NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
FEDERATED AUTO PARTS 400
RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
SEPTEMBER 9, 2016
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) and discussed being on the Chase bubble, what it would mean to make his first career Chase for the Championship field, his approach to this weekend at RIR and many other topics. Full Transcript:
TALK ABOUT YOUR CHASE POSITION AND MINDSET COMING INTO TOMORROW NIGHT’S RACE:
“I think we’ve done a good job putting ourselves in position. We wish we were already locked in by now, but we have put ourselves in a positive position going into tomorrow night. I’m proud of the guys. I feel like we have a car capable of running pretty well tomorrow night also. That was good practice for us. Just kind of going about it like a regular race weekend. We need to run good, need to finish strong and that will take care of itself if we have a good strong finish.”
WITH ALL THE VARIABLES GOING INTO THIS WEEKEND HOW DO YOU BALANCE PLAYING OFFENSE AND DEFENSE AT THE SAME TIME?
“I’ve had to do it before in my career with championship runs and stuff. It’s just you’ve got to stay focused and race like you would normally race. When you start really changing the vibe of things it really gets hard that way. Things are going to happen that you don’t plan for. How you react to them is kind of how it is going to end up. Just reacting the right way to everything that goes on tomorrow night and knowing what we have to do to make it in the Chase, having that in our head and just being smart about the choices we make.”
DO YOU THINK YOU WILL BE NERVOUS TOMORROW NIGHT?
“I mean I think I’ve been nervous for the last two or three weeks now. Getting in the Chase is a big deal. It’s our main goal and the best thing I can say is that we’ve put ourselves in a great position to make the Chase and now we just go do our jobs. Nerves can also be channeled to great things. Hopefully, we pull off a great finish tomorrow night. Not only that, but have a shot to win. This has not been one of my best tracks, but I’ve been really positive going into this week and feeling like, looking back at the last race, we had a strong car. We had pit road penalties from both sides, pit crew, myself, if we clean those up I feel like this could be one of our strongest races. I’m proud of the guys for bringing a strong car and we’ve done our research and our homework. I’ve done everything I can as a driver to prepare myself for tomorrow night and that is all I need to know and I’ll be happy and ready to go.”
WHAT IS THE MOOD AT RCR AFTER THE RYAN NEWMAN PENALTY? ARE YOU GUYS ANGRY? HOW MUCH DOES IT HELP YOU TO JUST RACE YOUR RACE TOMORROW?
“Well, as far as the mood goes, I think we’ve got a strong group of guys at RCR. It is part of being in this sport, things come and go. You might not think it’s fair, but you have to go on. It’s their call and at the end of the day that is it. I truthfully have just been focused on the No. 3 team as much as I can possibly because I owe it to Dow to put on the best performance each and every week I can. I’m in there working with our teammates and stuff as much as I can, but coming down the stretch it’s really important that I just focus on my job. That is something we’ve done as a team, I’m a big NFL fan, but the coach that I think is probably the greatest out there is Bill Belichick. I watched that NFL special on him and the biggest thing was like do your job and kind of entitle that this year is trying to do your job, each individual that is on our team does their job. I think we are a capable team of getting it done. We all make mistakes throughout the weekend, but if we can clean those up and have just a spectacular day where everybody does their job it’s going to come true. That is what I’m excited about.”
ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10 WHAT WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR SEASON SO FAR?
“I would say it’s a 6.5/7, let’s say 6.5 because I feel like we could get the half point back with some mistakes we made throughout the center of the year. We would be at a 7 and I think that would have us locked in the Chase right now. We are pretty close to locked in, but you never know what happens when it comes to race day. I would have liked to have been at the 7 at this point, so there is a half point or a point that I would like to have back just because of mistakes that we made as a group and as a company that put us behind. I really think we had a solid year starting and in the middle we just kind of dropped off because of certain things, we had brake failures, we had different things that happened that didn’t go our way, but we have learned from them and able to capitalize and have that 6.5 at this point.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR 1.5 PROGRAM THIS YEAR AND YOUR THOUGHTS ON GOING TO THE CHICAGO MARKET TO KICK OFF THE CHASE FOR OUR SPORT?
