Is there more pressure to go out there and win at your hometown track than anywhere else?
“I used to put more stress on myself to win there, no doubt. I never knew if winning there would happen for me and it’s neat I’ve been able to win in all three series at Vegas. There is stress going into those events. For myself, I was able to get that done in 2009 there at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, to get into victory lane. That felt good. To be able to go back there years after and go out there and race, and not have to worry about the stress of winning that race, you still want to win. We want to win every single one of them. That’s a fact. Overall, when you come into your hometown, and we watched the track get built from nothing, it means that much more to you and it would be great if we could get back to victory lane this weekend with our M&M’S Camry. We were so close there in the spring and things just didn’t work out in our favor, unfortunately.”
Being from Las Vegas, is there always more pressure to perform when you’re at that racetrack?
“Yeah, certainly, you always want to do well. I’ve won that race before and just the huge sense of relief that kind of comes off your shoulders when you’re able to do that and win at your home track. It was pretty awesome. Kurt (Busch) was just able to finally get it done a few years ago, so that was really awesome to see. I remember mine. It’s been a long time. Back at that time, it felt like winning the Daytona 500. I hadn’t won as many big races as I have now, or won as often as I have now. So a lot of guys look at the Daytona 500, everybody puts extra emphasis on the Daytona 500 because it is our sport’s biggest race, right? Then you’ve got the guys who all go to their home tracks, and those guys put extra emphasis on their home track and they want to do well there. So it’s just kind of that same philosophy, I think.”
What does it mean to your family to race in Las Vegas again?
“It’s cool to be able to come back home and to have the notoriety, I guess, that we have now. When we went out there back in those days, there were many other drivers who were way bigger than us and way more popular than us. Now that we’ve been here for a while and those other drivers aren’t there anymore, we’ve kind of upped ourselves on the ladder of that and it’s cool. One of these days, hopefully, there might be a road out there named after us, or a grandstand or something of that nature. Don’t get too far ahead of yourselves because that just means I get closer to retirement if they start doing that, I guess.”
What was it like to bring home a Cup Series win in your hometown in 2009?
“It was cool. To go out there and to run a smooth race and to have a shot at winning at the end of the race, that’s what it’s all about. I watched Vegas being built from the ground up, and I remember when it wasn’t anything but a gleam in the eye of Richie Clyne (founder of Las Vegas Motor Speedway) – all those guys who made that place happen.”
What is your fondest racing memory of growing up in Las Vegas?
“My fondest racing memory is probably my first Late Model race. I started about eighth or 10th and ended up winning it. My first-ever start, I won. So that is definitely a great memory to have.”