MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
NOVEMBER 10, 2017
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 HOOTERS CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway and discussed his approach to the race this weekend, his thoughts on his season and many other topics. Full Transcript:
TALK ABOUT WHAT YOUR APPROACH IS THIS WEEKEND HERE AT PHOENIX:
“Our task at hand is pretty simple, we have to win the race to move on next week, everybody in here knows that. We know that and we are going to try to attack the weekend as best we can. Hopefully, give ourselves a chance to do that Sunday afternoon and see what happens. That is pretty straight forward what we have to do with the situation we are in now. It’s not the most ideal situation, but if you were able to pull it off it would be a lot of momentum moving into next week. We will give it our best shot and see what happens.”
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR CONFIDENCE LEVEL BEING THE FASTEST HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS CAR FOR THE PAST THREE OR FOUR WEEKS COMING IN HERE AND HAVING TO HAVE THAT WIN TO MAKE IT:
“Yeah, I mean I think that being a teammate at Hendrick Motorsports we all try to help each other to go fast and we all sit in our meetings and we try to lend information and things that will help all of us. Obviously, when the race starts we are all kind of on our own in a lot of ways as to try to beat the other three or whoever, you are trying to beat everybody and those three are also in the field. It’s not just about beating them, but I think that we all have work to do and I think that we have the right ideas and we know the direction we need to go it’s just a matter of executing it and getting there and putting an entire race together. It’s more than just having fast cars it’s about putting a race together having the strategy play your way, some of that stuff you can do really well and some of it you have to kind of have a good day and get lucky with for it to really work out in your favor. So, hopefully we can do all those things Sunday and it will work out in ours and hopefully that will be the case. We will just have to wait and see.”
HOW FAR DO DRIVER’S GO? WHAT IS YOUR MORAL COMPASS AS FAR AS THE END OF THIS RACE?
“Well, I think it depends on who is where and what the situation is and what guys are racing for what spots. I mean we have seen that here before. I think if you are in a position that it is going to help you, I think you’ve got to be pretty aggressive. I think there is definitely a line as to how far you want to push it. Again, the flip side of that is if you are racing for 10th, I’m not going to put myself in a bad spot to run ninth. I think it just kind of all depends on where you are and what situation you are put in and what it means to you to have that extra spot.”
HAVE YOU ASKED TO BE UPDATED ON WHERE YOU STAND FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP WHILE YOU ARE IN THE RACE?
“I don’t request information like that, typically. If we were on the bubble and we were having to race guys, sure they would let me know, hey you are either in or out and obviously moving forward means you are going to be closer to being in and moving backwards means you are going to be closer to being out. For us, it’s pretty simple, you either win or we are not a part of the four next week. The points calculations this week are really irrelevant to us. They are not to a lot of other guys, but to us they are. It sounds simple just a matter of going to do it.”
CAN YOU COMPARE THE STRESS AND THE PRESSURE OF YOUR SITUATION NOW VERSUS LEADING LATE IN THE DAYTONA 500?
“Yeah, that is a good question. It seems like the Daytona 500 was yesterday. We were just talking about this, this morning just how fast this year has gone by. I would say similar. I think it is definitely similar leading the closing laps of that race not really knowing what was going to happen and having a shot to win the Daytona 500. Obviously, one of our biggest events I mean that could have been a huge day, but also right now is an important part of our season. A championship is huge and being able to race for one is an opportunity any driver would want. Fortunate to currently have had opportunities to do both and have an opportunity to compete for a championship, still do have an opportunity which is more than I could say a year ago. Although some disappointments there at Daytona were definitely there and there is nothing I can do about that now, we still have a chance to go to Homestead next week and we will try our best to do that.”
HOW TOUGH IS IT NOT TO THINK ‘WHAT IF’ IN TERMS OF COULD HAVE SCORED A WIN AND HOW THINGS MIGHT HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT THIS SEASON?
