MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL
GOBOWLING AT THE GLEN
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
AUGUST 3, 2019
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1, met with media to discuss coming back to Watkins Glen after getting his first win, the confidence it brings heading into the weekend, anticipation building for the Playoffs, and more. Full Transcript:
I WANTED TO ASK YOU ABOUT THE SPOTTERS YOU HAVE. A BUNCH OF PEOPLE HAVE FOUR SPOTTERS, YOU ONLY USE TWO. I’M WONDERING IF THAT’S YOUR PREFERENCE AND IF IT’S TOO MUCH IF YOU HAVE FOUR PEOPLE AROUND THE TRACK TRYING TO TELL YOU WHAT TO DO AND WHAT IT’S LIKE IN THE CAR WITH ALL THAT FEEDBACK.
“I think simple is better, for sure. I think a lot of those guys that have more than 2, I’m sure 2 of them don’t say anything unless something is going on somewhere anyways. The communication is pretty standard and that’s what we’ve elected to do.”
WHAT’S IT LIKE WHEN YOU SEE THE 36 CAR TOTALLY ACROSS THE TRACK. CAN YOU EVEN EXPLAIN WHAT YOU DID THERE?
“No, I got really lucky for sure. I was like here we go, we are going to crash another one in practice. I saw smoke and at first, I thought somebody blew up, so I was like I’m going to get over here out of the way and hope to stay out of the oil. Then I realized somebody was spinning out and I was going to go to the right of him because I thought he was going to stay closer to the left. Joey (Logano) was stopped on the bottom and I think myself and whoever was behind me knew there was no way we were getting stopped before we got there. I had to decide last second that the left side was the only option if I could get there. Luckily, I got over there, but I don’t really know how.”
I JUST WANTED TO ASK YOU ABOUT THE INNER-LOOP. HOW TOUGH IS IT AND HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK IT PLAYED INTO YOUR VICTORY LAST YEAR?
“They are all important. That section is definitely a big-time rhythm section and I feel like there is a lot of time to either be gained or lost through there. It’s so one-lane, you really have to get through there right. As everybody knows, there’s one option through that section. So, if you are off line left or right, you’re just making it harder on yourself.”
LAST YEAR YOU WON YOUR FIRST RACE HERE AND YOU GOT THAT MONKEY OFF YOUR BACK. WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS COMING BACK AND HAS YOUR FATHER GIVEN YOU ANY POINTERS AGAIN?
“We haven’t really talked about it much. I feel like it’s been kind of a normal week. I think it’s important to do that. Everybody wants to talk about last year and that’s great. I’m glad that last year happened, for sure. I’m proud of it, but we celebrated it when it was time to celebrate it and now is not really the time to celebrate it. We had our time to do that in between here and wherever we went after that, and we did it and had plenty of it. It’s out of my system and it’s time to come back and try to run good. I feel like we had an OK first practice, but we have some work to do. I think it’s just dialing things in and it’s tough. Everybody is really close.”
GIVEN YOUR SUCCESS HERE AND YOUR TRACK RECORD, DO YOU THINK THIS IS A CHANCE TO REGAIN SOME MOMENTUM THIS SEASON?
“I sure hope so. It’s been a rough month or so. Some things were out of our hands and some things have been in our hands. Those are the frustrating ones, the ones that you can control. Making mistakes that we shouldn’t make, I shouldn’t make and things of that nature. So, it’s about cleaning that stuff up, it happens. I can’t say I’m bogged down by it, but I certainly want to get things going on the right path. We are still in the summer stretch, so we still have time to do that. This is as good of place of any to get things going in the right direction. Anywhere will be fine. Here and now would be great.”
WHAT KIND OF RELIEF DID YOU FEEL IN NOT JUST GETTING YOUR FIRST WIN HERE, BUT WITH THE TIME REMAINING BEFORE THE PLAYOFFS TO KNOW THAT YOU WERE LOCKED IN AT THAT POINT?
