CHEVY NCS AT TEXAS 1: Austin Dillon - Race Winner Press Conference Transcript Inbox x
FORT WORTH, TX (July 19, 2020) – Austin Dillon adds his name to the record books by winning the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in his No. 3 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Off Road Camaro ZL1 1LE, his first win of 2020 and third career victory in the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS).
Holding off the field with three stellar late-race restarts, Dillon led Chevrolet to its fourteenth trip to victory lane in NASCAR’s premier series at Texas Motor Speedway and the third win for the Camaro ZL1 1LE in the 2020 season. The victory, Chevrolet’s 789th all-time win in the NASCAR Cup Series, also secures Dillon’s spot in the Cup Series Playoffs.
Dillon led the bowtie brigade and Richard Childress Racing to a 1-2 finish, with teammate Tyler Reddick, No. 8 Cat Oil & Gas Camaro ZL1 1LE, posting a Cup Series career-best second place finish in his series debut at the 1.5-mile Texas oval. This is the first time since the 2011 Talladega event that Richard Childress racing has finished 1-2 in the NASCAR Cup Series. The win is the 109th NCS triumph for Richard Childress Racing.
Kurt Busch, No. 1 Monster Energy Camaro ZL1 1LE, came across the finish line in the eighth position to round out the Team Chevy top-10.
Joey Logano (Ford) was third, Kyle Busch (Toyota) was fourth, and Kevin Harvick (Ford) rounded out the top-five finishers of the race.
The NASCAR Cup Series season continues on under the lights at Kansas Speedway with the Super Start Batteries 400 Presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts on Thursday, July 23rd, at 7:30 p.m. ET. Live coverage can be found on NBCSN, NBC Sports Gold app, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 BASS PRO SHOPS / TRACKER OFF ROAD CAMARO ZL1 1LE PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
THE MODERATOR: We'll roll into our post-race press conference with our race winner, Austin Dillon. Thank you for joining us after a quick visit to the care center.
Take us through the final laps. Not only a win but a Playoff spot as well. How did you approach the final laps?
AUSTIN DILLON: I just had to have confidence that in the moment we had a car that had potential. It didn't really run well in traffic. Justin and I both talked about what kind of happened in Kentucky with Cole, the way they ran.
If you can get the track position at some point, you can be fast. You saw when we got out front, we had a hot rod. Got to thank all the partners: Bass Pro Shops, American Ethanol, Dow, Coca‑Cola.
But the call was the win, the call that Justin made. I asked him for something. Our car was fading. I thought Tyler, his car was a little better coming down the stretch. He had kind of caught me, but we had track position on him. I said, Man, I got to have something to finish this race off.
He said, All right, we're taking lefts.
Lefts had freed my car up all day. I was tight. When we put the lefts on, it was the call we needed to go on and win the race.
It came down to just some restarts, not screwing up, making it happen when it counted on those restarts, getting through the gears, timing them. I had some good pushing. My buddy Kurt Busch gave me a good push that first one. Joey Logano was also a lot of help down the stretch.
THE MODERATOR: We'll go straight into questions for Austin.
Q. Did you just need some fluids? How are you doing?
AUSTIN DILLON: Yep, I got a couple IVs in me, feeling great. I felt great once I kind of got in the air‑conditioning. I was kind of wanting to come back out. I gave it all. I left it all out there. At least I can say that. Left it all out on the track.
Yeah, I feel great. The infield care center did a great job of taking care of myself. Kurt Busch, too. Kurt is okay. We're actually flying back together so it worked out okay.
Q. Did you think you'd be able to survive that number of restarts with people having fresher tires behind you?
AUSTIN DILLON: Yeah, you know, I didn't think tires were as big of an advantage, at least my car. Every time we put on four, we really struggled. We were just better on two. I felt like I could keep up with the competition better on two.
The restarts, as far as that went, I knew if I had a good push, I knew I could dictate when everything happened. I had good pushers with Kurt and Joey, like I said. The last one, I timed it perfect. Switched it up where I was in the restart box when I went. It gave me a gap to kind of put dirty air on everyone behind me.
