NASCAR CUP SERIES BANK OF AMERICA ROVAL 400 CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT OCTOBER 10, 2021
KYLE LARSON TAKES THE WIN AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSETeam Chevy Scores 15th NCS Victory of 2021CONCORD, N.C. (October 10, 2021)– With Playoff implications on the line, Kyle Larson and the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1 1LE team prevailed, taking the checkered flag for the seventh time this season in the Bank of America ROVAL 400 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course. Larson’s victory in the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) Round of 12 elimination race marked Chevrolet’s 15th win for the 2021 season and 810th all-time in NASCAR’s premier series. The 29-year-old Hendrick Motorsports driver’s trip to victory lane at the 17-turn, 2.28-mile North Carolina Road Course is his 13th victory in 255 NCS races, securing his chance to continue in the battle for the coveted title of the NASCAR Cup Series Champion. Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott triumphed from damage sustained at the end of Stage One, driving his No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1 1LE to a 12th-place finish to advance into the NCS Playoffs Round of Eight. Tyler Reddick drove his No. 8 Lenovo Camaro ZL1 1LE to a strong runner-up finish, his 15th top-10 finish in 2021, to give the Bowtie Brand a 1-2 finish in the final road course event for the 2021 NCS season. Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman battled to a 10th-place finish to round out the Team Chevy top-10. Chris Buescher (Ford) finished third, Kyle Busch (Toyota) was fourth and Denny Hamlin (Toyota) rounded out the top-five in the 109-lap race. The NASCAR Cup Series Round of Eight gets underway next weekend at Texas Motor Speedway for the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 on Sunday, October 17, at 2 p.m. ET. Live coverage can be found on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1 1LE – PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT: THE MODERATOR: Last but certainly not least is our winning driver, Kyle Larson.We’ll get right to questions.
Q.You were a premier dirt track racing, short track racer, oval racer. Have you surprised yourself at all with what a great road course racer you’ve become, too?KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I mean, a little bit. I felt like for me to be able to qualify as good as I had in years past when we had qualifying on road courses, I felt like I was a good road course racer until I would get to the races and I wouldn’t be very good just on the long run stuff.Now, with Hendrick, I think just the setups kind of go along with me and my style. We’re able to have good long run speed.I still feel like I’m so far away from being where I could be as far as road course racer. I still think there’s lots of, tons of room for improvement. I think there’s so many more people out there that are better than me under braking, just doing little things better than me and we’re able to get wins like we are.I feel like if I can put some more work in, I should hopefully get a lot better. Q.It seemed like you and your No. 5 team really had to work for it today. How gratifying is this victory given the circumstances?KYLE LARSON: Yeah, it’s so satisfying because I really did not think that we were going to have a shot to win today. Had a lot of different emotions throughout the middle portions of that race, thinking that this is so depressing and sad and crazy that I’m going to lose my shot at a championship because of an alternator issue, to, okay, now we got it fixed, let’s try to get away with a top 15 finish, keeping all the fenders on it.I was passing some cars. We had a really good green flag cycle. I’m trying to look at the big screen. I see Denny coming up on my mirror. I’m like judging off of that, Okay, I think I’m towards the front here now. Man, I’d love to see a caution come out. Then it all worked out.Not that many people stayed out with him. I knew he was in trouble. I had just a lot of stuff work out for us. William having to go through the backstretch chicane that allowed us to get to second. From then on I was like, We really have a good shot to win now.Just a wild range of emotions all race long. Just crazy that I’m sitting here talking to all of you. Q.Seems like you chose your battles wisely. How confident were you that you had the car underneath you to make the final charge you did?KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I knew I had a car that was definitely capable of winning. I was trying to be patient with it. I knew I had much better tires than Denny. But to a point I was too patient with him the first restart. I was able