CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1, met with the media in advance of the NASCAR Cup Series Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum. Media Availability Quotes:
WHAT TRACK IS THE MOST YOU LOOK FORWARD TO EVERY YEAR?
“Bristol (Motor Speedway), for me. I’ve always enjoyed going up there. I think the environment, much like Daytona (International Speedway), the fans really make that place really, really exciting. The energy level is really high. From a driver’s perspective and being a part of the event, it just makes it better. It makes it better for everyone involved. Not just for us – I think it makes it better for industry personnel and everybody that has a part in the show. I think the energy level from the fans really makes us feed off that.”
DO YOU FEEL THE RACE BEING BUMPED UP TODAY FROM TOMORROW CHANGES ANY PRE-RACE PREPARATIONS OR MINDSET FOR YOU?
“I don’t think so. I don’t think it really changes anything, to be honest to you.”
WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO MOVING IT TO TONIGHT?
“I think it’s awesome. I think it’s one of the most logical decisions we’ve made as an industry, potentially ever. I appreciate it. I know a lot of the industry personnel really appreciates the willingness to make a change like that. To be honest with you, doing an event like this on a Saturday night is a better fit for it anyway. I think it’s a win-win for everybody.”
THE FLEXIBLITY THAT NASCAR IS SHOWING HERE… IT JUST DIDN’T SEEM POSSIBLE FIVE OR 10 YEARS AGO. IS THAT LINKED TO CURRENT LEADERSHIP, DO YOU THINK?
“I do. Like I said, I think it’s one of the most practical decisions we’ve made in quite some time. Whatever the relationship they have created with FOX in this case to be able to even have that conversation I think speaks a pretty good volume, in my opinion. This stuff doesn’t need to be complicated, right? And I think a lot of times when you get TV and corporate things involved, we overcomplicate things and that’s just kind of where we are. It’s just really nice to see that they have a personal relationship enough to say – ‘Hey, look, tomorrow is not really ideal for anyone involved – for the fans or industry personnel alike.’ I really think highly of the decision and the ability to be able have conversations to consider something like this.”
WITH QUALIFYING BEING A BIG DEAL…
“Qualifying was going to decide the deal anyway. You’re not going to qualifying bad and drive to the lead from last, I don’t think. Qualifying was always top-of-mind, I think, for everyone, and I don’t really think that changes anything. It’s still going to be the case. I really don’t think anything changes from the competition standpoint.”
HOW ARE YOU FEELING STARTING THE NEW SEASON?
“I’m excited for another year. For me, the way it feels, my career doesn’t feel like one book and every season is another chapter. It feels like every year is a whole different book in itself and I think they have all had different feels, to me. Every year, from my rookie year up to last year, has felt so entirely different. I closed that book up and will try again. I’m thankful for the opportunity and read to go to work.”
QUALIFYING HAS SUCH AN EMPHASIS AT THE DAYTONA 500. DO YOU FEEL THAT GOING INTO IT?
“It’s always been an important thing to the boss, and an opportunity, too, for the engine shop to shine. It’s a huge piece of HMS and they do a really good job. It’s a big weekend for our sport. It’s a good look for our company to go down there and fire off well. On the same token, I would rather have better results in the race than qualify well. There’s really no reason why we can’t do both. I think the qualifying side has been good, we just need to shape up the race side of it, as well.”
YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE A NEW SPOTTER THIS YEAR. CAN YOU TELL PEOPLE ABOUT YOUR SPOTTER, AND HAVE YOU HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH HIM YET?
“Trey (Poole) and I have worked together. He spotted for me a good bit. It’s not like we’re new at it by any means. It just felt like the right decision for right now. I think we’re both excited to have a little bit of a fresh start, in a way, in that position. At the end of the day, our team is really performance driven and performance motivated, and I think Trey is performance driven. We just want to perform at a high-level, and I don’t think he’s any different. I’m looking forward to it, but he’s not as new to it as people might think. Again, I think the situation is a right fit.”
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