A Q&A with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship-contending auto manufacturers
Each of NASCAR’s three manufacturers is convinced that it has a driver who can win it all on Sunday, when performance in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET on ESPN) will determine the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.
Saturday afternoon at Homestead-Miami Speedway, each manufacturer’s top racing executive explained what separates their brand’s driver(s) from the pack and why that driver is so likely to bring the title their way.
J. David Wilson, president and general manager of Toyota Racing Development on Denny Hamlin: “Denny is comfortable and confident – quietly confident I would say. The fact that he has won here twice in the past five years and the fact that he’s the reigning Homestead (race) champion gives him just what he needs to do the job on Sunday. He’s been here before.”
Jim Campbell, General Motors vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports on Kevin Harvick: “Kevin Harvick is focused. He’s mentally tough. He’s a leader from the cockpit of the car and when I think about the last time Stewart-Haas won the championship with Tony (Stewart) in 2011, Tony was focused, mentally tough and led from the cockpit.”
Campbell on Ryan Newman: “Ryan Newman just keeps coming – just keeps getting stronger race after race. That team has gotten in great rhythm and stronger every single week. They have momentum. They haven’t won a race yet (this year) but they’re charging.”
Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing, on Joey Logano: “It’s Todd (crew chief Gordon). It’s Penske. It’s Ford. When you put that ensemble together, this has been an absolute standout season: Five wins for Joey, six wins for Brad (teammate Keselowski), 11 wins for Penske. Now, with Joey in the final race, he’s laser-focused. Joey Logano, when he came to the sport, he was billed as a phenom. Indeed, he is that now. He’s got the talent and, with the team around him, he’s driven to succeed.”