MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
FOLDS OF HONOR QUIKTRIP 500
ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
FEBRUARY 23, 2018
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW CAMARO ZL1, met with members of the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway and discussed his week after winning the Daytona 500, why he loves the old surface at Atlanta, his expectations for the Camaro ZL1 on 1.5-mile tracks and many other topics. Full Transcript:
YOU’VE GOT AN ANNOUNCEMENT YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH US:
“Yeah, this weekend we are running the No. 20 GoShare truck. It’s the GoShare App. The best way to explain it is if you are looking for someone to help you out with delivery, pick-up service, it’s like Uber, but for trucks and delivery. It’s very cool and I’ve moved a few times, it’s not a lot of fun, but you can get some help from the GoShare App, check-it out, go on your phone and grab it. It’s a great App to have.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO NO LONGER BE A ‘ONE-HIT WONDER’?
“That is a good feeling. It puts you in a little bit different category, but even better the second race is the Daytona 500 and it’s a championship race. It’s good, but I want to do more. I want to get more wins and keep on knocking them down. Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal) told me yesterday that if he had any piece of advice on his podcast he said ‘take the trophy, take your Mom and your wife out to eat.’ He said ‘after you get done eating you tell your Mom to take that trophy and don’t look at it again and go get a couple more of those things.’ He said that is what his Dad used to do to him. He would take all his championship rings, all his trophies and put them in his basement and it will make me hungry to go get some more.”
DID YOU EVER HAVE A THOUGHT THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE TO GET LASER REMOVAL FOR YOUR TATTOO SINCE YOU GOT IT SUNDAY NIGHT AND THE RACE WAS OFFICIAL ON MONDAY?
“I didn’t feel like it was going to be taken away. I felt pretty good about it. That would have sucked, but it didn’t happen, so it’s all good.”
WAS THAT A TEAM DECISION TO GET THE TATTOOS?
“Yeah, most of the team … so we went over to Tijuana Flatts that is one of our buddies across the street there who was with me when I got my first tattoo in Daytona and got it. So, this was the second tattoo and there was like probably five on the team that already had it and I had said after the (Coca-Cola) 600 I think like one or two more got it after the 600 when we were in (Las) Vegas. So, I said, alright the next win the rest of the guys have got to get it. Most of them got it and I decided since I was in there, I might as well get a tattoo too and I added 500 championship there. It was pretty cool. It is something we will always be able to remember it by. It will be funny if the next champion does it.”
TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT YOU GOT THE WIN, YOU ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS, HOW DOES THAT HELP YOUR MINDSET GOING INTO THE REST OF THE SEASON NOW THAT YOU ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS?
“Definitely allows you to breathe a little bit, but I already had some motivation this week. I think on (FOX) Race Hub, Brad (Keselowski) and Chad (Knaus, crew chief No. 48 Camaro ZL1) saying that we weren’t going to win again. So, that was good to hear. That was something to get me fired up a little bit more and our team, get those competitive juices flowing again. So, we will just keep rocking it however we can. We still have a lot to work on. We want to make this Camaro ZL1 good at all tracks. We are looking forward to that. Been excited about it. It’s a great start to the season. It definitely gets the momentum going. We just need to keep pounding.”
CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT RUNNING IN THE TRUCK SERIES THIS WEEKEND AND WHAT YOU SEE IN YOUNG MOTORSPORTS THAT YOU CHOOSE TO RUN WITH THEM?
“Well, Tyler (Young) has done a lot in the Truck Series and he has been working really hard. Kind of met him through mutual friends and seen what kind of effort he was putting into the Truck Series. We used him last year for a couple of races with Austin Dillon Motorsports. So, we had the opportunity to run Atlanta with GoShare and figured Tyler was the guy to do it with. Looking forward to working with his whole group of guys he’s got over there. It seems like they’ve got some good stuff and today will be the first time I will get in the Truck. I just want to go out there… I had fun running this race last year. It’s one of those places that anytime you get a chance to run at Atlanta with the old pavement the way it is, sliding around out there, I like the chances. It’s fun.”
YOUR MANAGEMENT COMPANY JUST SIGNED TANNER THORSON CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT?
“Yeah, it was really cool. Tanner is a heck of a wheelman a lot of this credit goes to Austin Craven with Austin Dillon Motorsports. He had the vision. We just want to keep giving back to the sport in any way we can. Tanner is one of those guys that has got that sprint car background like (Kyle) Larson and Christopher Bell and performed well at the Chili Bowl. We are going to be in a couple of Truck (Series) races this year, I think. It will be pretty cool.”
HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THE FACT THAT IF YOU WERE TO WIN A CUP CHAMPIONSHIP YOU WOULD BE THE FIRST TO HAVE A CHAMPIONSHIP IN ALL THREE NASCAR NATIONAL SERIES?
“I definitely have thought about that. That is my goal is to be the first to win all three. I feel like that would be a heck of an accomplishment. I have thought about it a lot this week. After you win a huge race like that, what is next? In my eyes, that is the next goal. That is what we need to go to work on hard this year because we’ve already got a great opportunity with the way the Playoffs work as being locked in.”
WERE YOU NERVOUS AT ALL THIS WEEK GOING ON ANY OF THESE NATIONAL TV SHOWS?
“I did get nervous. The more you do the media stuff the more comfortable you get. As my career has gone on, I’ve gotten way more comfortable and love it. But, the Kelly and Ryan deal I got nervous. I had a text from Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. the night after he congratulated me and said ‘man go represent our sport well this week.’ There is still a little bit of… you’ve got to keep it together and do well. The FOX one I was comfortable with the first one because it was about sports. The second one was like Kelly and Ryan, so it’s like this broad audience that you don’t know what to expect they are going to ask you and stuff. I was in the green room before and I wasn’t like talking to anybody and I’m usually pretty talkative. I’m just like sitting there and my wife comes in because she missed the first interview. She was going to come to the second one. And she comes in and she is talking and she is like ‘what is wrong with you?’ I’m like I’m good I’m just chilling, I’m tired.
“Anytime I get nervous, I cope with it by sleeping. So, if you watch her (Instagram) story I actually was asleep in one of them. She caught me half asleep. I don’t know I just go to sleep when I get nervous. They come in there and they are like alright you are up. I’m like okay. I walk around the corner and you look in the mirror before you go around the corner and they are like we want you live and energy when you walk in there because people are going to be clapping. I get through that and it’s like an awkward stage because you are smiling at all these extras that you don’t have a clue who they are, but they are excited because that is what they are supposed to be. You are running down the aisle smiling and then you get there and I never got to meet Ryan or Kelly before the TV, that live was like the first time I had met them.
“So, I sit down and they are like congratulations and I’m like ‘thank you’. First thing to get comfortable I just started talking about my wife. That was the first thing I went to talking about and then I couldn’t find her and my voice started shaking a little bit and then I found her and I was like okay and sat down in my chair and it was all good. I was relaxed and they were great. Kelly and Ryan both the interview was easy after that. I was trying to be authentic and talk about the whole experience. But, that was the most nervous for sure. That is a good question because you get to a certain point and you get comfortable in a lot of things, but when you get nervous again, it’s cool.”
YOU ARE GOING TO BUY EVERYBODY AT RCR DAYTONA 500 CHAMPIONSHIP RINGS. HOW MANY EMPLOYEES ARE THERE AND HOW MUCH CASH DO YOU THINK YOU ARE GOING TO BE PAYING OUT FOR THOSE?
“It’s going to hurt a little bit. But it’s worth it. I’m a believer in you give, you get back. I’ve been given a lot and the blessing keeps on returning itself, but it’s a big morale booster for all those guys. I think there are 425 employees, so it will be a pretty big check I will have to dish out to Jostens. Jostens if you are listening we need to do some kind of social media deal or something, man, to get a good deal on those rings.”
YOU ALWAYS TOLD ME WHEN YOU WON YOU WOULD TALK A LOT OF TRASH. HOW MUCH TRASH TALKING HAVE YOU DONE? HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT YOU SHOULD TONE THINGS DOWN OR NOT?
“No, I mean I feel pretty good about the way I’ve handled it all week and I’ve had fun. Our next episode after the win of Barn Life (his YouTube TV show) comes out here pretty soon. It hadn’t come out yet, I’ve been staying on Justin to make sure it’s a really good one. We filmed it and it was like an hour and a half of a lot of fun and BS’ing with my buddies. It’s pretty cool, you will have to check that out. That was good. So yesterday in my group test with my buddies they watched Race Hub and Chad Knaus (crew chief, No. 48 Camaro ZL1) and Brad Keselowski thing kind of came on and it was like ‘alright it’s time to keep knocking them down, I guess they don’t believe it yet.’ We’ve got to step-up thought at RCR. We’ve still got a lot to prove. It’s a speedway race, even though it’s the biggest race in our deal, it’s a speedway race. We’ve got a lot more to prove. Andy Petree and all the guys are RCR are working hard. I think coming down to a two-car team move is big for us. We’ve got to take advantage of that. I’m not going to lie, I’m tired right now, but we are going to kick butt this weekend and get back regrouped and get in the groove and try and gain as many bonus points as we can. We want to be like the No. 78 did last year, they did a great job of putting themselves in a position to qualify themselves deep into the Playoffs before they even started. Anyway, we can do that and get bonus points and work hard it’s going to be key.”
