CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 KELLEY BLUE BOOK CAMARO ZL1 – Press Conference Transcript:
FOUR POINTS TO GET THE NUMBER ONE SEED IN THE PLAYOFFS AND THE REGULAR SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP. WITH THAT POLE POSITION, HOW’S THE MINDSET LOOKING AT TOMORROW?
“Yeah, honestly my mindset and my focus right now is really just about trying to give ourselves a shot to win tomorrow. The the best way to achieve the most points is to go out there and be the first one to cross the line there at the end of the day. That’s really where our heads are at and where our goals lie; trying to execute a perfect race tomorrow. Obviously that’s a really hard thing to do. We would love to keep our track position all day. I understand that’s a difficult thing to achieve, but it’s not impossible. We’ve seen it done before. We’ll try to put together a good day, try to stay mistake-free and make the most of a good qualifying effort.”
LAST YEAR, YOU TALKED ABOUT THE FLAT-SPOTTING PART, WHICH WAS THE REASON FOR THE LOSS. WITH THE NEW CAR AND THE BIGGER BRAKES, IS IT EASIER OR TOUGHER TO FLAT SPOT THE TIRES?
“I would imagine it will be easier to do. Lock-up has been a bit more widespread this year, I feel like, at some of the other road courses than what we’ve seen here in the past. Last year, for me, was just a stupid mistake in the scenario that I did that. Nonetheless, I think you’ve seen more lock-up generally this year than what we have here in the past just overall at other tracks.”
AS SOMEONE THAT HOLDS THEMSELVES TO A VERY HIGH STANDARD; YOU HAD THE SUCCESS ON THE ROAD COURSES THIS SEASON, BUT NO WIN. HOW MUCH DOES THAT WEIGH ON YOU, IF AT ALL?
“It honestly doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to win in general anywhere, whether it’s a road course, an oval or wherever it may be. I’m not sure that it’s been any added stress. We just want to get better. Like I tell you guys all the time, we just want to improve. Especially when you go somewhere, you think you’re off a little bit in a certain area and you want to move forward. You never want to go backwards; so as long as we’re moving forward, I think we’ll get to where we want to be.”
YOU MENTIONED THE PACE OUT THERE WITH THESE CARS. DID THAT COME AS A SURPRISE TO YOU GUYS AND DO YOU THINK IT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO SORT OF ALTER THE COMPLEXION OF THE RACE A LITTLE BIT FROM PREVIOUS YEARS HERE?
“Potentially, but it’s always been a pretty track position-oriented event anyway. It’ll probably just be a bit more so in that direction. I don’t know, lap time-wise, what we ran last year. I don’t remember, but I know we were just carrying a lot of throttle. It seems like more than I remember carrying here in the past. Typically with that is it’s going to be difficult to setup passes and get yourself in position.
We had a good lap there and you want to try and make the most of a good opportunity there starting out front. I know it’s a hard thing to do to keep that track position all day, but it’s not impossible. If we can achieve that, great.. and if not, we’ll stay in the fight and try and give ourselves a shot there when it matters.”
ALL FOUR HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS CARS QUALIFIED IN THE TOP-11. DID ALL FOUR OF YOU EXPECT TO HAVE THE SPEED THAT YOU HAD TODAY OR IS THAT A SURPRISE AT ALL?
“Not necessarily a surprise. I feel like everybody at Hendrick Motorsports is committed to being good in all categories and road racing is one of them. So, I’m not surprised to see that. Our organization is super driven. The boss is here today and he continues to come and support us; be here and show his enthusiasm and drive to want to succeed. I think that rubs off on the rest of us. I think we all have our own wills and wants to do good, but it’s always nice to see him here and nice to grab the pole with him in town. And obviously William (Byron) got the pole for the Xfinity Series race in a special car, too. Happy to see that.”
SEVERAL INTERNATIONAL DRIVERS IN THE FIELD. AS SOMEONE LIKE YOURSELF THAT’S GOOD ON ROAD COURSES AND TAKES A LOT OF PRIDE IN ROAD COURSE RACING; HOW COOL IS IT TO SEE THE DIFFERENT ROAD COURSE RACERS AND INTERNATIONAL DRIVERS THAT ARE IN THIS RACE?
“Yeah, like I’ve referenced a bunch; I think whoever’s idea that was over at Trackhouse I think deserves a lot of credit. And even beyond that, whoever put it together in the manner that they did in making it just very well done.. it looks professional, it is professional. He’s coming over, he’s in a good car. I just think it’s exciting that these guys are coming over and showing interest in what we have going on here. I think that’s the best way to gain respect around the world.. to have these drivers that do other things come and get involved. Just immerse themselves in what we do here, understand the challenges, and what it takes to be good. I think that’s always going to be a good thing.
I hope it continues and I hope they keep doing it. I hope everybody that is here from other disciplines has a good time this weekend; enjoys themselves, is challenged by it and is excited to do it again.”
I WOULD HAVE TO IMAGINE THIS IS A VERY SPECIAL PLACE FOR YOU.. BEING THAT YOU SCORED YOUR FIRST CAREER WIN HERE. WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO LOCK-UP THE REGULAR SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP HERE, AS WELL?
“This is always going to be a special place to me because achieving that first win was such a big deal for myself, our team and I think to our entire group. It’s always going to be a special spot whether we do well or not. It will always feel different.
And two, it’s a beautiful part of the country. It’s a very underrated part of the country, I think. It’s very nice up here and I enjoy visiting even beyond the on-track stuff.”