MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
GOBOWLING AT THE GLEN
WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
AUGUST 3, 2018
BUBBA WALLACE, NO. 43 MEDALLION BANK/PETTY’S GARAGE CAMARO ZL1 met with media and discussed the accident last weekend in Pocono, the progress of RPM thus far this year, racing in wet weather conditions, his fan base, and more. Full Transcript:
HOW IS YOUR FOOT AND YOUR CHEEK? NASCAR MADE IMPROVEMENTS TO THE FOOT BOX AFTER KYLE BUSCH’S ACCIDENT IN 2015. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA IF THOSE IMPROVEMENTS HELPED YOU WALK AWAY?
“I think my left foot is broken and my cheek will never be repaired (laughter). I’m all good. I don’t know. I didn’t know they made those improvements since Kyle’s deal. But, I banged it off the inside of my left foot, I banged it off the gas pedal, and I had a knot the size of a nickel. I’ve had that before a couple of times and it would be fine the next day. It was lingering for a day and a half after that. I wore shoes for the first time yesterday. I was just being lazy and wearing flip-flops. I put on shoes and I was like oh, damn, that still hurts a little bit. But, I’m all good now. So we’re all good and healed-up. Ready to go do it again.
“Now, all the videos that pop-up are Jimmie (Johnson) and Denny (Hamlin) wrecks. I’m like dang-it. Come here to this place and lose brakes going into (Turn) 1. Good times there.”
IN 2010 YOU WERE IN THE K&N RACE AND YOU GOT YOUR INROADS THROUGH THE DRIVE FOR DIVERSITY PROGRAM. CAN YOU JUST COMMENT A LITTLE BIT ON THE PROGRAM ITSELF AND ALSO ABOUT RETURNING TO THE K&N RACE THIS AFTERNOON?
“The diversity program was a lot of fun. We all had fun going after it there in 2010 and 2011. We had a lot of fun those two years and a lot of great publicity on and off the race track. I think that really boosted my career to get me where I’m at today. Every track we showed up to we were ready to win and just have a great time. I ran one road course in a K&N car. I was thinking about that last night. We ran at Lime Rock in 2010 and finished fifth or sixth, I believe. But never raced here at The Glen. I’m pumped to be back in the K&N Series. I got to the bus last night and the K&N race from Iowa was on. So, I was watching that and then I pulled up some footage from the K&N race here at The Glen a couple years ago, and even last year, and just tried to learn a couple of things. It’ll be fun. It’s going back. It’s been since 2012. So, we’ll see how it shakes out; and go beat up on some little kids or get my ass whooped by some little kids. We’ll see.”
WHEN YOU GO BACK AND LOOK AT A RACE LIKE THAT, WHAT DO YOU LEARN? WHAT CAN YOU PICK-UP FROM THAT, NOT JUST HERE, BUT AT SOME OTHER TRACKS THAT YOU’RE GOING BACK TO?
“Yeah, it’s kind of tough to look at the broadcast view for learning purposes. I mean you can watch the races and see what kind of moves they made, but trying to pick on-throttle time, braking points, and everything, that’s kind of hard to do. So, I’m just going to go out and figure it all out. I’ve got Will Rodgers as a teammate. He is badass on the road courses, so I’m sure I’ll pick his brain before we get going. If it’s going to rain, I’m pumped about that. I don’t know if you guys have seen the Mid Ohio race a couple of years ago. We did okay for a couple of corners until we ran off. So, I think the owner said we’re going to make one lap and be done. So, we’ll see. It should be a good time. I looked at Sonoma and I’m like I’ve got to do something to be better than we were at Sonoma. So, I took matters in my own hands and I’m thankful for Sunoco stepping up and helping to foot the bill a little bit, but I’m just trying to learn for Sunday.”
WHEN YOU GOT BACK TO CHARLOTTE LAST WEEK, WHAT WENT THROUGH YOUR HEAD? WERE YOU THINKING HOLY CRAP, I DODGED ONE? DID YOU HAVE THAT MOMENT WHERE ALL THE ADRENALIN JUST KIND OF WENT AWAY?
“When I got back home, Amanda wasn’t there so I kind of had to give her the download on what happened and what I went through. So, I kind of re-lived it with her. It’s a fascinating wreck to watch. I hate that it’s mine, you know? So, all week long and even up to this day, I still see it just because it’s on Instagram and Twitter. People are putting it out there and people are taking stuff from the podcast and creating articles about it. So, I’m still reliving it. And, it’s a tough one to watch, but man we hit a ton. And it’s good to be able to come away and walk away from that and just know that I had a lot of people’s support. That was pretty cool as well. I think that was obviously a big highlight for me was just getting out and seeing everybody reaching out and showing their levels of concern.”
IT’S BEEN ALMOST A YEAR SINCE YOUR MICHIGAN WIN IN THE TRUCK SERIES. AS TIME PASSES, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? ALSO, SINCE YOU ARE ALWAYS SO COMPETITIVE, HOW DOES ONE LEARN OR DEAL WITH STRETCHES WITHOUT WINNING? HOW DO YOU LEARN OR ADJUST YOUR MINDSET A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY, OR DO YOU WHEN YOU GO THROUGH A DROUGHT LIKE THAT?
“Hell, I’m good. I’ve got, going off the previous stretch of three years, I’ve still got two years to go before I start feeling anything, so I’m all right. I do think about that a lot and I think about the next weekend coming up. I was just thinking about (Mark) Huff and everybody at MDM (Motorsports) and man, we should go do that again because that was fun. But, it’s just part of it. You go through these moments where you get signs of success and the other times when you’re fighting and crawling and racing the hell out of Ross Chastain for 25th. You have that, right? That’s what we go through. We race each other hard each and every weekend from Xfinity to here. You have those moments. And those moments make you stronger, I believe. So, those days when you do click and find something, you have extra fuel to add to the fire from those tough days to go out and really get the job done. So, it’s not a matter of us dwelling on not winning, it’s just a matter of us trying to find something that makes our cars much more competitive. That’s a win for us right now.”
