CHEVY NCS AT ROVAL: Post-Race Notes and Quotes

NASCAR CUP SERIES
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE
BANK OF AMERICA ROVAL 400
TEAM CHEVY POST-RACE NOTES & QUOTES
OCTOBER 11, 2020

TOP TEAM CHEVY UNOFFICIAL RACE RESULTS:
POS. DRIVER
1st CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 1LE
4th KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 MONSTER ENERGY CAMARO ZL1 1LE
6th WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1 1LE
8th ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 VALVOLINE CAMARO ZL1 1LE
12th TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 CHEDDAR’S SCRATCH KITCHEN CAMARO ZL1 1LE

TOP FIVE UNOFFICIAL RACE RESULTS:
POS. DRIVER
1st Chase Elliott (Chevrolet)
2nd Joey Logano (Ford)
3rd Erik Jones (Toyota)
4th Kurt Busch (Chevrolet)
5th Ryan Blaney (Ford)

UNOFFICIAL CURRENT PLAYOFF RANK (Following Race 6 of 10 / Entering into the Round of 8)
POS. DRIVER (* = Chevy Contender)
1. Kevin Harvick (Ford)
2. Denny Hamlin (Toyota)
3. Brad Keselowski (Ford)
4. * Chase Elliott (Chevrolet)
5. Joey Logano (Ford)
6. Martin Truex Jr. (Toyota)
7. * Alex Bowman (Chevrolet)
8. * Kurt Busch (Chevrolet)

The NASCAR Cup Series seasons continues at Kansas Speedway with the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday, October 18,, at 2:30 p.m. ET to kick off the Round of 8 for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Live coverage can be found on NBC, the NBC Sports Gold app, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

TEAM CHEVY NOTES AND QUOTES:
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Race Winner
THERE ARE 37 DRIVERS AND CREW CHIEFS SHAKING THEIR HEADS OVER THERE GOING MAN, HOW DID HE DO IT TO US AGAIN? HOW DID YOU WIN AGAIN TODAY ON A ROAD COURSE?
“Well, I just had another really fast NAPA Camaro and really appreciate the effort. I feel like road courses have been fortunate to us the last few trips, but I feel like we just try to get a little better every time and tweak on the small things. I feel like I tweaked on some small things and got a little better than what I was here last year, which was good. And, I’m just really proud of the effort. I appreciate everybody at Hendrick, Chevrolet, Mountain Dew, Kelley Blue Book, UniFirst, and Hooters and all of our partners that make this deal go. And, it’s always special to win here at Charlotte with the shop being right across the street. I appreciate all the effort there. The best way to get into the next round is to win and so, hopefully we can do something with it.”

YOU TIED JEFF GORDON FOR FOUR ROAD COURSE RACE WINS IN A ROW. HOW GOOD WAS IT FOR YOU AND THIS TEAM TO ADVANCE WITH A WIN AND NOT JUST ON POINTS?
“That’s always the goal. I feel like you start playing the points game and you can get yourself in trouble worrying about things that are just out of your hands. As much as you want to think about those things and want to worry about them, you just really have to focus on you. And, I feel like we did a really good job of that today. The pit stops were great. Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) called a good race and got tires at the right time and luckily things worked out and we’ll take it. Like I’ve always said, they’re way too hard to get to get picky about when and where and how. So, I’m just glad to be here. And like I said, hopefully we can do something with this next round.”

KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 MONSTER ENERGY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 4th
“It was a great improvement for our road course program. I’m really proud of everybody at Chip Ganassi Racing; looking at issues and working on what we need to do improve. Whether we were locked-in or not, we came here to go for it. I’m really proud of how our race unfolded. We just seemed to cook the rear tires after about 15 laps into a run, but we had really good braking, so I had to use my strength. I was ready for (Martin) Truex to bonsai it in there, I was like ha,ha, I got you bro! He (Truex) axle-hopped, hit us and I was able to recover quicker than him. Really good day for our Monster Energy team, just wasn’t as fast as the No. 9 car (Elliott). I’m glad he is on to the next round along with Alex Bowman, we got as many Chevy’s as we could pushed-thru to the round of eight”.

WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 6th
“Yeah today was a tough one. I’m really frustrated with the speeding penalty. I felt like I was to the good and I obviously wasn’t so I’ll have to go back and look at it. Overall, today was a good day though. We led a lot of laps and felt like our car was capable of running up front with the No.9. I would have liked to see what we could have done there at the end and battled with him. Either way it was a good day for us and we’ll go on to Kansas and try get a win.”

ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 VALVOLINE SIMPLIFIED CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 8th
AT ONE POINT, YOU CAME ACROSS THE RADIO AND SAID YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE ABOUT TO THROW UP. WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT?
“Ah, I guess my nerves were getting to me a little bit. It means a lot to this race team to make the Round of 8. It’s something that we’ve fallen short of doing the previous two years. So, thanks to Valvoline and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports. I think a lot of people slept on us coming into the Playoffs a little bit so it’s a lot of validation for us to make that round. And when you’re racing champions of the sport, to be able to advance, you’re never comfortable, right? And especially Kyle Busch. My nerves were getting to me a little bit but I’m glad we had a solid day. We weren’t very good. We were really tight and then I would end up snapping the rears and burning the rear tires off the thing really bad. But we did all we could and I’m glad we advanced.”

TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 CHEDDAR’S SCRATCH KITCHEN CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 12th
“Every time I come to a road course, I grow as a driver. We had a great No. 8 Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Chevrolet today, and I want to thank my team for working with me all day long. It wasn’t an easy day, but we all kept with it and improved throughout the race. It took a little bit of Stage 1 to re-familiarize myself with the course, so I spent a lot of that stage being careful to not overstep and wreck. After a pit stop and adjustment during the second stage, I was able to rotate a lot better all throughout the track, which helped me gain a lot of traction on the field. We had a couple cautions fall later during the race that helped us with some track position a little bit, overall, it was a really good effort by my No. 8 team today. They kept with it and remained patient with me throughout the day, while relaying information on areas of the track to continue to work on. I definitely learned more about this track today and will put that in the notebook for next year.”

RYAN PREECE, NO. 37 MAXWELL HOUSE CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 14th
“It was a solid day all around for our Maxwell House Chevrolet. We were really good on the long run, and were able to play the strategy and lead laps for the first time this season. Ultimately, the tires wore out and it affected our handling and we weren’t able to hang on to the lead, but I’m really proud of the work everyone at JTG Daugherty Racing put into our road course cars this season and give me something that we could work on during the race and continue improving all race. We finally have had a really good string of races, and we’re going to keep on building off of that for these final four weeks.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR., NO. 47 KROGER CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 17th
“Road course racing traditionally has not been my favorite, but we’ve been able to put together a few strong road course runs this season in our Kroger Chevrolet. We had a really special paint scheme this weekend honoring Breast Cancer Awareness month and names of JTG Daugherty Racing family members that have been affected by breast cancer. I’m honored to have our public relations director Jennifer Chapple on the car as she just fought a battle of her own to beat breast cancer. We had a restart where I thought we could really put ourselves in a good position to lead and stay at the front, but had contact that spun us and lost that position. Fortunately, we still had time to get back in the top-20 and still have a strong day for both myself and my teammate.”

AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER OFF ROAD CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 19th
YOU HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED FROM THE PLAYOFFS TODAY. IT JUST SEEMED LIKE YOU GUYS GOT BEHIND EARLY AND THEN TRACK POSITION IS JUST SO HARD TO COME BY HERE
“Yeah, we were looking pretty good in Stage 1. We had taken tires again and got to fifth in the Stage and that unlucky caution happened. We knew we were kind of dead meat at that point because we didn’t have dry tires on. So, we pitted at the end of Stage 1 and then we had to go to the tail because pit road wasn’t open. Just a lot of stuff. And again, a caution fell late in Stage 2 when we were running 12th and just no help from cautions. The race just didn’t play our way. I’m actually pretty happy with that as far as my road course racing has been. I raced hard all day. We finished 19th and that shows some progress and I think if we would have been up there, track-position-wise, we would have maintained it.”

TY DILLON, NO. 13 GEICO CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 23rd
“Well, we got another stage win – our third as a team – which is a huge accomplishment. I’m so very proud of our GEICO team. Today was another fun day and I had a blast behind the wheel. We didn’t finish exactly where we wanted, but we made a bold call there at the end right before that last caution came out to try and make it to pit road before it closed. That ended up costing us some track position, but to finish 23rd with a stage win feels like finishing 13th. It feels fun to win anything. I’m so thankful for everyone at Germain Racing and we will keep chugging along to finish strong.”

ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 VALVOLINE CAMARO ZL1 1LE, PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:

THE MODERATOR: Alex Bowman was the last driver to drive into the Round of 8 on points, driver of the No. 88 Valvoline Chevrolet.

Alex, why don’t you talk quickly about what it means to race your way into the Round of 8.

ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, it means a lot to me, but also to my race team. These guys work really hard all year. I feel like sometimes my team at least doesn’t get the respect they deserve. I feel like it kind of like validates all their hard work.
Obviously we have a long way to go to try to make the Round of 4 at Phoenix. These guys work so hard, do such a good job, give me such great racecars. I’m really happy for them.
I wish I could have been a little better today. We struggled with our race car quite a bit. Still ended up with a solid top 10, had what we needed there for points.

THE MODERATOR: We’ll go to questions for you now.

Q. You called yourself Anxious Alex, feeling sick in the car. Has your lunch calmed down yet now that you made it to the next round?
ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, welcome to being me. That’s just part of my life, I guess. I don’t know. I feel like there’s plenty of people that can relate to that. It’s just something I go through.
Didn’t feel too well. My nerves got to me more than I would have liked. I think it’s one of those deals under green you’re fine, but when it’s like caution after caution after caution, sitting there under caution just wasn’t feeling so good.
I’m all good now. Definitely was nervous, though.