“You can play the game, I guess, of what if’s but unfortunately for our circumstances this is a sport of do’s and don’ts’s and we have not. I have said that before. It’s just the facts. What happened last week or a month ago or the beginning of the season or having an opportunity to win and not it is nothing you can change now. I think you just have to understand whatever position that you are in and hope that you learn something from that experience to know that if you are ever in that position again you can change the outcome. I think sure there are disappointments that have come along with that and with that learning curve, but I think that you just have to understand that you can’t change it and you hope you can change the outcome the next time it rolls around, if it ever does.”
FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE LAST YEAR AND YOUR EXPERIENCE THIS YEAR, HOW MUCH DID THE RACING CHANGE ONCE YOU GOT TO THE PLAYOFFS AND DID THAT CHANGE OR SURPRISE YOU IN GOING FROM XFINITY TO CUP?
“Yeah, definitely different from Xfinity to Cup. In my two years in Xfinity, as you know, my points system was different than what it is now. We were racing for a season’s-worth of points which is a completely different ball game from what we have to work with on this level. My first year in Cup was the first year I had to work with a reset of points toward the end of the year. Definitely different for sure and the intensity picks up as the Playoffs start. Teams pick up intensity, they pick up intensity in things in the cars, guys are less lenient on track to certain situations – as they should be. We are all trying really hard and I think it’s expected and it’s definitely there. Intensity picks up and it increases as the weeks roll on. Depending on what situation you are in with points or how you stack up, it can be more intensified for you and your team.”
IS IT SOMETHING THAT YOU, RYAN BLANEY AND YOUNG GUYS HAVE TO GET USED TO OR ADJUST TO?
“I don’t think so. It’s the same for everybody and I guess fortunately for me, while being in Cup, I have never really been used to anything else. So, it’s kind of what I have always seen so I don’t necessarily think so. I have watched it on TV for years with the old reset with ten to go, so it’s nothing that is so new that you don’t understand or that you are not at least thinking about. So, for me, my two years here have been a part of it and have seen it the way it currently sits. I think that is the best thing about being new to something is that you don’t necessarily know an old way.”
WHAT LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNED THROUGH YOUR FIRST YEAR AND YOUR FIRST ENTRY INTO THE PLAYOFFS THAT YOU WILL TAKE HEED OF TO BE BETTER NEXT TIME?
“This is my second time in the Playoffs, but I do think that I learned some things last year. Like I said a minute ago, we are still a part of it right now and that is more than I could say a year ago. So, we have gotten better from that standpoint and I think that we have run these last eight weeks probably better than we have run the entire season. I think that is encouraging that we have the kind of pace that it takes to go and compete for wins. We have the execution, we have the pit stops, and we have all the things that it takes for it to happen. It hasn’t, but I think we had the kind of things that it takes to do so. I think that is the biggest thing that I learned. I look at last year and I think there was a lot of opportunity last year. We had a great car at Charlotte to advance on there in that race, but we ended up getting in a wreck. So, I looked at last season and I noticed there were a lot of missed opportunities. I kind of look at these playoffs the same way throughout the first eight weeks. We missed some great opportunities that were there to help us move forward. I have learned a lot and I have learned that I don’t want to miss out on those opportunities moving forward and I am obviously going to try to do everything that I can to not. If you ever have the chances down the road.”
NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS ON SUNDAY ARE YOU GOING TO BE SATISFIED THAT YOU HAD A SOLID SEASON AND HAVE A LOT TO BUILD ON FOR 2018?
“That is tough. Because like I said a second ago, the opportunities we have had these first eight weeks were tremendous. It would be disappointing to not make it for sure knowing how we have run in the Playoffs and how we have competed with some of the guys that have made it in or are currently working their way in, for a lot of the season. We have run with them at a lot of races and they have won more races with us, but we have run with them a lot of the times throughout the season. So, I think that is a bit disappointing if you don’t make it – to know that much. There have been some solid pieces to the season, but I don’t think it would be satisfying if we leave here and are not a part of it next week. Especially knowing how well we have run these last eight weeks and not be a part of the show.