MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER RACE NOTES AND QUOTES
FEBRUARY 18, 2018
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW CAMARO ZL1 – RACE WINNER
“Right now I just want to thank the good Lord above. I did what I had to do there at the end. I hate it for the No. 10 (Aric Almirola) guys. We had a run, and I stayed in the gas. It is what it is here at Daytona. This is so awesome to take the No. 3 car back to Victory Lane 20 years ago. This one is for Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and all those Sr. fans. I love you guys. We are going to keep kicking butt the rest of the year!”
DID YOU HAVE SOMETHING SPECIAL IN YOUR CAR?
“I met a fan and actually he had no favorite driver. I told him I would give him my hat if I was his favorite driver. Well I gave him the hat. The next day he saw me in the infield and said here is a lucky penny I found heads-up and I said ‘Man, we have to put this in the car.’ We put it in the car and here we are in Victory Lane.”
ON THE FINISH:
“I knew we were in a good spot. And I have to thank Darrell Wallace, Jr., he did a great job. Finishing one-two with ECR engines. What a day. Thanks Darrell for that push. I had to make it happen in the end.”
ON WHAT IT MEANS TO HIS GRANDPA:
“I said my first win I couldn’t beat it, but this does. My Grandfather has done everything for me. Everybody knows it. There is a lot of pressure on me to preform because I have had a little bit of everything. But I like that pressure. The same with the No 3. There is a lot of pressure behind that. But I’m willing to take that and go with it. I’m just thankful for all the people that support us along the way. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his family for letting us bring this number back. It comes full circle. I just can’t thank the Lord enough for this opportunity.”
TAKE US THROUGH THOSE LAST TWO LAPS:
“I never really thought about it until we took the lead about having a shot to win. I knew we were in a good spot if I could get a push down the backstretch. Heck, we went down the backstretch, had a run, went low, the No. 43 went low and I just had more momentum than he did and caught him. It turned him, but heck we won the Daytona 500 we are sitting here now.”
WHAT DID IT TAKE TO GET UP THROUGH THERE TO GET TO ARIC ALMIROLA?
“I tell you, just good help from behind that ECR engine from Darrell Wallace in the No. 43 it’s pretty cool to see the No. 3 and the No. 43 1-2 tonight. Man, the guys worked so hard on this car and my Grandpa didn’t want us to run this car, it was our back-up. I said ‘I just feel comfortable in this car, I can move good with it.’ We moved through all the wrecks today and ended up coming home the Daytona 500 winner.”
DID YOU EVER IMAGINE 20 YEARS LATER YOU WOULD BE A DAYTONA 500 WINNER?
“Daytona has a way with just making memories. This place makes memory after memory and they are life changing memories and I was fortunate to be in Victory Lane 20 years ago and I’m here again, but I’m driving – this is awesome!”
BUBBA WALLACE, NO. 43 CLICK N’ CLOSE CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 2nd
“All-in-all a great day for our Click N’ Close Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team. Just an incredible experience for me to be able to be here for my first Daytona 500. (Watching the replay) He (Denny Hamlin) says I cut his tire down. It looked like the same move he pulled on (Ryan) Blaney at Martinsville. We had some momentum and we beat him, so it’s all good. The Daytona 500 put that aside. My nerves are shot right now. The King (Richard Petty) comes in all mad at me and says after all I told you what was the first rule I told you to do. I’m like ‘I don’t know I lost my breath’ and he said ‘don’t wreck the car’ and we … oh. Thank you to the King for keeping me young, keeping him young as well. Thank you to the King as well for giving me this opportunity putting them second-place, putting Click N’ Close in second place. We know how much stress this team has been through in the last three or four months just trying to get this program together. For me to come out here with this hectic three months I’ve had with the Facebook Series ‘Behind the Wall – with Bubba Wallace’ check it out. Hell, of an ending for us tonight, but P2 for my first Daytona 500, I’ll take it.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE RACE?
“Whew, that’s my thought right there. There were a lot of close calls out there on the race track in just getting experience in my first Daytona 500. We wanted to do two things. We wanted to run a lot of laps and not wreck the car. We came home with one of those. We ran all the laps and got wrecked there at the end. But, that’s part of it. When you put that aside, what an unforgettable week and a half it’s been. Being followed by cameras every day 24/7day for the last three months. Just dealing with that there was a lot of stress. But I think it’s produced great content for my show, ‘Behind the Wall with Bubba Wallace’. You can check it out on Facebook Watch. I love coming to Daytona. It’s not my favorite track, just because of the circumstances and what happens.”
DID YOU FEEL ANY EXTRA PRESSURE WHEN YOU HAD THE LIKES OF HANK AARON AND LEWIS HAMILTON CONTACTING YOU AND WISHING YOU WELL?
