DORAL, Fla (Nov. 12, 2014) – With just one race left to decide the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, the nerves and excitement are building quickly. The Championship Four drivers and their owners went to The Trump National Doral for NASCAR Media Day, which included a Q&A session with the racers and owners to talk about this Sunday’s big race.
Homestead-Miami Speedway has been the host to the Ford Championship Weekend since 2002, which has crowned champions in NASCAR’s top series for 13 consecutive years. This year is unlike any other however; it will be the home of the first-ever champion decided by the Championship Round. The debut of the new NASCAR playoff format means one thing to Kevin Harvick, driver of the No.4 Stewart-Haas Racing car: “the biggest key of this whole scenario is you’re not behind. You’re on even footing with the other three guys.”
The drivers were asked what the hardest part going to be to win this weekend in Homestead, Ryan Newman, driver of the No.31 Richard Childress Racing car, answered frankly, “Winning the race.” He continues with, “That’s the toughest part each and every week is winning the race. You win the race this weekend, you win the championship.”
Defending champion, Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing car, says that after suffering from the adversity of 2013 “it gave me a perspective of what it’s like to not be a part of this sport, and it allowed me to appreciate this whole process.” Owner Joe Gibbs thinks, “Denny has matured. I think this last weekend was a good example…between him and Darian (Grubb) they just kept fighting.” Gibbs continued by saying, “We’re excited about having this opportunity and to be in this situation is really special, and we really appreciate it.”
Harvick and his team’s key to winning for this this weekend is “come in with that confidence, and knowing that your cars have been fast. You know your guys have had their backs against the wall and done a great job under pressure.” Later, Stewart-Hass Racing Owner Tony Stewart said, “they’ve been doing the same thing all year, and that’s what we told them for this week, don’t do anything any different than what got you here.”
The racers all agreed on one thing, it doesn’t take wrecking someone to win. Hamlin believes that “you can do it without doing that…it’s about not compromising who you are as a person.” Joey Logano, driver of No.22 Team Penske car, added, “Obviously, there is a lot on the line, and we’ll be racing each other really hard, I’m sure, but we want to be able to win the championship the right way.”
For Walter Czarnecki, owner of Team Penske, it took 29 years to get to their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship and now with Joey Logano they have the opportunity to win two in three years. “It means a lot with the great heritage of our team… I think everyone will agree on our team that winning the Sprint Cup championship is probably the most difficult, the most challenging, and maybe the one that’s most rewarding,” stated Czarnecki.
Richard Childress Racing Owner Richard Childress said, “We’ve been right there, but we haven’t been able to close it off. It’s great to be here and be in the Final Four and have a good shot at it.”