Q. You've won two pretty big races in the past. That was on a superspeedway and fuel mileage. Does this mean any more because you had three restarts to earn it?
AUSTIN DILLON: Hell yeah, it does. We took it from them. That feels good. I've said it to my grandfather. I said, Man, the two races we won were fuel mileage and one was the Daytona 500, it played out. Either way we had to make it happen. So they're both big wins in my career.
This one, once again, we had to make it happen multiple times on older tires. That was pretty cool. Feels great.
Q. Why do you think you don't get the credit you deserve from fans? Do you think you deserve more credit from fans?
AUSTIN DILLON: I don't know. It's okay, man. Sports are sports. You got to have someone you don't like. Maybe it's just my background, where I come from. But I got a lot of people that love me, too. It doesn't bother me at all really. They can either get on the bandwagon and love me... It's okay. It's part of sports. Haters are going to hate sometimes, but we'll be all right.
Q. We heard from your crew chief about the late race call to take two tires. He was very surprised you were the only ones to take two tires. Were you just as surprised to find yourself at the front of the field?
AUSTIN DILLON: Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised. It's a good thing when you see no one in front of you. I saw my teammate. I knew he was on fuel‑only strategy. He had a good car there late like I said.
But I felt like our left sides were going to give us the edge on him. Was able to make it stick on the bottom. That's kind of what pulled it out for us.
What a call by Justin. I mean, he's done a great job all year of putting us in good positions when it comes to track position. All three of my Cup wins are with Justin. Love the guy. I can't thank him enough for everything he's done for me and my family.
He's been putting great products out there. He deals with me. I'm not the easiest individual in the world to deal with. I can get cranky from time to time. It's just because I'm passionate and I'm a grinder. I feel like I can go out there and compete week and week out with these guys.
This was a huge win for our company, RCR, ECR, everybody that supports us. It was really cool.
It was nice to also have the ball in my court, you know what I mean, to dictate the end of the race.
Q. Nobody can take away you've won a couple of major races. When you reference talking to your grandfather about maybe not having earned it in the traditional sense, how much does that weigh on a driver? Were those things that gnawed at you a little bit because of what those races were?
AUSTIN DILLON: You stay patient. You have faith. I have faith. Faith can really take you a long way. I'm not saying there wasn't a lot of ups and downs during that time period. You go through peaks and valleys.
Have you to be able to have a good support system. My wife, my family always believed in me. I couldn't get there without that. You know what I mean? Without the friends and the family, I would definitely have let it weigh on me. I don't know how many races it's been in between. I think somebody said it earlier, it was a pretty big number from Daytona to now.
You just stay diligent. I put a lot of work in during the pandemic to get in good shape. Didn't look like it after the race, but I've been working my tail off in the car. I left it all out there.
But all the work, all the effort, the continued thoughts. You got to think positive, know that it's going to turn around and come your way. I know I can do this. I've done it in the Xfinity Series, Truck Series, won outright in those multiple times. It's the same guys, just more of them.
Those other wins feel just as good as this one, but there's definitely an edge to this win. It feel goods.
Q. You talked about how you nailed it on the last restart. You haven't led much this season. There's no practice. You're not getting track time. Maybe it's been months since you led a restart in a race. How do you hit it and not spin the tires?
AUSTIN DILLON: Kind of like riding a bike. I've been in that situation before. I've been given a lot of shit actually from all my friends about restarts, how I restart for a long time. I don't ever want to let them down.
I had some dang good restarts at Kentucky from, like, eighth. I've always told them, Man, give me something I can drive and I can restart. I definitely made mistakes throughout the past. But I feel like in the right situations, I make it happen.
That was one of those situations where I had to clutch it. I had to make it work. I chose the bottom all three times. My spotter and Justin wanted it the second time. I didn't feel real great about it the second time. It showed because I was a little late. It kind of backed everything up. Joey gave me a good push to get me going, which helped.
That last one I was thinking top, top, the whole last lap. Coming to the green, I said, I'm going to dictate this race from wherever I start. I chose the bottom. I thought our car was turning better than what Reddick was at that point. I chose that bottom. Just changed up, I made a different move than what I had been making on the restart.
