Found April 06, 2013 on Start 'N' Park Blog:
BRIAN VICKERS, No. 55 Jet Edge Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing | Starting Position: 3rd How was your lap? “I don’t know that I did. I don’t know that I didn’t, but I don’t know that I did. You’re kind of scratching your head like, ’Man, could I have got a little more out of it?’ It’s so tight here at Martinsville. It’s such a great race track. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s difficult. And this is a good looking car. We’ve got Jet Edge on it this weekend. I like that light blue, it’s kind of like that Carolina blue. I don’t know if I made fans or lost fans, but I don’t really watch basketball. I just race. I’m just really proud of the guys. They did a good job — everyone on the 55 crew. They made some good changes and maybe we left a little bit out there or maybe we got all of it. I don’t know. It’s all so tight it’s hard to say.” How challenging is it for you to run a limited schedule in this car? “It’s a challenge, but to be honest with you these guys and everybody at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) makes it a lot easier for me, that’s for sure. Having a good partner with Mark (Martin) and Michael (Waltrip) in the car every week and a little bit of a mentorship as well definitely makes the whole process a lot easier.” Are you happy with your starting position? “It was two spots not good enough, but it was good. Going into it I felt like we were a change or two away from a shot at the pole and then after the run I felt that we were a change away from the pole. Rodney (Childers, crew chief) and I talked and we were thinking maybe, well you know, maybe that would be a fifth or seventh or something like that and low and behold it was a top-three so that’s good. I think maybe the track didn’t pick up as much as we thought it would. I think that we had a good car and I told Rodney, I was like, ‘I’m not sure if I left a little bit out there.’ It was one of those things where we were a little bit loose and I told him, I was like, ‘Yeah, I might could have got into the gas a little bit harder, but it might have broke loose, but I don’t know.’ But, more than anything I have to say that the guys did a great job. They make me look good and it makes it easy to come here and Rodney (Childers, crew chief) just made good adjustments all day. Showed up with a good car and just made it better. We’re happy to have Jet Edge on the car this weekend. It’s a beautiful car with that light blue. The one thing I would like to say — I mentioned it in my other interviews as well — I would like to just say something to my best friend Ryan. His brother passed away last weekend and today is the service and I really wish I could be there.” Are the fast qualifying speeds a result of the new car? “That’s a good question I didn’t know that. That’s a pretty good lap then. I guess I’m one of them, right? Obviously I think the car is better having the rear camber and a couple of other things a little bit more downforce. These engines just keep getting better and better. It’s just amazing what they’re doing with the foundation technology that these engines are. I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. I think it’s the car, engine, they brought a new tire here. I don’t know if the tire is better. I mean it’s a good tire. I don’t know if it has more or less grip than last year — probably the same. They think it’s the same, but maybe it’s not. More than likely it’s the car and a little bit of engine is what I would suspect. Mostly car.” MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Home Depot/Husky Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing | Starting Position: 8th How was your qualifying lap? “It was good — this is usually one of our weaker places so it’s nice to have a decent place to start. Hopefully, in race trim we can get it how we want it tomorrow and race good. There’s been times we’ve raced well here and qualified bad and times we’ve qualified pretty good and raced really bad. Hopefully we can find a nice balance for the race. Those were great changes — that was by far our best lap of the day. It was really all these guys that made it happen and made some good changes. They got it good for me.” Were you able to get some tips from Denny Hamlin about getting around Martinsville? “I had a few things that were actually very helpful — it’s nice to have him (Denny Hamlin) here and it’s nice to be able to look over stuff that he does and pick his brain a little bit as well as Kyle (Busch). Kyle is no slouch here either. Them guys both — between the two of them they run really good everywhere so it’s been really helpful to be able to lean on them guys and talk to them and look at some of the stuff they do. That’s helped me a lot.” KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing | Starting Position: 11th How was your qualifying lap? “That wasn’t the lap we were looking for with our M&M’s Toyota. I think we have a good car in race trim, and we have two practices tomorrow to make it even better. The thing at Martinsville is that you just have to have the circumstances go your way. We’ll make the best of our starting spot, and hopefully on Sunday we’ll be right there at the end of the race and have a shot to win.” MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing | Starting Position: 12th How was your car during qualifying? “It was a good pick-up from practice. We’ve been fighting a tight handling NAPA Toyota all day in qualifying trim. We definitely made progress there. We just didn’t go far enough. Hopefully it will be a decent starting spot on Sunday. My NAPA Toyota seems to have good speed in race trim. We’ll get it dialed in tomorrow and go racing.” CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 RK Motors Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing | Starting Position: 15th How was your qualifying lap? “It didn’t work out as well as I would have like. We were just too loose all the way around. I knew when I was loose in practice that I’d probably be loose in qualifying, but I don’t think I realized just how much it would change. We’ll be fine. We’ll get it figured out and be ready for Sunday.” Is your race car as good as the car you brought here last year in race trim? “Yeah, I think it’s every bit as good. I’ve really come to like this place. It’s right up the road from my house so it’s close. You can drive up here and enjoy a nice drive through the countryside. Just the racing itself — being able to root and gouge and sometimes beat and bang on each other. That didn’t work out too good for me last time in the spring race last year when I was here. Hopefully I’ll learn from those mistakes and put it to good use.” BOBBY LABONTE, No. 47 Bush’s Beans Toyota Camry, JTG-Daugherty Racing | Starting Position: 31st Does the new race car feel different on the race track here at Martinsville? “It seems like a little faster to me. It feels like it’s faster. It’s a little bit lighter, obviously, and the tire is a little bit different. It seemed like the corner speeds are a little bit quicker and getting on the gas a little bit easier.” MARK MARTIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing | Starting Position: 35th How did the race car handle in practice? “So far I haven’t really gotten comfortable yet. It’s pretty different, and the way Denny (Hamlin) runs here is quite different than my style. We’ll have a lot more time tomorrow. We’re working on getting it to feel like I need it to feel.” What was the difference in the feel of the race car? “I don’t know. We just drug the race track so bad. The start of practice the front drug the race track so bad it was unbelievable. We’ve got to get that better. Tomorrow Darian (Grubb, crew chief) and the guys will get a chance to try to get it to feel like that in race trim.”

Opportunities differ for Martin, Vickers in No. 11

The drivers replacing the injured Denny Hamlin view their opportunities differently. Mark Martin hopes jumping in Hamlin's No. 11 Toyota at Martinsville Speedway this weekend provides a chance to change his career of disappointment on the shortest, trickiest oval in NASCAR's top series. Hamlin has won four times in 15 starts at Martinsville. Martin has won twice in 48 starts...

Vickers Excited For Opportunities At Martinsville And Beyond

Brian Vickers has been working on a Sprint Cup Series return for the past year and a half. That quest got a boost this past week when he was announced as the replacement driver for Denny Hamlin. Hamlin is recovering from injuries sustained during the last lap of the Auto Club 400 from the Auto Club Speedway. Vickers has already been lined up to run a partial Sprint Cup Series with...
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