MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
AUTO CLUB 400
AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
MARCH 16, 2018
DARRELL ‘BUBBA’ WALLACE, JR., NO. 43 FARMER JOHN CAMARO ZL1, met with members of the media at Auto Club Speedway and discussed his thoughts on the start of his rookie season, the alliance between his team and Richard Childress Racing, reduced practice time and many other topics. Full Transcript:
TELL US HOW YOU ARE FEELING ABOUT YOUR FIRST CUP SERIES START AT AUTO CLUB:
“Yeah in our Chevrolet it will be good. I’m excited I was watching the race last night. We are starting off in Q-trim (qualifying trim), so that is always great. Freshly woken up just trying to go as fast as we can here in practice. We have had a lot of success here, a lot of good runs here in the Xfinity stuff. Just trying to utilize some of that and take that into today and learn throughout this weekend. This place is so wide, so many grooves and the biggest thing is tire fall off. Once that happens, start moving up to the fence. Just got to manage it the best we can and take care of it all day. It’s good to have Farmer John on our Chevrolet. So, once we get that rolling we will see how we shake out.”
HOW WOULD YOU GRADE YOUR SEASON THUS FAR?
“It’s hard to say. Atlanta was bad luck. I thought we were pretty decent in practice and we had some mechanical stuff go on right before the race that we didn’t find out. Vegas, we missed it. We were a very good short-run car and we just fell on our face. And then, Phoenix, I thought we were really good. I learned a lot over night from practice to the race and was able to put that to work. We were making some ground until we hit pit road. Personal grade? I don’t know. It’s a learning curve, that is what I’m going to label it as. We are trying to figure everything out. I’m laying my head down at night not leaving a stone unturned, so in that regard I give myself an A+. But, we are just not hitting on all cylinders right now as a team. We are still figuring everything out from the switch, so it’s going to take us a couple of races. We are going to have some really good races, we are going to have some bad races, but we are going to keep our heads up and keep digging.”
HOW HAS LIFE BEEN SINCE DAYTONA?
“No, it’s been actually really good. Beside the fact of not being home it will be 18 days since I’ve been home. That is the only bummer right now, but Amanda (girlfriend) and I got to have a great vacation from Vegas to Phoenix and then I got to spend time with The King (Richard Petty) and his family in Wyoming this last week. So, we had a lot of fun riding snowmobiles and stuff. And just getting to see that part of the country. I had never been to Wyoming, checked that off the list. Landed in Idaho, so I checked that off the list, so it’s been good. Ever since Daytona all the way up to that was just crazy madness and now I’ve been able to kind of relax and stay focused on what we need to do without any extra cameras or attention or anything.”
WITH YOU ALLIANCE WITH RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING DOES THAT MEAN THAT YOU HAVE SPECIAL ENGINEERS FROM RCR AT EACH RACE OR YOU GET SOME HELP, ADVICE OR WHAT DOES THE ALLIANCE CONSIST OF?
“We work together as a group all five of us. We all work together. RCR is building our racecars and we are implementing some of our stuff that they have learned over the years from RPM (Richard Petty Motorsports). It is a collaboration of both. We are all sharing notes and trying to figure out how we can be the best organization out there and get our cars better. Some races the No. 3 (Austin Dillon) and the No. 31 (Ryan Newman) is what we are leaning on because we are still trying to figure things out. But, it’s been a great alliance so far. They have been very open to wanting to help us out. Andy Petree (Vice President of Competition for Richard Childress Racing) over there is keeping everybody in line and making sure we are all pushing the same note.
HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO HAVE ANY FUN SO FAR?
“Oh, I’m enjoying it. I’m like a kid in a candy store. I’m racing against the guys I used to watch on Sunday and that is pretty badass. I remember that moment I had last year at Daytona when I was right next to Jimmie (Johnson). I was like damn, we are racing against seven-time right here, this is pretty cool. Now, I’ve kind of raced around him enough and raced around the other guys enough that I’m starting to learn from them for sure, but at the same time I’m like ‘man I can’t believe I’m still here.’ So, it’s all like kind of surreal still, but not letting that overshadow what we need to focus on. But, it’s a hell of a ride right now despite the finishes that we’ve had, I’m still keeping a positive mindset looking forward to each and every race because it’s a reset for me. Each and every track there is no need for me to hang my head over the last finish because I don’t know what the hell is next until we get to Pocono, Kentucky, Michigan and Daytona.”
WHAT WAS IT LIKE BONDING WITH THE KING AND ARE YOU A GUY THAT LIKES COLD WEATHER?
“I’m still in shock of racing for The King, honestly. Being around him and in his presence is unreal. Just to see how he interacts with the fans, how he interacts with just people and family it’s the coolest thing ever. I don’t know if you guys have heard of Rummikub the board game. I’ve played that for years now and The King was there playing as well. I am like ‘what this is awesome.’ So, getting to play board games with him and do those certain things. I think I beat him. I may have beat him that round. He might be the boss, but I’m still competitive. But, just seeing that and being able to have those in-depth conversations about racing, about life and what not, is really special. I was his Uber ride back from Daytona. We had a dinner Saturday night before the race and I was his Uber ride back. That was a 20-minute conversation about life and about racing and the whole time I was like ‘this is badass, this is cool.’ I’ve been enjoying that and the Moffit’s, Rebecca and Brian, it’s a really family-oriented team and the first day from last year I just felt a part of the family. I felt like I belonged with this team and we made it work and now that we are here, it’s been great from the relationship side of it. Just being able to grow with them and become even more part of their family.”
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN BRING FROM YOUR SUCCESSFUL EXPERIENCE ON THE XFINITY SIDE TO YOUR CURRENT CUP RIDE DESPITE THE DIFFERENCE IN MANUFACTURER?
“At the end of the day it’s the same racecar just different manufacturers on there. So, we will see. I don’t really look at that side of it as much. At the end of the day we are still all going to be pushing 215 mph into Turn 1. We just have to be able to manage it all and utilize what I have learned running the fence and learning where your marks are and where that boundary is. That is the biggest thing that you take from each and every car no matter what the manufacturer is, you learn those boundaries and you try to push that a little bit more and more each and every time.”
WHAT SORT OF LIFE LESSON HAS THE KING TAUGHT YOU?
“You can overcome a lot of things if you put your mind to it and you have the will to do it, but you can never overcome fate. That is the biggest thing that has stuck out to me. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. If it’s not then, move on.”
WITH THE REDUCED CUP PRACTICE THIS SEASON DO YOU FEEL LIKE THAT IS HINDERANCE TO YOU GUYS NOT ONLY AS A TEAM, BUT ALSO FROM A CHEVROLET STAND POINT WITH THE NEW BODY STYLE?
“Yes, like what the hell, I need all the time I can get and they cut the time down. No, it’s fine. We had talked about it last weekend, are we good with starting off in Q-trim (qualifying trim) and I’m like ‘yeah, sure whatever we will figure it out.’ I mean the 50 minutes, is that what it is today? Yeah, it goes by quick. There is not a lot of time to be wasted, but at the same time you’ve got to manage that and not overstep it. It will be fine though.”