I think it kind of threw a curve ball at the guys. That gave me that little bit of jump that I needed to be able to put dirty air on their nose going into turn one.
Q. How are you a different driver and how is RCR a different team going into the Playoffs this year?
AUSTIN DILLON: As much as I hate to say it, I've got a lot of experience now in the Cup Series. For a long time I was looked at as kind of a young gun. I still feel young. The biggest thing is I've had to step up in the role that I'm in.
You bring Tyler in, who has absolutely crushed it from the Xfinity Series with two championships, brought something to push me. I think that's something that everybody needs, is competition. I can't thank him enough for all the competition he's brought to our company. You got to have that.
When I first came in the Cup Series, I thought I was going to have Kevin Harvick as my teammate. He left. Me and Newman started our deal out. Newman was really great for a long time. Daniel was unlucky last year. We didn't have what we needed last year, I feel like. Reddick was on fire.
Bringing him in, it really kind of changed the dynamic this year as far as the competition goes. Got to hand it to my grandfather. He's made some great calls on putting the people in the right places. Even though I've argued with him multiple times on it, I got to give it to him. He does a good job. That's why he's the legend that he is.
Q. This is the first time since 2011 that RCR finished first and second in a Cup race. How much do you think that will mean to the people in Welcome?
AUSTIN DILLON: Huge. Run a family organization back at home, at RCR. It's so awesome. When you cross those railroad tracks, there's a sign when you come in there. I can't wait to get home because I know what it's going to say on that sign: RCR goes 1‑2, and the 3 team brings home a victory at Texas.
That's my favorite thing to do, home to all the hard‑working employees that have believed in me, those people matter the most to me. Our fans are huge, but also our employees that dig in and build these great racecars for us.
Q. You're in the Playoffs now. Tyler is 14 points out. What does he have to do over the next eight races to get in?
AUSTIN DILLON: I already seen a lot more maturity this year out of Tyler than I figured was going to be there, truthfully. As aggressive as he was in the Xfinity Series, I didn't know how he would fare throughout those long races.
He's taken care of his equipment. That's a big part of it. I feel like if he takes care of his equipment, he obviously has enough talent in the cars to do it. It's hard to start in that group from 13 to 24 to get the stage points. That's the hardest point that him and Randall are going to have to focus on moving forward is getting track position at some of these places to give him opportunity.
He can win anywhere he goes. He has that talent in him. I wouldn't be surprised next week at Kansas if both of us have another shot with what we're bringing to the track. We got to do a really good job, like we did today, putting ourselves in situations where we are leading the race and we can take that opportunity to the next level.
I have no doubt that Tyler is going to be a winner in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Q. We've heard from a lot of drivers that it's been a while since they won, they start hearing things, phantom vibrations. Was anything going through your head on those final laps when you had those guys behind you?
AUSTIN DILLON: Only thing going through my head was the damn car was really hot (laughter).
The second to last restart, when that caution came out, I kind of had gotten tight into three. I don't know if it was just because I was giving it all I had there at the end. That caution came out. I'm sure a lot of people were hoping it would go green right there. I think it was good for us. It cooled our tires back down, allowed me to fire it back in there that green‑white‑checkered.
No, I didn't have any of those phantom vibrations. That was a good thing. You definitely start questioning them. The questioning thing is, like, you don't want to give it away by choosing the wrong lane. That was my biggest thing. Don't choose the wrong lane, inside or outside.
At the end, either way you have to make the move on your own. You dictate the start because you're the leader. Doesn't matter top or bottom, I knew what I had to do. I was able to make it happen.
Q. They showed Whitney on TV. Have you talked to her?
AUSTIN DILLON: I FaceTimed her. She was holding Ace. Mother‑in‑law was there. It was just elation. They're super happy, super pumped. Can't wait to get home. Praise the Lord, it meant a lot to our whole family.
Q. Short week heading to Kansas. Since 2016 your results haven't been what you would expect at Kansas. Talk about coming off of this win, the momentum going into that race.
AUSTIN DILLON: Yeah, it's another mile‑and‑a‑half. Our cars have competed well on mile‑and‑a‑half's. Tyler had a pretty good run. It was his first Cup start there last year. Justin was crew chiefing him. We have some data from that run.
