Team Chevy Takes 4 of the Top-Five; 6 of the Top-10CONCORD, NC – (May 30, 2021) – The NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) annual Memorial Day weekend event brought Kyle Larson his second victory of the year when he powered his No. 5 MetroTech Camaro ZL1 1LE to victory lane in the 62nd Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In dominating fashion, Larson swept all three stage wins and led a race-high 327 laps en route to his eighth-career victory in 238 starts in NASCAR’s Premier Series. The 28-year-old Hendrick Motorsports driver’s trip to victory lane in one of NASCAR Cup Series’ crown jewel events gives Chevrolet its third consecutive win and sixth win overall on the season, bringing the Bowtie Brand’s all-time win record to 801 victories in the NASCAR Cup Series. The triumph gives Hendrick Motorsports its 21st win at the 1.5-mile Charlotte oval, the most of all active teams at the track. It was a milestone victory for the Chevrolet team, as Larson’s triumph gives Hendrick Motorsports its record-breaking 269th all-time NASCAR Cup Series win. The feat tops Petty Enterprises’ NCS all-time win record and gives Car Owner, Rick Hendrick, and Hendrick Motorsports the prestigious title as the winningest team in NCS history, one of stock car racing’s greatest achievements. “On behalf of everyone at Chevrolet, congratulations to Kyle Larson, the No. 5 Camaro team and Hendrick Motorsports on this monumental victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President of Performance and Motorsports. “This milestone is a testament to the talent, hard work and dedication by everyone, past and present, that have contributed to Hendrick Motorsports’ success in becoming the winningest organization in NASCAR Cup Series history. We are so proud of our partnership with Hendrick Motorsports, and that all 269 wins have been in a Chevrolet. We look forward to many more.” Larson led a strong Team Chevy showing, with the Bowtie Brand capturing six of the Top-10 positions in the final running. The historic victory was celebrated by Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1 1LE, in second; William Byron, No. 24 Liberty University Camaro ZL1 1LE, in fourth; and Alex Bowman, No. 48 Ally Patriotic Camaro ZL1 1LE, rounding out the Top-Five. Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon, No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Off Road Camaro ZL1 1LE, finished sixth; and Tyler Reddick, No. 8 Alsco Uniform’s Camaro ZL1 1LE, crossed the line in ninth to give Chevrolet six of the Top-10 in the final running order of the 400-lap/600-mile event. The NASCAR Cup Series season continues next weekend as the Series heads west to Sonoma Raceway for the Toyota / Save Mart 350 on Sunday, June 6, at 4 p.m. ET. Live coverage will air on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 METROTECH CAMARO ZL1 1LE, PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Kyle Larson, winner of tonight’s Coca-Cola 600 and driver of the No. 5 MetroTech Chevrolet.
Q.Kyle, have you ever had just kind of a car like that and a dominating performance like that in NASCAR?KYLE LARSON: I would say a few times. Probably more so — like Vegas I think was a much more dominating car. I think Kansas was. My car was really, really good. I didn’t have many complaints tonight, but I just think with the grip in the track and all that, my teammates were just as good as I was.It was much harder to fight them off than say it was in Vegas or Kansas or things, other races like that.Even when I was at Ganassi I had some races where it was probably easier throughout the whole race. I can think of Darlington, whatever year that was, where this one I felt like I was on defense for most of the race.
Finally in that final stage I was able to kind of stretch out and relax a little bit, but for most of the race I didn’t really relax at all.
Q.Kind of the string of second-place finishes, does that pop into your mind at all near the end of this race, like gosh, just don’t let something happen and me finish second again?KYLE LARSON: No, I mean, not really. Honestly all I’m thinking about the last 20 is just like, just don’t be a caution because I don’t want to have to be a strategy game, do we stay out, do we pit, anything like that. I just kind of wanted to cruise to the checkered flag.