Q. Everything stayed down, right?
ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, yeah. I have this bright white fire suit, literally all white with a Valvoline logo. You guys would be able to tell if it didn’t (smiling).

Q. Last time we were at Kansas you came home eighth in that, had fifth at the last mile‑and‑a‑half, Las Vegas. How do you feel the Round of 8 rolls out for you? Is Martinsville a concern?
ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, yeah, it is. We’ve had some okay days at Martinsville. We’ve greatly improved our short track program this year. We went to Richmond where we finished 26th last year or something like that, and we finished top 10, ran top 10 all day.
Definitely not as nervous about Martinsville as I would have been a couple years ago. Yeah, I mean, I think that’s probably our weakest racetrack that we go to. The mile‑and‑a‑half’s, through the summer we really struggled, but at the beginning of the year and lately we’ve been really strong at.
Kansas in particular, we’ve almost won there before. I feel like we can go be phenomenal there. Kansas and Texas are two opportunities for us to win. Every week going to the racetrack with Hendrick Motorsports is an opportunity to win. Kansas and Texas are going to be our best shots at it for sure.
It’s probably going to take a win to make the Round of 4. Just going to go all in and do everything we can to make that happen.

Q. Why is Chase so good at road courses?
ALEX BOWMAN: I can go faster than him in the simulator. Does that count (laughter)?
I don’t know. If I knew, I would do it and be as good as him. We obviously can see everything that that team does. The four teams at Hendrick Motorsport are transparent, share all their info, work so well together. Chase is an open book. I could ask him.
I don’t know what he does so differently. I spent a lot of time in the simulator this week running both setups and trying to understand the differences between what we’ve been successful with here and what he’s been successful with here. They drive completely different. Obviously he’s had a little better end result than we have, but we’ve still had good results with ours.
I don’t know. We went more their direction today. I probably struggled with the race car more than I ever have today. I feel like you could plug me in the 9 car and it wouldn’t go as fast as Chase makes it. He’s got it dialed in when it comes to the road courses right now.

Q. On a serious note, I don’t know if I don’t listen to your radio closely enough each week. Is your anxiety something that actually happens to you during races in the race car weekly or kind of a rare occurrence?
ALEX BOWMAN: I feel like it’s not super common in the race car. Before races and high‑pressure situations you’ll have that, I guess. I feel like I was just really stressed out. It means a lot to me to make the Round of 8. Was really something I felt like with the points situation we were in we had to do. With the race team that Mr. H has given me and put me with, all the resources we have, I feel like it was pretty necessary to make the Round of 8.
I don’t know. It means a lot to me and I put a lot of pressure on myself to make that happen.

Q. Did it make any difference having the 48 news out in the open this week or did it not really matter?
ALEX BOWMAN: To be honest with you, that probably helped distract me through the majority of the week. Just being able to talk about something else, not being so caught up in a points situation.
It’s just tough, man. You come to the Roval, stressful. It’s a cutoff week, stressful. You’re surrounded in points by champions of the sport, extra stressful. You’re trying to beat Kyle Busch, and it’s going to rain. It’s like how many stressful elements can you add to one thing?
Being able to talk about something else was definitely helpful this week, I feel like.

Q. It seems like you and your team are starting to find the speed that’s made you such a threat early in the year. What have been some of the keys to the team’s turnaround during the Playoffs?
ALEX BOWMAN: Yes, I don’t feel like we’re back to where we were early in the year still. We were dominating every week, it felt like. We gave a lot of races away, but we led a ton of laps there from I guess Fontana all the way through, like, second Charlotte. We were on it every single week. Race car capable of winning every single week.
We’re not all the way back there. We’ve made a ton of gains and we’re close, but we’re not all the way there. I think the biggest thing that has helped us get pointed back in the right direction after the rough summer is each and every individual on the 88 team, and at Hendrick Motorsport, but specifically on the 88 team, staying positive, working hard and working well together.
We’ve had some new faces on the team. It’s really easy to get along when things are going well like the beginning of the year. When things start going wrong, like they did through the summer, it’s so easy for a team to fall apart.
I never once saw, heard, had to deal with any team‑falling‑apart‑ism. They just worked hard and stuck together and kept learning, kept improving. It’s got us back on track.

Q. Given the fact they’ve been able to reconcile some of the growing pains, which tracks do you feel are your best chance given it’s the show up and race format lately?
ALEX BOWMAN: Kind of like I said before, Kansas and Texas. I feel like our cars are really strong at Martinsville. There’s something as a race car driver that I am missing a little bit of. I feel like I’ve been able to gain on it. We were better this time around. Came from a lot of studying, leaning on the guy that’s sitting in the media center. Kind of like trying to catch him on a road course, catch him at Martinsville. I feel like those first two are our best shots. We’re plenty capable of getting it done.

THE MODERATOR: Alex, thanks for joining us today. Good luck as the Round of 8 starts next week.

ALEX BOWMAN: Thanks, guys.

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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