CHEVY NCS AT CHARLOTTE: Post-Race Notes and Quotes
TEAM CHEVY POST-RACE NOTES AND QUOTES:--KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 METROTECH CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Race Winner
YOU SWEPT TONIGHT! WHAT IS THE EMOTION, NOT ONLY TO WIN THE COKE 600, BUT TO CLOSE IT OUT, DOMINATE A RACE, AND GET IT DONE?
“Yeah, it feels good. It was not easy. I felt like I had to fight off William (Byron) and Chase (Elliott) a lot. It kind of worked out there in that last run. The No. 43 (Erik Jones) had to pit and pulled out in front of me, and I just towed with him for a while and stretched my lead out. We had a good car there in that last run. Awesome! It feels great to be the guy to help Mr. Hendrick break that record, finally. This is awesome. We haven’t seen this many fans in forever. Thanks to all you guys for coming out. I hope we put on a good show. Thanks to MetroTech, Chevrolet, HendrickCars.com, and everybody who allows me to drive this No. 5 car. And thanks to my No. 5 team tonight, too. They were great tonight. My pit crew did awesome. We had awesome pit stops, especially on the green flag stops, too. That really allowed us to get the win tonight.”
YOU KICKED IT OFF THIS YEAR WITH A BRAND NEW TEAM AND A BRAND NEW ORGANIZATION FOR YOU. HALFWAY THROUGH THE SEASON, YOU ALREADY HAVE TWO WINS. WHAT IS IT LIKE? HOW CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT THIS TEAM IS DOING RIGHT NOW AND WHAT MR. HENDRICK HAS?
“When I got to talking to Ricky Stenhouse last year, I was like I think I’m going to end up in the No. 5 or the Hendrick cars and he was like, you’re going to be really good in that thing. And I was like, I don’t know. But it’s been better than I could have ever imagined. For us to lead as many laps as we have this year and contend for as many wins as we have, and now to get our second win at a Crown Jewel event, too, it feels great. I’m just very lucky that Mr. Hendrick was able to put together a deal for me. It’s just awesome. I’m living a dream, for sure.”
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 2nd
“I’m just happy for the boss (Mr. Rick Hendrick); happy for Kyle (Larson), Cliff (Daniels, crew chief), and everybody on the No. 5 team. They’ve been kicking ass since February and they deserve to win. Rightfully so. They did a great job tonight; ran a great race and made no mistakes and the best car won. I’m proud of Hendrick Motorsports. I feel like everybody, like I’ve been saying, is just pulling in the same direction and it’s really showing. I’m just proud of our company and excited as the No. 9 team, specifically, for more opportunities ahead, and to try and get a little better and see if we can’t get it dialed in."
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 4th
BYRON ON RACING CHASE ELLIOTT:
“It was hard racing. I was trying to get second there and cost myself third. With this package, you just have to get the side draft at the perfect spot. I feel like we just missed where that was. We just didn’t have quite enough. Congrats to the No. 5 (Kyle Larson, race winner) guys. They were lights out. We’ll go to work and try to get that.”
TALK ABOUT THE HENDRICK MILESTONE. WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE PART OF THE HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS ORGANIZATION.
“It’s awesome. We are bringing really fast cars right now and I feel like it’s really fun to be at Hendrick Motorsports right now. We’ve just got to work, on the No. 24 team, just a little harder to get the little bit more than we need. But we’re really close. We can do it at times during the race. We just can’t put it all together. I feel like we probably should have finished third tonight. We finished fourth, but we’ll take that.
I thought we were really good. It’s just hard to get the lead and I feel like if we could have kept the lead, we could have maybe won. We just never did. We were good enough to win but it just didn’t quite happen.”
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY PATRIOTIC CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 5th
“Hats off to Greg (Ives, crew chief) and the Ally 48 team on making really good adjustments to get us where we needed to be and get us in the top-five. So cool for Hendrick Motorsports to be the all-time wins leader now. Our Ally Camaro was a handful all night, but glad to get a top-five out of it.”
BOWMAN ON THE HENDRICK MILESTONE:
“It’s really cool to be a small part of it. Four of those (wins) were from us, so that’s pretty neat and pretty special. We want to add a lot more to that list, but it’s cool to be a small part of it.”
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER OFF ROAD CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 6th
“I am so proud of everyone on the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops / TRACKER Off Road team. We had some adversity today, but this RCR team rallied to get over everything and put together something at the end to be proud of. The Coca-Cola 600 is a long, grueling night and a lot of it is just about who can have a clean race. We didn’t have the cleanest of races, but we rebounded well. We earned stage points in every stage tonight, and did a great job of keeping up with adjustments as the track changed. Even when we fell back in the running order we kept our cool, didn't give up, and were able to drive back into the top-10. Everyone did a great job. If we keep bringing cars like this to the track, we will win races. The most important part of the night was riding with Chief Special Warfare Operator David A. Fegyo on the windshield header and honoring our military with a patriotic Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet."
TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 ALSCO UNIFORMS CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 9th
“The No. 8 Alsco Uniforms Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was stout tonight and had a lot of speed all race long. I fired off the night a little tight but with an air pressure adjustment on our first stop, it loosened right up and stayed loose for most of the day. Our car transitioned really well from night to day, and a large part of that was thanks to my team making the correct adjustments to keep up with the changing track conditions. I started to get a little too free during the last half of Stage 3, but the team was able to walk back our adjustments enough to get me in a good spot balance-wise for the remainder of the night. We had a really good points night and earned valuable Stage points in every Stage tonight, which will be a huge help to keeping us moving up in the standings. We ran in the top-10 almost the entire night, which is a big feat during the Coca-Cola 600. I’m really proud of my team and hope we made Army Staff Sergeant Brian Piercy’s family and friends proud tonight as well.”
RICKY STENHOUSE JR., NO. 47 KROGER/COTTONELLE CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 12th
“That was a solid night for us in the No. 47 Kroger/Cottonelle Chevrolet. Starting on the front row was really great for us and everyone at JTG Daugherty Racing and from there we just struggled being really loose on the long run then building tight in traffic as the sun went down and we got into the second half of the race. We got trapped by a lap car at the end when I think we were definitely catching cars for position at the end, but 12th is still really strong for us and a step back in the right direction after a few rough weeks. I’m looking forward to keeping up the momentum next week at Sonoma.”
DANIEL SUAREZ, NO. 99 CAMPING WORLD CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 15th
“Our car was good. We were missing a couple adjustments at the beginning, but we were able to get it better there at the end. We just never got the caution that we needed.”
ERIK JONES, NO. 43 PETTY’S GARAGE CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 16th
“We had to come back in at the end, but we were able to fix the vibration. The No. 43 Petty’s Garage Camaro ZL1 1LE was pretty decent all day. We had our best speed at the end, we just got behind there with the extra pit stop. Solid day – it was a better 1.5-mile track for us than we have the last few, so hopefully it’s a step in the right direction.”
ROSS CHASTAIN, NO. 42 ADVENTHEALTH CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 37th
“Just really disappointing to have issues so early in the longest race of the year. Unfortunately, it just turned into a long test session for us. Thankful to have AdventHealth on the car this weekend, and sorry we couldn’t have a better result for all of the guests that they had join us today.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 GEARWRENCH CAMARO ZL1 1LE – Finished 38th
“Not much more to say other than we are just on an extremely tough streak of bad luck. The car lost power steering and I saw the oil pressure drop, not much warning of any issues. We thought we made repairs to carry on, but apparently the damage was done and forced us out of the race early.”
RICK HENDRICK, TEAM OWNER, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS
THIS IS WIN NUMBER 269 FOR YOU, THE ALL-TIME WINNINGEST OWNER IN NASCAR HISTORY. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? IT’S ALMOST AN OVERWHELMING STATISTIC.
“It really is. Number one, Richard Petty is the king of NASCAR. He’s done so much for this sport. Man, this is so awesome. All I can think about was the first win and all the drivers. I want to thank every driver that’s ever driven, that won a race; and the ones that didn’t win. But it’s unbelievable. I can’t really get it in my brain right now, because I just thought - something’s going to happen, something’s going to happen. But man, what a good job they did tonight. I’m just looking forward to the rest of the year. I’m glad 269 is over. I’m glad it’s over.”
WHAT A NIGHT FOR HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS
“I’ve been a part of Hendrick Motorsports as a driver for all the years and have seen the dominance, but even I am just blown away by how strong this organization is through all four cars right now. Congratulations to Rick Hendrick, Hendrick Motorsports, and Kyle Larson, and also Cliff Daniels.”
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 1LE, Press Conference Transcript:
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, who finished second in tonight's Coca-Cola 600.
Q. Chase, I'm curious your take on the lap traffic. It seemed like the closing rates tonight were pretty significant. A lot of them looked like you guys used them for picks. What was your take on the lap traffic tonight?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, I mean, it was -- I felt like pretty -- as bad as I hate to say this, pretty normal here in the last couple years, so I wasn't super surprised by any of it, to be real honest.
Q. Did you feel like NASCAR needed to make any calls regarding any penalties for minimum speed, or do you think that minimum speed needs to be addressed moving forward at this point?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Man, I can't answer that. I really try hard to stay out of the official calls. That typically doesn't get me anywhere good, so I'm not sure.
Q. When it comes to where Larson was better, Byron said that it just seemed like the 5 was stuck to the track. Was that something that they could have done differently at the shop? Could you guys have adjusted to get closer to him, or was it just out-and-out better tonight?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, great question. He definitely did a better job for sure. I thought he did the best job driving and being able to make pace and not abuse his tires each run. Yeah, best driver, best car won tonight. There's no doubt.
