NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
BASS PRO SHOPS NRA NIGHT RACE
BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
AUGUST 19, 2016
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed his involvement with a youth initiative, Chase U, at Charlotte Motor Speedway, his current position in the point standings, his thoughts heading into Bristol this weekend and many other topics. Full Transcript:
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT CHASE UNIVERSITY AND WHAT IS HAPPENING AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY THIS FALL:
“I definitely can’t take the credit on all of this. I had some people within our group that had some thoughts about it. It was something I thought was kind of cool and jumped on board with and felt like it might be a good opportunity. I have a lot of buddies that are in college right now, probably where I should be, but I have a lot of buddies who are in college right now and I see kind of that lifestyle and what they enjoy and how much fun they have. I thought it might be kind of something cool if we could incorporate that into what I do on the weekends. I enjoy doing what I do. I wouldn’t trade it, so I’m happy to be at the race track each week, but I thought it might be cool to just incorporate some of that. I felt like it would be something to jump on board with. We did and we are going to give it a shot at Charlotte. We are open to maybe trying it at some other places throughout the year this year, but Charlotte was on board and felt like it would be a good place. A home track to a lot of people so to speak so it might be a good place to do that with having a handful of colleges around that area might be a good place to give it a shot. We are excited.”
THERE ARE REALLY NO TOUGH COURSES AT CHASE UNIVERSITY RIGHT?
“Well, we hope we will see. I’m not very smart so I might be your first failure out of this university, but I think it will be cool. Charlotte has been very nice and done a great job of jumping on board with us, giving us an opportunity really to have a ticket package and an opportunity for students on a weekend to spend $24 and go to a race and have things set-up for you like it is I think it is pretty cool. It is something that if I was in school, I’m a biased race fan obviously, but I think it would be something I would be interested in. I think it’s going to turn out cool.”
WILL YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO GO OUT AND VISIT?
“Yes, I’m going to go out and spend some time with the folks that are there and like you said, Charlotte has got an area that is going to be designated just for the folks that do come. Twenty-four dollars gets you a ticket, free parking, which I think is as good as it’s going to get.”
CAN YOU USE THINGS THAT YOU LEARNED AT CHARLOTTE IN THE SPRING AND APPLY THEM TO THE FALL?
“I hope so. I think as we go back in the fall Charlotte is kind of a place that hasn’t really changed a whole lot from a surface perspective over the past little while from what I’ve seen racing there the past couple of years. I think you will see some of the similar things that we’ve seen at the spring in the 600 and the All-Star race. I think it will be similar to that and hopefully we can get things tuned in and dialed up for a 1.5-mile that is going to be a big race, it always is. Racing at Charlotte a lot of home town guys that is close to the shop that is a big deal for everybody, so we are excited to get back there, excited for the next couple of races coming up. I’m excited for Bristol first and foremost and we will take Charlotte as it comes.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW YOU APPROACH QUALIFYING AT CHARLOTTE?
“I mean I don’t really think it would be any different than anywhere else for that matter. You are always looking for the coolest temperatures. Everybody is always hunting for that cloud as much as it may matter or it may not. It is probably an ego thing more than it is anything else. I would say the good cars are going to run fast in the sun or in the shade. From that perspective you are always looking to find that little bit of what you think is a little bit. I don’t foresee it being any different than anywhere else.”
HOW DO YOU VIEW YOUR CURRENT POSITION IN THE POINTS?
“I just view it as another weekend. I mean I don’t think there is any need in looking at it any differently. For us, I don’t think you can let that consume you. I think if you get consumed in the last few spots of the Chase then you are not looking at the things that matter most. The way we are viewing it as a team is for us we want to be contenders for wins and we want to have our sights set on winning. If we have our sights on being 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th that is probably where we are going to run, so that is not how we want to look at it. No need in letting that consume you just go do our jobs like we know how to do them and we will see how it unfolds. You can’t predict the future, but we can do the best job we can. We can be as best prepared as we can before we show up to the race track and that is all we can ask for. We are here to race so hopefully it will be exciting to watch for the fans. We obviously hope we can get ourselves in.”