“That was honestly a nice add-on to the win. Really, I didn’t think about it until I got home and it felt nice to not have to worry about points racing through Richmond, which we’ve done I guess both years leading up to that. It’s not fun, going to Richmond and knowing you’re right on the cut of blowing a tire and ending your night and you’re out. Anything could happen, so it was just nice to go and not have to worry about that. But it’s way more than just having one sticker going into the Playoffs and knowing you’re in that first round. The guys you are going to be racing probably have multiple wins by that point in the season to be really honest with you. It’s about getting those bonus points and knowing that when you get into the final ten races, that is going to help propel you to Homestead because that is what your competitors are doing.”
YOU’VE HAD A REMARKABLE RUN AT MICHIGAN. UNTIL JUNE, YOU HADN’T FINISHED OUTSIDE OF THE TOP-TEN THERE. WHAT ARE YOU ANTIPCATING GOING INTO MICHIGAN?
“I definitely agree with Denny (Hamlin), I think guys are going to have different car builds because one particular car build pretty well stomped everybody. I think everybody knows that now, so I think everybody is going to go back with a similar mindset and it’s just a matter of how far you can go down that road and your car still driving OK. I think it will be different. Michigan has been an OK place. It’s so different now; it’s really close to wide open and nothing like it used to be.”
ANY UPDATES ON DALE JR. VERSUS THE ENTIRE POPULATION OF NORTH GEORGIA?
“Yeah, I’ve had a few people this week be like ‘he was really giving this area a long time’, so he’s got his work cut out for him (laughs)”.
A LOT OF KIDS ARE GOING BACK TO SCHOOL THIS MONTH. WHEN YOU WERE IN SCHOOL AND YOU WENT TO THE TRACK A LOT DURING THE SUMMER WITH YOUR DAD, WHAT WAS IT LIKE GOING BACK TO SCHOOL AND NOT GOING TO THE TRACK?
“Devastating. I hated school really bad. Every year, I felt like it started a couple of days earlier every year when you went back. I wasn’t happy about it, for sure. It’s just one of those things, you have to do it.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT IT’S LIKE FOR YOU TO COME BACK HERE SINCE YOUR FIRST CUP WIN HERE AND WHAT CONFIDENCE THAT BRINGS YOU COMING INTO THIS WEEKEND?
“More than anything, just being fast last year was nice. I think that’s what helps more than anything, whether you had won or not. Just knowing that we had some decent pace and that’s the most important thing. If you have pace, then the rest of it can come. Hopefully we can have that again on Sunday.”
IT LOOKED LIKE HENDRICK WAS TURNING THE CORNER. OF COURSE, YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE BAD RACES, IT HAPPENS. DO YOU FEEL THAT THE CARS ARE TO THE POINT WHERE YOU CAN COMPETE ONCE YOU GET INTO THE PLAYOFFS AGAIN JOE GIBBS RACING, TEAM PENSKE, ETC.?
“Yeah, I hope so for sure. Like anybody, I think there’s been certain tracks so far this year that have suited us better than others. At those places, we’ve competed and we’ve been good enough at times to win. Alex (Bowman) won at a 1.5-mile track, so yeah, I think we can compete at certain places and other places we have work to do. So, we’ll just see how it plays along. I know the results haven’t shown it, but there have been some upgrades that I think will be helpful come Playoff time and hopefully more to come. Everybody is making upgrades, so we’ll see.”
DO YOU THINK THIS YEAR THAT YOU HAVE A COMPETITIVE CAR AGAIN TO GET THE JOB DONE AND GO FOR A REPEAT?
“Until we get to this next practice, it’s kind of hard to tell. Honestly, there’s been times where I ended the day on Saturday excited and thought we had a chance, and then we were trash on Sunday. So, we’ll find out tomorrow afternoon.”
Team Chevy high-resolution racing photos are available for editorial use.
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