NASCAR CUP SERIES
DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
MAY 12, 2021
RUDY FUGLE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1 1LE, Teleconference Transcript:
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW YOU THINK THE TEAM HAS DEVELOPED OVER THE BEGINNING OF THIS SEASON AND, THAT WILLIAM BYRON HAD ANOTHER TOP 10 FINISH THIS PAST WEEKEND. HOW ARE YOU SET TO APPROACH THIS SUMMER STRETCH?
“I think we’re growing here. Week by week we’re learning. I’m learning way more than they are learning and starting to get a feel for the cars and set-ups and everything different about the Cup series. The guys and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports are doing a great job helping me get to where we need to be. And then, William is doing an awesome job. Our feedback and communication are getting better weekly. All that stuff is going great.”
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE FOR YOU COMPARED TO THE TRUCK SERIES?
“There are two things, really. The first week-to-week thing is that we’d spend a whole lot of time on some small details. We’d go over just everything over and over and over; and just make sure we’re getting every kind of downforce and counting for everything. Sometimes you don’t have enough time or people to go over those things on the Truck-side of things. The other thing is just the racing every week like we’ve been doing. Once it’s Monday morning and we go through our debrief meeting, it’s lunchtime and it’s over and you’re fully focused on the next week. So, it’s just getting used to that grind of every single week a new task. It’s been fun.”
GOING TO COTA NEXT WEEK, NO CREW CHIEF HAS NOTES. SO, DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WON’T BE BEHIND ANY OTHER CREW CHIEFS BECAUSE OF EXPERIENCE THERE?
“Yeah, I think we’re all in the same boat. At this point, I think. I’m caught up. Road Racing is different anyway. So, just have to get reacquainted to that side of things and how we’re going to do pit strategy and how the tire wear is going to be and some of those things. But yeah, there’s a lot of learning in 50 minutes that we’re going to have for one practice and trying to get caught up on what’s going on. Hopefully we can have a smooth weekend and learn and make a lot of laps and make some good adjustments overnight into Sunday to try to have a good race.”
ON BEHALF OF HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS, COULD YOU SPEAK ABOUT GOING TO DOVER WITHOUT JIMMIE JOHNSON IN THE FIELD?
“Yeah, definitely Jimmie has set a lot of milestones at Dover. It’s his house. And then, I think Hendrick likes to think of it as their house. It was a team effort to win all those races. But we definitely don’t have the experienced guy to lean on and ask questions, like how did this happen and when the track rubbers up and it acts like this, what do you do, and those kinds of things. There is probably a little bit less experience to lean on but there are still tons and tons of notes. Chad Knaus is still here, and Greg Ives won a lot of those races with him as well. So, there are lots of people who have run well and to lean on and ask questions. I think we are very prepared, and the morale is high here. We’re running well and we’re trying to build good products and keep winning some more races.”
WITH TEN STRAIGHT TOP 10’S, A LOT HAS BEEN TALKED ABOUT THANKS TO WILLIAM BYRON. HOW ABOUT ON THE CREW SIDE OF THE NO. 24? WHAT HAS BEEN THE MAIN POSITIVE AS YOU’VE LED THIS TEAM ON THE PIT BOX?
“We’re just getting better every single week at everything. Whether it is pit stops or getting a little bit better week in and week out and have been more consistent. We’ve had a stop here and there, but overall, way way better on pit road. The communication between Tab (Boyd, spotter) and William and myself is going well. We’re making good adjustments during the race. That’s engineering. That’s Chevrolet people. That’s everybody involved. And then all the mechanics have been building great race cars. We’re not having any mechanical problems. We’re not really having problems getting through tech. We’re having a lot of good things happen so, just no big mistakes. We haven’t had enough big splashes to run in the Top 5 as consistently as we want to, but we’re building on that and I think we’re getting there.”
WITH 10 STRAIGHT TOP 10’S, IS THERE SOMETHING IN THE RELATIONSHIP WITH WILLIAM BYRON THAT HAS DEVELOPED MORE OR SOMETHING THAT IS CONTRIBUTING TO THAT BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU? HOW HAS THAT IMPACTED THE RACING?
“First of all, I think everybody at Hendrick has given us a great race car to work with. So, our product, to start with, has been very good. So, we start with a good product and we tune on it and William has been very involved in all the set-ups and what wasn’t good before and going well and what we can do better. By bringing small pieces here and there, we’ve just made some really good decisions. We’ve had some good luck and we’ve capitalized.”
AT ONE POINT, WILLIAM SAID HE SORT OF HAND-SELECTED YOU TO BE HIS NEW CREW CHIEF AND WAS REALLY INVOLVED IN THAT DECISION. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT WAS? DID YOU HAVE ABOUT THAT EVEN BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED?
“Yeah, this goes back since we were racing Trucks together that we had a great relationship. We worked very well together. It was fun working together and we learned, and he progressed a ton. And then he had different crew chiefs through the way, and he’s always asked that he wanted me on the team. We just had to wait for the right time. And, this was the right time, so it worked out and it was proven to be the right time. So, it’s everybody at Hendrick making that decision and then William and myself being patient and waiting for the time to make the change.”
DOES THE TEN-WEEK STRETCH OF TOP 10’S PUT ANY PRESSURE ON THE TEAM WHILE PREPARING? OR DOES THE TEAM NOT PAY ANY ATTENTION TO IT AND JUST DOES ITS BEST?
“Well, we know it’s there. We think, at Hendrick Motorsports, that we should be achieving Top 10’s every week. It’s definitely what we’re shooting for no matter what. Every single week, no matter where we go, we think we should finish in the Top 10. So, there’s not really much extra pressure. That’s the pressure of working at Hendrick Motorsports. That makes it a little bit easier. But everybody is just digging hard and trying to do their job and execute. And then, we talk about it afterwards that we’re proud and that’s what’s going on and then, Monday comes around and it’s time to start over again.”
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