Sunday, May 28

Transcripts: James Small - Press Conference - LA Memorial Coliseum

THE MODERATOR: We'll start our winning team press conference. We're joined by the crew chief of the No. 19 winning team, and that's James Small.

Q. What's this off-season been like for you guys after last year? While you didn't have any wins, you had speed, but again, no wins?

JAMES SMALL: Yeah, we've just been like super excited to get going. Like the team, it's hard to explain. We never get down on ourselves, but everybody has just been super motivated to get back to the track.

We know what we're capable of, and Martin is a different person right now, and he's super motivated, and we're all behind him. We knew we could do this, and we just needed to hit it right.

I think we learned a lot last year. We had races where we had a lot of speed and things didn't go right, but we also had races where we made poor decisions, and I think we learned a lot. You saw when we get it right today this is what we're capable of.

Q. You said Martin is different; how so?

JAMES SMALL: He's just super excited. I think last year was a big disappointment for all of us. He knew he's way better than that, and he's just ready to get going. We all just want to prove everyone wrong.

Q. Is this a statement or anything like that?

JAMES SMALL: I guess. You know, especially the way we started last year here. We were a bag of dicks. To come back and turn it around like that, that gives us motivation for all the tracks we go to.

Q. James, how different, if at all, was the track this year compared to last year, and how much different did you have to set up the car just knowing what you learned throughout the entirety of the season last year?

JAMES SMALL: Well, for us last year, throw it out the window, but looking at the good cars last year versus the way it was today, it was very different just going into the night. It's way cooler, track was a lot freer, which is kind of what we thought would happen when it cooled down, and just it never got into those long runs until maybe a little bit at the end there, but it was hard with all those refires.

You set your car up in one way, and that's the trouble with the Next-Gen car -- well, any car. But you can work on your setup and have a philosophy, but depending on how the race unfolds, sometimes that might be completely wrong if it's all short run versus long run.

Thankfully at the end we got into a little bit more of a long run scenario. Yeah, I think we just learnt a lot. The whole field has learned a lot you can see. Everybody is a lot closer and handling better. Yeah, it's one year, and I'm sure in another year we'll learn a lot more.

Q. Following up, with the way last year unfolded with there being constant late cautions that would disrupt strong runs and then lead to a different person taking the lead, how satisfying was it for you guys that you were just able to survive all of these constant restarts and still get to Victory Lane?

JAMES SMALL: Yeah, no, it was. It came across my mind there when the 34 brought the caution out at the end. I'm like, oh, here we go. It just seems like it's just the story of our life on the 19 car.

Yeah, no, he did great. You know, we were battling a lot at the end with our brakes and things like that. Very satisfying to save all those restarts, and he did awesome.

Q. Is there room for this kind of racing for an actual points race, not just an exhibition, or should a track this small always be an exhibition?

JAMES SMALL: I think it should always be an exhibition. I'm not sure how -- the way our championship works and everything, I don't know how you could structure it to be fair to everybody, how you're going to do competitive pit stops. You can't even pit the whole field on here.

Yeah, I think it's better in my opinion, whether that's right or wrong - it's probably wrong - that it stays an exhibition race.

Q. James, NASCAR used to have at one point an exhibition race like this in your home country. Could you ever see a venue or anything there where they could do that again?

JAMES SMALL: That would be really cool, but obviously the Thunderdome is there. That is almost an a tear-down point. They still run cars around it, but I think the expense would kill it.

It's hard to even get an international music star to go out there. It's just so expensive to get out there. As much as I'd love it, I don't think it'll ever happen in my day.

THE MODERATOR: James, congratulations. Thank you for your time.



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