What is the biggest challenge for you when racing at Phoenix?
Phoenix is very straightforward-looking, but the two ends are so different that it’s a big challenge to get your car working good, especially with the NextGen car having come around, and we are shifting a bit. It’s definitely a fun place and it’s been really racy there the last couple of years and I enjoy going there. We struggled there in the spring with the new aero package, but I think we figured out a ton over the summer and ran well at New Hampshire and some of the other flats track and think we should be strong this weekend with our Bass Pro Shops Toyota.”
Let’s say you are in the lead on the final restart at Phoenix. What’s going through your mind?
“I think just getting a good jump and getting through turns one and two. That dogleg breeds opportunities to cut the corner. If you can get to turn one with a little bit of a cushion, you are in generally good shape, so it’s all about the restart there to be able to maintain the lead and be able to bring it home.”
What kind of emotional roller coaster do you feel like you were on during these playoffs?
“You just try to keep your head on straight and go out and do your job through the highs and the lows. I think it just shows how tough this sport is. Anybody that races here and guys that have raced here that do the broadcasts, they’ll tell you. It’s this close, man. You find this little bit, and suddenly you look like a hero. Some other guys find some stuff, suddenly you’re not. We’ve been fast at times, but execution hasn’t been solid, hasn’t been consistent. We’ve had some bad luck. We’ve had a little bit of everything. Like I said, some years it feels like it’s your year, some years it feels like it’s not. I just feel we couldn’t do anything right and, when you get down to the final eight and the final four, you have can’t have anything go wrong.”