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NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: QUAKER STATE 400 PRESENTED BY ADVANCED AUTO PARTS


July 11, 2015


Carl Edwards

Denny Hamlin

Joey Logano


SPARTA, KENTUCKY

MODERATOR: Let's roll right into our post race for tonight's 5th Annual Quaker State 400, presented by Advanced Auto Parts, here at Kentucky speed way.  We're joined by our second and our third place finishers in tonight's race.
Our second race finisher, our race runner up is Joey Logano.  And Joey is the driver of The 2 Shell Pennzoil Auto Trader Ford for team Penske.
Our third place finisher, from Joe Gibbs Racing, is Denny Hamlin.  He drives The 11 Fed Ex Office Toyota.  I'm going to ask Joey first, Joey, seemed like this was a highly competitive race, from the standpoint of being able to get up on a car and try to pass and advance your position.
But just talk about your performance out there tonight, how you thought the new rules package suited you, and your overall assessment of the evening.
JOEY LOGANO:¬† I thought the racing was good.¬† I thought we were closer than what we were.¬† The cars were definitely sliding around a lot, especially on restarts.¬† You were definitely ‑‑ and this track is a bumpy track, and we have a hard tire for what we want to have here.
But I thought it was an improvement.¬† I felt like we can enter behind each other, and the affect of being behind a car wasn't as big.¬† So I think that's good.¬† You're never going to get rid of it completely, we're going too fast.¬† But I think directionally it was correct.¬† I have to re‑watch the race to know for sure.
But I felt like we made a good step with the Shell Pennzoil Ford over the last couple days here.¬† It was the best run we have had here, or had just in general all this year, in a while.¬† I felt like it was kind of a different group of cars racing up front than what we've gotten used to seeing throughout the ‑‑ most of this year and the end of last year.
I don't know what to say about that, why the reason is.  But I thought that it was a good race.  I thought that there was four or five cars that were running the same speed, and it was all about how you got through traffic or how you worked your tires on a long run.
I felt like we were able to get the lead on the last start and was able to pull away from Kyle for a little bit and then he started making some ground on the top.  And when you're second place, you have the advantage of trying to move around and taking that chance of losing a little bit of time to try to find something.
When you're the leader it's kind of hard‑‑ you don't want to lose much of your gap playing around and trying to find speed.¬† And Kyle got the top rolling and I just got there too late.¬† And he had some good speed and got by me after a hard fought battle, but congrats to those guys.¬† They led a lot of the race.¬† So, good for them.¬† I'm just ‑‑ second always hurts.
CARL EDWARDS: Better than fourth
JOEY LOGANO:  Not as good as first.
MODERATOR: Denny Hamlin is our third place finisher.  Strong showing by Joe Gibbs Racing.  You guys had 4 of the Top 5 positions out there tonight. You certainly made up a lot of ground.  Made up a pit road speeding penalty that you had to overcome.
Talk about how you thought The 11 Fed Ex Toyota performed and maybe your take on the lower downforce package.
DENNY HAMLIN:¬† Yeah, it was a lot better racing that ‑‑ you're going to hear both sides of this story.¬† You're going to hear guys in the front say they like it, guys in the back say they don't.
But this is ‑‑ I came from two laps down, I passed a ton of cars throughout the day.¬† And we‑‑ there was a pass for the lead inside of 15 laps to go.¬† So can't really complain a whole lot.¬† 15 or 20 to go, can't really complain a whole lot about that.
Especially this is a really tough racetrack to pass on anyway.  And like Joey talked about, we don't even have a tire honed in on this racetrack yet.
Earlier in the day I blew a right front from abusing it.¬† I have blown tires the last two years in a row here.¬† Luckily, I caught this one before it blew out completely.¬† But that's what these‑‑ this package is supposed to do.¬† You overdrive the car, you abuse it early in a run, you're supposed to pay that‑‑ pay the price like we did when we blew attire.
So, this is what race car driving's all about.  And I feel like now it's back in the driver and crew chief's hands to get their car handling like it's supposed to.  Not just an arms race of who it build the fastest cars in the shop.
MODERATOR: Thank you Denny.
  Carl Edwards, from Joe Gibbs Racing, the driver of The 19, Comcast Minions, Toyota, out there tonight.  Carl, nice run out there this evening.  Just talk about your run out there.  Certainly, you scooted up there to the front of the field and were up there most of the evening.  Just talk about how you thought things went out there for you tonight.
CARL EDWARDS:  Well, I cannot say enough positive things about this direction NASCAR is going with less downforce.
I believe that, like these guys said, if the tire ‑‑ you give Goodyear a little bit of time to work on a tire, take away another 700, a thousand pounds of downforce, we're going to be racing.¬† I felt like a race car driver tonight.
I could actually drive the car, I was steering and sliding, I about wrecked a few times.  You know, I felt like I was doing something, not just sitting in line.
So I was really excited about the racing.  I hope it looked good.  I'm not just saying that because we ran well, I made that decision about halfway through the race, regardless I was having a good time.
So real proud of Kyle.  That last restart I tried to get on the outside of Denny, and I touched him when I was moving up to the outside and kind of choked us both up.  And I thought we gave it to Joey and fortunately, Kyle got him back, but definitely a lot of fun racing.
MODERATOR: Questions for these three.

