NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
CHEEZ-IT 355 AT THE GLEN
WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
AUGUST 5, 2016
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 SUNENERGY 1 CHEVROLET SS met with media and discussed the recent tire test at Watkins Glen, what he is expecting during his first Sprint Cup race here, how his father has helped him, being a ‘temporary’ teammate with Jeff Gordon, and more. Full Transcript:
YOU RECENTLY HAD A TEST HERE. TALK ABOUT THAT:
‘We had a test here and we learned some good ideas and things to come into this weekend with. I’m excited about it, and am looking forward to getting the weekend started.”
YOU WON’T HAVE THE DOWNFORCE THAT YOU ARE ACCUSTOMED TO IN THE PAST. WHAT DO YOU ANTICIPATE THE RACE TO BE LIKE ON SUNDAY?
“I’ve never run a Cup car here before, so it’s all kind of a fresh start form that aspect except for the test we ran a few weeks ago. So, I think it’s all still pretty relative. Like most road courses, even at a place like Sonoma, you see guys trying to stretch tires and how we talk about running the race ‘backwards’ from a strategy point, so that will definitely be big. Here on Sunday, I expect it to be hard to pass. It’s really, really fast and I do think if you get out front, it’s going to be a major advantage as it is any weekend. I don’t expect that being different here.”
LAST WEEK YOU SAID YOU MIGHT WANT TO RETHINK YOUR APPROACH AFTER THE STREAK OF BAD RACES YOU’VE HAD; DOES THAT MEAN BEING MORE CONSERVATIVE AND THINK ABOUT PROTECTING YOUR POSITION IN THE CHASE?
“I don’t think you need to look at it that way. I think it’s just more a matter of trying to improve your result, however you feel like you want to do that. I don’t know that a conservative approach, or that word, so to speak, is the way to go about it. I think sometimes being too conservative; you can get yourself in more trouble. I don’t really want to change how we do things as a team or what we set for to try to do at the race track each weekend or the result that we’re trying to achieve. But for me, anytime you’re not getting the result you want to get or you tore up a lot of race cars like I have here lately, you obviously want to improve upon that. So, I just try to be a little smarter and do my job better and try to get the result that we show up at the race track to try to get.”
BEING A ROOKIE, SOMETIMES YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW. DO YOU SEE IT BEING MORE POSITIVE BEING A ROOKIE BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T KNOW WHAT IT WAS LIKE BACK THEN WITH THE NEW TRACK SURFACE AND NEW CAR SET-UPS?
“I definitely think that laps never hurt and that’s why I look back at the test being a help for me just to have some extra laps here. I was glad we were chosen and it was our turn to come do a test and I was happy it was a road course, especially as bad a job as I did at Sonoma a few weeks ago. I figured it was a good time for me to get come road course practice in a Cup car and to come and try to improve, hopefully, on what we’re going to try to going this weekend, set-up-wise and hopefully be acclimated to the track a little sooner.
“I know it’s a repave and obviously there are unknowns, I guess, so to speak; but it’s really similar to me to the old Watkins Glen. It’s still really fast. They did a good job paving it. It is as similar as you could have a repave to an old surface as possible. The old surface was still really fast and had a lot of grip. There weren’t really any issues with it, so I expect it to be similar to races you’ve seen here in the past.”
WITH THE OLYMPICS STARTING OFF THIS WEEKEND, WILL YOU FOLLOW ANY OF THOSE SPORTS? DO YOU ENJOY THEM? IF YOU COULD PICK ONE THAT YOU COULD BE GOOD AT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
“A fun question. I like this! I’ve always been a fan of the Olympics. Who isn’t? Anytime you have a chance to cheer-on your country and keep up with that medal count; hopefully they can rack-up some golds here starting soon. But I really don’t have a huge preference in what sport it is. I think for the most part, I’m not going to say all of them, but I can find entertainment in watching the majority of them. Even things that you don’t necessarily know a lot about, whether it’s swimming or golf or whatever it is, I can make it entertaining and watch it. Those guys are so good at what they do and they bring such a competition level to the games, it’s impressive. I can find entertainment and you always have somebody to pull for in the USA. So, I’m good with that.
“I wish I could play golf a little better than I do, currently. I’m not a very good golfer, but definitely would like to improve upon that.”
WITH JEFF GORDON RETURNING TO THE CAR TEMPORARILY, COULD YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM? HERE IS SOMEONE WHO WAS GOING TO BE LEAVING THE CAR, BUT NOW YOU’RE RACING AGAINST HIM. WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP LIKE NOW THAT YOU ARE TEAMMATES?
“I obviously never would have thought that it would have worked out like this. More than anything, he’s being a really good teammate to come back and offer his support and do what he can do behind the wheel, which says a lot about him and his character. He could be off doing a lot of other things, I’m sure. He’s been racing for a long time. I think for him to come back means a lot to the organization as a whole. For me, it’s definitely different. Racing against Jeff, who you didn’t think you were going to race against ever again, probably; I ran a few races with him last year and it was pretty neat. He’s been a big help in recognizing where we are week-to-week, trying to help us improve, he has a lot of great insight. He’s very aware of what’s going on and aware of our competitors and where he feels like we’re getting beat in certain aspects and he does a really good job of explaining that and breaking it down and trying to explain that to our engineers and the people at Hendrick. So, I think that’s a good thing. I think he’s been a good teammate, leading up to this year; and certainly I think he still is. I’ve enjoyed racing with him and I’m sure he’ll be one of the ones to beat. He’s pretty good here.”
YOU SAID YOU DIDN’T HAVE QUITE THE RUN AT SONOMA THAT YOU WANTED. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’VE BEEN ABLE TO DO BETWEEN THEN AND NOW AS FAR AS TRYING TO GET A BETTER RESULT THIS WEEKEND?
“Just the test; really and truly, you can spent time; and I was listening to Chris (Buescher) talk about how they went out and did a road race school that Ford set up for them.
“I’ve done some great schools that Chevrolet set up for us that I really enjoyed out in Las Vegas. Those are great opportunities the manufacturers set up to go and run and get laps. But there’s no better way to get reps than to do it in a stock car. They just drive different on a road course than other vehicles. To get reps and to get laps in the actual car that you’re going to be driving at the actual race track you’re going to is pretty rare to see these days. And certainly to get a test, we have an allotment of tests and we try to divide them up equally among our four teams. So, I was really happy we had this test, especially after the way Sonoma went. Like I said, there’s no better way to get reps than to just come to the actual place you’re going be at in the actual car you’re going to run and just make laps. I think that’s the best way to go about that.”
BEING YOUR FIRST TIME HERE IN THE SPRINT CUP SERIES, HAS YOUR DAD GIVEN YOU ANY SPECIFIC ADVICE THAT YOU’LL USE GOING INTO SUNDAY’S RACE?
“Yeah, absolutely. We’ve probably talked more about this weekend than we have other places throughout the year. I think mostly, going back to that test again, he came up here with me to the test and stood in some of the corners and watched. Brad (Keselowski) was here and I was glad he was okay after his wreck and a couple other cars that were really good and have had a lot of success here that we’ve seen just watching on TV the past number of years. So, he got to watch and kind of sit in the corner and see what I was doing differently than those guys and try to address it and make it better. Certainly, like I said, those are some good ones to learn from who have had a lot of success. So, I think that was helpful. We discussed some of it and kind of how to approach some of the corners and some of the areas of the race track differently than how I started the day approaching it at the first day of the test. So, I think that was helpful. I expect him to do some of the same today if he sees something else going on.”