MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
BIG MACHINE VODKA 400 AT THE BRICKYARD
TEAM CHEVY PLAYOFF CONTENDERS NOTES AND QUOTES
SEPTEMBER 8, 2019
FIVE TEAM CHEVY DRIVERS ADVANCE TO PLAYOFFS
Following the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard, Round 26 of 36 races in the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS), 16 drivers have now qualified to compete in the 10-race MENCS Playoffs that will ultimately determine the 2019 MENCS champion.
Five of the 16 Playoff contenders are Team Chevy drivers.
There are three rounds of Playoffs (3 races per round) in the 2019 format, plus one final championship-crowning season finale. Four drivers will be eliminated following each round of three.
· Sept. 15 at Las Vegas, Sept. 21 at Richmond, and Sept. 29 at Charlotte – 16 drivers
· Oct. 6 at Dover, Oct. 13 at Talladega, and Oct. 20 at Kansas – 12 drivers
· Oct. 27 at Martinsville, Nov. 3 at Texas, and Nov. 10 at Phoenix – 8 drivers
· Nov. 17 Championship race at Homestead – 4 drivers
TEAM CHEVY UNOFFICIAL PLAYOFF CONTENDERS:
7th CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1
8th KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 MONSTER ENERGY CAMARO ZL1
9th KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 MCDONALD’S CAMARO ZL1
10th ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CAMARO ZL1
13th WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CAMARO ZL1
16 UNOFFICIAL PLAYOFF CONTENDERS:
1st Kyle Busch (Toyota)
2nd Denny Hamlin (Toyota)
3rd Martin Truex, Jr. (Toyota)
4th Joey Logano (Ford)
5th Brad Keselowski (Ford)
6th Kevin Harvick (Ford)
7th Chase Elliott (Chevrolet)
8th Kurt Busch (Chevrolet)
9th Kyle Larson (Chevrolet)
10th Alex Bowman (Chevrolet)
11th Erik Jones (Toyota)
12th Ryan Blaney (Ford)
13th William Byron (Chevrolet)
14th Aric Almirola (Ford)
15th Clint Bowyer (Ford)
16th Ryan Newman (Ford)
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series continues next weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with the South Point 400 on Sunday, September 15 at 7:00 P.M. ET; Round 27 of the 2019 season, Round 1 of the Playoffs. Live coverage can be found on NBCSN, NBC Sports Gold, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
TEAM CHEVY PLAYOFF CONTENDER QUICK QUOTES:
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 – 7th
“Just hopefully having a nice, smooth, uneventful race at Las Vegas would be good. These past couple of weeks have been wild with just a lot of stuff happening. So, we just need to get out there and I have confidence that we can have good cars. We’ve just got to get going in find a little consistency and just get things started off, uneventfully, would be great.”
ARE THERE ANY TRACKS YOU’RE REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO?
“Yeah, the next one, really. I think you have to have the ability to win all of them, or the majority of them, to have a shot at Homestead. We just need to have that mindset going in. This first round is going to be tough. Michigan and Charlotte haven’t been our best two race tracks, so it’s important for us to not overlook it and put some emphasis on the first round and not just think we’re going to breeze right through.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 MONSTER ENERGY CAMARO ZL1 – 8th
WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE PLAYOFF TRACK?
“Vegas. That’s my home town.”
THERE IS NO SPORT THAT GOES 10 STRAIGHT WEEKS LIKE THIS. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE EMOTION AND THE PHYSICALITY OF IT AS WELL?
“You’ve just got to be ready for it. All year long you build up toward it. There are sister tracks to some tracks that other tracks that are own their own. Each week is a nice, fresh, restart; and you’ve got to get through three races each time, you know, the three rounds to get to Homestead. So, I kind of look at it as three races at a time and just try to piece together what you chew on.”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 MCDONALD’S CAMARO ZL1 – 9th
DO YOU HAVE CONFIDENCE GOING INTO THE PLAYOFFS?
“Yeah, no doubt. It’s been a good couple of months. My cars have been good. We’re qualifying pretty well. So, we’ve just got to keep plugging along and hope we get a win and get through these rounds.
THIS WILL BE YOUR FOURTH TIME IN THE PLAYOFFS. YOU’VE ONLY GOTTEN THROUGH THE FIRST. WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO GET THROUGH MORE THAN ONE ROUND?
“I think just having nice, clean days. Days like we have had the last couple of months. Aside from crashing today, we’ve gotten good stage points and good finishes. So, we just have to continue having days like that and eliminating our mistakes. We just have to do the best we can in the stages and the finishes.”
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CAMARO ZL1 – 10th
SO NOW YOU TURN A PAGE IN THE SEASON AND MOVE ON TO THE PLAYOFFS
“Yeah, I love Las Vegas. There’s three or three and a half grooves to run, basically. So, I’m really excited to get there and try to make the most out of a really strong 1.5-mile program for us. I think that’s a place that we can go and be capable of winning and I’m looking forward to it.”
THE PLAYOFFS ARE STRESSFUL WITH HAVING TO RUN 10 WEEKS STRAIGHT. WHAT’S THAT GOING TO BE LIKE FOR YOU?
“We’ve just got to go out and perform and not have good days and then bad days, like we’ve had the last two weeks. There are a lot of really good race tracks for us. The second round is extremely good for us. So, I’m looking forward to it. I think our cars are going to be really strong and we can go out there and win some races.”
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CAMARO ZL1 – 13th
ON THE PLAYOFFS
“I feel like any place that we’re going back to for a second time is going to be really good for us. Definitely going back to Vegas is going to be great. Going back to Richmond is going to be good. The Roval is a new one, but I feel those two out of three in the first round, going back for the second time, can help our team.
DO YOU HAVE A GOOD HANDLE ON THIS PACKAGE?
“I think so. I would say after these last two weeks we’ve had a better handle. We were really guessing on how much straightaway speed versus corner speed we wanted, and I think we’ve got a good package going into the Playoffs.”
DO YOU HAVE CONFIDENCE GOING INTO LAS VEGAS? DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE WHERE YOU NEED TO BE TO START THE PLAYOFFS?
“Yeah, I think so. I mean there’s no better way to go into than a Top 5 finish. And that’s really good for our team. It kind of helps start our momentum and I hope we can carry that into next week”
WHAT ABOUT TALLADEGA, MARTINSVILLE AND THE ROVAL?
“I really don’t know yet. Martinsville is tough. Talladega is very unpredictable. I just don’t know. We’ve just got to take one race at a time, obviously, and do the best we can.”