MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS CLASH
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY POST RACE NOTES AND QUOTES
FEBRUARY 11, 2018
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 5TH
WHAT DID YOU LEARN OUT THERE TODAY?
“That is the fastest we have been at a speedway in a while. The last two years we haven’t been able to compete like that. It feels really good to lead a couple of laps and dice it up. The handling got a little worse when we lost some of the track position, so we will work on that for the 500. But, very promising day for our DOW Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. I’m happy. We came out of there without a scratch on the car and we’ve got something for the 500, all my guys are excited.”
HOW DID YOUR DAY GO?
“Well, it was fun at the beginning. It was really fun at the beginning when we had track position. We had a fast car, got some pushes from the No. 22 and the No. 2 and got to dice it up there. It’s probably the fastest we’ve been at a speedway in about two years to be able to compete with those guys. We lost track position and my car didn’t drive as good. So, we will make a couple of adjustments going into the Daytona 500. But, proud of our day. We made a move there at the end from pretty far back and got up through there quite a way. I was trying to get somebody to go with me, but I think everybody was scared of the Penske train up there that was running. Those top three were pretty hard to get out of the way. We will just have to figure out ways to work together with some of the other Camaro’s. The ZL1’s are fast. I think Chase (Elliott) and I both had really fast cars and I really liked working with him, so hopefully we can work good in the race.”
HOW MUCH OF AN ADVANTAGE IS IT TO HAVE THIS RACE BEFORE YOU GET TO THE DUELS?
“Yeah, I think it’s a huge advantage to work with the pit crew. I know my guys have already said they are going to go back to the shop and try and make the car easier for the guys. We lost a little bit of track position, but I also slid long. It’s really key to get in your box properly the way the pit stops are now. I went a little long and that hurt my guys getting to my car. It’s big to be able to go out there and run a full race and see how the cars draft. I didn’t draft any in practice really yesterday. I was proud of how my car drove, just got to make a few minor things and we will be fine for the 500 I think.”
YOU LOOKED LOOSE: (Says Joey Logano)
“I was pretty loose.”
“You and the No. 2 were the only ones that could really push people around. So, you make people loose (laughs)
“I’m trying to get there. If I could make you (Joey Logano) loose I would try (laughs).”
WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT MAKING THE MOVE TO GET TO THE FRONT FOR THE 500?
“It’s a high-speed game of chess. It’s like, I was in the back, I had to make a move and when I did, if I would have been the second car to go with them, I would have been in the wreck. I got lucky and was the first car on the bottom and missed the wreck. I think you want to start that train kind of when the run does go, but I had to because I was in the back. Where he (Logano) is he has to be patient because you will just keep getting shuffled if you go too early like he is saying.”
COMPARED THE HANDLING DIFFICULTY HERE THIS YEAR VERSUS A YEAR AGO:
“I went to sleep nervous too. I don’t know what it is. Your stomach turns over the first time you come here every time, especially with what we had going on. It definitely felt different in practice yesterday speed wise. It was good to get out there and race. Nerves calmed down now and I kind of know what I can go to work on going into the Daytona 500. I need to tighten up.”
DID YOU FEEL MORE STABLE?
“No, I mean on the bottom, my car was just better than what we have been in the past, so that was nice. As far as speed goes, I feel about the same as far as handling has been in the past, but on the top, I was actually driving worse than I was on the bottom which is a good thing, because in the race if you can hold the bottom over the long run it’s good. I just kind of struggled on the top. Which is weird, but what do you think?”
YOUR CREW CHIEF JUSTIN ALEXANDER IS AT HOME SICK?
“Yeah, poor guy he has had the flu twice this year. I asked on Twitter earlier this year about the flu shot. That was kind of why. He got sick and was out for eight days earlier this year and he got it again. Just want him to get better truthfully, but the guys stepped up. My two engineers are great. They are experienced and do a good job. They are very professional and we’ve got a good group at RCR, like I’ve said at the beginning of the year, I think we’ve gotten a little bit leaner, but we’ve also gotten better, smarter and stronger. I’m proud of my guys they stepped up right in there.”
WERE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW MUCH SINGLE FILE RACING IT WAS AT TIMES?
