MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
MARCH 8, 2019
DANIEL HEMRIC, NO. 8 OKUMA CAMARO ZL1, met with members of the media at ISM Raceway and discussed his season thus far, the speed RCR has, his relationship with crew chief Luke Lambert, and many other topics. Full Transcript:
EVALUATE YOUR FIRST THREE RACES:
“Well, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind of emotions I feel like. First off to take part in my first Daytona 500 with Richard Childress Racing at the Cup level and have all the things that happened throughout that event and then be running inside the top 10 inside of 25 to go and obviously get caught up in Daytona. And we had glimmers of hope and the biggest things I took out of the first race was knowing our communication was where it needed to be. All the things we had done throughout the off-season to prepare as a group and try to get over the hurdles that you face throughout the first two to three months of a year, I feel like we had already overcome a lot of that stuff before we got to Daytona. That was a positive and that showed when we got to Atlanta. We had good speed and good drive ability in the car and by the time the race came to fruition for us, our speed was good and we were able to drive through the field and have another solid shot at a solid finish and we had a right-front tire come a part that took us out of that. But, the one thing that particular race did for us was gave us the confidence as a group that if they were able to give me something close to what I wanted and what I needed we could perform and perform at a high level. It’s way better anytime you are with a new group to have that earlier than later in the year. Because it gives all of us confidence that those days when you unload and you are not where you want to be, you know that you are working towards a common goal of everybody being able to execute. If you get to that point then you will be able to have success.
“Going to Vegas, we just missed it as a company. Speed wise we did everything we could to build as much speed in our race cars and we didn’t lack any of that… at least single car. Just the need and maneuverability and all the stuff that you need at Vegas as the tires come up to pressure and get hot. With the new package the aero is so sensitive that we just didn’t do a great job of preparing for that event. Luckily, we had Atlanta to fall back on as far as what we do want moving forward. I think we have been put through a lot of different things already as a group, but we have been able to overcome and continue to smile and put our heads down and work and that is what is going to keep us moving forward.”
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST TECHNICAL CHALLENGE COMPETING AT THE CUP LEVEL?
“Honestly, I don’t think the challenge of the driving has been the biggest challenge. I think it’s been processing all the people and data and outlets you have for resources. That is the biggest thing from any level I’ve ever been a part of to the Cup level. And then knowing that because you have those avenues you can take a lot off of yourself and lean on those guys, lean on the data and stuff that you have to kind of decipher through throughout any given race week. I think I will just get better at that whole process as this whole deal goes because it’s just something that is new and you’ve got to get comfortable with. The challenge of the cars themselves, everybody is gouging and trying to do the best they can with what they’ve got. It’s all the little details that make or break you. Hopefully, we are honing in on what we need.”
DOES IT SEEM LIKE THE CARS SLOW DOWN GOING BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN XFINITY AND CUP?
“Yeah, I feel like the corner entry speed is pretty relative from the Cup Series to the Xfinity Series currently. I think last year jumping back and forth you felt more of that process slow down when you got out of the Cup car and got back into the Xfinity car. They are way more paired up now. Just the corner speeds in a Cup car are substantially faster. That is the biggest thing that still gets your attention from one to the other. I haven’t been able to do it this year package to package, but hopefully I get a chance to later in the year at some point. I think just because the corner speeds are so high it’s so much more demanding on the drivers and the teams because we are asking the car to do more and we are asking the drivers to do more mid-corner. And because of that, it’s putting that much more pressure on these race teams to have the race cars that we need to be able to go do what we want to do with them.”
HOW MUCH ARE YOU LEANING ON LUKE LAMBERT (CREW CHIEF)?
“I’m having to lean on Luke a good bit. But he is also, I think, been open to things that I felt like have really targeted a balance that I need or I’ve needed in the past. We felt like Atlanta we both went off a lot of our past experiences and things that we knew would translate to a good race car in race trim. By doing that, we had a very good race in our eyes going for that early in the year and just didn’t work out. I think we are still building that trust, but I think he knows… he had my back after we had the issues at Atlanta and I had his back after I felt like we didn’t do a great job at Vegas. So, those are the things you are going to have as a new group together, but we both are working toward the same goal and I think that is important.”
WOULD YOU AGREE RCR AS AN ORGANIZATION SEEMS TO HAVE SPEED? IT SEEMS MORE ABOUT TRANSLATING THAT SPEED INTO A GOOD RESULT ON SUNDAY:
“Yeah, our speed is unbelievable. I was talking a couple of guys in the garage about last week. It’s not that nobody wants their cars to be as fast as ours. We have done an incredible job with the package of figuring out what it needs by itself to make that raw speed which is something that as a company we haven’t been able to do in the past. Yeah, we may have been too far on our own island, where you may have never been able to achieve the balance to make it race and I think we are trying to do the things we can to back pedal, but the good thing is we have that little bit of buffer that we can confidently give up and still put some more drive ability into these race cars, but know that we know how to make them go fast. It is more frustrating when your car drives great and you have no speed. We have been on both sides of it, I have, at certain points in my career, so that point I feel fortunate to have. The guys at ECR, Chevrolet and everyone back home are doing the things we need to get to that point. We’ve just got to figure out for a balance what we have to have to race better. Austin and myself both are working as hard as we can from simulator stuff to hand in hand with the guys each and every day on our builds trying to make sure we are targeting the right things because this early in the year if you get behind it’s going to be hard to get caught up. We think we are on the front side of the speed, we just have to get a little bit more on the other side of the drive ability.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR RCR TO HAVE THE RAW SPEED UP FRONT?
“Yeah, it’s definitely an important starting point because like I said we have been on the other side where you didn’t know what to do or how to get the speed. So, that is not our weak point by any means. If anything, it’s our strongest suit out of all the cars in the garage, but we also know we can’t fall like rocks and be 15th to 20th and get back there racing all day and think we are going to give ourselves a shot. We know we’ve got to extremely improve on that side of it to give ourselves and our partners the opportunity to have a shot at solid finishes and race wins. The speed is great, but if you can’t drive the thing in dirty air, which is a lot of, then you are not going to be productive and that is what we’ve got to work for.”