Friday, May 13, 2011

Kurt Busch Fastest in Dover Happy Hour; Quotes From Kyle and Harvick Feud

Busch was fastest in Friday's final practice at Dover
It was Kurt Busch, with a lap speed of 157.922 mph, showing the fastest way around Dover International Speedway during the final NSCS FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks practice session.

Busch’s fellow Penske Racing teammate, Brad Keselowski (ailing from the flu) was second fastest with a lap speed of 157.591 mph, and was followed by Greg Biffle (157.522) who was third fastest, Carl Edwards (157.370) fourth fastest, and David Ragan (157.000) was fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest in “Happy Hour” were Jeff Burton (156.876) who was sixth fastest, Marcos Ambrose (156.733) seventh, Clint Bowyer (156.603) eighth, Matt Kenseth (156.569) ninth and Denny Hamlin (156.135) was the tenth fastest.

The teams will return Saturday afternoon for their 12:10 PM (EST) qualifying session, and then won’t return again until Sunday for the drop of the green flag a little after 1:00 PM (EST).

Top-5 Dover Happy Hour Speeds:
#22-Busch 157.922
#2-Keselowski 157.591
#16-Biffle 157.522
#99-Edwards 157.370
#6-Ragan 157.000
slowest: #09-Cassill 151.573 & #36-Blaney 152.033
incidents: #18-Busch smacked the wall and scraped the whole side of the car.

Dover Final Practice Speeds

Driver Quotes Following First Dover Practice Session

Kurt Busch put together a great final practice at Dover
DO YOU REMEMBER ANYTHING THAT’S HAPPENED BETWEEN YOU AND KEVIN HARVICK THAT MAY HAVE IMPACTED SOMETHING BETWEEN HARVICK AND YOUR BROTHER? “OK, right! Let’s congratulate Regan Smith on his win last week; I don’t think he’s gotten any coverage whatsoever (laughs). He did a great job to win that race. Congratulations to Furniture Row Motorsports.

“For that issue, I’d say who hasn’t (Kevin) Harvick had an issue with. Everybody has had run-ins. I’ve had run-ins. (Greg) Biffle has had run-ins. You name it and everybody has had run-ins with other guys. I mean, who knows? The way that rivalries are started is from having heated issues out on the race track time and time again. We’ve seen that with guys like Rusty (Wallace) and DW (Darrell Waltrip). We’ve seen that with the Allisons and (Cale) Yarborough. We’ve seen it over the years. It’s nothing different; what we’re rolling through now is what we went through then.”

YOU MENTIONED LAST WEEK THAT YOU WERE GOING TO TURN YOUR RADIO OFF DURING THE RACE? DID YOU LEARN SOMETHING FROM RICHMOND? “Yeah. Each week is a chance to learn something new. As a driver, the day that you stop learning something, it’s the day that you’re not moving forward. It’s now a better understanding throughout the team on where were going for a direction and what I have to do inside the cockpit to be a team leader and to give us the best result each week out on the track. When I got into the hauler after the race, the team engineer apologized profusely because they put the wrong set-up in the front end of the car. I didn’t know that. We didn’t know that during the race. I didn’t know it, (but) they knew it during the race. It was a tough battle all race long to have the wrong set-up in the car. Things like that happen. I handled it the best way that I could with the guy and said, ‘Hey, people make mistakes’.”

KEVIN HARVICK AND KYLE BUSCH ARE LIKELY CONTENDERS FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR. WHEN YOU SEE THE FIGHTING BACK AND FORTH, DO YOU SORT OF SMILE WHEN YOU SEE THE DISTRACTION THAT MIGHT CAUSE OTHER TEAMS? “At times, yes. I remember being here in the Chase and watching the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) and the No. 29 (Harvick) going at it. At that point in time, yes. But now, the championship implications haven’t crossed my mind because it’s so far from now; things seem to get rectified in 2 to 3 weeks. So I haven’t thought of it in that perspective. It was exciting seeing discussions about it in major newspapers and the social media world; it’s been everywhere. So you hate to see somebody potentially injured and the stuff on pit road is really the sore spot of all of it. But it was exciting. It gave us all a lot to talk about. If something like that happens in the Chase, It certainly will affect those two drivers there, but we’re too far away from it now.”