“Wow. That makes you feel good. It definitely pulls on your heartstrings a little bit, just to know that you’re being watched by so many greats. They’re the ones you’re looking up to and they reach out to you and that’s really cool. So, I kind of feel like that little kid that looks up to me and I respond back to them. So, I kind of get that little girl feeling in me, or little boy feeling, or whatever it is. But it was just a great day and a great week for our Click n’ Close team. The new Chevy Camaro ZL1 is in Victory Lane and the RCR alliance is one-two, so it’s pretty good. It’s good to see the No. 3 back in Victory Lane here in Daytona with the No. 43 at the top of the board as well.”
THEY SAY YOU’VE GOT TO DO WHATEVER YOU CAN IN THE DAYTONA 500. DO YOU AGREE? IS THAT WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO?
“Yeah, going into it the whole time. I actually had the same piece of gum in for I think the last 10 laps. And it wasn’t great. But, I think that helped me be calm. I’m like okay, I’m not chewing fast here; I’m singing. No lie. When we were single with like six (laps) to go, I’m singing to myself. And I think that’s what really changed it for me is how calm I was for my first Daytona 500. And to just be able to walk away and talk to you here is great. I’d love to talk to you on pit road with all my guys. They’re the ones who really deserve this, and everybody back at the shop. So much goes into these speedway cars. Everybody knows that. So, I’m excited. We’ve got a lot of momentum heading to Atlanta. I don’t know what we’re going to have there, but I’m pumped. We’re good.”
CHRIS BUESCHER, NO. 37 KLEENEX CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 5th
“That was awesome. For us to even be in contention to have a shot at winning the (Daytona) 500 with our Kroger Clicklist team, that was pretty awesome, with two cars really. That was pretty neat. There at the end we just had to be a little bit too defensive with our Kleenex Camaro ZL1 to really go up there and push for it. The bottom really wasn’t the place to be all night and that is where we lined back up.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 BASS PRO SHOPS/CABELA’S CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 8th
“I kind of expected that… not necessarily two of us in the top eight. Congratulations first of all to Austin (Dillon) and his team. That is awesome for RCR and ECR and all of our partners. To get a Camaro in Victory Lane, that was special as well, for us, we just weren’t in the right place at the right time and got caught up in a little bit of a mess and that was it. We just finished with a bunch of damage, but we still finished eighth.”
AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 KROGER CLICKLIST CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 10th
“Today was a big positive for our racing organization. It’s a great day for both teams, to get a top-five and a top-10 finish at Daytona. It was a fantastic job there by Chris and the 37 Kleenex team, especially at the end to have a chance to win it. Overall, any time you come out of Daytona with two cars in the top-10 that’s a big deal for us. I feel like so many times I tried to make the right move and either nobody went with me or I got hung out, but that’s the product of this racing. That’s the way it goes. It can be frustrating sometimes. Overall, just a great day for our 47 Kroger ClickList team and especially Chris and the 37 guys for doing such a great job.”
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 17th
YOU RAN A GREAT RACE, BUT GOT CAUGHT UP IN A MULTI-CAR ACCIDENT AT THE END:
“Yeah, just put ourselves in a good position all day and really shouldn’t have been in that spot. That last restart I didn’t do a good job and that is what put us there. My fault, learn from it move on. Definitely do some things differently going forward, but everybody on this Nationwide 88 did such a great job. It’s cool to see Austin (Dillon) get the Camaro ZL1 its first win. Working with Kevin Hamlin (spotter) was great all day. Greg (Ives, crew chief) made good calls all day, but it’s just Daytona.”
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 – Involved in a multi-car accident on lap 101
ARE YOU OKAY?
“Yes, I’m alright. I had such a fast Camaro ZL1 today, and I just wanted a shot there at the end. Tough circumstances. I was just trying to feel Blaney out and see what he was going to do; how aggressive he wanted to be. I had a big push and got light at the wrong time. Didn’t make the right move.”
ARE YOU OKAY AND WHAT HAPPENED?
“Yeah, I’m fine, just unfortunate set of circumstances. I had a big push from Brad (Keselowski) and was trying to do something with it on Ryan (Blaney). I didn’t really expect to get by him. I was kind of feeling him out to see how aggressive he wanted to be and just kind of got light over the transition and was a big push at the wrong time I guess. It happens and we will just move on down the road.”
HOW DISAPPOINTING IS THIS?
“Yeah, very, I hate it. I just wanted to make it to the end and give ourselves a chance, so I hate that we didn’t have that opportunity.”
WAS IT AGGRESSIVE EARLY?
“Yeah, it was. It was really aggressive all day. I hate that… it’s so tough I think that everybody kind of… the safest place to be is out front and everybody wants to be there, that is the problem. I don’t know exactly how you fix that. It just kind of is what it is. I hate it. Disappointing way to end the 500 this afternoon, but we will move on down the road and try to get ‘em in Atlanta.”
YOU WERE MAKING VETERAN MOVES YESTERDAY IN THE XFINITY RACE DID YOU FEEL YOU WERE ABLE TO MOVE AROUND AND MAKE GOOD MOVES TODAY?
