NASCAR Cup PR CHEVY NCS AT DAYTONA: William Byron Takes Camaro ZL1 1LE to Victory...

CHEVY NCS AT DAYTONA: William Byron Takes Camaro ZL1 1LE to Victory in Duel 2

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NASCAR CUP SERIES
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
BLUEGREEN VACATIONS DUEL 2 AT DAYTONA
TEAM CHEVY POST-RACE NOTES & QUOTES
FEBRUARY 13, 2020

WILLIAM BYRON POWERS CAMARO ZL1 1LE TO VICTORY LANE

TOP TEAM CHEVY UNOFFICIAL RACE RESULTS:
POS. DRIVER
1th WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA COLOR OF THE YEAR CAMARO ZL1 1L
2nd JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1 1LE
3rd KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 CREDIT ONE BANK CAMARO ZL1 1LE
8th KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 MONSTER ENERGY CAMARO ZL1 1LE
9th ROSS CHASTAIN, NO. 77 ADVENTHEALTH CAMARO ZL1 1LE

TOP FIVE UNOFFICIAL RACE RESULTS:
POS. DRIVER
1st William Byron (Chevrolet
2nd Jimmie Johnson (Chevrolet)
3rd Kyle Larson (Chevrolet)
4th Kevin Harvick (Ford)
5th Cole Custer (Ford)

The NASCAR Cup Series season officially kicks off next weekend at Daytona International Speedway with the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 16 at 2:30 P.M. ET. Live coverage can be found on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

TEAM CHEVY POST-RACE NOTES AND QUOTES:

WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA ‘COLOR OF THE YEAR’ CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Race Winner:
WITH THREE LAPS TO GO, WAS THAT THE DESIGNATED ‘GO LAP’ TO MAKE THE MOVE, OR DID YOU JUST FEEL IT?
“We didn’t really have Chevy orders or anything like that. We just did a good job of working together. Kurt (Busch) was a great pusher and a great helper and I really had a lot of trust in him. I was really trying to go with one to go, but I had enough momentum out of the tri-oval just watching old races; that’s just kind of where the momentum kind of lines up. So, I didn’t know if I’d get that same momentum, once everybody started pushing with one to go. So, just made it there. Got to second, I guess. And then, Kevin (Harvick) played really nice and didn’t pull a big block. Thanks to Axalta. This car looks really good. It sure is beautiful under the lights. I’m excited for the 500.”

FIRST CAR ON TOHE RESTART WITH FOUR FRESH TIRES, THREE TO GO. WAS THAT THE DESIGNATED ‘GO’ LAP OR DID YOU JUST FEEL IT?
“No, there wasn’t any Chevy orders or anything like that. We just did a good job of working together. Kurt (Busch) was a great pusher and great helper. I really had a lot of trust in him. I was really trying to go with one to go, but I had enough momentum out of the tri‑oval. Watching the old races, that’s where the momentum kind of lines up. I didn’t know if I would get that kind of same momentum once everybody started pushing with one to go. Made it there, got to second. I guess Kevin played really nice and didn’t pull a big block. Thanks to Axalta. This car looks really good. I’m sure it was beautiful under the lights. Excited for the 500.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 2nd
“Something happened there, but I was sideways and couldn’t really pick up the momentum. William (Byron) did an awesome job of seeing it and got in front of me. I’m so stocked for William, but I wanted to win (laughs). We have a really good car, better than the Clash. I’m so proud of this Ally team. It was a nice 1-2 finish there for Hendrick Motorsports.”

KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 CREDIT ONE BANK CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 3rd
“It was good to finish third there. I never had any contact with anybody bump drafting or anything like that, so our car is clean. The guys don’t have to work really at all cosmetically. So, that’s good. Now, we’ll go do some more practice runs and try to make our Camaro a little faster.”

KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 MONSTER ENERGY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 8th
“I was going for it. My team put me on offense with four fresh tires. I had a run with the 13 car (Ty Dillon). I knew that Jimmie Johnson was going to do all he could to go with the 24 (William Byron) to win. I needed to close the door on Kevin Harvick. Everyone started to close up and I just needed to be more aggressive to close the door on the bottom and have a run on the bottom lane. I went for it with the Monster Energy Chevy. There’s just a few scratches on it, but we’ll buff them out.”

ROSS CHASTAIN, NO. 77 ADVENTHEALTH CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 9th
“For the first time driving a Chip Ganassi Racing car, it was definitely a dream. I got to pit with all the Chevy’s there and learn what I could probably do better on that first green flag stop of the year to get the rust knocked off. There’s a lot left to be desired for me. We just need a little more grip in the car, more overall grip for longer into the tire runs.

TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 CATERPILLAR CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 10th
“We were in a really good position to start the race off with our Caterpillar Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. I was being a little cautious at first with how aggressively I was going to block for position in the outer lane. On Lap 4 or 5, I had a good run on the 1 and was running in the top five. I kind of wanted to move our Chevrolet further up still and made a move to the outside but got put three-wide and shuffled back. That affected our race a little bit, especially when it started to single out. I started to panic a little bit then, but my crew chief, Randall Burnett, and spotter, Derek Kneeland, did a great job of reminding me there was still a lot of race left to run. The caution towards the end of the race helped stack everyone back up again, which was great since I was able to push the issue on the aggression side a little bit more. It’s hard when a bunch of Fords are lined up on the outside to get one of them to jump out and go with you, but I had some good cars to push me from behind which helped us climb back up through the field. There were a couple moves I could have tried to get a few more spots, but that would have been too risky for our starting spot in the DAYTONA 500. We kept our No. 8 Caterpillar Chevrolet clean tonight, and that’s what mattered most.”

TY DILLON, NO. 13 GEICO CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 11th
“Our GEICO Camaro ZL1 1LE handled so well in the draft. It’s probably the best car I’ve ever driven here. We had a shot at it at the end, but I didn’t have the help I needed to make a move. We ended up getting shuffled back a little farther, but man, I’m excited for Sunday. Matt and I will debrief and make the car even better with a few small tweaks during our final two practice sessions. Our Germain Racing team will be ready to go for the 500.”

ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 VALVOLINE CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 15th
“We really just wanted to keep the car clean there at the end. We had a really good car throughout the Duel and were really getting an idea of where we need to be on Sunday. This Valvoline team has put in some hard work this week and it’s definitely showing.”

BRENDAN GAUGHAN, NO. 62 BEARD MOTORSPORTS/SOUTH POINT CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 17th
“Our Chevrolet made it in on qualifying, so ECR did their job with a strong motor. ECR, the Beard Motorsports guys and all the help that RCR gave got our Chevy into the show on qualifying day. So, for me, the Duels were very boring and that is exactly what I was hoping for. Our race car is in great shape. We’re going to do a little bit of practice; there are a couple of things I don’t like. We’ll do a little fine-tuning, but our Camaro is bad to the bone for the race. We are going to be something to reckon with in the 500.”

WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA ‘COLOR OF THE YEAR’ CAMARO ZL1 1LE, AND CHAD KNAUS (CREW CHIEF) POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by the crew chief of the race‑winning car, which was the No. 24 Axalta Color of the Year Chevrolet. We have Chad Knaus here.
We’ll open it up to questions.

Q. How does it feel to be in here with a victory with somebody other than Jimmie for the first time?
CHAD KNAUS: Man, it just feels good to be in here again, how about that? That’s a unique situation. He did it last year, right, Jimmie without me.
It’s good to be here. Obviously very, very proud of everybody at Hendrick Motorsports. For me emotionally, it’s pretty cool for sure.