Q.  You guys have been beating this drum for years, especially Carl.  Denny, the whole driver's counsel concept and everything.  You guys really wanted NASCAR to go this direction.  Is there any sort of satisfaction that this was sort of the drivers package and it worked well.  Not only what you guys were saying, but it was also well received on social media tonight.  Is there any satisfaction among you guys like hey, we were right?
DENNY HAMLIN:¬† It's just one race and ‑‑ but, I mean I've‑‑ we have all driven right behind cars, and have I been right on the right rear quarter panel of guys tonight, and it does not‑‑ didn't affect my car nearly as much as it did before.
Now, I think we can make it better.¬† I don't think that this ‑‑ I think this is just a first little bits and pieces.¬† But I don't think we need to shove in anyone's face, especially NASCAR, that, hey, look, we were right, because it's up to the fans and the media to tell us whether it was a better race or not.
Look at the stats, maybe and see how many passes there were today.  But I know this race has been a challenge for passes in the past, no matter what package.
So I think that they figured they could only go up from where they have been at this racetrack in the past.  So, I thought that definitely from my perspective, I saw a lot more passing going on.
CARL EDWARDS:¬† I'm not exactly sure what the question is, but I want to say one more time I had more fun racing tonight than I had on a mile and a half in a long long time.¬† So to me, that spoiler cannot be small enough.¬† It's stock car racing, and like Denny said, we're all in this together.¬† NASCAR wants this to be the best product on the planet.¬† And after some of the conversations that we have had, I'm really impressed that NASCAR tried this package.¬† I think it means ‑‑ it says a lot about their willingness to try different things.¬† Because I don't really believe this is the package they wanted to try, and so that means the world to me.¬† I think that that's really cool.
Q.  Kind of similar, but how anxious were you prior to the start of the race, given that most of the practice was rained out, that this was going to work out as well as it did tonight?
JOEY LOGANO:  I was anxious since Wednesday, and then you sit there in the rain, and then Thursday you're going even crazier and you just can't wait to get on the racetrack.  And maybe because I can't sit still in general.
But I thought for the limited amount of practice that we had, I thought guys did a good job getting their cars driving decent.  I went into Turn 1 the first lap of the race, and I slid up the racetrack and slid all over the place and said, whoa, okay, this is not what we're used to here.  I need to obviously change what I did on restarts to try to make the most out of it.
So you got to go back a few years of what you used to do to make speed with your car and pass cars and work traffic and stuff like that.
So, I was anxious to see how it would work out.¬† I thought the product was, like Carl and Denny said, I think the product on the racetrack was good.¬† I thought it was better.¬† But like I said, we got to re‑watch it, we got to look at the stats and all that.¬† But do I think that from our point of view, at least, it seemed to be better.¬† From everyone else's we'll, just have to wait and see.
Q.  For all three of you guys.  Matt Kenseth kind of insinuated the next step to take, would be to take away the driver adjustable track bar, because he felt like he could pass easier than ever before.  But once he was able to make the passes, he was able to dial in his car and defend and kind of prevent guys from passing him that way.  Do the three of you guys agree or disagree or where do you stand?
CARL EDWARDS:  I don't know what these guys think, but to me it seemed like as the runs went on people got everything dialed in and it did become harder to pass.  So I second Matt's opinion.  I think the driver adjustable track bar really if you get rid of it, it makes guys have to suffer longer until they can get to work on their car and that's what you want.
JOEY LOGANO:  Not a Gibbs driver, but a different party I agree.  I think you make passes by figuring out the weakness of the person in front of you and how you take advantage of that.  If you can fix that weakness, pass somebody, I think eventually maybe we can get that out.  But it's in there, that's the game for everyone, it's the same for everyone, but it does take a lot out of the crew chief's hands during the race and most passes are made from cars that are ill handling and if you can crutch it to the next stop, I think it doesn't help the racing, but it's there, I think we're all handling it fine.  There's also times that you can fix your car to try to pass cars and make passes.  So, it can go both ways.