Gordon struggled throughout final practice at Dover
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE TIRES THAT GOODYEAR HAS THIS WEEKEND?: “Like I said, I did the tire test here. We pretty much knew this was the tire that we were going to be bringing here. This is the same tire we had here in the past. It’s a good tire. It lays a lot of rubber down — probably too much. If there was anything wrong with this tire, it just lays too much rubber down during the race. There will be some really slick spots where the rubber gets built up, especially on the exit of the corners. They’ve got a tough job. We showed up here for the tire test and they had a tire that they wanted to run here or at least try and it didn’t lay enough rubber down and it was wearing fairly aggressively. We put this tire on and it started laying the rubber down and then we went back to that other tire and that tire was perfect at that point. They really would have liked to have had that tire here, but somehow you have to get that first layer of rubber laid down on the track and then you can go to a little more aggressive tire and some different compounds and whatever other chemicals they put in there. I think that this was definitely the safest route and not a bad choice. We have a lot of history with this tire from racing on it before.”

HAVE YOU EVER CALLED ANYONE AFTER A RACE?: “In recent years I have because somebody started that and thought that was a good idea. Nobody had my phone number my first five or six years in this sport. Nobody had my phone number and I didn’t have their phone number so we didn’t call one another. Nowadays it seems like everybody has their own — of course everybody has Twitter so you can reach out to them on Twitter these days. All of the sudden, I get in a wreck with somebody and all of the sudden they’re calling me and I don’t know the number and I check my voicemail and it’s somebody that says, ‘Oh, I got your number from such and such through such and such through such and such and wanted to give you a call.’ It’s not a bad idea to reach out to them, but I just am one that I don’t expect, I don’t take the call, I don’t call them back and I don’t do that, I don’t call guys. I will tell you the only guy that I really reached out to and called was Martin Truex Jr. and that’s because I completely screwed that up. At Sonoma, I just made a bonehead, bad move watching my mirror because Juan Pablo (Montoya) was making a diving move in on me and I ran over the top of him. I felt really bad about that. I called him. But if it’s a racing incident and we’re racing hard or whatever something happens, I don’t call them.”

Junior looking to bounce back after two tough weeks
DOES THE SEAMS IN A CONCRETE TRACK AFFECT YOU ON THE TRACK? “The concrete is a little bit chalky and dusty when you get on it when it is early in the weekend. Our hot tires pick the rubber back up off the concrete, more so than the asphalt. Of course you never know, asphalt being as dark as it is, it’s hard to tell. It is just not a real good race track surface in my opinion. It lasts a long long time but it gets rough. It’s just not the preferred surface for building a race track. They [seams or joints] don’t mess you up; they just become annoying and rough. The concrete gets real rough as it cures over time. It becomes very rough.”

ARE YOU MORE CONFIDENT COMING IN TO DOVER THIS SEASON? “I feel good this weekend. We’ll just see how practice goes and just try to work real hard. No reason why we shouldn’t run good this weekend. Been running good every weekend. So, I feel pretty confident that we will keep up at least our current performance; hopefully better.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS A GOOD RUN HERE IN YOUR MIND TO REBOUND FROM RICHMOND AND DARLINGTON? “It upsets you. As soon as Richmond was over, I couldn’t wait to get to the race track and do something good to rebound from what happened there. We just sort of didn’t do that. Just made another mistake and cost ourselves…we’ve cost ourselves about 20 points in the last several weeks. That is kind of frustrating but you try to put that behind you. Try not to let it affect you to where you keep making mistakes.”

