CHEVY NCS AT DAYTONA RC: Bubba Wallace Press Conf. Transcript

NASCAR CUP SERIES
GO BOWLING 235 AT THE DAYTONA ROAD COURSE
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
August 12, 2020

BUBBA WALLACE, NO. 43 CAMARO ZL1 1LE, met with media via teleconference regarding today’s announcement of a multiyear sponsorship with Columbia Sportswear, which enlists Wallace as a brand ambassador and includes a primary sponsorship of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet. Other topics discussed were the important things in his future, getting prepared for the Daytona Road Course race, how the team has progressed from a year ago, and more. Partial Transcript:

DOES THE SPONSORSHIP WITH COLUMBIA SPORTSWEAR MEAN THAT YOU’RE STAYING AT RPM? WHAT IS THE BREAKOUT BETWEEN IT BEING A PERSONAL SERVICES DEAL AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR RICHARD PETTY AND FOR COMPETITION?
“We’re in the middle of Silly Season still and for both parties, my team and RPM are still trying to figure out ways to finalize deals and get everything together. This definitely solves a big piece of the puzzle and working together. So, nothing’s set in stone yet. It’s still all being worked out and ironed out. Hopefully we’ll have that announcement coming soon.”


American Muscle

WHAT IS THE BREAKOUT REGARDING PERSONAL SERVICES?
“It’s a two-part way. It’s definitely a personal services of mine, and also bringing funding to the race cars to allow us to keep being competitive and keep racking those top 10’s and putting together those good runs. We have four races left to the Playoffs, a big hill to climb, but this is definitely going to knock us up a notch to go out there and compete and give it our all.”

WHEN YOU LOOK AT TRYING TO DECIDE YOUR FUTURE, WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU? IS IT MONEY? IS IT STABILITY? IS IT LOYALTY? WHAT ARE YOU CONSIDERING?
“All those things considered the first thing is to deal with RPM. I can’t believe it has already been three years. And the first thing I said is it feels like family. And, to this day, I feel like family; and that’s been very important to me. It’s easy to kind of get caught-up in just being a driver and showing up at the race track and getting the job done and going home and it’s kind of a wash and repeat. And here, its family. It’s being in contact with everybody and part of the team. It’s obviously being close with Richard. You have that family aspect. That goes along with that I’m a family guy. I love my family here, so to have that feel is definitely important. And, obviously you want to be competitive. I came into this sport wanting to win races and be a household name on the track, so we have a lot of work to do as a team and together, to get there. So again, we’re figuring out all our options and figure out the best solution for both of us to go out and be competitive on the race track.”

YOU TOLD NBC SPORTS THAT YOU HAVE A CONTRACT OFFER FROM CHIP GANASSI RACING. WHAT IS THE DECIDING FACTOR BETWEEN GOING WITH THEM AND GOING WITH RPM OR LOOKING AT OTHER ORGANIZATIONS? AND, WHAT IS YOUR DEADLINE?
“Yeah, my deadline is usually I think the Thursday or Friday before climbing in the car at Daytona. So, we’re well ahead of that deadline right now. And so, it’s good to be having these conversations and all options that are on the table, again, we’re still in the heart of it and in the thick of it. But, we’re working out everything as we go.”

WITH ROAD COURSES, YOU GUYS LIKE A LOT OF CREATURE COMFORTS IN THERE THAT ARE DIFFERENT THAN THE OVALS. CAN YOU EXPLAIN HOW YOU’RE GOING TO GET TO THAT WITHOUT HAVING ANY LAPS ON TRACK, AND REALLY FEEL LIKE YOU’RE READY TO RACE WHEN THE GREEN GOES?
“I don’t know if any of us are going to feel like we’re ready to race. So, it’s going to be exciting for sure. I’m glad I’m not on the front row for this one to drive off in there and find my marks. And, I don’t want to be like Brad at the Roval two years ago and overshoot the corner. So, we just have to be mindful. I’ve spent, this is the most time I’ve spent preparing for a road course and going to the SIM. I’m actually heading up to jump on the SIM immediately after this call. I’m just trying to prep myself for as much as I can to be ready for putting corners together. It’s crazy how, just from watching the 24 Hours, you kind of learn which way this kind of track goes. Obviously turning left immediately after the Start/Finish Line, going through the infield there. And then you kind of visualize, like man, I used to park here in the road course parking lot. So, it’s going to be cool to kind of be racing all around that. It’ll be exciting for the fans putting it all together. But again, I’ve tried to spend so much time prepping for this; so hopefully it works out for us in the end.”

