|There are only two road-course races on the NASCAR schedule, but they’re two of the most talked about and anticipated races of the year. Why is that?
“Road-course racing is something we don’t do a lot of and I think they are some fun races to watch because the cars don’t really handle very well. Our cars are like big buses trying to get around a racetrack and we’re sliding around, our brake zones are very long, tires go off and those are things that create passing opportunities.”
Is it a breath of fresh air to turn right and left, or do you have to psyche yourself up a bit to compete on a road course?
“Yeah, I feel like I have to psyche myself up a little bit in my approach about being aggressive and hitting the curbs and the ‘it doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be fast’ kind of attitude. But it’s fun. I mean, as long you can come out of the box with that and kind of start that rhythm, it’s easier to maintain all weekend, then.”
What are the keys to racing at Sonoma?
“I think, at Sonoma, you have to get through the high-speed esses comfortably, which leads to a good high-speed balance. Power down is also important there because it’s easy for the rear tires to just spin all the time. The fast lap times come from the high-speed balance, so that is the key for me and the Code 3 Associates team.”
What is it about the road courses that you enjoy?
“I’m very used to racing on road courses. That’s how I grew up in go-karting. It’s what I did in Europe when I raced and it’s what IndyCar Racing really became before I left. There were three IndyCar road-course races when I started and, by the end, the majority of the races were on road courses – I think it was eight or nine races. So, I’m super familiar and super comfortable on road courses, but jumping into a stock car on a road course does feel a lot different than a lot of the other cars I’ve driven before on a road course. It still makes for great races because the braking zones are longer in stock cars, which allows more opportunities for passing.”
What is the hardest part about road racing?
“The hardest part of road racing is just putting a whole lap together. The hardest part of road racing is just nailing every corner and doing it consistently when it counts.”