Busch was peppered with questions after being quiet much of the week
How has your week been heading into Dover? “We’re definitely looking forward to getting back to racing. Getting on the race track here yesterday was nice with the Truck Series. Our Traxxas Tundra was pretty good. Looking forward to tonight’s race and being able to get on the race track this weekend in all three series is going to be fun, too. Had a great opportunity here last year to sweep the weekend. We did end up winning the Nationwide and the Cup Series race. Unfortunately, we had a fuel problem with the trucks. Feel like that’s resolved and best case scenario will be to come back and try to sweep it again this year.”

Do you feel like you have a clear understanding of the NASCAR rules? “I do. I understand it perfectly actually. It’s the ‘boys have at it,’ that happens out on the race track and it seems like they allow us to police ourselves pretty simply out there. When matters get taken into the drivers hands or anything else onto pit road, where innocent bystanders can be injured or something , NASCAR is going to step in and they’re going to intervene and they’re going to set penalties the way that they feel need to be levied. To me, it’s not a gray area, it’s pretty simple, it’s black and white. I’m not focused in all that really or what penalties should be during what circumstances because I’m a racer and I know that going out there on the race track and trying to win is the utmost thing. If you do that, then you certainly shouldn’t be getting in any brawls or anything like that.”

Where was your team following the incident at Darlington? “To be honest with you, I don’t know if they were aware of the antics. I had already unplugged my radio, so I don’t know what was going on over the radio, but we were pitted down in pit stall three or four or something like that last week. I do know that it was an awfully long way to haul, if you ask me. As I did turn in to the garage area after what happened down on the end of pit road, I did see some guys coming from that way. They were behind the pit wall, they weren’t out on pit road. When I turned into the garage area, some of them were turning in with me and following the car. When I got back to the truck, there were about four or five at the truck. They were where they were supposed to be, I will say that.”

Busch: "Two faces of Kevin Harvick"
Do you think hitting Kevin Harvick in the quarter panel during the race meant you were ‘throwing the gloves down? “Apparently he’s watching too much hockey. That’s what you do in your own time during the week I guess. To me, I did have a left rear tire flat and I wasn’t sure that if I turned too hard to the right to stay off of him or to get away from him that the car would actually spin out the wrong way — my car would. Believe that for what it’s worth. I believe there’s some in car cameras you can see and I did have to come to pit road during that caution period to change left side tires because they were flat.”

Why do you and Kevin Harvick not get along? “As far as us getting along, I’m not sure that we ever really did. I think he (Kevin Harvick) tried and that’s why at Homestead I kind of talked about the two faces of Kevin Harvick. I still believe that’s out there. He’ll talk to you to your face like your best friends, but then behind closed doors or him at home or whatever, he has the utmost disrespectful thoughts or whatever else. That’s all — I don’t care. I’m going on with my own business.”

What makes you so good at Dover? “I love this place. It’s fun to come here. I came here when I was 18 to race in the Nationwide Series for my first time. It will scare you the first time you come here. You carry so much speed at this race track and for it to me a mile in length and for it to be concrete — concrete surfaces that we race on anyway are a little bit slick. This place here is fun. It’s definitely a roller coaster ride and you need to treat it like it’s fun and not to be scared of the place I think because you can get so much out of this place. There’s two ways of it — you can probably be really, really good here or really, really bad here. Some days you’re going to be better than others obviously with how you can get your car setup compared to the competition. For me, just getting to race here in the Trucks and the Nationwide cars and the Sprint Cup cars — to me, it gives me a little more experience on the race track. It helps me understand a little bit more about how the rubber gets laid down during the race and what all is going to happen and how the different cars might handle.”

Is there anything you want to clarify about your actions last week? “No, I don’t feel like I’m lying about anything because there’s video cameras and what is it, 85 video cameras around the race track that will pretty much simplify or backup anything that you’re saying. Not lying about anything. The only thing I will say I guess is that I’m sorry I came off of turn two on the flat trying to give Kevin (Harvick) room and maybe I slid a little too far and I got into him first. Maybe that’s what initiated everything. I apologize about that. It wasn’t my intentions to get into him and then have everything go down the way it went down. I was just trying to race the final five laps as hard as I could, as clean as I could to get the best finish we could. We shouldn’t have been back in that situation anyways, but we did have pit road — a loose wheel and problems on pit road that we had to rebound from and come back from.”

