NASCAR CUP SERIES
GO BOWLING 235 AT THE DAYTONA ROAD COURSE
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
August 10, 2020
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 1LE, met with media via teleconference, and discussed the challenges for the new Daytona Road Course race without any on-track practice, the benefits utilizing iRacing and the Chevrolet simulator to prepare, his opinion of the new Choose Rule, racing at Bristol, and more. Full Transcript:
A LOT OF THE CHATTER IS ‘WHAT’S WRONG WITH CHASE ELLIOTT’, BUT YOU HAVE THREE STRAIGHT TOP-10’S, SO ARE YOU STRUGGLING, OR NOT?
“Well, at least there’s chatter about us. I guess that’s better than not. Yeah, I think we’re struggling a little bit, for sure. I think on one hand, historically the Pocono, Indy, Kentucky, and Texas tracks have been, I would say, historically poor for me, personally. Maybe not from a stat sheet or whatever in some cases, but I think those tracks have been a problem a little bit in the past. So, I’m not as surprised to struggle with those places. But certainly, I thought we would do a little better at Kansas and thought we would be maybe a little better at Michigan. I feel like our success came early there at Michigan. We had some really good runs there in my rookie year and then in that second year. But really, since then I feel like we’ve even struggled there.
“So yes, I do. I feel we’re not performing as we should. Not performing as we expect. Not performing to our full potential, you know? Whether that’s me or whatever it is, I certainly expect more of all of us, myself included. So yes, I think we’re off.”
LOOKING AHEAD TO BRISTOL, THAT’S MORE OF AN EQUALIZER WHEN IT COMES TO RACE TRACKS, BEING A SHORT TRACK, NOT AS MUCH AERO INVOLVED. DO YOU HAVE A LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP WHERE YOU’VE LED A LOT OF LAPS BUT HAVEN’T ALWAYS GOTTEN THE FINISH THAT YOU DESERVE; AND YET YOU DID WIN THE ALL-STAR THERE? ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GOING TO THE NIGHT RACE AT BRISTOL NEXT MONTH?
“Yeah, I’m definitely excited to go to Bristol. Coming off a win there is great. And like you said, I feel like we’ve had some really good runs there in the past; not always the results to show it, but yeah, I look forward to going. I do think that even the short track side of things I think it can exploit all of your struggle spots, whatever that may be. For whatever reason, the All-Star race went really well, and that’s really, I feel like, been the only race that we’ve performed like I know we can; heck, over the past month and a half. So yeah, I’m looking forward to going there although we all know that a good run there in the past does not guarantee you a good run next time. But I’m certainly looking forward to trying again.”
LOOKING AHEAD TO THIS WEEKEND AT THE DAYTONA ROAD COURSE, WITH THE 2020 SCHEDULE BEING CRAZY AND THE RESTART AND EVERYTHING ELSE, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO OUT OF THIS PARTICULAR WEEKEND IN A FIRST-TIME RUN ON A ROAD COURSE AT DAYTONA?
“I think this weekend is going to be a big time challenge for everyone. I think the one guy that I look at that really has a leg up is Kyle (Busch), having come off that 24-hour event (Rolex 24) this year. In fact, I think if we all knew that we were going to be doing this road course, you probably would have seen all of us trying to get in that 24-Hour race this year to go and do it. But you never know with things like that. I think it’s going to be a challenge. I think it’s going to be a fun challenge for everyone. I’ve never entered a race like that where you literally just have no idea what to expect. Road racing, in my opinion, is a lot about brake-markers and a lot about visual aids and these nuances around the track that you can see with your eyes to help with your hands and your feet do the right things at the right times. Heck, I have no idea where I need to stop on Turn 1 on Sunday; or (Turn) 2 or (Turn) 3 and all the way back around to the Start/Finish Line.
“So, I think that’s going to be super, super difficult for everybody. And it’s going to be one of those things where you have to creep up on it and it’s a hard guess. You know, we can run in the SIM’s and iRacing and all those things until we’re blue in the face. But ultimately that doesn’t, in my opinion, give you the visual aids that you need to do the right things at the right times. The only way to get that is (with) laps around the race track and 65 laps is not really a ton of time to figure those things out. So, learn and learn fast and try not to make any big time mistakes in doing it.”
YOU ARE ONE OF THE DRIVERS ON SATURDAY DURING THE MICHIGAN RACE THAT USED THE CHOOSE RULE TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH THE PROCESS OF HOW YOU MADE DECISIONS AND WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF EVERYTHING AND ANY TWEAKS THAT NEED TO BE MADE GOING FORWARD?
