Team Chevy - Notes and Quotes from Daytona
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Race Winner
YOU MADE HISTORY TODAY AT DAYTONA. WHAT WAS THE RACE LIKE TODAY FROM YOUR VIEWPOINT?
“Our guys did a phenomenal job. We just had a phenomenal car. I don’t think I did anything very special today. I think Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and all our guys did a really good job pitting there at the start. We made a couple really small adjustments, I felt like, there, at that first stop and I was really kind of able to leave it after that. So, I just appreciate everybody that makes this happen. Thanks to the fans. Good to see you guys back. Appreciate you all coming out. And, just thanks to all our partners and Chevrolet. I spent a lot of time with them this past week. A special thanks to Jordan Taylor and Boris Said for reaching out and being willing to help this weekend; some road course ringers. I tried to lean on them and luckily everything worked out.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 4th
“Good job to everyone on my No. 48 Ally Chevy team. I just lacked that rear grip at the end there. That was a really fun and a solid day, that’s what we needed and now we go to my favorite track – Dover. So proud of Chase, what a road racer he is.”
KAZ GRALA, NO. 3 AMERICAN ETHANOL CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 7th
"I never thought my NASCAR Cup Series debut would come in this nature. I first want to say that I'm thankful that Austin's symptoms are mild and that his wife Whitney and baby Ace are healthy. I hope to see him back in the car next week at Dover International Speedway. It certainly was an honor to get the call from Richard Childress and drive his iconic No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet. I honestly had a blast. These Cup cars have so much power, which I really enjoyed. Today exceeded my expectations. My goal was to come in today, run all the laps, not tear anything up, and get a top-30 finish so this is certainly far above my wildest dreams. Justin Alexander called an excellent strategic race, which really helped us get up there and compete inside the top-20 most of the day. We were able to lead laps in my NASCAR Cup Series debut, and it was fun to mix it up with some of my childhood heroes. Before the last caution, I made a bold, three-wide move on a restart, which got us a ton of positions. I don’t really know what I was thinking, but it worked and put us around 12th. We were in pretty good shape with some fresher tires than the guys ahead of us and opted to stay out under the last caution. We were able to pick off a few more of those guys to finish comfortably inside the top-10. I can't thank everyone enough for giving me this opportunity: Richard, American Ethanol, and Chevrolet. Today was a dream come true and I hope I made everyone in Welcome, all of the guys on the No. 3 team, Austin Dillon and all of RCR's partners proud. That green No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet is iconic and it meant a lot to be able to sport American Ethanol's colors today. I hope to have the opportunity to be racing on Sundays in the future."
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 8th
“It was a good result for us today. We chose to go for the stage points and had to pass our way through the field a few times because of that strategy. I think we did a nice job of that and getting a lot of those available points. Once we got towards the front top five we kind of stalled out though. Overall, I’m pretty happy with today and getting a good result. We just need to have a couple good weeks with solid races when we go on to Dover for two races and back to Daytona. I’m looking forward to Dover next week for sure though.”
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 12th
“That wasn’t a whole lot of fun. Started the race and tried to work our way through there and go through a cycle of green-flag pit stops and then had a flat left rear. We didn’t hit anything, so that was a big bummer. We had to pit again and then went a lap down, so we had to come back from that. We passed a lot of cars and got the lucky dog and then had to start in the back again for the third time. We drove up to 11th there before the last caution. We just had the wrong restart lane and couldn’t really go. We were down on forward drive, but pretty good by ourselves. Proud of this Axalta team for how they recovered, but a bummer to lose those four spots on that last lap.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 MONSTER ENERGY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 14th
“I really enjoyed the day today, the track was a fun challenge for us. Matt McCall did a nice job making adjustments on the Monster Energy Camaro, but we burned up the tires on the last longer run and just had to play a little defense in the end. It was a really fun track and I had some fun out there today, I just didn’t have enough in the end”.
TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 CAT APP CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 18th
“Man, the Daytona International Speedway Road Course is tough, but our No. 8 Cat App Chevrolet team kept after it, and we were able to continue to get better throughout the day. I spent a lot of time on the Chevrolet simulator before this weekend to help prepare, but there was still a big learning curve during the first stage of this race. I struggled with some wheel hop in Stage 1, but we were able to make some adjustments before Stage 2 started to help fight that. I got more comfortable with the course as the race went on and had better drive off to fight for positions. The red flag actually helped me a little bit since I was able to cool off a little bit and review some SMT data with my crew chief, Randall Burnett. We made a fuel only stop just before Lap 50, which helped me get some good track position. Unfortunately, that final yellow came out with six laps to go, and we had to pit for four fresh tires. I got boxed in on that final stop, so that hurt our restart spot, but I was able to get our No. 8 Cat App Chevrolet back into the top 20 before the checkered flag came out. Not the day we wanted, but we maximized what we could and have three more shots to get into the Playoffs, so our fight isn’t over yet.”
TY DILLON, NO. 13 GEICO FOR YOUR BOAT CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 20th
"Strong battle for us today. Our GEICO For Your Boat Chevrolet was really strong at the beginning of the race. We battled our way up to 16th and then fell back to 30th right before that final stage. We fought real hard and ended up with another top-20 finish. It was a hot day inside the race car and a hot one outside. I'm proud of our effort and we kept it on track for the first time at the Daytona Road Course."
BUBBA WALLACE, NO. 43 DOOR DASH CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 25th
“That was not the finish that our Richard Petty Motorsports team wanted. Going into it (the DAYTONA Road Course) I thought I would finish, but to say that the No. 43 DoorDash Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE and Bubba Wallace would be top-10 finish at a road course on the last lap – man, I never would have thought it. Hats-off to my guys – they never gave up on me and brought all the confidence. Just an unfortunate ending, but our No. 43 DoorDash Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was stout. It just was not the finish that we deserved today. Onto the Dover International Speedway.”
BRENDAN GAUGHAN, NO. 62 BEARD OIL CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 39th
“That isn’t quite what we wanted here today. I spent the first half of the race just trying to feel out the racecar, and get to the points that I like on the course. After the red flag, we finally got our car where we wanted and started to move up. We were getting close to that top-15 and I made a mistake. I don’t normally miss shifts but I missed two shifts to fourth (gear) and over revved the motor. When I did I lost fourth gear. We were here in Daytona to run well on this road course – not have to change the transmission just to go back out there and run around 20 laps down. We will be back here in two weeks and see if we can get a good one for the old No. 62 Beard Oil Chevy.”
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.