|How special is Indianapolis Motor Speedway to you?
“I love going to Indy. I love driving through the tunnel and coming into the track – when it’s empty – just seeing the Pagoda. It’s just such a special place and I have so many great memories from there. No matter what car I’m driving, I always feel the track’s magnitude and just how special of a place it is.”
Compare driving a stock car at Indianapolis to driving an Indy car.
“It’s just about finding a balance with the car out there, which is no different in a stock car than in an Indy car. You’re just trying to find a balance. All you’re doing in an Indy car is trimming it out and, if I could have more downforce in these cars, I’d probably take it because, in an IndyCar, we learned very quickly that it’s about how much throttle you could carry around. The stock cars get very low in the corners, and that can be a little bit of a danger in an IndyCar, especially if you get just a little bit too low and get a little loose. So, that’s a little bit different, I suppose.”
Talk about what it’s like when you drive through the tunnel at Indianapolis and get ready for a race weekend.
“I think the best thing about coming back is that it feels familiar and it feels comfortable. I like seeing it. It feels very comfortable, very familiar. I just feel like I’ve had a lot of different experiences there that can help me and, again, it’s just a special place where I feel like, from the beginning, I’ve always really believed that you have to show this track respect and it will hopefully show you the respect back. I’ve always thought that and, especially in an Indy car, this place can bite you pretty big. I don’t think it’s too much different in a stock car, to be honest. It’s just a very familiar place. We spent so much time there during the month of May that it becomes like a second home, almost. It’s not like the Indy 500 was a three-day show. You spent just about the entire month there. My parents live outside of Indy, as do my sister and her family, so it’s nice to come back.”
How hard is it to drive a stock car at Indy and what do you need to turn a fast lap?
“In an Indy car, you don’t have to lift, which is obviously nice. But, on the other hand, you get to the point where you do have to lift a little bit and it’s always that breaking point of flat or not flat, so I think that that is quite challenging. But, in a stock car, you’re always lifting, you’re breaking, you’re sliding around a lot more without so much banking, so we need the banking. I have always thought flat tracks make for good racing in IndyCar and really banked tracks are good for racing in stock cars. I don’t know if (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) necessarily suits us as our best races of the year that we’ve put on, but I think it’s still a great race and I personally enjoy traditional passing because that’s my background. That’s my go-karting, road-course-racing background. So much of what I did growing up was setting up the pass, getting inside of them and them having to kind of give way because there are not two lanes, so I do enjoy that challenge.”