to somehow get past Reddick. I think him and Denny got battling. I was able to get him before we got back onto the oval, turn one over there. A caution came out shortly later.I told myself I still need to be smart and patient, but not to waste any time if I get an opportunity. I had a good restart, was able to get single file off of turn one. The restart before Denny had kind of entered low and washed really high in the center of three and four over here. I knew that was going to be a good opportunity for me if I could get my angles right to get pointed and squirt in front of him and at least get in position on him off of four.Yeah, that restart went really well for me. Kind of had to manage the gap and not make any mistakes. Q.You complete a sweep of the Charlotte races. It’s your second straight win in an elimination race. Do you believe there’s something about you and your team that you know how to flip the switch and just peak at the right time?KYLE LARSON: I’m not sure. I will say, though, that my team did an amazing job today. Steven getting the belt changed, Jesse changing the battery, my pit crew staying calm, listening to Cliff when communicating with him, when we’re having to change up our plans when they’re changing the cautions to quick yellow, things like that.I think Cliff is more good at kind of flipping the switch and keeping everybody motivated and calm, just communicating well with all the tasks that each and every one of us needed to get done.Then our race car is really good, too, which allows us to be more patient in situations like that. I think when you’re trying to fight handling or speed just in general, you can really overdrive and make mistakes.Having a good car helped with the switch, I guess. Q.You had so much to go through to get to the end. Cliff said several times your hands were shaking on the late restarts. Why the nerves at the end of the race instead of when you were facing all the stuff early? What is that about your handshaking?KYLE LARSON: It wasn’t my hand. My brake leg was kind of getting twitchy just from nerves and stuff. Not under caution. Once we got going, I got the lead, I couldn’t believe I got the lead that early on the restart.But yeah, I mean, I guess that was just an excited anxiety shake then. Early on when I was having all my issues, I was just kind of sad and depressed that this was going to be how my season was going to end, where we didn’t even really have a crash or a mistake on our part. It was just something kind of freak happen.Yeah, just had a lot of emotions. It all worked out. Q.Were you aware of everything that was going on with Harvick and Chase during the race at all? You’ll now catch up on it?KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I need to really go back and watch what happened. Obviously we had the big screen so I saw Kevin get into Chase over here, get his payback I’m guessing. But, man, Chase’s team did such a good job, such a good job, fighting through that.I think any other race in the season, you’ll probably give up and just patch it together the best you can, and the driver also is probably going to limp it around and accept that they aren’t going to make the next round.Not Alan and Chase, that whole 9 team. It’s unbelievable what they did. I think they finished 13th or something like that. That’s crazy. Q.12th.KYLE LARSON: 12th, that’s just crazy. I was following along with that.Then I saw Kevin — I heard about Kevin getting into the barriers at one. I wasn’t sure if Chase got into him or not. I saw on the big screen that didn’t happen.Just a wild race for so many different people. So many drivers had to overcome something I felt like today. I don’t think there was anybody that probably had a smooth race at all. Q.Even with your points you have, so many this round, the ups and downs of Talladega, are you ready for the next round and the challenges ahead? Are you just glad this one is over and feel more confident about the next round?KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I mean, I’m glad I’m through. I’m glad I somehow got five more points to take into the next round for sure.I think you look at probably where had I been in the same — you eliminate four cars out of this round, I’m much closer to the cut line going into Martinsville, if I have an average first race, a bad second race, then we’re in an extra stressful situation going into Martinsville.Hopefully Texas goes smooth. Hopefully Kansas goes smooth and we can be a little bit more stress-free. I guess I can’t imagine I’ll be much more ahead of the cut line than I probably was going into today, just with everybody having more points.Yeah, you got to be really good. You got to do a good job every lap of every race. You got to get stage points. You