We weren't bad in that race. We kind of gave it away in certain areas. We're executing much better this year than what we were last year. Execution is a big part of it. I've studied some of the guys like Brad Keselowski who don't always have the best car but makes it happen when it counts. They constantly are battling for track position even if they don't have the best car.
We're trying to do more of that and put ourselves in more situations, putting yourself up front so you're comfortable running up there, make your own race at the end.
Q. You have had a couple opportunities to race in front of fans in recent weeks. This was the first event in the state of Texas to have fans. What was the moment like for you to be able to interact with fans?
AUSTIN DILLON: Felt really good. I think it would have been awkward without them. That's why I parked it right in front of them and let them smell that smoke, the burnt rubber. Everything I did was for those fans. I think they loved it.
I also gave the flag away to a little kid. He had a Kyle Busch shirt on. I told him he needed to get a new shirt. Hopefully I transferred him over (smiling).
Q. This whole stretch up until the last two weeks, it was the guys top eight in points winning races. You and Cole now have won races. Do you think it's fortuitous timing or something we can see more of?
AUSTIN DILLON: You saw Tyler up there with me at the end. There's another guy in that area of points. A lot of disadvantages when it comes to the stages and points side of it. I also puts you in advantage to take chances when it counts. That's what we did. It worked out for us.
You got to be aggressive in this sport to win races. I've kind of noticed that a lot of the great guys that are doing it. We were aggressive with our call. We maintained our position and won the race.
Q. Your teammate obviously has been one of the sources of inspiration for a lot of people. Strong rookie year. Where do you see his future in this sport?
AUSTIN DILLON: I think he's super talented. I think he's going to be great for RCR for a long time. He's only going to get better I feel like. He's got a lot of potential. He shows it week in and week out. He's not afraid to change lanes.
Definitely pushes me, shows me some things from time to time. I think I can show him every now and then a couple things.
Q. When your former competition on the cusp of the Playoff picture, William Byron and Jimmie Johnson had some problems today, did that change the way you and the 3 changed things up a little bit?
AUSTIN DILLON: We didn't start off real great truthfully our first run. We were bad off, made some adjustments. Never felt like we were out. We've had this saying on our car all year: FIDO, forget it and drive on. It's been good for us. Even when we're struggling, it's FIDO, start over.
It was from a military guy that came and spoke to our company at the beginning of the year. I took that and used it. Even when we're struggling, we kind of never are out of the fight. That was big today because I think with, like, 60 to go, I needed that saying FIDO because I came on the radio and said, We're not good. We had the track position but we couldn't hold it. He gave me better track positions. It was like, All right, I got to make it happen, do what it takes.
THE MODERATOR: Austin, we appreciate you joining us, especially after you made a trip to the care center. Best of luck in Kansas.
AUSTIN DILLON: Love you guys.
JUSTIN ALEXANDER, CREW CHIEF, NO. 3 BASS PRO SHOPS / TRACKER OFF ROAD CAMARO ZL1 1LE PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
THE MODERATOR: Justin, take us through those last few laps, what it was like from atop the box, especially knowing that you were battling with your teammate as well.
JUSTIN ALEXANDER: Yeah, it was nerve‑wracking to say the least. We kind of had a good lead there about 15 to go. A caution came out. Every time a caution comes out, anything can happen. Especially battling with Tyler, he's so good. He's been good all day. He went to the back for a little bit, but came back up to the front.
Those last couple restarts, just nerve‑wracking. Anything can happen. We believed in Austin. He did such a good job the previous one. Just kind of hold‑your‑breath moment. We got through. Austin did a heck of a job. Can't say enough about everyone on this team.
THE MODERATOR: We'll start with questions for Justin.
Q. Joey Logano told us the tire that was used today wore but the car never slowed down. The only thing that affected it were the heat and balance. Did you notice those characteristics? If so, how did that influence your strategy on the final pit stop?
JUSTIN ALEXANDER: Yeah, I think he's absolutely right about that. If you watch lap times, we never really fell off any. Sometimes it would get a little faster towards the end of runs. That definitely played into our strategy.
