NASCAR CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
MARCH 6, 2020
TY DILLON, NO. 13 GEICO CAMARO ZL1 1LE, MEDIA BREAKOUT SESSION HIGHLIGHTS:
“I don’t get caught up in what’s the right package that NASCAR should bring from track to track. I think we’re all on an equal playing ground, so it’s just in our hands to try to bring the best product individually. So, we’re all learning what’s going to work. I think it’s going to be a good race. It’s what we need for short tracks. We were going way too fast at a lot of these tracks last year with the package. I think it’s the right package. We just have to get our car better for sure. Phoenix is a place that no matter what the package has been for us over the last four years, we’ve ran really. It takes the same ingredients, just a different looking cake.”
IS THIS PACKAGE LIKE 2018?
“The tires are wearing out quicker. You can’t just go out there, be mindless driving, and get the car to run the fastest lap. Things are coming back into play in taking care of your tires again, being a smart driver with your equipment.”
“Certainly. I’d say in my career, the few tracks that we do go to where the tire wear is still the old style of racing, where you have to manage your tires, those are the places that we succeed. That’s why we run well at Richmond, Darlington, Martinsville and even here. I think it’s a shame that our tires don’t fall off; they kind of fall of due to heat and not because of tire wear. There is a real art in being NASCAR driver, a race car driver, to know how to push the car at the right time. We run these long races for a reason. We run these long races for the fact that fatigue, whether it’s the tires or the driver, so we have to make our cars experience that. For the past really three or four years, you don’t get that unless you’re at Atlanta, Darlington, Martinsville, some of the older style tracks. Even those places, they are almost taking it back out of our hands there. We have to do something with these tires falling off and I know Goodyear is working hard to do that. This package certainly helps, but we have to continue to innovate the tires. We don’t want to be blowing tires out there, but we have to find a way how we used to do it back in the day. That was what being a talented, skillful driver was. It took it from where, the past couple of years, we’ve gone down a route that’s more of mindless driving and just how much speed that can be built in the car and how aggressive you can be. I don’t mind doing that, it works for me sometimes. But I think there’s 50 percent of the art of being a NASCAR driver, the best drivers in the world, is being able to manage your equipment.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SEE RYAN NEWMAN HERE THIS WEEKEND?
“When I did see him, it kind of flashed me back to that moment. I had crashed before and I was back at my motorhome. I saw his crash and it was the moment of fear from the first time you saw the replay that it wasn’t good. Just remembering that fear from there and to see him essentially seeming fine walking around a couple of weeks later, that’s nice and comforting as a driver. Obviously, it was painful for him, it was scary for the sport and you hope to never see that again. But that’s one thing to show how far NASCAR has come with safety. The fact that they had an AMR safety crew there that quick that could have saved his life, I don’t know all the details, but that’s comforting. Some of the things I heard that they were there to do, which a couple of years ago wouldn’t’ have been possible. We had generally trained people, but we didn’t have professionals. So, the things that NASCAR has done. You take a crash like that, which seemed really awful at the moment, you see Newman walking around here and seeing him walk out of the hospital not even a week later. It could have been way worse and I think everyone, including myself, that it was at that moment. As scary as it was, it’s been really comforting to see his recovery and how quickly he’s coming back around.”
TALK ABOUT THE LITTLE DETAILS AND HOW MUCH THEY CAN AFFECT A RACE.
“In perspective from a driver and a team, it goes back to before the season starts and building your team, as far as how much sponsorship dollars you have that goes into wind tunnel time, cars, building the most-efficient product. Whether we want to admit it or not, money still really does play a factor in the speed of these cars. I think the sport is doing as good as it can in trying to get away from money winning every week. But I think you just look at money coming into the teams that are winning championships in the last five years, there’s a translation there. We have to get it more out of the hands of that and along the lines of us talking about getting the tires wearing out to where it’s the all-mighty equalizer. Guys can buy wind tunnel time, where our team hasn’t been to the wind tunnel one time this year. So, that puts a lot of pressure on our program to be efficient at the little details and me being good on pit road. I can’t get speeding penalties, but I have to run 49.99 mph this weekend down pit road to make sure I’m not losing tenths of a second that matter. Our pit crew has to be good; we can’t have bad stops. We have to do the little things. I can’t crash cars and lose points that way. I have to finish races and that’s what I’ve prided myself on the past couple of years. There are little details that go all the way through the sport and it’s the same with the guys at the top. But there are big wins that go on behind the scenes in our sport, from 18th to 25th, just based on dollar numbers and team sizes. We have 47 employees compared to 500. So, when we showed up to Las Vegas for the second race of the year and finished tenth, that was a massive win for our time, our confidence and knowing for myself what we can get done. I think we passed nineteen cars on restarts all day and nine on the last restart. Those are the things I have to win at every time and as a team we have to win at to prove that we can get more sponsorship dollars and get more opportunities. So, the change in my career has gone from where I won races and battled for championships in every level except for Cup, to be the best at all the little details in every aspect of the sport. When the opportunity for more dollars to come to our race team, I won’t miss a step and I’ll be there to capitalize.”
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