WHAT IS THE OUTLOOK FOR THE PLAYOFFS FOR YOUR TEAM?
“I think we are super motivated because its Greg’s (Ives, crew chief) last 10 races with me and we want to end on a high note. We know the summer doesn’t matter anymore, our troubles, and it’s a good reset for us going into the playoffs. Everybody is all in and I think we can definitely make some noise.”
HAVE YOU HAD DISCUSSIONS ABOUT WHO IS GOING TO TAKE OVER THAT ROLE (CREW CHIEF) OR IS IT A FOCUS ALL ON THE PLAYOFFS
“Yeah, we have talked about it and it is pretty cool to be as involved as they have let me be in those talks. So, definitely kind of scary, but exciting at the same time. I really don’t know a successful Cup program without Greg Ives. So, it’s going to be different, but excited for the change.”
HOW DO YOU APPROACH DARLINGTON WITH THE NEW CAR? YOU HAVE RUN IT BEFORE BUT HOW DO YOU KNOW THE LIMITS?
“The body is forgiving, but the suspension is super unforgiving, and then it catches on fire. So, trying to avoid that because that is what got us the last Darlington race.. it decided to catch on fire on the right front. Hopefully we can avoid that.
But yeah, just knowing that if you hit the wall a little bit you have more room for error than you did with the old car for sure. Darlington is a place that you have to attack. You can’t just layover and try to survive. If you do that, then I feel like you kind of have a little bit of a lack in focus and don’t end up running well and its easier to make mistakes. We have to go run well and there is no way around it. You just have to go execute.”
SINCE YOU WERE SO SOLID OUT OF THE BOX THIS SEASON, HAVE YOU USED THE LATER PART OF THE SEASON TO SET YOURSELF UP FOR THE PLAYOFFS LIKE JIMMIE AND CHAD USED TO DO?
“I hope so. It’s been a rough summer, right? I would love to say that and maybe that is the case. So, I don’t know, I guess we will find out the next 10 weeks.”
AS FAR AS THE RESULTS GO, YOU ARE A BIT BEHIND KYLE AND CHASE THE LAST FEW WEEKS. DO YOU FEEL THAT WAY OR IS IT JUST RESULTS?
“I think the early part of the summer we were definitely behind, but for the last couple of weeks its definitely just results. So, I am definitely looking forward to the playoffs. I think my team is in a good spot and Greg is in a good spot. The last few weeks we have had good speed and have just not executed. We just have to keep digging.”
ARE YOU STILL TRYING TO GET USED TO THE AERO TENDENCIES OF THIS NEW CAR AT A PLACE LIKE DAYTONA AND WILL WE SEE SIMILAR THINGS AT TALLADEGA?
“I think you will see similar tendencies at Talladega, but I think really it was just speedway racing. I don’t think it was anything different than the old car. We had been really aggressive pushing all day long and I felt like I was one of the better pushers. Everyone that I pushed went to the front. We worked really well together with the 17 early in the race and some other guys through there. We had a really strong car and the way that Chase (Briscoe) slid up pretty late into three and kind of got loose right in front of me, it was just a situation where I just couldn’t get off of him.”
REGARDING YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE SEARCH TO REPLACE GREG IVES, WHAT KIND OF INPUT HAVE YOU PROVIDED?
“Yeah, just everybody asking me what kind of guy that I want, what I look for, and what I need and think will make me more successful. It’s been challenging to ask myself those questions and it’s definitely been a learning experience.”
YOU HAVE BEEN HERE BEFORE AT THIS POINT (PLAYOFFS) AND HOW COMFORTABLE ARE YOU GOING INTO IT THIS TIME?
“I don’t think anybody is comfortable as close as the points are. But, I kind of know what the pressures are going to bring. I know what I need to do and its just a matter of going and doing it.”
DO YOU FEEL CONFIDENT BECAUSE YOU HAVE HAD SOME GOOD RACES THIS YEAR BUT HAVE ALSO HAD SOME TOUGH ONES AS WELL? DO YOU HAVE A PRETTY GOOD IDEA OF WHAT YOU NEED TO DO WITH 10 RACES LEFT?
“I think so. I think we are all super motivated and we don’t have a choice but to go and perform for 10 weeks.”
ANY EXTRA INCENTIVE TO GET IT DONE FOR GREG SINCE HE IS STEPPING AWAY?
“Yeah, I think so. We want to end him being my crew chief on a high note. We are going to be friends forever, but yeah, we want to go perform well.”