You smelled victory last week and you're coming to a place where you've experienced it many times…what is your outlook for Martinsville?
“I'm just excited to come back to the track where we run so well at. When I look at the last two weeks and the fact that we were in the hunt for both wins says a lot about the team and the progress we're making. I'm excited about where we're at. I wish we had two wins under our belt right now and we're talking about a hopeful third this weekend, but we've climbed up a lot in the points.
“That's really one of our first goals after Daytona and then we had some troubles there at Vegas and it just looks so daunting there in the points when you drop a lot; with the new points system, it's tough to make it up. I've very happy to be up in the top five and hopefully we can get some distance between us and 10th as time goes on here. We've been decent here the last couple of times. We need to be a little bit better to have a shot at winning and we're looking forward to doing that.”
One of the fascinating aspects of short-track racing is there seem to be one or two drivers over a period of time seem to master the track. Can you give any insight as to why what seems to be the opposite of the logical is the truth?
“Yeah, that's a good question. I think that it really boils down to the mental status of the driver. When you come to a track where you have a lot of success and you have a good car and a good baseline, it's easier to control emotions that you can work your way forward, you can pass people, and it's the setup you're looking for. And I think that works into a driver's favor during a race.
“I know when I come here, and if we don't qualify well, don't be in a big hurry. It's a long race. I know that I'll work my way into the top five. I know I can come down pit road and pick up some spots. So you're just a little bit more relaxed. At tracks where you struggle at, once you get track position or if you have track position at the start of the race, you're just defending and maybe in a different place mentally and chopping people, rubbing on people, and creating some issues that then lead to some DNFs.
“So I think a lot of it has to do with the mental status of it. Guys that like certain tracks typically can find a way by without making enemies; and then you're usually not in a position to defend and to make enemies then, as well.”
In your career, you've never been longer than 19 races without a win. You're at 13 now. Given the fact that you're so used to winning, do you get antsy when you get up to 10 or 12 races without going to victory lane?
“No, I don't think about it much, to be honest with you. Wins are all so special, even though we have 53 of them; every one of them is very special to me. So I don't really think of stretches. I do know that you get to a certain point where the questions start coming up and I think it's kind of funny that when it's 13, people have some concern that it's a long stretch.
“We've done a great job to put ourselves in that position, so I've got to look at the positive. But I feel like we're knocking on the door, so regardless of what the outcome is on Sunday, the last two weeks we've been a threat for the win. And if you're in that position consistently enough, you'll get your victories. I've always believed that.”