CHEVY MENCS AT LAS VEGAS MEDIA DAY: Chase Elliott Press Conf. Transcript

by Official Release On Thu, Sep. 13, 2018

MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
SOUTH POINT 400
LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY PLAYOFF MEDIA DAY TRANSCRIPT
SEPTEMBER 13, 2018

CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1, met with members of the media during Playoff Media Day. Select Quotes:

YOU DRIVE FOR HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AND SO DOES JIMMIE JOHNSON. FOR WHATEVER REASON, HE DOES NOT HAVE THE SAME RESULTS AS YOU HAVE HAD THIS YEAR. WHY IS THAT?

“As a whole, we’ve just been trying to get better as a team. We’ve been lucky and have had a couple of good runs. I don’t know. As we progress and get better, we’re all going to get better. We just keep pushing in that direction and see where we stack up.”

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS GOING INTO THE 10-RACE PLAYOFFS COMPARED TO THE BIG THREE? THEY SEEM TO HAVE A BIG ADVANTAGE. IF THEY CONTINUE, THAT WOULD LEAVE ONE SPOT FOR THE LAST RACE.

“We try not to get too caught-up in that stuff. It’s easy to do. We can talk about those guys all day long.”

A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK OF ALL THE DRIVERS, YOU HAVE HAD THE MOST IMPROVEMENT THIS SEASON IN ON-TRACK PERFORMANCE BETWEEN THE START OF THE SEASON AND NOW. WHAT IS YOUR ASSESSMENT OF THAT?

“I definitely think we’ve improved from where we were at the beginning of the year. I think about getting to Atlanta and just really being bad there versus how we ran in my first two trips to Atlanta. I’ve felt like as the year has gone along I feel like there have been race tracks that have suited us better than others. Like short tracks have not seemed to be as big of a struggle this year. It’s kind of funny. Short tracks for us, last year, we didn’t run real well at, in my opinion. And, I thought our 1.5-mile stuff was probably our strong point last year. I think our 1.5-mile stuff is getting better and getting closer to where it had been. I think I’ve basically improved. Whether I’ve improved more than anybody else, I don’t know. But I feel like it’s a good time of year to be improving.”

SO NOW COMING TO A 1.5-MILE TRACK, DO YOU FEEL BETTER THAN YOU DID AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR?

“I actually feel good going into this weekend. We had a decent run out here before we crashed at the first Vegas race. In my mind, performance-wise, I think we’re better than we were in March, for sure. Whether that equals results on Sunday, I don’t know. In my mind, I feel like it will be better than when we were here in March.”

LOOKING BACK, DID THE WIN AT WATKINS GLEN REALLY CHANGE THINGS FOR YOU? DID IT GIVE YOU MORE PERSONAL CONFIDENCE OR WAS IT AN INDICATOR OF THE TEAM IN GENERAL?

“It was definitely big in all aspects. It was just a relief to finally get a win and to know you can compete in things you’re doing and there were a lot of things going on and all that stuff is encouraging. So yeah, absolutely. But, you have to do that consistently and get in the groove where you’re competing for wins week in and week out. Guys do that every week, you know? But, no, you’re not going to win every week. You can certainly try and you can certainly put yourself in position more often. I just think we’ve got to get ourselves in that position week in and week out, which is certainly achievable.”

YOU HAVEN’T BEEN WITH HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS FOR THAT LONG, BUT THE ORGANIZATION IS USED TO HAVING A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF SUCCESS. BUT THEY HADN’T WON FOR A WHILE UNTIL YOU DID. DID IT SEEM OUT OF PLACE?

“It’s hard for me to say. In my mind, I feel like I was kind of more focused on what I had going on. I still am. So, I can’t really say.”

ARE YOU A CARD-PLAYER?

“No, I’m not much of a card player.”

HOW ARE YOU AT GAMBLING? HOW ARE YOU AT TAKING A CHANCE?

“I like taking chances from time to time. I think you just have to weigh your options to see when the right time is.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE RACE THIS WEEKEND?

“I don’t know. I won’t know until Sunday. This place, Vegas, it’s really hot out here. I think the race track is going to be really wide on Sunday.”

TELL US ABOUT YOUR SEASON?

“Well, everybody has seen it. So it’s been what it’s been. It’s nice to get a win. I’m looking forward to getting the last 10 (races) started.”