“I mean, no, it’s still part of Daytona if there is a group of cars that are fast and get up top they lead the race for a long period of time and everybody wants to win. It’s hard to group up with non-teammates and sometimes even teammates to make them go with you at the right period of time. Everybody is kind of playing the waiting game, they get shuffled around and I was lucky enough to be able to have a car that could stay with the draft. I think Harvick tried and he lost the draft and the No. 31 lost the draft and I went one time and he acted like he was going to go with me and then he kind of got back in top to get me behind him. It’s tough when you are out there in the tail you want to, like Joey said you need to make a move a little earlier to get a couple of more cars behind you and it gets a little better, but even the guys that were running fifth to ninth they were all the guys that wrecked right there at the end, so, it’s just crazy how it all works out, you never know.”
IS THIS WHAT THE 500 WILL LOOK LIKE?
“When there are more cars out there certain guys race harder and get in there and mix it up. The beginning of that race is two-wide quite a bit the first 25 I thought was pretty good racing. We never really got single file around the top, we kind of swapped lanes at the front for a while, but with 40 cars out there it will be more of that and I think handling is going to be a key factor on those long runs during the 500. Guys are going to get loose like you saw the No. 42 and other cars get loose and they shuffle the field and then there will be pack break ups and stuff. It will be a 500, it will be interesting.”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 DC SOLAR CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 10th
YOU WERE SO CLOSE TO MAKING IT TO THE END, BUT THEN YOU GOT UP TO JIMMIE JOHNSON AND WHAT HAPPENED?
“Yeah, that’s the first time I’ve went to push somebody and I hit him pretty solid and just turned him into the wall. I hate that I was the one that caused the wreck. I still haven’t seen a replay. Obviously, I know I’m the one that started that, but I’d just like to see if I did hit him as hard as I think I did, or what. Or if our bumpers just don’t line up as well with the new Camaros, or what. But, I hate that I was the one to do that. Our DC Solar Chevy was a handful all race and it was, even in practice yesterday. So, we have a lot of work to do to just get it driving stable enough for me to run 500 miles next Sunday. It was a tough race, I guess. I felt on-edge the whole time. So, I’ve got some work to do.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 BASS PRO SHOPS/CABELA’S CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 11th
“We learned a lot today with this Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. I had no complaints with our car’s handling. Our pit crew also got to complete a few four-tire pit stops with the new pit stop rules. They too, learned a few things in race conditions. Unfortunately, we got shuffled out of the draft and didn’t have a chance to make the run at the front. Good news is we learned a lot and our Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is in one piece.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S FOR PROS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 12th
ON WHAT HAPPENED AT THE CRASH AT THE END:
“I had some contact from behind and we got turned into the outside wall. I haven’t had a chance to look at it and see what exactly happened, but the nose on our Chevy is pretty pointy. I was pushed by a Chevy so I don’t know if that had something to do with it or not, I just need to get a good look at the replay.”
THERE HAS BEEN TALK ABOUT THE NEW NOSES ON THE CAMAROS. WHAT HAPPENED WITH YOU AND KYLE LARSON?
‘Yeah, I got turned. Larson and I were just talking about that in the Care Center. I need to go back and look at the video and see if he really did get me center and if that could have been a contributing factor to it. A lap before that, I think the No. 41 (Kurt Busch) got into me and pushed me pretty hard and everything was fine. So, in my head I cleared that concern and was looking out the windshield sitting in a great spot, but unfortunately didn’t make it back.”
ON THE CARS BEING THE WAY, THEY ARE:
“Yeah, I guess we are the first real crash at speed with that. I kind of forgot about it once we got going. I think the cars look cool and they are going faster, which is more fun from our standpoint. It makes handling a little more of a premium. The rules package here is so tight. Atlanta is when we are going to start focusing on things.”
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 13th
YOU MADE SOME GREAT MOVES EARLY IN THE RACE. TALK ABOUT MAKING THOSE MOVES UP FRONT AND THE ACCIDENT AT THE END:
“Yeah, we had a good car, just the circumstances, the way the top kind of formed up there it just happened to be we were on the bottom at the time. I thought our car was as good as anybody’s. I mean I don’t really know what I would have done a whole lot different to change the circumstance, but happens and lucki8ly next week is the important one.”
DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE LEADER IS MORE VULNERABLE WITH THIS PACKAGE NOW?
“I think it depends on how the race is playing. If it’s lined up around the top, the guys can’t get big enough runs to do anything then, yes, the leader is the place to be and probably less vulnerable. But, when it’s two-wide and guys are getting big runs it’s as tough as it always was.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 CESSNA CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 17th
WHAT HAPPENED AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FOR NEXT WEEKEND?
“I just got really loose. I haven’t seen a replay so I don’t know if it was circumstantial based on the car behind me or what happened, but I just drove in the corner and it just got out from underneath me and chased it and wasn’t able to catch it.”