NASCAR CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
OCTOBER 30, 2020
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 1LE, met with media via teleconference and discussed his mindset going into Martinsville on Sunday, how he feels about it being a cutoff race, his thoughts on 2021 Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Kyle Larson, and more. Full Transcript:
REGARDING THE GEORGIA TEAMS, THE ATLANTA BRAVES AND THE BULLDOGS NOT HAVING THE BEST OCTOBER, HOW MIGHT YOU CHANGE THAT TREND?
“I hope we can help with that trend, for sure. It’s been a rough go. The Braves had such a good series with the Dodgers, and then for the Dodgers to go on and win like they did, it was pretty frustrating. But yeah, hopefully we can try to help that, I guess, in a sense. We’ll find out here on Sunday.”
WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE WHEN YOU GO INTO THE LAST RACE OF THE YEAR AND YOU ARE OUT OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP RACE? DO YOU ALWAYS LEAVE THERE THINKING YOU JUST DON’T WANT TO DO THIS AGAIN THIS WAY?
“Yeah, it certainly is motivating for sure. As you go into that last weekend and you’re not a part of it you still want to try to get that race win and you’re still there battling; but at the same time, it is still disappointing; especially being just knocked out like six days ago like the way it was last year. Yeah, it’s an unfortunate way to kind of end the year but that’s the way it is. If you’re not good enough or don’t have a good stretch of races there in each round, you’re not going to make it. So that’s just part of it.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT YOUR NEW TEAMMATE, KYLE LARSON? HAVE YOU SPENT MUCH TIME TOGETHER OR WILL THIS BE LIKE THE FIRST DAY AT SCHOOL WHEN YOU FINALLY GET TOGETHER?
“I’m really excited, first off, for Kyle; and having an opportunity and getting a second chance. I think he really is a good dude and there’s really nothing that I’ve seen in my time around him that would lead me astray. Otherwise, I think everybody makes mistakes. It wasn’t good, but at the same time I think he’s taken the right path to grow a lot and I do think he’s grown a lot in more ways than just that. So, I think he’s going to be a good addition. I think he’s going to have a lot of success much like he was already having before he left. And, I haven’t spent a ton of time around Kyle over the years. We came from different worlds, but we’ve inadvertently raced against each other along the way in K&N; I don’t think we ran any Trucks but my first season in Xfinity I think he was either full time or still racing a lot before they changed the rules. I’ve raced with him a bunch, but I can’t say I have a really close friendship or anything with him off the track. So, I’m looking forward to getting to know him better and trying to improve Hendrick Motorsports as a whole.”
WHEN THIS SEASON IS OVER, HAVE YOU THOUGHT MUCH ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT TO DO TO DECOMPRESS?
“Yeah, I think right now I’m on the NASCAR thing and trying to focus on the end of the season and hopefully finishing out on a really high note. So, I think that’s kind of where my head is right now is we will have a great opportunity going to Martinsville this weekend still in the hunt and hopefully give ourselves a chance the next week at Phoenix. So, all eyes are on that right now and it’s all that matters. So, I’m looking forward to that first.”
THE FOUR DRIVERS ABOVE THE CUTLINE HAVE COMBINED FOR 23 OF 34 WINS THIS YEAR. GOING INTO MARTINSVILLE, THOSE ARE THE GUYS EVERYBODY IS CHASING. IS THAT SURPRISING THAT THEY’VE BEEN THE GUYS LEADING THE WAY?
“No. Who’s in right now? You’ve got Joey (Logano), Kevin (Harvick), Denny (Hamlin) and Brad (Keselowski). Those are very familiar faces to the Final Four and that’s not by happenstance. So, they’re obviously very good and they’ve obviously asserted themselves as the top drivers and teams over the course of the last number of years; especially since this points format has been implemented. So, hopefully we can change that course this weekend.”
MARTINSVILLE, IN THE PLAYOFFS, ALWAYS SEEMS TO HAVE QUITE A FEW MOMENTS THESE PAST YEARS. IS THERE ANY REASON NOT TO EXPECT MORE OF THE SAME NOW THAT IT IS THE CUTOFF RACE WITH THE LAST CHANCE TO GET TO PHOENIX?
“Yeah, I think it’s a great place for it. Who knows how the race will shape up? A lot of circumstances kind of led to some of those big moments and the timely cautions and things of that nature, so who knows? I certainly couldn’t tell you whether it’ll be fireworks or not, but my goal is to be fast enough where you don’t allow fireworks. And that’s the best way to deal with that.”
ARE YOU STRESSED? AND IF SO, HOW ARE YOU DEALING WITH IT?