just can’t let your guard down and lose ground on guys that are gaining points on you.Yeah, it’s nice to have the bonus points that we have. I’m hoping we don’t have to lean on ’em like we did at Talladega going into today. Q.You were talking about you don’t believe in luck. After a race like this, are you still a believer in you make your own luck, or things fell your way today?KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know, bad luck with the alternator belt, but after that I think for sure you make your own luck. Cliff leading all of us to get our tasks done, keep ourselves in the game. Maybe the ladybug on the roof of my car made a difference today.I don’t know. I don’t even really want to think about luck, good luck, bad luck, anything right now. I just want to go out there and do our jobs and it will all take care of itself. Q.Rick was in before you. He thinks that NASCAR needs to step in between Chase and Kevin. As a driver, do you think the sanctioning body needs to sort of referee?KYLE LARSON: I don’t know. I haven’t been in that situation yet to have a true opinion. I’m very glad that Chase was able to overcome everything that happened today. You never know if Kevin’s going to feel like he still owes him more.That’s between them two. NASCAR, if they feel like they need to step in, I don’t truly have an opinion of it.Just glad that Chase was able to overcome it today. Q.2018 you almost had this race won. Now you swept the races here at Charlotte. How sweet is it to overcome this and accomplish this victory in front of Mr. H in a hometown race?KYLE LARSON: No doubt. That moment of 2018, I can guarantee you it’s on my mind every restart of every Roval race I’ve ran since then. That’s all I can think about.Coming to the restart zone, lining up next to Denny in the right lane, like don’t do that again. I don’t even know how that happened last time because I don’t feel like I drove in that much deeper then as I would have today. But it happened.It’s on my mind. Yeah, cool to overcome and make it into the next round that day, then to get two Charlotte wins this year. THE MODERATOR: Kyle, congratulations. Thank you for the time. KYLE LARSON: Thank you, guys.
CLIFF DANIELS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1 1LE – PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by the race-winning crew chief.Cliff, a wild race for you guys and your team. Talk about the stress, especially with some of the issues you had early in the race.
CLIFF DANIELS: Certainly, early in the race didn’t look great for a little while. When we stayed out, our car just wasn’t where it needed to be. There in the first stage, we stayed out of the comp, faded pretty hard. Knew we had some work to do on the car. I can’t remember at what point we started having the voltage issue.Obviously only a handful of things there. The guys did a great job to diagnose, and we had to come up with a plan on what to do to fix it. Had to think pretty fast on our feet. The plan changed when NASCAR called for it to be a quickie yellow instead of a regular yellow. We were actually planning to pit twice.The guys, I couldn’t be more proud. Jesse Saunders, our car chief; Steven Legendre, who’s our engine tuner, they hit a home run on getting the car fixed. Our guys had to change the tires at the same time.Super proud of them. Proud of our team.After that we just kind of had to hang tough for the end of the race. Short pitted some of those guys. Larson did a heck of a job on restarts, drove a great race. Very, very thankful for the way it worked out.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Cliff.
Q.Do you practice that kind of stuff? That just doesn’t happen. You don’t do that on the fly. Do you have, like we had in the military, battle drills? Do you practice that?CLIFF DANIELS: Yeah, we do. Mostly in January, February before the season starts. As you practice crash repair, damage repair, changing parts and pieces on the car. We have a notebook you pull from. Obviously, it’s been 30 something-odd weeks since we’ve done that, so it can be a little dicey when you have to pull from those notes you made back in January, February.But those guys were tough, they were ready. We’ve got a checklist every week we go through of parts and tools and equipment that we need to have on standby. All that was ready and available. They knew what to do and got it done, so it worked out.
Q.Do you have a plan for days like this?CLIFF DANIELS: Yeah, I mean, I would say every maybe month, every four or five races, we go through random scenarios from things we see on other cars on track, things that happen to our teammates. You’re always trying to stay fresh on the crazy what ifs. You can’t always plan for a day like this, but be somewhat prepared.
