MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
FOLDS OF HONOR QUIKTRIP 500
ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
FEBRUARY 23, 2018
DARRELL ‘BUBBA’ WALLACE, JR., No. 43 NASCAR RACING EXPERIENCE CAMARO ZL1 met with media and discussed his week following the Daytona 400, his expectations going forward, various upcoming race tracks, and more. Full Transcript:
HOW WAS YOUR WEEK AFTER THE DAYTONA 500?
“Oh, it’s been a hell of a week, man, no kidding. But, it wasn’t too busy, though. After the 500 I figured I’d be slammed all the way up until here, but it wasn’t too bad.”
YOU HAVE SHOES THAT COMMEMORATED THE FIRST DAYTONA 500, AND ARE YOU USING THOSE SHOES AGAIN THIS WEEK OR ARE THOSE SPECIAL SHOES JUST FOR THE DAYTONA 500?
“Those were special. They had, on the heels, Alpinestars did a great job, they hand scripted my first Daytona 500 with the date. I ran that all last week and then I told Angie, our PR person, hey, do we have another pair of shoes we can throw on? She’s like no, but we can get them. So, we got them. We have a black pair now. Those were special for that week. We’ll put those up and be able to look back on those and say I remember when.”
IS THERE ANY CONCERN THAT SUCH A STRONG DAYTONA 500 MIGHT EXPECTATIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM?
“No, being able to talk to Richard (Petty) last night, we had a Coke dinner last night which went really great, they are great partners to the sport. And I asked what the expectations are for this year. I wanted to see what his take was and he says looking back on last year, they knew where they stood, 15th to 20th more so on the back side of that. And he wants to improve to a top 8 to a top 12 team. And I’m like, okay, that’s right in the ballpark I was saying. I was saying top 10 to top 15, so he says yes there are going to be days where we are better than that, and there’s going to be days when we’re worse than that. But, we all have to keep in once piece and bring it home and let us work on it and not get behind. Having those few moments with him, a 45-minute car with him there was a lot said, but I asked him that specific question. So, coming off Daytona, I’ve always said, whoever enters in Daytona has a chance to win the race. Just miss all the wrecks and be there at the end and have a good push and you can set yourself up really nice. But, coming into this weekend we know where we stand. At the same time we don’t know where we stand with everything that’s gone on. Hopefully we unload with a good amount of speed for us and we continue to work on it and make it better. This will be the first time for me at Atlanta in a Cup car, and I know how worn out this place is in an Xfinity car and it’s not any fun. Well, it’s a lot of fun, don’t get me wrong, but hanging onto that thing is a challenge. So, I’m looking forward to it.”
IT WASN’T ALL THAT LONG AGO THAT YOU WERE STRUGGLING TO STAY RELEVANT AND TO KEEP YOUR NAME OUT THERE. WHAT’S IT LIKE NOW TO HAVE SO MANY PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT YOU?
“Yeah, there’s one or two articles. I think Jamie McMurray, we just had the rookie meeting and he was our leader for that meeting, and he was like wow, it’s crazy. I didn’t see one article about you after the 500 this week. That’s crazy. I thought I’d see a lot. Yeah, me too. But I think we made a lot of headlines this past week. We did such great things. It was really cool to see the No. 3 (Austin Dillon) on top of the pylon there with the No. 43 behind. Obviously you wish it was rolls reversed, but to come off that and have a great Speedweeks to really kickoff our 2018 season really means a lot. It shows all the credit that goes back to the guys. They built that car and gave me the opportunity. I’m excited about this year. I keep saying it. Our attitude and our appetite for being competitive; and just having that hungry appetite is going to carry us a long way. First things first. Practice is up here in 30 minutes, so I’m excited.”
SO AFTER A FEW MONTHS OF HAVING ALL THE CAMERAS AROUND, AND NOW WITH THE DAYTONA 500 BEHIND YOU, DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE GETTING BACK TO NORMAL? IS IT NICE TO MAYBE GET INTO A RHYTHM GOING INTO THE SEASON?
“Hell, I’m never normal so that will never be the case. But, I will say after a couple of days I’m like looking around. Where are the cameras? It was just how much they were around. We went to dinner one night, Amanda and I, and I was like I’m surprised we’re not mic’d-up right now. After all was said and done and the content that was created for that Facebook show and whoever watched it, thank you; and whoever hasn’t, check it out, it turned out great. It was a great show, Episode 8. I cried again. I cried twice watching it, maybe three times, I can’t remember. But, I will say I’m glad it’s over with. But they are talking about a second season.”
THE ATTENTION YOU GOT WAS ALMOST LIKE YOU WON THE DAYTONA 500. DID THAT SURPRISE YOU? THERE HAVE BEEN SO MANY 500’S THAT I CAN’T TELL YOU WHO FINISHED SECOND. BUT THIS ONE IS GOING TO STICK WITH ME. DOES THAT SURPRISE YOU?
