MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
MARCH 23, 2019
IN ADVANCE OF THE O’REILLY AUTO PARTS 500 AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, CHRIS BUESCHER, NO.47 KROGER SPEED UP YOUR CLEAN UP CAMARO ZL1, MET WITH MEDIA AND DISCUSSED THE ANTICIPATION FOR THE RACE NEXT WEEKEND.
THE LAST FOUR RACES HAVE BEEN REALLY GOOD. IS THERE A COMMON DENOMINATOR TO THE LAST FOUR FOR YOU AND THE TEAM?
“There are probably a lot of things that I don’t know. But there are a lot of things that have been going on in the offseason. Everybody has been trying to work with this package and we spent a lot more time and resources getting everything ready to hit the ground running. We don’t have to spend all the resources that we don’t have trying to find all these tricks and things. It has been a way for us to try and get closer to the field. I don’t think it took and changed the running order. I think we still see the dominant cars are the dominant cars, but we are just a lot closer. We have gotten into the next group of cars and I know the work that we have put into it and everybody back at the shop has, has paid off. We are consistently five to seven spots better than where we ran last season. So that’s a really good start for us and we want to get more with this package, and we have done really well with that. I know when you look at Ryan Preece coming on board, a short track racer, who has worked on his own stuff growing up and had to claw his way into the sport….to take his input as we go to all these race tracks and we do these debriefs and try and figure out what it might be that he is looking for….there is something that I wouldn’t think about or vice versa. Both things have helped our team a little bit, but make no mistake there is a lot of work that went in the offseason to make sure we stepped our game up as well. It wasn’t given to us by any means.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY AND THE IDIOSYNCRASIES OF THAT TRACK?
“Oh man. Since the repave, I have actually enjoyed Texas quite a bit. I think that…..and I liked it before, but we have run better with it the way that it is. And I don’t really have an explanation why, it really doesn’t make sense. The track being so different from one end to the other it has been a big challenge for us set up wise. It’s very similar to a Kentucky now. It’s narrow and the asphalt is still very new, and it hasn’t aged yet. We won’t have those passing options that we will have when it gets a little wear on it. With that, it just takes time and you can’t sit idle and let everything fall apart. Texas is one track where it did age, but I guess it didn’t age very well. It got to the point where it was just tough with the weepers and tough with the condition of the asphalt. It’s a good change, it has just taken a while to widen out. We have had really fast race cars with the old package and if you look at this new one, I think it becomes a matter of how far do you trim out versus how far do you go on the downforce side. Texas is the kind of place where (turns) three and four makes you think you need to be in speedway trim and one and two is really pretty close to the opposite as flat as it is. It is a big curve and I don’t know that anybody has tested there, and I can’t remember if anyone has been there or not. It is a tough one to try and prepare for.”
DO YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE THERE, DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE GOOD THERE?
“It’s home. I have run thousands of laps at all the other tracks around there and I ought to be comfortable on the big one by now. I like going home. First of all, it’s just nice to be around friends and family. The track has been one where we had some pretty good runs, and with the new pavement we have had some really good speed. There are a lot of things that go into it and I think our whole package this year…..our mile-and-a-half stuff has been so much better. So, I look at Texas as a big opportunity for us.”
IF THERE IS GOING TO BE SOME KIND OF GROUP QUALIFYING AT TEXAS, WHAT DO YOU THINK ITS GOING TO BE LIKE WITH THE TRACK BEING SO NARROW?
“I don’t really think that will affect it. I don’t know what the qualifying will be like and I have barely heard a rumor at this point. That has been a well-kept secret. With that, I don’t know that the narrow groove is really going to affect it. We really don’t want to be double file because with this package the idea is to be single file and get that draft. If you are side-by-side, you are really slowing both cars down. So, that is not really something that I think we will have to mess with there. Whatever our qualifying situation is, I imagine you will be single file and you will try and get a decent amount of space, but still keep close enough to still get a draft. That is what we have to do to make speed in this thing and obviously everybody has seen it to know what the deal is. The first car is the slowest car, so no one is going out there to take one for the team because it’s not doing their team any good. It’s going to be interesting. Like I said, I haven’t heard anything on it, so I don’t know what we are doing there. Regardless, you are going to see single file.”
