|What are your overall thoughts heading into Bristol?
“I’ve liked Bristol since I went there the first time. I remember when I set foot onto that track – it was the day before, it was load-in day and I looked out there and you’re standing on the straightaway, but it sure seems like a corner. It’s a very cool track and a spectacle for the fans. I feel like that is always the one that everyone says, ‘I want to come see a Bristol race.’ It’s always entertaining there for the fans and, hopefully, we can put on another good show for them this weekend.”
How aggressive do you have to be?
“Every single one of us is going to go as absolutely hard as possible. There’s never a plan to back off or go easy or anything like that, other than if you are saving fuel out there on a strategy at the end of the race. You always go as fast as you can, all the time.”
There’s always a lot of beating and banging on short tracks. What’s acceptable and what isn’t?
“Well, I believe that, on a short track – any track – that you need to get next to them. I mean, I think you have to be able to get runs and get inside. Now, if they cut you off more than once or twice, then you start just putting a bumper to them and taking the air off the spoiler and you just have to make them understand that you know you’ve been patient and that you aren’t going to be patient anymore.”
How grueling is 500 laps at Bristol?
“It’s fine. I think it is a little daunting to say 500 laps, but there are a lot of times we do 500 laps, or 500 miles, and this is just one of them. I feel like, no matter what happens – whether it’s a 400-mile race or a 500-lap race – you find your rhythm. Time goes by fast sometimes, and then sometimes it’s slow. All I hope is the car has a good balance because, when it doesn’t, that’s when the laps seem wrong. If we can just get into a rhythm, find ourselves in a good spot and have a consistent car throughout the race, then the time does go pretty quickly, usually.”
Fans come to Bristol and typically expect a lot of beating and banging. Do you like that kind of racing?
“Yes, I enjoy it. I mean, I don’t mind some beating and banging out there. I don’t mind pushing your way around a little bit. It just happens. It’s just the nature of short tracks when you’re running really close to one another. You put 40 cars out on a track the size of Bristol and you’re filling up a lot of the track. The short tracks are conducive to close racing since aerodynamics don’t come into play quite as much.”