Definitely what he said, really you're ‑‑ the tires did wear, left side wear was a little bit of an issue. We had to deal with that. Obviously balance. When you take left versus rights, it changes the balance of the car. Definitely we fought that all day along with everyone else.
I think at the end, when we came down there to pit, it made sense to me to take two, or even none. Really, usually you would fire off slower on four tires. For us, we'd been firing off really good on two. We took lefts. Our car was a little bit tight at the time, so lefts freed us up, which definitely helped the handling of the car and let Austin do what he needed to do.
Q. Would you consider today's win an upset?
JUSTIN ALEXANDER: An upset? No. I think it depends in what terms you're talking about an upset. The last time we were in Victory Lane with Austin was in 2018. It's been a while since we've been in Victory Lane.
I think some people don't give Austin enough credit. They think he may not be good enough to win races. They don't give this team enough credit. From that perspective I do think we're a bit of an underdog to some of these teams, bigger teams. In that respect, yeah, maybe it is a little bit of an upset.
We didn't back into this win. We didn't fluke win. It wasn't a fuel mileage deal. We went up to the front, raced them at the end. The car had every bit of speed we needed to win this race. Our cars have had a lot of speed all year. It's really about execution. We did put it all together today.
Q. Did the fact that you kind of needed a win to get in the Playoffs, did that affect your strategy calls at the end of the race?
JUSTIN ALEXANDER: No. I would have made those calls regardless of whatever we needed. Like I said, four tires for us actually fired off slower than two tires. For me it was a no‑brainer. Two tires, two left side tires, freed our car up which is what we needed at the time. For me it was a real easy call.
Q. How often have you been in the shop during this period? Joey Logano mentioned he thought it was more challenging when you're down because you don't have all the time at the shop to massage the cars. How have you handled this?
JUSTIN ALEXANDER: It's certainly different times we live in today. That changes what we do. We do get to the shops. Our road crews, we do go in at nights after everyone is gone. The place is cleaned. We go in for a few hours a couple times a week.
I do get to look at the cars, massage on the cars, kind of final them. The guys at the shop do a wonderful job of prepping the cars for the most part. We just kind of go in there and fine‑tune on them.
It's been different. I think it's been good for us, this schedule. Not having practice, I don't mind it at all. I think we've unloaded fairly well most races. The races we haven't, we've been able to adjust and get the car where we needed it.
With all the tools and resources we have at RCR, I do feel like the way we're running right now does benefit us a little bit.
Q. Did it just become evident from the start you were faster with two tires than four? How do you go through the learning process when you don't have all the practice notes?
JUSTIN ALEXANDER: I think we use history. We look at what happened here last fall, some of the things that happened. It was kind of similar to last fall here, even with a little bit of a different tire.
Definitely just for us, when we put four on a handful of times today, it took a while, 20 laps for the car to come in for us. It may not have been like that for everyone. Definitely our car. We did do two multiple times today. We knew how it was going to fire off, what the handling was going to be with us. For us, it was kind of a no‑brainer.
Q. When you made the call, did you think you'd be able to survive three or four restarts? Did you think you were going to be toast?
JUSTIN ALEXANDER: You never know. I really didn't know. I really thought more guys would do two. I was really surprised only one other guy did two. I think Tyler did fuel only. The rest did four. I was expecting not to be on the font row for that first restart. I was shocked when I saw the guys doing what they did.
Sometimes four tires work for other guys better than two. Those guys made those calls, which was best for their cars. Definitely it's tough to survive one restart let alone three. Austin did a fantastic job getting out, going through the gears good, clearing the guys through one.
Q. When this aero package debuted, you had speed from the get‑go. You had difficulty translating it on race day. When the season started, you seemed to have made a lot of progress. Do you feel the break and the protocols since impeded your progress or do you think you could have even been better at this point?
JUSTIN ALEXANDER: It's hard to say. It's definitely the new body this year has really helped us out. I can't say that the break in the protocol has helped or hurt us really. Every team is kind of working a little bit differently. Everyone is trying to make their cars better.
We definitely took off really well to start. We've really been fast a lot of weeks, honestly. We haven't had finishes to show for it. Had some incidents that have happened, some other things. I really feel like we've had all the speed we need in these racecars since Daytona this year.