I think for us, we just look ahead, and I'm excited for more opportunities. That's all you can do when you get beat is look ahead and be excited for another chance.
Q. Is it frustrating for you at all now that you've come so close in two straight Coke 600s and just haven't gotten to Victory Lane yet?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I mean, no. Obviously I would love to win, like anybody would, but we didn't last year and we didn't this year, and that's just what it is, so onward.
Q. What does it feel to be a part of Hendrick Motorsports during this historic time in their NASCAR history, and how does it feel to be a part of the 269 wins, the record that was set tonight?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, just super proud of everybody. I've said this over the course of the last couple weeks. Mr. Hendrick has changed a lot of lives I feel like throughout the course of his career and what he's meant for motorsports I feel like goes without being said. He's changed my life, and for that I feel like he deserves to be on top. I'm a little biased, but I feel like he does.
I feel like he treats people with a lot of respect and integrity, and he just goes about his business like someone should. He's a great role model to a lot of employees, not just in motorsports but across the automotive group side of things, and there's a reason he is a successful man in not only business but in life.
He deserves to win. He deserves to be on top, and I'm glad to see him be there.
Q. What sort of impact has Mr. H left on your life personally, and how does it feel to vindicate the trust he put in you when he put you in first the 24 car and now the 9 car moving forward?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, for sure. Like I said, he's offered me opportunities I would have never had otherwise, and that's really, not to be short, but that kind of sums it up. If he hadn't done what he did and stuck with me and wanted to give me a chance, I don't think I'd be sitting here. It's pretty much as simple as that.
Q. When we watched the race, the package seems to be, I don't want to say slower, but it seems a little different than in years past. Was the passing a little more difficult? Help fans understand how hard it is mentally to be out there and trying to be on the ragged edge of speed for the entire 400 laps.
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, I mean, it's always hard to pass. We've had multiple different packages, and it's always hard to pass. Until we learn how to defy physics, it's going to be hard to pass. That's just what it is. I don't think that's ever going to change. But I do think the best drivers and the best teams tend to find their way to the front of these races, even with it being so hard to pass. That's why we race. It's a challenge, and we all embrace that challenge. We play within the rules that we are given, and I'm sure the rules are going to change a bunch over time and continue to change, and it seems like every time they change, the better guys and the better teams tend to always find their way back to the front, and I don't think that'll ever change.
Q. Mentally how tough is it to be out there for that 400 laps being on the ragged edge the entire time.
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, actually I feel really good. I feel like the race went by really fast. What time did we start, 6:30? It was over about 10:30. I thought it was quick. Felt good.
Q. Chase, you and Kyle raced pretty hard when you were together on the track, and even coming down pit road at one point he got to your inside. Where is the line there of racing your teammate hard but not -- what's acceptable, what's not acceptable?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I don't know, I thought it was all good. We were racing hard and racing for the lead of the Coca-Cola 600. Yeah, I didn't see anything wrong with anything that happened tonight.
Q. That was enjoyable.
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, was it fun to watch? There you go.
Q. I wanted to ask, how much does it become a mental battle when your teammate is so strong and you guys are a top-2, top-3 car and you just can't get there and really do anything with it?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, just keep pushing. We absolutely got beat tonight, no question. They did a better job, as I said before. The only thing you can do is just look for more opportunities, be excited for another chance, and fortunately we have that next week, next Sunday, and the Sunday after that. We'll just try to get a little better and me do a better job, us communicate better as a team, execute better, and try to have a better result.
Q. You led a lot of laps here last year in the races. Were you as good tonight as you were last year and Kyle Larson was just better?
CHASE ELLIOTT: That's so hard to honestly really compare year to year in my opinion. Just things change, and the cars sometimes drive a little different. So I couldn't give you a fair assessment on that.
Kyle was definitely better tonight, and that was the only thing that mattered today, currently, here in 2021. I don't know how to compare it to last year, but we were -- yeah, I don't know. Good question.
Q. Does it feel like almost a friendly boxing match between the two of you at Hendrick right now?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Well, I think we're all just trying to maximize the opportunities. This is a sport that comes in waves. It's a roller coaster. There's going to be good times, there's going to be bad times.
I hope we're always this good and always this competitive, but I think the law of averages would tell you that that's not going to last forever, so I think we all want to try to take advantage of the opportunities that we have right now as a company and continue to challenge ourselves to be better because our competitors are getting better, they're pushing harder. We need to make sure we're not just happy with where we are, we've got to get better, too. We've got to push, because May isn't -- that's not when we hand out the big trophy. We need to make sure we're on our game when it counts.
Q. Obviously you won the last road course, wet Circuit of the Americas. Talk about what you're expecting next week at Sonoma Raceway?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, Sonoma has been a place that I haven't done a very good job at I don't feel like. It's been a pretty big challenge. Looking forward to getting there, looking forward to another shot. It's been a couple years -- yeah, two years since we've been there. Been a little while, but looking forward to getting back and having another chance.
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.