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CHEVY NCS AT TEXAS ALL-STAR: Austin Dillon Teleconference Transcript

NASCAR CUP SERIES
NASCAR ALL-STAR RACE
TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
JUNE 9, 2021

AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 ANDY’S FROZEN CUSTARD CAMARO ZL1 1LE, Teleconference Highlights Transcript:

LOOKING AHEAD TO NASHVILLE – YOU’VE WON THERE IN A TRUCK AND YOU’VE RAN THERE A FEW TIMES. WHAT KIND OF MEMORIES STAND OUT, WHETHER IT’S TRUCK OR XFINITY, OR I’M GUESSING YOU DID A GOOD NUMBER OF TEST SESSIONS THERE? WHEN YOU THINK OF NASHVILLE, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MEMORIES AND EXPERIENCES THAT COME BACK TO YOU?
“Nashville (Superspeedway) kind of kicked off my Cup career. One of my first, full-blown Cup tests was Nashville, leading into that season. We got to go test with the team; had a good time. We went there with the Trucks and finished third there with KHI. We had fun at Nashville. It was a good track for me. We kind of found something in the last session of practice in Trucks and it carried me through the weekend. We were able to be fast and competitive.”

“I’m looking forward to going back. I always felt like if we got a shot in the Cup car that it would be a good track for us. I can’t wait. I haven’t done much sim work on it yet, but leading into next week, we’ll definitely be grinding it out and see what we can learn.”

YOU SAID ONE OF YOUR FIRST CUP TESTS WAS AT NASHVILLE? WHAT DID THAT MEAN FOR YOU AT THAT POINT IN YOUR CAREER?
“It was exciting, getting to go have my time to be in the Cup Series and getting the time with the team. Obviously, they were Kevin Harvick’s team and then we kind of jumped into that season. I was the new guy, so getting to hang out with the guys and just be a part of it. It was a fun time, obviously starting off my Cup career. I just remember going there, testing, and just trying things. We didn’t get to race there, but it was cool just to go through and kind of get ready for a practice session. But it was also like a team-building, fun time because after the test, I think we went out downtown Nashville and had a really good time. The next day was not as productive as the first day.”

DO YOU KNOW THE RULES FOR THE ALL-STAR RACE? ARE YOU GOING TO TRY AND LEARN THE RULES, OR ARE YOU JUST GOING TO TELL YOUR CREW CHIEF TO TELL YOU WHAT TO DO?
“Yeah, I haven’t even looked into it. I went through my sim session today, just trying to make the car drives as good as possible on the simulator. The one thing I did work on that was kind of different – I know there’s a $100,000 reward for the fastest pit stop, and that includes yellow line to yellow line. So, I have to do my part to help our pit crew have that opportunity, as well.”

“As far as the inversion and all the different starting positions, I think I’ll just leave that up to Justin (Alexander, crew chief) and the guys to help me out with that. I know we’re starting fifth and we’ll just take it from there. I think it’s a 100-lap race and a couple different cautions and resets throughout. So, I guess the most average finishes play into it and speed. We’ll just make it work.”

WHAT DID THE SIMULATOR TELL YOU ON HOW THE 510 HORSEPOWER WILL BE DIFFERENT THAN 550?
“I didn’t feel a huge difference. I think everybody’s going to try and run wide-open. It’s going to be hot; it’s 90 degrees and you’re trying to run wide-open. So, people will be trying to trim their car out. I still think we’ll get them where they’re edgy for the speed purpose of things. Turns one and two are not the most ideal corners, so you’re going to be balancing – do you want to be able to easily run wide-open or have more speed trimmed-out and make turns one and two more difficult? Turns three and four are pretty self-explanatory, but one and two can get difficult. I still think there’s going to be handling involved. We’ll be able to adjust that too, I think, with the way the stops are built. The only one you can really lose on is the one at the end, I think.”

“We’ll be able to adjust a little bit. If you start aggressive and you don’t feel like that’s the right direction, you might be able to tighten your car up or do something to make the car drive a little better. Sometimes we don’t want to adjust the car because it slows the pit stops down. We’ll have a little more time to adjust and make the car drive a little different if you’re struggling with the something.”

THE FACT YOU GUYS HAVE TO HIT THE ROAD FOR THE ALL-STAR RACE, AS OPPOSED TO BEING HOME FOR THE TRADITIONAL TWO WEEKS IT USED TO BE, DO YOU PREFER THE OLD TWO WEEKS AT HOME OPTION AND RUN TWO RACES AT CHARLOTTE?
“It’s definitely nice being at home; you can’t knock being at home. I like that the All-Star race moves around. Maybe we can move the All-Star race around in North Carolina. We’ve got some other short tracks around here; Rockingham, North Wilkesboro, a lot of those places could get cleaned up and go for a fun All-Star weekend. Some of these old short tracks – I think NASCAR needs to go to more short tracks. I see that we’re going to more road course races. I’m OK with that, but I think we could do probably three to four road course races and add three short tracks, instead of adding road course races. That’s just my opinion. I think it’s more fun to watch, personally.”

YOUR THROUGHTS ABOUT GOING TO TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY FOR THIS RACE.
“We won Texas (Motor Speedway) last year, so going to Texas for the All-Star race, we’re pretty confident. We feel like we have it setup that if we get in the right place on the track, that we can win with. The confidence is high and the chance to win a million dollars, you don’t get that very often. We’re locked in the race and we’re headed down there, we might as well take some money home after the trip. I’m looking forward to it. We’re going down there for one reason and that’s to win a million dollars. That’s pretty cool. You don’t get those opportunities very often and it’s a track that we’ve won at.”

