|What does it take to get around Richmond?
“Richmond is getting a little trickier, it seems like, just with the asphalt kind of getting older and the way the cars are. The consensus at Richmond is, of course, just trying to get your car to turn, but also having really good forward bite. You have to be able to get off the corners at Richmond. You have to have good brakes, as well, and be able to turn the center. All of it correlates. Everything you want as a racecar driver, you’ve got to have most all of it and, if you don’t, then you better hope you have more forward bite than the rest of them. That’s sort of the equation of Richmond – it’s a fun place to race, it’s really cool. As a driver, you wish it could widen out and give you more options of being able to run around in different grooves, but it hasn’t shown us that the last couple years. We had a good run there last fall, but this is the first planned day race we’ve had since I started driving, so that will make it interesting. They ran during the day in the spring last year because of rain, but I was out of that race, so I’m sure Adam (Stevens, crew chief) will go back over his notes from that race to see what we can learn there. We’re hoping to get our Banfield Pet Hospital Camry back to form there from a couple of years ago.”
Why is Joe Gibbs Racing so strong at Richmond?
“I think a lot of it comes from Denny (Hamlin), being that it’s his home track. I’ve been good there in Hendrick and JGR cars. But Denny and I really feed off each other an awful lot at Richmond. We use each other a ton there, just to be sure we can beat the rest of the competition, of course. We do like similar setups there, unlike some other places we run. Richmond is one of those places where we both know what it takes to get around and we’re both similar to one another in that we both run well. Matt (Kenseth) has only added to our information there and now, with Carl (Edwards) on board last year, he’s a guy who’s been very good over the years there, as well.”
How excited are you to have the Banfield Pet Hospital scheme on board this weekend?
“We obviously travel most of the year doing what we do in NASCAR, so we know that if we have any of the dogs with us and they have health issues, there is likely a Banfield Pet Hospital not too far away from wherever we are. Banfield also is big into preventive care for our pets, which is important. I think everyone knows we’ve been dog lovers our whole lives – my mom, dad, grandparents. Everyone feels like our pets are our children. I know a lot of NASCAR fans feel the same way about their pets.”
What is it about Richmond that suits your driving style?
“I love Richmond. It’s one of my favorite racetracks and one of my best racetracks. I love being able to go there and, of course, we put on some pretty good races there. We won four spring races in a row and I would have loved to have made it five or more. It’s a neat racetrack and it’s certainly an excitement track and there is a lot of action that happens on Sunday afternoon there.”
Do you enjoy the atmosphere at Richmond?
“It’s been around for a long time, starting with the fairgrounds, so there’s a lot of history there. It’s a fast racetrack. It’s only a three-quarter-mile oval but it has really high speeds that makes it fun for us drivers and makes excitement that’s fun for a fan. Martinsville is a short track and it’s slow, but Richmond is pretty quick.”