Transcripts – Jeff Andrews, Scott Maxim – Darlington Raceway

HE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Jeff Andrews from our winning team, Hendrick Motorsports, and Scott Maxim, director of power train for Hendrick Motorsports. Big day; not only do you win the Cook Out Southern 500 with Kyle Larson, but the 500th national series win for Hendrick engines.

Jeff, how big of an accomplishment is that?

JEFF ANDREWS: It’s absolutely amazing to think back. I was just on the phone with Mr. Hendrick a few minutes ago and I asked did you ever think all those years ago when you went to see Randy Dorton in this small kind of really what was really a tin shed, what is at the top of motorsports now and the buildings that Harry Hyde on there, but did he ever think we would be sitting here talking about 500 wins, it would have started there.

It’s just really incredible. So many amazing people along the way that have fostered that program. Of course Randy Dorton started that from the ground up and hired so many of us, including Scott and myself, many, many years ago. It’s obviously a testament to Mr. Hendrick and Randy’s vision of the partnership that they started there together all those years ago.

THE MODERATOR: Scott, you’ve got to take a tremendous amount of pride in this accomplishment as much work as you put into these engines.

SCOTT MAXIM: I sure have, and really a contribution thinking about this, it gives a time for reflection, thinking back to all the men and women and the teams and drivers that have contributed to those 500 wins.

We had the good fortune to be able to speak to Mr. Hendrick yesterday, and he spoke of looking up there into Turn 1, and he said, you know, 1976, I came here with Linda, Mrs. Hendrick, and they snuck in and sat in the grandstands and watched the race.

To think that we would be here at Darlington for this weekend, such a historic track, and have an opportunity to get 500 engine wins, and think about for him how much contribution he had, as Jeff said, with his vision and commitment to us, it’s just really fitting to be able to be here.

We really wanted to be able to — of course, first off, we want to technically have a strong race, and then we want to certainly be able to have our teams be in a position for good points and an opportunity to win.

Really, above and beyond that, we feel very fortunate that we were able to get 500 here this weekend at such a historic track.

Q. Jeff, Kyle said during his post-race pit road interview that he’s hard on himself but having Cliff is good for his mind because it gets him back in the game. Can you provide a little bit more details about that relationship and how Cliff keeps him focused and calm when other people are making such major mistakes?

JEFF ANDREWS: Well, certainly a tremendous amount of respect there between Cliff and Kyle, and I know that they’ve been working really hard. All of Hendrick Motorsports has been working really hard. It’s no secret we’ve not been where we wanted to have been here through the summer months, and a lot of work has been going on.

When you look at that team and their history and some of the key moments, if you look back a Charlotte a couple years ago and what they went through, to come back and win the 600, those two guys believe in each other. When it gets time, this time of year, and it’s all on the line and it’s time to go, there’s a bond and a belief in each other there that I think is very special in this sport.

I know there was a lot of conversations this week between the two of them about getting to a point and finishing races off and believing in each other. I think you saw that today. There were certainly opportunities there during the race when teams and cars kind of came and went, pretty typical Darlington, and it’s such an epic race here, 500 miles, and things come and go and things get thrown at you, and obviously Cliff is obviously such a great leader on top of the pit box and keeps Kyle and his team engaged.

Q. Jeff, you guys touched on it a little bit there. You guys start off winning four of the first nine, five of the first 13. There was a stretch here in the summer where things had gone in a different direction. What’s led this team back, the 5 back, and I know the 24 has won here recently? What’s led those cars back here recently?

JEFF ANDREWS: I think as I mentioned, a lot of things thrown at us. A lot of adversity at the start of the year with the two injuries to Chase and then Alex and then obviously fought our way through some penalties, as well.

But the performances obviously as we got into the summer, those things just don’t come back with the flip of a switch. It takes a lot of hard work and a lot of belief in each other.

I attribute it as a team. I thought all of our cars today were capable and did run inside the top 10, and that for myself is what I like to see.

Obviously the win is great and a great day for William and just a great way to start the playoffs for Hendrick Motorsports, but I liked across the company that the performance was there, and we can certainly build on that, and we will.

We’ve been working hard, and we’re going to continue to work hard, and I think today and tonight was an example of where we expect to be as a company.

Q. Basically listening to Cliff, he sounds a lot like Chad, and then I’m getting little bits and pieces from Byron and Rudy that they’re kind of setting up their seasons the way Chad did, where he starts working on the playoffs all year long. There’s a little summer slump, but usually that’s because they’re so gung ho on those 10 races. Big picture question: What kind of influence has Chad had since moving out of that role and into the role he’s in now?

JEFF ANDREWS: Well, certainly Chad’s record speaks for itself when it comes time for playoffs and a run at a championship. No doubt, seasoned veteran, has a great vision for the company.

We’ve been working hard really all summer, not necessarily just with the eye on the playoffs but just as a company. The gains are so small these days. You just have to take a bunch of things and stack them up and just keep coming to the racetrack week after week.

I think for Mr. and Mrs. Hendrick and obviously the playoffs and the 500th win today, and we’ve got our eye on 300 wins on the Cup Series, which is hopefully coming soon for us here in the next week or two, and we’re fully focused on Phoenix.

Back to Chad, Chad certainly is someone that brings a vision to the company that when it comes time to get focused on playoffs and what it takes to go win races and a championship, there’s certainly a wealth of experience there that no doubt is an asset to us.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations on the triumph, congratulations on the 500th win, and good luck next weekend at Kansas Speedway.