MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE
BANK OF AMERICA ROVAL 400
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
SEPTEMBER 27, 2019
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1, Media Breakout Session Highlights:
“It’s been OK. I’m just trying to get back in the rhythm here, it’s really hard. I feel like a lot of road courses have a flow to it and this place does not flow very well at all. So, you kind of have to create your own flow in my mind, that’s what I keep telling myself. It’s just kind of awkward. There’s awkward turns, awkward braking zones, and things that are just very uncharacteristic of typical road racing. I’m just trying to find a groove. I never really found it very well in that first practice, which is unfortunate. We were way off the pace in our qualifying run. I have some work to do. We see where we were slow, which unfortunately was a lot of areas. So, we have some work to do and hopefully we can hit it a little closer in qualifying.”
NUMBERS SAY YOU’RE THE BEST PLAYOFF DRIVER ON ROAD COURSES. DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU HAVE ANY ADVANTAGE?
“I don’t. I think Martin Truex Jr. has pretty well asserted himself as the best road racer in the series. As of late, he has won the majority of them and has finished like second or third in the other ones. I think until you’re competing with him regularly, you’re probably not the guy to beat.”
“When I was in the driver council, they were talking about ideas. At one point in time, I thought maybe putting sealer on the whole thing might be something that it would at least change throughout the race. The bottom would be the fastest for awhile and then as we picked it up, the middle would become good. You just kind of keep chasing it up the track until the distance became too far around to where the bottom was good again. I just think it would be a dynamic of change in a race that we typically don’t have a lot of. I think there were other guys in there talking about it, but I was for it.”
STATISTICALLY, DOVER HAS BEEN ONE OF YOUR BEST RACE TRACKS. WHY IS THAT?
“I don’t know. We’ve had fast cars there. To be honest with you, I think probably the biggest reason we’ve had some good runs at the race track is because of Jimmie (Johnson)’s success over the years. I think he’s been so good and he’s put a really good baseline for HMS and for us to go there and have a decent place to start for the weekend. I think a lot of it is because of that. Obviously, he’s won how many races there, so he has a really good feel of what he needs to do and he does a better job than I do a lot of times in being able to describe things and put things into words. Sometimes things are really complicated in what you’re feeling and it’s hard to put that into simplifying terms to explain it, and he does a really nice job of that. I think that’s why he’s had a lot of the success that he’s had.”
HOW DOES THE CHANGES TO THIS CAR CHANGE THE DYNAMICS AT DOVER?
“I think it will be different, with guys coming back with different things. But it’s still Dover. It’s still really similar, but there were a couple of items that I feel like we could have done better. Honestly, that Dover spring race was a long time ago from the standpoint of development and where guys are with their cars, the downforce they are bringing to the track and how they are managing that with the drag. I’ll be really curious to see. I know for us, we’ve improved in some areas that I feel like will help at Dover. All of that just depends on how your competitors have improved and whether that will show up on the stat sheet.”
DO YOU HAVE A ROUTINE ON RACE DAY THAT YOU GO THROUGH?
“Nothing very special. My alarm usually goes off, and I get up and do the things that I need to do. Then, I’ll eat lunch, we have our team meeting and then we go race. It’s nothing special, for sure. I just kind of do what I’m told and try to go do my job.”
WHAT’S IT LIKE GOING INTO TURN ONE HERE ON A START OR RESTART FROM THE INSIDE AND THE OUTSIDE LINE?
“Yeah, it’s tough because you’re braking marks are actually different on a restart than what it is on a normal lap because you miss the chicane. So, you carry more speed more in there than you do on a normal lap, which is kind of awkward. The way the corner is shaped, you are just asking for somebody to drive in the inside of everybody. You probably always have that option if you’re in the inside lane, it just kind of depends on how you want to approach the corner and what kind of problem you want to officially cause. That’s just road racing in general. There are places we go that the corner slows down and the guy that’s in front is going to get there before the guy behind him. So, if you want to shortcut the corner, you can probably get to this inside and we all know how that ends up a lot of the time.”
THERE WAS A LOT OF CHOAS IN THE FIRST PRACTICE SESSION. DO YOU THINK YOU WILL SEE THAT IN TOMORROW’S PRACTICE AND THE RACE?
“I think you probably will. But I will say today, to me, was a tough day with only having a short practice at a place that we’ve all only been to one time. Then, to have to do a mock qualifying run right at the end of practice after only being able to make a few laps. Now, we’re going to go qualifying. Today, I think was tough. Tomorrow, we’ll have a little more time, which I think will be good. Today, was challenging for sure.”
DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING?
“Yeah, I feel like I did. I’d like to think that I did. Hopefully, it shows up on the stopwatch here in a few minutes. Like I said, I’m just trying to find a rhythm and it’s been really tough today in 55 minutes to do that. Then, to go lay down a fast lap, I struggled with today so I need to do a better job of that next time.”
HOW DO YOU THINK THE NEW CAR HAS CHANGED THE RACING AT THE ROVAL, IF AT ALL?
“I don’t know that it really has. I think it will be really similar. I don’t really see it changing a whole lot. Road course racing is a lot about track position and how we qualify today. That’s going to dictate stage points. A couple of guys are in a really good position because typically the people who pit before the stages at these things are probably going to be the guys you’re going to be racing to win. A lot of us can’t afford to pit before a stage right now with the way the points are. There’s a clear advantage of guys who are locked or in a really good spot to pit before that last stage to put themselves in a good track position spot after. That’s the big one, what kind of points you can gain in that first stage to hopefully shortcut the second stage and put yourself in a position to win.”
Team Chevy high-resolution racing photos are available for editorial use.
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