MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
MARCH 23, 2019
TY DILLON, NO. 13 GEICO CAMARO ZL1 met with media and discussed how Germain Racing has improved, how he has gotten better at Martinsville, the tight pit road, what he expects to see at Texas with the new package, and more. Full Transcript:
HAVE YOU FIGURED OUT SOMETHING OR HAVE YOU JUST BEEN IMPROVING EVERY TIME YOU COME TO THIS TRACK?
“We have just been improving every time we come back and over the past three years we really have continued to do that at every track. If you look at Phoenix this year, as well, it’s been a place where we’ve improved. I feel like we’re slowly getting it handled now it’s my second year. First time working with a crew chief for two years in a row, we’re finally just kind of getting some rapport made where we can go back to a place for a third or fourth time and really build on that. So we went to Phoenix and had a great run building off how we finished in the Fall there last year and got a 15th place finish there. We come back here after finishing 15th and we have our eyes set on more. We know what the car needs to run inside the top 15 and it’s about getting the car what it needs to run inside the top 10 this weekend. I think we’re definitely capable of doing that. We’ve had a strong year. Martinsville has been a place where we came and tested here two years ago and that was when the progression started here and every time we come back, we build off that test and have been very competitive here.”
WITH THE LONG-TERM STABILITY YOU HAVE WITH GERMAIN RACING, HOW HAVE YOU SEEN THE PROGRESSION WITH THE TEAM EVEN FROM A YEAR AGO TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW? IT SEEMS LIKE THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OF BUILDING BLOCKS
“Yeah, for sure. I think we’ve definitely, from the get-go, our plan was to build this program together. The outstanding support that we’ve had from GEICO over the years and Germain Racing has had long before me, has allowed them to do that. I feel like when GEICO and Germain Racing welcomed me into the team, that was part of it was to try to take the next step to become a competitive team inside the top 15, top 10 week in and week out, and then eventually battle for championships and wins. We are making progress. Last year we were a little bit disappointed with out consistency in our results, but we improved at a lot of places. We took a step back going to the Camaro just with our team. We just weren’t able to stay ahead on the necessary improvements week in and week out that it needed with having a new car and being a single car team. I think Germain Racing and GEICO, we’ve taken the next step. We’ve moved campuses closer to RCR to make sure that we’re getting what we need quickly. Just the hour and a half drive makes a big difference in what we’re able to do with our race cars. We’re not having to do three hours of driving to get information. You can do it in three minutes. It’s helping our team. And then just a third year together is definitely helping. This has been a great start to our year.
“Our 1.5-mile results have not been as good as what we’ve been running. Consistently we’ve been a 15th place car just about everywhere, Vegas and Atlanta, you look how the races started, we really fell back. By the end of the races we had more speed than we’ve had the past two years. We’re beating cars that were on the lead lap, we just got caught a lap down. I think with this new package, you’re not getting many chances to get the wave-around anymore. If we can start a race faster and one of these 1.5-miles, we’ll be able to show how much we’ve improved there as well. I think right now, we feel like we’re definitely a 15th to 18th place car on average and that’s a great improvement on our year and where we were last year and we want to keep improving on that. We’re very proud of the progress the whole team has taken.”
AUSTIN DILLON’S DAYTONA WINNING CAR WAS JUST UNVEILED YESTERDAY IN THE RCR MUSEUM, A LITTLE OVER A YEAR REMOVED FROM THAT RACE IN DAYTONA. WHAT ARE SOME LASTING MEMORIES YOU HAVE FROM THAT?
“I was disappointed that whole race (laughs), but to see him win was really cool. And for our family, that was huge to get back in Victory Lane for the Daytona 500. I can’t lie. I was jealous. I wanted it to be me, and I still want it to be me. We were really close this year sitting in sixth and finishing sixth was great. But I know we’ll be able to put one of our cars in there soon.”
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DIFFICULTIES WITH PIT ROAD HERE? IT’S SO TIGHT, BUT IS THERE A TEMPTATION FOR SPEEDING BECAUSE THE SPEED LIMIT IS SO SLOW AND YOU CAN ALSO CUT THAT CORNER
“The way we do things now days, everything it pushed to the limits. When you get to the corners you can actually run faster and higher rpm in the corners than what you can down the straightaways at any track where there’s a pit road that has a corner. So, we try to push that. And then with this place being so small and so tight, you have to drop it back down. And the rpm range and the gearing in the motor here, you get a lot of bucking on pit road and it bounces your rpm’s so then your lights are fluctuating quite a bit, so it’s a balance that’s tough. As a team we do a lot of things to try to work on that in practice. That’s why year in and year out, you’re seeing more people start practice and run down pit road. Start practice and run down pit road. That’s because we’re trying different combinations to smooth that out for us so it makes it better. Yeah, it’s just a really tricky pit road. People are diving in. It’s just things are happening quicker and the braking and throttle are making the car jump more on the rpm than what you have at a long, smooth, straight pit road.”
GIVEN WHAT HAPPENED HERE LAST FALL WITH THE BUMP AND RUN WITH JOEY LOGANO, IN YOUR BOOK IS THAT ACCEPTABLE? IS THAT JUST GOOD SHORT TRACK RACING?
“Yeah, that’s just short track racing. I think that’s NASCAR in general. Tell me a year when there wasn’t somebody being aggressive to win a race. You look at the history of our sport and aggression and a little bit of controversy going for a win is always welcome. I think that’s what built this sport. I find it funny every year when people are surprised that drivers are aggressive in our sport trying to win a race. That’s what we do it for.”