“To be really honest with you, I feel good. I feel probably better than I ever have and as relaxed as I ever have. Coming into that last opportunity, that ‘last chance Sunday’ as I’ve called it the last couple of years, I’m looking forward to it. I think the more that you can embrace that moment and embrace that situation and really enjoy that time, the better you’ll be prepared for a Final Four one day if you ever get there. So, that’s kind of the way I feel about it and am really just excited to have the opportunity and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
WHEN RICK HENDRICK WAS BEING ASKED ABOUT KYLE LARSON DOING DIRT RACING, HE MENTIONED YOU MIGHT WANT TO BE DOING SOME MORE OUTSIDE RACING, TOO. IS THAT BECAUSE YOU’RE JUST RACING ONE DAY A WEEK IN NASCAR OR IS IT JUST FOR FUN?
“Great question. For me, I’ve had a lot of interest to go and go back and run short track stuff over the past number of years I’ve said that. I’ve said that a lot. I just haven’t had the right opportunities and I haven’t been able to do the things the way I want to do them. So, it’s not necessarily the racing one day a week thing. I’ve had the interest when we were at the track more, aside from this year; but I think now I’ve been able to kind of at least get some ideas of things that I want to do. I’m not sure exactly how timely it will be, but I want to do it kind of my way and I want to do it the way that I think is right. Until I can do it that way, I won’t. That’s just kind of the way I am. So, I’m looking forward to doing some more racing and I really, really want to and I’m excited about it. I’m just not exactly sure when, but would love to.””
WHAT IS THE ART OF RACING AT MARTINSVILLE? WHAT’S THE CHALLENGE TO PASS THERE?
“Martinsville is such a tough place and it’s a place that I’ve really struggled at in the past. We’ve had some good runs there too; but it’s such a knife edge of getting your car perfect at that place. You’re asking to make such a sharp turn and you’re also asking to go from a really slow corner and accelerate at a pretty high rate back up on the straightaway, which can be hard on the rear tires as well. So, you’re just getting all those things married up and right is very tough. And then the passing side of things, I feel like has gotten really hard. I feel like it’s gotten harder over the past couple of years for whatever reason. I feel like some guys are starting to drive the track more similarly which makes it really hard to be different. And when you’re just kind of the same as the guy in front of you, although you might be able to make a little bit more time than him in certain areas if you’re driving the track with the same technique, it makes it very challenging to pass a guy. But that’s also what’s made some of these races very entertaining at the same time. So, I don’t exactly know what that is or why that is; but it certainly is a tough place.”
WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE OF PLAYOFF RACING AT MARTINSVILLE?
“I don’t necessarily know that it’s any different. I want to go win a regular season race really bad, too. So, I can’t say that I’m going to try any harder on Sunday than I would have in the spring. I feel like I’m trying really hard as is. So, I don’t really see it being really much different from the added challenge. I think that for us we’re in a position where we really need to go win and in the spring race, we needed to go win then too. We needed those five bonus points then. So, I think it will all be very similar.”
“I certainly think that the team that wins that very first race in the Round of 8 and is locked-in, you have more time to think about what car you’re going to take to the final race. You have more time to massage on it. Yeah, I definitely think that could be a slight advantage. I’ve never really thought about that. I think that’s a great point. I do think that would be a slight advantage in car selection and time to tweak on those really, really small fine-tuning items that could potentially add up to make a difference. So, I can see that being a help. I can also see momentum being big, too. If you get on a roll, I could see winning Martinsville being a big momentum-booster for that team, whoever wins on Sunday, to propel them and have a really good shot the following week too. So, I think it’s really about how you ride the wave if you are that team that can win that very last race in the Round of 8.”
IN THE PAST, YOU’VE GONE FROM PHOENIX TO HOMESTEAD. THIS YEAR IT’S TWO 750 HORSEPOWER TRACKS. DO YOU THINK THAT MIGHT CHANGE IT A LITTLE BIT, TOO, THIS WEEK SO YOU COULD TAKE A SIMILAR CAR?
“You know, I’m not sure on that. I definitely think it’s great that we’re ending the season on two 750 tracks. I’m a bigger fan of that, I think, in deciding our champion in the final two races. So, that has my vote; not that I get one, but I really like it a lot. And I’m looking forward to seeing that too. Could you potentially take your Martinsville car to Phoenix? Maybe. You might. Yeah, that might be a good thing from the car-side and performance-side as well. That would be kind of a toss-up and one of those decisions you have to make pretty fast.”
Team Chevy high-resolution racing photos are available for editorial use.
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.