MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY MEDIA DAY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
FEBRUARY 13, 2019
TY DILLON, NO. 13 GEICO CAMARO ZL1 met with media and discussed the new rules package, Germain Racing’s shop move, goals for the season, and more. Selected Quotes:
ON THE NEW RULES PACKAGE:
“I think this package suits me extremely well. I’m an aggressive driver. And the just couple of tests we’ve done with this package, early-on in the runs, even though our car might not have had the best long-run speed, I’m able to do things that I couldn’t do last year with that package. I think there were two times where I was able to start behind guys like Brad (Keselowski) and Kyle (Busch) and my brother (Austin Dillon) and I went four-wide with Clint (Bowyer) and Kyle and Brad and passed all three of them, twice, at the test. That’s something different that I wasn’t able to show last year. I think this package allows me to show some of my aggressiveness and I’m exited for these re-starts for our team.
“We’ve got a little bit of work to do from the speed standpoint as far as the runs go on, but I think with our growing relationship with RCR and now that our team has moved closer, we’re communicating very closely and there’s no reason that we shouldn’t be far off of where the RCR cars are. I think that mixing this opportunity with the way these restarts are looking like they’re going to be, fits my aggressive style. I’m super pumped to get this season started. I think this season is going to be a great one for us.”
IS THAT BECAUSE OF THE PACKAGE OR FOR OTHER REASONS?
“I think because of this package, I’m getting confident already. Just like I said at the test, I was able to take the best four-wide and took the lead at the test a couple of times. We were able to do things that we just didn’t have the muscle in our car to do, that I could kind of show-off a little bit; because sometimes when you don’t have that speed, like in last year’s package that we didn’t really have, you’re kind of playing defense that whole time. And that’s not the way you want to be as a driver. You want to be aggressive. You want to be on the offensive side. I think they way our team is growing, (crew chief) Matt (Borland) and I had a great off-season of growing our communication. I think that was definitely needed. I think everything is getting a little bit tighter with our team and with our relationship with RCR and moving shops. Everything is growing closer and more in the direction that we wanted. And this package seems to really fit me and my style of racing. So, I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great year. I think the first time I went four-wide and passed those guys, it lit something up in me that’s got me pumped-up for the season.”
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BEING ON THE RCR CAMPUS?
“I think the biggest benefit is that we are forced to communicate. Even when you go to lunch, you see the RCR employees. Every little thing that gets passed down from department to department, there’s 250 or so employees at RCR and we have about 50 or so at Germain, we intermingle now. And the communication has to be there no matter what. Access to things is quicker. It’s not an hour and 10 minute drive that you have to dedicate the whole day. It’s a 10-minute walk to get whatever you need done. I think that’s going to help everything. I think our employees are so strong. I’m so proud of everyone who put in the work. A lot of these people’s drive from home to the shop is a lot longer. But, when I’m at the shop, they’re all telling me this is going to work; this is going to work better. Yeah, the drive is frustrating, but we can already see improvement. We didn’t qualify great here for the 500, but this is a pretty old car. It doesn’t qualify good. It never has at any of these races, but boy, it races really well. If you look at our last three results, I think that’s the last three races we’ve run this car. We really haven’t done too much to it. We knew it wasn’t going to qualify well in single car qualifying, but I think when we turn off the lights Thursday night you’ll see our No. 13 car back up front like usual on the superspeedway.”
IF YOU’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK AND SOMEBODY CHECKS-UP, AND NOW YOU’VE GOT TO CHECK-UP, HOW DO YOU GET CAUGHT-UP?
“I think that’s what’s going to be tricky. With the lack of overall horsepower, which doesn’t mean that the racing is not going to be exciting by any means. You’ll see guys probably lose air off their cars, a little more aggressively. It’s a little bit more of a surprise. When you do that, if anybody has to really check, it really drops the momentum and the three or four guys up front are still wide-open in that draft. If somebody gets really loose, you’ll see sometimes where the whole field behind them will check-up and fall back. But there is an opportunity, if the lead guys get side-by-side, for that group to suck back up just like a superspeedway. I think you’ll see a little bit over the long run.
“I don’t think you’re going to see 20 laps into a run where half the field is lapped like you’ve seen in the past. I think you’re going to see most of the car on the same straightaway, but there’s going to be times where it’s a little bit hard, I’d say 20 laps into a run, handling is coming into play. I think that’s good for the drivers. That brings back some of the old technique and the drive to make sure the car is handling. You’re not just worried about holding it wide-open. We’re actually going to have some handling characteristics and the old-style of driving come into play. But, boy re these restarts going to be exciting and they’ll be a lot of fun. I think we’re going to get the best of both worlds. And when somebody does mess and have to lift, like I do, that guy behind you catches it right and he’s going to be able to make moves and make passes. I think perfection of a driver and making sure you don’t lose momentum is going to be really key this year.”
“It’s going to be interesting to see, I think everybody learning this package and even though that was a test, there were quite a few four-wide opportunities. I went twice. A lot of three-wide. There is more grip in the car to be able to make these quicker and more aggressive decisions. We’re racers. We want as much track position as we can. It seems as if you can get into position before 15 or 20 laps, you can really kind of maintain position better, just like anything; track position has always been important. But, it’s like you get a bigger opportunity now. When you’re going so fast with so little downforce, it’s risk versus reward. The risk is a lot higher sometime. Now that we’ve dropped the speed a little bit, the risk isn’t as high, which makes us, the best drivers in the world, go for that reward a little bit more. So, we’ll find a way to get that risk-factor up higher and it turns into crazier restarts and crazier racing. I think that’s exactly what the fans want to see. I think we had a bunch of lead changes at the test and a lot of things going on that proved that the racing will be better. I know the racing is definitely going to be better for the first 10 to 15 laps it’s going to be so fun to watch every single weekend. As the run goes on, those true fans want to see the best car come to the front. They’re going to get to see that, too.”
FOR THE TEAMS THAT ARE JUST A STEP BELOW THE BIG MONEY TEAMS, IS THIS GOING TO EVEN THINGS OUT A LITTLE BIT? WITH SOME AGGRESSION AND WITH A GOOD RACE CAR, MAYBE THEY CAN DO SOMETHING MORE THAN THEY’VE DONE IN THE PAST?
“Yeah, I sure hope so. Like I was saying, the opportunity was there for me at the test to make moves that I wasn’t able to make in the past just because we didn’t have that raw speed and power to make that aggressive move. We just didn’t have the steam in the past. I think this package gives guys like myself and guys in the back the opportunity to make big differences on the restart. I don’t know how it’s going to look by the end of the year and how we all shake out, but I think the opportunity is better for us as a team at Germain Racing, even if we were racing that other package, we feel like we’ve taken a big step as a team that we’re going to have plenty of opportunity to be fast week-in and week-out.”
SO WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO BE BETTER THIS YEAR?
“I don’t know if we’re under any pressure to have to do a certain thing. We all want to win. I think we all have the mindset to win a race this year. And we all have the mindset to make the Playoffs. I think that’s a very possible thing for us this year. I think that’s where our goal is set. We don’t want to have the pressure of having to do anything, but we know that what we can accomplish. And I think winning a race is very possible. There are opportunities all throughout the year. Even in my rookie season we had opportunities. So, we know that’s very possible. I think for me, my main goal is to make the Playoffs this year. And I’m very determined to do that and to do whatever it takes to do so. I think we have the opportunity to really surprise a lot of people and look back at one of the teams that took one of the biggest steps. Hopefully today is the first day that marks the start of huge growth and opportunity for our team.”