MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
OCTOBER 11, 2019
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA NIGHT VISION CAMARO ZL1, met with media to discuss the past success of manufacturers working together, how he handles the pressure of the Playoffs, the importance of stage points for the overall Playoff picture, and more. Full Transcript:
WHEN WE WERE HERE IN THE SPRING, YOU HAD LED A CHEVY CONTIGENT THAT REALLY TEAMED UP AND WORKED WITH THE MANUFACTURER ALLEGIENCE TO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN FOR YOU GUYS. SAME GAME PLAN IN EFFECT THIS WEEKEND? IS THERE ANYTHING DIFFERENT WITH THE PLAYOFFS BEING ON THE LINE THIS WEEKEND?
“Yeah, I think it will be really similar from all fronts and I’m sure all manufacturers will be kind of doing the same thing. The Playoff picture is obviously important to some of the guys in each respective group, I suppose. The manufacturers are going to see it as they want the manufacturer to do well and they see that being better than anything else. I think you’re going to see more of those games being played this weekend. I thought we did equally as good of a job at Daytona as we did here in the spring, we just had some things go our way here in the spring and they didn’t in Daytona. So, it goes to show that even though we worked well together and that we all did a nice job, it’s not always going to work. No guarantees, for sure.”
YOU’VE BEEN IN THE PLAYOFFS SEVERAL TIMES. YOU KNOW THE PRESSURE OF THE CUT LINE. DOES IT GET ANY EASIER TO HANDLE OR ANY WORSE TO HANDLE? DO YOU JUST GO RACE AND TRY NOT TO THINK ABOUT IT?
“I think as you get put in bad positions throughout the Playoffs, really and truly your situation just becomes clearer as to what you have to do. Especially, when you get in the hole early, it just becomes very evident that you have to go do a really good job the next two weeks to make it through. Obviously, we don’t want our season to be over after Kansas, so we have a lot of emphasis on these next two weeks. I’m going to do the best job I can do, my guys are going to do the best job they can do, and we’ll see where it ends up. It don’t necessarily get any easier, I just think the way these rounds go, sometimes you’re frustrated. I’m sure the first thing everyone wants to say is ‘Dang, I hate the way these rounds are when you have a bad race’. At the same time, the next thought needs to be, ‘Well, we should have won more races in the regular season and it wouldn’t matter’. So, you have the opportunity to make it not matter and I think that’s the thing you have to keep in mind that this deal started in February and you had an opportunity to give yourself a buffer. Luckily, we had a little bit of one. Like I said, I think you just have to go do your thing and it will either work out for you or it won’t, one of the two.”
I KNOW BEFORE YOU’VE SAID THAT IN A PERFECT WORLD TO YOU, NASCAR GIVES YOU THE RULES PACKAGE AND YOU JUST DRIVE IT. WITH THAT BEING SAID, HOW MUCH DID YOU MONITOR AUSTIN (DILLON) AND RCR’S TEST AT RICHMOND? WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE CAR AND ARE THERE CERTAIN THINGS YOU WANT THAT CAR TO BE IN TWO YEARS?
“To be completely honest with you, I didn’t pay much attention to it. I saw a picture of the car. I saw the wheels were really funky looking and they looked like they improved about forty years. Really, outside of that, I don’t know. I don’t know what the cars drive like. From Austin (Dillon)’s reaction from his post on the internet, it didn’t really look like he was just mind blown that it drove that much different. Like I said before, whatever it is, it will be the same for everybody, what the starting point is, and whatever manufacturer does the best job of creating a body from the new set of rules and the teams taking advantage of however we end up structuring the builds. There’s always going to be somebody trying to get an advantage. I know that there are going to be standardized parts, but that just means there’s going to be an advantage somewhere else. So, whoever does their homework the best in trying to cut those corners and push the rules as far as you can, is going to be the person to win. The people that are scared of that probably won’t.”
IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE FOR TALLADEGA TO GET MORE INTENSE RACING, JUST BECAUSE IT’S THE PLAYOFFS? DO YOU SENSE OR FEEL WHEN YOU COME BACK HERE IN OCTOBER THAT’S A LITTLE MORE AMPED UP?
“Yeah, I definitely think it is. I guess the good news is that at least you have another race after this one to determine the rest of your time if you have a bad day here on Sunday. So, I think it would be even more so if it was the final race. At least it’s in the middle and if you crash on Sunday, we pretty much know we have to go win Kansas. I think beyond that, if we don’t crash, we’ll assess our points beyond there. We’ll try to keep from crashing.”
WITH THIS PACKAGE, OBVIOUSLY YOU HEAR SO MUCH ABOUT THE BIG RUNS AND HOW MUCH IT COMES FASTER. HOW MUCH HAS THAT CHANGED BLOCKING AND WHAT KIND OF AN ADJUSTMENT IS IT TO THE RUNS WHEN YOU COME BACK TO PLACES LIKE HERE?
“Yeah, there’s definitely a fine line. I guess it just depends on how bad you want the spot and how scared you are of that person turning around if they do get to you. Some of those runs are coming so fast, I certainly wouldn’t pull up in front of some of them. When you’re in position, there are going to be times where you might have to pull up in front of something that you wouldn’t want to or don’t feel comfortable doing. Like I said, I think it depends on the situation we’re in. If you make it to the end of the race, that’s certainly the time to do that or whatever point in the race that you think is determining the players. It seems like that point in these events is getting pushed back further. I’ve seen some guys kind of get up in front about halfway, maybe a little further than halfway, and they kind of control the rest of the race. You get all those late-race cautions and it’s hard to get back around that guy. Whatever point that intensity amps up and whatnot, sure you might see more aggressive moves than what you would like to be making. But like I said before, it just depends on the situation you’re in, where you’re at, if you can afford to crash, and who’s in the race still and who’s not.”
