Denny Hamlin used Twitter after last weekend’s race at Chicagoland Speedway to declare that he would win this weekend at New Hampshire. I was shocked to see it as I thought he never used Twitter anymore after NASCAR secretly fined him for not so NASCAR friendly Tweets before. It was not too much of a bold move based off of how he ran the first time around where he dominated, but finished second after a pit road miscommunication. As mentioned, he was the talk of the town Friday at New Hampshire, below are the various takes by drivers about his coment.
Jimmie Johnson on whether he’s come into a weekend thinking he would win: “I don’t know. I haven’t yet. In a team atmosphere and getting your guys fired up and living the moment and emotions rolling. I’m not against the statement. You certainly put yourself out on a limb if it doesn’t happen and draw a lot of attention to yourself during the weekend. If you back it up you are going to look like a super hero.”
Johnson continued with why Hamlin could say something like that: “Yeah he was really strong here in July. In my mind I’ve kind of put him down as the favorite and I know that we were awfully strong too. We had I think an issue with … what happened… there was something happened and we lost track position with a caution coming out and we pitted or something, but I feel like we will be up there in the mix. We keep getting top three’s in this stage of the game and I will be really happy.”
Matt Kenseth on whether he’s done anything like that before in his career: “No, not at all. That works really good for some people and not as good for others. I’m one of those guys that really doesn’t like to make predictions, especially winning ones, because you either say, ‘Oh, OK he said that,’ or else it’s disappointment, so I’ve never been like that. Some people are like that and it works out really well for them, it builds confidence and all that. I’ve just never been like that. I like to try to do it first or else I just end up disappointed.”
Does Dale Earnhardt, Jr. consider such a move too bold? “I don’t think it is too bold because of how he competed here the race before. I think he had an outstanding race car. Should have won the race had they made a little different strategy at the end. I feel like he has…I can understand the confidence from that statement because of how he ran. It doesn’t surprise me.”
Tony Stewart’s take on whether it’s a driver’s job to rally the crew to pump them up: “I don’t know that it’s a driver’s job to do that, but it’s nice. He wouldn’t say that if he didn’t have the confidence to go with it. He’s not a guy that just, he doesn’t just say stuff like that unless he feels confident about it. We will see what happens. There are 42 other guys that are going to try to keep him from doing that this weekend though.”
Jeff Gordon on the bold statements, is it so bold? “He’s backing it up so far, right now we’re all racing for second based on what I saw in practice. That’s why we race.”
Would Gordon ever done this? “Not to the public, no. I’ve said it to myself. I called Steve Letarte onetime years ago and told him before Sonoma that we were going to win the race and that day we did, but that’s the only time I can ever remember doing that.”