of easy through the center, and easy off. The track is a little slower than I think it was because they reduced some banking in order to put sort of the progressive banking into it to make the outside groove better for the fans.”
What makes you want to race in all three series during the season?
“For me, it’s experience on the racetrack. You’re able to go out there and you’re able to spend the time on that Goodyear tire for that particular race track for that particular week, whether it’s a day race or a night race. You get all that experience in – that’s what I like to do. I learn so many things during the race that I can correlate to my Nationwide car or my Cup car. I like to be able to give that information to Dave (Rogers, crew chief). Another thing, too, is when I’m working with Eric Philips (18 Truck Series crew chief) and with Jason Ratcliff (18 Nationwide crew chief) – they have way different mindsets and thoughts and processes of how to make a vehicle go better and faster than Dave Rogers might have. I can take all that information I learned all the way back and forth across all three and try to increase the level of competition in all of those. My encyclopedia fills up quickly.”
Kyle Busch Notes: ‘You Belong at Bristol’
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (March 15, 2011) – Those who have seen the commercials for Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway over the last year are familiar with the tagline, ‘You Belong at Bristol,’ which extolls the virtues of the exciting racing and the overall fan-friendliness to be enjoyed on and around the .533-mile concrete oval, which has long been a fan favorite on the NASCAR circuit.
Much like Bristol’s loyal patrons, Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), also considers the half-mile track one of his favorites, and he’s very much looking forward to Sunday’s Jeff Byrd 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race there. Look no further than his recent record at the bullring nestled in the mountains of northeast Tennessee and it’s easy to understand why the talented 25-year-old has proven he belongs there, particularly in victory lane.
Busch didn’t immediately take to Bristol, however. During his rookie year in 2005, he posted finishes of 28th and 33rd. But Busch’s record in his last 10 starts at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile” has been nothing short of amazing. After bringing home finishes of eighth and second in 2006, Busch captured his first Bristol win in March 2007. The track was resurfaced after that March 2007 win and, since then, nobody has been better at Bristol than Busch. The Las Vegas native has added three more wins, four top-five finishes and six top-10s in the last seven races contested on the current surface.
While those numbers are impressive, Busch’s most notable Bristol feat occurred in his most recent visit there last August, when he became the first driver in history to win all three of NASCAR’s national touring series events in the same weekend. Busch won the Wednesday-night Camping World Truck Series race, added a win in the Friday-night Nationwide Series race, then wheeled his No. 18 Toyota to victory and into the history books in Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race. Busch led four times for a race-high 282 laps in the Sprint Cup race, bringing his weekend total to 514 laps led out of a possible 956.
Busch is also nearing another racing milestone this weekend as he finds himself closing in on the 20,000 career laps led mark across NASCAR’s top three series. His current total is 19,079 career laps led in Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series racing.
With a scheduled 800 total laps of racing on the docket this weekend, Busch can conceivably take a huge chunk out of the 921 laps he needs to lead in in order to reach the magic number of 20,000. At the very least, he’ll be shooting for his fifth Sprint Cup win at the high-banked half-mile oval and look to prove once again why he belongs as Bristol.
Joey Logano Quotes
Logano Quotes on Bristol
“I like Bristol. It’s a fun track. I don’t think you will find a driver or a fan that doesn’t get excited for Bristol. But as for luck, I don’t have any there. Every time I go there now all I want is one uneventful race in the Home Depot Toyota. Hopefully we’ll have an uneventful race this weekend, that’s what I’m looking forward to there. We were doing great for 400 laps in March at Bristol, and then I got a speeding penalty on the only green-flag stop of the day. Fast cars have never been an issue, and we’ve always qualified well which is huge at Bristol, but for some reason I can’t get to the finish without something happening. That’s kind of been the story of this season too, so maybe Bristol is the place that will change all that. Heck, why not?”
The Home Depot Team Notes of Interest
Joey Logano is looking for his first top-10 finish at Bristol Motor Speedway and is hoping to do just that in the Jeff Byrd 500. Despite having great qualifying efforts at the half-mile track, Logano has been unable to finish on the lead lap in his four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts. Logano’s finishes are attributed to two blown tires (August of 2010), a pit road speeding penalty (March of 2010), an early-race incident (August of 2009) and an engine failure (March of 2009).
