Chase Elliott Alsco 500 winners press conference

Chase Elliott Alsco 500 winners press conference Getty Images for NASCAR

THE MODERATOR:  We are now joined by the winner of tonight's Alsco Uniforms 500 and that is Chase Elliott.  Congratulations on winning the race.  Walk us through that run tonight.

            CHASE ELLIOTT:  Yeah, appreciate it.  It was just ‑‑ we battled hard and finally got our car good enough there at the end.  I'm not sure that we had it exactly perfect, but the guys did a great job making good adjustments and good pit stops there to put us in a position, and I think the race going long played into our favor as compared to what Kevin had to work with.  Just had some good fortune and things went our way.  Just appreciate all our partners for sticking with us.  Finally good to get a Kelley Blue Book win.  That's our first win together, so hopefully many more.

 

  1. After Sunday, was there any worry on your part that maybe Alan just didn't have confidence in you?

            CHASE ELLIOTT:  That's probably about the dumbest question you've ever asked me.

 

  1. Does the fact that you have strong cars, does that alleviate any concerns of, oh, well, if a decision doesn't go your way or if you make a mistake or if somebody makes a mistake, as long as you have fast cars you're going to continue to win races?

            CHASE ELLIOTT:  I think the biggest thing is if we can continue to put ourselves in position and give ourselves chances and we do a good job at controlling the things that are in our control, that's all we can ask for.  We can't control when a caution comes out two laps to go and you're kind of in a lose‑lose situation there.  We've got to keep doing things that are in our hands and keep doing those well.

 

  1. You spoke to it a little bit in your interviews, but just the feeling of oh, my gosh, what's going to go wrong, how do you keep focused on what you're trying to do in the car those final laps when you're like, oh, my gosh, what's going to happen?

            CHASE ELLIOTT:  Yeah, I mean, honestly, it really just keeps you grounded, to be completely frank, especially after Sunday.  You're just kind of waiting on something to happen.  It just kind of keeps you grounded, and the fact that it's never over until it's over, we've been reminded of that quite a lot, and that's a lesson I'm never going to forget.

 

  1. Do you have any sense of if the caution ‑‑ were you thinking, okay, if the caution does come out I'm definitely staying out here this time or anything like that?

            CHASE ELLIOTT:  I think it just depends.  We can "what‑if" it to death, but until you're put in that situation ‑‑ that was a longer run there at the end than we even had on Sunday, so who knows.  I mean, when the caution comes out late like that, you're going to have takers and not, and it's all just about the numbers as to who does and who doesn't.  I can't answer that.  It's hard to tell.

 

  1. I wonder how you're feeling physically after running all these races?

            CHASE ELLIOTT:  Yeah, good question.  I feel really good.  I feel like I tried to stay biking and doing things throughout those two months off, and honestly coming back and going back to Darlington where it was hot and then coming into the 600, it kind of just threw us back right to the wolves, and I think that was really a good thing just to really get some hot races and some long races in right off the bat and just jump right to it.  I feel good, and I'm certainly tired, it's been a long week, but I'm going to rest these next couple days and get ready for Bristol.

 

  1. I wonder with this workload if the size of Hendrick Motorsports is a benefit and you guys having so many people and it's showing in your preparation and how you guys are showing up at the racetrack?

            CHASE ELLIOTT:  Yeah, I mean, I think all of our employees at HMS from top to bottom have been really working hard throughout the off‑season.  But again, we're still very early in the year, and I challenge all of the people at HMS, myself, the road crew, the pit crews to stay hungry because the season is very long, a lot of racing left, and we just need to keep pushing.  No reason to get content right now.

 

  1. Chase, you were running well even before the pause of the season, and now you've been ‑‑ you've had the strong run here.  Is it as much a continuation or do you feel like you guys have gotten better just in the last two weeks?

            CHASE ELLIOTT:  To be honest, I feel like it's been a continuation from the beginning of the season.  I feel like all the same contenders are contending now as to who was contending before the break, so I still feel like ‑‑ I almost get the sense that we're still working on some of the parts and pieces and cars that we had before we had two months off, so I'm really curious to see how these next two weeks progress because people are going to get better, and I think some of the things they've been trying and working on they're actually going to have time to implement to their cars.  We have to stay hungry and stay after it.

 

  1. What are you curious to see?

            CHASE ELLIOTT:  Who's fast and who's not.

 

  1. What was the conversations like with Alan in the immediate aftermath of Sunday and through the next couple days?

            CHASE ELLIOTT:  You know, look, I mean, I feel like at the end of the day, he has to make decisions on the spot.  I feel like we were in a lose‑lose position there on Sunday, so it's not his fault that the caution came out with two laps to go, and when you're in a position like that you have to make a decision and stick with it.  I'm not going to question him.  I don't fault him.  It's not his fault; it's just one of those things where you've got to make a gut call and go with it, and heck, we drove back to third.  I just don't see how you can look back at that and say he did something wrong because that position is a super hard one to be in.  It's a good one to be in, right, because you're leading the race, but also a really tough one to be in at the same time.

 

  1. Did you kind of give him a pep talk or anything or explain what you just explained now to him?

            CHASE ELLIOTT:  No, he's been doing this way longer than me, so he knows.

 

  1. Chase, with the races you've run this week, the 600, the truck race, then tonight, the rain delays, postponements, how do you get your mindset into making the transition from a late week race into Bristol on Sunday for a short track?

            CHASE ELLIOTT:  Yeah, just get ready.  500 laps at Bristol is a really physical event.  We've raced a lot throughout this week.  I'm tired, and I want to rest tomorrow and Saturday and get ready to go.  It's going to be a tough one on Sunday, especially in the afternoon.

 

  1. Chase, kind of bouncing off of the previous question, when we talk about momentum, normally you have a full week to enjoy a race win like this.  Does it help to go to Bristol only a couple days later to carry the momentum or would you rather enjoy the victory a little bit more?

            CHASE ELLIOTT:  I mean, that's tough.  You know, I don't know that it matters.  To me a win is a win.  Those five bonus points are five bonus points, and the sticker on top of the car is still going to be there.  I think it's all ‑‑ I don't really know that it matters.  I'm just excited that we've been performing well, and ultimately I want to just have a shot to win each and every week.  That's our goal as a team.  Whether we do or not is one thing, but to just have a chance to be in position is the goal, so we need to stay after that goal.

 

  1. How much of a benefit was it for your confidence to come back and win Tuesday night and kind of immediately shake the sting of Sunday?  Did that do anything to help you maybe come into this race with a little bit of a fresher mind?

            CHASE ELLIOTT:  Like I said Tuesday, I don't know that Tuesday made up for Sunday.  It was certainly good.  It never hurt anything to come over here, perform and have a good run like that.  But it definitely didn't fix it.  I think we were hungry and wanted to get back and try again.

 

  1. Rain delay aside, what did you think of the length of tonight's race both in time and mileage wise?

            CHASE ELLIOTT:  I think it's great.  I think it ups the intensity.  I think you have to have your car driving really well from the start, and if it doesn't, you have to make those big swings early.  I feel like it just ramps up the intensity and everything that comes with that.  Just the clock is ticking and you don't have a lot of time to do much of anything.

 

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