CHEVY NCS AT FONTANA: Race Notes & Quotes

NASCAR CUP SERIES
AUTO CLUB 400
AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY RACE NOTES & QUOTES
MARCH 1, 2020

TOP TEAM CHEVY UNOFFICIAL FINISHING RESULTS:
POS. DRIVER
1st Alex Bowman, No. 88 Cincinnati Camaro ZL1 1LE
3rd Kurt Busch, No. 1 Monster Energy Camaro ZL1 1LE
4th Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1 1LE
7th Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1 1LE
11th Tyler Reddick, No. 8 I am Second Camaro ZL1 1LE

TOP FIVE UNOFFICIAL FINISHING RESULTS:
POS. DRIVER
1st Alex Bowman (Chevrolet
2nd Kyle Busch (Toyota)
3rd Kurt Busch (Chevrolet)
4th Chase Elliott (Chevrolet)
5th Brad Keselowski (Ford)

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The NASCAR Cup Series season continues next weekend at Phoenix Raceway with the FanShield 500 on Sunday March 8 at 3:30 p.m. ET. Live coverage will air on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

TEAM CHEVY NOTES AND QUOTES:

ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 CINCINNATI CAMARO ZL1 1LE – FONTANA RACE WINNER:
NO WORRIES ON THAT RIGHT REAR NOW:
“No, not at all. Greg (Ives, crew chief) said to save it, so I saved some to use some there! How about that California! I grew up quarter midget racing here, maybe 20 minutes from Pomona Valley. Went there every week. Made a lot of great friends there. I know a lot of you are here today. Man so cool for Cincinnati. Seems like every time they are all on the car we run really good. Promised my buddy Aaron we would all get 88 tattoos if we won so I think I have to get a tattoo now. It will be a good time. It’s been a lot of fun. Thanks to Greg and all the guys. Greg made a lot of good calls today. We were up front when it counted.”

THE SECOND WIN IS ALMOST AS SPECIAL AS THE FIRST BECAUSE IT PROVES THE FIRST WASN’T A FLUKE:
“Yes, for sure. The first one was a real enjoyable experience and then we sucked for six months. We started this year so strong. I feel like I’ve got a lot on my side that I’m doing better. My life has gotten a lot more organized than it was then. Greg and the guys are just on point. We’ve unloaded the last two weeks and I don’t think we have had to make a change to the race car from the way it came off the truck. That makes my job a lot easier. I’m just so proud of this team. Everyone at Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick horsepower under the hood. The whole shop back home. They work their butts off. We’ve put a lot of effort in this new car and it is obviously working out really well.”

KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 MONSTER ENERGY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 3rd
WHAT IS YOUR TAKEAWAY OF THIS RACE AND A THIRD PLACE FINISH?
“We did really good to balance our Monster Energy Chevy on short run speed, and long run speed. Being able to maneuver on re-starts is something that I’ve been harping on. Making sure we get better when we’re in dirty air. And to come away with a third place finish, that gains a lot of points back for us and I feel really good about the way the car handled this weekend. So, whatever we can do to baseline this, is what we’ve got to do moving forward.”

DOES IT FEEL GOOD TO HAVE THE CHEVYS SO STRONG? BOWMAN WAS REALLY FAST
“As soon as his car unloaded, he was super fast. We were all trying to figure out what it was. But he did the job. As a team, they did their job. And he executed to put a Chevy in Victory Lane, so congrats to Alex Bowman.”

YOU FINISHED IN THIRD. WHAT ELSE DID YOU NEED?
“Oh, a little spray can of grip. If I could spray some grip on her, we’d be right there. We just had different trends. The car would be wide-open for five laps and I’d be really fast after Lap 20. So, if I can narrow it down, I just need to work on that transition from wide-open to that partial throttle and then be able to maneuver through the draft.”

TAKE US THROUGH THE PIT STOP. WHAT HAPPENED THERE? WHERE WAS THE CONFUSION?
“I just drove right by it. I was trying to get my lights matched up and I had my car bucking back and forth. By the time I got my lights settled, I drove right by the box. It was just a flat out mistake on the driver part.

“It’s crazy. We’re trying to get all we can on pit road and that’s how tight it is and we don’t have a pit road speed limiter button, which I think would create safety on pit road, but we don’t have one of those.”

