MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
FORD ECOBOOST 400
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
NOVEMBER 19, 2017
TOP TEAM CHEVY FINISHERS:
3RD KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 CREDIT ONE BANK/DC SOLAR CHEVROLET SS
5TH CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 NAPA CHEVROLET SS
10TH RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET SS
25TH DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS
TOP FIVE RACE FINISHERS:
1ST Martin Truex, Jr. (Toyota)
2nd Kyle Busch (Toyota)
3rd Kyle Larson (Chevrolet)
4th Kevin Harvick (Ford)
5th Chase Elliott (Chevrolet)
POST RACE NOTES AND QUOTES:
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 CREDIT ONE BANK/DC SOLAR CHEVROLET SS – Finished
DESCRIBE THE LAST FEW LAPS AND RACING A COUPLE OF CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDERS AND HOW YOU APPROACHED THE LAST FEW LAPS:
“Yeah, we had a great Credit One Bank Chevy today. Throughout the first half especially. It seemed like the 18 and them guys were probably a little bit faster than me the first, I don’t know 15 laps a run and then I was really, really good. I was definitely better than them in front of me, but I was just stuck in their dirty air a little bit. I was going to race them, I just could never get close enough. I wanted to win the race bad, but a good way to end the year. It showed we had a lot of speed all year long and congrats to the No. 78 (Martin Truex, Jr.) team they were the class of the field all year. It is pretty neat to see the top three there they were the three best cars all season. I wish I could have been a part of the final four, but had a little bit of bad luck here lately. It’s nice to see a checkered flag, it’s been about a month since I’ve seen one. That was good and yeah, we will try and make our stuff even better than next year just fine tune on little things and try and come back even stronger. Hats off to everybody on my Chip Ganassi Racing team. They busted their tails throughout the off season and that prepared us to be good this year. Thanks to them and thanks to all of our other partners, Target, wish they were still with us, but we will miss them. Looking forward to our future with all of our other partners. Good year all-in-all.”
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 NAPA CHEVROLET SS – Finished 5th
TOP FIVE FINISH TO CAP OFF THE SEASON TALK ABOUT YOUR NIGHT OVERALL:
“Yeah, it was solid. To finish fifth in the standing and to run fifth tonight it definitely was not a win, but from where we were yesterday to how we ran at the beginning of the race and so on, I was pretty pleased with that. Finally got the top rolling pretty good for us there at the end. So much fun to do that. Have some work to do, I’m excited about next year, we have some great things to build on. We will see what next year brings and go from there.”
AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 KROGER CLICKLIST CHEVROLET SS – Finished 14th
“We struggled all weekend so I really didn’t know what to expect going into the race. The guys did a good job. They made some changes and the car was at least raceable during the race. We were kind of running in the top 15 or top 17. The No. 42 (Kyle Larson) was so fast early on, and putting so many cars down a lap. We had good strategy and got a good restart and got back on the lead lap there. We were a little bit free getting into the corners all night so we tried to tighten it up and on that one run, it got really bad. It was way too tight and we could never fully get it back. We got it back a little bit. I thought we maximized the race with the best strategy we could have. It’s something to build on. We definitely need to be better, but the stuff we tried this weekend is something to build on and learn from going into next year.”
CHRIS BUESCHER, NO. 37 CLOROX CHEVROLET SS – Finished 20th
“Decent day starting from the back trying to get up there from the start. This place is a lot of fun, a lot of different grooves. It’s a really interesting place. Interesting enough we were on the bottom all race that seemed to be where we were better. A little bit different than Homestead’s in the past for me. But a top 20 run to finish the year off is not bad. We will look forward to 2018 and hopefully everyone enjoys well deserved time off.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR, NO. 88 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS – Finished 25th
THAT IS IT. 400 MILES OF RACING AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY IS IN THE BOOKS WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
“Yeah, my thoughts are the beer cooler just got put on the trunk of the car. I’m going to have a beer with my team right here, right now and we had a lot of fun tonight. We got the car rolling pretty good and then I hit the wall and had a flat (tire) there at the end, but had a lot of fun out there. This is a fun old race track.”
YOU JUST GAVE YOUR HELMET TO RICK HENDRICK. DOES THAT COMPLETE IT FOR YOU?
“I had a lot of fun tonight. Man, I got into the fence late. We were running pretty decent. We had a lot of problems with the car but (crew chief) Greg (Ives) makes some great judgments. We got our car running pretty good and got up on the fence when the sun went down and knew our car was going to come in. So, that was pretty fun. I hated to hit the wall because we would have finished a little bit better. We lost about ten spots.