No, I’m not thinking about the second-place finishes at all when I’m out there. I’m more just trying to think ahead of — hopefully it stays green and we get to the checkered like we did, but if not what do I need in my car to be better if we do pit. I had a big lead, so I’m like, well, let’s try and take care of my tires as much as I can just in case we have a restart and we stay out.
No, I’m not thinking about oh, gosh, let’s not finish second when I have a 10-second lead.
Q.I’m curious your take on the lap traffic tonight. It seemed like there was really a much larger disparity tonight between the leaders and the lap traffic. What was your take on that?KYLE LARSON: I mean, for the most part, most of the cars we lapped were pretty easy. I could catch them in okay spots and get runs in the corners. But it was as you got to the faster cars, that’s about when my front tires were pretty wore out and I was tight. It made it difficult to get runs and pass them.I got stuck behind the 10 a couple different times and maybe somebody else one other time. That really allowed the guys in second to close on me because I was just stalled out and making things were by trying to get aggressive to pass.
With this package and us running up in the PJ1, it was just kind of narrow up there and you’re just a little bit stuck in their dirty air.
Yeah, but it seemed like usually about the time where I would catch traffic and be struggling, that’s usually in the run where we would get to pit and put fresher tires on and get spread out again, so it worked out.
Q.You were battling your teammates most of the night. Was there ever a point even when Chase and William passed you, was there ever a point where you didn’t necessarily feel in control of the race or even when they got by you did you feel like you had the car to be able to get back to them and get around them?KYLE LARSON: Well, when Chase got by me early, I was like, uh-oh, this is not good. But when I ate him up getting to the commitment line for the green flag stop and took a large chunk of that out and came out the leader, I knew I had something in my advantage to be able to beat them guys.
And then when William passed me, he was way faster than I was. He was way faster than Chase was. But my goal when he passed me, he kind of stretched out a little bit, my goal was just to inch closer to him for when we got to the green flag stops because I knew I could do a better job than him on the green flag stop, and that’s what I was able to do.
We gained a lot of time. I think we pitted a lap earlier than him. I did a good job coming to the commitment line, our pit crew did a great job on the stop, and I was able to edge him out down the backstretch when he blended up. That carried us to the third stage win, and that No. 1 pit stall really helped for our pit stops and beating cars off for the caution stops.
It all just worked out really well, and qualifying on the pole I think really helped our race tonight.
Q.Multiple wins, the consistency, really the level of dominance you’ve had, was this the kind of season that you expected to have coming to Hendrick Motorsports or have you surprised yourself a little bit?KYLE LARSON: I did not expect to be this good. I had hoped to. It’s still early in the year, but I don’t know, I knew I would be good. Chase Elliott won the championship last year, and Jimmie had one of the fastest cars every race. They just kind of had some issues, and they didn’t get the finishes that they quite deserved. I had that in the back of my mind and thought, well, if Jimmie had the fastest car, maybe we would still continue to have one of the fastest cars this year, and Cliff and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports, they’ve probably gotten their stuff even better toward the end of the year, and it’s been awesome to see. Like looking at the scoreboard we had four cars in the top 5 is pretty dang cool.
Q.Kyle, what does Rick Hendrick mean to you?KYLE LARSON: He means a lot. I think we all in this room have a lot of respect for Rick Hendrick and a lot of you probably don’t even know him, just like myself really before this year. I had obviously — he said hi to me in passing and things like that, but I’ve always had a lot of respect for him, and then now getting to see firsthand the level of respect that everybody has for him and how they all love to work for him, I think it just shows how great of a person that he is and how great of a leader, too.
I think there’s just a lot to be learned off of him. He’s got a lot of experience in the business world, too, to get him to where he’s at and build the empire that he’s built today.
He means a bunch to me, and I definitely love having him at the racetrack, love having him around. He came to our competition meeting a few weeks ago, and I thought that was really cool, that our owner was sitting through an hour and a half competition meeting with us when he could have been doing a lot of other things on a Monday afternoon than he was that day. But he was there to support us, and I think that says a lot about him.
