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November 18, 2015

Chris Buescher

Ty Dillon

Chase Elliott

Regan Smith

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to today's NASCAR teleconference. We are joined by our 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship contenders, Chris Buescher, driver of the No.60 Fastenal Ford for Roush Fenway Racing; Chase Elliott, driver of the No.9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet for JR Motorsports; Ty Dillon, driver of the No.3 Yeungling Light Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing; and Regan Smith, driver of the No.7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet for JR Motorsports.
Gentlemen, I'll ask you all the same question: Talk about your team's success this season and your overall game plan for going into Saturday's Ford EcoBoost 300 in Miami.
CHRIS BUESCHER: Just been a pretty solid season for us. Been really happy with everything we've been able to accomplish. Built also the momentum we had from the 2014 season and were able to have a good year with good consistency. Guys have worked really hard up to this point. I mean, it's the same crew that we had, about 90 percent of them, from last year. Chemistry has gotten better as we've gone along, been able to get a couple wins and be in contention for a handful more. So it's been a fun year.
We're looking forward to getting to Homestead and finishing it off. One of my favorite racetracks that we go to, probably my favorite mile‑and‑a‑half. It's got an asphalt that's worn out and makes for better racing from some of the other places we go to. Excited to get down there for this weekend and finish up the season and hopefully everything works out.
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, to continue on, I thought things definitely had its up‑and‑down times. We've had times where I feel like we've been pretty strong and we've given a lot of effort to try to improve upon throughout the year. Fortunate to get to victory lane once so far and we're certainly trying to get there again before the year is out.
I'm looking forward just to go to a cool racetrack. Homestead is a place that I've enjoyed watching over the years, and like Chris said, I think it produces some good racing. Hopefully we can go put on a good show for the fans and try to give ourselves a chance this weekend and worry about the things that we can control and forget about the rest.
TY DILLON: To go on, I feel like our team has had a pretty solid year, and we led most of the series at the beginning of the year and started off pretty solid. Midway through the season we started having some issues and things that we couldn't really control and made some changes within our team and changed crew chiefs, and it's really, really turned our program around here lately; I think in the last 14 races we've had nine top 5s and really put ourselves somewhat back in this championship, where we still have an opportunity going into Homestead, a track that I really enjoy, like everyone else. It's a fun racetrack. It's multigroove and worn out and gives you an opportunity to kind of make your own destiny a little more as a driver.
I'm looking forward to the opportunity this weekend of hopefully winning the championship and getting our first win of the year, and also racing in the Sprint Cup race and getting as much experience for the future.
REGAN SMITH: You know, I think from the 17 standpoint, we've had a good year. Obviously we haven't had a great year because we're not going into Homestead with the points lead right now. We're doing the chasing right now. But with that said, we've had good consistency throughout the majority of the season. I think our main problems came within the first six races. We had a crash and we had a parts malfunction that kind of put us in a hole, so we've been trying to dig out of that hole all year long and have chipped away at it, and certainly closed it up. I think at one point we were like 68 points out of the lead or something like that. So even be going into Homestead with a chance to win the title, it has been a lot of work to get to that point. We started off the season with good speed. We kind of lost our speed a little bit in the middle part of the year and have started to gain that back.
I look forward to Homestead this weekend. It's a place that I've had success in the past, and obviously a racetrack that multiple different lines work. The surface is wore out, as everybody has said, and you can run up by the wall, you can run down by the bottom on fresh tires. It just breeds good racing. I think if there's a racetrack to model one that gets built in the future off of, Homestead in the drivers' eyes would be that racetrack.
Looking forward to the weekend, and I started my tenure at JR out on a bang, and would like to end it the same way.

