Well, it's been a very quiet season for us as of late. So, quiet can be good and quiet can be bad. It's good for awhile, when you're plugging away and putting in solid finishes, but 18th is not necessarily a solid finish, just a finish. We want to get up there and get running a little better than that, but it's going to take some time. We've gotta keep working on it and find a little more speed.
Yeah, the rubber was kind of a unique challenge, but I thought we did a good job of overcoming that. We just lacked speed on all three of our Penske Dodges last week.
Well, I don't want to use the word "goal." If there's one word I want to stay away from, it's the word "goal" when talking about the Chase. The goal all along was to show improvement throughout the year, and show that we are running well enough to get there, even if we don't. To do that, we need to show improvement and we need to keep getting better. Top-20s are great, but we need to take our top-20 days and get top-10s out of them.
When we can do that, that's when we'll be a legitimate Chase contender. It's still very, very possible for us to make it.
Transparency never does any harm for anyone. I think we're all confused on why that's not a possibility, and I would love to see it. But there hasn't been a time where I was caught speeding where I thought NASCAR was wrong. It's pretty cut and dry. Well, maybe there was one time. Last year at Kentucky, I feel like they had the lines messed up. I got caught speeding and I know for a fact I wasn't there, and I think
But even though they're making the right calls, it's important for our fans in the long run that there is transparency. It gives NASCAR credibility as far as how the sport's getting managed.
Well, I'm three-quarters of the way through it as we're talking. It feels very similar to the Cup car, just slower. So far, so good.
The way it looks is great, it's a no brainer. I think we've hit a home run in several areas. One is obviously the looks and two is safety. In the long haul, let me stress that -- the long haul -- our cost containment will be a benefit of this car. It's just you're going to lose a lot more before you ever save it. But I still think that we went down the right path, and I'm happy we put a spoiler on the car. I'm a big fan of that.
I think we're making just one mistake. We should not continue to put splitters on our race cars; I thought we figured that out. The advantage of doing this Nationwide car was the ability to learn from the mistakes of the Cup car and so far NASCAR's done a good job on that with everything but the splitter. It affects the Cup car the same way, and I still feel it needs to go.
I'm not a big fan of NASCAR stepping in and paying the bills. I don't think that's the right way to go for the sport. It undermines the free enterprise system it was built on and gives it more of a franchise feel.
So, I'm not in favor of that. If anything, this car is somewhat of an opportunity for NASCAR to purge the sport of the start-and-park teams. And the rest? The tough will survive, they'll find a way. Guys like my brother, they'll survive. It's going to be hard on them, and for that I'm sorry. But in the long run, this car will be good for the sport.
Well, as far as that goes, you don't have to post something if you don't want to post something. You don't have to use it if you don't want to use it.
As for my own Twitter, I use it as a way to stay in touch with my fans. Twitter has become an important tool in how we communicate. It can be very useful in that regard. I'm not overly-expressive because I have a sense of privacy that I want to maintain.
I don't put anything on there that would ever come back to bite me.
Well, I only see a couple of drivers that would even be allowed to try it. I would like to think I would be one of them, but I wouldn't do it if I thought it would jeopardize my own efforts. The priority would be always winning on the NASCAR side for me. If that opportunity were to come up, and if I had a car that was capable of doing that, beyond a NASCAR ride that had an opportunity to win the 600, then yeah, I would look at the opportunity. In the short-term, not so much; but in the long-term, absolutely.
Well, Charlotte is a very, very tough place. It's extremely weather-sensitive. When the sun goes down and it turns into night, you pick up a lot of speed and it changes your car's handling quite a bit. You start off going through the dogleg down the frontstretch and turn off into turn 1, which is a fairly large drop. It has a lot of speed, and you can run the top or the bottom; mostly, we're going to run the bottom, but I'm sure some of the race we're going to run the top. It's also very smooth now. The pavement used to be rough but now it's very smooth, very polished-looking, so it's kind of slick.
Anyways, suddenly you get down into turn 1, and it's got that dropoff into the corner. I carry a lot of speed, around 206-207 [mph], and get down to the bottom of the racetrack. You run the white line as hard as possible, and on exit, it seems like there's a little extra grip the lower you can run. As you merge up to the wall, your car seems to get a little bit loose, and you have to be very, very aggressive with your car up off of turn 2 because there's a lot of speed.
Then you go down into turn 3, which I think is one of the most challenging corners in racing.
As you merge up to the wall, you have just a slight amount of wiggle and bob -- it gets worse as the tires build heat in them -- and then it carries you down the last dogleg, and over to the start/finish line.