“The deal I had with Rick was if I finished the race with the car in one piece, I’d get the car and he’d get the helmet. So, yeah, I’m going to take this thing back home. It’s got a little scuff here and there. We ran into (Martin) Truex on the back straightaway high-fiving him with our race car (laughs). I’m proud of him. What a story for Martin. I love it. We retired and Martin wins the championship. That’s storybook. I hope all the fans enjoyed this season. I know it wasn’t everything we wanted on the race track, but we just had fun off of it and I’m going to miss everybody, but we’ll be back.”
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR FEELINGS ON THE COOL DOWN LAP?
“I was happy for Martin. I was like I’m going to get up there to him and run into his car! I think everybody was running into him. I was just thinking about Martin, really. But I knew that I’d finish this race so we was going to meet on pit road with the cooler and have some beers with my team. These guys are like my brothers and we really fight for each other and lean on each other and these are the friendships that I’ll have long beyond my racing days. So, this is a good moment with them.”
THE LAST LAP HAS BEEN RUN, DALE. WHAT’S IT LIKE?
“Well, I’m not sure. I’m not sure what the feeling is. I didn’t cry until I was hugging Rick’s neck. Man, he’s been like a father to me with the things he’s done for me personally, and in personal stuff. He’s really helped me more than anybody will ever know. And he’s done that for a lot of people and so I will miss trying to make him proud. I know I will still be able to do things that will make him proud because he’s like a daddy. I’ll miss driving his cars and trying to make him proud on the race track.”
PEOPLE CAME FROM THOUSANDS OF MILES TO WATCH YOU RACE ONE LAST TIME. YOU GAVE THEM A THRILL, REALLY.
“Well, I don’t know. We hope they enjoyed it. They got to see a great race there at the end. I was sitting there running behind it and watching it and it was pretty exciting. We’ll be at the race track a little bit next year with our Xfinity stuff and run a couple of races and be able to say hey to everybody when we come back and do that. And obviously we’re going to be in the booth. So, we’ll be around. I still want to have a purpose in this sport. After driving you’ve got to find something to be passionate about that matters to you and I think I might have found that with broadcasting and obviously still owning JR Motorsports. We’re going to be competitive and the competitor inside will still be on fire and trying to keep that team going. I just texted Elliott Sadler all morning about man we’re going to come back next year. You just get your head right and after the off-season we’re coming right back here to try to win that thing again because we want to be a part of this sport as long as we can, we really do. It’s time for somebody else to get in this car. It’s a great opportunity for Alex (Bowman) and I’m excited to see what he can do. But we definitely want to be a part of the sport no matter what.
“Again, congratulations to Martin. We had four amazing race car drivers that would have represented the sport, but I am happy that Martin did it. What an accomplishment for his life. I’ve known him so long. I’m glad to see him accomplish that for himself and his family. That’s incredible.”
RICK HENDRICK, TEAM OWNER, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS:
ON TODAY’S EVENT AND DALE’S LAST RACE:
“I know how it feels to me how emotional it was for me before and after the race. I can’t imagine what it’s like for Dale to dream of doing this since he was a little kid and to see this chapter close. I think the excitement of… he has always loved helping the young guys. He will be doing that and involved in racing, he just won’t be in the seat. I’m happy for him because I know he is happy and sad, but I think with the baby on the way and all he’s got to do at JRM and we talked about it tonight we are going to do more fishing. We actually, since he told me and we got over the emotion of knowing it was going to be this year, we are looking forward to life after this racing, not the Xfinity and being in the sport, but I mean I can’t imagine for who he is and what he has meant to the sport the pressure he has always felt for that how this must be an unbelievable emotional thing for him, but like Jeff (Gordon) he is going to be on TV. We are still see him and he will have the Xfinity team. He is going to enjoy that. I have a feeling he is really going to enjoy that and he will add a lot.”
ON THE HELMET:
“That meant so much. When Jeff did it, he done it. I still can’t believe I’ve seen these guys grow up. I’ve known Jeff since the early days of his career and Dale since he was about 12. To see them retire and I’m going on… not right.”
TY DILLON, NO. 13 GEICO CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 26TH
“What a rookie year it’s been. I’ve learned so much about myself as a driver. Today wasn’t the ending to the year that we wanted. We had them there at the end and could’ve gotten ourselves a top-15 finish, but I just barley scrubbed the wall and cut the right-rear tire at the very end. I wish we could have shown everyone what we’re capable of one last time this season in the GEICO Chevrolet, but it was still a good run that we had going. I appreciate the hard work of this team all season long. We’ve had a lot of bright spots and some not so bright ones, but that’s our season and it’s one that we will build on for next year. We’re going to grind through the off season and be ready in Daytona.”