MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
PENNZOIL 400 PRESENTED BY JIFFY LUBE
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
MARCH 1, 2019
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW SILASTIC SILICONE ELASTOMERS CAMARO ZL1 met with media and discussed the current speed in his race car, his approach to qualifying, the unknowns about the new rules package for Sunday’s race at Las Vegas, the upcoming race at Phoenix, and more. Full Transcript:
BRAD KESELOWSKI WAS IN THE MEDIA CENTER A WHILE AGO TALKING ABOUT THE SPEED THAT HE THOUGHT HE SAW OUT OF YOUR CAR AND DANIEL HEMRIC’S CAR. IN GENERAL, THE CENSUS IN THE GARAGE IS THAT RCR FOUND SOME SPEED OVER THE WINTER. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE SPEED IN YOUR RACE CARS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR?
“Well, I’m very proud of RCR. Eric Warren has put a ton of work and effort together working with Andy Petree, working with our guys in the aero department, to really put a big effort into this new package, to come out as the guys to beat. And, I felt like we left the Vegas test as the fastest car and I wondered how we would come back, and I felt like we brought the exact same speed back. The guys definitely closed in on us. I felt like they learned some stuff from us at the test. But, I do feel like we’ve got the capability of getting the pole. Now it’s in our hands to not give up the pole this afternoon. I feel like we have a good shot at it. We’ve got to work together and strategy is still going to be a huge part of the qualifying effort. I think guys are going to be trying to hook onto us and do different things to find speed to get to us. And, they’ll also get faster between now and qualifying. They’ll see things that their car needs and make it better.”
IN GENERAL, OUT OF THE BOX, DO YOU FEEL LIKE RCR IS IN BETTER SHAPE NOW THAN THEY WERE AT THE END OF LAST YEAR?
“I feel like RCR has done a great job with this package and really put the effort into it. And, like I said, it goes to our competition director, Eric, and Andy Petree. They’re really pushing it together. And then our crew chiefs, Danny Stockman and Luke Lambert. Last week, we had one car running really good and our car did it and that was just trying to maximize that first race to see which direction we needed to go with our cars. And, I felt like we found that with the No. 8 (Daniel Hemric). And we had a good game plan coming here to Vegas and we stuck with it. The biggest thing is game planning and I’ve been really hard on the radio the last two weeks because I feel like the potential is there for us to get one of these races early. So, the stress level is a little bit high because we’ve got the speed and executing with that sometimes can raise the stress level. I’m just trying to really harp on our guys as best we can and create less margin of error when we get out there just so everything is known. But, the No. 3 and the No. 8 team are going to be able to push each I feel like, all year. Daniel is a great driver. And to have him over there with me working together, I feel like we can accomplish some good things. We’ve got some really smart people at RCR.”
I FEEL LIKE WE’RE IN A SIMILAR SPOT AS DAYTONA WHERE EVERYONE IS TRYING TO PREDICT HOW THE RACE IS GOING TO PLAY OUT WHEN YOU HAVE 15 TO 20 CARS OUT; AND THEN YOU GET TO THE 500 AND IT’S A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT RACE. WE SAW THE TEST HERE AND WE SAW ALL KINDS OF DIFFERENT RACES. DO YOU FEEL LIKE WE STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS IS GOING TO BE UNTIL SUNDAY? AND DO YOU GUYS HAVE DATA TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF WHAT IT COULD BE?
“I think there’s still some variables on what is the best way to go about this racing. I think that’s the one thing everybody doesn’t know. I think in our minds, we’ve put a lot of work into simulation and wind tunnel and just trying to combine it all to figure out what direction you should go mechanically or aero-wise, to figure out how it’s going to race the best. So, that’s the variable we don’t know. We saw at Atlanta some guys were really good for a little while and then they faded. We’re just trying to figure out the best way to race around each other because we know we’re going to be closer together more often. And, I think that crossover number on your car is going to be really key to finding that, racing around each other.”
RICHARD CHILDRESS SAID THE BALANCE WAS OFF ON YOUR NOSE LAST WEEK AT ATLANTA. IS YOU CAR, AND HEMRIC’S CAR, CLOSER TO SET-UP THIS WEEK?
“Yeah, we’re much similar. Really, set-up with some of it and then you know, just the direction we were headed also when it came to drag, was part of it. So, our cars are much similar this week; like exact. And I feel like you saw it on the board. We were first and second (in practice) and that was nice to see. Now it’s just our job to keep progressing together as both of us to be the fastest and carry where we’re at. Sometimes you get more stress when you are the fastest. Now you’ve got to keep that banner going because you know the capability is there in your car.”
YOU ALSO TRIED TO RUN WITH BUBBA WALLACE AND I THINK YOU SAID HIS CAR GOT SQUIRRELY WHEN YOU GUYS WERE ALL TOGETHER. IS THERE ANYBODY ELSE THAT YOU CAN TEAM UP WITH?
“Well, the good thing, I felt like our car has enough single car speed that we might not have to draft. But, I think the problem with that is, everybody is going to be trying to draft with us. So, I really just wish that the qualifying effort was one car at a time like we usually do because we’ve done a good job at RCR. I would almost guarantee I feel like a pole today if it was single car qualifying. Like last year’s qualifying or like we used to do when we switched back in the Trucks from this. But, that’s the good thing about it. All the fans want to see what’s going to happen here in a little bit when we line up and we start drafting. It’ll be interesting. But the biggest thing I want to get out to you guys (the media) is I’m proud of RCR for having the fastest cars here before this all goes down here in a little bit.”
“Ty’s car (Ty Dillon), I’m not really sure. I don’t look at his stuff. We talk and they look; our teams do. And they can see everything that’s in our car. But, I don’t know what they brought. All I know is I talked to the No. 8 and they’re very similar. So, I don’t know, mechanically, where they’re at. But, bodies should be very similar.”
LOOKING AHEAD TO PHOENIX, WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE FLIP-FLOP OF THE START/FINISH LINE LAST YEAR AND HOW THAT MIGHT PLAY OUT WITH THE NEW PACKAGE THIS YEAR, ESPECIALLY ON RESTARTS.
“Well, re-start wise, I feel like it was definitely interesting when you’re in the corner having to get going in that banked end. I did enjoy going in the new Turn 1 more than I liked the banking. So, I thought that was nice. It changed the outcome of the exit of Turn 2 a little bit differently. I like that end being the start end. I thought that was a good change. It made it more interesting and gave you more options. Like the old Turn 1, I felt like the option was for you to just stay and stay with the guy who is beside you. I feel like the new Turn 1 you have options to move around a little bit more and make moves with the throttle pedal to be more aggressive.”