CHEVROLET NCS AT TALLADEGA 1: Chase Elliott Media Availability Quotes

NASCAR CUP SERIES
TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY
GEICO 500
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
APRIL 20, 2024

 CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1, met with the media in advance of the NASCAR Cup Series qualifying session at Talladega Superspeedway.

Media Availability Quotes:

THERE’S ALWAYS THE EXPECTATION FOR THIS NO. 9 TEAM TO BE COMPETITVE AND BE WHERE YOU GUYS WERE LAST WEEK, BUT WHAT HAS THIS WEEK BEEN LIKE? HAS IT BEEN ANY DIFFERENT FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, JUST GETTING THE WIN AND BEING ABLE TO CELEBRATE THAT A LITTLE BIT MORE WHEN YOU HAVEN’T HAD THAT MOMENT IN OVER A YEAR?

“Yeah, I mean I can’t say that our prep towards the next week was really any different at all. I certainly think it’s important to take a little time to enjoy those moments just because they’re hard to achieve, as I’ve said a lot. It’s just hard to win these races; put yourself in that position and be competitive the way that we expect ourselves to be. It just takes a lot of work; takes a lot of effort. So, whenever you are able to accomplish that as a group, I think it’s worth celebrating. It’s worth enjoying because we all work really hard at it.. not just me, but our whole team. We spend a lot of time traveling and on the road and whatnot, so yeah – I think you have to enjoy those moments. But certainly, when Monday or Tuesday rolls around, whether you like it or not, the next weekend is coming in a hurry and you have to make sure you’re ready to go the next weekend like you were last weekend when it went well.”

ON THE LAST LAP, IF YOU’RE NEAR THE FRONT, DO YOU ASSUME THAT IT’S GOING TO GO TO THE FINISH AND THAT’S THE WAY YOU PLAN YOUR STRATEGY, OR DO YOU HAVE TO PLAN THAT THERE’S GOING TO BE, MORE THAN LIKELY, A WRECK ON THE BACKSTRETCH?

“Yeah, that’s a $64 question.. I don’t know. I think for me personally, I look at it like it’s going to go to the finish and try to position yourself where you want to be when you get back to the start-finish line. I mean that’s a really hard thing to guess, like when a wreck is going to happen, if it’s going to happen.

So, I don’t know about someone else.. ask (Ryan) Blaney because I feel like he’s won about the last 15 races here and should have won about 14 Daytona 500’s, so whatever he does I feel like is the right thing. But for me personally, I look at it like we’re coming back to the checkered flag, if I’m up in the mix. If I’m leading, I’m obviously OK with it going either way, and I think if you’re anything past that, you certainly want it to go back to the line.”

THE FIRST TWO YEARS OF THE NEXT GEN CAR IN 2022 AND 2023, ONE OF THE THINGS WE SAW WAS WE HAD A BUNCH OF DIFFERENT RACE TEAMS, A BUNCH OF DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONS, WINNING RACES. NINE RACES INTO THIS YEAR, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS HAS WON FIVE RACES, Joe Gibbs Racing HAS WON THREE RACES, AND THAT’S ONLY LEFT ROOM FOR ONE OTHER TEAM TO WIN A RACE. HOW EXACTLY DID HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS GET SO FAR AHEAD OF EVERYONE, AND THEN DO YOU FEEL LIKE WE’RE GOING TO SEE MORE OF THIS AND A LITTLE LESS OF THE PARITY THAT WE SAW THE FIRST TWO YEARS?

“Yeah, they’re all the same, right? Yeah, I just think it’s silly that we think that we’re going to keep the big teams and that type of power away from winning in the long haul. I think that’s just motorsports. The big teams and the resources behind them are always going to find the advantage, and whatever it is, no matter how small the advantage is or isn’t, I think that it’s always going to be extracted and extracted first by those groups. I think that’s just racing and I don’t think it matters how hard we try to make everything the same.. it’s never going to be the same exactly. I think we are certainly fighting for smaller increments now than we ever have before, but there are still details that you have to push for, search for and everything else to be better than the next guy, and those big teams are always, in my view, going to nine times out of 10 find that first.

I think the first year, nobody knew what was right and what was wrong, so there were a lot of different paths, and I think you could find success in different ways. You might back into a little bit of success not knowing what you didn’t know at that point in time, but everybody has been learning this car for a couple of years now. Everybody is learning what makes it goes fast, and from there, I think you’ll see more of what you’ve seen for the last however many years.”