YOU WERE HERE IN THE SPRING AND NOW BACK IN THE FALL. THE TEMPERATURES ARE UP. IS THERE ANY SPECIAL CONDITIONING YOU’VE DONE TO GET READY FOR THIS ONE?

“Not really. Indy was pretty hot, too. We got lucky with the rain and it not being so hot there. But, this whole stretch of races are pretty warm, so nothing different.”

WHAT WOULD IT MEAN FOR YOU TO GET A VICTORY HERE AND ADVANCE TO THE NEXT ROUND?

“It would be fantastic and not have to go to Charlotte and be concerned with what that mess is going to be like.”

HOW WOULD YOU SIZE-UP THIS SEASON? YOU GOT OFF TO A LATE START AND THEN YOU GOT YOUR FIRST WIN. HOW WOULD YOU PUT THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE?

“It’s been an up-and-down year. I feel like we started off kind of slow. But, to get a win and lock-in to the first round of the final 10 is nice, at least and see where it goes. I’m just excited to get this last stretch going. The summer months can be tough. The season is a long. I feel like everybody kind of gets a last little bit of fire for these last 10 races and kind of resets. I’m ready to get going.”

HAS THERE BEEN ANY PRESSURE ON YOUR SHOULDERS IN BEING THE GUY THAT HAS LED THE CHARGE AT HENDRICK MOTORSPORT THIS YEAR? EVEN THOUGH YOUR TEAMMATES HAVE STEPPED-IN FROM TIME TO TIME, AND HAVE SHOWN SPEED, YOU’RE REALLY BEEN THE GUY EVERYBODY HAS LOOKED TO IN CARRYING THE HENDRICK BANNER

“I don’t know. I really haven’t viewed it that way from my end. I feel like as a company, we’ve gotten better as the year has gone along. As we continue to improve, we’ll all be better for it. As we bring fast cars to the race track and we make upgrades and we do this and we do that, we’re all going to run better because of that stuff. So, yeah, I have confidence in that and I feel like our improvements will show across the board. This is a good time of year to turn it up.”

YOU AND YOUR CREW CHIEF, ALAN GUSTAFSON, REALLY SEEM TO BE ON THE SAME PAGE. THERE SEEMS TO BE SOMETHING UNIQUE IN THAT HE KNOWS WHAT YOU NEED IN THE CAR AND THERE’S NOT A LOT TO TELL HIM. THERE’S NOT A LOT OF DANCING.

“There’s not. Our relationship is very straightforward. We don’t mess around a whole lot. We come in and do our jobs and we go on our way. He expects things from me and I expect things from him. I know that he’s doing his job and I have a lot of confidence in him. We got to the point where I feel like he does know what I’m asking for. So yeah, our relationship is great. We’re in a great place.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS IS GETTING TO THE POINT WHERE IT’S STARTING TO TURN A PAGE IN GETTING MORE USED TO THE CAMARO AND ALL THE OTHER LITTLE THINGS THAT CAN DISRUPT A CHAMPIONSHIP ORGANIZATION?

“I definitely think we’re getting better. Are we to the point where we dominating races every week? No, we’re not. We have work to do and we know that. And I think that’s not something that we want to shy away from. I credit Alan again for doing what he feels like is right, and leading our ship the best he can. That’s all you can do is keep your head down. You know, blaming the body or blaming Chevrolet or whatever all those story lines you’ve heard all year about why we’ve been struggling, that does not make it go faster. Whether the problem is relevant or not, or is true or isn’t true, it’s not making you go any faster. So, you better get to work and make the most of what you got and see how that goes down the road.”

AS A YOUNG GUY, DO YOU KEEP UP WITH THE HEADLINES OR WOULD YOU RATHER NOT KNOW WHAT THE FANS OR MEDIA OR OTHER PEOPLE ARE SAYING?

“I really don’t. It doesn’t matter at the end of the day. It’s not for me to read and it’s not my job.”

DO YOU THINK YOU CAN TOP-5 YOUR WAY TO THE FINAL FOUR AT HOMESTEAD?

“I think you can top-5 your way a long ways. But until you really understand and see the picture when we get that far; like if you’re still involved when you get to 12 or when you get to eight, and so on, it’s hard to predict that because you just don’t know the picture on who is going to be in and who is going to be out and who is going to have a couple of bad races and be done. That can happen like that. So, until we get going I can’t guess.”

 

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