NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: LifeLock 400
Topics: LifeLock 400
June 14, 2009
KERRY THARP: We'll roll right into our post race press conference at Michigan International Speedway. Our third-place finisher in today's race is Denny Hamlin. He drives the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Denny is now 10th in championship points standings.
Denny, talk about how you ran out there today and how things unfolded there towards the end.
DENNY HAMLIN: Well, we had a good car all day. We fought a little track position for the most part. But we were a top five car all day. We felt like a third- to fourth-place car for the most part. We knew the last run, I think we were about two laps shy. I worked on some things, some road course testing, whatnot, to try to save fuel. I felt pretty confident that we could save those two laps.
I felt like as a driver I was really conservative. I'd be interested to see what we have left in the tank because I know I was really rolling down that 5 there about 10 to go. I just thought, man, it's kind of not worth it. If the 48 and the 16 don't run out, what's the point of trying to catch this 5? Little do you know it's for the race win.
But I think it's just the 16 and 48 kind of baited each other into running hard, and that's what happened.
KERRY THARP: Questions for Denny Hamlin.
Q. Denny, is it kind of disappointing to go back-to-back fuel mileage races as a driver? Is that tough when you get out there and they come on and say you have to start saving?
DENNY HAMLIN: Yeah, it is. But, I mean, it does put the driver in it, for sure. I mean, when we're all short, and I'm pretty sure that everyone was short, without having to save gas on the racetrack, it puts it in the drivers' hands in the sense of how hard do you want to push it versus how much do you want to save.
You know, it is still a driver's race, even though it is a fuel mileage race.
Q. Can you talk about this finish as far as your season. It's been not remarkable. This is a big boost for you guys.
DENNY HAMLIN: It is. You know, we definitely had a hard couple of weeks, for sure. But we definitely need to get back on track. We need to start building. If we're not 13th, I don't know with Mark winning, but we got to get back to solid finishes and make sure we solidify our place in the Chase and we don't have to race our way in going into Richmond.
You know, we had to finish pretty well at Richmond last year to make sure we got in the Chase. And that's just a gut-wrenching feeling you don't want to have to go through.
We feel like our performance is pretty good. We feel like we're a little bit behind the Hendrick cars. Obviously, I mean, if Kyle is not up front, then our stuff is not the best. And it's definitely not the best right now. We're a little bit behind. But, you know, we feel like in due time we got some things that we're working on to try to be better than those guys. Right now it's just catch-up mode.
KERRY THARP: Denny, thank you very much.
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