What are the challenges of racing the Next Gen car on the concrete at Bristol for the first time?
“That’s a very good question. The only racetrack that we’ve been that is similar to Bristol – but not the same by any means – is Dover. Nobody really knows what to expect at Bristol. It’s a racetrack that is by itself. It’s completely different than anything else and it’s a tough place. With 20 minutes of practice; if you miss it during the week, you’re going to have a long weekend and a long 500 laps.
"I love Bristol. It’s actually one of my favorite racetracks and I’m really looking forward to the challenge. I’m not really thinking about it too much once I’m in the race. But during the week, there are a lot of conversations about that. I think the preparation we do during the week is going to be important because nobody really knows what is going to work in Bristol, just because it’s so different than everything else that we’ve done.”
Are you satisfied with your season?
“Somebody asked me if I was happy and excited to be in the playoffs, and honestly it feels normal to me. This is not a surprise. I think the fun part is about to begin. The winning was a lot of fun. I proved to myself that I can do it. I knew I could do it, but now everybody knows as well. They do know that I can do it and my team can do it, and we have everything that it takes to get it done. Now we have to do it on a consistent basis. In the last two months, we’ve been extremely consistent."
As a first time playoff driver, are you at a disadvantage going up against drivers who have already one a championship?
“I feel like those guys are already champions, they already know the feeling. So the advantage that they have mostly is mental, not so much physically in the car. But they already know what it feels like. I’ve had this feeling in the Xfinity Series, which is different. But at the same time, it’s the same thing, just multiple it by three or four. I think if we can stay calm, relax and continue to do exactly the same thing that we’ve been doing the last few months, we’re going to be in good shape.”