Q.You’ve had some really strong runs at some of the playoff tracks. What this organization has done the last few weeks has been remarkable, but it’s also come at tracks that aren’t going to be playoff tracks. With all the success or some of the things that you guys have done, how do you carry that through because the playoffs still are several months away and a lot of things can change? How do you look at what you’ve done but what you still have to do to be a true title contender?KYLE LARSON: Yeah, definitely. I honestly don’t even know what the schedule is for the playoffs off the top of my head. I mean, yeah, I guess this track isn’t in the playoffs.
I don’t know, in my experience in the Cup Series, too, a lot of times, and you see it a lot, the team that’s the best throughout the regular season isn’t the team that always is the best throughout the playoffs and wins the championship. I think we all know that at Hendrick Motorsports, and I think that’s why we continue to not settle with where we’re at.
There’s no denying that we’re the most dominant team, organization out there right now, but that could easily change in a couple months. I think I’ve seen it in my career, so I’m happy that we’re this good, but I’m not thinking it’s going to be a cake walk to the Final Four or anything like that just because nothing is easy in this sport, and every week these teams are getting better and better.
We’ve got to continue to get better, as well.
Q.Sort of a follow-up, you haven’t been at Hendrick Motorsports very long, but I wondered what have your impressions been of working with this organization and how in general it has helped you to have the kind of season that you’ve had this year?KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I mean, it’s an amazing place. Everything about the compound there at Hendrick Motorsports just down the street is perfect. Everything down to the way they mow the lawn. It looks amazing.
I think it just — they put a level of effort into everything and pride in everything. That’s why we — I don’t think it’s a surprise to anybody that our cars are this good. He’s built such an amazing empire, and everybody there loves to work there, too. I think that’s the most important thing. They all respect him — I mentioned it earlier, but they all respect him and love to work for him and want to do a good job for him that results follow.
I don’t know if — it’s probably hard for Mr. H to have a few thousand employees probably, and I’m sure they all love working for him. That’s hard to do. I don’t think there’s probably another race team out there that everybody that works there loves their boss. But I feel like at Hendrick Motorsports it’s that way, and I think because of that, the results follow because everybody is putting 100 percent of their effort in, and us four drivers get to be a part of that and go out there and have some fun on the weekends.
Q.You mentioned a couple times battling your teammates tonight. What is that like as a driver when week after week it seems on a consistent basis, at least lately, some of your toughest competition is facing your own teammates?KYLE LARSON: Yeah, it’s a great problem to have when we’re all battling each other for the win. We’ve done a great job of racing each other hard but yet not putting each other in a bad spot, either. We all want to see each other succeed for Rick, and we all work great together during the week and even on the weekends when we’re racing. Like I said, we’re racing hard but we’re racing with respect.
I thought we were going to have another one, two, three, four finish tonight, but Kyle had other plans for that and messed that up. No, it was a great night, and it’s been a great few weeks really for this team.
Q.What makes this driver lineup at Hendrick work?KYLE LARSON: I’m not sure. I think — it’s not just us drivers. I think it’s everything that’s — it’s the whole team. I think it’s our crew chiefs, our engineers, everybody at the shop that has hands on our cars. I don’t know.
I think at least for me, and I think all of us teammates are like this, I think we’re pretty open with each other. I don’t think any of us hide anything. I know I don’t. I’m not afraid to ask — I don’t know anything about cars, but I’m not afraid to ask somebody why they’re driving like this or how that helped them, and they’ve asked me the same questions, and I give them a 100 percent honest answer.
I think when you’re honest with each other and want to help each other out, it just makes the whole program better. I’ve always taken a lot of pride in being a good teammate, and I think my other three teammates are the same way.
We’re young, but we’re hungry. We love what we’re doing, and we want — like I said, we want to see each other succeed for our whole organization.