Q.During the broadcast, when you had that meeting with all the team members, you had to do that to make a battle plan. Also that was taking you out of being able to follow the race. How did you manage that, keeping the team on the same page about how you’re going to fix the car and figure out how you were going to win the race?CLIFF DANIELS: Yeah, at that point I remember pretty clearly the two things we needed to do was have a plan if the caution came out and not burn the brakes off because he was running with no fans. Those are the only two things I was worried about at that point. Anything else strategy-wise, I knew if a caution came out, all the people on our cycle were going to stay out, and you’re pitting anyways to fix your car.Strategy at that point was gone in my mind. Don’t burn the brakes off because we have no fans. I could tell kind of by lap times, I was peeking over Jesse’s shoulder every now and then, looking at lap times, that we weren’t trying to kill it at that point and burn the brakes off.We had to have a plan for the caution. Once that worked out, everything kind of got reset, and then we had to start all over on what our strategy was going to look like from there.
Q.The road courses you guys have been so successful on, is that somewhere you’ve been focusing in particular? Do you feel you guys have been the dominant team this season? Does that change that much next season?CLIFF DANIELS: I would start out giving credit where it’s due. We’re spoiled. We have Alan Gustafson and Chase and their record from road courses to pull from. They’re the guys for the last two or three years that have been the toughest on road courses. If it weren’t for the package that they built and all the teammates kind of get to tune on and work from, we wouldn’t be as successful as we are.Certainly it takes everybody back at the shop, from brakes and transmissions, car construction, everything, to just have a really solid piece. I know that sounds really basic, but our cars do the right things right. We have good transmissions, brakes. Drivers do a great job with it. Just the way that we get to study and prepare for these races based on good data points from the past kind of sets you that much farther ahead.It’s tough when you don’t have a good race, you come back, review your notes, we know what doesn’t work, how do we find what does work. Well, now we’re again kind of spoiled because we know what works, we know what those guys have done, how they build their car, execute their race. We get to pick apart how Chase drives. That has really helped our whole company elevate, kind of run at a higher level.
Q.You sounded calm on the radio. Were you actually that calm internally?CLIFF DANIELS: Probably not. The tough part is I try to operate with my gut feeling based on the information that’s right in front of me, the information we had that was very well-reviewed by me and Jesse and Steven for what we had to do. The pit crew was 100% onboard like we spelled out behind the pit box what our game plan was going to be. Made sense to do it the way we did.The curve ball was when NASCAR called for the quick yellow right in the middle of that because that totally kind of derailed our plan. Everybody thought kick on their feet, guys did a good job getting it done. Glad it paid off.
Q.You swept the races here at Charlotte. How sweet is it to accomplish this in front of Mr. H in a hometown race?CLIFF DANIELS: Yeah, it’s really, really special to sweep Charlotte just in general. Any time you can sweet Charlotte, road course, oval, it’s really cool.To be in the backyard of Hendrick Motorsports, our company has such a legacy and history here. A lot of our teammates were either here in the infield or in the grandstand from all different areas of our company. To have that much support here, to be able to bring the trophy home tonight, them being able to see it tomorrow morning makes it that much more special.Super happy for Mr. H and hendrickcars.com. We had a lot of Hendrick Automotive Group guests here. The really cool part about it being a home race, it’s kind of a family race, we get everybody from Hendrick Motorsports and from the Hendrick Automotive Group here.
Q.Kyle worked his way through the field at a tough track. How confident were you he was able to do it with a car underneath him?CLIFF DANIELS: I could tell at moments through the race, other than the first run, we just weren’t very good the first run, but then we went to work on the car. I knew we had the pace that if we could ever get up front, we could run the top five. It’s tough to know if you’re not leading what you’re going to be out front, vulnerable, have the pace to stay up there. We knew our car was going to be top five capable.Once we got it up there, Larson told me he was amped up. His hand was shaking on the wheel he was so excited for the last few restarts. It doesn’t matter what he’s in, when you get Kyle Larson in that kind of mode, he’s lights out.
