MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
AAA 400 DRIVE FOR AUTISM
DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
JUNE 2, 2017
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 NAPA CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Dover International Speedway and discussed the No. 24 team’s difficult month of May, talking with Jefferey Earnhardt have last week’s on-track incident, how he handles the frustration and many other topics. Full Transcript:
HOW MUCH CONFIDENCE DOES YOUR PAST PERFORMANCE HERE GIVE YOU GOING INTO THIS WEEKEND?
“Yeah, it was a rough whole month of May really for us. We are happy to see June here and just kind of a shot to try to improve and get some good solid finishes if nothing else or really just finish would be good. That is our goal this weekend to try not to have anything stupid happen, finish and hopefully just try to move on down the road and try to get some just solid days, just good experience, execution and just exercise all the parts of the race that you have to do to run well and compete to win.”
HAVE YOU EVER HAD A STRETCH LIKE THIS BEFORE IN YOUR CAREER? HOW EASY IS IT TO LET GO OF IT AND HOW MUCH OF IT GNAWS AT YOU?
“I mean it’s easy to let go, or I think it’s easy to let go just because you can’t really change it and what’s done is done and a lot of it has just been… I don’t like using the term bad luck, because I think a lot of your luck starts when you leave the race shop. But, I guess just misfortune and kind of being at a bad spot at the wrong time. So, I don’t like using the term bad luck, but I guess some of it has been so to speak. I’m not real sure what you call it, but the big thing for us is you got to keep trying to stay high on what you have going on, try to run well. If you put yourself in good position long enough I think eventually good things will happen to you. I’m a pretty strong believer in what goes around comes around and I think everything in racing, that is one thing I have learned over my career I think everything in racing comes full circle at some point. I’m a big believer in that. So, I feel like if we keep doing our jobs and keep trying to run well and just keep trying to improve I think it will come around for us and those opportunities will be there again for us to have good finishes. I don’t know that I have had an entire month be quite as rough as May has. Maybe at some point, I don’t really know, I definitely have had things like that happen over time, but I just don’t know that it’s all been back to back to back like it seems like it has been here lately. We will take this weekend for what it is and try to get a good finish.”
ON HIS PODCAST DALE EARNHARDT, JR. SAID THAT JEFFEREY EARNHARDT WAS TEXTING HIM TRYING TO GET YOUR NUMBER TO TALK. I WAS CURIOUS IF YOU TWO SPOKE AND WHAT HE SAID?
“Yeah, he did. Jeffery sent me a text after the race and he just apologized. And I told him I said ‘man it’s not your fault’. It’s just one of those incidents where I was just in a bad spot, he had a parts failure that was not his doing and I get it. I understand that stuff like that happens. It was unfortunate that it happened 20 laps into a 600-mile race, but like I said, it is nothing that either one of us can do anything about, unfortunately. I appreciate him reaching out and taking the time and effort to do that. It meant a lot to me just because. I thought it showed a lot about his character and the kind of person he is. I don’t really know Jefferey all that well, so it was kind of cool to see what kind of person he is and cares if nothing else. I appreciated it and yes, we did speak.”
COMPARED TO THIS TIME LAST YEAR, WHAT DO YOU THINK THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE WITH YOUR RACE TEAM IS?
“Good question. I don’t know. I feel like more than anything I feel like we have just kind of settled in at home. I think this time last year was obviously our first go around together in a lot of ways as a group being together, learning race tracks as we go to for the first time in the Cup car and some of the different things that we fought. You know you still fight those things as time goes on, but I just think, I feel like we just all feel more at home. We just all feel more comfortable with what we are doing. Maybe that is good, maybe that is bad, I’m not sure. I think if you get too comfortable that can be a bad thing. I think you need to have some discomfort as time goes in what you are doing to try to push yourself to do better, but I just think that year of experience and being with the same group of guys and there are only one or two guys that have changed from last year to this year. I just think our group has just probably come together a little more, I would say in the last year.”
THE ROUGH MAY YOU MENTIONED COINCIDED WITH TWO GUYS GETTING THEIR FIRST CUP WINS. WAS IT TOUGH FOR YOU TO NOT MAYBE CAST AN EYE OVER THERE AND WONDER WHEN IT IS GOING TO WORK OUT FOR YOU?
“Sure, you always want to win and you always want to beat the next guy, but at the same time Ricky (Stenhouse, Jr.) did a great job at Talladega, had a strong car, did a great job missing all the wrecks and putting himself in good position. He has put in due time. He is a champion in NASCAR. He has had success here, he deserves to be here and why shouldn’t he deserve to win. He did his part and got the job done. Happy for him. Happy for Austin (Dillon) also another champion that has put in his time and had an opportunity to win and did a great job executed a great race. I hope that people don’t say ‘ah it was a fuel mileage race, his first win.’ I just hate hearing that because the guy has been around he has run well at times, he has had other opportunities to win, so I’m happy for him too. I hope we can do it at some point. That would be nice, but sure, I want to beat them, but I respect it and I’m happy for them and we will have our opportunity as well.”
COMING INTO MICHIGAN YOU HAVE TWO CUP SERIES RUNNER-UP FINISHES AND AN XFINITY SERIES RUNNER-UP FINISH. WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR MICHIGAN? WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF THAT TRACK? HOW DID YOU DO LAST NIGHT AT THE CASINO WITH DENNY (HAMLIN)?
“Yeah, struggled. I was hoping May was over and June was going to turn a new page and if the blackjack table has any frame on June it’s not good.
“I really don’t know why Michigan has been, I don’t know if running second three times, I don’t know if I should say it’s been good to use, but we have some good cars there, solid days overall. I felt like our runner-up finish in the Xfinity car probably wasn’t as strong of a day as our two runner-up finishes in the Cup Series last year. Like I said, I really don’t know why we have run well there last year. I think Alan (Gustafson) has a good feel on the race track with the cars and kind of what to bring. I don’t know if it suits me or just got lucky or what it was. Unlucky or lucky whatever you want to call it, but I’m excited to get back. Take the race track out of the equation, Michigan is one of my favorite areas to go to. I think it’s awesome this time of year to go visit Michigan. A cool place to go. So, I’m excited to get there and give it another shot.”
DO YOU FEEL LIKE MAYBE YOU ARE HANDLING YOUR FRUSTRATION BETTER IN A WAY THAT’S PRODUCTIVE? CERTAINLY, YOU COULD BE REALLY FRUSTRATED BY NOW.
“I think there is a difference in my frustration and some of the things that I have gone through this year I think is different than what I went through last year. To me, I take a lot of pride in what I do and some of the stupid mistakes last year were on me and just 100 percent my fault. I feel like some of the misfortune we have had this month has been out of my hands in some ways. So, I look at it by circumstance. I look at the different circumstances and how they differ. There is no secret, if I make a mistake I’m going to be mad at myself and that is just a fact and that is the way I am. You can like it, you can hate it, but that is just how I am. That is how I grew up and that is how I’m going to be. I think there is a difference in mistakes I make and misfortune that isn’t in your hands. I think that is the difference you see.”