What Did He Say? – Driver Quotes From The Glen
Posted by: Dave Thompson, follow @phillyfan17
August 10, 2012
With nothing but rain so far on the track at Watkins Glen International, I pulled together a few quotes from Friday’s driver press conferences to share with our readers.
YOU STRUGGLED EARLY ON IN YOUR CAREER WITH ROAD COURSES, WHEN DID YOU FINALLY START GETTING IT AT ROAD COURSE RACES? IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN PASS ALONG TO DALE (EARNHARDT) JR. TO HELP HIM SINCE HE’S YOUR TEAMMATE?
“For me it was really frustrating to struggle on road courses getting started. My background was kind of road course racing, the off-road trucks and buggies and stuff that I raced wasn’t on an oval ever. That part really troubled me, but learning the vehicle and understanding the vehicle was key. That just came with experience. Something that was helpful for me was to run in the Grand-Am Series and to actually go faster than what we do in a Cup car. That’s something that has worked for me my whole life. When I was a kid racing dirt bikes, we had the class that I would ride in and my dad always had a bigger bike for me to ride. I would just practice on it, I wouldn’t race, but I would feel the power, I would understand the weight and see things at a faster speed. So, when I went back to my bike things slowed down and I was in control and more comfortable. I give a fair amount of credit to the Grand-Am Series and running with (Bob) Stallings and also Bill Riley and the time I spent running his car and also the Crawford car, the three teams I drove with. It just helped me progress. They have different tools to work on the race car with, but still the process is searching for speed and grip was helpful for me. It’s a little bit different than an oval that and reps in the Cup car, it’s all about seat time.”
DO YOU FEEL THE SPEED HERE?
“You do, you absolutely do and the speed before each braking zone is really high. Turn one is a downhill braking zone with a wavy surface that lights up the wheel hop that we have going into the corners. I call it turn 10, turn 10 is exciting. You have got a long straightaway just in between gear selections coming into that corner and a hard braking area to the left. Speed is high for sure.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
DO YOU FEEL A LOT LESS PRESSURE HERE AT THE GLEN AND FEEL THIS WILL BE A LOT MORE FUN CONSIDERING WHERE YOU ARE IN THE POINTS?
“Yes, absolutely. All these have been, even last week’s. Ever since we have like ‘Ok man, barring any catastrophe’. As long as we don’t have the same thing that happened last week happen every week, we should find our way into the Chase. So that has been a big load off of my shoulders. We can just concentrate on the single event, and what’s happening at that very moment; not really have to worry about anything too far out in the future that, and what we are doing today be detrimental to that. We can forget about the Chase for the moment. Concentrate on being fast. Concentrate on what we are doing this weekend, next weekend. Really look at the particulars, and try to find more speed. Yes, enjoy it. Try to have fun. You know, I’ve had fun all year. Every time your car is running good, you have a blast. Coming in here in 10th place, just trying to hang on to the spot in the Chase is really, really tough. Especially for someone like myself who is more cold than hot at this place. I’m really happy about being in a position where now we are able to come here…we had a good test. We’re feeling positive about our chances of having a good run. We’ll just be able to go out there and try to compete. There is really no pressure. So that’s a good thing. That’s a good feeling.”
JUAN MONTOYA WAS SAYING THIS MORNING THAT WATKINS GLEN IS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT THAN SONOMA, WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART FOR YOU HERE AND WHAT DO YOU LEARN DURING A TEST, IS IT JUST SEAT TIME?
“I guess he would know because he’s a professional at road courses. I really have to say that this place for me is easier than Sonoma. Sonoma is a technical track. There’s a lot of corners, one after the other and if you mess up the first corner it ruins the next 10. So, it kills the whole lap. Here, we’ve got long straightaways and then a 90 degree corner, then a straightaway and another corner. If you make a mistake in a corner, you can really kind of reset the car and get everything figured out and make something out of the rest of the lap. Even sometimes you can do well enough to make up for your mistake and still put down a good time. For me this place isn’t quite as tough mentally and technically. It is fast here. Sonoma is a lot of slow corners, a lot of left and rights and moving the car around trying to change directions. This car is 3400 pounds and it doesn’t change directions very well. But when you come here you just go down the straightaway and turn, go down another straightaway and turn, and just try to put the best lap you can together. The only tough, tricky part in the chicane and through the carousel. I don’t know if I go through that thing the same twice, but you try to go through it as fast as you can.”
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR MOST BIZARRE MOMENT HERE AT WGI?
“The first one that comes to mind here is leading the race and spinning out going into turn one with three or four laps to go. (Tony) Stewart had just done the same thing in front of me; he wheel-hopped going into to turn one under braking which was a big issue that day. A lot of people were struggling with it, so I watched Tony do it after I was being conservative into turn one. He did it and I went by him and got the lead. I don’t know how many laps there were to go, but not many. He was a little bit better than we were that day. I did the same thing he did and probably even worse because I lost a lot more positions than he did. Ended up having a car that could have finished first or second and finish like ninth or tenth. That was pretty bizarre. The other one was when (Greg) Biffle got into me going into turn one, lap one. We had just got the green and went down in there, he was a little more aggressive than I was, and spun me out. I think, if I am not mistaken, (Carl) Edwards, can correct us, is that when I also ran out of fuel? Yes…then that same day, on the last lap coming to the checkered, I ran out of fuel and was not very smart, because I should have been just thinking about getting to the line instead of blocking Kevin Harvick behind me. I gave him no choice but to spin me out, so I got spun out twice that day. One was not my fault, but that second one was. I don’t think I made it across the line because the car had no fuel in it. So that was a pretty bizarre day. We were going to finish I think top-five or six.”
Martin Truex Jr.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE BACK AT WATKINS GLEN THIS WEEKEND?
“I’m just excited to be here. I really enjoy the road course racing, especially here at Watkins Glen. This is a place that is pretty special to me coming up here as a kid watching my dad race and then running some Busch North races up here. It’s one of the tracks that is kind of special to me, like New Hampshire and Dover. So, I’m looking forward to the race this weekend. We have some pretty good results here over the past few years. With the job the NAPA team has been doing this year, we’re looking forward to getting on track and seeing what we can come up with and see what kind of weekend we can turn out with.”
DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVEN’T BEEN GIVEN THE RECOGNITION YOU DESERVE FOR THE WAY YOU’VE RACED THIS YEAR?
“Honestly, either way doesn’t really matter. I’m paid to go out there and do a job and I feel like I’m doing that as well as I can possibly do it right now. So, for me, that’s enough. I don’t need to read my name in print or be in the headlines — that’s not what I’m here for. I’m here to do my job, have fun doing it, work with my guys and being part of a team. We’ve done a fabulous job this year, I feel like we are stepping up our program on all fronts. I feel like I’ve done a good job as a driver of being a better leader of my team, being a better team player and somebody that’s had a lot of input into where we’re at. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished and whether it makes the headlines or not, I could care less.”