AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING CAMARO ZL1; and TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING CAMARO ZL1 - Daytona 500 Media Availability Transcript:
BEFORE WE BEGIN, AUSTIN, WE KNOW YOU HAVE TEAMED UP WITH GM AND MARCUS BY GOLDMAN SACHS TO LAUNCH THE ALL-NEW GM MY REWARDS CARD. CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THAT?
“Really pumped to be working with Marcus by Goldman Sachs and the GM My Rewards Card and I am a big Chevrolet fan and GM in general and to be able to be partnered with them this year is very cool and I am excited to push the card.”
AUSTIN, IT’S BEEN TWO YEARS AND CHANGE SINCE YOU WERE ONE OF THE FIRST DRIVERS TO TAKE THE NEXT GEN CAR ON TRACK AT RICHMOND. TWO YEARS AND CHANGE LATER, HOW FAR HAS THIS CAR COME FROM WHAT YOU EXPERIENCED AND WHAT IS YOUR OVERALL SENSE OF WHAT IT CAN DO AS A CAR AT THIS POINT?
“Well, I think since two years ago the car has really developed to something that you guys have been seeing this weekend. I think it’s a good piece and we are still developing it as we go. These guys in the garage are so good at what they do as far as the engineers and the mechanics, it's hard to build things and take it to the track like we have been able to and not find big things wrong, and I feel like we are finding little things and making those better each and every week. NASCAR has done a good job of working with the teams and I feel like the ability that this car has that the old car didn’t are a lot different. I can turn in a circle a lot faster I feel like. (It has) the ability to take away the wheel hop and the things an independent rear suspension can do that we couldn’t get away with in the old car. It’s got a lot more ability than the old car.”
TYLER, I AM DOING A FEATURE ON THE RACE AT COTA AND YOU FINISHED EIGHTH IN THE COLD AND THE RAIN. HOW CRAZY WAS IT TO GET THROUGH THAT RACE AND DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU WERE LUCKY OR GRATEFUL TO SURVIVE IT?
“Yeah, there were some pretty wild moments in that race certainly. For me it kind of falls in line with a number of races we had last year where we were kind of defeating ourselves. In that particular race multiple times getting to the top ten and making mistakes, spinning out and going back to the mid-20s and then do it all over again. That was just one of those type of days. But certainly some of the chaos that was developing between turn 11 and turn 12 on that long back straightaway was some of the scariest stuff I have ever done in my life. I remember being wide open and seeing a car crash, stop and getting out and before I realized what had happened, I had already passed him. And I was like, ‘he was getting out of his race car’. And I am wide open and I can’t even see where I am going. So, it was a bit chaotic. We were in control of our cars for the most part, but the big issue was just seeing where we were going. Mostly with how the air came out from under the Gen 6 car, but hopefully with the diffuser on this car it’s a lot better, but we don’t know yet.”
TYLER, ANY LEFTOVER CONCERNS FROM THE CLASH? DO YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE CAR GOING INTO THIS WEEK?
“Yeah, it’s definitely something that when we get to bigger tracks, like speedways, where we run on harder tires. Just that alone is enough to really kind of ward off some of the concerns that were from the Clash. But NASCAR did a really good job right away from taking information from my car, (Chase) Briscoe’s car, and some of the other cars that had issues and going to work right away and kind of recreating the loads and situations in general. And then coming up with an updated part to beef it up a little bit. It seems like they were able to make it a lot better, so I was really happy to see how quick they were in getting something out there and getting something back to the teams. Us, I saw a cars and teams putting in the pieces here at the track before we got underway for practice. They did a really good job of tackling that issue and having it what they think is resolved and hopefully it is.”
WAS THERE ANY CONVERSATION BETWEEN YOU GUYS IN THE CAR SHORTAGE AND HOW YOU WANTED TO HANDLE PUTTING YOURSELVES IN PRECARIOUS SITUATIONS AND HAS THERE BEEN ANY DISCUSSION ON HOW YOU ARE GOING TO APPROACH THE DUELS?