“Oh, that’s always been the case. Nobody remembers who finished second, except for the guy who finished second. But like you said, a lot of people are going to remember this moment, remember that day, and just be able to take it in. I mean, I don’t know. I guess that’s all the pressure you all put on me to perform well, hell. I went out there and did it for you. I gave you all a story. But, I think it was pretty big. For Austin to be able to win 20 years after (Dale Earnhardt) Senior did and carry that No. 3 back to Victory Lane. And the No. 43 was, I’ll just go ahead and say it was a bigger story. I don’t know why. I was in there. We were able to do this, the first African American since Wendell Scott, highest African American finish, highest rookie finish, I never even knew that. So, there’s a lot of history that went with it. But it’s just crazy. It’s awesome.”
WHEN YOU LOOK BACK ON THAT WHOLE WEEK AT DAYTONA, WHAT’S GOING TO STICK OUT THE MOST?
“Everything about that week is going to stick out. I’ll remember that week for the rest of my life of what we did on our off-days, to Media Day, to getting sick, and everything; what I had for breakfast each and every day, I’m going to remember it all just because it was so vivid and just a great week to remember. Everything will stick out, especially me crying.”
SINCE SUPERSPEEDWAYS ARE SUCH A DIFFERENT BEAST AND WITH THIS WESTERN SWING COMING UP, WHAT’S YOUR COMFORT LEVEL WITH THOSE TRACKS AND HOW IMPORTANT WILL THAT BE FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM TO GET A REAL FEEL FOR WHERE YOU ARE?
“Yeah, this is where everybody unleashes all their cards here. So, I’ll be excited to see what we unload with and what other guys unload with. Having that alliance with RCR looking back and watching them in the first handful of laps last year was pretty quick here, so hopefully we can build off a little bit of that. Especially going into Phoenix, I feel good about that place. We ran good there last year, RPM ran good there last year at the end of the year. Vegas is good. We tested there and had a great test. I’m excited about the tracks I’m going back to for say the second time, but Phoenix is your typical short track and so that won’t be too bad but Fontana will be the next big challenge, just 218 (mph) off in Turn 1, whatever it is, hanging on for dear life and running right against the fence, it’s going to be fun. I’m excited about it. So, as far as what we’re going to have, we’ll let you know the first couple of laps in practice because we have no idea.”
AFTER DAYTONA AND THE SOCIAL MEDIA STUFF AND THE VIDEOS, HAS THAT HELPED YOU GUYS IN YOUR GAME FOR SPONSORSHIP?
‘Yeah, I think so. We have NASCAR Racing Experience on board, so that’s nice and I’m very thankful for that. We also have associate sponsor E.E. Ward, an African American owned business and it’s really special for them to jump on board especially with it being Black History month. I think these efforts are helping. I think the phones are starting to ring a little bit more. I know the media opportunities are starting to grow and it’s getting a little bit bigger there. As long as we keep doing everything off the race track and on the race track the right way, I think it’ll be here before we know it.”
IS MAKING THIS TEAM AN 8 TO 12-PLACE TEAM ON A REGULAR BASIS MORE ABOUT STUFF THAT YOU HAVE TO DO OR ABOUT THE TEAM?
“It’s about both of us. I’ll have to put that car in position and put us there in that spot, but we also have to have the equipment and the right adjustments to be able to do that. No, this is a team sport. There’s no ‘I’ in any of the drivers in this field. It all relies on team work. We could be running fifth all day and we come down pit road for the last stop and the pit crew messes up, then we all go down and not just them. We’ll have to just minimize mistakes and not slide through the box or whatever it is. So, we’ve all got to make sure we’re all pulling in the same direction. That’s what’s going to keep us ahead of the ball. As soon as we start getting in the opposite direction, that’s when we start getting behind and the results will start to show. So, I have a great team. I have no worries about what’s going to happen. They’re all prepared and we’ll be ready.”
HAVE YOU GOTTEN AN OFFICIAL NOTICE THAT YOU HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM DENNY HAMLIN’S BASKETBALL OR GOLF LEAGUES?
“Both. I have been removed from both. Although, I didn’t get the direct text. It went through like five or six people. That is classy I guess.”
SO, YOU REALLY HAVE BEEN TOLD YOU ARE NOT WELCOME THERE ANYMORE?
“I have been told the golf league was out. I removed myself from the basketball league just after the conversation we had that day. I was like ‘whatever I guess I’m not coming back’. That is okay.”
WHAT WAS THE CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR MOM AND SISTER LIKE AFTER EVERYTHING LAST WEEK?
“I didn’t really hear from them. I was super busy. We got away from each other and it was cool. My Mom called me Tuesday, I think it was Tuesday just to talk and see how everything was. She was just still so proud. She seen… what did she say… I can pull it up. She sent a message right after the phone call. She usually does that we will talk for an hour and she will send me an hour-long text message for me to read. It’s like geez. She said, ‘hey babe reading the comments from Sunday’s race. Wow, I’m so emotional right now, you did win on Sunday. You won the hearts of so many people. That is better than a first-place finish because when you do get that first win, oh my God, there is going to be a riot. LOL Love you and so very proud. And then aren’t you glad I decided to have one more child.’ (LAUGHS). That is my Mom. That is where you see I get it from. Talked to my sister last night. My nephew, he wanted to FaceTime me, but we were traveling back from a dinner, so by the time I called back he was already asleep. They will be back down this weekend, so my good luck charms, I guess.”
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