No. 15 Pink Lemonade 5-hour ENERGY Toyota crew chief Brian Pattie returns to Martinsville Speedway for Sunday’s 500-lap race looking to add a grandfather clock to his collection of trophies.
Pattie, who watched last year’s fall Martinsville race from the comfort of his home, notes that 2012 has been a career rebirth. One year later, Pattie and his team are in contention for a championship with four races remaining in the season trailing the leader by 25 points.
ON 2012:“Last year when I was sitting at home watching races on TV it re-energized me. I got a little bit stagnant. A little frustrated at times and it kind of showed in performance and strategy. The second half of last year from July to December was actually perfect for me. It was an opportunity for me to sit back and relax. It helped me regain my competitive edge. It helped me regain that hunger to compete. I love going to the races and making sure that we qualify up front and race up front, leading laps and winning races – that’s what it’s about. I lost some of that the last couple years, so it was good for me. When I came back here I said I was going to push the envelope. I was going to push hard and give it all I’ve got – and so far that’s worked.”
DRIVER/CREW CHIEF PAIRING:“We have a tremendous amount of fun. Clint is a jokester. We get along great. We talk probably twice as much about every other thing except for racing. From dirt racing to the off-the-wall stuff. I don’t know. He trusts me. I trust him. I know when he puts the helmet on he gives 110 percent. He trusts that I’ll do the best I can on pit calls and strategy. Luckily we’ve had some good races where strategy has helped us and he’s definitely bailed us out of some situations where we weren’t where we needed to be during the race. It’s just a true team effort – the best I’ve ever had. It’s been a lot of fun.”
MARTINSVILLE:“We’re going for the clock. We’ve got a brand new 5-hour ENERGY Toyota. It’s the first time that MWR has ever built a specific short-track car for an event. They did a really nice job. It’s pretty special. We had a pretty good car in the spring. We had the opportunity to win the race in the spring. We all know how that worked out, but it was a solid race and a solid effort for us in the spring. I’m really looking forward to going to the race and going for that trophy. We want to beat the No. 11 and 48 at their own game.”
OTHER CONTENDERS:“I’m not smart enough to look at everyone else to be honest. I get tunnel vision. I get so wrapped up in the race and the flow of the race that I really don’t pay attention. Obviously last week I saw the No. 48 spin and thought that should help us a bit, but there are still guys in front of us. With one messing up and the other two still running it really doesn’t help. We just concentrate on the No. 15. We concentrate on trying to get trophies. We figured out a long time ago that the trophies don’t matter – the bonus points do. The top-10 are Chasers every week, so in order to make up ground you need those bonus points that come with winning.”
STRATEGY:“Martinsville is really a little more like Atlanta in terms of strategy – usually the best cars run up front. It can go green for a long time and the tires are worth something. You have to have forward bite and be really good in the center. The place is so short that two tires can be worth a couple tenths which is huge on a racetrack like Martinsville. I’m glad we are going to a track that the tires matter. At the end of the race the strategies are all over the board, but the same guys always run up front there and it’s always the fastest guys from practice. Hopefully we are one of those guys. I’m really looking forward to it. Our new car is really a hot rod and looks really good, so hopefully she runs good too.”