You’ve done well at Dover in the past, but a good day at the Monster Mile can turn bad in a heartbeat. Why is that?
“Dover is one of my favorite tracks. For whatever reason, I’ve done well there in the past. It’s a high-speed, high-banked concrete track that really tests drivers. The way you have to carry speed into the corner takes a big commitment. If you hesitate at all, you’re losing your position or ending up in a bad situation. Things happen quickly at Dover, but I feel like we’re in a good place and we have some positive momentum we’re riding after Darlington.”
How physically demanding is Dover?
“I would say it’s definitely the track with the most g-force load. Maybe Bristol is a little bit harder on your neck, only because the straightaway is a shorter than Dover, so you don’t get as much of a rest. But you feel it in your back more at Dover and it’s hard to get acclimated to the speed. It takes me a run of practice, or in this format, the first run of the race to remind myself to breathe again and let loose on the wheel. I think last year in the Xfinity race we had a competition caution on lap 20 or 25, and I don’t think I breathed those first 25 laps. It is the most physically draining thing I’ve ever done in stock car. It’s hard to just show up and go. The first part of the race will definitely be challenging until we get used to it again.”
We’ve talked about the progress the No. 14 team is making, and you just snagged another finish just shy of the top-10. What’s the next step to locking down that next position and breaking into the top-10?
“We should’ve had a top-10, but I got into the wall and lost that position. I think the next step is just keeping up the consistency and building on what we did last weekend. We were able to overcome being down a lap early enough that we still had time to try out some strategy and run up front. It’s never bad for a team to have something positive to carry into the next week and I’m getting more comfortable with each race. There is always more that can be done, but getting decent finishes at tracks where I’ve done well in the past certainly helps to show that we’re heading in the right direction. We’re going to get to some places where I haven’t done well or the team has never run, like COTA, and we’ll be back to working off the same page as everyone else. So, to run up front and see where we stack up against other guys right now is going to pay off for us down the road.”