Q.Alex Bowman mentioned after the race that one of the biggest keys for him with the four of you is how you guys all sit down with Chad Knaus in his new role this year. How has that helped you and the other three, as well?KYLE LARSON: Yeah, so it’s a little unique because I never got to see Chad Knaus in the crew chief role and I didn’t get to see kind of how their competition meetings were run before, but when I am sitting in that competition meeting room and he’s running it, you get to see why he is how he is and how he probably — he takes everything very seriously, and he dives in deep to everything. He’s very thoughtful and thinks deeper than I’ve ever been around anybody. He thinks about a lot of, like I said, deep things that I would never even think would be a thing.
I think it just shows how his mind is on racing and how to be faster, how to make all four of us faster every day of the week. He’s a great leader, and I think the same as Mr. H, everybody has got a lot of respect for him, and I think his role now probably fits him perfectly for where he’s at in his career and with everything he’s already accomplished. He’s definitely doing a great job.
Q.As remarkable as your off-season, so to speak, was last year away from NASCAR, can you imagine where your career would be right now without Rick Hendrick stepping in?KYLE LARSON: No, I don’t know, I can’t imagine — I would hope if I wasn’t racing Cup, I would hope it was going as good right now as it did last year. But I don’t know, I haven’t had to think about that.
Q.Has Rick transformed your life at this point?KYLE LARSON: Oh, yeah, for sure. Right now I’d be twiddling my thumbs in Indiana waiting to race at Lawrenceburg tomorrow, which I’m going to do anyways, but yeah, it’s much different.
But no, I mean, I was happy doing what I was doing last year, but I always had the goal of getting back to the Cup Series and didn’t really think it was a realistic thing throughout the summer. Even when I was winning a lot I just kind of accepted that this was my life and I was going to have a blast doing it and wasn’t going to regret anything at that point.
No, it all kind of came together, and yeah, for sure it’s transformed my life. Getting back into the Cup Series and getting a second opportunity at the highest form of American auto racing is something that I don’t think normally happens. Just very thankful for it and want to take full advantage of it.
Q.It’s time for you to come home now to Sonoma. You’ve got some massive momentum coming in. What are you expecting next week when you come back home and do you have any plans to spend time with family, friends? What are your plans when you come out here?KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I’m going to come out early and kind of spend it as a vacation a little bit and then race on Sunday. Yeah, I’m excited to get out there and drink some good wine. I haven’t really had wine in a while. I get to go do that, eat some good food and hang out with friends, see some of my family. Yeah, Sonoma is a fun place, fun racetrack, a track that I’ve honestly struggled. I’ve qualified really well at but struggled in the races. Yeah, I hope that’ll be a different story now being with HMS.
Yeah, excited to get home. I love the West Coast, the best coast, and yeah, getting excited to go out there.
THE MODERATOR: Kyle, thanks for joining us. We look forward to seeing you at Sonoma next weekend.
CLIFF DANIELS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 METROTECH CAMARO ZL1 1LE, Press Conference Transcript:
THE MODERATOR: We’re now joined by Cliff Daniels, the race-winning crew chief from tonight’s Coca-Cola 600.
Q.Cliff, your team swept all three stages in addition to winning the race. What’s it mean to have a points day like that? Does it mean a lot right now or is it not the biggest thing in the world considering how early in the regular season it is?CLIFF DANIELS: Yeah, that’s a good question. Points are always of concern for us. The more playoff points you can carry into the playoffs is always going to be those tokens in the bank that you never know if you’re going to need.
I can’t say that I expected we were going to get them all the way we did today, so that was really cool that that happened, and yeah, the competition is so tight right now, thankful that the Hendrick Motorsports cars are running as good as we are. The Chevrolets are fast, but Denny is still out there with a really big points lead, and those guys have a had a strong year, so always keeping our eye out for maximizing stage points, maximizing stage finishing positions, and certainly it worked out today.
