CHEVY NCS AT PHOENIX 1: Tyler Reddick Press Conference Transcript

NASCAR CUP SERIES
PHOENIX RACEWAY
FANSHIELD 500
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
MARCH 6, 2020

TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 I AM SECOND CAMARO ZL1 1LE, met with media to discuss what to expect coming out of the west coast swing, the differences found in his first full-time season as a NASCAR Cup Series driver, preparation that goes into the race weekends, and more. Full Transcript:

WE ARE THREE RACES INTO YOUR FIRST FULL-TIME CUP SERIES SEASON. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU DIDN’T SEE COMING? WHAT’S THE BIGGEST ADJUSTMENT OR CHANGE?
“So far, with the drag ducts and where the cars are at, whether it was Daytona, Las Vegas or Fontana, it’s just finding the happy medium between out-right speed in the car. Even at Daytona and places like that, or just he handling that comes into play. Trying to figure out what that is and what the happy-medium is going into the race has been the biggest challenge. You really don’t know where you’re at until the green flag drops, essentially. The 88 (Alex Bowman) was really good from the drop of the hat during practice on Friday at Fontana and that carried over into the race, for sure. I’ve definitely just been trying to figure out where me and my crew chief, Randall Burnett, want to be with our race car; that’s probably been the biggest challenge. On top of that, just navigating and being the most efficient that we can on pit road has probably been the second biggest challenge. Pit road has been getting easier a couple of races in, understanding how important it is and the ins and outs. Getting some practice down pit road has been very important to make that as efficient as possible. Just figuring out where you want to be on Sunday with your race car because it’s kind of a guessing game at most of these tracks. This race this weekend will be a lot more straight-forward like I’m used to from the Trucks and Xfinity side.”

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THE SPEED YOU GUYS ARE SHOWING SO FAR, DID YOU EXPECT THAT? IS IT A SURPRISE OR DOES IT JUST SPEAK TO THE AMOUNT OF WORK YOU GUYS HAVE PUT INTO IT DURING THE OFF SEASON?
“We’ve always been able to make our cars better in the race. Whether that’s a characteristic of RCR, me and Randall (Burnett), or both, I’m not really sure. But we’re always able to make our cars better for the most part. Fontana wasn’t a huge gain from start to finish, but we were able to move up through the positions, have really good restarts and be able to gain track position that way. I’d say it’s going pretty well so far. I was really hoping we could have cracked the top-10 at Fontana with our strategy call in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, if we would have started sixth or fourth on that restart, we probably could have come out third, fourth or fifth. Fifth is a really hard place to restart at a lot of these 1.5-mile tracks. We’ve had some really good potential finishes, but our runs have been OK. We’re trying to make our cars better. This will be a big test of where we stack up and where I stack up especially as a short track driver compared to these guys that are really good at this.”

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“It’s a website and you can go the website at iamsecond.com. They have a lot of videos where people sit down and reflect and get perspective of how they’ve come to putting themselves second, how Jesus has come into their lives or how religion has changed them for the better. There’s a lot of different scenarios during every sit down; every interview is different. But they talk about their experiences and the challenges they go through in life, and how God helps them get through it. A lot of times when they have those sit downs, it’s stuff from when they were growing up, stuff they went through during their teenage years or stuff that was more recently; tough, tragic events. Every story is different. If you go to iamsecond.com, you can learn a lot more about it.”

AT WHAT POINT IN THE SEASON DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE A HANDLE ON WHAT’S GOING ON? WHEN CAN YOU ASSESS WHERE YOU ARE WITH YOUR TEAM?
“I would say once this west coast swing is over, we’ll have a pretty good idea. Granted, we had the superspeedway to start the year, we had two intermediate-style tracks and then we’ll have what they call a short track, but it’s not. But it’s our short track package that we now have for this year. I’d say after this swing is over, we’ll have a fairly good idea of where we’re at and what we need to work on. We had a pretty good idea after Fontana on what we need to do going into Atlanta and Homestead. This will kind of set us up and tell us what we need to do for when we come back here in November. More importantly, where I stack up and where we stack up working together as a team after this race Sunday.”

LOOKING AT ATLANTA, WHAT’S YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THAT TRACK AND HOW CONFIDENT DO YOU FEEL AS YOU HEAD INTO THAT 1.5-MILE TRACK?
“I have some confidence, in a way. But these cars drive so different on these 1.5-mile race tracks that everything you’re able to do there to make my races go well, I don’t know if I’ll be able to apply exactly the same method or approach. I guess that’s what we’re going to find out in practice, if we’re going to be able to do just that. Fontana and Las Vegas were two important tracks to run good at. Unfortunately, Vegas didn’t end well, but we were right there. Fontana was almost a good day. We were just a little bit off from being able to be in the top-10. We have to take advantage of Atlanta and Homestead, and get some really good runs there.”

YOUR PREPARTION FOR THE RACES, DOES IT ALSO INCLUDE A SIMULATOR?
“Yeah, there’s some work you can do there. This west coast swing, we’ve been stuck out here so we had to try and bunch it all in to get it done before we left to come out here for this swing. We have access to the Chevrolet simulator that’s really helpful for an event like this where Randall and I don’t really have a notebook, but the team has a notebook from where the cars were in 2018. We have an idea of what we’re shooting for. But the simulator at least gives you something to go off of because without that, you’d be going into the weekend blind. That’s tough for anybody, whether it’s Truck, Xfinity or most importantly on the Cup side with a lot of other good teams and drivers. It’s been a big benefit trying to help us prepare for this race.”

THE LEVEL OF COMPETITION IS THE QUESTION. WE ALWAYS TALK ABOUT THE JUMP FROM XFINITY TO CUP IS A SIGNIFICANT JUMP. WHAT HAVE YOU NOTICED ABOUT THE DEPTH OF THE COMPETITION OR HAVE YOU NOTICED ANYTHING DIFFERNET ABOUT IT AND THE DEGREE OF THAT JUMP THUS FAR EARLY IN YOUR CAREER?
“It’s a huge jump. I feel like what would have been battling for top-two or three in the Xfinity side is what you’re dealing with when you’re battling just to get into the top-15. There’s a lot of good drivers. It’s pretty crazy. You have a lot of guys that are very successful that you’re racing around. Most of the day, I remember being around Martin Truex Jr., a lot of the Gibbs’ cars, some of the other guys like Joey (Logano), it’s just tough. It’s just part of it, but it’s been a lot of fun. It makes the racing fun and it’s really cool to race against those guys. But still, even the guys like them, they have bad days. We just have to try to capitalize on it, make the most out of those days and try to get good finishes. You’re probably going to out-run some really good cars on days when you’re running that good yourself. It just goes to show how tough it is.”

Team Chevy high-resolution racing photos are available for editorial use.

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