NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
AUTO CLUB 400
AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
MARCH 18, 2016
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 AMERICAN ETHANOL CHEVROLET SS met with media and discussed the team’s positive progress this year, the new race package, and more. Full Transcript:
YOU’VE HAD A GOOD START TO THE SEASON WITH THREE TOP 10’S AND AN 11TH PLACE IN THE FIRST FOUR RACES. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS COMING INTO THIS WEEKEND’S RACE IN FONTANA?
‘The biggest thing is to just to keep it rolling. We did that this first practice. I was proud of the guys. We kept getting better every run. I’m excited. We’ve got a really fast car. Hopefully we can back it up this evening in Qualifying.”
YOU STARTED TO HAVE THESE PERFORMANCES TOWARD THE END OF LAST SEASON. WHEN YOU LOOK BACK AT THE START OF LAST YEAR, AND THEN THIS YEAR, WHAT’S BEEN THE DIFFERENCE?
“I just think it’s carried over from the end of last year. We’ve made personnel changes. We’ve looked at our team and our cars and said all right, what are we missing as a group? Where can we develop and find speed that overlay on Sunday? We’ve maximized that as much as we can. We’ve got aggressive people in the pitbox with (crew chief) Slugger, and my two engineers. They do a great job. I also use another data guy that really helps me as far as my driving abilities and just looking over different throttle traces and brake traces and just trying to take advantage of all that. The great ones do. Jimmie Johnson, he studies every weekend even though he keeps wining. He studies before the race and we’re studying hard right now.”
YOU HAVE A HISTORY IN DIRT RACES. DOES THAT FACT THAT THE TRACK GETS HOT AND SLICK HERE, DOES THAT TRANSLATE WHEN YOU RACE HERE?
“Yeah, It definitely does. You’ve got to have a lot of throttle control and be disciplined here. You’ve got to be able to want to run up by the wall and kind of figure out the line that it takes. It takes a lot of effort. You’ve got to put yourself into the mindset of doing stuff that you don’t normally want to do. It makes you a little uncomfortable. So, I enjoy it. It definitely makes you go up there and try some different things that you don’t get to do every weekend at every race track.”
WITH YOU BEING THE BABY OF THE BUNCH AT RCR, AND OUTRUNNING YOUR TEAMMATES, HOW MUCH OF IT IS JUST HOW FAR YOU’VE PROGRESSED FROM A PERFORMANCE STANDPOINT, AND HOW MUCH IS IT DUE TO THE NEW CAR?
“I think to look back again, to the end of last year, we were doing the same thing. I think we were gaining on it every week. The new car; we knew that we had to make a group effort to make our cars faster. When we ran those two races at Kentucky and Darlington, we struggled. And we felt like we had to do a good of of transitioning this year, of not getting behind early. Last year, we were behind earlier in the year I think, as an organization, and we’ve started playing catch-up this year. We’re closer. And now we’ve just got to keep our mindset as focused as we can and keep adding to what we have, adding to this base that we started with.”
“I’ll tell you what, we’ve been flying for the last two years, too; so I don’t feel like the speed sensation’s any real difference there. I just like the ability to be able to race around cars and it doesn’t affect the line you run as much, you know. Usually, in the old package, you had to be in a different groove than the other guy to gain on him. And now it seems like you can, at least, run near him to gain momentum and speed.”
HOW MUCH HAVE YOUR TEAMMATES BEEN LEANING ON YOU THIS SEASON?
“I think it’s all right there for everybody to see as far as our group being a very open book. The hard thing is when you’ve got a guy or you’ve got a team that’s successful, you’ve got to figure out everything that they’re doing and work together with them. Things hadn’t fallen their way at the start of this year, and things are going well for us. At some point in time I’m going to lean on them. But the good part is, I know that they have my information and I have their information and everything it pretty much open book between our teams. So, we can look at the data and make each other better. There’s going to be a day where we come to the track and we’re not the fastest and we’ve got to lean on them for some information.”
WHILE YOUR CUP TEAM IS RUNNING EXCEPTIONALLY, THE XFINITY SERIES IS STILL LOOKING TO GET SOME SPEED, ESPECIALLY TO CATCH THE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE RCR XFINITY PROGRAM THIS YEAR SO FAR, AFTER RUNNING REALLY STRONG LAST YEAR?
“I feel like we definitely took a step back from last year’s performances in the Xfinity Series. We’ve just got to go back to work. I feel like this race, we’ve brought something that’s a little more comparable to the Joe Gibbs cars. It think we’ll be able to race them a little closer this weekend and hopefully put on a better show than what they’ve been putting on; they’ve been pretty much sweeping it both weekends; so it definitely makes you angry and makes you go to work and that’s kind of this game. Other people push you and how far do you push back? We’ve got to start pushing ours as much as we can and see what we can come up with.”
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