Last time the Xfinity Series visited Darlington, you scored a solid third-place finish after running in the top-five all day. What are your expectations heading into this Labor Day weekend race?
“I think we learned a lot at Darlington last time and, hopefully, we can kind of fine-tune what we had so we can be right in the mix this weekend. The No. 00 Haas Automation team felt like we were solid when we went there last time, so it’s just a matter of making what we had even better. I feel like we’ve done that at every track that we’ve revisited this year, and I’m hoping we have the speed to contend for not only the pole and stage wins, but also the race win. It would be cool to get another trophy from Darlington and get that win as we head into the playoffs.”
Darlington is a beast of its own. How do you navigate such a difficult racetrack as you also try to go for the win?
“Darlington is definitely a challenge. Turn one, you just really have to weigh risk versus reward. You’re always wondering how far you can drive in without hitting the wall, going up the hill on exit to get the speed. It’s kind of nerve-racking there. Then, you’re up against the fence and, really, it just depends on your racecar if you have to run to the wall or run a lower lane. You’re always kind of edgy with the back of the car there, and then you’re waiting for turn two. You’re able to just drive off and that makes it a little bit easier. In turn three, you’re hard on the brakes, so then you wash up. You’re constantly modulating brakes and holding your breath that you don’t carry too much speed and hit the fence in the center of three and four. Finally, it’s always a really tight exit off of turn four to head back to the start-finish line. As a driver, this is one of the hardest places we go to.”
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