I really don't think we've gotten any worse relative to the competition to be honest. We just kind of put it all together today.
Q. Austin always is looking to improve himself. How much do you think this win will help his overall confidence and momentum?
JUSTIN ALEXANDER: I think a huge boost of confidence to anybody, not only the driver but to everybody on this team, everyone in this organization. It just shows you're capable of winning and you have what it takes to win versus all these other teams.
But definitely, especially all the restarts, knowing we have speed in the racecars, it certainly just gives you that. Especially Austin, it's going to give him a lot of confidence going forward.
We're not too far away from the Chase. It's not bad to be on kind of a little bit of upward momentum streak right now. It's good for the whole team. It takes a little pressure off of us on trying to race our way in on points. Sometimes that can get you a little stirred up.
Now we can just go out and focus on what we got to do to improve our team, improve the execution throughout the weekend, be ready for the Chase.
Q. RCR has been fairly forward thinking as far as embracing the technology. A recent example is the documentary about artificial intelligence, Pit Row products you used. Andy Petree has been forward thinking. You have embraced that. The example in that video was a race at Richmond where Pit Row was recommending certain strategies, and it looked like the team followed a couple of things, but diverged from the strategy at the end. Compared to that example today, just in general this year, how are you interacting with these products, as far as artificial intelligence in general, how does that help you and what have you learned from it?
JUSTIN ALEXANDER: Yeah, it's a tool that we definitely use every race day. We actually use it throughout the week in some instances. But certainly on race days. Technology has really kind of gone crazy in the last few years. The things that we can do now, prediction models, a lot of this stuff is statistics, statistics based.
Can't thank Pit Row and their product enough. Certainly we use it, like I said, on a weekly basis it. It helps us. Helps me call races. Certainly we definitely used it today.
THE MODERATOR: Justin, those are all the questions we have for you. Thank you so much for joining us.
JUSTIN ALEXANDER: Thank you very much.
RICHARD CHILDRESS, TEAM OWNER, RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Richard Childress. How was that, having to watch that from home?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I wasn't at home. We have a command center at the race shop. That's where I've been watching the races. That's where all of our engineers and everyone calls the race from. They actually made the call from the command center to do what they did to both cars.
It was pretty cool to be in there, watch how everything works. I've been watching all the races there. They probably won't let me come back to another race for a while now (smiling).
THE MODERATOR: We'll roll into questions.
Q. Today might mean more because Austin picks up his first win in 88 Cup Series races. How proud are you of the developments Austin has made since last year?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I mean, it's great. Chevy did a great job giving us a really good car. Having Tyler right there to work with, he has a teammate that he's really working good with. To see both those guys racing for the win. I was hoping they didn't wreck each other. It was pretty cool to see RCR in the front.
Q. How crucial was it to reunite Austin with Justin Alexander?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: It's great. I've always believed strongly in Justin from day one. He believes in Austin. Austin believes in him. That's what you got to have. You look back at all the greats throughout the time. I look back to the Earnhardt years with the crew chiefs he had, Chad and Johnson, the different people, how they worked together. That's what Austin needed, was someone like this to work with.
Q. This is the first 1‑2 finish for your organization since 2011. What does this day mean for the organization and for you?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: It means a tremendous amount because we've struggled, and everyone knows that, but Chevy has really worked hard and put together a great car for us. To be able to go out and be able to win in a Chevy and be 1‑2 today, it meant a lot.
RCR and ECR, we've got so many partners that stuck with us through the whole thing. To be able to have them bring the win home, a second‑place finish for Cat, it's just amazing.
Q. Have you even been to a race since the season resumed? You were probably at the Charlotte race because you were in the condo. Have you just been stuck at home? What has that been like?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I really, really miss the people around the racetrack, the fans. That's my biggest miss. And the racing. But, yeah, it's different. I went there and seemed like it was one more that I went somewhere. That was the big one, was Charlotte. I was there for both of those races.
Q. What was that like to be there with nobody there?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: It was different. It's really different. It's great. My phone has been blowing up. I got over 200 texts, my voice mail is full. That means a lot of folks are watching us, people that I didn't even realize were watching races.