IS THERE ONE THING YOU NEED TO GET RIGHT IN THE COCKPIT, YOU PERSONALLY, EVERY TIME?
‘I think as long as we’re comfortable and usually my guys do a top-notch job, an A+ job, every time of not really having mistakes. I know without practice it’s easy to forget something. But each and every week I show up and the belts are the same, the steering wheel height is the same, seat mounts, everything is the same. My guys do a great job back at RPM, so we’re all good.”

WHAT IS YOUR FEELING ABOUT WHERE THE TEAM STANDS NOW COMPARED TO A YEAR AGO AT THIS TIME? HAVE YOU SEEN MORE CONSISTENCY THAT YOU’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR?
“Yeah, yeah, for sure. I think we are leaps and bounds ahead of last year. And, I think that’s important to build off of. I remember an old-school motto was ‘suck less than your last race’. So, that’s how we kind of went about it. And then, moving forward this year and having Jerry (Baxter, crew chief) come in and have Jerry learn the ins-and-outs of the Cup series has been very important and very influential and positive for us. Making those bold strategy calls, stay out, take two tires, whatever it may be to keep us in the game; even talking with the pit crew. They are appreciative of Jerry and how he keeps them in the game. Whether if we have a bad day and we’re fighting a penalty lap, and taking strategy there; or, it’s like Vegas earlier this year when we were running 20th with about four or five (laps) to go, stayed out, and ended-up sixth. It’s just those types of things that produce good racing and good momentum, and we’ve carried that. You look at Michigan, we had a really good car and a really solid weekend. Sunday didn’t go as well as Saturday, but still, having those little highlights of success like you mentioned continue to build momentum for us moving forward. So, we’ve got some tough races coming up on the schedule, but with the team behind me right now, we’re ready to tackle anything.”

FOR THE SEASON AS A WHOLE, HOW HAS YOUR SPONSORSHIP INTEREST COMPARED THIS YEAR VERSUS IN PAST YEARS? ARE YOU GETTING YOUR CHOICE OF SPONSORS AND COMPANIES AND HOW ARE YOU MAKING THOSE DECISIONS?
“Yeah, I’ve been in racing and motorsports for 17 years now. And we may not have been looking for sponsorship right off the bat, but I’d say ever since 2010, a good ten years now, we’ve been looking for sponsorship. I was always told when, and they’ll come. And we won a couple, we won a few in the Truck Series and still fighting sponsorship issues. I haven’t won much since then. But we’ve been doing things. We’ve been winning off the race track. I think that’s helped being much bigger than an athlete, standing up for human beings. It’s something that we often don’t get to do just because we’re put on a pedestal. With the spotlight that I put myself into, being vocal about what’s going on the world, has created opportunities for new partners. Look at Columbia here. A brand new partner, a part of the sport, a part of RPM, a part of the Bubba Wallace brand. We’re doing good things off the race track that helps our on-track performance. So, we will just continue those ways. This doesn’t even compare to how the little bit of sponsor momentum we’ve had in years past. This is an incredible opportunity for me; one the best years in my racing career from that standpoint. We’re building up on a great future here, getting these partnerships and deals in place; to set the team, the partner, and myself up for great success and we’ll continue to do that.”

