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CHEVY NCS AT DOVER: Ty Dillon Teleconference Transcript

NASCAR CUP SERIES
DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
DRYDENE 311
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
AUGUST 21, 2020

TY DILLON, NO. 13 GEICO CAMARO ZL1 1LE, met with media via teleconference and discussed his season with Germain Racing to-date, the high temperatures inside the race car at the Daytona Road Course and the new rule for Dover this weekend, his thoughts on the cutoff race at Daytona, the balance of the season, and more. Partial Transcript:

FOR YOU GUYS OUTSIDE OF THE PLAYOFFS, AND ONLY THREE RACES LEFT TO TRY AND WIN YOUR WAY IN, HOW AGGRESSIVE DO YOU THINK THE RACING WILL BE BACK IN THE MID-PACK TO TRY TO GET UP FRONT DURING THESE RACES?
“I think everybody is 100 percent aggressive every week. That’s the style this new car has kind of brought to the table. I think where the aggression will ramp-up is strategy, to put yourself up front, where you can use your defenses at the end of the race. I think there’s going to be some unique strategy with people trying to pop themselves up to the front near the end of the race or the end of these stages, that might put themselves in a vulnerable position to try to get those much-needed points or that stage win or that race win. I think the aggression of the overall mindset is going to go up. I know the drivers already drive to their full aggression in every opportunity they get. It’s going ramp-up these next couple of weeks. Everybody wants to get into the Playoffs. There’s a few spots left. For our team, we can’t do it on points. We’ve come very close at Dover, though. We know we can do it. We just have to put ourselves in the right position. In this wild time, we don’t really know what we’re going to have for a set-up in the car until we get on the track. Hopefully Saturday and Sunday we can get our car dialed-in and maybe we can be one of those teams that takes one of those chances and gives us the opportunity.”

LOOKING BACK TO LAST WEEK, WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE DAYTONA ROAD COURSE STAY AROUND PERMANENTLY ON THE SCHEDULE?
“Certainly. I would like to add more. I enjoy the road course racing. I enjoy the Roval-style of racing, where we’re using big tracks. We’ve got to continue to mix it up. I think the racing is good. It’s intense. It just adds so much more to it when we haven’t gone to a race track for, you know, the 500th time, it seems like; when all of the teams and everybody involved in NASCAR is learning a track for the first time. It equals the playing field. You get more storylines. We’ve got to continue to do unique things like that. I certainly encourage more changes along those lines of the Daytona Road Course.”

EARLIER THIS WEEK, MICHAEL MCDOWELL TALKED ABOUT NOT ONLY THE INCREASING TEMPERATURES INSIDE THE CAR GETTING REALLY TOUGH AND ALMOST DANGEROUS. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE ADJUSTMENTS NASCAR IS MAKING ON THE RIGHT-SIDE WINDOW? HOW TOUGH HAS THE HEAT BECOME FOR YOU GUYS INSIDE THE CAR?
“It was quite brutal inside the race car, definitely. I think you could see it on everybody’s faces when they got out during the red flag. But I didn’t waste any time. I was glad that caution came out with the lightning strike. It was definitely a godsend that helped a lot of us to even finish the race. Luckily, I had my motor home there. I went straight back and gook a cold shower and changed into a fresh suit and put some ice on my body. I know I only had probably 20 or 30 minutes. But I did everything I could to cool my core temperature down, which really helped me to be able to attack at the end of the race. I don’t know if I would have had enough juice in my system to be able to go.

“I’ve certainly been training hard. I’m in the best shape I have ever been in. I’ve been training in the 96-degree, 98-degree North Carolina weather, running four or five miles with elevated heart rate ramp-ups in the middle of it. And, that was still one of the most brutal things. It’s just hard to beat 150, 140 with the ramped-up humidity inside of the race car. I wear a heart rate monitor every day and, in the races as well. And that was one of the highest ones that I have experienced. I simply have a lower heart rate due to a lot of my training. I was on an average of 148 beats per minute for four hours, in that heat, is crazy. And I was up to around 3,000 calories burned. It was very brutal. It took my body probably, I’d say two days, at least to really start feeling like I was recovering.

“We have a driver group chat with NASCAR involved in kind of our version of the driver/council now, and there’s a lot of drivers that chimed-in and said hey, we’ve got to make a change. It’s really just gotten worse since we’ve run the right-side windows at the short tracks and road courses and not letting the air move around much. It’s very stagnant and steamy and inside those cars. I’m glad that we’re finally making a change. I would have liked to have had the change last week. But it’s changed now and hopefully this will work. I think it will. It just allows more air to move through the car, which is always a good thing.”

