MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
DIGITAL ALLY 400
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
MAY 10, 2019
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 met with media and discussed new rules changes, his expectations at Kansas, the fan vote for the upcoming All-Star race, and more. Full Transcript:
“I don’t know. There are a lot of takeaways. The biggest takeaway for us is just having a victory this early, which is nice. Aside from that, we’ve had some mediocre runs. We’ve had a couple of races where I felt like I had an opportunity to win and some races where we didn’t have a fighting chance to win. So, having a victory is nice, and that’s our biggest take-away right now.
“To continue to be dynamic because everything is just changing and evolving. Every time something changes, it takes a lot of effort to figure out what’s the best thing for that change. When something does change, it offers opportunity to catch-up or get behind. So, making sure you’re able to make changes and do them quick because the rules have changed rapidly.”
HOW IS HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AS A WHOLE FEELING GOING INTO THE FIRST 1.5-MILE TRACK SINCE TEXAS WITH THE IMPROVEMENTS OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF RACES?”
“I think it’s better, for sure. I still think we have room to improve and do a better job yet. But, definitely the performances over the past couple of weeks have been nice. And yeah, I think that helps. So, we’ll see. I see you get your report card every week, so we’ll find out.”
WHAT ARE YOUR EARLY OBSERVATIONS ON KANSAS?
“Honestly, it’s kind of hard to say because of the groups in which we were out there driving around. It just wasn’t exactly like the race because you’d have guys getting up to speed, which would kind of jumble-up the packs and stuff. So, honestly, until we race I really don’t know. So, we’ll see.”
ARE YOU ENCOURAGED BY SEEING ANOTHER ONE OF YOUR HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS TEAMMATES, ALEX BOWMAN, SHOWING SUCCESS MEANING POTENTIAL SUCCESS ACROSS THE BOARD, NOT JUST WITH THE NO. 9 TEAM?
“As a company, that’s good, right? If we’re all running better. We’re all increasing the health of Hendrick Motorsports, which is at the end of the day, I’d say a good thing. We’re also pushing each other to do a better job. So, yeah, I think it’s good.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND STRATEGIES GOING INTO THE ALL-STAR RACE NEXT WEEKEND?
“To be honest with you, I don’t even know what the rules are next week, so I couldn’t tell you. But I think it will be exciting to be in the race for the first time and be locked-in. And whatever package it is next week will be great. And, I look forward to being a part of the big show, for sure.”
“I have lost track. So, we’ll just roll with it and whatever it is, is. I’m going to push as hard as I can with whatever the rules are. So, I look forward to it.”
YOUR FANS SEEM TO REALLY BE ENJOYING THE FACT THAT YOU’RE ENJOYING IT A LITTLE MORE. IS IT OKAY WHEN PEOPLE ARE NUTS OVER YOU WHEN YOU WIN? ARE YOU MORE COMFORTABLE WITH THAT NOW?
“I don’t really feel like I’ve changed a whole lot. From that perspective, I think it’s always nice to do good or get a victory or running well or however that comes about is probably a good thing. So, yeah, I don’t feel like I’ve changed a whole lot. I’ve always tried to enjoy it. So, I don’t know. Good question.”
WITH THE NEW 550 HORSEPOWER ENGINE PACKAGE, HOW LONG CAN YOU RUN FLAT OUT? CAN YOU RUN FLAT OUT? AND IF SO, HOW DIFFICULT IS THAT GOING TO BE TO SET SOMEBODY UP GETTING UP OFF THE CORNER FOR THE NEXT CORNER?
“It’s definitely going to be tough. You can run wide open for a long time and when you’re by yourself, you really should be able to run wide open the whole time. And if you do lift, it’s very little. Seems like when you do lift, it’s because of a guy, or you ended up picking the same lane as him, or something like that. So, I think it’s just going to be about going where the guy in front of you isn’t, to get out of his wake. But, as crazy as it is with 550 horsepower, the corner speeds still feel pretty high. So, I think you’re kind of asking the question on how the draft is going to play and what not. I still think it’s going to be about getting runs and using that draft to your advantage. But, it’s just going to be about the clean air. It’s not going to be like a Talladega or Daytona look to it, for sure. It’s still going to have to be where the guy in front of you isn’t, to where you have your car in fresh air, which is always important at these places. Like I said, the corner speeds are still pretty high so we’re still not going slow enough to create that kind of racing and just be comfortable all the time and pushing and shoving and things like that all the time, I don’t think.”