OVERALL, HOW ARE YOU DOING RIGHT NOW? YOU’VE CERTAINLY GONE THROUGH A LOT. EVEN SIX WEEKS AGO YOU WERE TIRED, HAVING GONE THROUGH THE WRINGER OF THE ROLE OF ACTIVISM, AND NOW THERE’S STILL THE COMPETITOR ASPECT GOING ON AND NOW WITH YOUR FUTURE. THERE IS A LOT ON YOUR SHOULDERS. HOW ARE YOU HANDLING IT?
“I definitely feel a lot more upbeat. Like I said, there’s a lot of positive momentum on our side. Big things being worked on behind the scenes like this (Columbia Sportswear) that we’re excited to share with people. It’s part of it. You go through the wringer. It makes you a better person at the end of the day. Maybe it’s a new outlet for you to explore, like I said about being outspoken about things that are going on in the country and in the world, and you want to be a part of it. And that’s how I’ve felt. I didn’t know what to expect. You know me, I’m always just the ‘do it and figure out everything after’; and so that’s just a part of Bubba Wallace in everyday life and we’ll continue to go on. I’m always ready for whatever is thrown at me. I try to handle it in the best way I can. I’ll get beat-up and worn down about it and you’ll hear about it because I wear my heart on my sleeve. But all in all, we’re refreshed. We got that week off and had a great vacation, Amanda and I, we tried to decompress and turn off my phone and just get away. It was a good to refresh and refocus on what we need to do on the race track as well as off the race track.”

HAS THERE BEEN A LOT OF TALK AS FAR AS SOCIAL ACTIVISM THAT YOU’RE INVOLVED IN THAT WE DON’T SEE ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS? DO YOU FEEL LIKE BEHIND THE SCENES THAT THERE IS STUFF GOING ON IN THE INDUSTRY WHERE PEOPLE ARE TAKING WHAT THEY SAID A MONTH OR TWO AGO AND TRYING TO PUT WORDS INTO ACTION?
“Yeah, for sure. I had a great lunch with Brandon Thompson and NASCAR Diversity Affairs there, and we were talking some really good things of how we can just make our sport better for everybody. Diversity training is coming into place and we’re trying to get that going. And that’s going to be a lot of fun and a good process to see how it works out. From the sports-side, good things are coming. And from the personal side, as well, I’m excited to be still working out and getting my foundation up and running and having my sister be a part of that. So, I know we’re basically right on the goal line of finalizing things up with that. To be able to dive into the communities, the conversations that we’ve had, we’ve even had them with Columbia about my foundation. It’s just so tough with COVID-19 going on right now, to really be in-person and reach out to the communities to get them, whether is a part of the sport or just educate them on things that are going on in the world. So, there are a lot of good things away from the race track, away from racing, that deal with the issues that go on in the world that are being worked out as well.”

WE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE AT WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL THIS WEEKEND. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON NOT GOING TO THE GLEN THIS YEAR?
“I’m all right with it. It hasn’t been one of my best race tracks. But I think this, with everything going on with COVID, I know NASCAR has been up to their necks in trying to figure out what the schedule is going to be. So, I definitely don’t envy them right now. But kudos to them for coming up with an alternative. And it’s something new. It’s new for NASCAR. I know the road course has been around for years and years and being able to watch that on TV right before our season kick-off at Daytona. So, for us to go in there with no practice, I remember when I was asked about hey, we need a solid answer if you’re okay with no practice. And I was like, okay, what does everybody else think about this? The final verdict was no practice. Drive off into Turn 1 and figure out where you go after that. So, it’ll be cool. It’ll be a different alternative to definitely have fans tune-in for that and to be able to watch all the action on NBC, so it’ll be cool. None of us really know what to expect. But, to have a good race and try to continue on momentum from there. Like I said earlier, I’ve prepped a lot; a lot more than I have in the past to be good here and be successful here. So, hopefully it goes hand-in-hand.”

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

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