INAUDIBLE QUESTION REGARDING EXPECTATIONS AND LIMITATIONS
“Yeah, you definitely change them up as you go. Coming into this season we didn’t know where we were going to stack up at first, so we said 8th to 12th was our range. And I thought that’s good, especially coming off last year and how we ran. And then when we started getting into the races and we weren’t really finding ourselves barely inside the Top 20 so it’s like okay, we readjust. Once that started becoming unfortunately the norm, it’s like okay, so we’re going to fight for Top 20’s and those are going to be really good days for us. You use a race. You use a scale. You get a couple of races under your belt and use it as a scale to adjust your expectations, I guess. But, for us, we’ll have those moments, like I said earlier, we’ll have those moments. What Ross (Chastain) does in the No. 4 in Xfinity stuff is pretty darn cool. I remember that used to piss me off when he out-qualified us. I knew we’d pass him the first lap in the race, he’s not very good at racing, but he can get the most speed out of it he can. But, it’s pretty cool to see what he does with that equipment in the Xfinity Series. But it’s those moments right there that take you much farther than beyond because you know you can show up with the confidence next weekend. It’s doesn’t matter if you run 25th, but you know that you have that moment of success and that you can be able to do that again.”
ALONG THOSE LINES, DID THE WIN AT MICHIGAN DO ANYTHING FOR YOUR FUTURE WITH PETTY? DID IT INCREASE ANY CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF?
“It was kind of like a refresher like, okay, you can still get into Victory Lane. So, that’s good. I guess you have a little bit more confidence when you go back to Michigan, or even when you climb back into the trucks, but it was a race that there was nothing on the line for us. We went out and didn’t give two craps about anybody out there. We wanted to go out and get a win. And, so that’s what happened. And so it’s like all right, cool. Mission accomplished. It was cool we win, finally; it’s been a while. That’s good. And then we focused on the season coming up. Now that we’re so heavily digested in this we haven’t even thought about it much. But the future with Petty is looking good. I’m thankful for them like we talked about last week, the extension for two years. So, I’m excited about that.”
IF YOU TAKE DAYTONA OUT OF THE MIX, ARE YOU HAPPY AND CONTENT WITH THE DIRECTION OF RPM, KNOWING ALL THE OBSTACLES THAT YOU’VE HAD TO FACE THIS SEASON?
“Yeah, like I said, we had expectations. We haven’t really met them at all. I’ve kind of scaled back. I think the ‘King’ is still on that 8th to 12th, and like why aren’t we running 8th to 12th? We’re trying. But, take Daytona out, yeah, it’s okay. It’s a rookie year in Cup. We’re going to go through the struggles that none of us obviously thought we would be so far behind the eight ball. But what’s cool to see is that we show up to the shop each and every week, and show up at the race track every week, and our guys are still digging hard, 100 percent, a 110 percent effort, trying to find something. And each weekend it’s like all right, we think we’ve got something really good for this weekend. Hopefully it translates into something. Sometimes it doesn’t, but at least we’re trying things and we’re not just sitting there with our heads in our laps just saying, well, we’ll see how it goes next weekend. We continue to push the efforts to try and get better.”
YOU MENTIONED THE MID-OHIO RACE IN 2016 IN WET WEATHER. DO YOU THINK PARTICIPATION COULD PLAY INTO YOUR FAVOR IN TERMS OF RACING ON A ROAD COURSE? DOES IT BALANCE OUT THE FIELD FOR YOU?
“Yeah, I don’t know who’s all raced in the rain. I don’t even know if there are any ringers in today’s K&N race, I’m not sure. But I think we’ve all got a fair share of racing in the rain at Go-Pro Motorplex there in Mooresville. So, you just run out of groove. That’s the biggest thing. Don’t run off track. Don’t overstep it. Don’t get excited. That’s what I did when I took the lead. I got excited and ran off track; and did it again. So, I’m just trying to learn and take those little moments as much as you can. It went from wet to dry and wet to dry and finished in the wet. That was an exciting race. We’ll see how it translates over.”
“I thought it would be totally different. The braking zones weren’t too much different. It was just a matter of running way outside of the groove or running in the groove when it’s dry. That’s the biggest thing.”
HOW IS THE BUBBA WALLACE BRAND? AFTER DAYTONA YOU HAD LOTS OF FANS AND IT’S A ROOKIE SEASON AS YOU SAID. HOW IS THE FAN BASE AND HOW DO YOU LIKE THE DIRECTION YOU’RE GOING?
“The fans are still growing. The brand is still growing. It’s been a fun journey basically ever since this year really kick-starting it off and being at the pinnacle level and getting the attention and the spotlight and growing that. A lot of people are wanting the swag and the hats and t-shirts. It’s special. You’ve got to keep going. The true fans know that when you do struggle, it’s a process that you’re all going to go through. It’s awesome to read the Tweets that nobody is backing away from your camp. Everybody’s here for support. Keep doing what you’re doing. That’s good to see. Sometimes when you’re really frustrated it’s like yeah, yeah, okay thanks. But deep down it really means a lot once you really digest it. I’m excited to see where the direction is heading of that brand. We’re trying to do outside of the box ideas with the personal line of the BW wear is pretty cool. A lot of people are rocking it and it’s just myself and my manager kind of running it. We definitely need some more staff to produce the ideas that have up here (in our heads) and to also just get out more merchandise for the fans. So, we’re working on that. Just give it some time and it will keep growing from here. But ever since Daytona it’s been on a steady up rise, so that’s exciting.”
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