MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY
AUTO CLUB 400
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
MARCH 15, 2019
CHRIS BUESCHER, NO. 37 KROGER FLAVOR FILL UP CAMARO ZL1 met with media and discussed his season to date, his qualifying frustration. Session highlights:
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY?
“I ran my first Cup race at this race track back in 2015, I believe. I love this race track. And it’s just a lot of fun. And it’s worn out. It’s got that surface like Atlanta but it’s bigger. It’s got the same lines. You can run the wall, you can run the apron, you can mow the grass. You can hit whatever you want to hit and there’s ways to make it work. This package, with the draft being as important as it is going to be and how dirty air will affect the cars is going to change some of it, but I think we’re going to see a lot of the same old Fontana here. It’s just a fun race track. You’re sliding around and trying to get control of it and trying to figure out how to make speed while sliding around. That’s the hardest thing. You could slide around and have a fun time but to be able to go fast while doing it, that’s the hard part.”
ON HIS SEASON THUS FAR
“If it hadn’t been for getting caught up in that big one at Daytona, we’d be at the start of a fantastic year. Obviously Daytona is what it is. I’ve been really happy with where we’ve been with JTG Daugherty Racing. Everybody has done a fantastic job during the off-season getting everything rolling in the right direction. We’ve had really good runs. We had a top 10 at Atlanta. And Phoenix we came out 16th. For a track that is probably my worst or second worst; Phoenix hates me and the feeling is mutual, so for us to run competitively all week and have speed, that was really good. I’m happy with where we’re at right now. We want to get to the top 15 and be consistent there. We’re so close to being at that point. We just need a couple more little things that could really get us to that area.”
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR MOTOR PROGRAM?
“Yeah, unfortunately we got it all taken away, right? Everybody did.”
HOW DIFFERENT IS THE NEW RACING PACKAGE?
“Oh yeah, it’s different. We were borderline of 1000 horsepower in ARCA running a half-mile short track with holes in the track surface that would break your ankle if you stepped in them. Now with this 550 package for these bigger tracks, it’s changed our game a lot. And I get it. And I think the racing has been pretty good overall. I think a lot of it has worked. What it has done is made qualifying extremely frustrating for me. We have qualified to be very honest, pretty poorly this year. But it hasn’t been because we haven’t had speed. We’ve had great speed. It’s just somebody pulls out in front of you and all of a sudden it kills your lap. And there’s not time to re-do it because the sessions are so short. It’s been extremely aggravating. We should have had better pit stalls based on qualifying, we should have qualified into the third round most weeks. It’s extremely frustrating. This week is going to be no exception. It’s going to be a cluster. We know that. We’ve seen it happen a couple of times now. We’ve seen it play out. We’ll try to figure out how to come out on a better end of it this time.”
WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPY COMING OUT OF AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY ON SUNDAY?
“A top 15. This is a race track I really like. It’s probably one of my favorite bigger tracks. Bristol is always going to be my favorite. That one hits home. But Fontana has been a good time for me. I’ve always run decent here. It’s just always come around and felt decent here in the past. We had good speed today. We were third on the board before qualifying. We’ve constantly had speed every time we’ve been on the track. The gains will be what they’ll be. It will be a fun race. And I think we have the ability to run in the top 15 for sure.”
WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING TO SEE AT MARTINSVILLE NEXT WEEKEND?
“It’s probably the place where the racing package will affect the racing product the least, but it will probably raise corner speeds up a little bit and probably help with braking and I’m kind of excited about that in trying not to get that wheel lock up there. It’ll be a good track. I’m starting to enjoy Martinsville more. That’s one that definitely has taken a little bit for me to get used to. It should have been familiar but it did not quite pan out that way for me. We’ve had some decent runs there. JTG Daugherty Racing builds some really good short track cars and they really respond to Martinsville, road courses, our Bristol cars have been fantastic. So, it is a track that we have the opportunity to go out there and run good.”