chevy racing–nascar–brickyard–austin dillon

AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW MOBILITY SCIENCE CAMARO ZL1 1LE, Teleconference Transcript Highlights:
KEVIN HARVICK SAID THAT HE FEELS LIKE INDY SHOULD BE A HERITAGE RACE WITH RACING ON THE TRADITIONAL OVAL. WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT RACING THE ROAD COURSE?“It’s a good question. I think that the oval, I think we lose a crown jewel when we don’t go to the oval there. This history of it. I don’t think the road course will ever be what the oval history has. So, I’m kind of disappointed that we don’t get to race on the oval. Now, in saying that, I’ve had a lot of fun on the simulator running the road course at Indy. It seems like a cool track, and I wouldn’t mind going twice and doing it two different ways. If we have to run the road course, we still want to be able to run the oval because of the history and legacy there. Everybody wants a real Brickyard trophy. I feel like this weekend, when you win there, it’s not going to be like winning on the oval. That’s my viewpoint.”
YOU’RE GOING TO RUN THE XFINITY RACE THERE. HOW MUCH WILL THAT LEND TO BE ABLE TO PULL IT OFF?“I think it’s going to be huge to get the Xfinity race in on Saturday. I think it was good this past weekend and anytime you can get on the track, I think you start fresh for the Cup race. I’m really excited about running the Indy road course race. Billy Scott and everybody at Our Motorsports has worked hard. It’s the same car we brought this past weekend. I had to fix the track bar this week and those guys have been working hard on it. So, it’ll be great to get track time and really see what that track is all about.”
HOW NERVOUS ARE YOU ABOUT MAKING THE PLAYOFFS? DOES THE FACT THAT THIS IS ANOTHER ROAD COURSE, DOES THAT MAKE IT EVEN MORE NERVE WRACKING?“No, I’ve been pretty calm, really, about it. I know the situation I’m in. It’s unfortunate the amount of winners that we’ve had this year. I feel like we’d be well in a safe place right now, but we’re not. It’s just the situation we’re in and we’re racing our teammate. But I’m pretty confident after being on the SIM a couple of weeks at Indy. I usually don’t pick-up the road courses on the simulator very fast, but for some reason, Indy came to me pretty quick, which is good, I think, for what we’re going into. I think qualifying is the biggest thing on my mind right now for this coming weekend and getting a good qualifying position, because I know how important, the way it is, it’s so hard to pass on all these road courses that get strung out, that starting position matters.
“So, I’m putting a lot of focus into qualifying and trying to make sure that we start up front and give ourselves the best way to get points. We have a 15-point gap right now and if we can maintain or gain a little this weekend, I feel like the next two weeks are good tracks for us and we’ll be in a pretty decent situation going into Daytona, if it is a points game. Obviously, I’d like to lock ourselves in with a win and just don’t want any new winners. That would really put us out. So yeah, I’m in a pretty good calm situation as far as my mental state. I’ve been working out and am ready to go race and see what it brings us. I think we have been very consistent this year. We just haven’t had the speed that we want at some of these tracks, but the road course stuff has been fun. It’s such an improvement for me that I’d love to go back to some of these road courses a second time with what I’ve learned this year.”
OF ALL THE ROAD COURSES YOU’VE RUN THIS YEAR, WHICH ONE IS THE MOST COMPARABLE TO INDY?“Wow, it’s so flat. We’ve got elevation change at every track that we’ve gone to. I’d say Daytona has a little less elevation change. So for me, I really don’t know because the asphalt at Indy is so different the way the grooves are cut in it and it’s using a lot of lateral grip there. Sonoma, I think braking force-wise, is probably going to be similar; the amount of brake force and stuff like that because it seems like the track falls off a little bit. So, I’m thinking maybe Sonoma and Daytona, in between there.”
