A: I was up high and the cars came together in front of me and I held my line and slowed down and they went from crashing in front of me to sliding down the track so I missed it. In that incident on the front straight I did the same thing. I could see something happening I don’t remember what car it was, some car got sideways, and I slowed down in the middle of 4 because I saw it, I thought we were all under control again and then all of a sudden you see smoke. I literally couldn’t see a thing. That’s the problem. If we could figure out how to make the tires have no smoke there’s be a lot less crashed race cars but that’s the inevitable. So it’s also a product of racing so close together you don’t give yourself any gaps to take some open space or see anything. I was caught up in an accident like so many other people get in these big speedways.
Q: What do you take away from today?
A: I really look at it like I had 2 mini races. The first one wasn’t really pretty. I definitely dropped back but I wasn’t comfortable, so I wasn’t about to go firing it in to stay up where I started and crash. That wouldn’t have been good for my day. I dropped back because I wasn’t happy. Then we made a stop. We made an adjustment and I got more comfortable, and I could feel the difference. I was running in the pack and I felt much better. The car felt better, I was more confident. I’m just going to take away the fact that I know what it’s going to be like out there come next year. Everybody wants to do well at the Daytona race. I’m glad I got this head start on next year.
Q: What about the expectations on you?
A: I remember in my first year in IndyCar, in the first couple races I did really well and everybody’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, You should be winning,’ and it took another couple of years. It’s important to have realistic expectations. There’s going to be spikes in performance, but there’s also going to be tough days, and today was a tough day. I wish I would have run up there at the beginning and felt more comfortable but I just didn’t and that just proves how hard it is out here and how much there is to learn and how good all these drivers really are.
Q: Was it hard to push it when Tony Eury Jr. kept telling you to?
A: When they tell you to keep pushing it, trust me nobody wants to push it more than the driver. I’m the one that’s being looked at out there. I just had to put a limit on where I feel comfortable and what the car is giving me. In the first spin I didn’t feel good and I didn’t feel the car was going to give me what I wanted if I pushed any harder. So in the second round there I felt much better, the car was much more under control and we would have finished strong if we had finished, which was my goal, but as you can see it’s easier said than done.
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