“Yeah, you were just not quite as much. I think you’ve got to be able to move around and make moves and take some chances every now and then to win these events. I tried to do that yesterday and wanted to do that later on this afternoon and it just didn’t work out.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 7 GODADDY CAMARO ZL1 – Involved in a multi-car accident on lap 101
WHAT WAS FIRST HALF OF THE RACE LIKE FOR YOU?
“Pretty decent. The car was a lot better than it was in the Duel. It was a lot better than practice. Tony Eury, Jr., my crew chief did an awesome job. The guys on the whole team did a really good job. I know we pulled this together not that long ago, a month ago. That is a tall order to get a car ready for a superspeedway that is competitive. But, it was. I said earlier today that I feel like the whole thing was picture perfect with GoDaddy on the car, and it being that green again. It just wasn’t meant to be today. I am proud-we raced the whole race other than a little bit at the end of that first stage when it looked silly with all the cars with tires and no tires. Other than that, we raced it and the car was competitive. That is all you can do. That is the gamble at Daytona. It can go so well; and it can go so awful. I’m grateful for everything. Thank you to all the fans. Still have one more. It is not a stock car, but still have one more.”
WHAT DID YOU SEE HAPPEN OUT THERE?
“A superspeedway accident. You guys probably know better than me based on a replay, but just a superspeedway accident. That is the way it goes. I’m proud that the car was a lot better handling today than it was in the Duel. I feel like we were competitive. We weren’t the fastest car out there, but the car was competitive. That was important. Not the fastest car, it was definitely lethargic getting up to speed on the starts and when we checked up, but other than that it ran really well. I’m just sad that it ended that way.
“It’s funny Jeff Gordon and I did an SMT for FOX the other day and he said his last Daytona didn’t go well either and I was like ‘oh wow I don’t remember that’, I remember your career, so I hope that is how it is with me with everybody.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 95 PROCORE CAMARO ZL1 – Involved in a multi-car accident on lap 101
“I couldn’t see what happened. I was just on the outside entering the corner and then Chase (Elliott) came across, hit the wall, by the sounds of it in the infield care center, him and Brad (Keselowski) got together, but I didn’t see any of it. Disappointed, our Procore Camaro ZL1 was good, we kept getting back towards the front and then falling, but we were fighting. We had a great car all Speedweeks and get ready for Atlanta.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S FOR PROS CAMARO ZL1 – Involved in a multi-car accident on lap 60
“There was some great racing throughout. But unfortunately, many thought it was the black and white checkered flag and not the green and white checkered flag. On lap 59 to be throwing blocks like that just…a lot of wrecked race cars. We will go to work and go to Atlanta next week. But it is disappointing for this Lowes team and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports for all the work they put into it. But we’ll get this Camaro ZL1 dialed in for Atlanta and take it over there.”
WHAT HAPPENED FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE?
“It looked like everybody thought that was the finish of the Daytona 500 and it was really only lap 59 coming to 60. Unfortunately, we lost our third car for the weekend. It’s unfortunate it has turned out that way, but we will get this Lowe’s for Pro’s Chevy dialed in for Atlanta and go do it again.”
ON THE INCIDENT:
“Just racing that hard coming for a green and white checkered flag. I’m not sure everybody was thinking big picture and really using their head through that.”
IS THAT A PRODUCT OF SO MANY YOUNG DRIVERS IN THE SPORT RIGHT NOW?
“In that instance it looked like it, but I’m not picking on the young guys by any stretch. Veterans typically cause more problems out there. Because we have more confidence and experience and usually create more issues than the young guys do.”
TALK ABOUT THE CARS BEING HARD TO HANDLE:
“We are going way faster with this rear ride height rule in the cars. Just everything is on edge. It’s a lot of fun, we are flying around here, but it puts handling at a premium. It gets us closer to the edge of traction and we are just slipping and sliding all over.”
WHAT IS IT ABOUT YOU AND DAYTONA LATELY?
“I know. It’s been tough lately. I have had some great days and nights here through the July race and this race, but of late it’s been tough. That is just how it goes. If I want to think too hard about it I can look at Earnhardt’s record here and know how long it took him to get his first.”
TY DILLON, NO. 13 GEICO CAMARO ZL1 – Involved in a multi-car accident on lap 60
“Our GEICO Camaro ZL1 was running pretty good. I was trying to get some stage points. It’s really important for us to kind of come out with a good start and I was wanting to be aggressive in the first stage, get some points so we could do whatever we wanted to later on in the race. I saw them crossing lanes up there in the front and I was kind of pinned to the top, so I didn’t really have anywhere to go and once they started crashing I was just stuck in the oil and didn’t really have anywhere to go. I hate it for our guys, they really put in a lot of work to be out so early in the 500, but we have a long season ahead of us so can’t wait to get to Atlanta and get past all this.”
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