IF YOU WERE IN MARTIN TRUEX JR’S SHOES, WOULD YOU FEEL LIKE HE FELT IT WAS OUT OF BOUNDS? IT USED TO BE AS LONG AS THAT FIRST PLACE GUY DIDN’T GET BOOTED INTO THE WALL AND WENT FROM FIRST TO 30TH PLACE, IT WAS OKAY
“If I was Martin, I’d be upset. Obviously at the last corner, you didn’t get it done. You got bumped out of the way. It’s kind of not in your control, but it’s racing you know? He’s going to get his chance to do the same thing at some point later on, if he hasn’t already done it a couple of times in his career. It’s just part of racing and part of it too, is being frustrated by it. But that’s what we do it for. I would expect anybody to do it. I wouldn’t blame somebody for doing it because I would do the same thing.”
FOR TEXAS NEXT WEEK, WITH THE NEW HIGH DOWNFORCE, LOW HORSEPOWER, WE’RE INTO IT NOT. WE’VE GOT A FEW RACES UNDER OUR BELTS. WHAT KIND OF RACE DO YOU EXPECT THERE AND DO YOU SEE THESE RACES IN THE INTERMEDIATE TRACKS GETTING MORE COMPETITIVE STEP BY STEP AND MORE CARS GETTING DIALED INTO IT?
“Yeah, I think they’re really fun to watch. I think there have been less cautions. The only difference that I’ve seen I think the racing has been closer. I think we still don’t know what to fully expect week in and week out. I think when we go to Texas; it will be another integration of a difference because Texas is going to be a one-corner track. And when I mean by that, and I don’t mean it in a negative way, is that (Turns) 3 and 4, with the previous package with less downforce and a bunch of horsepower was almost wide-open already. And most of these tracks, the common theme, is that we have more throttle time. We’re close to wide-open mostly. We will be wide-open almost every lap of the race through (Turns) 3 and 4, so whoever can get through (Turns) 1 and 2 at Texas will be the dominant car. And, I think that’s going to be unique. We haven’t had that kind of situation in a long time. So, you’re going to see kind of a different situation with possibly making your biggest difference in one corner of a race track.”
OBVIOUSLY THERE’S A LOT OF HISTORY AT THIS TRACK. EVERY YEAR IT SEEMS LIKE MEMORABLE MOMENTS ARE BUILT OUT OF THIS TRACK. IS THERE A MEMORY AS A FAN OR BEING HERE WATCHING HERE, THAT STANDS OUT FOR YOU?
“For me it’s nothing crazy. I remember, I don’t know how old I was, but it was the last time the Xfinity Series came here. I think DW ran that race. He had silver shoes on. I sat in the middle of (Turns) 1 and 2 with a friend and ate hot dogs and watched that whole race. I think Kevin won it and Clint finished second. I was driving maybe Legend cars at that time and our cars won the race and it was a great time and I got to go to Victory Lane and drove back home. That was like my earliest memory and probably my most keen memory, sitting in (Turns) 1 and 2 is my favorite spot because you don’t have to move your head (laughs).”
GOING TO TEXAS AND ALL THIS TALK ABOUT QUALIFYING, DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT WE COULD BE IN FOR OR WHAT CHANGES MIGHT BE COMING OR WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN TO QUALIFYING ON 1.5-MILE TRACKS?
‘The whole qualifying thing; it’s frustrating that everybody dogs it and wants to talk negatively about it, but we’re talking about qualifying. We haven’t really cared or talked about qualifying in a long time. Now, if it were me making the rules, maybe I should go over there and suggest it and I will and here’s my suggestion. If in any round of qualifying cars don’t make it out, whether is the second or third final round, say we had the same situation as California, all 12 of those cars start in the very back and lose their pit selection. Make it a penalty we’re losing something over so people actually have to go out there and run. I don’t think the pack is bad. I don’t think anything about that is bad. I think it’s fun. And it’s not our single-car qualifying, yes. But it is still qualifying a race for NASCAR. We all have the obligation to go out there and figure out this style. It’s more exciting. Who doesn’t want to see more cars go closer together in a high-impact situation? Now, the sitting at pit road is not good when no cars make a lap. So, make it a penalty. And, I feel like it would be good on NASCAR’s part to just say hey, any round of qualifying, if you don’t make it out, you start dead last in the field. And let’s see how that goes. I know that we’ve started it as far as if you don’t make it out you go back in the segment, but let’s start dead last in the field and lose pit selection.”
FIVE WEEKS INTO THE SEASON, HAVE YOU RE-EVALUATED YOUR GOALS OR DO YOU FEEL LIKE THIS NEW PACKAGE, IN THE LONG RUN, IS GOING TO BE GOOD FOR THIS TEAM?
“I think it’s already been good for our team. Like I said, we started off Atlanta and Vegas just not being all dialed-into what the package needed in a race situation. But by the end of the race, we were running 15th place times, which is a huge step for our team, which is exactly what we expected making a goal coming into the season. And also Fontana, we were trending in the same direction and had a flat tire and that was another disappointment. But we go to Phoenix and we finish 15th and we ran well at Daytona and we’re fast again here. So, yeah, we’re not a team ready to win races yet, but we’re trending in the right direction. I think a big thing for us would be to make the Playoffs this year, and we’re very capable of doing that.”