MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY POST RACE NOTES AND QUOTES
APRIL 2, 2017
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 SUNENERGY1 CHEVROLET SS – Finished 3rd
YOU SAID THIS PLACE IS A BIT OF A PUZZLE, BUT HOW IMPORTANT WAS RUNNING IN THE TRUCK RACE YESTERDAY?
“I think it helped a little bit. We’ve got a little work to do, but it was much improved, I hope it was in just a one-day event. And we got lucky. I hope that wasn’t the case. We hopefully have a good direction and we can build on this for the fall. This was an important race and we’d love to have a good run then.”
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 OKUMA CHEVROLET SS – Finished 5th
JUST LIKE LAST YEAR, YOU JUST KEPT BUILDING AND BUILDING ON YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT. IT WAS ALMOST A MIRROR COPY OF LAST YEAR
“Yeah, it’s really big for our team and for everybody at DOW and Okuma. Our pit crew did a really good job today. We had a fast car on restarts and could really take off. The middle of the run was shaky for us but that last run we held on, which was really nice. That’s why I was worried about on older tires, there; but it worked out for us.”
AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 KROGER CLICKLIST CHEVROLET SS – Finished 6th
YOU’VE HAD GOOD RUNS HERE THE PAST COUPLE OF YEARS. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU RUN WELL HERE BECAUSE IT RACES LIKE A ROAD COURSE?
“I mean it’s for sure a little bit like a road course race. I just think the driver can make a bit more of a difference here. You know, get to the mile and a half’s, 2-mile race tracks, aero is a lot of it. So, that is something we are continuously working on. We worked hard on the West Coast swing. We learned a lot. Finishes didn’t show it, but felt like we learned a lot aero wise for those bigger race tracks and just coming to here it’s just about having a good car. This car was frigging hooked up. Once we got it right, long runs, it was just an awesome race car. I can’t thank everybody at Kroger, Clicklist, and all of our associates, everybody at the shop. Randall Burnett (crew chief) having him back after the suspension, just, God I wish we would have stayed green for about 120 laps because I think I could have ate these guys alive. All-in-all a solid day.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 CHEVROLET SS – Finished 8th
“We just never got the corner connected, entry, middle and exit all day long. Just struggled a little bit. I’m surprised we finished as good as we did for how bad the car felt. Good job for the guys. (Matt) Kenseth and I had a hell of a race for nothing, but that is sometimes what you’ve got to do. Just fun racing at Martinsville. A lot of single-file racing today man, I think the other tire might have been better, but we will just keep digging.”
CHRIS BUESCHER, NO. 37 BUSH’S BAKED BEANS CHEVROLET SS – Finished 11th
ON HIS DAY:
“Qualifying getting rained out was really a bummer. We lost a lap there early and Trent (Owens, crew chief) and those guys made a really good call to stay out when a lot of the leaders pitted. Got our track position back and were able to get the lucky dog once or twice there to just kind of keep working on it. We made some really good progress with our Bush’s Baked Beans Chevrolet. We got it running so much better and really just one or two little adjustments that we kept doing were bringing it to life. It is good notes to bring for the next race here at Martinsville.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 GREAT CLIPS CHEVROLET SS – Finished 14th
ON HIS DAY:
“We kind of ran about the same spot all day. We were really close just needed a little more forward drive and then in order to get that and I was too tight rolling, so we would just go back and forth with that. But I think we ended about as good as I felt throughout the race. Just had some places to make up with speeding, I barely sped. It was what we were trying to do all day and I just got going a little too quick out of the box. That put us back a little bit, but I think we finished about where we were.”
HOW AGGRESSIVE WAS THE RACING AT THE END OF EACH STAGE?
“You want to hold off the car behind you and try to get what you can in front. I think I was around fifth to 14th at the end of the first two stages and it was aggressive. You want those points. Where I was, it seemed aggressive, I imagine more so even further forward.”