TYLER “Yeah, we have, right? (laughs)”
AUSTIN “We have had some pretty extensive conversations between our teams and for myself and Tyler, we were talking last night. It's very hard because you want to pick and approach and attack that approach, but for the situation we are in, what is right? You know what I mean? So when it comes to when the green flag drops, it’s a feel thing, but you are still going to have this mentality built into your head that, ‘okay, you really would like to get this car to the 500’. Because if you don’t, it definitely sets you back for the next three races after this and going to the west coast. I think it will be interesting to see how the Duels play out because I think there are definitely some guys that are going to go for it and there are some that aren’t. Then there are going to be some guys in the middle, and does the middle get you in trouble. It's one of those things and our goal is to take these cars to the 500 and try and get there.”
AUSTIN, RCR HAS MADE SOME GREAT PERFORMANCE PROGRESS OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS. AS MUCH AS YOU LIKE THE NEW CAR, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE CAR BEING RE-SET?
“Well, I think it's good. I think change is good and everyone is on the same playing field right now and we are learning as fast as we can. I like the situation that RCR is in as a whole and truthfully, I think Tyler and I work really well together, and our teammate growth is growing. I think that is a great position to be in. He drives a certain way and I drive a certain way and we can kind of build off of that to elevate our team fast. So, I think it’s been, since I have been here, in the best position RCR has been in from our standpoint.”
AUSTIN, YOU AS MUCH AS ANYONE HAS EXPERIENCED THE HIGHS AND THE LOWS OF THE DAYTONA 500. WITH THAT SAID, WHAT HAS YOUR MINDSET COMING INTO THE RACE THIS WEEK?
“I try to take advantage of every Daytona 500 that you get to drive in. I have approached them a couple of different ways throughout my career and kind of feel like I have found a happy place that I feel after practice, qualifying, and going into the Duels, that if I have this car, then the ability is this and I know what my approach is going to be in the race. Obviously, there are a lot of things that happen during that timeframe, but I just try to control what I can control going into it. Then hopefully that leads to a solid finish and like you said we have had some solid ones and had some wild ones too. Its Daytona man, you just have to kind of live in it this week and take it all in because there is a different atmosphere when you get here for the 500.”
AUSTIN, WHY ARE YOU PART OF THE DRIVER’S ADVISORY COUNCIL?
“Well, I think Jeff Burton kind of reached out to me and felt that they could use me on the board, and I felt like I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t. I feel like the driver’s opinion is very important in this sport and trying to establish a relationship with NASCAR and the owners and connect it altogether. You know what I mean? You have seen what the owners have been able to do with the RTA and seeing other players associations around the different leagues, I think it could build into something great that all the drivers that put their lives on the line each and every weekend, that their voices should be heard as much as anyone’s. I think Jeff is the perfect person for that I feel. And he has built a good board around that in trying to get the drivers together as much as we can. There are small things that we have opinions on, and they don’t get expressed because we are all doing our own things throughout the week. I think that Jeff Burton is a great person for that, and he has already proven it with his ability to talk with TV, with NASCAR, and having a great relationship with a lot of people. He comes across well and I think it is a good start for the driver advisory board.”
TYLER, BASED OFF OF BEING ABLE TO DO THE TEST, DOES THAT FACTOR IN TO WHAT YOU MIGHT DO IN THE DUELS? OR IS THAT LIKE IT WAS A MONTH AGO AND YOU HAVE TO LEARN AS YOU GO?
“Well, unfortunately I didn’t get to do any drafting while we were here. So, it's really kind of opposite and I really want to learn what the car is capable of. I had Randall (Burnett, Crew Chief) all pissed off last night because I was dragging the brake and laying back into (Kevin) Harvick so he could push me around the racetrack. So, I am already being a little bit more aggressive than I should be, but what’s new. But kind of the same as Austin, we really want to get this car into the 500. I would really like to get this car through the whole 500 and maybe just replace a body panel or two and then go race on the west coast. So, it’s a weird spot to be in for our biggest race of the year but I am trying to navigate it as smart as possible.”
AUSTIN, GOING BACK TO THE DRIVER’S COUNCIL, DO YOU FEEL YOU ALSO BRING A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE BECAUSE YOU ARE ONE OF THE THIRD GENERATION DRIVERS IN THE SPORT AND YOU HAVE SEEN IT FROM EVERY SIDE?
