Team Chevy Notes and Quotes from Richmond 9-12-20
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW NORKOOL CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 4th - “I feel like I gave one away tonight. Our Dow NORKOOL Chevrolet was so fast tonight. We had a massive day for stage points, which is going to help us out big picture-wise. We had a speeding penalty in Stage 1, and to come from the back to the front in that Stage just shows how fast our Chevy was tonight. This No. 3 team is on fire right now and showing up when it matters. I have a line here and it’s been working. I run a little lower on the straightaway and it gives me good forward drive. I saw some other drivers start picking it up and laying the rubber down on that line. It might have hurt us a little bit at the end of the race, but the biggest thing is when we came to pit road for our second green-flag stop in Stage 3 we were trying to bring everybody down. The No. 1 car was in my mirror on tires. I overdrove that entry just a little bit thinking that I needed to avoid getting rear-ended, and then it was like ‘Oh no, I’m going to hit the red box’ so I had to make another lap around the track. That cost us three seconds. It probably killed our deal, but it was still early, so who knows. It was a lot of fun out here tonight and I think we had the best car tonight, so thanks to Justin Alexander and everyone at RCR and ECR for giving us a solid Chevy tonight. We’re headed to Bristol Motor Speedway in a good spot and it’s exciting to know we still have eight more chances to try and get another win. Our confidence level for Bristol is pretty high.”
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 5th
FOUND THE FRONT A COUPLE OF TIMES. WHERE WAS THE NO. 9 OFF JUST A LITTLE BIT TONIGHT?
“First off, we were way better than we’ve been here, probably ever, so I thought that was a big improvement for us. We really needed it here. This has been a really, really tough track for us. I thought we got our NAPA Auto Parts Camaro good, especially through the middle portion. Just got a little behind, I think, as the race went on to roll the center as good as we needed to late in a run. But, we were way, way better than we’ve ever been here I feel like before. And consistently all night, too. I thought that was a pretty big step for us at a track that we’ve really struggled at.”
THE HARD WORK WAS NOT LOST BY ANY OF US – WE KNOW HOW HARD EVERYONE BACK AT THE SHOP WORKS TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN. HOW DID THEY GET THAT DONE AND WHERE DID THEY IMPROVE THE MOST FOR YOU HERE?
“I feel like Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and all our guys just tried to find trends over the last number of years – the things we’ve struggled with and look at some of the things we’ve done good. The only problem was there wasn’t many things that we’ve done good here with. So, just trying to pick apart those fine details and I really think we hit on a few of them. Certainly weren’t the best, but way better than we’ve been here before I feel like in my opinion. I think that was a big deal for us.”
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 CHEVYGOODS.COM / TRUCK HERO CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 9th
“How about that? We ended up top-10 at Richmond. That is like a miracle. We had a really good car and definitely better than a ninth-place car. I made my fair share of mistakes and we had some issues getting on and off pit road. We lost some time there. I am pumped for Truck Hero and CHEVYGOODS.com. It is really weird to be this pumped about running ninth, especially when we had a much better car than ninth. Last time we were here we ran, I think, 24th. This is good momentum for us going into the cutoff race next week in Bristol.”
TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 CAT RENTAL STORE CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 11th
“I think Richmond Raceway is one the most challenging tracks on the circuit, but my No. 8 Cat Rental Store team did a great job tonight helping me find my rhythm and build a strong run out there with our Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE. Not having any practice here for my first Cup start, it took me a little bit of time in the first Stage to figure out how the best way to get around here with the balance I had in our car. My whole team did a great job of analyzing the SMT data available to us in real-time and relaying to my spotter, Derek Kneeland, on what I needed to be doing differently on track to gain spots out there. That data really did help and made a ton of difference in our night. Between that feedback and the changes, we made during our pit stops tonight, I was able to become more confident in the car and run harder earlier in each run of the night. I needed just a little more on the short runs to get going, but overall, this was one of better races we’ve had in the last few weeks. We’ll take this and continue to fight next week at another short track.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 MONSTER ENERGY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 13th
“Our pit strategy just didn’t turn out the way that we had hoped. We really had to work hard early in the race to manage the tires and an ill-handling car. The guys did a nice job working on the balance, to make the Monster Energy Chevy better on the long runs. With no cautions to help us out we just weren’t able to catch a break that we needed. Who ever thought we would a short track with no unplanned cautions?”