YOU HAVE THE LAST FOUR WINS FOR CHEVY. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE CARRYING THE LOAD FOR THE BOWTIES?
“It’s nice to have wins, obviously. I think as a manufacturer, the more that we all run better, we’re all going to help each other much like Alex (Bowman’s) good runs the past couple weeks. They are good for the company as well. Just like I think Chevrolet having good runs is good for the manufacturer. I don’t necessarily think we’re carrying it. Any of the Chevrolets could have won Talladega and that wouldn’t even be a relevant question. It’s nice to have won some races but no, I think that narrative could have changed pretty easily a couple of weeks ago to somebody else.”
WHAT’S DIFFERENT COMING BACK AFTER YOU WON HERE IN THE FALL?
“A lot is different. Obviously the rules and being a nighttime race versus being an afternoon race here in the Fall. And, it’s pretty cool here this weekend. Obviously the race is going to look different from what we saw here then. So, I’m excited to see what it is. It’s definitely been a different practice session than what we’ve seen at these other places where we’ve have a big spoiler and high drag and stuff.”
YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THE FAN VOTE THIS YEAR FOR THE ALL-STAR
“Yeah, I’m just excited to be in the race for the first time, which is really nice and not have to worry about it.”
DO YOU CARE WHO WINS? ARE YOU ROOTING FOR SOMEBODY IN THE FAN VOTE?
“That’s a good question. To be honest with you, I need to look and see who’s even in it. My teammates are in it. But, I don’t know. I’m going to have to look. We might pick and underdog. Teammates are the obvious ones, right? It would be politically correct. I could pick one of them or both of them or want everybody to do good. But, there might be somebody cool we’d like to see win it over just the politically correct answer.”
YOU WERE SO GREAT OUT FRONT LAST WEEK AT DOVER. A LOT OF GUYS SAID IT WAS TOUGH PASSING. IT SEEMS LIKE YOU CAN COME FROM THE BACK OF THE FIELD, BUT ONCE YOU GET UP TO LIKE THE TOP 15 GUYS, THE CARS ARE ALL THE SAME AND THE TALENT IS PRETTY SIMILAR. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DISTINGUISH YOURSELF AND BE THE GUY THAT CAN MAKE THAT MOVE SHORT OF DOING IT ON A RESTART?
“It’s going to be tough. I think you’re going to have to be smart with everything. That’s where pit road and the sequence of pit stops and when you pit and how you get on and off pit road; those are the details I think are even more important now. But, it was tough last weekend, for sure; especially there at the end. It was very difficult to make something happen. So, it just puts more emphasis on situations like restarts and pit road and pit stops. It’s not just how fast your pit stop is, but how fast you get down pit road and how fast you get inside your box and get stopped and let your guys go to work and how close you are to your mark and all those things are just that much more important. That’s why you see the guys who are really good at that stuff typically towards the front because they’re gaining spots at times or people tend to forget about.”
WHEN STUFF LIKE THAT HAPPENS, DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE A VOICE WITH NASCAR WHERE YOU WANT TO POINT THAT STUFF OUT TO THEM? OR ARE YOU JUST LIKE HEY, I’LL RACE WHATEVER AND WAIT UNTIL LATER IN YOUR CAREER TO MAKE THOSE TYPES OF OPINIONS?
“It’s a good question. I think there is certainly a right way to maybe bring it up. Frankly, I’ve tried to voice my opinion at different times or in those meetings that we’re supposed to voice our opinions in. And at the end of the day, I’ve come to the realization, and maybe this will change as time goes, but I just don’t think that my opinion matters to the people who make the rules. Really and truly, I’m not sure that it should, right? Why do the owners and the drivers and the teams even have a voice in some of that stuff? When it comes down to it, just make the rules and be done with it. We’re racing. Either you like it or your don’t.”