Q.Cliff, have you prioritized specific racetracks over others?CLIFF DANIELS: Really no, because everywhere we go with Kyle right now and even for the next 10 or 15 weeks is a new race for us every week. I’ve never been to any of these places with Kyle before, so every week is a new week, and the foundation of the notebook that we’re trying to build, thankful that the year has gone the way it has, but we still have a lot of building to do.
Sonoma is a bit of a different style road course than the ones that Hendrick Motorsports has been good at the last few years. Our last trip at Sonoma really wasn’t that great, so we’ve dug into some old notes for Sonoma as an example. So the same prep that we put into Charlotte for this week we’ve got to take to Sonoma next week just because we don’t have a great recent history of our cars running good there, so we’ve really got to make sure we show up strong.
Q.Green flag pit cycles, huge for you tonight. Huge for you all of this year. You are actually defending front-running spots on green flag stops at a considerably higher clip than you did last season. Have you noticed that? And what is driving that large of an improvement?CLIFF DANIELS: Yeah, a couple things. Our pit crew, we went through a bit of a building process last year. One of our guys actually stepped away at the end of the year and we got a new jack man in so we had to do some work just getting our team kind of up to speed and working together, and now those guys are just lights out. They do a phenomenal job. They’re a great working group together. The camaraderie is strong.
So knowing that one of our strengths is physically pitting the car, the guys do such a good job, I’m actually excited when I see a green flag pit cycle come around because I know that’s one of our strengths.
And then we study a lot maximizing pit-ins, and Kyle is really good at that. He’s great at deep braking zones and figuring out how to get the car whoa’d up when it’s moving around and it’s all over the place. It’s kind of natural for him.
With that, those two pieces, and then timing is another big thing, understanding the falloff in a race, do you pit early, do you pit late within the cycle, and we’ve had to brush up a good bit on our own understanding of that last year to what we’ve taken this year. So many different factors, and it’s all kind of coming together okay.
Q.What have you learned about Kyle Larson that you didn’t know at the start of the season?CLIFF DANIELS: Obviously one of the biggest things that I’ve learned, and this is going to sound really obvious to say, he spends so much time reading a dirt track for all of these races that he goes to. He watches every series that ends up on track, and he really studies what’s going on with the racetrack.So for us, the more I can give him information on what I anticipate for our pavement surfaces going into a weekend, whether it’s PJ1, clouds versus sun, temp changes, things like that, that’s something that’s just very natural for him, and again, that’s what he spends a lot of his time doing to make him good on the dirt tracks. So again, it may sound obvious to say, but that’s probably the biggest thing.
Q.Can you give me a sense of perspective certainly with your experience with the 48 team in years past you guys often were dominant throughout the season. You guys certainly there have been some ups and downs but certainly been about as strong as anybody throughout the season. There’s still a long way to go to the playoffs. The challenge in trying to remain a strong team with still three, four months or so before the playoffs even begin and still several more months before the championship race, what is the challenge and how does that compare from your experiences when you guys were the 48 and you guys kind of steamrolled everybody?CLIFF DANIELS: Yeah, there was a few things that stood out. It’s been several years, and I was fortunate, Chad Knaus, obviously the champion that he is speaks for itself, but something that I kind of learned from the experiences with the 48, I think it was 2015, we started out strong, we won I want to say like four of the first ten races or something like that, and we were really pushing exceptionally hard at the beginning of the year. It’s not like we got comfortable, but burnout and exhaustion kind of come into play in the middle of the year, so it was tough to sustain that, and that kind of showed up.
