Kvapil Talks About Martinsville Speedway and His Practice Incident Yesterday
Travis Kvapil, driver of the No. 34 A&W Ford Fusion, made his NASCAR Sprint Cup debut at Martinsville Speedway in 2004, starting 5th and finishing 24th. Kvapil spoke about why he likes this race track and what happened in his practice incident yesterday with Tony Stewart.
TRAVIS KVAPIL – No. 34 A&W Ford Fusion – LOOKING BACK ON YOUR FIRST CAREER START BEING HERE AT MARTINSVILLE. WHAT WAS IT LIKE? “For me it worked out really well. I was very comfortable running the short tracks. It took all the aerodynamic variables out of it. It was just a matter of getting the feel of the car on a little half-mile track. We came here and ran really well. We didn’t upset anybody and finished all the laps and had a decent finish. For me it was all positive having Martinsville as my first Cup race.”
DOES IT SEEM TO BE YOU EITHER LOVE OR HATE THIS PLACE AND HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT IT CAN AFFECT YOUR PERFORMANCE? “Yeah, I think you could probably say that about any track. If you go to a race track with a negative attitude and think you won’t do good, you probably won’t. Even the tracks I struggle at, I try to take a mentality that I can be successful there. I always have a positive attitude coming here to Martinsville. It is a place that I really enjoy. I haven’t won any races here, but I have been very competitive in the trucks and probably should have won a truck race here, but I got taken out. It is a place I feel confident going into that I can get a good result for our team.”
CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENED IN PRACTICE YESTERDAY WITH YOU AND TONY STEWART? “Yeah, I don’t really think it’s a big deal. To me, it was just Martinsville. I was on new tires trying to get a qualifying run at the end of practice and the track was really crowded. On new tires it takes a lap or two until they get going and I was still slipping and sliding and trying to get my tires to hook up. Tony was on his last lap, I guess, and had a lot of speed. To cut to the chase, I was in his way. My plan was to get down the backstretch and move over to let him go, but I never got good enough traction off the corner to get going and get out of his way. I am sure he is upset and our guys are upset that the race car got beat up a little bit. To me, it isn’t a big deal, its just a product of things that happen when you go short-track racing.”
DOES NOT HAVING QUALIFYING YESTERDAY EFFECT WHAT YOU WILL DO IN PRACTICE TODAY? “We were ready. We had worked on a set-up to give it a shot. I would like to think we would have qualified better than 34th. We have always done well here looking back on my track record. It’s just like Bristol last week, if you start toward the back it is hard to stay on the lead lap. For us, I think we just have to race hard. It would be nice to have a cushion and be up in the front of the pack. We will work hard on the race car today and try to get it handling and driving good and move forward.”