DANIEL, TELL US WHAT YOU THINK YOUR CHANCES ARE THIS WEEKEND HERE AT COTA?
“I think our chances are pretty high. I personally love road course racing. I think everyone knows that. I think that this new car is going to level the field a lot, when it comes to road course racing as well, just like we’ve seen on the ovals. It’s going to be fun. I’m really looking forward to that.
On top of the everything, as we know, Trackhouse Racing has a lot of momentum right now on our side. So, we have to take advantage of that and have fun. I think the last time we were here, in practice and qualifying, we were pretty strong; and then we broke in the race. But I feel like we’ll have good speed, so hopefully we can show that today and tomorrow.”
THIS RACE RAN LAST YEAR IN THE RAIN AND THIS YEAR, IT’S GOING TO BE EXPECTED TO BE SUNNY. WHAT TROUBLE AREAS OF THE TRACK DO YOU EXPECT WITH THE BETTER WEATHER CONDITIONS? IS IT THE SAME WITH THE HAIRPEN ON THE BACKSTRAIGHTAWAY OR DO YOU EXPECTED SOMETHING DIFFERENT?
“I don’t think we can really compare the two because it’s completely different. In the rain, it was just too unpredictable. You don’t really know what to expect, you’re just trying to go as fast as you can and stay out of the trouble. But at one point, we had too much rain.
Tomorrow is going to be more like a regular race. I see a good race happening in the Cup Series; even better than the previous races in Cup road course races. Exactly where the action is going to be, I don’t really know. We’re going to find out in practice. But I’m pretty sure we’re going to have a great race.”
NASCAR HAS SOLD QUITE A FEW TICKETS FOR THIS WEEKEND TO FANS FROM MEXICO. HOW DO YOU SEE THIS EVENT HERE AT COTA FOR THE FUTURE OF NASCAR’S GROWTH?
“It’s amazing. This is one of the few races that my friends and family can actually come from home and drive here. So, it’s amazing to have a lot of Mexican fans in the stands and in the pits. Yesterday, we went to do an event with one of my sponsors, CommScope, to a couple of schools. I got the opportunity to spend some time with them and I was impressed with the amount of kids that were speaking to me in Spanish in the schools. That’s really amazing for me. That made me feel like home. I’m looking forward to seeing some Mexican flags in the grandstands on Sunday.”
WE’VE TALKED ABOUT YOUR ROAD COURSE RACING. BEING BROUGHT UP IN ROAD COURSE RACING IN MEXICO, WHAT IS IT ABOUT ROAD COURSES THAT MAKES YOU STRONG?
“Honestly, I just love road course racing. I find it fascinating. I find it fun. I find it different. I grew up racing go-karts. I never actually raced big cars on road course tracks. A little in NASCAR in Mexico, but not much. But I just enjoy it a lot. I feel that I’ve always been strong at it, but I’ve never been super strong. I have a lot of faith that this car is going to make that difference. I’m excited for that. I’m excited to find that out and see where we can do it.
Right now, I don’t think anyone is the favorite because everything is new. Here in a couple of hours, we’re going to find out a lot about who has the speed and who doesn’t.”
WHERE DO YOU FIND THE BETTER TACOS, CALIFORNIA OR TEXAS?
“I personally found a great place not too far from here. It’s very, very good. I was impressed. I went to this place the last time I was here racing something else and I was impressed with the tacos. Probably one of the best tacos I’ve had in the United States. I came back a couple of days ago and they didn’t disappoint. I remember talking to Julia that there was a lady making the tortillas right there. You know you’re in a good taco place when they have somebody just specifically making tortillas there. It was a good time. Maybe we can go tonight again.”
IT’S NOT IF TRACKHOUSE RACING WILL WIN A CUP RACE, BUT WHEN. WHEN THAT MOMENT FINALLY COMES, WHETHER IT’S FOR YOU OR ROSS (CHASTAIN), WHAT’S THAT MOMENT GOING TO BE LIKE FOR JUSTIN (MARKS)?
“So far, it’s been a really good start. Everybody has been working very hard at Trackhouse Racing and at Chevrolet. We have great equipment and great people. As we all know, great people is key in this sport. You have to have good people around you; not just at the racetrack, but at the shop as well building these cars. I think we have an amazing package right now. We have to keep working because we’re only a couple months into the season and everyone is working hard to either catch-up, get better or stay on top. I feel like we’ve been doing a good job, but there’s always room for improvement. I believe that we can be better than what we’ve been running. We just have to keep pushing. I think the wins are going to come. I personally feel like we have an amazing shot tomorrow, so hopefully we can have a good, clean race. No mistakes, no mechanical issues, and go out there and make a run for it.”
FIVE RACES INTO THIS YEAR, YOU ALREADY HAVE TWO TOP-FIVE’S AND THREE TOP-10’S. DO YOU THINK HAVING A TEAMMATE IN A SECOND CAR AT TRACKHOUSE RACING HAS HELPED OUT YOUR PERFORMANCE THIS YEAR?
“I think it’s a combination of things. Definitely having a direct teammate helps. That’s part of the success. Having that information and sharing that information; knowing exactly what they’re going to do and what we’re going to do. But I think that probably the biggest improvement from last year was the people. Having our own people working towards the speed and having a lot of support from Chevrolet. I think that’s the combination. I feel very, very fortunate to be in this position. We have everything that is required to go out there and be successful. Now, it’s up to us to do the job.”