MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
PRE-SEASON MEDIA AVAILABILITY
CHARLOTTE MEDIA TOUR
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
JANUARY 24, 2018
CHRIS BUESCHER, NO. 37 COTTONELLE CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1, met with members of the media at the Charlotte media tour and discussed his outlook for the season, his success on the dirt and thoughts about road courses. Full transcript:
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR 2018?
“I’m going to focus on making the final four at Homestead. If we can win races, compete for wins every week and make the final four at Homestead, that’s a win for us. It’s the same goal I had going into last year, and really as long as you’re competitive and can capitalize on that and win some races, that sets you up for the year. That allows you to – if you win one race you’re in the Chase and if you win multiple races you can start building on those points – get to Homestead a lot easier.”
HAVE YOU GUYS TALKED ABOUT ANY EXTRACURRICULAR NASCAR STUFF?
“With the Xfinity schedule, it’s going to be a lot tougher to run as many races as I did last year. Last year I got to race a lot, but I will still be able to race some. I probably won’t be making a dirt schedule, just because off-weekend see what’s racing where, what rides I could get. I won’t make a dirt schedule, but I’ll still be able to run some dirt races. Last year, I think I ran 35 to 40 races. I won’t do that many. I’ve already done Chili Bowl, Turkey Night, and will sprinkle in a few more during the year. I don’t think I’ll be doing any more dirt racing before Daytona. Once the season starts, we go pretty hard till the middle of March, which would be my next opportunity.”
DO YOU KNOW HOW BUSY YOUR SCHEDULE IS GOING TO BE THAT YOU COULD RUN TRUCKS?
“It’s going to be different as the trucks have so many off weeks that you don’t get multiple back-to-back weekends like you do in Xfinity. It’s going to be a new lifestyle for me, but I’d rather race than sit at home waiting for the next one.”
DOES IT SURPRISE YOU THAT PEOPLE SAY YOU’RE THE MAN TO BEAT FOR THE XFINITY CHAMPIONSHIP?
“I just have to live up to it now. I have the equipment to do it. I have the crew chief to do it. So I just have to do it. To win a championship, especially with this format, is so hard to do. So you have to be good at Homestead. If you’re not good at Homestead you have to write it off, so that’s a key part of winning a championship. But to do that you have to win races during the year to put yourself in that position. We have a long road to go before winning a championship. We just need to focus on being competitive No. 1, qualifying good No. 2, and capitalizing on the speed that we should have and try to win races.”
IS THERE SUCH A THING AS A HOT STREAK CARRYING OVER? DOES THAT GIVE YOU CONFIDENCE?
“Racing is a very head game sport, so confidence is really big. Whenever your confidence is up, racing is a lot easier to run good. I’ve been racing since I was 6 years old and you have these highs and lows, and it seemed like 2015 was a low and 2016 was a high. Unfortunately, at some point it’s going to start tapering off, but I’m not going to let that be 2018.”
ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED YOU WON’T GET AS MANY OTHER RACES?
“I guess for my competitive edge, yes, because I had a competitive advantage when it came to Eldora. But that’s not NASCAR racing. Everyone knows going into Eldora that it doesn’t relate to anything you’ll do going forward and it doesn’t relate to anything throughout the rest of the year in the truck series.”
WHAT RACES ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO?
“I’m looking forward to Darlington and California. Those are two racetracks that I didn’t get to go to on the truck schedule. Darlington, you need to run good against the wall, and I feel that’s up my alley. California is really rough; they both wear out tires a lot. I’m looking forward to those races a lot.”
DID YOU DO ANY XFINITY PLATES RACES LAST YEAR? WHEN YOU GET TO DAYTONA, HOW DO YOU EXPECT THAT TO BE DIFFERENT?
“No. Plate racing has never been the one thing I look forward to after my Daytona incident a couple years ago. Just study film, and I have a lot of guys who have done this same path that I have. I’ll rely on those guys telling me what I need going into Daytona. I’ll learn as much as I can.”
DO YOU THINK YOU COULD RUN THE TRUCK RACE AT ELDORA?
“I would be really cool if I got the chance to run the truck race at Eldora. Eldora is my favorite racetrack and it’s always fun when I get to go back there. Xfinity is not racing that day so there’s hope. But I have to find a ride first.”
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO TO IMPROVE?
“I struggled at road course racing. I’ll be doing a lot of homework because road course racing makes up a good portion of the schedule this year, especially with the Charlotte road course being part of the playoffs.”
WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING FROM THE ROVAL?
“I think the guys that are good at road courses love it and the guys who are not good at road courses hate it. When they announced they were going to do it I was excited because I thought I was going to be sitting on the couch at home watching it. Then I realized I was going to be driving and I was a lot more nervous. I have to get better at road courses; that’s the bottom line for me.”
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCES FOR YOU DRIVING THE XFINITY CAR FROM THE TRUCKS?
“The biggest thing is just the aerodynamics. The have pretty much the same motor package, the tires are really similar. Everything is really similar until you start going 180 mph. The trucks, because they have so much downforce, you can run almost wide open at most mile and a half tracks. The trucks have so much dirty air, the dirty air effect is much worse than the Xfinity cars. You just have to know my limits with the lower downforce. That’s something I didn’t get a handle on last year. Just find my limits on how hard I can drive it.”
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN TAKE FROM THE OVAL TO THE ROAD COURSE AND ANYTHING YOU CAN GET FROM THE ROAD COURSE THAT CAN HELP ON THE OVAL?
“Honestly, for me, I think the road course relates to dirt racing because dirt racing there are so many things you can do to manipulate the car to benefit you throughout the race. Pavement oval racing there are not too many things. If you’re fighting tight conditions, you’re tight. If you’re loose, you’re loose. On road courses, if you’re tight you can run over a curb and make it a little better and try a different angle into the corner. So there are a lot of things on road course racing to manipulate your car to make it driver better. So that’s one thing I like about road course racing. I just have to figure out how to pick up speed on it. Each driver has their own tendencies from the racing style they grew up doing so pavement guys will bring their stuff over and dirt guys will bring their stuff over.”
ARE YOU BUMMED THAT YOU’RE NOT RUNNING ANY TRUCK RACES THIS YEAR?
“Yeah, I am bummed that I’m not running any truck races this year. Honestly, the thing that disappointed me the most was Eldora. That was something that Rudy really wanted to win. He gave me a truck that I could win in and I spun out. So I was hoping I would get to go back to Eldora with Rudy and maybe get another shovel for myself and get Rudy a shovel. Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen. That place kid of kick-started my career in 2015. Rudy has won almost every truck race except Eldora and Martinsville, and Eldora is my strong suit so I was really bummed that I didn’t get to win that for him.”