NASCAR CUP SERIES
DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
MAY 12, 2021
TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 CAT LINKAGE PARTS CAMARO ZL1 1LE, Press Conference Transcript:
YOU’VE RACED A LITTLE BIT AT COTA IN I’M NOT SURE EXACTLY WHAT TYPE OF CAR IT WAS BACK IN DECEMBER, BUT I’M CURIOUS IF THERE WAS ANYTHING ABOUT THAT TRACK THAT YOU’RE LIKE THIS IS REALLY DIFFERENT THAN ANY OTHER ROAD COURSE I’VE EXPERIENCED.
“One thing in particular, that’s like ‘wow, I haven’t experienced that before’ – maybe aside from how after you exit turn nine and you’re going into ten, is you have a very important and slightly downhill hairpin right ahead of you. You can’t afford to underdrive it and you can’t, obviously, afford to blow through it. And then right after you get done doing that, one of the most important acceleration zones is after that hairpin. You pretty much follow it up with, yet again, another very critical, high-speed, really important braking zone into (turn) twelve. I don’t say we have a lot of tracks that I’ve ever experienced or I’ve ran in NASCAR that has two corners that are kind of back-to-back exactly like that. I think maybe at Road America, you have turn one that’s the high-speed, right-hander; you have that little short chute, if you will, into (turn) two. And then you haul back down into turn five – I can’t remember the nickname for that corner. That’s the only place that’s somewhat like that, that I’ve experienced.”
“This track, just for me, has a little bit of everything from other road courses that I’ve been to and experienced. The amount of run off that we do have, I was really excited about. The big turtles that we’re putting in – I think we’ll still be able to, if you can get over the turtles without destroying your race car, there’s a lot of track you can use to save it and get back going. But those turtles are definitely going to tear some stuff up. There’s a lot of room for error, if you do make a mistake. I think that will promote drivers to be aggressive and race hard with all the run off that this track does have.”
HOW MANY PASSING AREAS ARE THERE?
“In my opinion, I could be wrong, obviously I’ve never won a road course race or ran very well on them besides the Clash at the beginning of the year, but I think you have some options when you go into this race. You can kind of pick and choose between where you can make your car stronger. But it’s tough because you really want to be fast if you have the track position through the ‘S’s. That’s a very important part of the lap and if you nail that right, it’s going to be a great lap. If you miss it, you’re going to have a terrible lap. So, you want a car that can get through the ‘S’s good, but it’s really hard to pass going through that section of the race track. The easier places to pass are the heavy braking zones, obviously, and some of the slower areas on the back side of the track by the carousel in that stadium section. I think drivers will be debating with their crew chiefs and themselves, ‘what do we do here’: Do we try to try to be pretty good everywhere? Are we going to give up some in the areas where it’s hard to pass and try to push to have a better car that can attack and pass in those areas where I think you’ll see more of that action?”
AS A YOUNG DRIVER, WHAT ARE THE REALLY HARD PARTS OF DOVER FOR YOU?
“There’s things that really separate it from the others; but to me, those features are things that weren’t, I guess, new to me coming from dirt racing and seeing a lot of different tracks. That sensation you have driving off of the banking down into the corner is a lot more than a lot of the tracks that we do go to. But I’ve raced a lot of different tracks at a lot of different places, so those sensations that you have at Dover, they never really jumped out at me when I first went there. Probably the biggest one is I feel like you have to be aggressive to make some good lap times, but you can burn your tires up. But at the same time, if you do make that mistake off of turn two or turn four and over correct it or bounce off the fence, it’s very easy once you’ve lost control to find yourself spun around backwards or heading towards the inside wall. There’s no room for error here. It’s not like a Daytona, Talladega, Kansas or any of those tracks where you have all that room to save the race car and get your day going back in a better direction. You bounce off that inside wall and, more times than not, that’ll end your day.”
IF IT DIDN’T STRIKE YOU BECAUSE OF YOUR BACKGROUND LIKE IT DID OTHERS, THEN YOU SHOULD HAVE AN ADVANTAGE AT DOVER, RIGHT? BECAUSE OF YOUR BACKGROUND, DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE THAT ADVANTAGE?
“There’s definitely been times when I’ve had cars that drive really good there, I’ve been really lean on my past dirt racing experience or maybe just the way I like to attack and drive a corner that it’s not very straightforward in the asphalt, paved NASCAR-racing world. And definitely when I won the Truck race there years and years ago now, with Doug Randolph and BKR, my approach to getting around the corner was good, but different, than what I think the normal approach was there at the time that I had before that race got going. I think for me, if I can find that feel even in a Cup car and make it work to get around the bottom, stay low, and in the cleanest air possible throughout the race, I think that’s the right direction, even with this car. Other than that, you just have to know when to push and when to hold back a little bit, save some tire and not burn your stuff up.”
