CHEVY NCS AT ATLANTA 2: Post-Race Notes and Quotes
KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 GEARWRENCH CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Race Winner--HOW ABOUT THAT, KURT? MORE SIGNIFICANT, OBVIOUSLY IT'S THE BIG PLAYOFF WIN AND PUTS YOU GUYS IN THE PLAYOFFS, BUT THAT YOU WERE ABLE TO BEAT YOUR BROTHER HEADS UP ON A GREEN FLAG RUN FOR THAT LONG.--“Hell yeah, we beat Kyle! I taught that kid everything he knows; he should be grateful. What a battle. What a genuine, awesome, old-school racetrack, and I just asked the track today, last time here on your old asphalt, can I have an old guy win, and she answered. Thank you, Atlanta Motor Speedway!--This has been one of those years where I knew we were going to have our back up against the wall with trying to get above the cutoff line and race hard and race smart, and to have GEARWRENCH in Victory Lane, this is their last race of the year, they're with us all year, and with Monster Energy, I couldn't have two great primary sponsors. What a Chevrolet today, hell yeah!
YOU SAID ONE FOR THE OLD GUYS, BUT IT WAS YOUR YOUNG TEAMMATE THAT YOU GAVE SO MUCH CREDIT TO. WHAT WAS THE KEY MOMENT WHERE HE WAS ABLE TO PUSH YOU BY THE 18?
“Shake and bake! Shake and bake! Yeah, and the 42, he did his job as a teammate. Ross is going to get a little flak for it, but that's what it takes to be a good teammate at the right moment, so I couldn't be more proud of Ross Chastain. I'll pay him back eventually, but right now this is our No. 1 car in Victory Lane.
YOU PULL OFF THESE CLUTCH WINS ALL THE TIME, KURT, TO PUT YOU IN THE PLAYOFFS, BUT WITH THE UNKNOWN OF NEXT YEAR, HOW BIG IS THIS MOMENT FOR YOU PERSONALLY?
“It's wonderful. You know, for all of Ganassi, Trackhouse bought our team, I don't know where I'm going, but I just love racing cars and I want to race that Next-Gen car. That's why I'm trying to stick around. Will you guys have me next year if I stick around?
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 4th
"We were OK. We had a really good racecar, just not good enough to contend for the win. I feel like we were really fast on the short runs and I could run with those guys. I felt like I was just hanging out and trying not to burn my tires off. It never really paid off for me in the long run. I struggled at the end of runs and was really lane-limited at the end of the race. I needed the bottom to make the car turn. It was a good solid day for our Ally Camaro but not quite good enough."
HAS THE GAP NARROWED BETWEEN YOU GUYS (HENDRICK) AND JOE GIBBS RACING? "It's been one week. We won the last one. As a company, it doesn't look like were quite as strong as we have been here today but next week is a new week."
YOU HAVE SAID YOU HOPE THE TRACK NEVER IS REPAVED. IS IT A LITTLE APRIPOS THAT PART OF IT CAME UP IN THE RACE? "I'm still sad about it but I do understand why they're doing it and the need to repave it. If it would have rained then it would have taken forever to dry, and obviously it was coming up a little bit. But as a driver, this place is so much fun. You can move around, you can slide the race car and do all kinds of things that for years and years we aren't going to be able to do here. So you don't want to see it go, but I do understand it."
ATLANTA IS SO UNIQUE. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN TAKE FROM TODAY AND APPLY TO OTHER TRACKS THIS SEASON? "Not really. We've already been to Homestead. We're not going to Fontana. Some of the mile-and-a-half stuff doesn't really apply here when the grip falls off so quickly here. You never really run wide-open here. Maybe a little bit but not a ton."
TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 OKUMA CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 6th
“Our No. 8 Okuma Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE handled really well today and had a ton of speed right from the start. I was able to get up into the top-five early and stayed there for most of the race. Our car was a bit tight almost all day long, but the team was able to help counter that with air pressure adjustments throughout our pit stops. It felt like handling faded a little bit towards the end of the day, but I was able to switch up my lines and keep our speed for the most part, which was good. Racing in the Cup Series is just so tough. Everyone in this series is so smart and immediately picks up on anything someone does differently, so you’re constantly having to find new grooves and lanes during the race to stay up front. While I wish we could have finished top-five, races like today are a testament to all the hard work the men and women of RCR and ECR put in at the shop every day, and this result is just another step in the right direction for our team. I know we can make the Playoffs, we just have to continue to push.”
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 A SHOC CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 7th
YOU FINISHED 7TH, BUT FOR A WHILE THERE, I WASN’T SURE YOU WERE GOING TO COME BACK TO THAT. HOW DIFFICULT WAS TODAY?
“We had a long day, for sure. The Adrenaline Shoc Camaro was not so hot there to start, and really just worked a lot. We changed a bunch of stuff throughout the day and just kind of kept grinding. I feel like we got to a decent spot there at the end. We weren’t anything special. But it was a heck of a lot better than where we started today. So, I’m happy with that. We just need to find a little pace and need to find a little bit myself and I think we can get back to where we need to be. We just need a tick more.”
ROSS CHASTAIN, NO. 42 CLOVER CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 21st
“Kurt asked for the bottom so I gave him that lane. I was racing to stay on the lead lap. I’m very aware of what’s going on on the track around me. Kurt asked me for the bottom and I gave it to him.”
KURT WAS VERY JOYFUL IN VICTORY LANE, CALLING IT “SHAKE AND BAKE”. DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HELPED YOUR TEAMMATE OUT TODAY?
“To see a Chip Ganassi car in Victory Lane with all that’s happened the last couple of weeks and all this year, there is nothing I want more. One team, one goal and that’s to win. I hate that Chip wasn’t here to enjoy this. But for our Clover Chevrolet to be so far off as we were and have a teammate go win, that’s a best-case scenario for us. We’ll learn from what they did and look through their notebook. We were off all day. I hate it for everyone at Clover, McDonald’s and Moose. It really goes to show that we have to keep fighting because we can go to Victory Lane. We could have been to Victory Lane last weekend at Road America so we’ll keep fighting.”
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.