You are aiming to get your first Talladega win. What do you work on leading into Talladega that you might not do other weeks?
“Talladega is a lot different than normal weeks. It’s a lot of strategy and a lot of talk with my teammates and trying to plan to work together to get to the end of that thing. It seems like every time we go back there it’s a little bit different. It’s changed a lot over the years and a lot in the past few years. Starting last year with this new NextGen car, it was quite a bit different racing there. Still trying to figure out how to get that first win at Talladega. We’ve been close there before and ran really strong there last year with our Bass Pro Shops Camry, so just looking to build on that and focus on what it’s going to take to try and get our first win there.”
A Talladega win would be your first on a superspeedway-style track – Daytona and Atlanta being the others on the current schedule. Is a superspeedway win something you would really like to have on your resume?
“I would like to, it’s something we put a lot of work and effort into. I would say it’s probably not my best style of racing. For us, I think that we are always damaged, so if we can ever get to the end of one of those races and are at the front, we would have a chance. If we get that chance again, we need to be able to figure out how to make the right moves. Would love to be there at the end at Talladega this weekend and have a shot to win with our Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry TRD.”
After running four races so far this season with the speedway package, what are your expectations for Talladega this weekend?
“I think it will be similar to Daytona. This car, for whatever reason, just likes to be two-wide, there never seems to be a third lane. There’s a lot of two-wide and a lot of track position – hard to make your way up through the field. You never know, though, it all depends on what everyone is wanting to do. How aggressive does everyone want to be, and will we have a chance at a third lane forming? I don’t know.”
Talladega has made some renovations in recent years to its fan amenities. How have you seen the track change in recent years?
“It’s cool because it’s a good fan experience at Talladega and that’s what it’s really all about, giving the fans something to do throughout the weekend when we are not racing. It’s a really cool setup for the fans. It’s cool that the fans can get up close to the cars now more than ever and they can check out what is going on. Always have a lot of great fan energy when we go to Talladega, for sure.”