Toyota Racing – Denny Hamlin
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quotes
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (October 26, 2019) – Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin was made available to media at Martinsville Speedway:
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
With this being the round that gets you to Homestead, how focused are you on keeping it one week at a time and not thinking ahead to Homestead and a title shot?
“I think that next week’s mentality will change based off of really what happens this week. I feel like if I can give this week my 100 percent focus then likely I’ll be in a better spot going into next week. I think you can only have so much mental capacity to handle three races at a time. You have to really focus on the one and that’s what I try to do, that’s what I’ve been doing each week. I really haven’t looked ahead or forward or anything like that. I haven’t said anything for Texas, nothing for Phoenix, it’s all been about this race track.”
How much of this race do you feel like is not in your control? For example what lane you restart on, people getting into you, cut tires, that kind of thing.
“They’re probably 30 percent. I think that if you have the fastest car and the best driver and all that, there’s still – and you’re leading – there’s a 30 percent chance of losing because of unknowns. There definitely are no guarantees and anything like that. There’s definitely cautions that could really bite you. It could mix up the field, take away your track position, bad pit stops, there’s just a lot of different things that can keep you from winning. It’s not just about other sports where it’s one team against the other, one on one, it’s one versus many. Everyone’s got an agenda.”
Did you learn anything last week in Kansas on restarts that might transfer over to Texas?
“Yeah, if my car is that fast, it’ll be pretty easy. It always is easy when you have a fast car, but it just seems like – you know the lane choice and things like that, I was very apprehensive to put guys with four tires right on the outside of me of all places, especially on a mile-and-a-half, but I just felt like the bottom is where I was most successful. I’ve seen other guys be successful down there and I didn’t really pay attention to teammates or anything like that. I just did what I thought was best for me to try to win and it worked out.”
With the new transition going out of Turn 2 on the backstretch at Texas, will that play into your decision as to what lane you want to restart on?
“I don’t know. I mean I’ve got to look through all of the statistics really to figure out what’s been most successful. I’ll look at past races and figure out retention rates and things like that. I really haven’t dug into the numbers yet to figure out what lane would be best there.”
Do you believe in the concept of momentum?
“I think there is such a thing as momentum if you’re going to the same type of race track. So say you have three mile-and-a-halfs in a row and you run well in the first one, well immediately you’ve already got a good baseline to start your second one and then you have a good result, more than likely you’re going to finetune it and be even better for the third. I think momentum stops when you go to an entirely different race track. It doesn’t matter if you’ve won four in a row on those mile-and-a-halfs, to then go to Martinsville or Bristol, nothing applies. There really is nothing that applies. Momentum stops when the race tracks become different.”
Do you feel like you’re coming into Martinsville in the best place you ever have as far as the Playoffs are concerned?
“Yeah, certainly. Definitely in a points position, yeah, better than I’ve been in years past. Running as good as we’ve ever run essentially. Yeah, I feel pretty good about it. There’s not really any weakness I see in our particular team at this point. Even with the given race tracks that are left. There’s really no weaknesses there. Yeah, it’s just the unknowns that we’ve talked about that can take you out, but I can’t control the unknowns, I can only control what I can do, so I’ll try to do the best I can.”
Why is this year better than 2010 when you had eight wins?
“We really stockpiled – I think we swept a lot of races in 2010 if I remember right. We were dominate at a couple tracks and so I just think that everywhere, we’re just good everywhere this year. I think this is the most top fives I’ve had, somewhere in that range, average finish, things like that. All that stuff is a little better and especially when you look at like the drivers this year with this package, everyone’s average finish is up simply because there’s so many different variables with where you’re drafting on the mile-and-a-halfs and things like that. For me to have a better average finish, where really it looks like the field has risen up one or two spots, that tells me we’ve made the gains, not everyone else.”
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