WHAT OTHER WAYS DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE RACING COMMUNITY CAN STEP UP AND TRY TO ATTACK THE YOUNGER DEMOGRAPHIC?
“For me like anything else and kind of my opinion on it is I think if you have an entertaining sport or something that is entertaining and appealing to people they are going to come watch it, no matter how much it costs, whatever it takes they are going to come. It’s like a football game or anything else these days. You don’t hear people complaining about ticket prices to a football game, it doesn’t seem like. I think if it’s entertaining and if it is appealing to people I think they are going to come. I think as much as we can do to focus on that from a racer side from the drivers and obviously NASCAR as a sanctioning body and race tracks as much as we can do to make the racing entertaining I think the more people are going to be interested in it. Maybe that is a dumb answer, but I think it’s about as simple as that. I’m all in for it. I will do the best job I can do to make it entertaining and obviously our goal is to have a shot of being contenders and try to win races. That is my opinion and hopefully we will see some of that moving forward.”
THOUGHTS ON THE LOWER DOWNFORCE PACKAGE AT MICHIGAN:
“I think it will be very similar to what we have every other week and obviously what we had there the first Michigan race. It’s all relative. We are still sealed to the ground. We are still fighting for 1/16th of an inch with the splitter and the side skirts being real close to the ground. Having a little bit of spoiler taken off or a little splitter length taken away I don’t think is going to change it drastically. We had that first race with it and it gave you some different opportunities and the balance of the cars was different, but overall you are still fighting for some of the same things. I expect it to be real similar.”
IF YOU COULD GET THE DAY OFF AND GO TO A SPORTING EVENT WHAT WOULD IT BE?
“I would be right here.”
WILLIAM BYRON JUST SIGNED ON AT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AND WILL BE DRIVING AT JR MOTORSPORTS NEXT SEASON. YOU SORT OF HAD A SIMILAR PATH. WHAT KIND OF STEP DO YOU THINK THAT IS FOR HIM?
“To me I think William has been impressive since he has been around. I’ve had a chance to race with William the last couple of years. I think when he was just really getting started and I first started hearing about him racing late models in some of the pro late model races I went and ran over the past couple of years and the super late model races I ran as he transitioned to doing some of that stuff. He has had some good opportunities. He’s got a great family. He is a really nice guy. I think more than anything he has done a really good job driving and sure he has had good opportunities people say, well he is driving good stuff, he is for sure, but at the same time he is doing a good job with what he has. Just because he has something good to drive doesn’t mean that it’s all going to fix itself. I think he has made the most of his opportunities. He’s a nice guy and to me he goes about his business the way you should. I think he is deserving of a good opportunity. I think he will do well at JR Motorsports. I’m excited to work with him if he wants to work with me in any way I can help I would be more than happy to. I’m happy to have him on our team and looking forward to watching him grow. I was really impressed with him. I didn’t know for sure if that deal was going to come together or not, but ironically I was really impressed with him Wednesday night. I thought he did a good job. He impressed me in a couple of ways that I didn’t really see anybody else doing Wednesday night, which I thought was cool. To see that news Thursday morning was definitely ironic at the same time, but it was good to see. I think he deserves it.”
THOUGHTS ON THE TRACK AFTER PRACTICE:
“I think it’s definitely been interesting for sure. I think it’s interesting and to be honest with you I kind of applaud Bristol for being open minded enough to do something like this and to give it a shot. I think we were all a little skeptical coming in as to what it might be, but hey, for them to commit like they have to doing something different and working on that bottom lane like they did, hey, I can’t argue with that. I do think the grip on the bottom of the race track is there, the Trucks were right around the bottom, more like what we used to see at Bristol like everybody is talking about. I foresee that going away unless they redo it or something changes. I think as the Cup cars and the Xfinity cars race I think the groove will keep working its way up and the farther it goes up the more grip there will be. To me, I think eventually the top lane is probably going to prevail unless they redo the bottom. If that is the case, then that may be a little different, but the way my opinion stands right now I think that the groove will go back up to the top like we have seen here the past couple of races. Which I think is fun and has put on a good show, so I can’t complain with that either.”