Busch says he's never got along with Harvick
Do you need to do anything different to take care of yourself? “I think it’s in my sponsors best interest and in my team owner’s best interest that we are not fighters and that we’re respectful competitors and we’re out here to do our job on the race track and race as best as we can, as hard as we can and as clean as we can. Sometimes as clean as you can, you might rub fenders with somebody or something like that. When it becomes from getting disrespected as bad as you have from one particular guy, at some point you finally say you’ve had enough and I feel like I did stick up for myself on the race track. Apparently there was more than on the race track afterwards.”

Do you not want there to be rules on the race track? “The rules part — there doesn’t need to be any clarification as far as the rules go. The on the race track stuff, I don’t know that it really means much difference when somebody spins you out from behind on the straightaway at Homestead going 170 mph into the inside wall and ended up in a ball of flames — that’s any different from spinning somebody out down the frontstretch at Darlington at 170 mph. I don’t see any difference there. I think it was just two ways maybe of going at it. It’s just the way the cards were dealt at that particular moment.”

Do you like Kevin Harvick? “I don’t know. I’ve never gotten along with the guy. I don’t know that he (Kevin Harvick) really ever got along with my brother either. I think there’s something beyond from his past growing’s up maybe and racing with Kurt (Busch) that I don’t know and I was just kind of thrown in that I was never really liked. I don’t know.”

Do you agree that NASCAR probation does not change the way you race between the flags? “I think the focus of probation is between the two of us — it’s between the situation. If I was out there on the race track — say racing for fourth or fifth-place or something like that, and I got loose and I got into Jimmie Johnson or somebody like that and I spun them out and wrecked them. That has no consequences to the probation. If I’m out there racing hard and trying to pass Kevin (Harvick) for instance or something, and I feel like he’s blocking me and I spin him out and wreck him. There’s going to be consequences to that. That’s how I see it. And, of course, to anything happening off the race track or something like that. That’s also what it relates to. But as far as on the race track goes, good, clean, hard competition — somebody making a mistake, something like that, it doesn’t mean anything.”

Does your sponsor ever get involved with how you handle NASCAR probation? “They do get involved. I’m going to say sometimes they do. And, in this case, yes they were involved a little bit. More so they’re involved in what the repercussions were going to be of what happened and transpired after the race. They knew what the situation was. They knew how it was outlined. They knew I didn’t have reverse and all that. So, they knew I was limited in my choices there on pit road. To say that they’re selling less M&M’s or to say that they’re unhappy with the situation — I would have to disagree with that and I feel like they stood behind me the most they ever stood behind me and this act, actually. I appreciate their support. They stood behind me because I kept my head, I kept my cool and I stayed in my race car and knew that that was my best place to be and the best situation for what was going to come of anything. They were behind me 100 percent which I appreciate and I thank them.”

Does the incident that occurred at Darlington bring more visibility to the sport? “I don’t know to be honest with you. That would be a good question for the media staff at NASCAR or maybe even (Mike) Helton — I don’t know. To me, I would say that there was certainly attention drawn to the sport the last couple of weeks with the 42 (Juan Pablo Montoya) and the 39 (Ryan Newman) — and then last week with us. There should also be a lot of attention drawn to the sport with Regan Smith and his win and him winning his first race in NASCAR at the Southern 500, and getting his name locked into the All-Star race coming up next week. That was definitely really cool. All of us racers will say that was the bigger story, but some others will disagree with us. To be honest with you, to me I’m more about out on the race track and being able to race and being able to have fun racing, and doing what I was raised to do and doing what I love to do and ultimately trying to get to victory lane and winning some races. Hopefully, we have a shot at three of them here this weekend.”

Harvick spent Thursday Tweeting to his fans
TALK TO US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR WEEK COMING INTO DOVER. “Yeah, I’ve had a pretty calm week actually. Played golf a few times and just relaxed. Pretty normal week.”

