Denny Hamlin Cup Series Championship media center press conference transcript
DENNY HAMLIN: Obviously, there is disappointment, but there is just nothing – again, there is nothing else that I felt I could have done differently.
- You mentioned the pit stall, the whole story all week wasn’t a reason to focus too much on qualifying because the top 4 guys are going to get the top 4 pit stops. But Kyle Larson gets that first stand because he qualifies first. Is there any regret that you maybe should have focused more on?
DENNY HAMLIN: Not really, because I don’t think we would have qualified as fast as him anyway. These cars were just superior to ours for the second half of the year in all short-term aspects. So I don’t know if we would have been qualified differently.
- This is the third time in a row that you’ve been here, the fourth appearance in total. How can you get over that and not think, am I going to keep getting shot without winning the title?
DENNY HAMLIN: Well you think about it, and I think about it, that it’s a great opportunity. It’s the last generation of this car that I really liked over the past three years. We don’t know what the Next-Gen car brings. We don’t know if our team will be that good. Like there’s just a lot, a lot of question marks happening after that.
That’s why we put so much importance on trying to win, to win this year. But honestly, I couldn’t have done anything else. There is nothing else. I rode as hard as I could on each lap. I didn’t have the speed for the first 20. This was evident in a lot of the reboots we’ve had. It has in fact been overtaken in several. But that was all.
I have to live with the result because I cannot change it. Disappointed, absolutely, of course. But I knew that starting today I was going to need the race to go in a certain direction. If it goes like last year, it turns green, we’re probably winning.
But this is not the case. We knew our percentage was low, and it was. A lot of those races come down to green-white ladies or shootouts at the end, and that just wasn’t our strength and never has been.
- You kind of answered that question in your last answer, but how many more laps or at the end of this race did you feel the need to catch up? Did you think you would go if it was just longer?
DENNY HAMLIN: Yeah, I mean, with each turn we kept winding the 19 and 5 inches. I had to come back around the 9. Once we did that we just started hay forward. The position of the track means so much. It doesn’t matter, big spoiler, small spoiler. These cars have just delayed such a great wake. We no longer have the power before. 750 is probably down 150 from what we were before. So the position on the track, whatever the race track, is just a big deal.
You know kinda like when someone starts up again and checks the race late, it’s so hard. You’re going to need it to really make a huge mistake.
My team leader kept telling me how badly car 5 was behaving. You could see he was just plowing, but the clean air made up for any shortcomings in that setup.
- You said the race has to follow a certain path. When the warning went out right after Martin made his pit stop under the green flag, from that point on they stayed out and took the lead and you, I think, got out first on the pit route –
DENNY HAMLIN: Third.
- It seemed to change your fortunes for quite a while in the race. Was this the kind of situation you were looking for, or was it just –
DENNY HAMLIN: It was actually bad luck because we were going to go out first, but these guys were on the pit lane when the warning came up so they were able to ride in the lead with no laps on their tires so that actually went further than we expected. were.
We had just got off, we were passed – I don’t remember, we were right on the bumper of whoever was leading, on the 9th I think. So we were on the verge of sinking. We both entered turn 3 and the warning came out.
It kind of knocked over the top 4 guys.