WHEN YOU HAVE THOSE ADVANTAGES AS A RACE TEAM, HOW DO YOU KEEP THAT ADVANTAGE? WHEN YOU’RE IN THE GARAGE AREA, HOW DO YOU START TO GET AN INKLING THAT – OH, THE REST OF THE COMPETITION MIGHT BE CATCHING UP TO US.. WE’VE GOT TO DO ‘XYZ’ IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN WHAT WE’VE GOT?

“Yeah, I don’t think you do. I don’t think you ever can. I think that this sport goes in cycles, and it goes in ups-and-downs. I’ve been around it long enough to see that. Certain manufacturers will have advantages for a certain period of time, and then it will swing a different direction and vice versa. I think that’s just the way it works, and I’m not sure that you can do anything to combat that. I just think that you look at the timeline of when bodies are submitted and not submitted by other manufacturers. Some people, when you get behind, you probably work a little harder in certain areas to make it better, and I think it just creates this natural flow of manufacturers being good and struggling and you just have to ride that wave. I don’t think you can ever stop that.”

ALAN (GUSTAFSON) TALKED A LOT THIS WEEK ABOUT THE POSITIVITY, THE TEAM HAD BEEN POSITIVE. HE HAD CONTINUED TO FEEL THE POSITIVITY IN YOU AND KNEW YOU WERE CLOSE TO THAT BREAKTHROUGH WIN. DID YOU FEEL THE SAME WAY THROUGHOUT THE LAST YEAR OR SO WITH THE WINLESS STREAK AS ALAN, EVEN LEADING INTO TEXAS LAST WEEKEND?

“Yeah, I think he’s probably referencing more this year and just the work that we’ve done this season; the gains that we’ve made towards the end of last year and certainly the first part of this year. I’ve been fortunate to experience it a couple of times throughout my career – where you just have a really good group of people that are working really well together, and I feel like we have that right now. We’ve had it at other times, too. It just becomes really important to try and take advantage of that because people are going to move on; have other opportunities, take new jobs, get promotions at other teams.. who knows, right? Those things just don’t last forever, so yeah I certainly feel that way about our group. I think we work really well together. Everybody is driven to work for and with each other and push one another to be better. That’s a special thing and it’s really fun to be a part of. I hope that we can all stay together for a long time, but unfortunately that’s just not how it works. But what’s cool about it is that we do have a really good group right now and I think we’re all really driven to make the very most of that while things are clicking.”

ALAN (GUSTAFSON) WAS KIND OF EMPATHETIC, SAYING THAT YOU GUYS MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN WINNING, BUT IF YOU LOOK AT THE STATS, YOU GUYS WERE RIGHT THERE WITH THE BEST. FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU GUYS WERE IN THAT BALLPARK, AND THEN AFTER THIS WIN, HOW DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU GUYS STACK UP AGAINST THE LARSON’S, THE BYRON’S, THE HAMLIN’S, THE GUYS WE KIND OF TALK ABOUT AS THE ‘CHAMPIONSHIP FAVORITES’?

“Yeah, I definitely think there’s still room for improvement, for sure. I’m not naïve to the end of the race and the improvements that I feel like we needed to have, or I needed to do a little better to make our car last on those long runs. I mean Denny (Hamlin) passed me under that green-flag run, and in a lot of scenarios, the race would have likely been over unless we would have had those late-race cautions. So, like I know these things.. I’ve been doing it for a while. But I also felt like we were right there in the mix though, too.. much closer than we had been, and we were just like a tiny little fraction of an adjustment, if any, away from being able to get the lead in that scenario and control the race to the finish under a green-flag circumstance. I feel like we’re as close as we’ve been, probably since this car kind of took a different direction in the later part of 2022. I think our balance and how we come to the racetrack and the things that we’re talking about is exactly right. And then I think a lot of it from there is just how I manage a run and making sure I can make it last. It’s really hard to explain some of these things, but I think a lot of it kind of falls in my hands. I think the balance of our car last week was in a really, really good position. I have absolutely nothing to complain about, and I told them the same thing in our meetings post-race.”

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST REGRET FROM THIS PAST SEASON GOING INTO THIS SEASON?

“My greatest regret.. I really don’t know. I can’t change any of it, so what’s it matter?”

WAS THERE ANY SORT OF RELIEF OR DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE PRESSURE IS OFF OF YOU NOW THAT YOU HAVE A WIN, OR ARE YOU JUST FOCUSED ON STATUS QUO?