Q. Question for Chase: Chase, I'm wondering, what do you admire the most about Jeff Gordon, and what do you foresee as being the most difficult part of filling his seat next year?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Well, I think there's a lot of things to be admired for Jeff Gordon. I think he's obviously one of the best and has been for a long, long time. I mean, I think to me, for a guy to be involved in any type of sport for as long as he has and to be at the top of his game from the beginning to end, I think it's something to have a lot of respect for. So I think that in a sense is one of the things I look at for Jeff is, since the day he started to his last race, he's had an opportunity to win, and he's done a good job of making sure he's stepped up his game all along the way. So I think that's something I admire. Obviously there's a lot of things, but that's definitely one of the big ones.
Obviously going into next year, I think me saying I'm excited goes without being said, but I think, as I've said before, I'm not trying to fill his shoes or I'm not trying to be Jeff; I'm just trying to be me. Trying to do my job, and I feel like I have a great opportunity and a great race team to go do that with. Something that I've wanted to do for a long time. I look at it as a great chance for me to try to improve, and like I said, just do my job for my guys.

Q. A question for the other three guys, I was wondering if each of you would mind commenting on whether or not at this point you anticipate running a full XFINITY Series schedule next year.
CHRIS BUESCHER: I don't have any plans figured out for next year, so I can't give you a good answer.
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, we don't have next year on the XFINITY side worked out yet. I don't expect it to be racing full‑time. I would love to run some races if an opportunity presents itself, but nothing has been ironed out or worked out yet, so it's obviously pending sponsorship. But no, it will not be full‑time.
TY DILLON: I am expecting to run a full XFINITY again next year with most of the same sponsorships, along with trying to put together a full Sprint Cup program. I know for sure I will be in the XFINITY Series.
REGAN SMITH: I have not solidified any of my plans for next year yet, so kind of all options are possibilities right now and kind of everything is on the table at the moment.

Q. Chris, I'm just wondering, this close to a title, do you treat this week the same as every week this season, or are you doing anything different in terms of preparation for the race?
CHRIS BUESCHER: From a preparation side, it's the same. We've been trying to figure out how to make our Mustangs faster every weekend and trying to figure out ways to make them hang on during the course of a run. So from that side of things, it's the same as we've always done.
As far as the weekend goes, it's a little bit different scenario, obviously trying to hold on to it versus chasing down. You've got to be a little bit more careful, but at the same time, I've been pretty adamant about how much I hate points racing. So I want to go have a good day, and I feel like this has been a good racetrack for us. I've only run one race there but had a lot of fun last year, first and foremost, and was able to get a top 5 out of it. So I feel like this should be a good weekend for us. We just have to continue doing what we've done all year.
As far as differences go, we've just got to keep in mind our situation. Try not to be four wide on a restart and try not to run up against the fence early in the race. I know there's been a lot of blown tires there just from being too close to the fence and the debris up there.
We'll watch little things like that, but from a big picture side of it, we're going out to race another weekend, same as always.

Q. What has your team done differently compared to the other teams at Roush this year, considering that no other team has gotten more than four top 5s this year?
CHRIS BUESCHER: Really nothing. You know, we've had a couple of things with some just overall fundamentals, so from our side we've been able to execute very well. Our pit stops have been very good. They've been very consistent. We haven't had issues. We've been steadily picking up a little bit of speed as we go. You know, from the chassis side of things, we're all running the same race cars for the most part. We have a couple of races where some of us have tried different packages, just trying to look for ways to improve for next year.
You know, really I can't give you a good answer on why it hasn't been more consistent along the entire four teams, but you know, I think we look at the places we've gotten wins with two of our teams. We've been fast with all four of our teams at different points and at different racetracks.
You know, it's just maybe the finishing positions haven't shown it, but we've had better speed this year than we've had in quite a while. We'll build on that for next year, and for whatever that may bring, hopefully our teams will continue to improve, and hopefully we'll be able to have all however many teams we have. I have no clue how many it's going to be, but hopefully it'll all be right around each other a little bit more consistently.

Q. Recently you said you're going to return to the XFINITY Series next year but obviously nothing is finalized. When do you want to have everything done by for 2016?
CHRIS BUESCHER: I would have loved to have had it done about a month ago. It's been a little bit stressful from that standpoint, just haven't really gotten the answers I was hoping for. Haven't really gotten sponsorship stuff worked out for next year like we were hoping for. We have some partial stuff that could work in the Cup Series or the XFINITY Series. We have different scenarios working out, but nothing is even close to the point of finalizing that that I can even talk about. I honestly don't have a good answer as to where it's going next year. I felt better about it three weeks ago and since then things have taken a lot of turns.
Trying to figure it all out right now.