HOW DID YOU FIND THE KID THAT GAVE YOU THE LUCKY PENNY?
“So, I think his Grandmother actually called the track to get the picture of us in the autograph line. I’m not sure if somebody, an employee at Daytona said who are you or the camera guy knew or something and they contacted Jackie (Franzil, Austin’s PR Representative) and while we were in New York I got to talk to him on the phone. I was like ‘hey man this is awesome anything I can ever do for you.’ So, Jackie kind of continued the conversation with the family and I didn’t know she was continuing that conversation. FOX and RCR came together, flew them up to RCR and I did an interview the next morning when we got home and I was just thinking it was a regular interview. I sit down, I start the whole interview and he comes up beside me and says ‘you’re welcome.” And I’m like… that is cool. I had no clue he was going to be there it was a total surprise.
“They did a really good job on surprising me on that. It was really special. That was probably one of the most special things of the whole week taking him through the shop, putting him in a racecar. He was so gracious and thankful for that moment and it made me realize how blessed I am. We gave him a basket at the end with like a t-shirt and a diecast and all the team signed it. This is an 11-year-old kid, some 11-year-old kids that I’ve seen don’t act like he did. He was real quiet and taken back by the whole thing instead of just like having fun. He was really just thankful. When we gave him the basket, it was just me, my Dad, Jackie and his Grandmother in a room and we gave him the basket and he started like tearing up on me. I’m like gosh man, holy cow, it’s just a t-shirt to me, but to him it was something else. That was the most emotional part of the whole weekend. After that, I told him, I said look buddy, if you need anything, like anything at all you call me. If you want to go into racing something, if you need anything just let me know.
“He was really cool and we took him to Race Hub and they did such a good job showing him everything, the ins and outs of it. It was cool to just see how thankful he was to be a part of that and I take it for granted too much and he made me come back to reality and just see how cool it was for him.”
WHY DO YOU GUYS LOVE THIS TRACK AND IT’S OLD SURFACE SO MUCH AND WHEN WILL YOU GUYS SAY IT’S TIME TO RESURFACE?
“Well, last year I was really excited… after the race we were flying home and they made the decision not to repave because I was running like third here and we had an alternator failure. It was one of our best races we had all last year. (Ryan) Newman and I both had the same problem running in the top five or six. So, I just wanted another shot at this place because I felt like it was a good track for us. We will probably have a similar set-up that we had last year here and just with the new Camaro ZL1 it should be a good race for us. You go back to your roots when you get these old pavement tracks where taking care of the tires is really key and long runs are very key. So, where every other weekend during the year we are trying to take off and go fast and this one if you take off it really hurts you in the end on the long run.”
HOW DO YOU GO OUT AND SHOW THAT YOU ARE NOT JUST A ONE-TRACK PONY?
“Just go out and prove them wrong. Stay focused, do my job, and work hard. We’ve got a lot of races… the one thing they don’t have right now that we have is a win. So, we are on top right now and no matter what they can’t take that away and we are going to keep working. I don’t expect us to lay down at all. I feel like now more than ever we need to go head on and go after it. Be focused and get back in the swing of things, but we will be ready.”
OVER THE OFF SEASON, CHEVROLET TRANSITIONED OVER TO THE CAMARO. THIS WILL BE THE FIRST WEEKEND WE GET A FEEL ON AN ACTUAL RACE TRACK THAT IS NOT A SUPERSPEEDWAY AND IS AERODYNAMIC DEPENDENT. HOW DO YOU FEEL THAT CHEVROLET WILL HANDLE THIS WEEKEND?
“Well, I actually got to hang out a little bit at the shop this week with the fab shop. They told me they had cut off 36 bodies and they were on like body number 37 or 38 for the Camaro ZL1 for our team and all of our affiliates. So, they have been putting a lot of work into those cars, into the ZL1. I feel like it’s 1 for 1 right now. Why not go 2 for 2 this weekend. Chevy did their job and I think all of our teams with Chevy did. It’s a great car and I’m a personal huge fan of the Camaro. I hope I can get one of the ZL1’s pretty soon.”
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