TEAM CHEVY AT KANSAS 2: Post-Race Notes and Quotes

MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
KANSAS SPEEDWAY
HOLLYWOOD CASINO 400
TEAM CHEVY POST-RACE NOTES AND QUOTES
OCTOBER 20, 2019

TOP TEAM CHEVY UNOFFICIAL FINISHING RESULTS:
POS. DRIVER (* = Playoff Contender)
2nd * CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1
4th KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 ADVENT HEALTH CAMARO ZL1
5th * WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 UNIFIRST CAMARO ZL1
10th JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY FUELING FUTURES CAMARO ZL1
11th * ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CAMARO ZL1

TOP FIVE UNOFFICIAL FINISHING RESULTS:
POS. DRIVER (* = Chevy Playoff Contender)
1st Denny Hamlin (Ford)
2nd * Chase Elliott (Chevrolet)
3rd Kyle Busch (Toyota)
4th Kurt Busch (Chevrolet)
5th * William Byron (Chevrolet)

UNOFFICIAL CURRENT PLAYOFF RANK (Following Round 6 of 10)
POS. DRIVER (* = Chevy Contender)
1. Denny Hamlin (Toyota)
2. * Kyle Larson (Chevrolet)
3. Ryan Blaney (Ford)
4. Martin Truex Jr. (Toyota)
5. Kyle Busch (Toyota)
6. Kevin Harvick (Ford)
7. Joey Logano (Ford)
8.____* Chase Elliot (Chevrolet)__________
9. Brad Keselowski (Ford)
10. * William Byron (Chevrolet)
11. * Alex Bowman (Chevrolet)
12. Clint Bowyer (Ford)

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UNOFFICIAL CURRENT PLAYOFF RANK WITH POINTS RESET GOING INTO THE ROUND OF EIGHT
1. Kyle Busch (Toyota)
2. Martin Truex Jr. (Toyota)
3. Denny Hamlin (Toyota)
4. Joey Logano (Ford)
5. Kevin Harvick (Ford)
6. * Chase Elliott (Chevrolet)
7. * Kyle Larson (Chevrolet)
8. Ryan Blaney (Ford)

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season continues next weekend at Martinsville Speedway with the First Data 500 on Sunday, October 27 at 3:00 P.M. ET. Live coverage can be found on NBCSN, NBC Sports Gold, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

TEAM CHEVY POST-RACE NOTES AND QUOTES:

CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 2nd
“Honestly, I was just trying to win the race and the rest of it just kind of fell into our hands a little bit, with the 2 (Brad Keselowski) having a misfortune and the 22 (Joey Logano) being in that crash. Luckily, we got a good bit of stage points in that first one, got five more in the second stage, and battled for the win. I was proud of that. We weren’t the best car by any stretch, but I did feel like we came here with the mindset to win and I was proud of the fact that we came here and fought for a win.”

CAN YOU DRIVE AND DO MATH AT THE SAME TIME?
“I’m not. I’m just trying to move forward. Obviously, three points is three positions, two points is two positions and one is one position. That’s pretty simple, but obviously it’s just about trying to get as many as you can get. In our case, I was under the impression that we had to win all the way up to the end of the race. It was a lot of good fortune for us there at the end, a lot of luck and just being in the right place at the right time. There was a great pit stop there at the end to put us into position.”

“I really through we were out. I had a pretty good restart, gave Denny (Hamlin) a push and I think William (Byron) didn’t get as good as a restart. So, he wasn’t pushing me and that was what I kind of needed I felt like to give Denny a run. Once we singled out, it takes more than a couple of laps to get the momentum up now. So, it was going to be really tough. Denny did a good job on the bottom at not making any mistakes. Like I said from there, it was a lot of luck.”

WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND ON THOSE FINAL FEW RESTARTS? ALAN GUSTAFSON (CREW CHIEF) KEPT SAYING ‘WE HAVE TO WIN TO GET IN’?
“Yeah, I was under that impression and I was trying to make a run at Denny (Hamlin, race winner) and we just never got our momentum up enough for me to do anything about it. And restarts, I think, were helping his cause on tires. But the good news was the bottom lane rolled good enough there on that last restart to at least get back to second. So, I appreciate the effort. We were really struggling there at one point in the race and you just have to stay fighting in these things, especially with these late-race restarts. So, I’m just proud of the effort today. I’m just excited we get to fight another race. With our backs up against the wall here and battle for a win, that’s what you have to do when you’re in the position that we were in. If you ever get to Homestead, you’re going to have to fight for a win down there. So, I’m proud of the effort. I learned a lot. To be able to come out here, and like I said, have to win, or in our minds have to win, and come and fight for one and finish second, I think is a step in the right direction for us. So, I’m excited to move on.”

THE SECOND HALF OF THE RACE WAS WHEN THE CAR STARTED TO STRUGGLE. AND YOU GOT UPDATES AND THOUGHT WE’RE NOT GOING TO MAKE IT. HOW THEN DID YOU TURN IT FOR THOSE FINAL TWO RUNS TO BE ABLE TO MAKE A RUN, EVEN FOR THE WIN, TO MAKE IT IN?
“Really, just the restarts, I feel like were saving us. If it had gone green, I don’t know that I could have finished second if it had gone green. So, just a lot of good fortune to have cautions when we did and to make the most of those restarts. The guys had a heck of a pit stop on that last one to put us in the position we were. So, it was a total team effort. And, like I said, we get to move on and get to reset those points and get to put those three wins that we have in the bank and use those points for this Round of 8. So, we’ll go get ’em.”

KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 ADVENTHEALTH CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 4th
“We got fresh tires at the end and the outside lane really worked well for us. I was able to give it a lot of throttle on time and knife my way up to fourth place. It was nice to have Advent Health on our car today. We had a breast cancer survivor Nicole riding with us and she got us a top-five. We struggled a little bit, didn’t get any stage points but you can’t be disappointed with a top-five.”

WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 UNIFIRST CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 5th
“Yeah, it’s just a bummer. But we had a great run today and we can take pride in that, for sure. We had a great car, one of the best cars we’ve had on a 1.5-mile track. It was fun, but we just needed to win and we couldn’t do that. But it is what it is. It was a great day for us overall, we’ll move onto the next couple of weeks and keep fighting. If we can go out and win, that’s all that really matters now.”

YOU SAID YOUR GOAL WAS TO BE 12TH IN POINTS. NOW, YOU GUYS CAN GET 9TH. IS THAT STILL A FOCUS?
“Yeah, absolutely I think so. I think we can still further our position in points, which is awesome. Really, for us to make that next step, we have to compete for wins. We’re getting close, we’re running in the top-five and that’s great. We just have to make that next step and I think we’re really close.”

CONSIDERING WHERE YOU WERE THIS TIME LAST YEAR, YOU HAVE TO BE MOST IMPROVED DRIVER.
“Yeah, last year was no fun and this year has come a long way for me and my team. It’s been a lot of fun. Last year, I blew up here 60 laps in. This year, finishing fifth is great. We came close and I think we could have finished second or third. But overall it was a great day.”

WHAT KIND OF INFLUENCE HAS CHAD (KNAUS) HAD ON YOUR RACE TEAM AT THIS POINT?
“He’s been great. I feel like we are finally starting to get that little extra bit that we need. I wish it could have been a little sooner in the year, but I think we’re really making some good progress and that’s exciting.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY FUELING FUTURES CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 10th
“I think someone said fourteen spots on the radio. We passed a lot of cars, so that was cool.”

DO YOU FIND IT AMUSING THAT AFTER WE SPENT THE LAST FEW WEEKS TALKING ABOUT GETTING MORE RESPECT, DENNY (HAMLIN) WOULD GIVE THAT TO YOU?
“There is respect there and I do feel there is respect off of the track. But out there on the track, it’s just another level of respect you have to earn.”

ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 11th
“No, we got up to fifth or sixth there pretty quickly and obviously had a really good car to start. I got loose, I saved it and it was all good; that’s just racing. I guess just the 6 (Ryan Newman) being right there tore the left rear off of it. You wouldn’t think it, but that’s probably the most sensitive corner on these cars for rear downforce and rear side force. We really fought with it the rest of the day and all but crashed it for the remaining 260 laps or however long it was.”
“We didn’t get in, so that sucks. We had a good start and a really good car there for five laps or however long it lasted. It just sucks driving a wrecked race car for the rest of the day.”

WAS IT THE AERO PACKAGE HERE, THE WIND OR WAS IT JUST A MATTER OF FACTORS FOR A LOT OF GUYS?
“I think we got kind of thrown for a loop on Friday with the new tire and it’s really windy, which didn’t help what we were fighting. But I felt like for the first five laps or so, we turned our stuff around, our car was really good and we made good changes Friday night. We were obviously going forward when that happened.”

KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 CREDIT ONE BANK CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 14th
MOVING FORWARD, DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE A CHANCE AT THE NEXT THREE TRACKS?
“Texas will be our best chance to get a win. Martinsville is our worst chance, but we’ll give it our best shot. I’m excited to be in the Round of 8. It’s my first time and my team’s first time being in the Round of 8, so I look forward to that and hopefully it goes good. We have a way to go on points behind people, but a win could fix all that.”

KNOWING HOW WELL YOU RUN AT HOMESTEAD AND HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED THIS YEAR, IF YOU CAN GET TO THE FINAL FOUR, HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU WITH YOUR SUCCESS THERE?
“Yeah, I always said if I can get to the Final Four, I have the best shot out of anybody. So, hopefully we can do what we have to do this next round to get us that opportunity. I’m excited to get going and I look forward to this coming week.”

THOUGHTS ON THE CONTACT WITH JOEY GASE.
“I was just trying to get a big run up top. There was a lot of us. I was hoping I could get a lane and I didn’t get one. I was already to his back bumper, so yeah. It wasn’t really a message, I was just in a hurry and he was doing his best to get out of the way of the guys below. It was more so impatience on my part.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL YOUR TEAM IS AS A CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDER?
“Today, was our roughest day that we’ve had in a long time. I stalled it on that green flag stop and we just had some really slow stops. My pit box was really slick, so I couldn’t get in aggressive enough and I couldn’t leave fast enough. It made the pit stops seem worse than they were. It’s tough to have a day like that, but we had a fast car. We tried to gamble on tires there. It worked out for Denny (Hamlin), but it didn’t work out for us and we got ate up on those restarts. We finished 14th with a top-three car.”

WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THIS RACE AND ABOUT ADVANCING?
“The race was definitely different than the night race here. There was less grip, I think we were all sliding around quite a bit. I was really loose, but we tried to make it better. It got better on the long runs, but I was way too loose on the short runs.”

WE THOUGHT THIS ROUND WAS BRUTAL, BUT THE NEXT ROUND WILL BE UNBELIEVALBE.
“Yeah, the intensity just ramps up every round and every race. It’s going to get wild.”
Team Chevy high-resolution racing photos are available for editorial use.

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