NASCAR Nextel Cup Series: Subway Fresh Fit 500
Topics: Subway Fresh Fit 500
April 21, 2007
DENNY HAMLIN: It's frustrating, you know, for the whole team and myself that we just can't get -- it seems like we can't get a break, one way or another. Nothing seems to go our way, and it's just really disheartening to have such a good car and just can't do anything with it.
You know, we had to battle back there, and I'm just kind of tired of battling back every single week to whatever finish. You know, I wish nothing would happen. I just wish we just could go an entire race without having problems. We just can't catch a break.
We're going to move on and hopefully, I don't know where we're going -- Talladega. We're going to go to Talladega and try to win that one.
Q. Did you think it was a borderline call? Did you think you were speeding?
DENNY HAMLIN: By the rules, it's black and white, but you know, we -- I've never been caught -- I've been caught speeding on pit road one time, and that was at Bristol in that bend corner where everyone gets caught. So that was my only speeding penalty of my entire career.
We checked it after the very first run. We were 2.2 miles an hour to the good. Came back in the second run with the exact same RPM, no exaggeration, no lie, and I was speeding. So, I don't know. I was tonight's entertainment I guess.
Q. You kind of just alluded to it, you said you feel like you've had the best Car of Tomorrow all three races and Hendrick has wins in all three races obviously, but do you think you and Tony and Gibbs are the team to beat with the Car of Tomorrow right now?
DENNY HAMLIN: Without a doubt. Every time I've lost the lead, it's been in the pit. So, you know, we should have three trophies at Gibbs right now.
My credit goes to Hendrick. Those guys capitalize. They do what they have got to do to win races. They catch breaks when they need them, and we just can't seem to catch a break.
Q. When you were told that you did speed, what was your reaction? I mean, were you shocked or angry?
DENNY HAMLIN: I said they were serious, and evidently, they were.
Q. Can you talk about how difficult it was to pass out there? That's the way it looked to us; that it was extremely -- and just how this car performed on this racetrack.
DENNY HAMLIN: To be as nice as I can, it just -- it's frustrating. It's very frustrating. You know, it's hard for me to complain and people will say, but you went from the back to the front.
But yeah, it took us 300 laps to do it when it shouldn't have. Our car was just that much better than everyone else's. It shouldn't have took that long. We got some long runs in there that played in our factor, in our benefit.
I don't know; I don't know how we're going to run these cars on bigger tracks without changes.
Q. What is it about the car you think that makes it so difficult, particularly here?
DENNY HAMLIN: Well, they built these cars to punch a bigger hole in the air. So these cars have half as much front downforce, twice as much here. So the car already doesn't have front grip.
Then you have a car that's punching a bigger hole in front of it, that means even less air gets to the front end. So you've got a quarter -- or I mean, an eighth of the downforce that you had before.
So it -- you know, there was instances out there where I would be a half a second faster than a guy. I would get within ten car lengths and automatically be slower. And that was just really frustrating. As a driver, you know, there's just not a whole lot we can do as drivers. We're at the mercy of track position right now.
Q. Chevrolets were dominant again tonight obviously and have been virtually all this year. There was a time when a start like this for a manufacturer would lead to changes of some sort or another. Do you guys have the fear that something like that might be coming?
DENNY HAMLIN: You mean taking something away from Chevrolet?
DENNY HAMLIN: You know, I don't know how they could do that and still make all the cars the same.
I don't know. They can come up with something, I'm sure, but it just seems like -- it's hard to say it's coincidence. You know, Chevrolet has just got a lot of good teams right now. All of the good teams that are running well, the Gibbs, Hendrick, they are all Chevrolets. And they have got good drivers, and that counts for a lot.
So I think it's just they have got pretty much an all-star team and it's hard to beat them.
Q. As frustrated as you are, can you even relate to how frustrated Tony must be? I think he led the most laps again tonight and he has not had a win in a long time despite doing that. Can you sort of empathize with each other here at all?
DENNY HAMLIN: I don't know. We can drown our sorrows on Monday I guess at the shop. You know, I don't know what happened with the whole 24 pit road or whatever. I don't even know where he was running. It's frustrating for us; I know that for a fact. I'm sure he's probably angry as I am. But it's been a long time since I've felt the way I feel right now.
Q. As a native Virginian, I'm sure that everything that happened this week, you really wanted the win as a Virginian especially this week. Talk a little about how disappointed you are not being able to do that when you did have the best car out there.
DENNY HAMLIN: Yeah, and that's probably one of the -- another reason, probably half of the reason why I'm as upset as I am about it is, you know, it was a big week for Virginia. Something, you know, needed to happen up there to kind of lift everyone's spirits, and I would have loved to bring that trophy back home this week, but we're not going to be able to do it.
If I had that trophy, it would definitely be in Virginia Tech's hands before the end of the week, but unfortunately it's not mine; it's Jeff's.
Q. One of the purposes of the Car of Tomorrow was it was supposed to broaden the number of teams that could be competitive. It was supposed to bring more people into play. Only one race team has won with this car at every Car of Tomorrow race. Can you talk about that?
DENNY HAMLIN: Well, in -- you know, everyone talks about the cream rises to the top and that's the way it's going to be. It's going to take a while for some of the other teams to figure it out. But then the teams that are already dominating are going to figure something else out.
So it seems like the guys that get a jump on it are going to stay on top of it for a while and you're just not going to keep a team like Hendrick or Roush or Gibbs or any of those teams down. They are going to run good. There's nothing that you're going to do within the rules to make them run bad. They have just got too many resources, too many people, too many good drivers.
I don't think this -- if that was the point of it, to make it more competitive for everyone, mission failed, in my opinion.
Q. Following up on what you said, there is some view that this will even up in a while; that the teams with the most resources have an advantage because they have more research to do it, but eventually, other teams will catch up. Do you not think that will happen?
DENNY HAMLIN: There's just -- I don't know. I just don't see, you know, a one-car team, a single-car team being able to compete week-in and week-out. Now, given, they are going to have good runs. There's going to be weeks where they are going to run good and things just happen like that.
But these powerhouse teams are the way -- they are winning all of these races for a reason, and it's because of the people they have got with them. They have got great people. And I know -- you know, all of the credit for the way me and Tony are running these races go to the engineering staff. They are the ones that come up with the setups that we're racing, and the crew chiefs fine-tune it on race day.
You know, it's not -- I'm not trying to be the bearer of bad news or anything. It's just going to be tough to make it to where all of these cars run the same speed. It's just not going to happen. You're going to have some that run faster than others, and more than likely, it's going to be the big teams.
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