Q. What has it been like for you working with William and developing him compared to where you and Jimmie started your relationship?
CHAD KNAUS: Oh, gosh. That’s a completely different ‑‑ we couldn’t be much different, right, obviously. Jimmie and I were coming up trying to prove ourselves at the same time. We both knew that was our opportunity. If we blew it, we probably weren’t going to be in racing too much longer, at least doing those respective roles.
To be working here with William, watching him mature, watching him just get the experience and everything that he’s got going on, the confidence to go out there and race with those guys, it’s been a pleasure, to be honest with you.
With Jimmie, we were just digging and clawing and scratching for everything we could. This has been a lot of fun. It’s been a very calculated path. Hopefully we can continue to go down this road.
THE MODERATOR: We’re also joined by the race‑winning driver, William Byron.
We’ll continue with questions.
CHAD KNAUS: Good job, William (laughter). You don’t clap in the media center (smiling)? Guys, you guys need to lighten up.

Q. Chad, as he pulled out with two laps to go, were you nervous? Did you make that call? What was the strategy?
CHAD KNAUS: No, oddly enough William and I had a discussion prerace. He basically told me where he wanted to be at the end of the race. He kind of ended up right about there.
He knew what he felt like he needed to do. That was all on him. He doesn’t need me in his ear to teach him how to do that stuff. He knows what he’s got going on.

Q. William, you get points for this race, but not technically an official win. Still feel good to be in Victory Lane?
WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, we’re going to use this momentum as it should be. I feel like we didn’t luck into this. We’ve built something over the last year working with Chad. He’s allowed me to grow up a lot. I think he’s held me accountable for a lot of things that are really good.
I just feel comfortable walking into the shop. I think that took me really till this year, this off‑season, to walk in and just feel like a racecar driver and comfortable. That’s a lot of credit to him and Tyler, Brandon, all the guys on the team.
Yeah, we just went out there and raced. That’s what he told me to do before the race. He said, Race it, so…

Q. Chad, when he won, came across the line, you weren’t exuberant. Was that more like a validation of what you’ve been waiting to see him do?
CHAD KNAUS: Well, no, man. Whenever you win, you’re excited, right? I don’t know if it’s validation. I think validation will be when we go out there and we’re battling consistently for wins and top fives. That’s what we’re after, right?
It’s real easy to make the checkered flag the goal in this sport. That’s just a part of the journey, right? The goal is to really get the team working correctly, give William the confidence level, performing where he needs to.
That there, that was a little bit of happiness we got a flag.

Q. William, in 1993, just as you did tonight by getting your first win in the Daytona qualifying race, Jeff Gordon’s first win came in one of the qualifying races.
WILLIAM BYRON: I guess I just need to win 93 more races probably (smiling).
CHAD KNAUS: Time is on your side, for sure. Mine, not so much.
WILLIAM BYRON: You have to stick around (laughter).

Q. William, you’re big in the iRacing community. With all the changes in NASCAR, we’re seeing a lot of iRacing coming up. Does this add any more pressure on you to get a win for the community to show young drivers it’s definitely possible?
WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, I mean, my idea with iRacing, I love having something to do during the week that involves what I try to work on. It’s just fun. It’s fun to get on there with your buddies and race.
Ironically, I was telling Chad I crashed out of every Daytona race this week. Law of averages kind of worked out tonight.
It’s fun to race on there. I meet a lot of good racecar drivers. There’s definitely a difference in racing a real car. There’s a lot of adrenaline that goes into it. I think that Chad has helped me with that, kind of channeling that throughout a race.

Q. Chad, since you’ve been around with Hendrick for a long time, how does it feel to be a part of the winning 24 team?
CHAD KNAUS: I’ve spoken about that a lot. The 24 is something, when they started the 24 team in Atlanta in ’92, I was there for that first race with Jeff. I wasn’t part of the team. I was there. I was like, Man, I’d really like to be a part of that team.
As a 20‑year‑old young man seeing that team grow, wanting to be crew chief of that car back then, to finally get the opportunity to work with William, all of our partners, be a part of the 24 car, it’s really a dream come true.
It’s a lot of fun. I carry the 24 like a badge of honor, I really do. I think to be a part of this 24 team, the heritage it’s had through the years with Ray Evernham, Brian Whitesell, Robbie Loomis, you talk to the people on the team, the sponsors we’ve had, obviously what Jeff was able to do with it, there’s a lot of pride with that 2‑4.