WITH THAT KIND OF HEART RATE FOR THAT LONG, YOU’RE ALMOST IN A DANGER ZONE, CORRECT?
“Yeah, I mean that’s definitely around a marathon athlete’s heart rate for that long. And, a lot of us do train hard to where we can sustain that, and that’s part of who we are as being a great driver is the work you put into it. But even at that, it’s hard to sustain that when you’re inside your core temperature. It definitely changes a lot of things. You have your hydration and everything that plays into it. I feel very confident in my preparation, physically, every single week. And that was one of the toughest things I’ve gone through as a driver. And the hard part is recovering for what comes up this week is two races at other than road courses, I’d say Dover lines-up as one of the most physical race tracks that’s really rough inside the car just because it’s so fast and the banking changes. So, this will be another test physically. But luckily, we’re going to take those windows out, which should help us; and the races are a little bit shorter. So, we have that night of recovery. What you do from Saturday to Sunday is really going to be important to make sure you have the proper energy and your mind is clear to go race hard on Sunday.”

IN 2017 YOU HAD A REALLY GOOD RACE AT DOVER. WHAT DID YOU DO WELL AND HOW WOULD YOU HAVE TO TRANSLATE TO THE RACES COMING UP THIS WEEKEND?
“Right out of the gate, we had a solid practice. We hit on some stuff early on there, in our rookie season. And at the start of the race we were running inside the top 20. But I remember the whole race saying you guys just give me track position and we’re going to be okay. I just had that feeling in the car. Sometimes it clicks like that at race tracks. We did a good job of working strategy in that race. I beat Jimmie (Johnson) on the restarts, I think two times in a row. And, was able to lead 23 or 24 laps. Kyle Larson was pretty fast that day. With about 20 to go, we were lining up to probably finish third or fourth and had a bad restart there at the end. There was speedy dry on the track and didn’t have much chance to make it off Turn 2 o the white flag lap. I know I can get it done there. I know what it takes to lead there against the best, even on older tires. So, it’s just a matter of hitting the set-up and making sure we can be aggressive on our calls. You’ve got to have a car capable of fighting for it. If your car is not going to handle well and stay out, you’re just putting yourself in a really high-risk of ruining a solid finish anyway. There’s a lot that goes into it. That day we had a really solid car.”

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST KEY TO HAVING A REALLY GOOD RACE AT DOVER?
‘Patience and I think a lot of it is obviously every race, you’ve got to have a good car. The car is 80 percent of it these days; close to 90 percent. But that 10 to 15 mental side of being a driver and being able to hit your marks every time. Dover is one of those places that can be very physically demanding and just exhausting because of the roughness of the track and everything that goes into it. So, you’ve got to be physically there to take advantage of a strong car. And if you can do that, you really just have to just paint the bottom is usually where the fastest cars are. They can roll the bottom with more speed than anybody. And you’ve got to be able to hit that line in each corner, which will be 600 times a race. It just takes patience and you’ve got to be able to be very focused and fight through a lot of distractions, whether its physical or just the speed of the overall race at Dover.”

LOOKING TOWARD DAYTONA, DO YOU THINK IT WILL BE MORE RECKLESS SINCE IT’S A CUTOFF RACE?
“Yeah, I’m anxious to see what happens in Daytona. I couldn’t imagine us being much more reckless and dangerous and aggressive at these superspeedways the way the last three years have gone. Actually, the last race at Talladega was probably the calmest one that we’ve seen. But there still seems to be a way that we only finish with about 10 to 12 cars every time. I don’t know how much more we could make it worse, but I think out of the gate you’re going to see a lot more pressure on people trying to earn those stage points early and then do whatever to win at the end of the race. I think the end of the race will get a little bit more aggressive coming to the checkered, which calls for anxiety and stress when people try to make a move where you’re going so fast and it can be so dangerous.”

IF YOU HAVE A SHOT TO WIN, HOW MUCH RISK DO YOU TAKE TO POTENTIALLY ACCOMPLISH THAT GOAL?
“I know that if I can’t be there at the end, there’s no chance of us making the Playoffs anyway. So, my philosophy is pretty much concrete every time I go to a speedway, no matter the situation. It’s kind of the same process I follow. I got away from it a little bit at Daytona this year because we had such a fast race car. I wanted to get up front and I couldn’t keep our car out of the top 10 there. All-in-all, that was one of the worst races we had because with three or four to go, I was running inside the top 11 or 12 and got in a crash. So, I try to be patient and try to steal stage points if I can at a low risk and bide my time. But I always try to make sure that I finish. I think that’s going to be key at Daytona. It’s never too late for a crash to happen. You’ve got to be there at the end. You can’t take yourself out early just trying to force something to happen. You’ve got to be patient and line yourself up and trust what you feel and what you see.”

