NCS – Toyota Racing – Iowa Post-Practice Quotes

LAT Images #11: Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry

 Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Christopher Bell, Ty Gibbs and Denny Hamlin, along with 23XI Racing’s Tyler Reddick, were made available to the media on Friday after practice for this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Iowa Speedway.

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry XSE, Joe Gibbs Racing

How concerned are you about tires this weekend?

“Yeah, even in the test, they had high (tire) wear, but they ran 50-some laps on the tires before they really had high wear. Surprising to see they had as high wear as they did with just 20 laps or so on tires. But I think that’ll get better in the race, but if there’s havoc with tires and wear, I like our chances.”

What are your thoughts on the restart zone with the repave?

“I didn’t do any mock restarts today, so I don’t how the gearing necessarily is. That’s a big factor in whether you’re going to have wheelspin on this type of track. My guess is you probably will. Certainly, there will be a few rows that have an advantage of being on the top.”

What are your thoughts on Martin Truex Jr.’s career?

“When I think of Martin (Truex Jr.), right, we couldn’t be more opposite. But there’s no one probably more than him. He’s just that type of person. I wish I was like that, but I couldn’t be more opposite. But that’s him and how he carries himself, the way he does business. I put the workload on myself that I do, right? Martin really enjoys his downtime. For me, I don’t like downtime, right? I like to stay busy, and I like to keep working, depending on what I’m working on. I hate sitting around and being bored. Some people love that and how they get passionate about going to the race track every weekend. You know, everyone’s different, but certainly, think he’s in a spot where he’s weighed the pros and cons and it just got to the point where the pros of not doing this outweighed the cons.”

What’s your favorite interaction with him?

“It’s hard to believe I’ve been teammates with him as long as I have and I’ve never had a ‘what the heck Martin?!’ moment. Never! I’m sure he’s said that about me in his head because of the things I’ve done as his teammate, but I’ve never had that moment. I don’t think anyone has as a teammate to him or anything. So, not sure how you can’t say he’s the best teammate you can have. He’s so respectful, reminds me of Jimmie Johnson. He’s so underrated as far as the natural ability to drive a car fast. I have to work tremendously hard week-in-and-week-out to run as well as Martin Truex. I have to work really hard to keep up with him. I just think he’s one of the most naturally gifted drivers our series has seen in quite some time. He’s just not that flashy about it and that’s what’s different about him to other drivers in the Cup Series in the past. When I think about Martin, I try to think about a moment when I said ‘man, I can’t believe he did that!’ and the answer is no. He’s always done the right thing.”

CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 Rheem Toyota Camry XSE, Joe Gibbs Racing

What do you expect from the track on Sunday?

“I honestly don’t know. If we were on the old pavement, I feel like it would’ve been a really big advantage to have my Xfinity starts. But with the repave we have, it’s essentially a new race track. It’s basically anyone’s ballgame.”

Did you have any indication that the tire was going down (that caused your incident)?

“My only indication was whenever I saw Ty (Gibbs) have a flat when riffling out of the pits.”

Is there a good Martin Truex story that comes to mind?

“I do. If you would’ve asked me this an hour ago, I would’ve come up with a really good one. I mean Martin (Truex Jr.) is just (pause), he has no ego. He has no ‘I’m better than you’ attitude. He’s just a very normal person who (pause), he does himself and I respect the heck out of him as he’s a superstar in the Cup Series, but he just does himself. He’s not flashy, doesn’t care about what anyone else thinks. He’s Martin Truex Jr., and frankly, that’s who I want to be. Christopher Bell, but the same style.”

TYLER REDDICK, No. 45 McDonald’s Toyota Camry XSE, 23XI Racing

Do you know if it’s hotter today than at the tire test?

“I think it’s a little warmer today. But at Bristol for example, it was too cool I think. I don’t know, typically, you can kind of see where the track was starting to wear in too from like the start of practice to the end, it was starting to lighten up a little bit. Fresh asphalt, almost pitch black, but was starting to grip where we were running. I don’t know if it’s already kind of, not sure if I walked out there right now, if it’s starting to knock the top off a little bit. Not totally sure, but I think you guys saw it, the grip was getting better and better.”

Do you know how many laps you got in on the tire today?

“I think we ran like 20 laps on the first set. Like 15-16 on set two. Fifteen on the third set, came in, and we were just going to roll back out, get a feel, run two laps on scuff tires. See what they felt like, see if they were going to take 3-4 laps to clean off. I was just wanting to see what type of lap time I was going to run on the second lap. When I went back to the gas in (turns) one and two, it just went down really fast.”

Is there anything teams can do to prolong tire wear?

“It depends. Our issue could be air pressure-related, it come be a number of things. Because we practiced today, and then going through tech tomorrow, there’s a lot of things we can do to the car. Whereas at Bristol, you’re kind of boxed in.”

TY GIBBS, No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry XSE, Joe Gibbs Racing

What happened with your tire going down in practice?

“Yeah, just seemed like it went down there. There wasn’t any telling that was going to happen. We made some setup adjustments that will probably help that out, but don’t know anything about it until it went down.”

Is it normal to not feel anything when a tire goes down?

“They all have their different ways of going down. Some bleed, they leak and some just go flat, so (inaudible).”

What are your thoughts on Martin Truex Jr.’s retirement?

“It’s definitely his decision and I’m so happy for what he gets to do. He’s been a really good friend of mine. Somebody I’ve looked up to my whole racing career. I’m very thankful to have been a teammate with him and so I’m happy with him and wish him the best. Will probably go visit him and go see what’s going on with his retirement life. Good for him.”

Golin for Toyota Racing PR

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