This Week’s True Velocity Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum … Dillon, the 2018 Daytona 500 Champion, is among the NASCAR Cup Series drivers vying for a spot in this year’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, a 150-lap non-points-paying exhibition race limited to 23 cars. Although this marks the first year that the Busch Clash will be held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Dillon has participated in the race on eight previous occasions at it’s former location of Daytona International Speedway.
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AUSTIN DILLON QUOTES:
What are your thoughts on bringing NASCAR to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the Clash?
“It’s going to be wild and interesting, that’s for sure. NASCAR really went outside of the box with this one, and from an entertainment standpoint, I think it should be great for fans. It’s a tight track to fit the cars on, so racing-wise, you’ll see quite a bit of beating and banging. NASCAR and Fox are both doing a good job creating excitement and adding to the racing with concerts, DJs and enhanced television coverage. It’s a bold experiment for our sport and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”
What stands out to you about the Next Gen race car?
“It’s very futuristic compared to what we’ve been driving. I think it’s going to be a breath of fresh air. We have a lot of kinks and things to work out right now, and there are a lot of unknowns, but I think that change is good for the sport. I think a lot of the fans are going to love to see the different things we do with the car. We’ll figure a lot out as we go. We had so much time and effort put into the old cars. We’re still figuring out things to make the old cars faster, which is crazy to think about when you look at how long we’ve had them. With the Next Gen, I think the engineers in our sport are going to be learning at a very fast pace, and we’re going to have to try to keep up with them as drivers.”
Are you concerned about the inventory of cars?
“I think it goes back to short-track racing. When you are coming up through the ranks of short-track racing, you do not have the inventory of cars that we’ve always had in the NASCAR Cup Series. If you wrecked your car, you could be out the next weekend. I don’t know that the inventory situation with the Next Gen car is that serious, but a wreck early in the season definitely could put you behind and put your team in a bind early in the season. Until we get more inventory of these cars, you want to take care of your equipment but you also want to win and put it all out on the line.”
There’s a lot of changes within the sport, and within the car. However, you are coming into a situation with the same crew chief in Justin Alexander and the same teammate in Tyler Reddick heading into the season. How important is it to have some degree of familiarity surrounding you heading into the season?
“I think it’s really important. Any time you can build with the same team over a year’s time you start to feel each other out more and know where everybody stands. We were very close to getting both of our cars into the NASCAR Playoffs last year. It came down to a points race between the two. Obviously this year, the biggest thing is trying to get locked in with a win. That’s what hurt us. I think we were super consistent throughout the season. We had our most consistent season ever and had some good runs. Unfortunately, there were some guys whowon that put us in a really bad spot. We don’t want to be in that spot again. We want to go to Victory Lane before the NASCAR Playoffs start.”