MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
FOOD CITY 500
BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
APRIL 21, 2017
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 MOUNTAIN DEW/LITTLE CAESARS CHEVROLET SS met with media and discussed various aspects of short track racing, what he’s learned at previous Bristol races, racing under the lights versus during the day, and more. Full Transcript:
YOU ARE RUNNING A SPECIAL PAINT SCHEME THIS WEEKEND, AND THERE IS A PROMOTION RUNNING ALONG WITH THAT. ‘IF CHASE WINS, YOU WIN’. PLEASE TALK ABOUT THAT.
“Yes, Mountain Dew has been a great partner for us and we have a good relationship with Little Caesars as well. If we are able to win here on Sunday, or whenever it is, April 26th Little Caesars is giving away a free lunch combo to the folks who are at their stores. So, it’s a big promotion for them. And, hopefully we can do that, and have a good partnership with Mountain Dew and Little Caesars. It’s a cool opportunity, so, we’ll see.”
HOW DID THE ATLANTA BASEBALL GAME GO? AND HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE CHARLOTTE RACE BEING RUN DURING THE DAY INSTEAD OF UNDER THE LIGHTS IN THE FALL?
“The Braves game was a lot of fun. The tour of the facility was fun. The game that night wasn’t that fun. They had a rough night. But, it was a great opportunity to see their new park. It’s super nice. I’ve never been to a facility any nicer than that. They’ve thought of everything. All the folks are very gracious and kind to walk us through and give me a chance to see some of the cool things that those guys have to work with throughout the week. So, I appreciate it. It was a lot of fun. The game, not so much; but hopefully get her turned around.
“I’m a fan of night racing. If I could have my choice, I would love to race under the lights as much as possible. As I’ve run more and more races in these Cup cars and in this series, I recognize that these cars like to race in the day. It lends more opportunities to us as drivers to move around on the race track and I feel like, put on a better show for the fans. So, although I kind of come from a Saturday night short track world over the past six or seven years, I think these cars are better suited racing during the day. And I think if that’s the case, then we need to do it during the day. So, I think it’s a good move.”
COMPARE THE INTENSITY ON A DRIVER OF DRIVING AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY VERSUS TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY
“Yeah, it’s definitely nowhere close. Bristol is a physical place. You don’t have a lot of time down the straightaways to think about things. You very much so get into a rhythm of just running. I feel like you’re just wide-open all the time; whereas at Talladega, there are certain portions of the race where things might calm down for a little while. Now we all know at some point it’s going to ramp back up. But I feel like here, you don’t really have much of a break and it’s just wide-open all the time. Knowing how quickly the leader can get back to you to put you a lap down, I think is one thing that keeps everybody on their toes and probably keeps the intensity up. As we know, the race, a lot of times, where it gets interesting is when the leader catches lapped traffic and he’s got to work his way through. And that guy in second might navigate the traffic better. So, I think that it just makes the racing that much more entertaining.”
YOU JUST TALKED ABOUT COMING FROM THE SHORT TRACKS AND SATURDAY NIGHT RACES AND MORE PHYSICAL LITTLE TRACKS WHERE YOU GUYS BUMP AND GRIND. IT USED TO BE THAT WAY HERE. LAST YEAR WE SAW THE BUMP AND RUN WIN AT RICHMOND BY CARL EDWARDS AND EVERYBODY THOUGHT OH MY GOODNESS, WHAT’S THAT ALL ABOUT? LIKE IT WAS SOME KIND OF CRIME. HOW DO YOU GAUGE THE PHYSICAL NATURE OF THE RACING ON THE SHORT TRACKS FROM YOUR BACKGROUND? ARE YOU SURPRISED THERE’S MORE OR LESS? HOW DO YOU SEE IT?
“That’s a good question. I guess it kind of depends on who you talk to. There might be more aggression at times at a short track level. The area I came from and the racing we did, I can’t say that it was, you know, like there definitely didn’t seem like there was a lot of, amongst the guys who you were trying to beat, at least; and the guys who you knew could win each weekend. I didn’t feel like those were the guys that were wrecking people to do things or whatever. So, that’s a good question. I think at times, if the situation is right, I think you do have opportunity to move a guy out of the way or do what it takes to try to get by him. But in a lot of situations, it’s just easy to make a mistake and wreck people. And at the end of the day, I obviously don’t want to make that mistake. So, it’s a fine line. I think Carl did a great job with it at Richmond. He moved him out of the way and didn’t wreck him and the guy finished second and he won and went on down the road. So, I think in that situation, no harm no foul.”
WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO MAKE THE SAME MOVE THAT CARL MADE UNDER THE SAME CIRCUMSTANCES?