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE UPCOMING ALL-STAR RACE, ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT GOING INTO CHARLOTTE NEXT WEEK? “Yeah, the All-Star week is always a lot of fun. The crew guys are a big part of All-Star weekend with all the pit stop competitions and their a big part of the race so it’s an important week for us just to kind of see what we have to head to the 600 with and really evaluate the performance of the race car on the race track a week before the race. It’s a fun week and a lot of money on the line. I guess it’s a really good paying test session but it’s a lot of fun too.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE MEETING YOU HAD YESTERDAY AND TONY STEWART MADE A COMMENT THAT MAYBE THEY SHOULD OUTLINE THE RULES MORE SPECIFICALLY ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU GUYS CAN HAVE AT IT? “Well I mean the meeting was just basically NASCAR explaining how probation works and how we need to stay away from everybody basically and each other. So that was basically the jest of the meeting. I think as far as you talk about the Tony Stewart comment, I think for me it’s definitely to the point where it’s a little bit confusing with how it all works. I think when you look at the boys have it theme, it’s obviously changing as we go through the process. I think when you go back and you look at the very first major incident that you saw on the race track, I guess it would be Carl (Edwards) and (Brad) Keselowski in Atlanta and you saw the car go upside down. Carl was parked for hooking him in the right rear quarter panel and then it happened again and you see a lot of people coming out of the pits and retaliating and sometimes it’s a one-lap penalty and sometimes you are parked for the race and sometimes you look at the Keselowski and Hamlin thing at Homestead so there’s a lot of different things happening. I understand that it’s evolving but from a drivers standpoint you don’t really 100 percent understand how it works. Last week they stressed a lot to me that the penalties were for pit road violations after the race and the jeopardy that it put everybody in after the race and I understand that part. Yesterday it was all about being on probation and on the race track. So just a little bit confused about that. Nobody really had any clarification as to what we were supposed to do and not supposed to do other than we are on probation for four weeks and now it’s a penalty on the race track. I don’t really know if it was a penalty for the race track because we saw the same right-rear hook and obviously there was a lot that led up to that lap. I felt that Kyle (Busch) got into my door. I ran him down on the back straightaway. I got into him in (turn) three and we got three wide. Yesterday Kyle’s explanation was he had a flat tire and hooked me on the straightaway. It’s kind of one lie after the other and you see everything that happened after the race and for me the way that I was brought up and taught to race, when you hook somebody in the right-rear quarter panel that’s the equivalent of throwing your gloves off in hockey. That’s the point where everybody has reached the boiling point and basically the only answer I get out of Kyle is I’m a race car driver not a fighter but if you drive like that you’re gonna have to learn how to take care of yourself. It’s just a lot that went through the mind and for me it’s done and over with and we’ll move on. Just a lot of questions I think more than answers were a part of this week.”

HOW SPECIFIC DO YOU WANT IT TO BE? “Well, there just has to be consistency. I can race either way. We can flip each other over. I don’t mind wrecking. I don’t mind getting wrecked. I don’t mind eye for an eye. I don’t mind any of that but just tell me what the rules are. Explain to me what the penalty is if you are going to hook somebody in the middle of the straightaway, if you are going to spin them out, if you are going to retaliate, what is the penalty? Tell me what the penalty is. A consistent answer.”

Harvick likes to enforce, but doesn't like when he gets it. 
KYLE CALLED YOUR RACING UNCALLED FOR AND UNEXCEPTABLE, IS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU THOUGHT YOU DID LAST WEEK THAT FITS THAT DEFINITION AND HOW DO YOU RACE HIM GOING FORWARD? “Well I think when you look – after I got the I hooked you after I got a flat tire comment yesterday, the incident started off of turn two. We came off of turn two, I was driving straight behind the car in front of me. We can talk about being three feet off the wall or whatever, but I was directly behind the car in front of me coming up off the corner and at the time I didn’t even know it was the No. 18. The car hit me in the door and as soon as he hit me in the door I drove it to the left, we got to the other end, I let it go and ran into the back of him and ran him up the race track, took the position back. At that moment we got three wide and there wasn’t really a lot of room and things happened and he hooked me on the straightaway. Look the wrecking doesn’t bother me but the only thing that bothers me is the right-rear quarter panel because in my mind I know what that means. I don’t mind getting wrecked back. If you think it’s a payback for Homestead that’s fine. Those parts don’t bother me, I understand how it all works but when you throw them off its time to handle it.”

