NASCAR CUP SERIES
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
ALSCO UNIFORMS 500
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
MAY 26, 2020
TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 OKUMA CAMARO ZL1 1LE, spoke with media via teleconference to discuss his thoughts going into the Alsco Uniforms 500, his rookie season in the NASCAR Cup Series so far, and more. Full Transcript:
THE SECOND DARLINGTON RACE WAS A LITTLE OVER 300 MILES. NOW WE GO INTO THE SECOND CHARLOTTE, THAT’S GOING TO BE A LITTLE OVER 300 MILES. HOW DO YOU THINK THOSE RACES HAVE GONE FOR THE CUP SERIES BEING THAT SHORT OF A RACE, WHEN THEY ARE NORMALLY 400 OR 500 MILES IN A CUP RACE?
“I think it raises the stakes a little bit. Everybody really has to run a perfect race. When you’re running a race that’s the length of a Xfinity race but the depth of a Cup field, you don’t really have any room for error. If you make a mistake, it’s really hard to get that track position back and get back up towards the front of the field. We had that take place in the second Darlington race. We started 14th and with that first caution right away, we were 13th. We got shuffled back to the 21st position before we could get up into the top lane. From there, we were just behind all day. We could never really get it back. You can’t really afford to have a mistake or a bad restart like that.”
YOU’RE USED TO RUNNING SHORTER RACES COMPARED TO CUP RACES COMING FROM THE XFINITY SERIES. DO YOU THINK IT’S BEEN ENJOYABLE FOR THE CUP GUYS TO HAVE SOMETHING A LITTLE BIT SHORTER THAN NORMAL?
“Based off of my one race so far in with that – no, I really needed the longer race. I wish it would have been more of a 400-mile race and it would have been better for me and our team. We were still trying to make our car better. At that point, we had decent speed built back up, but it was going to take time to get back up through into the top-10. Hopefully this time around, we’ll not have to go through that swing of being bad and trying to get it back right. So, hopefully, we’re just up in there all night and it minimizes the chances that other teams will have to make their car better. We’re coming back totally different from where we were at the 600. We weren’t really pleased with our car in three and four, we were just terrible there all night long. So, hopefully we get it right and if we don’t, we don’t have a lot of time to fix it.”
HOW DO YOU FIND IN GETTING READY AND PUMPED FOR THE RACES AHEAD OF TIME IS DIFFERENT? DOES IT TAKE A COUPLE OF LAPS TO GET INTO IT WITHOUT HAVING THE FANS THERE?
“Once we get going, it’s kind of business as usual. The biggest challenge is you normally have two or three days to really amp yourself up and get ready to go – being there at the race track, seeing fans, practicing, qualifying, watching the other races. I think that’s another thing that on the Cup side, you’re so used to seeing the Truck race and Xfinity race get some action, and let that sink into your brain and your body that you’re going racing tomorrow. We haven’t had any of that. Again, that first race back that Sunday at Darlington a little over a week ago, was really easy to get ready for because it was on a Sunday and there was all this anticipation built around it. But now that we’ve been going back about every three or so days, it’s been really hard to convince my body that we’re racing as often as we are. It’s been different just showing up to the race track and sitting in isolation for hours before you hop in a car. Again, not really interacting with anybody. So, it’s a really different change of pace.”
WHAT’S THE PROCESS BEEN LIKE FOR YOU IN REGARDS DO YOU FEEL SAFE AT THE TRACK? DO THEY TELL YOU THAT YOU HAVE TO DO A LOT OF THINGS THAT ARE DIFFERENT? JUST THE WHOLE PROCESS OF COMING BACK AND THE PROTOCALS IN PLACE.
“For us the drivers, not much has changed from Darlington to Charlotte. They would just like you to arrive within a window that allows for enough time for a replacement driver to arrive if you don’t pass the initial screening or the secondary screening. So, that’s about the only thing, just the amount of time you have to be there in advance. It’s just nice to get there way early just so you can get in, relax and try to understand and get used to this is how I have to get ready for a race now. If you’re behind, you don’t have anyone around to help you get caught up. So, the sooner the better. But for us, it’s very straight-forward. It’s just so odd – I’m used to entering the race track, bumping into fans, walking into the garage and used to a lot of interaction from start to finish. And with this, with the guidelines and everything, we see one person when we get screened, they give us a sticker and you’re good to go into the race track if your temperature is fine. Then, you don’t see a soul until you walk onto pit road and you see the pit crews and teams as your walking down the line, and other drivers are around you as you all have to go to your race cars. But other than that, the only person you really talk to is maybe your car chief or whoever is there to help put tape on a few things, make sure you’re buttoned up and get the window net up. So, it’s very odd.”
WITH ALL THE PRECAUTIONS, I ASSUME YOU FEEL SAFE? IS IT ON YOUR MIND OR DO YOU JUST WORRY ABOUT THE RACE AT THAT POINT?
“They do a really good job of making it easy. It’s pretty well understood that you have to wear a mask at anytime you’re outside of the bus and from the moment even before you pull into the race track. When I get three or four minutes away, the mask goes on and it stays on until I’m in the bus and all my stuff is unpacked and in the bus. And from there, two or three minutes before I leave the bus to head out to the car, the mask is on. So, that’s become pretty common. When we have to go to the grocery store or go to the gas station to keep food and all that in the house, that’s pretty standard too, you just wear a mask out. So, none of that is too crazy. If you have a bus or something to sit in to wait it out until the race, it’s not too bad. It’s pretty calm, pretty quiet and it definitely feels safe.”