YOU MENTIONED KANSAS NEXT WEEK, YOU’RE PRETTY GOOD THERE. WOULD YOU FEEL CONFIDENT GOING IN THERE HAVING TO WIN?
“Yeah, I would feel as confident going in there as anywhere. If that’s the case for us next week, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. We do have an opportunity here that I don’t want to completely toss the opportunity here. I know it’s a toss up and anything can happen, but it is an opportunity and they still award points at this race and they still give out a sticker on Sunday. So, we’d much rather have that than have to be in a bad position next week. We’ll focus on that when we get there and see where we are. If that’s the case next week, yeah sure we’ll go do our best. If that’s what we have to do, then that’s the mentality we’ll have.”
HOW MUCH DOES A POSITIVE ATTITUDE ABOUT COMING HERE HELP SOMEBODY LIKE YOU? THERE ARE STILL SOME DRIVERS THAT DON’T LIKE THIS KIND OF RACING AND I WOULD ASSUME IT WOULD BE A SPOT WHERE YOU, WHO SEEMS TO HAVE A VERY POSITIVE ATTITUDE ABOUT IT, WOULD FEEL LIKE THIS IS A WELCOMED SPOT FOR YOU TO TRY AND COME GET A VICTORY AS OPPOSSED TO OTHERS WHO SAY THEY HAVE TO JUST TOLERATE IT AND GET THROUGH.
“Yeah, I think we all have a level of just tolerating it. When you hit something really hard multiple times, you don’t enjoy that and nobody does. At the same time, that’s part of it and I don’t really know what you do about that. We’re going really fast, we’re in an enclosed circuit and there are walls on the outside and inside. The odds of you hitting something at some point I’d say are pretty good. I just think we have to take it for what it is and like I said, it’s a toss up whether you make it through the race on Sunday. But somebody is going to make it through the event, somebody is going to get the win, and somebody is going to get the points that come along with it. You would certainly rather that be your team than watch somebody else. I just think you have to keep that in mind as much as you may not enjoy it, that’s the reality of it.”
STAGE POINTS, WE TALK ABOUT IT ALL YEAR LONG. WHEN YOU LOOK AT YOUR SITUATION NOW, THE STAGE POINTS IN THE SPRING RACE WERE NICE TO HAVE, BUT NOT CRICTICAL TO HAVE. HOW DOES THAT HAVE AN IMPACT? ARE STAGE POINTS IN APRIL AS IMPORTANT TO YOU GUYS? HOW IS THAT GOING TO FACTOR IN SUNDAY AFTERNOON FOR YOU GUYS?
“That stage win in April was just important then as it is now. Getting that point can be the difference between us making it or not. Yes, I think they are all important. At the time, you may not think so. Now, I wish we would have won the first stage too because we would be six points back instead of seven. All those things add up and definitely for us right now, the stage points are going to be critical. The manufacturers all working together obviously means there are a lot of Chevrolet’s in numbers, a power in numbers there for sure. That can also work against you. I could be in the back in the Chevrolet line and not get any points, and the top ten Chevrolet’s be there and get points themselves. It’s a tough balance, I don’t know what you do about that. You try to put yourself in the best position you can, be sharp and just try to minimize mistakes. From there, you just kind of let it unfold as it is. If we all make it to the end like we hope we can, we’ll go race for the win and see how it goes. But definitely for us, stage points are crucial. I don’t think we’re in a position where we have to win right now to make it through this round. I think we’re really close. Don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather win than be stressing about stage points. But I don’t think we’re too that point yet. If we can have a good day on Sunday, I think that would really help. Who knows, we’ll see.”
THIS WEEK ON MICHAEL WALTRIP’S PODCAST, BUBBA POLLARD SAID THAT YOU WERE SOMEONE THAT HE LOOKS UP TO, YOU ARE ONE OF HIS HEROES AND HE DOESN’T THINK EVERYONE HAS SEEN THE FULL LEVEL OF YOUR TALENT YET. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU TO HAVE SOMEONE SO RESPECTED IN THE SHORT TRACK SCENE TO SAY THAT YOU ARE ONE OF THEIR HEROES?
“I feel like he is one of my heroes. Obviously, those were very kinds words for sure from a guy that I really have looked up to for a long time. I remember losing some really tough races to him over the years. Bubba (Pollard) and I raced each other a lot, so that means a lot coming from him for sure. Anytime I feel like somebody you raced against, a competitor of yours along the way, shows that kind of respect, it definitely means a lot to me. I feel like the feeling is very mutual. I’ve always looked up to him, I’ve always enjoyed how he’s gone about his business, his dad, his mom and his family and how they’ve gone about racing and how they’ve continued to support racing, even though some things they don’t agree with or good and bad times. People like him are crucial in that world. I would love to see him have a shot in doing things maybe in the NASCAR world or whatever. Definitely cool to hear, I enjoyed my time racing with him. I would love to race with him some more in the short track world and just see how different it is. I had a conversation with him actually over at the short track here this spring and he was just telling me how different it was from when I came through; how the racing has changed and how the dynamic is different. As a racer, that really interests me. I’d love to see that as some point. It’s very kind and I appreciate it. Feeling is very mutual, he’s one of my heroes for sure.”