REGARDING NASHVILLE, IT’S INTERSTING THERE HASN’T BEEN A CUP RACE, BUT CUP TEAMS HAVE TESTED AND WORE THAT PLACE OUT, AND THERE’S A FEW PEOPLE WITH A NOTEBOOK. WHAT KIND OF RACE DO YOU ANTICIPATE AT NASHVILLE SUPERSPEEDWAY?
“I talked to Kurt (Busch) because I think he did the NASCAR test for Chevrolet. He was a bit concerned about tires; being able to last just because the concrete had some edges that it had created over the years from just not being raced on. The edges weren’t really knocked down, kind of like when we got to Dover and Bristol.. (inaudible). Where Nashville seemed to be tough on tires when they were testing. Looking forward to seeing when we all get out there and all that rubber gets laid down. I’m assuming it’s going to lay a ton of rubber down after the practice sessions, so it could change. But I think what’s cool and what I enjoyed about Nashville is people fought for that bottom line and you really had to be disciplined and not miss your exit leaving the corner at Nashville. The car that rotated the most was pretty good.”

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s a good track, like I said, for us in the past. I did get to test there a long time ago. We’ll look at some of the notes. I’ve already looked at my Truck stuff. I think we have the Xfinity notes, as well.”

SEEING THE POWER THAT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS HAS PICKED UP, HAS IT BEEN A MUTUAL SITUATION WHERE YOU’VE BOTH BEEN BENEFITTING FROM THE ADVANCES THAT THEY’RE MAKING RIGHT NOW?
“Yeah, I think Chevrolet as a whole is working better together than they ever have in the past. Obviously, it’s good to see Hendrick (Motorsports) running well.”

“As far as from an engine standpoint, I know it’s good to see the ECR power running well each and every weekend. The group that Chevrolet has created and Rick (Hendrick), himself, has been really adamant in helping us with whatever we need. So, it’s been nice working with all the teams, especially Rick and all the guys at Hendrick. I think it’s only going to make us better in the future working together and especially with the Next Gen car. We’re just doing everything we can to keep Chevrolet out front.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF A LEG UP SINCE ERIC WARREN HAS TAKEN OVER THE PROGRAM?
“No – Eric (Warren) is fair, you know what I mean. He doesn’t do that. Eric is like my second dad; yes, we have a great relationship. But he’s just trying to make Chevrolet, as a whole, the best that he can. He’s doing a good job of it. I think you’ve obviously seen it. He won’t take credit for it, but I think he has done a lot already to get Chevy moving in the right direction and really building towards the future. I think the stuff that he has planned for Chevrolet will really shine the further we go as a group. He really wants us working together as much as we can. So, I’m pumped about that. He pushes us all, so it’s nice.”

YOU’RE THOUGHTS ON HOW YOUR TEAM IS PERFORMING? YOU’RE 12TH IN THE STANDINGS AND LOOK PRETTY SOLID. THE SPEED IS THERE. JUST ASSESS WHERE THIS TEAM IS AT AS WE GO INTO THE ALL-STAR RACE AND JUST 10 RACES TO GO IN THE REGULAR SEASON?
“I’m very excited about where we’re at. Obviously, points-wise, it’s a good position. You always want more. One win changes how you feel about things; one win for you or someone else. I feel like we’ve competed well; we’ve got speed. The last two weeks, we’ve overcome adversity that over the past couple years, if we had some of the things happen that we’ve had the last two weeks happen to us, we would not have recovered like we were able to. Charlotte was really a high-point. I feel like we had a car capable of running inside the top-three. I know that Kyle (Larson), Chase (Elliott) and all the Hendrick Motorsports guys were really good, but we showed really good lap times. If you go back and look at that, we were making a lot of passes. We lost a pit crew member early in the week and had gone with some fresh faces on the team, and they did a good job to get us through it. We were able to have a car fast enough to overcome losing track position.”

“Then we went to Sonoma – it actually wasn’t an alternator problem; it was just a wire that was left loose. We had to keep changing batteries because we were losing voltage. On a road course, where typically I haven’t been that great, but we’ve really developed this year a lot. I think the 24-hour race and just getting more road course experience has been good for me, and I’ve got some confidence now going to these road course races that I compete and putting a lot of effort in. So, to come back and finish 13th at Sonoma from the tail that last restart: we started dead last in the last stage – to get back to 13th, I thought that was pretty special. I’m pumped about what we have going on right now as a group and we’ll just keep plugging along. I think that some of these things, stuff that doesn’t happen very often, like the alternator stuff and we have our full pit crew back this weekend, I think we can really go out there and light it up the next couple of weeks.”

A LOT HAS BEEN MADE THIS YEAR ABOUT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS HAVING ALL FOUR CARS BEING CONTENDERS. YOU GUYS AT RCR ARE THE SAME; YOU AND TYLER (REDDICK) ARE NOT FAR OFF FROM EACH OTHER. HOW GOOD HAS THAT BEEN FOR THE COMPANY TO HAVE TWO CONSISTENT PLAYOFF-CONTENDING CARS?
“I think it’s good. Tyler (Reddick) and I both push each other. We’re both competitive and we both bring something I think a little different to the table, so it’s a good match, as far as teammates go. We’ll just keep pushing. The teams are working well together. Daniel Suarez and the No. 43 (Erik Jones) – I think all those guys are showing speed at different times in the year and it’s been good to see that out of our camp.”

Team Chevy high-resolution racing photos are available for editorial use.

About Chevrolet
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, available in 79 countries with more than 3.2 million cars and trucks sold in 2020. Chevrolet models include electric and 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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