When the Roval was first announced, did you think it would be as cool as many thought it would be?
“Yes, I remember all of it. I remember testing on the track for the first time when it was even a different configuration than we ended up with. There were no curbs, no grass, no paint, there was just dirt and old pavement. They just kept spicing it up and added curbs and paint and all this stuff and it turned out to be a pretty cool-looking racetrack, especially on TV with all the paint, and you had a bit of an F1 feel to it from that standpoint. It’s very unique, it’s different, it’s challenging. They went out on a long limb when it was created and it’s turned out to be pretty cool.”
Did you feel that the Roval was going to be difficult? And what did you think of it after running it a few times?
“I would say so. I was one of the first guys to test with just an infield road course with grass all around. I was wondering, since it was small and narrow and not sure how we would race on it beforehand, but it turned out to be quite the show. You have to be open-minded and embrace the challenges and try to do the best you can with it. That was how I viewed the Roval at the beginning, and how we tried to approach the Chicago Street Race, as well. We almost won the Roval the first year, so we ran well there and would love to get that win there this weekend with our Bass Pro Shops Camry.”
Your playoffs have been tough so far, but you are still in a good position to advance. How close is the competition week in and week out, and how much of a challenge is it during the playoffs?
“Ever since we went to the NextGen car, everything has been closer and it makes it challenging, for sure. It is harder to find an advantage, it’s harder to run at the front every week, consistently. Everything is tighter, closer together, less room for error – and you really have to be on top of things. The points situation is the same as every other race. It’s really, really hard to be at the front all of the time and this weekend we just need a solid day to hopefully get us through with some good tracks for us coming up.”