REGARDING TWO GROUPS AND IF ONE GROUP IMPEDES THE OTHER GROUP?
“I would like to think that it would be more respectful than that. I don’t think those type of games will be played quite yet. That is what my hope is.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI SAID IT’S GOING TO BE EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF
“So, every team is out to do their own thing. You sacrificing yourself is not helping anybody except your competitors. So, he is right in that sense. But at the same time, to go out and intentionally block another group on track, that will lead to more altercations I would imagine like Phoenix. Let’s say that is probably not the smartest idea.”
IF THEY MAKE A RULE THAT YOU HAVE TO GET OUT OR YOU GO TO THE BACK, IF YOU DON’T GET OUT DURING A ROUND, WILL THAT WORK?
“Yeah, it will. The problem is that the first will be last even if you go. Maybe you go and six cars make a lap and six cars don’t, well then you would have potentially been 12th and if two cars don’t make it, then maybe you are going to be sixth. That is the possibility there. But if you try and time it to where you are the only car to try and make it across the line, you just won’t be able to do it consistently. We don’t know the actual time, and it seems to vary within a couple of seconds of what the drop dead time is. So, with that, I don’t think there is any good way for us to plan it out every week to be the only car to make it.”
WHAT IF THE FINAL ROUND IS SINGLE CAR QUALIFYING?
“I am not opposed to it. But I am also saying you can run a heat race. We can do whatever we need to do. The way it is now has been very frustrating for me and it has been very frustrating for a lot of people. We spend a lot of time on Fridays trying to find speed in our Chevy Camaros and we get on track and somebody pulls out trying to get in the draft or you get passed on the blend line on exit, which is not supposed to happen, but you get passed by someone and you are in the wrong spot again. It’s been extremely frustrating.”
FOR THE FIRST TIME YOU ARE THE SENIOR MEMBER AT JTG. DO YOU HAVE A SENSE OF A CHANGING ROLE THERE IN THIS BEING RYAN PREECE’S ROOKIE YEAR?
“Yeah, I guess a little bit. It makes me feel old, but then Ryan tells me that he is older than I am. I would have never guessed. It has been good, and we definitely try and go through and debrief at these different tracks. He has been to most of them in some shape or form. He says that Martinsville is his favorite track, but he hasn’t been here in anything other than a modified. So, I don’t think he is looking for much advice here. It’s been a little different role, but at the same time, it’s very similar. Our teams are working very closely together. We do a lot of our debriefings and try and figure out what it is we are looking for out of the race cars, and just trying to figure out the driving styles. No team can set up all their cars the same and expect the drivers to drive all the same. The main thing is to try and figure out what he needs and try to get to that point so that they can start a little closer every week.”
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN FOR YOU TO DO WELL AT TEXAS?
“I always like going in and getting a good weekend in there. So many family members and friends come out to that one and that makes it probably my most hectic weekend. You would think you could go home and relax, but that is definitely not the case. But to be able to go there and build on what we have on the mile-and-a-halfs this season…..if we can go to Texas and run around the top-10, that would be a good weekend. I think that we have the ability to go do that. We have come a long way, and like I said, this package has helped us kind of dial some things in. We are in a good spot. So, it would be nice to go out there and get that done. But unfortunately, as soon as it’s over, the checkered flag falls and we are on to the next one. But it would be nice for a little while.”
NOW THAT YOU HAVE SEEN THAT PACKAGE AT LAS VEGAS AND AUTO CLUB, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE FROM THAT PACKAGE?
“Five-wide restarts into turn one. With (turns) one and two being as wide as they are, it’s going to be wild, wild restarts. The groove has not come in yet. So, I don’t know how that is going to work. Three and four was pretty close to wide open with the old package. Lots of grip over there and lots of banking, very fast. So, with this one, I know we will be wide open. I just don’t know being that there is enough banking to hold it, it might widen out better than it has in the past. That is my hope. I think you are going to see a different race at Texas than we have had with the other package. In my mind, it should maybe change a little bit more than the others have.”
IN WHAT WAY?
“More racing, more side-by-side racing. I feel like the added downforce and the slower entry speeds might make a track that was single file, in one groove – I think that might lead to it being able to widen out quicker than it would if you were just waiting on the asphalt to age.”
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