YOU DROPPED TO 25th AND WORKED YOUR WAY UP TO FINISH THIRD, WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT YOU AS A DRIVER AND YOUR NO. 1 TEAM?
“Our team stayed glued together. Spotter said hey man, I know you want to go to the bottom and pass 20 of them in one lap, but you’re going to have to go to the high side and pass one every lap. And that’s what Kyle Busch and we followed him, basically, up through there.”

AWESOME PODIUM FINISH
“Yes, this is an awesome podium finish. It’s a good vibe, a good feel, and yes, we needed a nice solid finish here for Monster Energy, and everybody here in SoCal.”

ON THE CHEVROLETS
“I feel like the Chevys had a really good balance when it came to speed and long run speed. It looked like the Toyotas were just bogged down early in a run when they were wide-open. That’s why they qualified poorly.”

CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 4th
WAS IT A SOLID DAY?
“Yeah, it was decent. I feel like we were better than we’ve been, which is good. Not good enough to win, obviously, but better than we’ve been. So, we’ll take it and move on.”

HOW DOES IT FEEL COMPARED TO LAST YEAR? TODAY AND LAST WEEKEND YOU HAD A REALLY STRONG CAR.
“Yeah, Alex (Bowman, race winner) was dominant today. He was by far the best. I was good for our company and hopefully we can keep it rolling.”

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE NO. 88 ALEX BOWMAN HAD FOR THE SPEED? HE WAS VERY FAST ALL WEEKEND
“Yeah, he was super-fast. So, we’re happy for those guys. They did a really good job.”

WHAT WAS THE NATURE OF TODAY’S RACE? IT WAS A REALLY GOOD RACE
“It was okay. I thought we were able to move around a little bit. It was nice. Yeah, I thought it was good.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 7th
ON THE DAY
“This team is going in the right direction. I know in my heart what I am capable of and what this team is capable of. It’s just taken a little bit to get the right people in the right places, and rebuild and get this Ally Chevy exactly where it needs to be. We just couldn’t adjust this car on the pits stops quite enough to get the tight out of it. It was really competitive and racy at the start of a run and then we would fade at the end. At the end, I thought I was going to blow a tire, I think I had cords on the fronts and I thought I wasn’t going to finish the race. So to salvage a top-10 out of it and two thirds in the stages, so we are headed in the right direction. I want to thank the fans here in California. There have been some great vibes all weekend.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT TODAY?
“Oh, a lot of neat things happened today. The card is full, that’s for sure. I was pretty bummed about that last run. We got super-tight. I think I was pretty lucky to finish. I think one of the front tires was getting ready to blow out. We just didn’t stay on top of the adjustments needed to keep the car free and going, but we still had a great day and ran up front and led some laps and raced for the lead. But the longer the run, the tighter the car.”

YOU ARE CLOSE TO A WIN, BUT THE CLOSER YOU GET, THE MORE YOU WANT IT, RIGHT?
“Oh, without a doubt. I’m a competitor at heart and I want to win races and be up front and get it all done. So, I was pretty disappointed the way it finished and ended up 7th. But it’s a good sign of where we’re heading.”

ON RACING AT HIS HOME TRACK
“Oh, there’s nothing like coming home and this was beyond anything I could have every imagined.”

ON YOU AND ALEX BOWMAN RACING EACH OTHER, DO YOU EXPECT A TEAMMATE TO GIVE YOU MORE COURTESY OR IS THIS JUST HOW PEOPLE HAVE TO RACE TODAY TO WIN?
“No, that was just racing. Honestly, with Blaney, Bowman, and really the way it all works with everybody, I didn’t see any bad laid blocks. You’ve got to use the draft when you can and sometimes you’ve got a small run and you probably need to wait until you have a bigger run so you both stall out side-by-side. I saw drivers using that mindset as well. I thought Alex did a good job and congratulations to him and his team on their win.”

HE WAS REALLY FAST. DO YOU KNOW WHAT HE HAD FOR SPEED?
“We were all theorizing going into the race. We definitely came their direction from practice into qualifying and the race and I think it helped us quite a big. They’re hitting on some stuff right now and I’m sure everybody will go home and look really close to the No. 88 set-up and take that to the next track.”

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