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 21st
MINUS FOUR GOING INTO BRISTOL – HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? HOW DISAPPOINTED ARE YOU GOING THERE BELOW THE CUTOFF LINE?
“It is what it is – we ran horrible tonight and no excuse for that. It was really kind of a slow death the entire race, so we’ll go to Bristol and regroup for that one.”
ARE YOU SURPRISED YOU’RE IN THIS POSITION? DID YOU THINK YOU’D BE IN A BETTER PLACE?
“No, I mean we knew Richmond was our biggest struggle of the Playoffs. The first time I came here, it seemed like things were pretty good. And then last year, we really struggled here and obviously didn’t really improve. It’s disappointing. We just have to put this one behind us and go to Bristol. I think we’ve ran OK at Bristol – top-10 in the spring and made the All-Star race. So, I think we just have to go there and hopefully have a good run.”
DOES THE EXPERIENCE OF BOUNCING BACK AT DOVER THE DAY AFTER HAVING A BAD RACE GIVE YOU ANY CONFIDENCE IN BEING ABLE TO BOUNCE BACK FROM THIS?
“Not really, just because I feel like we had a chance to work on the car the second day and improve. When you miss it, you miss it. There’s no practice, there’s nothing really to identify with. We knew pretty early on in the race that we were in trouble. I think we lost like 10 spots in 10 laps it felt like. When you’re in that position, you just have to try to change it up as a driver and try to do different things. But I think going to Bristol, it’s a track that we can have a good setup at. We’ve ran decent there in the past, so we can hopefully look at that.”
I HEARD YOU SAY YOU STRUGGLED TONIGHT, BUT WHAT HAPPENED? WHAT WENT WRONG FOR YOU GUYS THAT YOU JUST DIDN’T HAVE IT?
“It seemed like every time that we entered the corner with any sort of brake pressure at all, we were pretty much locking the left front and sliding across the track. We were really tight in. Typically, you’re loose in here and we were extremely tight into the corner, locking the left front up and having to get off the brake as quick as possible to keep the front tires turning. That just doesn’t make a lot of speed and anytime we tried to go any faster than that, we were just killing the front tires off the car. Pretty much just had to run around there about 80 percent most of the time and try to have something for the end of a run. But typically, we just fell off like a rock at the end of each run that we had to run out to our pit stop. With no cautions, it kind of is what it is.”
FIRST OFF, JUST HOW SURPRISED WERE YOU THAT THE ONLY CAUTIONS WERE THE COMPEITION CAUTION AND THE STAGE BREAKS?
“I think it’s expected at Richmond. We are sliding around a lot, but because we’re sliding around so much, it’s kind of expected every lap that you’re going to slide around. Everyone in the field did a good enough job to manage that and you’re not going to see a lot of cautions when everyone kind of knows that grip is low and you’re just out there racing your car. You can’t really battle anybody for position that hard because you’re that low on grip. It’s just the way this track is. It’s fun as a driver, but obviously has very little cautions because of it.”
OBVIOUSLY WITH THE WAY THE PLAYOFFS ARE, FOR SOME DRIVERS, CERTAIN ROUNDS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS. AS YOU MENTIONED, THIS WAS GOING TO BE A TOUGH RACE FOR YOU AND JUST THE WHOLE ORGANIZATION. HOW DID YOU GO INTO THE PLAYOFFS AND HOW IMPORTANT WAS DARLINGTON BECAUSE OF WHAT THE POTENTIAL ROAD BLOCK WAS HERE?
“It was important. I think we did pretty much our job there – we finished top-five. I felt like we missed out on some stage points. We knew this track was going to be tough. Last year, we saved ourselves in this round with the Roval – qualifying on the pole and finishing sixth. We don’t really have that to lean on that much this year, so we have to perform at Bristol. Definitely our toughest round. I’d like to say if we can get through this round, the rest of the Playoffs will be great. But we’re here and this is what we have to do.”
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.