Q.I know Texas Motor Speedway is next weekend. Do you have a good baseline where you feel like you need to be?CLIFF DANIELS: Yeah, it’s going to be different for sure. The weather plays a factor. Also the package is a little different. We had smaller plate on the engine when we were there for the All-Star Race. That race is a little bit different.To be honest, we weren’t that good at the beginning of the All-Star Race. We had to make a lot of adjustments to the car. Going to sound weird to say. I’m glad to know the bad things our car was doing at the beginning of the race that we improved during that race so we can continue to build on those notes.Obviously look back at our notes from last year, put our best guess oh for what we need.
Q.Talking about not being focused on strategy at one point. You came in and pitted. You were essentially one of the first cars to leave that cycle. Did that become a strategy play in that sense in trying to get track position?CLIFF DANIELS: Yeah, it was. When everything was happening, again our two objectives were to take care of the car, get the car fixed however we could. Once we got going again, I could tell the car had pace because we’d pass somebody, catch the next group really quick. Passing seemed to be kind of tough today.I think we were 16th, somewhere around there, knew that our backwards lap was going to be in the 74 to 75 range. We chose the earlier side of that just to try to leapfrog as many as we could. I had to tell him we could have been a quarter of a lap short on fuel. Not sure how that was going to play out.That was really our best move to try to leapfrog a chunk of cars that I thought our pace, from that point forward, even if we had older tires, could keep us ahead of those guys that could pit a couple laps later than we did.Doesn’t always work out like that. This time it did. Got a couple of cautions after that. Guys did a good job on pit road.
Q.You’ve worked together all year. People talk about how calm you were. But how calm Kyle was. Drivers get panicky and upset. Kyle, you can correct me on that. Seemed like Kyle was calm, was able to take that in. Kyle seems to be California cool all the time.CLIFF DANIELS: He thinks really quick in the moment. He can process a lot of thoughts really fast. I can, too.My objective for him and for the team is to spell it out as clear and as concise as possible so we hit the first objective, when you’re done with that, you go to step two, then step three. Sounds basic and simple, but we really had no choice.It cracks me up after the race when he said to me, his hand was shaking on the wheel, so amped up for the last couple restarts. I know that of him, but I know his maturity behind the wheel with how fast he can be.He’s at a mature point he can control it so well. He can go stupid fast, be in control, pass guys for the win, for whatever. I think he kind of trusted us to do what we had to do to get him up there. We certainly trusted in him to take care of the rest. It all worked out.
Q.I asked Rick this. He said this was one of the most nerve-wracking races he had sat through. Were you able to keep up with where you were points-wise, or you just figured you’ll wait till the race plays itself out and not worry about every movement?CLIFF DANIELS: Yeah, a couple things there.Part of, I would say, Rick’s anxiety, too, is we were only one quarter of what was adding to his anxiety today. He had four cars to keep up with throughout the day.Then for us, all year I’ve tried really hard not to pay attention to points. Kyle and I have had some conversations. He thinks I get mad at him when he asks about points. I try not to let that be, like, the guiding factor to what we have to do. At the end of the day, if we have damage or issues, whatever is going on, my job is to lead him and the team to what we have to do to get himself back in contention.All week we knew we were going to kind of have points off to the side screen where we could see it. I did keep up with it throughout the day. I think at one point we were 11 points out all the way up to when we were 55 points to the good. I saw the big swing.You can’t ride the highs too high, and you can’t ride the lows too low. When we were leading at the end, I was realistic, if we get a late race restart, we may not win this thing. Crazy restarts at the Roval.When things are going terrible, I didn’t know if we could get an alternator belt or a battery on the car. I wasn’t convinced we were out of it either. Can’t ride the waves like that. Everybody executed today. It worked out.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll let you go. Congratulations.
CLIFF DANIELS: Thank you.
RICK HENDRICK, OWNER, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS – PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:THE MODERATOR: We are joined now by the owner of the winning team, Hendrick Motorsports, that’s Rick Hendrick.
