No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota crew chief Brian Pattie calls his team’s tenth and fourth-place finishes in the first two Chase races “good” but says now it’s time for “great” finishes.
Pattie would like that to happen this weekend at Dover International Speedway - the third race in NASCAR’s 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup. The “great” expectations for the sixth-place team are real.
The No. 15 team scored the third most points of any driver over the last 10 races and finished fifth in spring race at the Monster Mile.
BRIAN PATTIE ON DOVER: “Loudon, Dover and Talladega are three races that we need to perform well. We ran well last week at Loudon and got a top-five, but would have liked to do just a little better. We need to perform well heading into Charlotte, which is not one of our best racetracks.
“So much can go wrong at Dover. If you wreck at Dover you pretty much DNF (Did Not Finish) – there’s no real coming back from that at Dover. Points will jumble up post Dover – not as bad as post Talladega, but similar because it’s so tight and one man’s mistake will gather 10 others. We saw that in the spring. Some big hitters that qualified in the back were taken out early. Every race is important, but this race is really important because of how well we run there. We have to make ground on the tracks that we feel are good for us.”
TRACKS OF CONCERN: “I don’t worry about any races except maybe Charlotte, but even there I think we’ve learned so much from our teammates that it’ll help us there. The only race of the year that really concerns me is Texas. We just really struggled in Texas, but I think some of that will depend on where we are in points at that point. With three races left the motivation factor is either slightly higher or slightly lower depending on where you are in points. We’ll deal with Texas when we get there.”
GOALS: “I want to make it to Homestead mathematically still in it to win it. That’s been my goal from the very beginning. I would say that would be an accomplishment in itself. My last time in the Chase I didn’t have that option. We were just going for a top-five in points. I’d like to think we can go to Homestead with a mathematical chance to win this thing.”
WE NEED TO: “Continue to be consistent. Take changes where it makes sense, where you can. You can’t take chances that are too far outside the box because as you saw at Loudon most of the top-10 are going to be Chasers. I just look back at the last 10 races and know that we’ve been pretty good – very consistent. We’ve been as consistent as anyone in the field. We still need to lead more laps. We need to be more of a threat week in and week out, instead of just being a top-five, top-10 guy to win the Championship.”
IMPORTANCE OF WINNING A POLE: “Obviously it’s important. The biggest thing is to get the extra point for most likely leading the first lap. In this points deal that’s huge more than just the pole itself. Pit selection is good pretty much everywhere you go. It’s always a good thing to start up front. Going back to the first statement, we need to lead more laps and be a consistent threat to win and starting up front is a big part of that.”