Q. William, although you personally have crashed out on iRacing this week, your team has been doing well. You’re here in Victory Lane. Can you carry that momentum into Sunday?
WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, I was pissed that my team finished second. That was a bummer.
No, it’s great momentum for us with this win tonight. I feel like honestly it just gives confidence to me to make those bold moves late in the race. I feel like you have to put yourself in those positions to really know what it’s going to feel like.
Chad and I talked a lot about that going down here for this week, just racing every lap of the week. We almost raced all the laps last weekend. This was a really critical race for me to learn and kind of perfect it a little bit.
Still a long way to go. When you look at guys like Denny or Joey out there, I think they’re very aggressive at these races. That’s who you’re going to have to beat.

Q. What did you feel behind the wheel with the 550 tapered spacer than how it felt last year? How do you feel you compare now power‑wise to the Fords?
WILLIAM BYRON: Two really good questions.
I think first with the different package, we’ve had this one since Talladega last April. I feel like there are definitely a lot bigger runs. The cars are more fun to drive. You’re not so worried about losing it on entry, kind of feeling lazy, washing around. They’re kind of more in the track when you’re making a move. I think that’s fun as a driver.
As far as our car goes, I think we learned a lot tonight about the speed of it. The conditions were really favorable. But what I also noticed being in the second Duel, there was a lot of rubber on the racetrack. I think that will be similar to the 500.
Just felt really good about the car, especially the run we were able to generate to be able to get to I guess Kevin on the inside. That was pretty impressive.
We’ll see what happens.

Q. William, you talked about finally feeling comfortable in the shop, working with the team. Now you have a trophy in your pocket. Do you feel like you’re here in your third year at the Cup level, like you found a place? Is there still work to do?
WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s all about working with Chad and feeling like I can go to him with any question I have and give him an honest answer on any answer that he needs. That’s a big step, is the relationship here.
There’s really no other relationship out there besides you and your guys and your crew chief. I think that’s where the confidence for me comes from. What he said about it being a journey, we just don’t stop here. This is kind of a result that we can put up on the board now in the shop and say, Okay, now we actually have something to show for what we think we’ve been able to do lately.

Q. William, we saw Fords work together really well in the first race. Chevys worked well together in this race. Do you feel there’s more pressure than ever heading into the 500 for manufacturers to stick together?
WILLIAM BYRON: No. I mean, what you see is not forced. I think there were times last year when we were kind of figuring it out. We might have been a little bit too inline, too conservative with it.
What you saw tonight was a matter of happening to work with guys that are your friends and guys that are of the same manufacturer towards the same goal.
It’s kind of like that little bit of confidence you have to not always look over your shoulder, think that guy is going to hang you out to dry. It’s not forced, but it’s going to happen because those guys are your teammates.

Q. William, how does one know when to make their move late in the race? You had the line of Chevys behind you. Was it a case that you’re instigating to pull out or you’re waiting for the push, jumping in front of them? How do you manage that? Was that at the time you were thinking with three laps to go?
WILLIAM BYRON: It’s just based on when that run comes. In an ideal world, everyone would wait till one to go and fan out just because where we were was a good points position to finish the stage or the race. It would have been good to have six points or whatever it was.
I had kind of not been paying attention, not been pushing as aggressively. Once the 18 got off the top lane and it was single file, I wasn’t pushing the guy in front of me as hard to make that line go. A run just kind of luckily formed right there. I figured if I didn’t take it, Kurt was going to.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Team Chevy high-resolution racing photos are available for editorial use.

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