This is Hendrick Motorsports’ 36th overall victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway, that includes the oval, the Roval, all the All-Star Races.
Rick, congratulations on the victory. Two drivers are advancing. Talk about the day from your perspective, please.
RICK HENDRICK: It was an up-and-down day. At one point it didn’t look too good for the 5 car to have to change a belt and a battery. We hadn’t had any alternator problems, and had two cars today, the 48 and the 5. Then William was looking so good there. I hate it for him. And Chase, I don’t know how he came back with the damage he had. But he willed to get that car up there.
We’re going now, and try to win some races and make it to Phoenix.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Rick.Q.You got two cars in the Playoffs. I know it’s disappointing to have the two eliminated. Do you shift your mindset or resources towards helping the other two to move forward, a shift?RICK HENDRICK: No. We’re doing everything we can for all four. I want those guys to win races. We’re doing everything we can for all four teams. It’s one organization with four cars, one team with four cars.No, we’re not going to back off. They want to win. They want to finish the season on a high note. We’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing. That’s the plan.One thing I’d like to say, too, Greg Anderson won today in our Pro Stock car. He’s the all-time winningest Pro Stock driver. He tied it a couple weeks ago, but broke it today. A pretty neat day to have Hendrick cars on the Pro Stock and this car today.
Q.During the race, particularly a cutoff race, is somebody telling you almost constantly where you stand? You knew at one point Kyle was way below the line, William was above it? Are you aware of that? If so, do you get too worried about it?RICK HENDRICK: Oh, yeah. Listen, I’ve got a screen that shows me every lap. But you got to figure in who’s got to pit, who’s staying out.To be honest with you, today, through this race, I lost track of everything. I mean, I was looking at the screen, but when you come in to change the belts, and Chase, I thought he was done. Didn’t know if the car could continue. William was good all day.You’re trying to look at, Okay, if William wins, what happens to Chase? Can maybe all three of them get in?But it was the most nerve-wracking race I think that I can ever remember being a part of watching just because the Roval, the pit strategies, where people were on tires. It was a hard race to keep up with.But the crew chiefs did a nice job. Vegas, we kind of messed up, didn’t pit, cost us some really good finishes there. So today it all worked out for us.But, man, I was talking to Cliff after. You’ll talk to him here later. But everybody was uptight. You had to be.
Q.How good does it feel after being down for a couple of years a little bit, down for you guys, not for most people, but to bounce back like you have this year, great speed, and you’re performing not on just one type of track but all the tracks?RICK HENDRICK: It feels good. We started off the year just so fast. People caught up. We’ve had just a heck of a year. All of our guys and crew chiefs. This has been the best chemistry I think between crew chiefs and drivers that we’ve ever had. Any week one can win a race.Kyle has been extremely good. Won a lot of races this year. But Alex won three, Chase won a couple, William won one. They’ve been in position to win.It’s been a great feeling not to have a sponsor say, ‘Why don’t you give the 48 the same stuff you give the 5, give him the same motor, the same car?’ Now all the cars, everybody touches each car, and the motors, they’re given out at random.It’s up to the teams. It’s up to the driver. But it is the best we’ve been as an organization in a long, long time.
Q.I was thinking how sweet it was for you to have your team sweep the races at Charlotte. Given this is a hometown race, how special does it get to know you have a team behind you that can win this event?RICK HENDRICK: Charlotte’s home. It’s always been a race that we want to win. We’ve been very fortunate here to win a lot of races through our career.But when we could have all our fans, a lot of our employees were sitting in the stands, couldn’t come in, but it’s a home track. I love it. I love the city. I’ve lived here now for a lot of years. To see the complex grow from Harry Hyde, the gravel road to where it is today, it’s home.
Q.As a team owner, how do you feel Chase and the 9 team have handled the situation with Harvick?RICK HENDRICK: Repeat that.