DENNY HAMLIN:  I agree with Matt and these guys that typically I mean passing comes from one car having more speed than the other and it up leak when you can put a, stick a band aid on your set up until the pit stop by adjusting your track bar and fixing handling issue, typically that gets everyone running the same speed and when everyone runs the same speed, there's no passing.  So, you have to have disparity in speed, there has to be fast cars and slow cars that's what makes for passing in racing.  So, if everyone runs the same speed, we're just going to, it's going to be like a train.  So I think that it does band aid us to get to that next stop.
Q.¬† All three of you address this, because it's applicable to all of you.¬† At the mile and a half tracks this year, it's been mostly Stewart‑Haas and Hendrick, Chevy shows and none of those cars were in the Top 5 tonight.¬† It seemed like it was very much Team Penske versus JGR battle.¬† I know Kentucky isn't alwyas indicative of mile and a half performance because of surface, is it because of the packets, maybe an indication of a shift in the balance of power?
DENNY HAMLIN:¬† Last year I think it was Penske and Gibbs, too, even when Stewart‑Haas and Hendrick were pretty good, I think this track is good for our two organizations, so I mean if you take the same package to Texas, you might see those guys back right back up front again.¬† So, I think that these Penske guys especially really got some great stuff going on here and obviously we had some good setups as well.¬† I blew a tire early last year, so I watched the whole race and it was a Penske/Gibbs race.
JOEY LOGANO:  I agree with Denny on that.  It does seem like directionally we have gotten more speed over those guys, but this is a very unique racetrack, it's a racetrack that Team Penske has been good at in the past, bumpy surfaces and that, when you in the past it's Kyle or Brad that have won here.
So those are the two organizations that are strong here.¬† So I don't want to say we fixed everything we're obviously better.¬† But it's hard to say for sure until we get to a place like Kansas or one of those smoother racetracks that you have seen the Stewart‑Haas cars and some other Chevys be dominant.
Q.  Carl, I know you tested the low downforce package at Richmond.  Can you see them making a move to use it there as well?
CARL EDWARDS:  I hope so.  It wasn't that big of a difference at Richmond with a single car.  But a couple things you have to to remember, this package really is only back to only about 2011 so it's not a huge change number one.
Number two it makes the cars a little harder to driver so the guy in the car has to work a little harder.  But it also puts a smaller hole in the air so it affects the car behind it more.
So to me all three of those reasons point to the more they can run this package or even to take a step further, I think the more we're going to learn, the better it's going to be.
But we're kind of in a position now, I don't know what these guys think, but as you get towards The Chase and you start to determine a champion, you don't want to ‑‑ I'm sure NASCAR doesn't want to make a mistake and try something too crazy or too outside the box and mess up the racing.¬† But I would be all for trying whatever we can before The Chase starts.
Q.  Apologize if this has been asked.  Wanted to talk to Denny and Carl about JGR's run tonight.  All 4 cars in the Top 5.  What does that mean for you guys as organization and what does that mean for your success in mile and a halves this year.
CARL EDWARDS:¬† We have just been working very well together as a group.¬† Denny was basically my counselor the other day after practice.¬† I was so frustrated, I thought my car was terrible.¬† I went straight over and talked to him and he helped me a little bit.¬† I think overall the group's been working very well with TRD, I'm the new guy but ‑‑ yeah it was pretty screwed up that Denny is the counselor of the group, but anyway.¬† Yeah, so it just, it's a good group and it's cool to be a part of it.¬† These guys, they really push me a lot.¬† It's cool when your teammates are this fast.¬† It's really neat for me.
DENNY HAMLIN:  Yeah, I agree.  And really the four drivers that Joe Gibbs Racing has said that is going to lead them to a championship have not been working together that long.  We have only had Kyle for a few weeks now, so we're starting to build that chemistry.
And obviously, any time you have a driver of caliber of when Kyle came in, Matt, and now Carl, it just continues to push you to go faster.¬† And push you to do your job better and that's what‑‑ when when you can feed off each other like that, that's typically how you get to an elite level.
So, it's just one race, but obviously it's a big night for Joe Gibbs Racing, never had all their cars in the top 5 since they have had four cars.  So this is a great night and obviously a great night for Kyle.
MODERATOR: You guys were talking about the passing.  We keep a lot of those stats.  We just got those in.  For green flag passes throughout the field, there were 2,665 of those tonight and the most here every at Kentucky Speedway was the first race here in 2011.  That was 1,147.
