MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
OCTOBER 4, 2019
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1, Media Breakout Session Highlights:
HOW WAS PRACTICE? WHAT IS YOUR CAR LIKE?
“It’s good. I think that we’re close. I’d like to be a little better in some areas and a little more secure, but I feel like it’s close. Chad (Knaus, crew chief) has a good feel for this place and I feel like our cars, in general, have a good feel for this place, for sure.”
AS THE 11th SEED IN THE PLAYOFFS, THE TOP 8 HAVE BEEN GOOD IN THE SERIES FOR QUITE A WHILE. BUT THIS ROUND, HOW DO YOU FEEL HERE, AT DOVER, AND NEXT WEEK AT TALLADEGA? DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE IN A SPOT WHERE YOU CAN BREAK THROUGH AND TAKE YOURSELF TO THE NEXT LEVEL?
“Yeah, I think so. We’re taking it one step at a time and I feel really good about the tracks that we have in this round. So, I think it’s going to be good and I think we’ll have strong cars at each one of them. So, I feel great about it.”
WHAT WAS YOUR IMPRESSION OF TALLADEGA THE FIRST TIME YOU WERE THERE?
“It’s really wide for a superspeedway. It feels like a highway out there, it’s so big. And there are so many lanes and there are really three lanes, but each lane can fit about two cars. So, it’s really about six lanes wide. It’s just crazy how big that place is. That was my first impression of it.”
TALK ABOUT DOVER, TALLADEGA, AND KANSAS. THESE ARE TRACKS YOU CAN WIN AT
“Yeah, for sure. That’s kind of the immediate goal is to win. And, I think if we have a good weekend throughout and do the things we need to do leading up to the race, I think we’re going to have a good shot at it. We just have to continue to kind of tune our car as the weekend progresses and hope that we’re in the right position when it really counts, for sure.”
HOW DIFFICULT IS PIT ROAD AT DOVER COMPARED TO OTHER RACE TRACKS? IN TERMS OF JUST HAVING TO DO IT PERFECTLY, WHERE WOULD YOU RANK IT?
“That’s definitely one of the Top 5 toughest places to get on pit road, I would say. You kind of go onto pit road and it takes all the braking and all the stopping power you have to get slowed down. You can’t just give up a bunch of time or you’re going to lose a lot of time on track. So, you’ve got to push it, but it’s a very tough margin.”
YOU HAVE WON NUMEROUS POLES THIS SEASON. HOW MUCH FOCUS DO YOU PUT ON QUALIFYING AT DOVER?
“We did a qualifying run. I felt like it went pretty well. We were second on the board, so that was good. We qualified good here in the spring and I think it’s just a combination of a lot of things. But, making sure our balance is good for qualifying and making sure we didn’t have any crazy things going on.”
DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE POLE-WINNING SPEED?
“Yeah, I hope so. I think it would be a lot easier to start up front at this race just the way this track is.”
WHAT IS YOUR MENTALITY FOR THE NEXT THREE RACES?
“You’ve just got to be aggressive. There is really no other way to do it. We come into the race and we’re the 11th seed, so we’ve just got to be aggressive and try to advance that way. I think it’s going to take a really good points round. We’ve seen that before. We’ve just got to put it all together.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT TALLADEGA NEXT WEEK?
“I really don’t know. I know our cars are fast there, which is good. Outside of that, I don’t really know what to expect. I think the speeds are going to be higher, just with this package we saw that in Daytona in July. The cars didn’t handle super well, either, with the aero package, so I think we’re just going to have to kind of adjust for that. There is going to be carnage like there always is. It’s probably going to be more than normal, though, with how fast we’re going.”
AS A DRIVER, WHAT’S IT LIKE TO GO INTO A RACE AND JUST EXPECT CARNAGE?
“When you strap in the car at that place, or any of them, you just kind of know that’s what you’re getting into. So, you just try to pretend that you’re wrapped in bubble wrap and nothing can happen because you really just have to go full send, and send it in there. It’s not really something you can prepare for. I feel like the more timid you are at that track, the worse it’s going to go for you. You just can’t be timid at all. And really, as a driver, you don’t even really review, or at least, I don’t go back and look at mistakes or things that happen at those races because it’s such a split-second thing that if you have that thought process of hesitation going into the next race, you’ll really struggle at those places.”
“It hurts for a minute, but I think the more that you get in those crashes there, you’re like okay, it turned out okay and we can go again and try to win the next one. I think you’ve just got to be that way. It’s easy to just say hey, let’s just ride in the back all day and try to make it to the end, but you really can’t do that anymore with stage points. So, you’ve got to be up front. The only way to do that is to be aggressive, or you just get shuffled to the back. So, I think certain guys have a better management of risk than others and you kind of know who those guys are. And you know the guys that are just going to go after it the entire race and they’re probably going to cause a crash, eventually.”
HOW AGGRESSIVE CAN YOU, OR ARE YOU ALLOWED TO BE, HERE AT DOVER?
“I think Dover is a normal place. You’ve got to have good speed over the long run. The runs are typically kind of long here. And then, you have to be good on pit road. It’s a really tough place to make up ground, especially if you’re in the wrong restart lane. I would say those two things and just kind of normal stuff here.”