Q.As a team owner, how do you feel like Chase and the 9 team have handled the incidents with Harvick over the last couple of weeks?RICK HENDRICK: I think they’ve handled it well. Of course, they were upset. Everybody was upset when that happened today. It looked like Chase could be done and out of the Playoffs. I mean, it was a lot of heated feelings.He came back, was able to win. Harvick wrecked himself, I guess. I hope it’s over. We don’t want to race that way. We want to just race. That’s not our style. Just go out, if a guy is better than you, he wins. Just do your job. If you get beat, you get beat.It never feels good to push somebody out of the way. I mean, a little rubbing or something, that’s okay. But just to wreck somebody, that’s not good.
Q.You have two cars having some electrical issues, then the 9 and the 4 have their problems. What are you thinking when you see everything fall apart like that? You said you hope it’s over between Kevin and Chase. At what point do you think NASCAR has to step in on something like that since the championship is on the line?RICK HENDRICK: Well, I think they’re the only ones that can really stop it. I hope they do because the crew chiefs and everybody can do the best they can, but it’s up to the drivers themselves.I’ve been in this situation before. NASCAR can handle it.What was your other question?
Q.What were you thinking when you’re watching sort of everything unravel?RICK HENDRICK: I was upset. I was ready to go home. I mean, it was time to get the helicopter and get out of here. I mean, it was brutal. I’m not going to lie to you.That’s the lowest I’ve been since Talladega, I guess. We wrecked everything we had down there. Just hard to have a year like we’ve had, then it comes to crunch time, have issues.We haven’t had an alternator issue, I don’t think, all year. Here we are in the last race to advance to 8, and we have it in both cars. I’m glad the guys recovered. Then the issue with Chase. Then you have William, kid drove his heart out today.You got a variety of emotions. But it’s racing. At the end of the day, we got to celebrate. At one point today I didn’t think this was even possible, but the guys kept digging, and here we are.
Q.Kyle’s talent is unquestioned. Thought if he could get to Homestead, he could win the championship. What do you see out of him to have that championship potential pedigree this year and what he’s doing beyond the equipment issues of years past maybe he didn’t have?RICK HENDRICK: I think Kyle right now this year, he has tremendous confidence in the team. They have tremendous confidence in him. He believes, I mean, he’s a guy he told me all week, I can’t wait for the Roval, we’re going to win the Roval.He’s so good everywhere. When you get to a place like Talladega, Daytona, when you take it out of his hands, then he can’t show the real talent that he has.But I think the races coming up in Kansas and Texas, you know, Martinsville, I hope we can get a win and enough points before we get there, end up in Phoenix, I think, hot and slick. It will be a good track for him.We know the competition’s going to be tough. When you get there, you’re going to have your hands full with any one of the other three cars.I was around Kyle a lot when he was driving with Ganassi. We were kind of friends. I talked to him. But just the determination he has right now. He’s so good. I did not realize how good he was with feedback to the car.Now the further into the year he and Cliff go, the better they’ve gotten together. They can anticipate things, so… Pretty excited.
Q.Do you feel this latest win kind of solidifies that Hendrick Motorsports is the team to beat on road courses? How do you feel that sets the team up next year?RICK HENDRICK: Well, I don’t know. I think we won how many road course races? How many road course races we win?
CLIFF DANIELS: This year?
RICK HENDRICK: In a row, anyway. Five, yeah.I think we’re awful good on road courses. Our guys are. Next year with the new car, who knows.
Q.Mr. Hendrick, correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that for William, Liberty University has signed through this season. He was at Liberty University this last weekend for their homecoming festivities. What is the relationship there?RICK HENDRICK: We’ll have an announcement probably this week. It will be a very good one. We’re excited.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on the victory, Mr. Hendrick. Thank you for your time.
NASCAR CUP SERIES BANK OF AMERICA ROVAL 400 CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT OCTOBER 10, 2021