|How much confidence do you have heading to Phoenix this weekend?
“We really look forward to heading back to Phoenix with how well we ran there in the spring. We had the best car there, but a caution came out and hurt us, putting us in a tough spot on whether to pit or not. That’s how it goes, sometimes. That place wasn’t the best for our company years ago, but we’ve worked really hard at JGR on our cars and setups there and we are really much better there as a company. I’m really proud of all the work and progress we’ve made, so Adam (Stevens, crew chief), the guys and I will work hard this weekend and hope it puts us in the right position in the end for another win. I’m looking forward to getting out there and hope we can carry some momentum with this M&M’S Caramel team, myself, and everybody at JGR as we try to win a championship at Homestead the following week.”
What is your outlook for Phoenix after how hard Joe Gibbs Racing has worked to improve there?
“Yeah, that’s the key right there – we’ve worked a ton about everywhere, but especially at Phoenix, and we’re getting to where we want to be. We almost won that race in the spring, so I feel good about our chances again this weekend. From there, all the focus will be on Homestead and what we can do to win there. It’s nice to get to Homestead, but what matters is if you win it.”
What does it take to be successful at Phoenix?
“You’ve got to have a good car, but you’ve got to have good brakes. You’ve got to have a good-turning car, and you’ve got to have a good car that can accelerate off of turn two and go fast down the backstretch. There’s a lot involved at Phoenix, but heading there with our M&M’S Caramel Toyota Camry will be interesting to see how the race plays out.”
In addition to 10 Xfinity Series wins at Phoenix, you also won in your second Cup Series start at the mile oval. Do you enjoy racing at Phoenix?
“Phoenix is a pretty neat place, even though they made some changes with the repave. For some reason, I’ve always run well there. I don’t know if it’s that I’m comfortable being back close to home on the West Coast, or what. I always have a little more fan support out there, as well. As for the track itself, you have two distinctly different sets of corners at Phoenix.”