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August 22, 2015

Denny Hamlin

Kevin Harvick


THE MODERATOR: We'll begin our post‑race availabilities for tonight's Irwin Tools Night Race. We are joined by our second‑place finisher, Kevin Harvick, driver of the No.4 Budweiser Jimmy John's Chevrolet and our third‑place finisher Denny Hamlin, driver of the No.11 FedEx Ground Toyota. Denny, Kevin, why don't you walk us through your race tonight?
DENNY HAMLIN: I had a very average car for most of the night. I thought we were pretty good early, lost the handle on it when the track really got rubbered up a bunch, and then we got better there at the end, but we still just didn't have the speed to run with the front two guys on that last run. Could hang with them for the first part of the run, but then I couldn't work traffic that well and those guys were able to get away. Just a decent average day. Definitely not what we expected.
KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, we had an interesting night. We went to the back twice and passed a bunch of cars. I think all in all, it's just a huge credit to the team. They just keep bringing fast cars to the racetrack, and we're able to overcome a lot of things and everybody just keeps grinding away at whatever the circumstances are, and we're able to overcome things, and that's really what it's going to be about over the last 10 weeks.
Obviously you want to win races, but we're in position and feel like we can get that momentum swing at any point, if it just starts going our way.
So it's great to be part of a team like this and just really excited to be able to run like this at Bristol. This hasn't been notoriously my best racetrack. I know Rodney loves it, but for me it's just frustrating. I get wound up pretty quick. But it's fun to be able to come here and be competitive.

Q. Kevin, you were in Joey's shadow there for a while. Did you feel like you might have a shot?
KEVIN HARVICK: He was just one step ahead of me in traffic. I couldn't get my car to rotate across the center like I needed it to, and every time I tried to force it would snap the back out. He was able to go in really high and before the center of the corner drive down the corner and I was just having to wait just a split second to be able to put the throttle back down, and I couldn't do that, that huge diamond all the way to the bottom like he could, and that was really beneficial for him through traffic, and I kind of had to just part throttle it through the center and grind the tires away through the center to the corner and just hope that they were going to lift, but he was able to get those huge runs up off the exit of the corner and just stayed one step ahead of me through traffic I felt like, and in clean air we probably were a little faster, but it didn't really matter. I had to be in front of him to show that.
All in all, he was just one step ahead of me in traffic.

Q. Kevin, you finished second 10 times now this year. Does that suck? Does that get frustrating?
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I can tell you that we finished 39th at Michigan and 39th here, and that wasn't near as cool as finishing second. I think you have to put it all in perspective, and I think when you're‑‑ I've been in position where you're fighting for your life to run 15th, and I know that the momentum and just as it did last year, we were kind of in this little slump, and this isn't really a slump, this is just kind of circumstances we self‑created tonight with two penalties on pit road. But still, in the end those circumstances have kept us from winning some races, and we've had lug nuts knock valve stems off twice and we were leading an engine blowup. But when you're in position to do that and finish second 10 times and win a couple races, that's half the races that we've run so far. I'm honored to drive the car. I'm not frustrated at all because I've been on the other side of this fence, and you'd give everything in the world to finish second every week because it's not easy. This is a hard sport, and to go to all these different types of racetracks and see the success that the team has, I couldn't be prouder of all the guys on my team and to drive the cars because I know that at any moment you can rattle off two or three wins in a row at any type of racetrack, so it's fun.

Q. Denny, did you expect a JGR car to win tonight?
DENNY HAMLIN: I thought we all had a great shot for sure, but this track changes so much. We practice in the mornings, the track is not rubbered up, and then we practice in the middle of the afternoon and the track's rubbered up, but it's hotter, so the conditions, everything changes so much at night here that you can't just think that because you're really good in practice you're going to be good in the race here.
I think did I expect it? No, but I thought it was probable.

Q. Both you guys I think are testing at Homestead this coming week. Seems like it's a pretty pivotal test‑‑
KEVIN HARVICK: There's no off weeks in racing. Only for you guys (laughing).

Q. What are you looking for at Homestead and could that be a real indicator on who will be strong in the Championship Round?
KEVIN HARVICK: I think that's a lot like what he just said. You're going to go there and you're not going t have a lot of rubber on the racetrack. You're going to need to run right up against the wall to really analyze what you have. You're going to practice during the day. But in the end it's better to have that track map and those data points and all the things that you have to have a starting point when you go back and be able to run through some things and just kind of have an idea and go back and look at what you've done in the past. So it's better to know just from a data standpoint and have that data than it is to not.
You hope that you're going to be there and you can use it and be able to benefit from it if you need it.
DENNY HAMLIN: Yeah, I don't know as a driver if it's a benefit, but more so for the team for sure. The data that they can collect is very, very important. I know last year when we tested Homestead before the final race, it paid dividends. We ran really well. So I mean, what we're testing there for, I'm not sure if it's tire test or just confirmation test. I don't even know what the difference is really nowadays.

Q. It's confirmation.
DENNY HAMLIN: It's confirmation? Okay, so we're just going to run a bunch of laps pretty much.
THE MODERATOR: Denny and Kevin, thank you for joining us tonight.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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