NASCAR Cup Series – Phoenix Raceway – FanShield 500 – Team Chevy Post-Qualifying Notes and Quotes
TOP TEAM CHEVY UNOFFICIAL QUALIFYING RESULTS:
1. CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 UNIFIRST CAMARO ZL1 1LE
4. KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 MCDONALD’S CAMARO ZL1 1LE
7. KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 GEARWRENCH CAMARO ZL1 1LE
8. ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1 1LE
17. WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 HERTZ CAMARO ZL1 1LE
TOP FIVE UNOFFICIAL QUALIFYING RESULTS:
1. Chase Elliott (Chevrolet)
2. Kevin Harvick (Ford)
3. Denny Hamlin (Toyota)
4. Kyle Larson (Chevrolet)
5. Ryan Blaney (Ford)
FOX will telecast the FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway live at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday, March 8. Live coverage can also be found on MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
TEAM CHEVY NOTES AND QUOTES:
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 UNIFIRST CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Pole Winner
THE POLE TODAY, DIFFERENT PACKAGES. WERE THE LINES SIMILAR OR DIFFERENT?
“The line through Turns 1 and 2 was a lot different. Kevin (Harvick) kind of made the top work and then I think after that, everyone saw that and moved up. So, it’s great to get a pole. We’re in a little bit different colors this week with Unifirst on our Camaro. So, I’m excited to grab them a pole. It’s always a good thing when you can put down a fast lap. Hopefully, I just hope tomorrow goes good. That’s always the challenge. We’ll see, and I’m looking forward to it.”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 MCDONALD’S CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Qualified 4th
THOUGHTS ON THE TRACTION COMPOUND SO FAR.
“Harvick went up into the PJ-1, so I went up there too. I don’t know if it was better or not; maybe a touch better I felt like. If I had another attempt at it, I could have gone a lot faster. So far, it’s better than I thought it would be so that’s good.”
WILL YOU BE UP THERE EARLY TOMORROW?
“I don’t know. My car didn’t work very well in it last year. The little bit I ran it in practice yesterday, I didn’t think it was much better for me. But we’ll see. Maybe it’ll be a little bit different in the race tomorrow, especially with it being lower in turns three and four.”
DO DRIVERS HAVE THE CHAMPIONSHIP ON THEIR MINDS THIS WEEKEND?
“I don’t know, I haven’t really thought about it too much. I always take each race week by week, so I haven’t thought too much about it. I don’t know if the crew chiefs and engineers have or not, but I always try to give it the best I can each week and give the best feedback I can each week so they can take that information and try to grow on it.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 GEARWRENCH CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Qualified 7th
THOUGHTS ON THE WEEKEND, SO FAR, AND GOING INTO SUNDAY’S RACE.
“I feel like we had a top-ten car in everything; short run speed, long run speed, qualifying as well. We have to crossover to get to that top-five spot. I think we’ll learn more as the race goes on with the traction compound that they’ve sprayed down and with the short track package. Right now, everything is driving on the loose side. I think it’s fun, we’re sliding a little bit more. But how long can you slide on that right-rear tire.”
ARE YOU PROS OR CONS TO GOING TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND TRACK TWICE IN ONE SEASON?
“There’s the notes that you gather from the race in March, but a lot of things change and technology advances by the time you get back to this place in November. I’m not too worried about it. I feel like whatever NASCAR throws at us for a championship venue, it brings that championship atmosphere no matter what. So, whether you’re at a ballpark or a stadium early in the season, when you roll in there for the championship, you know there is going to be a big trophy and a big check.”
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Qualified 8th
THOUGHTS ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN. WERE YOU HAPPY WITH THAT?
“I didn’t expect more. I really felt like we’ve been off since we unloaded. We really struggled here in the fall with just being really tight and when we unloaded, we were still really tight. In between practices, we made some changes and got it really loose. It didn’t really necessarily get much faster, but I feel like it’s going to be better that way than it is when it’s tight. The first lap, I probably over-did it a little bit in turn one there. The second lap, to be eighth, I don’t think is the end of the world. I would have liked to be a little better, but as bad as we’ve been here in the fast and as bad as we were in practice, we’ll take it. If we could come out of here with a top-ten, I would be high-fiving people after the race. Our short track program, this is the area we need to work on. Our intermediate program is phenomenal and it ended that way last year. Our short track program is the area we need to work on the most.”