YOU WON AT DOVER IN A TRUCK IN 2015. WHAT ARE THE MAIN KEYS WHEN IT COMES TO A DRIVER AT DOVER IN ORDER TO GET TO VICTORY LANE?
“It’s maybe not necessarily the answer you were hoping for, but first and foremost, it’s a mistake-free day. I think you can apply that to about anywhere. But you really have to be able to put the whole race together. It’s very difficult to go out there and pass a bunch of cars at the beginning of a run because the bottom is just the place to be for a very long time into the tire run. So, you have to be smart and make the right adjustments on your car. It’s tough – if you’re spending the first half of the race trying to get your car right, you’re not really giving your team or your pit crew an opportunity to bust out a fast stop and try to pass cars on pit road. So, you’re putting yourself behind every stop. You can have a car that has speed, but once everyone else had a chance to work on their stuff too, it’s kind of hard to get from 20th to the lead. You just have to get a little bit every single time as you can and that means staying on top of the car, but not losing a lot of track position on pit road. That’s probably the biggest thing. If you can be in the top-five or on the front row on the last restart, you can hopefully have some clean air and help manage your front tires. If you do get a long run, then it falls in the driver’s hands. You can move around, get creative with your line and hopefully start creating that lap time that you need to go catch the leader or maintain that lead.”
YOU DROVE THE NEXT GEN CAR LAST MONTH IN THAT GOODYEAR TIRE TEST. WHAT WERE THE POSITIVE TAKEAWAYS YOU HAD FROM IT?
“Oh man, how much time do you have (laughs)? It was an absolute blast to drive. It had a lot of mechanical grip in it and you can really feel that on the sticker tires. We went through a lot of tire combinations, but the one I liked the most, I was having trouble keeping up with just how aggressive and abrasive Darlington is. Even for the tire we raced Sunday there, if you would have shown up today after it got done raining and gone out there, that tire isn’t going to make it but eight or nine laps. It just really lays down a lot of rubber. That means that when you go out there on a clean track, it’s going to eat your tires up.”
“But what I enjoyed about that Next Gen car is, like I said, the sideforce is not there like the current car. You’re still driving it extremely hard, but you don’t have near the assist that you do with our current car. Even the low downforce package that we ran at Darlington Sunday, you don’t have the sideforce there to catch you when you overstep the limit of the rear times. It makes it very challenging and the car is not very forgiving. Like what we have right now, if you overstep it, you’re going to pay that penalty in the tire and potentially pay that penalty in the cost of a race car. That’s what makes it fun to drive; it’s challenging. We saw a lot of fall off in the Goodyear tires, more so than what we even had this weekend with the Xfinity package or the Cup package. It had even more fall off. It was very fun to drive, but very challenging, and I think that’s the direction we need to take it. I’d like to see that.”
AS WE APPROACH THE HALFWAY POINT OF THE REGULAR SEASON, WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU THE MOST THIS SEASON?
“I try to prepare the best that I can for the year that we have ahead when we’re in the off season. So far, what I’ve seen out of our competition hasn’t really been a surprise. I really think that the guys you have seen win are all very capable of doing that. So, from that aspect, I guess I haven’t been too surprised. Our biggest surprise for our team, personally, was just getting off to a bad start and not getting any stage points I believe until we got to Kansas two weeks ago. So, we just got off to a bad start. But, other than that, what I’ve seen out of our competition has been what I expected. You always know when you go to the (Daytona) 500, you have a chance of somebody that shouldn’t necessarily be competing up front and battling for wins all year winning that race. So, you always keep that in the back of your mind before the year starts, that these speedway races are always very interesting and can play out a million ways.”
WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE FIRST HALF OF YOUR SEASON SO FAR THIS YEAR, THE FINISHES PROBABLY WEREN’T THE WAY YOU WANTED THEM TO BE. BUT IT SEEMS THE SECOND HALF, YOU HAVE STARTED TO TURN THINGS AROUND. WHAT’S BEEN THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE?
“I’d say the biggest difference is just staying in the race, not necessarily mentally, but still allowing ourselves to have a shot and rebound. We, unfortunately, didn’t get off to a good start, so we were starting back in 30th or worse at some of these races and it wasn’t really allowing us a chance to score stage points. It was a grind at a lot of these races just to get to 15th and then we would have something happen that would set us all the way. So, we just did a better job of taking some of those things out. And then, on top of that, when we have things do go wrong, we’re doing a better job right now of bouncing back from that and getting at least a 10th or a 12th out of it. That’s helped our points situation a lot. But definitely when you get on a good roll and finish top-10, top-10, top-10, you’re starting around 10th, 11th, 12th and, all of a sudden, stage points become a lot more realistic in stage one and stage two. Where, before in our races, they were pretty much out the window; it was going to be very difficult to get there.”
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