“I feel like – I mean like I’ve referenced at the beginning of being in here, I think it’s nice to win, for sure. It’s nice to get a victory, and I think those things you have to celebrate because they’re really hard to achieve, for sure. But for me, it’s always just about being competitive and just being in the mix. I said it after Martinsville (Speedway), like yeah – it sucked to lose the race on a late-race restart. Not that we lost, but we didn’t win. I mean William (Byron) was controlling the race right and we ran second. But also at the same time, were competitive and on the front-row for the last restart. Like that stuff is fun for me.. a lot more fun than getting to the last restart and trying to figure out whether or not you’re going to run 15th or 18th, you know? At that point, it’s like we’re back here just fighting like crazy for what, you know? I think it’s really always been about that for me; just being competitive and being in the mix. Some days are going to go your way and some days aren’t, if you’re around and if you’re upfront. That part has been fun and that’s always been the goal I think – just getting back to that type of position and feeling like we’re among the ones that have a shot each week.”

LAST WEEKEND, TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY TOOK DOWN THE SCORING PYLON AND EVERYONE WAS SURPRISED THAT TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY TOOK THEIRS DOWN TOO. ARE YOU A FAN OF THAT? DO YOU USE THE SCORING PYLON WHEN YOU’RE RACING? DO YOU THINK THAT HAS AS MUCH OF AN EFFECT THAT IT’S BEEN MADE OUT TO BE ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

“I honestly didn’t notice that it was gone at Texas (Motor Speedway). Is it gone here, too? That’s interesting.. why?”

NO MIC.

“Was it not functioning? It worked, right?”

NO MIC.

“They were old? Yeah, I don’t know on that one. That one’s above me, I’m afraid. But I don’t see where it was hurting anything. I mean surely it wouldn’t make the power bill that much higher, right?”

WE SAW IN DAYTONA THAT FUEL SAVING WAS PRETTY AGGRESSIVE AND IT SLOWED THE PACE OF THE RACE DOWN. SHOULD WE EXPECT MORE OF THAT TOMORROW, ALONG THOSE SAME LINES OF HOW AGGRESSIVE IT WAS IN FEBRUARY?

“I would say so. You know, you’re just trying to limit your time on pit road for the last stop to a stage or the last stop to the race. Two things have happened – one, the pit stops have gotten really fast because we have one lug nut, so you’re talking sub-10 second stops, and more people are getting in the sub-10 second stop range. So even on a racetrack that we change tires, the amount of fuel you have to take for four, you’re still waiting on gas if you’re all the way out. So you see that at stage ends at race tracks that we would take four tires and then certainly at speedways where we don’t take tires on those green-flag cycles that get you to the stage. It’s all about time on pit road, so how are you going to limit your time on pit road? You’re going to figure out how to save gas. And that’s why you see like – say at Texas or something last weekend, Richmond or wherever.. somewhere that we would take tires, right? A guy comes in, gets off cycle during a run.. maybe has a problem or something and they end up pitting earlier, so they have more fuel at the stage and they can take advantage of their fast pit stop. That’s why you see some people jump like eight spots at a stage or something.. likely because A) they had a good pit stop and B) they didn’t have to fill all the way up from being out.”

WINNING TAKES CARE OF A LOT OF THINGS WHEN IT COMES TO THE POINTS AND ALL OF THAT. BUT HOW CLOSELY DO YOU PAY ATTENTION TO STAGE POINTS OR PLAYOFF POINTS THAT THE NO. 9 TEAM IS CHASING?

“I think it’s a really big deal. To me, the best example that I can give myself is our year in 2022, I think it was. We had a really good summer stretch; won a few races and won some stages. When the playoffs started, we had like.. I can’t remember, it was somewhere in the high 30s, maybe close to 40 points. Someone could maybe tell me or not, but it was a bunch. We ran horrendously through the last 10 races and made the final four and that was why. So, I think that in itself tells you everything that you need to know about how important those playoff points are because it can take a really average final 10 and give you a shot in those last three or four weeks. That’s worth its weight in gold, so I think it’s important to rack up as many as you can while the regular season is going on.”


About Chevrolet

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands. 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

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Best New Zealand Online Casinos

RacingJunk.com and Leaf Racewear Safety Equipment Giveaway

Rocketplay Casino

Winspirit Australia

10 deposit casinos

Best Betting Sites in Canada

Latest articles