MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
FOLDS OF HONOR QUICKTRIP 500
ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
FEBRUARY 22, 2019
RYAN PREECE, NO. 47 KROGER.COM CAMARO ZL1, met with members of the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway and discussed his JTG team and their outlook for the season, tendencies of the new aero package, racing this weekend for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity series and many other topics. Highlights from media scrum session:
“We made a lot of gains in drive ability and it didn’t show in speed, but there were some things that we found afterwards that should help us in the speed department and keep the drive ability in the car. I’m excited about this. I’m excited about coming tomorrow and practicing more than just qualifying trim and seeing really what our car has and the things that we can do to make it faster and make it last long. That is the name of the game when you come to Atlanta is having a car that lasts.”
YOU DON’T HAVE ANY OLD HABITS TO UNLEARN WITH THIS NEW PACKAGE. IS THAT AN ADVANTAGE?
“I think every lap is a new lap to learn for sure. To be honest with you, I adapt to race cars and do what I need to do. That is one thing being from a modified background you are always adapting to whatever the car is giving you. So, I would guess you are right, I don’t have any “bad habits” to unlearn.”
NASCAR AND FANS CHOICE CAME OUT TO SAY THEY ARE GOING TO AIR EVERY SINGLE TOUR RACE THIS YEAR…
“That is a huge step. Something that I always looked forward to when I went to New Smyrna was being able to go and watch or tell people that they could go and watch it on FansChoice.TV. Now to be able to watch every single Whelen Modified Tour race on that… when I’m not there I’m still going to be there watching. I’m still going to be supporting it because I’m true to my modifieds. I’m really excited, I’m really happy that NASCAR chose to do that and I’m happy for everybody that runs the tour to be able to have that.”
HOW MUCH DO YOU FEEL LIKE IT RAISES THE PROFILE OF THE TOUR TO HAVE THAT KIND OF EXPOSURE?
“I think a lot of people that watched or hadn’t really heard of them or a lot of people that have heard of modfieds, but didn’t have any way to go watch, like if you’re out West or something, now they have a chance to watch it. I think it definitely is going to take the modifieds as far as building its fan base. The reason why we all love the World of Outlaws is because they are cool to watch. It’s the same thing when you watch modifieds, they are cool to watch. Being able to hopefully have the West Coast and anywhere else be able to watch that is going to be big. Us modified fans, we appreciate all sorts of types of racing just like other people do. Hopefully, other people will feel the same.”
BECAUSE OF THE EXTRA DOWNFORCE ON THE CUP CARS DO YOU THINK IT’S GOING TO BE SIMILAR TO WHAT WE MIGHT HAVE SEEN BEFORE IN THE XFINITY SERIES?
“They drive completely different. So, I don’t know yet… and even when we have this race here on Sunday, don’t jump to think that the package is going to look like this everywhere because this track is so different form so many places. We are going to be going to a track like this where it’s low grip and then you are going to be going to a track that is Las Vegas where it’s high grip and you are driving completely different, but one thing I do know is everybody talks about packaging and I think about Kroger’s packaging that they can ship right to you and you should go online, even if you aren’t in a Kroger marketplace you can get your groceries shipped to you.”
IS BEING IN THE XFINITY CAR MAYBE LESS OF A BENEFIT BECAUSE THE CARS DON’T DRIVE AS SIMILAR NOW?
“No, because lap times, repetition is a huge thing. I’ve learned more getting those two sessions in that Xfinity car. It’s taken so much of a learning curve of what I would have learned tomorrow in practice. Now, I have a pretty good idea of where the grip is, where I need my car to be, whether or not the Cup cars are going to want that, I don’t know, but at least I know that hey this is where the grip is, this is where I need to put the car and if the car won’t drive there and we’ve got to move around there are different places you can go to. This is where it seems to be.”
FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS SCRATCHED AND CLAWED TO GET TO THIS LEVEL, WHAT IS IT LIKE TO DRIVE FOR JR MOTORSPORTS THIS WEEK?
“It’s good. I’m really impressed with Taylor (Moyer, crew chief) he is somebody that I guess I haven’t followed his career, but he has worked at the short track level and kind of clawed his way. He actually worked with Mike Herman, Jr. he told me which is somebody I have worked with a lot over the past 10 years. He has clawed his way from… I forgot everything he was doing, but he’s done shocks, car chief, and now he’s finally a crew chief. There were other positions he’s had in there somewhere, so he is getting his opportunity and I was really impressed from where we were from what I felt the first practice to how we were in the second practice and really rebounding and getting the car driving the way it did. I was really impressed and really happy with it. Hopefully, everything we learned today translates to tomorrow in that Xfinity race and we can have a really good day.”
IS IT COOL TO KNOW YOU ARE IN AN XFINITY CAR THAT CAN LEGITIMATELY WIN THIS RACE?
“Yeah, I’m a racer. The reason I took a step back when I did back in the day was because I wanted to win races. I race because I love winning and I hate losing more than I love winning. And it’s not belittling, it’s just one of those things I got into the sport and I had been winning for a long time and that is why I do it. I had to take a step back, go race modifieds and I was just extremely lucky the dominoes fell the way they did. It got me the opportunity that I did to go race for JGR… so jumping off topic, Chris Gabehart won the Daytona 500, Eric Phillips were the car chief, well there is a picture if somebody wants to find it, it’s a picture of them and Denny Hamlin all in victory lane holding the trophy. I said it’s like seeing your two ex-girlfriends with their new boyfriend (laughter). It was pretty funny, I was super happy for those guys, but those guys were a huge part in helping me get the opportunity that I’ve gotten, along with other people for sure. I’m just very lucky. I’m riding the wave and hopefully I can keep making a name for myself, rather than just be ‘hey Ryan took a chance, he got there and that’s it.’ I’m still working hard and I’m still trying to make a name for myself.”
IS THIS TEAM REALLY TRYING TO MAKE A NAME FOR ITSELF TOO?
“Absolutely, Tad (Geschickter) and Jodi (Geschickter) and Brad (Daugherty) and everybody involved at JTG they put so much in and then you’ve got Ernie (Cope) and Tristen () and Trent (Owens) who are the leaders behind each team. It’s a constant process. I know what it takes to make speed and to have a good race car. It’s not something that happens overnight. It’s not just this one spring, one shock, it’s a combination and I feel like that is something they have been working hard on in the off-season. We felt really good at Vegas. We were kind of thrown off a little bit here today, so we rallied back and I think we are going to have a lot more speed it’s just going to take a process. It’s going to take a little time, but I feel really good and I feel like it’s not one of those things where we are going to be running 25th every week, no, we are going to hopefully start off top 15’s and just keep building on our program, keep building on those set-up’s and hopefully by the end of the season consistently top 10’s that would be great, top five’s, but you have to start somewhere.”
COULD THIS RULES PACKAGE BE AN EQUALIZER FOR YOU GUYS?
“I think it’s a starting point. It kind of hits the reset button. There are so many unknowns. No one really knows the hot trick. Everybody shows up and they either get really lucky and stumble upon it or they are way off. I think you saw it. There was a huge jumble of cars from what you usually don’t see. So, I think Chris (Buescher) definitely hit on something at the end for our overall group and we are going to keep running with it and keep building upon it and just keep building speed.”
ON THE DIVERSITY OF PACKAGES DURING THE SEASON:
“I don’t know yet. One thing I will say is you are going to have to adapt to what your car is doing every lap. It’s going to change with the way the air is if you are out front and it’s not and trying to … I really don’t know to be honest, but it’s going to be tough to tell, but at the end of the day we all have the same package and we all have to deal with it and it’s racing at the end of the day, it’s the same thing.”
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