“Yeah, I think so. I think that is why Jeff talked to me from racing different, multiple ways around time. I have been around him when he was a teammate at RCR when I was in the Truck and Xfinity Series. I think he sees my perspective from driver, owner, and just being around the sport since I was a kid. So, hopefully I bring just and unbiased opinion to the group and hopefully try to bring some information to them that as drivers sometimes we don’t always see.”
AUSTIN, HOW DO YOU LOOK AT THE MULTIPLE SATELLITE TEAMS ON YOUR CAMPUS? DO YOU SEE THEM AS HELPING, OR CUSTOMERS, AND HOW DO THEY EFFECT RCR AS A WHOLE?
“Well, I think there are multiple ways to look at it. From a driving standpoint, I think that we get to bring in more minds to think about this new car. With Kaulig Racing and Petty GMS, I think it does elevate us as a whole. We are just bigger and better together, I think. I think that is the approach we have to take, especially with the new car and trying to learn as much as we can, as fast as we can. But Chevrolet as a whole is doing a lot right now. I think Chevrolet is where a lot of the focus should be, they are putting a huge campus together near Hendrick Motorsports and the ability to bring a lot of simulators in there and get us more time on the simulators. I know that Tyler and I are constantly fighting for time to get on the simulators and learn. And I feel like they are doing a really good job with that. That is an advantage where Chevrolet is taking the next step and I feel like in investing in our teams.”
NASCAR HAS PARTNERED WITH SEVERAL SPORTS BOOKS AND NOW THERE ARE ODDS AND SEVERAL THINGS BEING PLAYED OUT. AUSTIN YOU ARE 18 TO 1 ODDS AND TYLER YOU HAVE DROPPED FROM A 40 TO 1 TO 30 TO 1 ODDS TO WIN THE DAYTONA 500. HOW DO YOU GUYS LOOK AT THOSE AND HOW DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT WHEN YOU HAVE FANS OUT THERE THAT ARE TAKING SOME OF THESE NEW SPORTS BETTING OPTIONS?
AUSTIN “I am not allowed to look at those odds. No, I mean if you see them its cool to see and you want to see that you are the favorite going into these races like some guys have been able to accomplish in their career. I feel like in other sports, I know how good Vegas is, so when your line gets lower, they must think pretty good of you. And that is cool and all, but I do wonder how in NASCAR that there are more ways that betting should be used in NASCAR than other sports positions. I feel like there is only certain bets you can make in NASCAR, and I feel like Vegas needs to open that up to more competitive bets.”
TYLER “It is pretty cool. You will see it on your Twitter feed. Like, ‘hey, I got my money on Tyler, or I got my money on Austin’. It is kind of fun to see pick you for certain things. I have been the underdog or the dark horse or whatever for that race. So, it is kind of cool to see it, but it doesn’t really change anything for me. I am already going into the race wanting to do everything I can anyways. But it is fun to see fans engaging in it and taking part in it in a lot of different ways.”
YOU WILL HAVE SOME TEAMMATES POTENTIALLY THAT WILL BE TRYING TO GET INTO THE FIELD. ARE YOU MINDFUL OF THAT WITH SOME OF THE ECR ENGINES THAT ARE OUT THERE AND DO YOU GUYS TRY TO GET THOSE GUYS INTO THE FIELD FOR SUNDAY?
TYLER “Absolutely, but like what we were just talking about, at what cost to ourselves. That is where it gets challenging. We’d love for every car that has an ECR engine under the hood to make it, but again, it becomes a very difficult situation. Do we want to risk tearing our car up in going back there and helping or they may not be battling at the back, they may be one of the cars up near the front. So, it's just a risk reward situation, but anything we can do to get more of our engines in the field is going to be a great thing for us. But again, helping get someone in and wrecking one of our own cars does us no good. So, just got to manage it.”
AUSTIN “I would say one of the best positions to be in is one of those guys trying to make it in for the Duel. They have the best Duel position as far as aggression goes. Because they have one speed. So they have less to think about than us, but it’s still not great, and I like that we are locked in. But as far as just the Duel, their mind is already set as far as what they have got to do."