“Well, I will tell you I’m really excited for the No. 3 team for the last 10 races. I feel like those race tracks really suit me pretty well, they are some of my best tracks. Chicago is one of my favorites. We had a top five run going last year and blew a right-front or I forgot if something burnt up, something happened. We will hopefully go there figuring on winning because that is what it’s going to take to make it to the next round.”
HOW DOES IT COMPLICATE THINGS THAT THE FIRST GUY OUTSIDE THE CHASE IS A TEAMMATE TRYING TO GET IN?
“I don’t know. Nothing has really changed; we’ve all just wanted to run better as a company at RCR. We are still working together, I was in his trailer right after the first practice asking how his car went in practice and just trying to communicate. Because truthfully in the end if we are all getting better we are going to have more chances to win races and that is what we want to do. That is the real goal. We don’t want to be in this position every year. Just working hard as a group to figure out how to get us better.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY HOSTING A COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME? DO YOU WISH IT WAS ON A DIFFERENT WEEKEND?
“Yeah, I would have loved to have shown up and be able to watch it. That is going to be an awesome experience. I told some of my buddies they have to go and helped them out getting some tickets just to see what it’s going to be like. It’s going to be special. Hopefully, maybe one day they get an NFL game there. I would love to see the Panthers play so that would be cool.”
CAN YOU USE YOUR PAST CHAMPIONSHIP EXPERIENCES TO INCORPORATE IN THIS CHASE?
“Yeah, I think we have kind of been using those methods the same type of methods that we used when we won the Xfinity championship. We left Watkins Glen in the Xfinity championship down 12 points or something. I did the math and it was like two or three spots per race was all I needed to be like 10 ahead by the time we got to Homestead. I just kind of talked to the guys and made a point that all we have to do is be consistent and do what we normally do. We don’t have to find speed. This is what we’ve got at this point. When you get to a certain point in the year you kind of know what you’ve got and you know how you’ve got to attack and how it’s going to work out. Use your strengths to the best of your ability and that is what you get. Hopefully, it comes out right.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK WOULD HAPPEN, FAN REACTION WISE, IF A DRIVER TOOK A STANCE LIKE SOME OF THE NFL PLAYERS HAVE BEEN TAKING DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM?
“I don’t know how it would go over with our fans. I mean we are a very patriotic sport. I think our sport does a good job of showing that every Saturday, Sunday of showing patriotism and what the flag means. Not only that we have a lot of military out here each and every weekend. I’ve had guys personally tell me, I’m close friends with a lot of SEAL guys that I check on that are still in battle, like still going out and putting their lives on the line so I get to do what I do on Sunday and have this amazing job. What is means to them when I stand still and I put my hand across my heart and so it means a lot to me to know that they are watching. They text me, they personally text me, I’ve got SEAL guys that will personally text me and say ‘hey thank you for not moving around; sitting there, we love that.’ When they see people that are not paying attention during our national anthem or kind of off looking around in the right place it means a lot to them just to stand at attention. I wouldn’t want to ask a guy that puts his life on the line for our freedom to have to see that. But, for me I’m just close friends with military members. It might be different throughout, but the ones I know they text me and tell me ‘hey man love to see you out there when you have your hand across your heart, you are standing at attention and respecting the flag.’ That is my stance on it because I have close friends that are still fighting. I think this is the greatest country in the world. I’ve traveled to other countries and I’m glad to get home every time to America.”
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU TO MAKE YOUR FIRST CAREER CHASE?
“It means a ton. Obviously, it’s everything. I put a lot on my shoulders each and every weekend because of my family and the organization I’m with. I think you will find out tomorrow night what it means to me if it goes the right way or the wrong way. You’ve got to handle it the right way or the wrong way whatever happens.”