We’re heading to another new road course for the Cup Series, but you’ve got plenty of track time at Road America. Do you feel like you’ll be able to take better advantage of the 50-minute practice session since you already know the track?
“Definitely. We’ve been working on some things over the last month so that we can get the most out of practice. Johnny (Klausmeier, crew chief) asked for some information on which corners we need to focus on so that I’m the most comfortable I can be in my first time there in the Cup car. It’s going to be nice to, right away, know what I need in the racecar and the feel I’m looking for, and just know the track. I don’t have to go there and learn it, I’ve already been there plenty of times. I feel Road America is one of the tracks where, as a racecar driver, you can kind of outrun your equipment sometimes. It really is an equalizer. I’ve really grown to love road courses and that comfortability helps when going to these tracks.”
You’ve said that Road America is one of your favorite places to visit. What makes it so special?
“I have always loved visiting Road America. It’s always one of the best crowds for the Xfinity Series and I’m sure we’ll see the same for Cup. It’s just a beautiful part of the country. I think I’ve discovered some hidden areas, but the place is so big, it seems like I find something new every time. I’ve been able to do all the trails and disc golf. I’ve done a lot of things at Road America and got to see parts of the racetrack where, if you just show up as a driver on race weekend and don’t explore, you would never even know were there.”
With your experience at Road America, what should we be keeping an eye on this weekend?
“I think tires are going to be important, and fuel is definitely going to be a concern in that final stage. It’s something that the crew chiefs will try to figure out – how early can you pit with your tires being able to be there at the end.”