How was practice?
“I was a little concerned after the first practice got cancelled. It is only 50 minutes; it goes by quick. We had a good practice. The car was fairly balanced off of the hauler and then we just made some tweaks from there. The SiriusXM Camry felt good throughout practice. I felt like we got it better and better as practice went on. It looked like we were one the better cars as far as lap times go. So I am feeling good about it. We will make some changes overnight to be a little better, and figure out if we are going to race tomorrow or Monday. So far, it has been a pretty good day.”
Do you feel like you will adapt how you race to the speeds?
“Nobody is going to slow down. Everyone is going to go as fast as they can. This series is tough. In order to be up front, you have to push. With that being said, we are going to learn a lot. Traffic was pretty tough out there today. You catch a guy and it would slow you down a ton, so it is just going to be a lot about managing where you are running on the race track trying to keep some kind of clean air on your car. Find a place to run where the guy in front of you isn’t. That is the difficult thing about racing here at Dover. It is going to be a tough race for sure. Hopefully, our car stays good and we can get it even a little better and we can go and have some fun.”
Is this a tough place to get balance with your car?
“It has always been a tough place to get the balance right. That is why you see guys here that just blister the field and that is why sometimes even good cars just miss it. It is very, very unforgiving to setups to cars that don’t handle as well to guys that maybe don’t like it, things like that. It is a very sensitive race track. You have to attack, but you have to attack with finesse. It is a lot of fun.”
Do you know what your car will do in traffic or what kind of passing we will see?
“It slows down a lot. Everybody does. From what I could tell, everyone was having a really, really hard time. We will just have to wait and see how it goes and just do it a little better than everyone else.”
Do you feel like you understand what this race will be like having just one short practice or do you think you have it handled?
“A little bit of both. I think we have a good feel for what works. 50 minutes is not a lot of time for the track to take a lot of rubber. This place you really need the sun to come out and have a good hour or so of cars on the track to get it so it can race. Today, we are lucky that we got what we got. With the new package at a race like this, it would have been pretty scary to go into the race with no practice. I am thankful for what we have. We did a good job as a team, and our guys did a good job at starting it pretty close and we will make some good adjustments. Same for everyone. You just have to take it as it comes and do a good job with it.”
What are your thoughts going into Kansas with your intermediate package?
“It’s going to be different going to Kansas this time with the 550 (horsepower) package and the draft coming into play and all that goes along with that. I think the cool part about going there is that it’s a great race track and it’s weathered over the years since that repave, I think back in 2012 or something like that. It’s really come into being an awesome race track. It’s gotten back to where you can run all over. The top lane against the wall comes in – the bottom is still good. You name it and you can run it. I think that will play into making the package we’re taking there even better – even better than it’s been at some other places. I think it has potential to be one of the coolest races of the year honestly. It’s going to be fun.”
Do you feel the Kansas race will be similar to Texas?
“It should be similar to Texas, same rules package. I thought Texas we had a better race than we’ve had there the last couple years. At a place where it’s tough to run two-wide and things like that, I thought we had some good racing. Kansas is going to be a hell of a show I feel like. We’ll wait and see, but it should be fun.”
What is your debrief like with Cole Pearn?
“We just talk about everything that went on. How the car started. What direction is went and every piece of information I could give him about the changes that we made. Then he gives back to me on what they did and what he thought they should have done and things like that. We just try to make each other smarter all the time. He makes me a lot smarter than I make him, but I just try to give him all the information I can about what I’m feeling in there so he can make the best decisions leading into the race to give me a car I need to win with.”
How do you feel after a successful final practice run?
“We gained on it some for sure. Yesterday in qualifying, I was a little disappointed with 13th to be honest with you. I felt like we could do a better job than that and we typically qualify better than that here. Again, a whole different rules package and a short practice and we just missed it a little. That’s part of the deal here. The field is so close and you gain or lose a tenth and you can go from top-five to 13th, that’s just the way it is. Missed it a little bit yesterday, but made some improvements today and I’m feeling really good about where the car is. It’s really comfortable to drive and I think there’s some things we can do to make it better. Our speeds and our averages all look pretty good. Here, you get in the race and it’s all about having a car that drives the way you need it to, not so much about how fast it is. As the track goes that direction, it suits my style here and that’s typically when I’ve been at my best. When the track gets rubbered in, it gets greasy and gets slick. That’s kind of when I’ve been able to do really well here. We’ll see what happens, but feeling good about it right now.”
Do you feel the team has made the adjustments you need to the car to be successful tomorrow?
“We’re probably 70 percent there. We could still be better and we’re working on that in the hauler. The guys will put our heads together this afternoon and come up with a plan tonight for the race. That’s when you just kind of roll the dice a little bit. You use all the technology you have available to you – the sim and all that stuff, at the end of the day it’s still people making decisions on what you’re going to put in the car. That’s really a big game changer from Saturday night to Sunday.”
Toyota Racing PR