Harvick likes to Bully drivers, which is kind of cool.
A LOT WAS TALKED ABOUT THAT THE PENALTIES WERE SUPPOSEDLY FOR WHAT TRANSPIRED AFTER THE RACE, BUT IS THAT REALLY FAIR ON THE DRIVERS PART BECAUSE AREN’T THE THINGS THAT LEAD UP TO WHAT TAKE PLACE AFTER THE RACE A DIRECT RESULT OF WHAT HAPPENS IN THE RACE. CAN YOU JUST TALK ABOUT HOW DIFFICULT IT IS? “For me I didn’t use my car as a ram or dry to make a point with running into somebody on the race track or knocking them out of the way after the race, I didn’t do any of that stuff after the race. I wanted to handle it so that the guys didn’t have to do more work than they already did. The bottom line is I know there are changes this week with the officials and how they are going to approach things after the race, but I mean there was a split screen on TV, there were no NASCAR officials in sight and they got what they wanted and in the end you suffer the penalty for what it’s supposed to be on pit road but has carried over to the race track now when it was stressed to me in the hauler after the race and when I received my penalty on Tuesday it was stressed to me it was for the pit road. So it just doesn’t make sense to me. But it is what it is. It’s not like I can do anything about it. I’m not complaining about it, I just want to understand it. I don’t understand it. I’m not going to lose sleep over it. I’m going to move forward and it’s done and over with. I don’t want to be the nice guy that has to understand why the penalties are ramping up like they used to be.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT DOVER A LITTLE BIT AND THE CHALLENGES IT PRESENTS TO YOU AND YOUR RACE TEAM? “I think for us, as a driver it’s a fun race track because you can be really, really aggressive as far as how you drive the track and how you charge the corners and how you do things. It’s a track where you have to be able to stay in the throttle up off the corner to keep your car from pushing, but you have to keep the forward drive underneath the car. So it’s a challenging race track to drive fast and when you’re off you’re in the way so there’s really no place you can hide here.”

WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT WANTING TO UNDERSTAND, DO YOU FEEL LIKE NASCAR NEEDS TO GO MORE BLACK AND WHITE LIKE IN OTHER SPORTS? “It can’t be for a certain circumstance and how you wake up in the morning as to how you think it needs to be treated. There has to be some guidelines on where it all is. You here the upper brass talk about wanting to do things more like the NFL or this or that, but you have to be consistent in order to do that.”

Harvick may disagree with the kid


THE COCA-COLA 600, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE LENGTH OF THAT RACE, HOW MUCH YOU HAVE TO ADJUST THE RACE CAR THROUGHOUT THE RACE GOING FROM AFTERNOON TO NIGHT, ANYTHING THAT REALLY RELATES TO HOW LONG THAT RACE IS AND HOW MUCH TIME YOU HAVE TO WORK ON YOUR RACE CAR, OR HOW MUCH TIME YOU MAY HAVE TO DIAL YOUR RACE CAR OUT IF YOU’RE GOOD AT THE START? “You can definitely do it either way. You can make it better or you can dial yourself way out. I’ve been a part of that race several times where you start the race really good and by the times its dark you are in big trouble. So you definitely have to have some past history as far as what the race track does and that’s one reason why the All-Star race is so important. Just for the fact that everything you do in that race is at night and the 600 is going to end at night so you kind of have to take what happens at the All-Star race and then what you do in the day time practices and mix those two together and rely on a lot of past notes and things to try to have a set up that’s adjustable. And you have to make a lot of adjustments during the race just out of past theories and past experiences. If your car is not doing something and its getting dark rapidly you are going to have to make a change on the fly without your car doing something. You are just going to have to trust it’s the right change and just make it if the time is right as far as the sun going down and when the darkness is coming.”