So we learned from those experiences of kind of how to balance ourselves more, make sure you have the right foundation for just building your car every week to go race, and there’s a process to that.So now we’ve learned through the ups and downs of the last three or four years with the 48 team how to respond to adversity and not let the momentum swing really shift you too far, just kind of narrow up that window, and make sure that we have a path in place where we’re balanced enough. Home life is still very important for all the guys working on our team, but we spend a lot of time at the shop and we spend a lot of time together. So making sure we have the right balance of the home time, the family time for those guys, and then when we’re at work, get all 10 of the tenths that we’re trying to get. Not nine, not 11, but make sure we’re operating at 10 tenths, and hopefully the path that we have now and what we’ve built is sustainable, and I think the path that’s gotten us to this point of the season has been exactly what I just described, and I don’t plan on changing it anytime soon.
Q.With as strong as you guys have run the last few weeks as an organization, for as great as it’s been, the last three races have not been playoff tracks, and the races with the playoff tracks it’s been some ups and downs. From my perspective not being the mechanical and in your shoes, I would partially question the value of the success what it means the last three weeks because how much carries over from here, how much will carry over from Dover in particular. How do you view that, or what is important with being so dominant at the last few races when these haven’t been playoff tracks, and I wonder what really is going to carry over or have the potential to carry over?CLIFF DANIELS: Yeah, I think it’s a valid question. Darlington we had a strong run at the end of the race, but we weren’t as good as we needed to be for the playoffs, so that was the first of our second-place-finish runs. We took a pretty different approach from Darlington to Dover that if Darlington hadn’t had have happened, we wouldn’t have taken to Dover. So then we took that to Dover, ran really strong. That’s going to carry over to Nashville, and I think that what we learned from Dover and hopefully what we learned from Nashville, yes, completely different racing surfaces, yes, it sounds crazy to draw some of these parallels that I’m making, I think just with the 750 package in general, we did learn and improve from Darlington to Dover and again hopefully we take that to Nashville, that I think can help us for a place like Darlington.
As one example, Kansas comes back around, we led a lot of laps at Kansas, didn’t work out for us. Vegas is a playoff track. Hopefully that bodes well. We passed the whole field three times after speeding on pit road and starting in the back in Phoenix, right, and Phoenix hopefully will be a good race for us.So I totally understand where you’re coming from, and hopefully a race like Kansas or Phoenix where it didn’t work out for us, we can capitalize come that time, and then I think our program needed a little bit of an upgrade in the 750 area at a bigger track, which again, we learned from Darlington and took some of that to Dover and improved. We’ve just got to keep it going.
Q.When you talk about the success at Darlington, I guess that gave you the freedom at Dover to do something that you might not have been more comfortable with to kind of expand the boundaries?CLIFF DANIELS: Yes and no. We didn’t really expand anything, we just kind of went about what we were doing a different way because all of our cars ran kind of middle of the top 10, back half of the top 10 during the day at Darlington, and we improved our cars by the end of the day and obviously took a big chunk out of Martin’s lead, but we weren’t good enough to really make a statement, if that makes sense. In Dover we made more of a statement there.
It was just kind of going about what we thought of the 750 package a different way. Like there was nothing new, there was nothing outlandish, okay, from what we think this balance should have been, we were off, so let’s go about the balance a different way.
Q.When Kyle was still a teenager, people came up with the name “Young Money.” The people in the dirt world were telling me you have a once-in-a-generational talent coming your way, and I don’t think he ever had the opportunity to showcase what his true talent was in the Ganassi equipment. I guess my question to you is now that you have somebody — even though he’s approaching 30 but somebody you can work with and kind of mold into what you want to be, what’s the next step for you and Kyle and the No. 5 team?CLIFF DANIELS: I think really just to continue to deepen our connection, our friendship, our working relationship. Obviously with the challenges of all the COVID protocols, we’ve been very respectful to that and we just haven’t had a ton of time to spend together. At a racetrack he kind of does his thing and we do our thing and we’ve had the garage separated from the motor home lot and things like that for a while.Now that things are starting to open up, hopefully it’ll give us an opportunity just to continue the path that we’re on of learning each other and deepening that relationship.
