You go into the race weekend as a former winner at Texas. How much does that help when you go to a track where you are a former winner? How does it impact your confidence?
“It’s always a good confidence boost when you’re racing at a track you’ve won at before. It just brings this added level of ‘I can do this’ to your mentality that you can’t get from anywhere else. I think it showed a lot in my first start this season in Daytona, where I hopped in the car for the first time in almost a year and ended up getting to the front and fighting for the win before the night was over. I know Joe Gibbs Racing is going to bring me a fast Interstate Batteries Toyota GR Supra, so I’m excited to get out there and compete for my second Texas win.”
You have nine Xfinity Series starts and 17 Cup Series starts at Texas. What have you learned a little about what it takes to be successful at Texas?
“Texas is a unique track because you’d expect it to race like a traditional mile-and-a-half, but the surface makes it one-of-a-kind from the rest. You really have to understand what you want out of your car and work to have a setup that reflects it. With track position being so important, it becomes a battle of finding speed for qualifying and then, once the green flag drops, it becomes an all-out battle for track position. You have to be physical, know when it’s the time to give or to take, and you have to stay consistent as the race wears on.”
How exciting is it to be racing an Interstate Batteries car this weekend at Texas?
“It’s always exciting to race a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in their Xfinity program. I’ve won a couple of poles and led laps in those cars, so I’m going into the weekend knowing that we will have what we need to be successful. The Interstate Batteries car is legendary in our sport and it’s kind of surreal for me to say I’m getting to drive that car. It’s certainly an honor, and to be able to run that scheme at Texas – their home track – is even more special.”