Here are some excerpts from an interview after Saturday's practice sessions for the Autism Speaks 400.
YOU WERE SECOND IN PRACTICE TODAY, HOW WAS YOUR CAR? “So far, so good. Our Budweiser Dodge feels really strong again today. Kenny (Francis, crew-chief) really seems happy with the car, so we just tried to fine-tune our package a bit to stay with the race track. It’s a long race tomorrow and our (race) package has to be right when we get the green flag to go racing. We’re fairly close, but we’re really fast too.”
HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO RUN IN TRAFFIC ENOUGH TO GET A FEEL FOR HOW THE R6 ENGINE PERFORMS WITH OTHER CARS AROUND YOU? “Not really. I was pretty much by myself all practice. It’s kind of how practice is at Dover. Everybody is heading into the pits to make changes and you don’t really have the traffic you look for in practice.”
DOVER HASN’T BEEN TOO FRIENDLY TO YOU IN RECENT YEARS. HOW NICE IS IT TO START UP FRONT TOMORROW? “No kidding. I’ve been in a lot of little deals (wrecks) that were never really our fault. When you hit oil or get involved in wrecks just driving down the straighaways and get collected, it’s tough to swallow sometimes. Dover’s been a rough place for us recently, but I think we have as good a race car as we’ve brought here in recent years. I’m excited for tomorrow.”
HOW PHYSICALLY DEMANDING OF A RACE WILL TOMORROW BE? “It certainly gets your attention. You can run pretty hard here and the track is pretty rough. The concrete is pretty rough and you get bouncing around like you’re on really, really hard tires. It’s a little bit physical compared to some of the other tracks, but nothing too out of control.”
THIRTY-SEVEN RACES HAVE BEEN WON INSIDE THE TOP-THREE STARTING SPOTS. YOU START IN SECOND POSITION, HOW MUCH CONFIDENCE DOES THAT GIVE YOU HEADING INTO TOMORROW? “Qualifying is a big part of your race day success at Dover. We’ve got a great starting position and a great pit stall, so that’s a nice advantage. Just as important is the fact that our race car was strong in race trim all day today. We unloaded fast and have been fast all weekend.”