|Are you looking forward to going home to Las Vegas this weekend?
“I’m certainly looking forward to getting back to Vegas – always do. This year, it’s going to mean a little bit more. It’ll be a little bit more important to kind of focus on the right things in your racecar to be good. You have that (playoff) race that’s going to be happening there in September, so it’s a great opportunity with our M&M’S Caramel Camry to learn some things for the fall, as well. It certainly is a racetrack that I try to enjoy and run well at but, more importantly, win at. I’ve only been able to do that once in 2009. I’d certainly like to be able to get back to those winning ways there of being able to have a fast racecar and figure out what it takes to get around there well. It’s the hometown race and I’ll be running all three with the triple out there so it will be chaotic doing all that. I’m certainly looking forward to that and the challenge it presents, and I’m hoping we can bring home some trophies, as well.”
Is there more pressure racing at your hometown track?
“Yeah, Vegas always means a little bit more pressure – more pressure on myself – just because it’s the hometown and you want to win there. Thankfully, I have won there and I’ve knocked that one off the list, but certainly, you want to win there every year. I love Vegas, the atmosphere and everything going on around that place. We’ve run up front there the last couple of years, so I would like to get our M&M’S Caramel Camry back in victory lane there. It’s always been a big race for us and the M&M’S Caramel team, so I’m hoping we can bring home the win in my hometown.”
What was it like to bring home a Cup Series win in your hometown in 2009?
“It was cool. To go out there and to run a smooth race and to have a shot at winning at the end of the race, that’s what it’s all about. I watched Vegas being built from the ground up, and I remember when it wasn’t anything but a gleam in the eye of Richie Clyne (founder of Las Vegas Motor Speedway) – all those guys who made that place happen.”
Having grown up in Las Vegas, do you still have a lot of friends in the area? Do you get a lot of ticket requests from friends and family?
“I get a lot of ticket requests for California, Vegas and Phoenix – all the West Coast stops that we run. It’s kind of hard to fulfill all of them, but we try when we can. We get to go to M&M’S World on the (Las Vegas) Strip to sign some autographs on Thursday, so I’m looking forward to seeing some of the hometown fans there, as well.”
What is your fondest racing memory of growing up in Las Vegas?
“My fondest racing memory is probably my first Late Model race. I started about eighth or 10th and ended up winning it. My first-ever start, I won. So that is definitely a great memory to have.”