So I think the sky really is the limit for him. We know how talented he is in any car that he gets in. There is some things that he tries to avoid thinking when there’s a lot of second-place finishes that line up. He tries not to be too hard on himself and I’ve been able to kind of tap into some of that with him and help him with that. So yeah, it’s been a great journey so far. Still a lot of learning and growing to do, and I’m certainly excited about it, and I think there’s a lot of potential for both of us.
Q.He’s a pretty Zen dude, but somebody like you that has a mechanical engineering background and he admittedly knows nothing about cars whatsoever, how do you find that balance?CLIFF DANIELS: When I first started racing, I think it was ’98 or ’99, I did not know a whole lot about my race car, so there were certain things that I looked for as a driver that have kind of stuck with me before I knew much, and then thankful to my parents and my dad, taught me a lot, and I really got heavily involved in our cars, and by the time I was 16 I was setting up my own cars myself and doing a lot of the work on them myself, but it always stuck with me the things that remember paying attention to as a driver when I didn’t think I knew a whole lot.
Then take that experience, yes, the mechanical engineering degree to really help add some of the principles and equations and foundation behind that, to now when Kyle and I talk and we talk about a dirt race or we talk about a Cup race, my experiences growing up and as a driver really help me to just cut some of the race car talk and cut some of the engineering talk and just kind of talk to him not necessarily driver to driver but I can speak his language a bit more and understand what he’s saying a bit more than just tying a number to it or tying car talk to it, if that makes sense. So that’s actually been cool for me to tap back into some old experiences when I drove, and I think it’s helped us communicate more along the lines of what he’s either trying to say or what he needs out of the car.
Q.What did you compete in?CLIFF DANIELS: Anything from Bandoleros to Legends cars to NASCAR Whelan All-American Series late models. Did that for quite a few years. I think I quit racing full-time probably ’08 or ’09 and graduated school in ’10.
Q.I was wondering if you could talk about Tyler Monn in his first 15 races with Hendrick Motorsports and how well he’s fit into the mold of the 5 team.CLIFF DANIELS: Yeah, Tyler is a young guy who actually came to us, it’s going to sound weird to say, with a lot of experience, and he never had a shot on a bigger team in the Xfinity Series, Cup Series. But he’s been running — been racing many years with guys that are lower budget teams and get lapped during the race, but he has such a solid work ethic and he’s really put it on himself to learn and adjust how to run at the level that we’re running now, and I think his past experiences of just running on the teams that aren’t up front every week really taught him a lot.
I give a lot of credit to him for what he put on his back to learn and really to operate at a very high professional level when he got on our team, and he’s a great teammate, he’s a great friend. He’s done a really good job. He does a great job with Kyle on the radio staying calm in all situations, whether it’s intense traffic with lap cars or racing for the lead. A lot of credit to Tyler. He’s done a great job, and we’re very thankful to have him on our team.
Q.Kyle was in here just a little earlier and he talked about the role of Chad Knaus and how he’s really led team meetings and things like that, but he said he couldn’t really comment on just how much of a difference that is for him and his role because he had no previous experience. You obviously have a lot of experience with Chad, working with him over the years. Can you just give a little bit about how much Chad has played a part in the uptick and performance this year now that he has a hand in all four cars?CLIFF DANIELS: Yeah, it’s been great, honestly. Chad, again, his record as a crew chief speaks for itself. Absolutely phenomenal. Now in this role he really understands how to make the rubber meet the road. Even from kind of a higher level management position, he can see if things are slipping through the cracks, he can see if there’s struggles that we need help with, whether it’s on the technical side, engineering side, car side, whatever it is. His influence I think is seen throughout.
He and Jeff Andrews make such a good combination together because Jeff is so good at seeing everything and really helping connect all of the different departments within our company, and again, Chad is so good at pushing everyone on the car side and the engineering side to make sure we are making the best product to the racetrack, and very thankful to have that leadership from him.
THE MODERATOR: Cliff, thanks for joining us this evening. Congratulations on the win and we’ll see you next week in Sonoma.