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 HERTZ CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Qualified 17th
“Honestly, if you use the brake a little bit more, a little bit differently, I feel like you just have to get all the braking done quicker and then set up for the corner. There’s just more brake usage, more similar to my rookie year I would say, in terms of brake usage and the way that you kind of drive the car. You just have to get everything done early and more finesse on throttle too.”
WHAT WERE YOU ABLE TO DO IN PRACTICE WITH THE CAR THAT MAYBE YOU COULDN’T DO AS WELL LAST YEAR?
“It’s hard to say. I wasn’t really around a lot of cars in practice. I thought our car felt pretty good in practice, so it’s hard to say how it’s going to handle in traffic, I would say. It’s kind of an unknown, so far.”
TALK ABOUT THE INCIDENT WITH THE NEXT GEN CAR TEST?
“Honestly, with that car with the side wall being so much smaller than what we have now, it’s kind of like your street tire. So, when you get loose, the combination of that plus no side force, it just makes it a lot different when you get loose. That’s what I noticed, so far. I’m sure it’s going to be a lot different once we actually race it.”
“I haven’t really spun out like that before. It was different, for sure, but it’s a long ways from the finished product and they said they’ve learned some things from that. It wasn’t like I was driving super hard or anything like that, so you just learn from it and move on.”
RICKY STENHOUSE JR., NO. 47 KROGER CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Qualified 19th
WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU STACK UP SO FAR THIS WEEKEND?
“The cars are pretty loose with the downforce change for this package. It’s pretty fun to drive. If you can get it calmed down, I think it can be pretty fast. We’ve been pretty loose with our Kroger Camaro ZL1 1LE all weekend. But we’re just trying to not get it too tight because the last two weeks, going from practice to the race, I feel like we’ve gotten the car to tight when we’ve been loose in practice. So, we’re just trying to guard against that a little bit knowing the characteristics each week of what our race car is doing. We’re learning a little bit. It will be interesting. I think the top’s going to come in a lot quicker than it has for us in these races and I think it’ll be a good race.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Qualified 21st
“We didn’t have enough pace yesterday. We ended up going down a little different road. So, having our debriefs, we were able to re-direct things and get back on a similar course of what are teams are, especially the 9 (Chase Elliott) and 24 (William Byron) were on. There were some differences there. So, we’ll find out here shortly if it works in the short run. The short run is so important here. I think, to a certain extent, everybody ends up at the same pace when the tires are really hot and mad. It’s what you can do on the short run to create passing opportunities and get track position.”
IS THE TIRE FALL OFF ENOUGH WHERE THE LONGER RUNS ARE A LITTLE MORE IMPORTANT OR IS IT STILL NOT A BIG ENOUGH FALL OFF?
“For me, the opportunity to get track position is always early in a run here, regardless of tire fall off. Especially since they re-paved it. I’m sure longer runs are important, but man it takes you ten laps to pass a guy on a long run. In a short run, you can get four or five if things are working right.”
BUBBA WALLACE, NO. 43 WORLD WIDE TECHNOLOGY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Qualified 27th
THOUGHTS ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN.
“We have a lot of work to do. The car was a little bit better, but not what we need.”
TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 I AM SECOND CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Qualified 29th
THOUGHTS ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN.
“It was a lot more of the driver, than the car. It stinks, we didn’t want to qualify like that. It doesn’t reflect what our long run pace was considering the issues we fought in practice. It was polar opposites. We mocked up and we were really, really tight and really, really slow. We were substantially faster than that mock run we did, but what everyone is running, that’s not good.”
DO YOU HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOUR LONG RUN SPEED?
“I thought so, but when I went back and looked, it’s hard to say. We’ll definitely work hard on it and try to make it better in the race. I knew that I had some work to do coming into a track like this, especially in qualifying and what I have to do to get the tires warmed up and be able to execute the lap that we need to in order to get a good starting position. It’s a process. I didn’t think we would sit on the pole, but I was really thinking we’d do better than that.”
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER OFF ROAD CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Qualified 30th
ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT:
“Not very good. I went into Turn 3 coming to the green and locked-up the left front. I was trying to drive the same point I had yesterday and I don’t know if the brakes were just cold, or what. So, I drove all the way back around to try and get a lap but I don’t know if we flat-spotted a tire, or what. Had a vibration the rest of the last two laps. Unfortunate. The car’s not bad. It was just a little miscue coming to the green and it killed our qualifying effort.”