CARL EDWARDS:  Sold.  Keep doing it.  Ship it.
MODERATOR: I was reading it wrong.  There were a total this year of 2,665 green flag passes throughout the entire field.  Last year I'm sorry, last year, there were 1,147.  Last year there were 1147.
Now, there was a record 22 green flag passes for the lead throughout the entire racetrack and that is a track record.  Previous best was 19, in 2011.  So, these guys over here did the job, but certainly there was a lot of passing throughout the field here tonight
DENNY HAMLIN:  Well you're in charge so you just tell them that's what we need.
MODERATOR: Denny, thank you.
(Laughter.).  right over here, Stan.
Q.  So, do you guys make a quick phone call to NASCAR and say, hey, let's do something similar to this at New Hampshire next week?  Come on, all three of you speak up.
CARL EDWARDS: I felt like I was driving a race car tonight so the more we can do the better, but I don't know about New Hampshire.
  But it doesn't matter to me.  We can show up to the racetrack with no spoilers on, it doesn't matter.  It's racing and it's supposed to be hard and I think tonight was tough.  Like these guys said you don't pass people because everybody's going the same speed.  You pass people because people are making mistakes.  I don't know about you, but I don't think I had a perfect lap tonight.  Every lap was tough.
JOEY LOGANO:¬† I think it would be hard to do that.¬† You got to have a little bit of time.¬† These guys have been working hard on their cars and getting ready.¬† Yeah, it sounds pretty easy, I'm sure, but ‑‑ and it's something that we would all, if it happened, we can all figure it out and go with it, and that's and we would be fine.¬† We wouldn't complain about it.¬† But I would assume that they would say they would have to give us a week at least to kind of get ready.¬† But, hey, if they ‑‑ if not, we're good.
CARL EDWARDS:  Drop in on Wednesday and just go.
DENNY HAMLIN:¬† I mean as much as ‑‑ I love it as much as Carl.¬† But I think that if it's something that you want to go with, then you got‑‑ you need to give everyone a month heads up.¬† Like we're beginning of July now, if you tell everyone from August 1 on we're running the package, it will at least give the teams some time to prepare.¬† I think like everyone's prepared their car for New Hampshire and really if you take the spoiler off there you're not going to notice that big of a difference.
I think the tires tuned into that package there and everything.  So, we have been away from home a lot and these team guys are running ragged right now.  A lot of them have to turn around and right, go right back to a Chicago test tomorrow.  Or on Monday.  So, eventually we got to just take a breath and give these guys a break.
Q.  The package here was much less spoiler.  Down the road at Indianapolis and Michigan you get more spoiler, trying to develop maybe drafting on the big flat track at Indianapolis.  You given any thought to how that will pan out?  I mean we're hoping it pans out as well as tonight did, but any thoughts on that?
JOEY LOGANO:¬† I'll take that, I guess.¬† I think having track specific packages is a good thing.¬† I look at Indy as one of the crown jewel events of NASCAR, right?¬† You have the Brickyard 400, the Daytona 500, those are the biggest races of the year.¬† We can't afford to have a bad show and I feel like we have had some not very good racing there in the past.¬† You know, so the racetrack's just hard to race on for our race cars.¬† There's not a place that we can get clean air to try to catch up to cars in front of us, it's a single groove racetrack.¬† So, the theory is you look at ‑‑ I mean, you look at Indy cars, that's one of their best races, because they can draft down the straightaways and I think that directionally, that's what we're going to try to do at a racetrack like that.¬† Where the speeds are high, we're on the gas a lot, and it's super, super hard to even get to a car, hopefully we can make the runs and be able to see cars draft up and be able to pull out.¬† We're talking a nine inch spoiler and that's huge.¬† That thing's going to be pushing a boulder through the air.¬† It's not going to be ‑‑ we're going to be on the gas a lot.¬† We're going to be wide open a lot.¬† Obviously horsepower is going to show a lot when we go to a racetrack like that.¬† And obviously a lot of people will obviously be trying to trim their cars out with that much dragon the cars.¬† So we'll have to wait and see.¬† There's a lot of unknowns, but directionally, we got to try something different there because that's one of our most important races of the year.
MODERATOR: Very good guys, thank you very much for putting on a great weekend and we'll see you in New Hampshire.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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