To give them live entertainment, for NASCAR to be the first to bring live entertainment back, it's great. The fans are loving it.
Q. Why do you think Austin is not given the credit that he deserves as a driver?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: You know, I don't know. I think you get in the 3 car behind Dale Earnhardt, people think your granddaddy gave you this. He earned it no different than Ty Dillon. They had to earn their right to drive their cars. I think that may be a little bit of it.
We didn't give him the cars he needed. I never forget '98 when Dale Earnhardt came and said, I want to retire, it's me.
I said, No, it isn't, Dale. We haven't given you the cars.
We haven't gave him the cars he really needs until this year. Tyler Reddick will win a race before the year is up.
Q. You just mentioned Tyler Reddick. Coming into the year with consecutive Xfinity titles. Talk about where you see Tyler this year.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Just his attitude, what he brings, the pep he's got in his step. He and Austin have a really good relationship. I think that helps Austin, as well.
Austin drives awesome being competitive. Now he's got somebody that is going to push him. Both of them are going to do well, for sure.
Q. Over the last 26 laps and multiple restarts, either Tyler or Austin had to hold off Joey Logano and Kyle Busch. What was going through your head? At any point were you trying to give advice subconsciously to Austin the final laps?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: It was a nail‑biter, for sure. When we had that big lead there, when Austin jumped out there and got him a good lead, then the caution come out. Wow, man, we didn't need that. Had to restart. Did good. He had three restarts and was able to maintain and win the race.
Tyler was right there with him. That showed that both of them had cars that were capable to go. For him to beat the best of the best today, that shows where RCR is with both of our drivers.
Q. Obviously this year without the practice due to the pandemic, do you feel your teams have benefited maybe from a little bit less of that practice? Do you feel you need that back?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: No, I think actually the fans like it. If you look, with the amount of technology that every team has today, the majority of the teams, the technology is right there for everyone to come out and run really good. We've missed it a time or two, but we've been able to adjust back in. Just like today, we were a little off at the start, but we came right back in and were able to pull it off.
Q. Do you feel with Austin's win now putting him into the Playoffs that this team is capable of making that deep run?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: We sure plan on it. We've talked about it, talked about it all year. We think with everything that's going on, it depends on how the stages and everything run, we feel we can be right there for the win at the end of the day.
First you got to get in. That was one goal. Next you got to make it to the next round. Eve time you got to make it to the next round. I think if we get there to the final four, we may have a great chance.
Q. It's been a while since you've gone to the next round. Ryan Newman since you've really been a contender. What is going to make this team a contender after all these years matching Gibbs and Hendrick and everybody else?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I think this year Chevy has gave us a lot better racecar. We got a lot better racecar than we've had in the past. I think that's going to be the difference this year than in the past.
Q. You mentioned you were in the command center for the final moments of the race. You mentioned technology. Andy Petree has been forward thinking with trying new stuff. Based on recent documents, you have used artificial intelligence from Pit Row. As an old‑school racer, what has been your view of that and how has it helped your organization?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I got to go back to Eric Warren. Eric is a doctor. Andy had a lot to do with it. But we had this put in place, Eric wanted to put it in. We wanted to race Ryan Newman with it.
Today Pit Row and all the technology called for what to do with both teams there at the end. It definitely paid off for us. Pit Row has been a great thing.
I really enjoy it. I can actually see a lot more right there than I can at the racetrack actually, keep up with what every other car is doing. We can listen to every other car. We know where they're at, know their strategy, when they have to pit, how far they can go. It's Formula 1‑type technology. It's really working great.
Q. In addition to things like the new body, do you believe that has helped you this year and the last couple of years to get ahead?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Ask me that one more time.
Q. With you being early adopters of that, technology building up, has that been something that has helped you get up front?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I think it really helps us as far as knowing what our cars are doing and what some of our competition is doing. But I think the key to it is we've got a lot better car this year than we've had in the last several years. Not that the cars were that bad, but this car is closer to what the other manufacturers that we're racing is doing.
THE MODERATOR: Richard, thank you.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Thank you.
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.