CHEVROLET NCS AT NORTH WILKESBORO: Chase Elliott Media Availability Quotes

CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1, met with the media in advance of the NASCAR Cup Series practice and qualifying session at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

Media Availability Quotes:

Did you hear the announcement about the tournament bracket that they’re going to have for next year?

“Yeah.. I don’t know probably every single detail about it, but I have heard of it. Yeah, it sounds interesting, especially starting at Atlanta (Motor Speedway) with it now being a speedway thing. But yeah, I think it has potential to add some excitement to our year and doing something a little different. I don’t have any issues with that.”

Should they give a playoff spot to the winner?

“A playoff spot to the winner? They’re already going to be in.”

This place for so long was lost relic. Last year, everyone was so excited to see this place be revived and revitalized. Coming back this year and to know that we’re coming back for the All-Star Race next year, as well, what is it like now to come to North Wilkesboro and know that it’s normal for us to be racing here?

“Yeah, I think it’s a good thing. This place has been around for a long time. It’s kind of in the heart of ‘NASCAR land’, with Charlotte being right down road and all that stuff. So yeah, I think it’s a good thing. Personally, I was excited to see that NASCAR or whoever spent a bunch of money to repave the place because that just told me that it was going to be around for a while, and they made that commitment pretty quickly. Yeah, I think it’s all positive. The fan turnout was great last year, and I hope that continues. I’ve seen a couple times in my career where we’ll have something new; it’ll go really good the first time and then it won’t after that. So, I just hope that this continues to be a positive event because it was last year, and I think that led to the money being spent on the racetrack, the resurface and all that stuff. Seemingly, it’s sticking around, so I hope the fans’ support and excitement continues now that the racetrack got the support that it needed to live on.”

You were a part of the first attempt to revive this place back in 2010. That revival was pretty short-lived. What do you think is the biggest difference between that and now what SMI and NASCAR has done with it?

“Just money.. They have the money to spend and the resources to support it like it needs to be supported. Nowadays, asphalt racetracks across the country that aren’t affiliated with NASCAR, ISC, SMI or whatever you want to call them, struggle. They just do and I hate to say that, but a lot of them do. This place needed NASCAR’s involvement to become what it once was.”

If Richmond goes away and we take that race to Mexico City or whatnot..

“So Richmond will go away totally.. that’s the rumor?”

Well one of the two.. so, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had said on his podcast that he felt like it was the beginning of this kind of movement to get away from short-track racing again. The 1.5-mile racing is so good.. Are you worried as a short-track, pavement guy, that even at the Cup Series level, we might be getting rid of more short-tracks to have more 1.5-mile tracks, more road courses, stuff like that?

“Yeah, I could kind of see where he’s coming from on that, right? Because the short-track racing has been so bad the last couple of years. And we all see it – the races at the mile-and-a-half tracks have been really good. But I don’t think that’s always a reason to get more of them. I always feel like less is more. The Bristol night race is a perfect example of less is more because you go there once a year; it’s super exciting and everybody loves the Bristol night race. And it’s because it only happens one time a year and it makes it special. Road course racing was really special and really cool because we used to do it twice, and now we do it 12 times, seemingly, a year and it’s become not-so-cool. So, I just think that the more that you do that, you lean into a direction and you just add more, more, more.. You can easily make things that are really exciting and neat still really quickly. So, I think we just need to be careful not to do that and put enough emphasis and importance into making our short-track package better because we do have great short-tracks around the country that we can lean into and race at. We just need to make our cars structured into a position that we can put on better shows, and I think we can do that. There’s no reason why we can’t. We’ve had it before, so why can’t we recreate that moving forward? So, I would rather see just a better product on the short-track stuff than taking them away, for sure.

And I don’t think they’re taking them away, but I would hate to see a movement away from that, just because it’s an important part of our sport.”

How excited are you to get back into a super late model?

“I’m looking forward to it. The last time I guess was New Smyrna there at the beginning of the year, so I’m excited to go run with those guys again. I hope we continue to progress and improve. It’s tough hitting one every two or three months, but I am excited to go and hopefully have a little fun. We’ll see.”

A lot of professional athletes, you can go and look at their contracts or look at their money situation. Where do you fall in that idea?

“I don’t have a preference. It’s not up to me, I guess, at the end of the day, but I don’t really care one way or another.”