About the last race: The Home Depot Toyota was running in the 10th position at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when green-flag stops began on lap 235 of the 267-lap race. Zipadelli made the call for a two-tire stop on lap 241 to gain track position, but the NASCAR Official in the pit told the team there had been a tire violation on the stop and Logano would have to serve a penalty. It dropped Logano from sixth to 23rd and one lap down to the leader.
The Home Depot Team is currently tied for 28th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings following the third race of the 2011 season. The team has accumulated 53 points so far this season and sits 38 points out of the series top 10.
Logano will be back running double duty this weekend. Aside from piloting the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota in the Jeff Byrd 500 on Sunday, Logano will once again race the No. 20 Toyota in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event on Saturday. Logano has two top-10 finishes in the Nationwide Series at Bristol in four starts.
Logano will make two public appearances at the track this weekend to meet and greet with fans. Logano will be at the GameStop display on Friday night for the Food City Race Night from 7 – 8 p.m. at the track, and Sunday morning he will make a stop at to the Toyota Pit Pass Stage at 9:30 a.m.
The No. 20 Home Depot Team is taking chassis #278 for Logano this weekend in an attempt to turn this 2011 season around. This is the chassis Logano drove to a fourth-place finish at Richmond last fall and to a 17th-place finish at Kansas Speedway. The back-up chassis is #275 that Logano most recently drove to a sixth-place finish at Martinsville Speedway in October.
Brian Scott Quotes
How do you feel heading to Bristol this weekend?
“Racing at Bristol is like a knife fight in a phone booth. It’s a race that really gets you going. People always talk about the top speeds we do at places like Daytona and Talladega where we hit 200 mph. But 200 mph at those places feels nothing like the 150 mph or so that we hit at Bristol. Bristol is one of the most physically demanding race tracks we visit.”
How do you grade the 2011 season so far for the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Team?
“If I had to give us a grade it would probably be an average grade. Obviously it hasn’t been what we wanted but it’s not as bad as it could have been. We’ve been fast for the most part everywhere. We just haven’t really produced the finishes that we want. The finishes haven’t been as bad as the potential they had of being at both Phoenix and Las Vegas.
“There is a certain level of this that was to be expected coming into the new season with a new driver, new crew chief, new car – basically a new everything. There are a lot of unknowns so you have to plan for a little bit of that but the team has done a great job. We are looking forward to lowering the numbers in our finish column and start plugging away at this season.”
How much pressure do you put on yourself?
“There is pressure in any professional sport. It’s the nature of the beast. You can’t be a competitor for a living and not deal with pressure. I love it. The more, higher intense pressure situations the better I seem to do and the more fun I have. I love competition. I love pressure. I love for things to be put in my lap and it being up to me to go out there and get the job done.”
Shore Lodge Team Notes
Brian Scott will make his fourth career Bristol Motor Speedway start this weekend in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Scotts EZ Seed 300 in Bristol, Tenn.
In three previous starts at the half-mile track, Scott’s best finish is 15th place. Scott earned his best Bristol finish during the last Nationwide Series race to take place at Bristol – last August’s rain-shortened event.
In addition to the three starts in the Nationwide Series, Scott has two Bristol starts in the NASCAR Camping World
Truck Series. Scott finished 19th in his first ever Bristol start in 2008 and followed that up one year later with a fifth-place run during the 2009 Truck Series race.
Chassis #116 is the car Scott will race this weekend in Bristol. The car is a brand new chassis for Joe Gibbs Racing.
The backup car for this weekend is Chassis #106 which is also new for 2011. Chassis #106 was used at the test Scott participated in at the Walt Disney World Speedway in January and it has been the backup car for the last two Nationwide Series events.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series enjoyed an early off-weekend along with Sprint Cup Series teams last week. Scott took the time off to relax in Charleston, S.C.
To access information on Brian Scott and No. 11 Team visit: www.joegibbsracing.com and follow twitter.com/bscottracing and twitter.com/joegibbsracing.