DESPITE THE FACT HAT YOU GUYS ARE ON PROBATION SHOULDN’T THERE BE A DISCONSATION FOR THE ALL-STAR RACE SINCE THAT’S THE ULTIMATE BOYS HAVE IT EVENT? “You know that’s a question that Mike Helton or somebody will have to answer. I don’t have the answer to that as far as what the rules are for that race. I don’t have the answer for that.”

HOW DO YOU RACE KYLE BUSCH GOING FORWARD AND DOES THIS ALSO IMPACT HOW YOU RACE EVERYBODY ELSE. “It definitely affects how you race for the next four weeks. We got the ultimatum yesterday of the explanation of how probation worked and how NASCAR expected us to race on the race track was put to us very clear yesterday. I think the way that the next four weeks go was basically dictated to us yesterday in the NASCAR trailer.”

CAN YOU GIVE US THE READER’S DIGEST VERSION OF HOW PROBATION WORKS? ALSO CAN YOU ADDRESS THE FACT THAT WHY THE NO. 29 TEAM CAME OUT TO DEFEND YOU THE 18 TEAM WAS NO WHERE IN SIGHT TO BACK UP THEIR DRIVER? “Obviously I’ve got a bunch of guys that are just a great bunch of guys. We all get along. We all have the same approach to how we like to see things, what we think is fair and what we think is not fair. There isn’t a guy on that team that wouldn’t lay under a bus for the next guy. That really happened last year as we went through the year. It’s something that you just don’t find very often and this is a bunch of guys that I consider friends and I think they consider themselves all friends. Them running up pit road is not a surprise to me. I think they would back me whether I was right or wrong, they are going to back me up and I will do the same for them. That’s the great part about our team. The No. 18 team not backing him up, I mean when you don’t have a backbone how do you back someone up?”

JPM isn't even immune to wrath
DOVER, CHARLOTTE, KANSAS, THE NEXT THREE RACES ARE ALL THREE RACES THAT ARE IN THE CHASE, YOU’RE NOT LOCKED IN BUT YOUR PROBABLY AS COMFORTABLE OR MORE COMFORTABLE THAN ANYONE ELSE WITH THE WINS AND YOUR STANDING IN THE POINTS, HOW DO YOU APPROACH THESE THREE RACES? “I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. I think over the past few weeks we’ve been able to try things that we wouldn’t have tried in the past. We struck out at Richmond on what we tried. I think Darlington was a huge success for us as far as the way the race track performance was and hopefully that bleeds over into Charlotte. This week is a little bit different than some of the race tracks because of the type of race track that you are racing on. These are important weeks. Dover is in the Chase, Charlotte is in the Chase, just to kind of zero in on what exactly you need when it comes time toward the end of the year. So we’re shooting for better set-ups and more wins. That’s basically where we are at right now points wise.”

NASCAR YESTERDAY SEEMED TO SAY THAT IF ONE PERSON REALLY PRESSES THE ISSUE THAT’S ITS MORE COMPLICATED THAN BEING ABLE TO LINE UP A MENU OF PENALTIES AND THAT IS ONE PERSON REALLY PUSHES IT, IT WOULD KIND OF BE DETRIMENTALTO THE SPORT TO HAVE EVERYTHING LAID OUT IN FRONT OF YOU, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? “I have a lot of experience of this in the past so I’ll reference the past, as things ramp up and you get in trouble the first time it’s best to just not get in trouble again because you’re gonna be the poster child to either change this process to make it more clear and see the fines ramp back up or you’re going to be the guy that shows it’s not really going to change. I just don’t think for us it’s not going to be the smartest thing in the world to be that next guy. I don’t know if you are referring to, are you referring to me or the No. 42 and No. 39, I don’t know which one you are referring to but there are just a lot of different elements to the whole thing that are happening right now that are confusing to the drivers.”

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