“I would, for sure. I mean, why not? Carl has won a lot of races. I’ve won zero. I’d love to get one, so absolutely. If the situation is right, I think that’s part of racing. And if you’re better than a guy and you get to him and he had just caught Kyle and he had been six or seven car lengths back and had just got to him on the white flag lap. I mean he didn’t have enough time to set him up and really pass him without touching him, and he wanted to win. So, I can respect that.”
AT MARTINSVILLE, OBVIOUSLY YOU BENEFITTED AT THE END OF STAGE 1 WITH WHAT RICKY DID. THAT TYPE OF SITUATION AND WITH THE KNOWN CAUTIONS, ESPECIALLY AT SHORT TRACES HERE AND ELSEWHERE, DID THAT OPEN THE EYES OF WHAT’S POSSIBLE OR WHAT YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF AS A LEADER, OR THE POSSIBILITY IF YOU’RE TRYING TO GET YOUR LAP BACK? IF YOU GET THE FREE PASS, YOU’RE STARTING HALF A LAP BACK ANYWAY ON THE RESTART
“Honestly, I was blown away that that even happened. I wasn’t expecting it. I’ve gone a lap down a lot at Martinsville. And I can’t say that, man I’d have to really think about it a lot to move the leader out of the way to try to get my lap back. So, I don’t know what the situation was there, if there had been history. So it’s hard for me to really get involved. But, it surprised me. And I definitely wasn’t expecting to see that happen. So, I think it does opens your eyes; but I don’t think you’ll see that happen very often.”
YOUR DAD DROVE FOR THE WOOD BROTHERS, SO YOU HAVE A SENSE OF THEIR HISTORY, BUT OBVIOUSLY FOR MOST OF YOUR LIFE, THEY HAVE NOT BEEN AS STRONG. NOW THAT THEY’RE HAVING SUCCESS, MAYBE YOU HAVE A BETTER APPRECIATION OF WHAT IT MEANS TO SEE THEM UP FRONT, OR DO YOU?
“No, I do for sure. As Dad said over the years, not really knowing them when he started to spend time with them, but once he got to know Len and Eddie and Leonard and Glen, we got to know them pretty well over those few years; especially Len and Eddie. Leonard would send us these remote control RC cars for Christmas every year, which was really cool. So, we had a great relationship with them. I always thought the world of them, so to see them have success I think is really cool. And, not necessarily because of the history that they have, because I’m not very tied into their history, but just from my time that I spend with them as a kid over the two or three years that Dad races with them, that’s why I want to see them do good because I know some of the guys there, not just Eddie and Len, but some of the same crew guys are even still there. They’re all just really good people. So, I want to see them have success because of that, not necessarily because of their history. I don’t know as much about it as other guys may, but just to see how good of people they are and how hard they work and what they’ve been through, through the tough times when Dad was there and trying to get their cars to run better; to be in line with Penske now and have an opportunity to run well and have a good driver in the car again, I think all that is good and I’m happy to see it. I’m sure they’ll have a lot more success as time goes.”
I SAW A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO WHERE RODNEY CHILDERS WAS WATCHING RACES BACK ON TV. DO YOU GUYS GO BACK, LIKE SOME OTHER SPORTS, AND WATCH RACES ON TV OR YOUR OWN FILM TO TRY TO IMPROVE AS YOU PREPARE FOR A RACE?
“Yeah, we definitely do. As you look back to races, I mean last Fall I think is going to be a good one to watch for this weekend just because there was a lot of rain in the forecast that weekend and I think the grip strip is back down, which is definitely a key factor. And as it rains, I think that thing has changed and the grip level changed in that strip they did on the bottom of the race track. So, I think last fall is a great indicator of what we’re going to see this weekend. And certainly, I think you can learn a lot from in-car cameras and races prior to when we get here because a lot of times they are very similar. I think you’ll see that as time goes.”
WHAT CAN YOU TAKE FROM YOUR PREVIOUS TRIPS TO BRISTOL AND TRANSLATE THAT INTO A VICTORY THIS WEEKEND?
“So, last year, I thought we learned a couple of really good lessons that we kind of backed into and got lucky with. In the first weekend we were throwing things at it during practice and we hit on a couple of things that were really good here in the spring race. We came back in the fall and I didn’t feel like we hit it as well then; we fired off good and then I felt like as the race went on we fell off way too much compared to a lot of other guys. So, I kind of look back more at the spring race last year. I feel like we had a better handle on the race track. I think I had a better handle on what I was doing. So, I’m going to kind of look back at some of the things I was doing then, to try to translate to this weekend, because I think obviously it’s the same weekend. We’re racing maybe during the daytime so all that stuff matters. So, we’re going to look back I think more, at last spring than we will last fall.”