TY DILLON, NO. 13 GEICO CHEVROLET SS – Finished 22nd
“Martinsville Speedway is always a battle and today was no different. We struggled towards the end of the first stage and went a lap down, but we were able to get the balance how we needed it and started to pick up speed. But, in the nature of short-track racing, the leader catches the back of the back so quickly and keeps putting cars a lap down. It seemed like every time a caution came out, the leader had just caught a car in the back and knocked us out of the free pass spot. And, it certainly didn’t help to be caught up in someone else’s wreck there towards the end. I have an awesome team though, and our No. 13 GEICO Chevy team never lost motivation. They kept fighting to get us where we needed to be.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS – Sidelined in multi-car crash on Lap 417
“I love this place. It was a lot of fun today. The car was really good. Greg (Ives, crew chief) and the guys made a lot of changes last night and made our car way better. I must have sped on pit road. They said it was in the segment right after our pit stall, so I must have gotten a good launch out of there. And, uh, hanging around John Force too much, or something, I don’t know. I don’t know how you speed in little segment just coming out of the pit box, but we must have. It got us in the back and we got bottled-up there in (Turn) 3 and they’re ain’t no bumpers on these cars. It knocked the radiator out of it. So, we’re out of the race. We went to the garage to try to fix it, but can’t with the new rules. So, we’re done. I was having a good time. But, I’m disappointed with the way we’re finishing. We’ve got to finish better than this.”
“The radiator got knocked out of it. It just ain’t got much of a front bumper on it to begin with. So, when you get in the back of somebody that hard it’s going to knock the top of the radiator off. It knocked the fitting off the top of the radiator and we are out. I was really happy with the way the car was running. We were fast all day. They said I sped on pit road, but hard to believe that, but it is what it is. We got back there in the back and got mixed up in something and it’s going to give us a bad finish, but we were having a great time – had a fast car.”
MORE ON WHAT HAPPENED:
“They just stopped and I couldn’t. I got into the back of the No. 5 (Kasey Kahne). His bumper knocked the top of the radiator off of it, knocked the fitting off the top of the radiator. We don’t have much of a bumper on there to begin with keeping the cars as light as we can and that is about the second or third time I’ve knocked the top off the radiator here. I wish they were a little tougher than that, so we could beat and bang and keep going.”
PRETTY AGGRESSIVE WITH THE STAGES TODAY WOULDN’T YOU SAY?
“It feels like the same old Martinsville. I love it. I was having a great time. Good hard racing out there. Got turned around, got back toward the front, leaning on guy, a lot of fun. Everybody is having a good time out there.”
THE SPEEDING PENALTY PUT YOU IN THAT POSITION. ARE YOU MAD AT YOURSELF?
“Well as far as what I see on my dash I wasn’t speeding, but they have better technology than we do. They said it was in the segment out of my pit box. Hell, I must have got out of there pretty damn good. I don’t know what to do about that.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 CESSNA CHEVROLET SS – Sidelined by an accident on lap 107:
THERE WAS A LOT OF CONTACT OUT THERE, BUT WHAT WAS THE FINAL STRAW?
“I think the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) got into the left rear and it knocked the body on the tire. I was kind of leaving it up to the team whether we pit or not because I knew they could get a better idea of what it looked like and maybe where it was hitting the tire. And then it somewhat quit smoking, which made me think maybe the body had relieved itself, but then I blew a left-rear tire going into the corner. It’s like a no-win. If you stay out and you blow a tire and you wreck, your day is done. If you pit here and you lose two or three laps, I don’t think you can get those back. So, we made the decision to stay out and ended up blowing a tire.”
“I think the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) got into my left-rear and it got the body on the tire. We elected to stay out because if you pit here and you lose two or three laps, I really don’t think you can make those up. In hindsight, I guess I wish we were talking that chance now instead of sitting here, but had a good car and just cut a tire down.”
“Yeah, if the smoke hadn’t gotten lighter I would have pitted, but it was smoking really bad and I’m like we have to pit. They said run a few more laps and they are getting a better idea of what it looks like and maybe where it is rubbing the tire. And then the smoke got a little bit lighter and I thought we were going to be okay. Honestly, when I’m in the car, I’m like if we pit and we lose three laps you are never going to make those up here because of the way the tires … there is not a tremendous amount of fall off. I don’t think you are going to be able to do the wave around and all that. I mean now, you wish you had, but there is nothing you can do about it.”
HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT? AND HOW HARD WAS THAT HIT?
“I have to tell you, I thought as I felt like the tire might go down I contemplated higher on the race track so you can lessen the blow. And when the tire did blow out, I could tell I was going to hit driver-side first which is just a horrific way to wreck a car, but it didn’t hurt as bad as I was expecting.
“You know what, it’s a really long year and you have days like today, but there will be other days that it maybe should be bad and things work out and you get a good finish. It’s frustrating, but I’m just really glad that we’ve run well again and the cars are fast and go on to a new repave next week.”