MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
SOUTH POINT 400
LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY MEDIA PLAYOFF DAY
SEPTEMBER 12, 2019
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA FILTERS CAMARO ZL1 – ROTATION HIGHLIGHTS:
DO YOU FEEL THAT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS, AS A GROUP, ARE TITLE-READY FOR ONE OF YOU GUYS TO WIN?
“I think so. I mean, why be here if you don’t think that? I mean, there’s no point in even coming to this Playoff Media Day if we don’t feel like we have a shot; or, even being in Vegas in general. So, yes, I do think we can do it. I think our group has worked really hard throughout the year. I feel like we’ve had speed at different points throughout the year. Certainly there have been times where I feel like we’ve been much better than other times. Some of that, I feel like, has been our own doing. Some has been misfortune. I think just cleaning-up some of the days that we can control it, I think would be a great thing for us. And trying to be a little steadier. I feel like we’ve been steadier in years past than what we’ve been this year. I know it’s in us and we’ve just got to execute these last 10 weeks. Like I’ve said before, I really feel like when we’re at our best, we can run with those guys that you have to beat and I don’t feel any different right now.”
IS IT IMPORTANT TO COME IN WITH A HEAD OF STEAM?
“I think it’s nice. Momentum certainly goes a long way. I learned a little bit of that last year. It was nice to get a couple of wins in the final ten, It definitely makes a big difference. And, you want to hit your stride at the right time and now would be a great time to do that. So, hopefully that’s the case.”
DOES IT TAKE MORE CONFIDENCE FOR A YOUNG DRIVER TO RUN INTO THE PLAYOFFS WITH GUYS LIKE CLINT BOWYER AND PEOPLE WHO HAVE WON CHAMPIONSHIPS BEFORE; OR, NOT SO MUCH?
“I think the final ten are one thing, but you have 26 other weeks to put yourself in a good or bad position. So, it’s not just about the last ten. You’re competitors and most everybody knows the people you’re going to have to beat we all know the guys who have made the final four on multiple occasions. And I’m sure you’re going to see some of those guys in the running again for that. As I’ve said before, asserting yourself amongst those guys that win a lot and win often and win championships and do it regularly, until you assert yourself amongst that crowd, they’re not worried about you. So, until you it and put yourself in there on your own, you have to do that first. I think we have a team that can do that. I think we’re close to doing it.”
WHAT’S THE UNDERSTANDING AT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AS TO HOW YOU GUYS WILL RACE TOGETHER? HOW DO YOU ALL WORK TOGETHER IN A RUN FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
“Well, I think a lot of that is throughout the preparation and throughout the week and what we’re going to do going into the race weekend and then throughout practice, somebody hits on a little something or whatever that might be helpful, that’s the time, I guess, to talk about it there. And then as far as on-track goes, we obviously all have jobs to do and everybody gets that. I definitely think that, as I’ve said before, you want to at least try to not hurt the other guys. But, it’s really hard to go out of your way to help them. Sometimes that ends up hurting yourself and puts you in a bad position. So, only the drivers know those positions and understand them enough to know what’s right and what’s wrong and what you can do to potentially give your guy a hand, or not.”
FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON, HOW MUCH WOULD YOU SAY YOU’VE HAD TO SORT OF ADJUST AS A DRIVER AND TEAM TO THE NEW PACKAGE? DO YOU THINK THAT’S SOMETHING MOST EVERYBODY WILL PROBABLY BE DOING ALL THE WAY UNTIL THE LAST RACE OF THE YEAR?
“Yeah, I do feel like a lot has changed throughout the year. Trying to understand how to have these cars set up from an aero-platform-standpoint, at the different race tracks and the different surfaces, seem to dictate that and seem to dictate how you can have your car trimmed or not trimmed, or this or that. So, yes, I think we’re still learning. I think everybody probably is. But yeah, just learning the right things at the right time and implementing them at the right time is the key right now.”
IS IT ANY DIFFERENT FOR YOU, PERSONALLY, TO COME IN WITH WINS THIS SEASON?
“It’s definitely nice. I’ve never been in the position of having two wins going in, so that’s great. I would love to add on to that. But, certainly, those guys that are ahead of you have three or four wins, which are potentially double the amount of Playoff points that we have. So, to me, those are the key factors in getting those Playoff points and what’s going to really help you get to Homestead without having to win round to round, or the have-to, I think you have to have the ability to each week, really, to be a contender, regardless. Yeah, we’ll see.”
AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON, ALL THE TALK WAS ABOUT PENSKE AND GIBBS. DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE GAP HAS CLOSED FOR EVERYBODY ELSE IN THE PLAYOFFS AGAINST THEM?
“I would say slightly….in certain areas, for sure. Other areas, I think we still have work to do. But, I feel like we’ve learned a few lessons in the past few weeks that if we can get things rolling and then implement at the right time, I think we could potentially make some gains. So, that’s why it’s so hard to tell. We might be excited about a weekend or a car build or something, but you don’t know what all your competitors have done, either. You know they’re not just siting there staying the same. It’s so hard to guess. That’s been one of the things I’ve learned the most in my career, since I’ve been in Cup, is there have been times that I’ve been really excited about a race weekend and then we get somewhere and we suck (laughs). I just don’t get excited about it because until we get there and really see how things go, it really doesn’t matter and we just need to approach each week with the same level of mindset and hope it goes good; because trying to guess beforehand doesn’t seem to do me much good.”
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