IN THE CHEVY CAMP IT’S HENDRICK VERSUS GANASSI WITH RCR WHERE YOU GUYS ARE AT THERE. WE’VE SEEN GREAT RUNS BY RCR. ASSESS WHERE YOU ARE WITH YOUR ALLIANCE WITH THAT TEAM.
“For our team personally, it’s been up and down. If you look at RCR’s success this year, they’ve certainly had a lot stronger year than last year. I think we almost beat them with their cars in the points last year, which was a good year for us. This year, they’ve been stronger week in and week out and more consistent. Our approach has been a little different this year. And I think their approach has been a little bit different this year. But recently, we’ve turned it up. We’ve really had a bad Daytona 500 and then the next five races, we were really strong with some of the best results we’ve had since the pandemic hit, and we came out of the gate strong. And then we had a five or six-race stretch of the worst luck and just not good races since we’ve had since I’ve been here. And that put us in a deep hole when some guys were able to capitalize. We had one race at Charlotte where our power steering broke. We’ve had a race where we had a couple of pit road issues that put us a couple of laps down. The issues were mechanical, mental mistakes that kept taking us out for about five weeks in a row. And then we kind of got our feet back under us and started having some top 15’s and getting back to where we were at the beginning of the season. So now, we’re just pulling ourselves out of this hole a little bit. We’ve had a solid string of races. It’s late in the season, but our goal is to try to get ourselves back in that top 24 in points. If you look lately, where we haven’t had mechanical or mental issues during a race, we finish inside the top 20 almost every single week. So, we have improved in a lot of ways, but yes; we want to make the Playoffs, but there’s still 13 races to go and our goal is long-term and to keep improving and get higher in the points.

“We’d like to have a better outcome than we’ve had, but I think overall the Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE has been a stronger car for all of us. But it is hard when you have a pandemic. There’s not a whole lot of developing we can do as a race team. We’re a small operation. To keep up in these kinds of times, when you’re split in your shop and have guys working all night one shift and then in the day, that can’t see each other. We have 47 employees trying to make this happen. It’s a tough thing to keep up with, but we’ve been able to get our feet back under us.”

THIS IS YOUR FOURTH SEASON WITH THIS TEAM. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS BEHIND SUCH A STRONG RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN YOU AND THE NO. 13 SQUAD, AND WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR YOU GUYS?
“I think commitment to begin with; for four years to be committed to a driver starts with a very committed sponsor in GEICO that’s been with Germain Racing for a long time. And we’ve got to do all that we can for it to make sense for them. They’ve believed in me for the past four years to go out and give my best and help improve the team. And just having long-term mindset in all of this and trying to grow, it’s very hard now days in NASCAR for a single car team with less funding than other teams. You have to be efficient. You have to do things right and sometimes that comes at a cost of development. You have to be a perfectionist as a driver and a crew chief and a team to capitalize on the days where the guys that have a lot more capital and resources when they make mental mistakes that you can capitalize. You can’t afford to go out and crash four or five weeks in a row because you don’t have enough cars. You have to race and prepare different and see the sport different. The model is very tough right now for single-car teams. I’m hoping that NASCAR is going to change it and help on it. But it needs to change for one-car teams to be more successful that haven’t already been at the top level of the sport or have an incredible about of money to leapfrog into the top spot. If you don’t have three or four teams to spread the wealth with big name sponsors and a lot of money behind the effort, it’s just not a model that’s going to survive long term. But the thing is, you have teams like Germain Racing with GEICO behind them that’s been around for a long time because they’re committed to the sport and seeing it through and seeing a day where our team can equalize.

“There are good things happening in the future with our sport with the future of the car that are supposed to cut costs. I think we have to stay with the model we’re running and learning with right now in NASCAR with these single day shows. It’s saving a ton of money and helping teams like us. We won’t see the full benefit, but another two years down the road. It takes a while to catch-up. But if we can show up and race on race day, or maybe do a 15 minute practice session on race day where we shake down our cars and we only have to bring one car to the race track and buy less tires and don’t have to hotel rooms and rental cars, there’s so much expense that we save over time.

“And then you have a car that’s more common parts that’s supposed to be cheaper in general coming in 2022. You can start seeing teams like our team, get to the level that we need to be. And that’s where NASCAR has to get to. Or else, it’s unfortunately going to continue to go the way that we’ve seen for the last couple of years to where you have teams that just can’t hang on anymore and they can’t survive in this kind of environment. So, I believe in our sport and the direction it is going. And, I know everyone has a mindset to make it better. But we just have to get there. We have to do everything that it takes. We have to do it as media, as drivers, and as a sport in general. We have to help these middle and back-end teams have more exposure and more time, and stop being so heavily focused on the top three cars running every week. There are stories to tell with drivers like myself, who race from 25th to 18th. There’s a huge story to tell within those races. There are big wins for those teams that never get mentioned. There’s a lot that goes on, I think.

“We can only get better as a sport if we all get better. We can’t just keep focusing on the big-end teams and the guys running up-front week in and week out. So, if we want the sport to thrive, it takes a lot of focus throughout the field.”

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

About Chevrolet
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.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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