“I think the rule is good. I thought that it opened up options. To me, the biggest thing about it is the way you come off pit road doesn’t determine your destiny, which I think is the right thing. It eliminates the games leaving pit road. And too, I think in a lot of ways, it almost puts a little more stock in your pit stop because although it doesn’t necessarily determine whether or not you’re going to be odd or even, but it does allow to pick ahead of a car or two if you are able to beat those people off of pit road. So, it doesn’t take any of the importance out of having a fast pit stop because choosing before the next guy is still important, but it does allow you to pick. And, I think if things work out for you, great. And like I’ve said before, if you choose the wrong lane, there’s nobody else to blame it on but yourself. So, I think that’s really the way it should be, and I like that we’re doing that now.
“And, I can’t say that I had some super-smart, genius way, of picking lane, but on a couple of those restarts there, it worked out and I had the right pusher. Brad (Keselowski) gave me a great push there on Saturday. That was why we got the lead. And then out front, obviously Kevin (Harvick) was still very fast. Do I think he was going to be really hard to hold off those last 10 or 11 laps? Absolutely. But it gave us an option that we might not have had otherwise.”
WITH SO MUCH CONTRACT TALK THIS PAST WEEK AND ESPECIALLY THE TALK ABOUT WHO IS GOING TO END UP IN THE NO. 48 CAR, WHO DO YOU PERSONALLY WANT TO SEE REPLACE JIMMIE JOHNSON NEXT YEAR IN THAT CAR?
“I’d love for Jimmie to stay. How about that? I think Jimmie is a great guy and I enjoy having him as my teammate; so, I’m lobbying for him.”
HOW MUCH TIME HAVE YOU GOTTEN ON THE SIMULATOR ON THE DAYTONA ROAD COURSE OR HAVE YOU DONE ANY IRACING OR GOTTEN ANY SORT OF PRACTICE WHATSOEVER? AND WHAT CONCERNS YOU ABOUT THE COURSE, GOING IN COLD?
“I think a lot of it I mentioned there at the beginning; so, I don’t want to double-up on the same comments. But, pretty much everything I said there to start. I’ve run some laps on iRacing. When I messed around with it on iRacing, it didn’t have that chicane there on the front straightaway, which they added; or I guess it’s there and will be there for the race weekend. So yeah, I’m planning on going to the Chevy SIM this week and just try to get some laps. I really think you have to be really smart about how you take that information and apply it to real life because although you can make laps, and maybe get yourself familiar with the course, those visual aids on IRacing or the Chevrolet SIM, are never going to be exactly right.
“The sponsor logos change on the wall every time you go. You might have a section of grass that isn’t green, or it is dead, that you might use as a brake point. All those things are just so dynamic that I think it’s hard to take that to a simulator to real life. So, when I go to the SIM, I’m going to just try to take a super step back, like generalized approach, and try to learn the big things about the course and the layout; but I think it’s going to be really hard to fine tune. And I almost think you’re better off not trying to fine tune because I would rather have no information than to gather wrong information going into an event like that cold turkey.”
ON THE DAYTONA ROAD COURSE REPLACING WATKINS GLEN THIS YEAR, WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON NOT GOING TO THE GLEN SINCE YOU’VE WON THERE THE PAST TWO YEARS?
“Obviously we’ve had a good couple of years up there so it would have been nice to go back and try again. But ultimately, I get it. And, I’m glad to see that they’ve put a road course on the schedule that was feasible and an option to do. So, I certainly don’t have anything bad to say about it, honestly. I understand the reasoning behind it and I appreciate NASCAR’s flexibility in being able to change things up and get a road course on the schedule in place of a road course. It’s really, honestly, about all we could ask for, I think. And, I think it will be a really big challenge for all the drivers which, I think, is good. We’re supposed to be challenged and we’re supposed to be the top of our sport of stock car racing. So yeah, I don’t see anything wrong with it.”
WILL YOU REACH OUT TO ANY OF THE GUYS WHO HAVE RACED THE ROLEX 24 TO TRY TO GET SOME IDEAS AND SOME HINTS OF WHAT TO DO? THEY ALL SEEM TO SAY THE BIGGEST ISSUES WILL BE IN THE BRAKING ZONES.
“Yeah, I think so. And, I think we need to exploit the Chevrolet-side of things with the Corvette program and the Cadillac programs that they do there on the IMSA-side of things. We have a lot of access to that. So absolutely. I plan on doing that some. Those cars are very different from our cars and they are very high-performance and stop way better and corner faster and all those things, so it is different. But, road course racing, I think, we’ve seen guys come over from that world and come to stock car racing and have a lot of success because I think a lot of the fundamentals of road racing are probably, although I’ve never driven one of those cars, but seeing how they’ve come over and had success, I would have to think they are fundamentally similar in braking and when to be on the brakes and when to be off the brakes and when to do the max braking and when to not, I think are probably all a similar mindset. It’s just going to be your distances and your gaps and things are going to be way different. So just kind of figuring that out, I do think they can offer some good insight to maybe little things around the race track that we can use to our advantage.”
Team Chevy high-resolution racing photos are available for editorial use.
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