KYLE, OBVIOUSLY YOU HAVE A DEEP DIRT BACKGROUND. GIVE US A REVIEW OF YOUR TWO PRACTICES YESTERDAY AND HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT GOING INTO THE HEATS THIS AFTERNOON.
“I was pretty sad after first practice. Our car was not handling very good at all, but you know after second practice I was really proud of my team because they did a really good job with adjustments between the sessions. I felt like we were really competitive the second time and the balance was much closer. I was happy about that. The track was pretty good. Probably as good as it could be I thought. We felt like we could run all over the track and slide around which was fun. The heats will be, I assume, pretty fast paced, and go by quickly. Probably a little hard to pass, but still a long race for tomorrow. The heats aren’t extremely important in my eyes.”
EVERYONE SEEMS TO THINK THAT YOU’RE THE ONE THAT’S ADVISING NASCAR AND BRISTOL ON WHAT THEY NEED TO BE DOING AND TRACK PREP. BUT THEN ON SIRIUS YOU SAID YOU REALLY HADN’T TALKED TO THEM THAT MUCH. WHAT’S BEEN YOUR INVOLVEMENT SINCE LAST YEAR?
“The only person I’ve talked to about track stuff is Steve Swift and that’s just when I am here. Like when I was here for the late model races just throughout the night, I would be like hey I think, and he’s got a really good understanding anyways, but I think just maybe hearing from me or helps verify. Just like hey I think the top needs a little bit of moisture right now to help it survive or help it be racy, just stuff like that. I mean even yesterday during practice after first practice I told them hey you need to water and pack the apron. Stuff like that. He has been the only one that I’ve talked to.”
DOES HE LISTEN TO YOU?
“Yeah, I think so. It seems like everything that he’s done, I’m sure a lot of the times he’s already got it a part of his plan to do that anyways. He’s done a really good job. I feel like everybody has here. I feel like the surface has been much better than it was last year.”
HAS THAT TOP CUSHION OPENED UP ANYMORE IN THE TRACK THAT YOU SAW IN PRACTICE AND DO YOU EXPECT GUYS TO BE RUNNING THAT LINE?
“It’s hard to say now. I mean the track is totally different and fresh from where it was in practice yesterday. Now we’ll just have to wait and see how the track develops during these truck heats. It’s hard to predict the future with dirt.”
WAS IT OK IN PRACTICE?
“I thought the track was really good. It got slick from top to the very wall. There’s no cushion here, but we just kind of chased the moisture up the track until it got to the wall, which was fun. I thought all the lanes were pretty equal. It should make for a good race.”
THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT WHAT FUTURE CUP SCHEDULES MIGHT LOOK LIKE, MAYBE A STREET RACE, MORE DIRT, ETC. HOW WOULD THE SCHEDULE BE DIFFERENT IF YOU HAD A LOT MORE INPUT INTO IT OR HAD THE MAJOR INPUT INTO IT? WHAT WOULD THE SCHEDULE BE LIKE?
“I don’t think it really matters I guess what I would think. Really, I am cool with a street course and stuff like that. I don’t know. I mean, I think everybody assumes my opinion would be to race dirt every weekend, but no I don’t think Cup cars should be on dirt. That’s the only change I would make is not race on dirt.”
HOW DO YOU VIEW YOUR SEASON TO THIS POINT?
“It’s been a struggle so far. I feel like our racecar is close. I feel given different circumstances if we execute a little bit better and get that little bit better track position, we could have some totally different races. Here lately it’s just been a lot of mistakes on my part, so that’s been frustrating when it’s on you. I feel like that’s also the easiest thing to fix is when it’s yourself. I feel like phoenix we blew up, but we were competitive. Atlanta we were competitive and got in a wreck. COTA we were competitive, and I just did a really bad job on the restarts and then got myself in the hornet’s nest and didn’t do a good job. Richmond we were ok and got a better finish than we deserve and then last week we were clawing our way to get some good track position and right when we did, I sped on pit road. Like I said, a lot of mistakes on my part here lately, which has gotten me frustrated. I’ve got a really great race team with really great leadership with Cliff (Daniels) and everybody. I know we’ll be able to get through it, we just got to keep working hard and keep fighting and staying positive.”
WE’VE BEEN TO A VARIETY OF TRACKS. DO YOU HAVE A GOOD FEEL FOR THE CAR NOW THAT KIND OF FEEL THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT THE CAR NEEDS TO GO FAST? DO YOU HAVE THAT KIND OF COMFORT LEVEL YET?
“Yeah, I think I don’t feel like it drives way different so that comfort feel is not hard to find. I feel like as we’ve gotten racing more it’s maybe just the way the schedule is laid out, it’s gotten really hard to pass and that makes executing that much more important. That’s where I feel like I haven’t done a good job. You look at your guys who are winning and they’re just executing really good races and maintaining their track position all race long. That starts from practice through qualifying and into the race, where I haven’t done a good enough job to be challenging for wins yet consistently like we were. Just got to do a little bit more work on my part and just be a little bit better and we’ll be right there.”
WHAT’S THE RISK OF GOING UP TOP THIS WEEKEND, BECAUSE IT SEEMS LIKE WITH THE NEW CAR A LOT OF TOE LINK AND ISSUES IN THE REAR? WHAT’S THAT KIND OF RISK AND BALANCE?
“I don’t know. I mean, I think when the track gets to where it was yesterday and dusty kind of on entry the risk is higher. If the track’s got some moisture on entry the risk, to me, isn’t quite as much because it’ll hold you a little bit better with the grip up there. Obviously, you always want your car handling good to where you can go anywhere, and the safest part of the track is further away from the wall. A lot of times you can find a lot of speed up there, so just like any pavement race you definitely have to weigh the risk versus reward.”