NASCAR CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
APRIL 23, 2021
ROSS CHASTAIN, NO. 42 CAREGILITY/YORKTEL CAMARO ZL1 1LE, Press Conference Transcript:
RECAP YOUR SEASON AND HOW YOU ARE APPROACHING THIS WEEKEND AT TALLADEGA?
“I’m going to approach it the same way we’ve approached every weekend: we go and try to win. That’s what we’ve tried to do all year, and we are on a path to get there.”
BASED ON EXPECTATIONS BEFORE THE SEASON, WHERE DO YOU SEE PROGRESS AND WHERE DO YOU SEE AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT?
“It’s been humbling, for sure. There have been a lot of things that I’ve just done wrong behind the wheel… the small details of driving the car. We’re working down a path with no practice of trial-and-error at these races to see what works for me and what works for the car. We have to be better. We’ve been pretty honest with ourselves and pretty transparent with each other in what we see. You can throw a lot of that on me. There are a lot of things in the car that I have to keep doing better. We’ll keep working toward that.”
ARE YOU FILLING UP A PROVERBIAL NOTEPAD WITH THE 42?
“Absolutely. If we could go back and do these races again with what we’ve learned, I’m sure they’d be better and we’d be better. That’s what makes the good guys great. They’re really good at this. To try and catch up and beat them in our first couple of at-bats is a tall task, but it’s what we signed up for. I never realized how much I appreciated practice coming up through the different series and in my time in the Cup Series over the last few years. Man, what I wouldn’t give for a few laps of practice.”
WITH NASCAR RACING AT DARLINGTON ON MOTHER’S DAY, WHAT KIND OF ROLE DID YOURS PLAY IN YOUR CAREER?
“Big… very big. She’s driving to Talladega right now with my aunt. They’re road-tripping and bringing some fresh watermelon from our farm. She sent me a video last night from the field, and that was her last stop. Starting out, she was always there to support me and did everything from sewing the patches on my suits, helping us load the racecar and driving me to the track before I was 16 if my dad was in the field or on our farm. She knew I wanted to race, so those early years were hobby racing and what we loved to do. We’ve had some special times. It’s brought our family closer together. It’s brought in her parents and giving them a more active role. It all gave us excuses to be around each other, so it really brought us together.”
DO YOU TALK ABOUT PLAYOFFS THIS EARLY IN THE SEASON? OR IS IT MORE ABOUT IMPROVEMENT AND GETTING BETTER?
“Every driver and every team look at the points. They usually come out about the time we get to the plane, and you can find it online. Everyone glances at it, but we haven’t had the points acquisition this year that we were looking for. We haven’t finished good enough to deserve points at a lot of races so far. So, we’re building. We just talk about what we need these cars to do, what I need to do better and where we need to do better as a team. It’s more about the progress of these racecars and myself. Obviously, the playoffs are a big deal, and missing them would not be good. The goal is still to make them. There are a lot of opportunities with more races left in the regular season than we’ve ran.”
YOU SEEM TO BE HITTING YOUR STRIDE. DOES HEADING TO TALLADEGA PUT YOU IN A FAVORABLE OR UNFAVORABLE POSITION WITH MOMENTUM?
“I heard a Trucks series veteran say a long time ago… we’ll probably crash but it’s the art of getting through it with minimal damage or no damage to put yourself in position to win at the end. What I learned at the 500 will pay off, although it was a smaller pack most of the race after the first big crash. Talladega is a little bit wider with easier entries and exits out of the corner. It doesn’t funnel down and cause the stack-ups that can cause a lot of wrecks. I don’t know if anyone can feel favorable going to Talladega. It’s just Talladega. We’ll race and work with Team Chevy, Kurt Busch and see what we can come out with.”
THOUGHTS ON THE DOUBLE YELLOW-LINE RULE?
“It’s gotta stay. It’s there for a reason. You can’t have that transition on the apron. They didn’t have it back in the day; that’s why they put it in. There has to be a rule. A good reminder would have been in the iRacing event. There was no double yellow-line rule, and it’s not even painted there from the last scan, I guess. I think the guy that should have won the race got beat because of a pass below the double-yellow. Back where I was in the middle of the pack, there were guys passing below the yellow all day long. There was no enforcement there. We can’t have that. It needs to stay. We all know the rule, so why are we complaining about it?
WHAT’S THE THING YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT CHIP GANASSI RACING?
“The people. There are so many people that I’m still meeting a lot of them. There are around 170 people here. The biggest thing that I got reminded of a few weeks in, I kept going to my crew chief (Phil Surgen) and Doug Duchardt with questions and ideas. Doug was like, ‘You know we have people for this stuff’. Now I don’t go to them necessarily about an idea, but I go to them to find out who do I talk to about this, and who do I talk to about that. That’s why this building is here in Concord (North Carolina), and that’s why they’ve been able to sustain for so long – the people and their livelihood and their job is to push these racecars. That’s the goal. It’s a higher volume and higher quality than I have ever been part of.”
BIGGEST SURPRISES IN THE CUP SERIES SO FAR?
“I’ve been here a few years. We had the Xfinity program, so I’ve raced out of the shop and then I’ve raced for other teams. I’ve been here a good chunk of days out of the week over the years seeing these cars get built, sent out, come back, built, raced and come back torn apart. So, I’ve watched all these processes and couch-raced. I’m a self-proclaimed couch racer. What I mean is that whenever I see a racecar on track, I think I can drive it better. I’m always like, ‘He should be higher. He should enter higher. He should wait to pick up the throttle, ease into it and hook up those rear tires.’ Then I get in the car and I drive in shallow and pick up the gas too soon… so yeah, I’m a couch racer. It’s hard, the transition being on-track. The transition being in the shop has been great.”
HAVE GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS CHANGED AT THIS POINT IN THE SEASON?
“No. We have attainable goals and the small steps of doing the obvious things right during a race. Our goal is to win. Our process in preparing for a race does not change. It’s only ramped up and we’re pushing harder. It’s with that goal of winning. We are competitive people and competitive thinkers. I think competitively about everything in every aspect of my life, most of the time with myself to do better. That can be hard sometimes because it can feel like I’m on a spinning wheel and I just can’t catch up. It’s how I’m wired. I wake up and my mind instantly goes to competition about something, what I want to accomplish and what I need to do to get there. We’re not backing down. These guys are here late and up early. We have a lot of things we want to accomplish.”
Team Chevy high-resolution racing photos are available for editorial use.
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