|William Byron is as high as 18/1 to win at Charlotte.|
“I think a little bit of both. Yeah, I’m used to seeing fans the last couple of weeks. So, it’s not going to be that different. But I think Charlotte, they always do it a little bit bigger and better, so I feel like it’s probably going to be bigger and better than the last few weeks. It’s probably going to be pretty crowded. I think it’s going to be a different experience and just going to have to stay focused on my end just to continue doing what we’ve been doing, which is staying focused and performing and not listening to the noise too much. That’s our biggest focus.”
WHAT’S THE DYNAMIC LIKE AT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS NOW WITH ALL FOUR CARS RUNNING REALLY WELL AND HOW IS THAT DIFFERENT FROM YEARS PAST?
“I think there’s just more confidence. I think we’re not searching as much like on what to do. There are less questions going into the race weekend of what the car needs and what we need from a downforce or an aero standpoint, or set-up wise. So, there’s a lot less questions. There is still the desire to perform. It’s always been there. I feel like the desire for us on the No. 24 is higher than ever because we feel like we’re really close. So we’ve just got to work a little bit better on some things, but we’re really close to another win.”
YOU’VE STARTED A PAIR OF RACES AT CHARLOTTE ON THE POLE BUT HAVEN’T FOUND THE SUCCESS MAYBE YOU HOPED FOR. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO CHANGE THINGS TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN THIS WEEKEND?
“I think just focus on the race car and what the race car needs as the runs go on and as the race goes on. I’m going to do a lot of studying and prep this week on figuring out what the trends are with the race track and what some of the guys that have been successful there, our teammates, have done better than us. I’ll say that’s my goal this week is just to learn some of those little details that might pay off as the race gets longer and gets toward the end. Like you said, I’ve run really well at Charlotte. I know how to go fast there. So, I don’t have to worry about that. But I just have to focus on what my race car needs to do throughout so I don’t fall off at the end.”
THE COKE 600 IS 100 MILES LONGER THAN WE’RE USED TO RUNNING. AS A DRIVER, DO YOU FEEL THAT IN THE RACE?
“Yeah, I think if you’re not running well, for sure. But if you’re running well, the race feels really short and you kind of feel like you’re always trying to get ahead of the next adjustment and trying to get ahead of whoever you’re racing against to try to get that track position and try to win the race. Yeah, I think it is definitely a challenge to keep up with the race track and to stay focused for all 400 miles. The preparation during the week is really critical because you can easily get behind and it can feel like a really long race like you said. But if you’re prepared and your race car is driving well then it’s fine.”
ONE OF THE THINGS THAT COMES FOR WINNING THE 600 IS A RESTORED VINTAGE COKE VENDING MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?
“Yeah, I think it would be great. I don’t discriminate trophies. Any of them are good (laughs). So, I don’t feel like any trophy I have is a bad one. But I love all the glitz and glamour that comes with winning the 600. It would be awesome, I’m sure.”