LOOKING AHEAD TO MICHIGAN, FANS HAVEN’T BEEN THERE FOR TWO YEARS. YOU’VE GOT THE HERITAGE TROPHY ON THE LINE AND YOU’LL HAVE A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT RACING EXPERIENCE THERE EVEN THOUGH IT’S A BIG WIDE TRACK. TALK ABOUT RACING THIS PACKAGE THERE AND THE EXPERIENCE“Michigan has been a fun race for us on the No. 3 team for us the last couple of years, so we always circle it. We are really focused on this one and the points situation we’re in, we like going to places where we’ve had success in the past. Everybody at RCR has put a lot of focus on our car for that weekend, knowing it’s a good place for us. We’d like to go there and show out for our partners at Dow and Chevrolet. Dow is based out of Midland up there and it’s always good to put on a good show for everyone that helps us get to the track each and every weekend.”
DO YOU THAT DAYTONA IS THE FINAL RACE OF THE REGULAR SEASON? WHAT IS YOUR CONFIDENCE LEVEL KNOWING THAT YOU HAVE THAT ON THE SCHEDULE WITH ONE LAST CHANCE TO GET INTO THE PLAYOFFS?“Yeah, that gives the confidence to you as being the last race of the year. And the situation I am in right now, I think I’ve been in other situations down the road, it would probably be more stressful. But for me, we’re in a little bit of a nothing to lose attitude right now because we’ve got to gain on our teammate, and if not, we’ve got to win somehow. So, Daytona is that place and it gives us an opportunity with our ECR horsepower. I don’t know. We’ve just had the ability to keep that No. 3 at the front when we go to Daytona. I like it. It’s a magical place and I’ve had some great runs there. I’m pumped that it’s the last race of our regular season.”
IN TALKING ABOUT DAYTONA, LAST YEAR, AS THE REGULAR SEASON FINALE, YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT WITH YOUR WIN. DID YOU NOTICE THAT THE RACING WAS MUCH DIFFERENT?“For some reason, I can’t really recall that particular race. Usually, I’m pretty good at that. But I think we were kind of coasting in because we knew we were in the Playoffs. But Daytona and Talladega are always a chance because there’s an opportunity there. And with it being the final of the regular season, there are some that will go about it and say hey, I’ve got to get to the checkered flag to have a chance to have a chance to win and there are some that think they’ve got to lead every lap. I’ll definitely be re-watching it, and kind of seeing how people played it and who was aggressive in those moments. But it’s so easy to get aggressive and wipe out half the field there. So many things happen at the speedways with an errant move or an aggressive move and take a lot of people out early. So, you don’t want to be in that situation. But we’ve been pretty successful at the speedways by keeping ourselves up front. But I’ve seen guys get wrecked leading. So, anything can happen at these places. You’ve got to have a good strategy and also a fast car that kind of keeps you out of the way, and a bit of luck.”
FOR INDIANAPOLIS AND YOUR WORK ON THE SIMULATOR, HAVE YOU NOTICED MUCH OF A TIRE FALLOFF? IS IT ANY MORE OR LESS THAN OTHER ROAD COURSES?“Our tire model, we do take grip away to see what it’s like on a 10 to 15-lap run. But it’s kind of hard to tell without getting there with that tire and really knowing. We have people at Chevrolet that kind of predict what that falloff is going to be. Those predictions, we try to get them as accurate as possible and kind of build around, knowing that our tires are going to fall off or whatnot. So, we’ve got a prediction. We just need to prove it out in practice.”
YOU’VE BEEN HITTING THE GYM PRETTY HARD WITH PAUL SWAN EVERYDAY. WHAT DOES THAT DO FOR YOUR MENTALITY IN A PRESSURE SITUATION?“Hopefully, in any situation in the car, you feel good. You don’t want to have a point where you don’t feel strong enough to be the same driver every lap. Last weekend at Watkins Glen it was pretty hot. And it was a tough physical race. Anytime you can put yourself in a better situation with your heart rate and everything, health-wise, I think it’s better. You are more clear, mentally. I noticed a lot of the guys switching to those Cool Shirts. I’m definitely going to probably try that, coming up. Actually, this weekend is the first time we’re probably going to have that. I ran it in Michael Annett’s car when I jumped-in and it was a big game changer. Anytime you can keep yourself in good physical shape. I worked out with Paul during the off-week, and he’ll kill you. He works out for hours. So, I’ve been back at the gym with our trainer and it’s a little more based on what I do in the car and staying more mobile and keeping my body right, so I’m stretched out and feel good when I get in the race car. And yeah, healthy is a good thing.”