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HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GETTING INTO THE TOP 12? Weve been really consistent. I think thats really key for our team. Apart from the first race, pretty much every race weve had a top 20 finish. Last weekend was a really good weekend for us. Being realistic, to really be able to make the Chase, you have to run a little bit better. Were running average, maybe 12th to 15th place car. If we could run closer to the 10s then we could probably get into the Chase.

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS INSIDE THE RACE CAR? I dont pay too much attention to it. I think its more its easy to control the anger versus the frustration. When everything is going really bad, its harder to control. When things are going good — the aggression — you can control that pretty easy. If you need to turn your aggression down, you just deal with it.

IS THE LEARNING CURVE STEEPER THAN YOU FIRST ANTICIPATED? I thought the first part went pretty smooth. The last bit has been pretty hard. To get good every week is really hard. Its not only myself, its the entire team. We swapped crew chiefs. Last year we had a pretty good car here. We had maybe a 10th to 15th place car. We didnt have anything else for anybody. We decided to come with a completely different setup and it really didnt work. Today was trying to catch up and at least make it drivable. Its going to be a tough weekend, but its part of the learning curve.

HOW DO YOU THINK DALE JR. WOULD DO IN AN INDY CAR? I think in an Indy car hed do pretty good because the Indy car now you ride wide-open everywhere. Its like Talladega everywhere and hes pretty good at drafting.

HAVE YOU COUNSELED DARIO AT ALL LATELY? Ive talked to him a little bit. This week I called him on Monday but he didnt answer. I know hes feeling pretty good. Its got to be tough for him. Its tough because he was getting good at it. The first few races he struggled you look at Phoenix he run pretty good. And now you think, He did pretty good, and now that (broken ankle) happens. Its pretty frustrating.

WHY HAS CGRFS STRUGGLED IN CUP RACING? I think hes (Chip Ganassi) been in Indy so long and use to the ovals with a lot of grip. And then all of a sudden you take 70 percent of the grip away, what do you do? Youre still going pretty fast, thats the problem.

HAS THE LENGTH OF CUP RACES BEEN A TOUGH TRANSITION FOR YOU? For me it hasnt. I dont mind it. Its pretty good because you have all that time to work on the car and make it better and make good changes and stuff. Its frustrating when you have a really good car to start with, sometimes you can only make it worse. Those are the kind races that want to make them short. Martinsville and Bristol are the worst ones. You run three cautions and you look up and youve done 80 laps, you think OK, 420 to go. Thats pretty hard.

WHATS THE PERFECT LENGTH FOR A CUP RACE? I think a three hour race. Three maybe three and a half. There are some that go too long.

FOR A DRIVER, WOULD IT BE A BURDEN TO BE A TEAM OWNER? You might ask me in five years, and Ill say maybe. But now.no. And deal with a guy like me. No. I dont think your want to do that (laughs).

DO YOU THIINK THAT YOUVE BEEN AROUND LONG ENOUGH TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP? Somebody would be dreaming if somebody tells me that. I think as a company were getting better. I think we need a little bit more time.

WHAT ABOUT YOU AS A DRIVER? I think Im pretty good. I still got to learn a little bit understand what the car needs, but thats part of the whole experience.

WHAT DO YOU PERSONALLY HAVE TO LEARN? I think the racing part Im pretty good at. I think its more of, Do I need a track bar? Do I want to pull rubber out? Is it the wedge? Is it the track bar on the left or right? Its all kinds of things. When the car is really good, then its very easy to adjust like that because you all want to pick here. When the car is bad, its very hard to decide which is the worst pick.

DOES IT DRIVE CHIP NUTS THAT HE HASNT HAD MORE SUCCESS IN NASCAR? It drives all of us nuts. We all want to do really good in NASCAR. Chips a guy who has won pretty much everything. Hes been close winning here before, but were not going to win overnight. Its all about a process.

WHAT WAS CHIP LIKE WHEN HE CHANGED CREW CHIEFS ON THE 41 AND 42 CARS? HE SEEMED PRETTY INTENSE? Not with me. He just told me that everyone is thinking that for the best of the team, that we should swap the crew chiefs. You should work better with Jimmy (Elledge) and Donnie (Wingo) would work better with Reed (Sorenson). I said, If you want to do that, go ahead. Ill work with any of them. I really like Donnie; I didnt mind him.

DO YOU WANT TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP HERE AT NASCAR? Of course. Do you think I came here for holidays?

Of course you want to win races. If I didnt think that I could every week come out here have a chance at winning, I shouldnt even show up.

Right now we can just do with what we got and do as good as we are. You cannot expect to go, Were 12th now so we need to run in the top 10 every week. We havent run in the top 10 but once this year. All of a sudden are we going to run in the top 10 every week? No, thats not going to happen. Its not going to happen overnight because we finished second in Talladega. Are we going to have more top fives and top 10s? Probably yes. We just have to make it a little bit better. We making the Chase is more about everyone else making mistakes and we being consistent.

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