I’M CURIOUS ABOUT BRISTOL – WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE THERE WITHOUT PRACTICE AND THE FIRST LAP WHEN THE GREEN FLAG COMES OUT?
“There’s a couple of things, but I think the first challenge is going to be just completing that first lap. That’s one of the toughest race tracks to go around when it doesn’t have rubber and heat on it. I’ve ran Truck races there through my career and when we’re one of the first ones on the race track, that first hour of practice you can’t really learn much. The traction compound is slick – you go down in there to try to use it and you almost spin out. You run the middle and that’s about it. Man, the first hour or so of practice you can’t get up in that either because it’s slick and you almost wreck. I remember the first time they put traction compound down at Bristol – I went out for practice and I was in the middle, we were OK. But I wanted to try the bottom, so I went down there, got loose and couldn’t go anywhere. So, I was like ‘that’s not going to work’. I went up to try to use the top and I drove it straight into the fence. I’m worried that the start of the race is going to be very chaotic. I don’t know how that’s going to go. There’s only one groove and we’re going to be starting double-file, so that’s going to be very interesting.”
THROUGH THESE NEW PROCEDURES, THE DRIVERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN EQUIPMENT. HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN ANYTHING OR COME CLOSE TO IT?
“Unfortunately for me, I haven’t been running in the series long enough to have that problem that Kurt (Busch) does. But for me, it hasn’t been too bad. When I knew we were going to be pretty isolated from the team going back, I went on the hauler probably two or three weeks before we went back racing and gathered all my stuff up. I think somebody in the shop when they saw me doing that was like ‘what are you doing, are you leaving?’ (laughs). So, it’s kind of funny, but I was just packing my stuff up so I could have it with me whenever we would go back to racing. My drink bottles, drink mixture, gloves, helmet, suit – everything except the Hans device, actually, because I only have one. But they are able to wipe that down relatively easy and disinfect it after tech. Pretty much everything besides my Hans device I carry with me and it hasn’t been that bad to carry around. I haven’t forgotten anything yet.”
HOW QUICKLY ARE YOU GUYS ABLE TO GET THINGS THAT YOU FIND OUT FROM DARLINGTON OR THE FIRST CHARLOTTE RACE INTO YOUR CAR FOR TOMORROW? ANYTHING THAT YOU LEARNED FROM SUNDAY, CAN YOU DO ANYTHING MAJOR TO THE CAR OR IS THAT CAR ALREADY DONE?
“We were able to make pretty good adjustments to our car. Fortunately, we knew right off the bat what we were fighting in our race car at the 600 and we weren’t going to be able to fix it. So, we were just trying to do everything we could. We are coming out with a different mindset to try and get across the bumps better. A few minor adjustments in the car, steering and all that – nothing major, but it’s very easy to knock that off. The guys that are back home strictly at the shop are very motivated and if we have a last-minute change, they don’t hesitate and they’ll change whatever we need.”
TWO TOP-10’S IN THE PAST THREE RACES – JUST IN GENERAL, HOW DO YOU FEEL THE FIRST SEVEN RACES IN YOUR ROOKIE SEASON HAVE GONE?
“They’ve been tough. We’ve had struggles, but we’ve been fortunate to never give up and get some finishes out of some of the tougher races. The 600 – we were pretty good to start, but as the track cooled off and the grip picked up, our lack of grip across the bumps increased. That was a struggle all night, so we just kept getting worse and worse. We were just fortunate to be able to take advantage of just being in the right place at the right time on that restart. Same thing at that first Darlington race – we had to go to the back twice and we were able to come back to the front. The second Darlington race, a different lane on the restart, we could have maybe had a top-10 too. We’ve had a lot of things not go our way over the course of some of these races. I’ve had some difficulties thrown my way on pit road that I’ve never been used to in the Xfinity Series that we’ve been able to get through pretty well. So, it’s just been about learning and never giving up. And just the main thing is staying in it until the end and putting ourselves in position for a good finish. I think it’s going well. It’s nice that we’ve been able to finish these first three races back, but we’ve definitely made some mistakes throughout all of them that could have taken us out of it. We’ve got to be aware of that and just eliminate the possibility of those mistakes going forward.”
I HEARD A FEW DRIVERS NOW TALK ABOUT THE BUMPS IN THREE AND FOUR. TO ME, THAT SEEMS TO BE MORE THAN NORMAL. ARE THE BUMPS THAT, THIS YEAR, ARE JUST MORE PRONOUNCED? HAVE THEY BEEN THERE BEFORE OR WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THOSE?
“I think tracks that have bumps, every time you come back, they’re going to change or they’ll be a little bit worse. They never get better. It’s something normally that you can work on in practice or even in qualifying – you could do something to make it better for the race and that’s been eliminated. The simulation that we’re going off of is off of the last scan that’s been there. The track is different than what it was a year ago there, so I would have to imagine that what we’re going off of is different than what we’re racing on. Bumps are very challenging when you’re in the gas as much as we are in these Cup cars. Any little bit of disconnection in the front tires from the rear going across those bumps is going to kill your car and kill your tires. That just showed up a lot I think in Sunday’s race, for sure.”
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 100 countries and selling more than 4.0 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.