Q. For Chase and Ty, both you guys got yourselves a championship coming up and that's a tough thing to do. What would be your advice for Chris Buescher coming in and trying to go after that big prize?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I don't really know I'm the right person to be asking for advice. In my personal opinion I wouldn't ask me for advice, so I really don't know. He doesn't need my help. He's done a good job, and those guys are deserving of the position they're in, and for the rest of us trying to catch up, I know at least I can speak for myself, that we need to do a better job and try to catch up. We have an opportunity to do that this weekend.
Like I said, I don't have much advice for him.
TY DILLON: Well, I haven't won a championship yet, but working on it hard. His team has obviously done what it takes to have themselves in a position to win the championship, and so does four other teams, so it's just best of luck. I don't really know what to say other than that. I haven't been in his situation yet. I've always been‑‑ so far I've either been second or within a shot of winning it in the last race, and I envy the position that he's in. But we're all going to be battling hard, and it's kind of best of luck to everybody.

Q. What's it like for a young guy to get the big prize at that level?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Well, you know, I think at least for the XFINITY Series, being a long‑year points battle like it is, I think it really just shows consistency more than anything else. You know, you look at different races and how different races have gone for us this year or whatever, and I can make up a lot of excuses for you for reasons that really doesn't matter, you can say, yeah, everybody is going to have races where you have problems, and if you're good enough that should buff out. So the bottom line is we haven't done a good enough job, I haven't done a good enough job and we haven't outrun our opponents enough to catch up.
The way I see it is you've got to be consistent yearlong and execute and try to make the most of the races from Daytona to Homestead all year. It's not just a matter of a certain number. You've got to be there for all of them, and that's both good and bad, but that's the way it is, and it's the same for everybody.
TY DILLON: Do you mind repeating the question again for me?

Q. Yeah, as far as being a young guy, getting that level of success so early in the life, what's that like for you?
TY DILLON: It's been great. You know, you always push yourself to want more no matter what, and you're never satisfied unless you're winning in this sport. I think it's one of the only sports where there's 43 people playing or participating each week and there's only one winner, so that makes 42 losers a week, so you're always wanting to be that guy winning, and I want to be a champion for my team and myself, so it's something that I'm going to continue to push for throughout my career to win championships. We've had a great opportunity this year. We put ourselves in position going down the last race and we couldn't really ask for much more, but there's definitely been some things throughout our year that have kept us from possibly having that points lead right now, and I think looking back, we were really consistently running in the top eight or so at the beginning part of the year, and kind of the middle part of the season we got a little bit away from what we do as a team and started finishing outside of the top 10 a little too much, and now that we've kind of reined it back in, it might have been a little bit different if we could have kept our consistency throughout the whole year. But being young you get to learn things like this. It'll only continue to make us better as we go through more seasons as a driver, and it's definitely not over, though. So we're definitely in this thing, and we definitely have an opportunity.

Q. Just following up with you, Chris, are you the least bit concerned about the fact that the other three guys really all have experience in championship scenarios, final race scenarios, when you really don't? And what can you do to sort of combat that? And then on the flipside of that, for Chase, having done this last year and been successful, how can you use that experience to your advantage?
CHRIS BUESCHER: Yeah, I mean, it's definitely been noted or realized that we have not been in this scenario before. We definitely were way too far out of it last year and kind of watched from a distance. But you know, I think it's going to be a learning experience for our entire team. You know, everybody has been very strong here at the end of the year. Everybody has run very well these last‑‑ I'm just thinking the last five races, and it's not going to be easy by any means, and it hasn't been up to this point. There's been a lot of weekends where you've had to fight for everything, everything we can get.
You know, it's what we've done all of our lives, though. We may not be this exact position, but every one of us has come up racing, and whatever we've been racing we've been fighting for that one point every weekend, and all the way down to the end of the season, it didn't matter if you were on a motorcycle or racing a Bandolero at eight years old. Something was stressful, something was tough to get at the end of the season, and been through plenty of those scenarios, just not at this level.
But I've raced with all these guys for several years, and some of them all the way back to legends cars.
We know what we've got to do. You watch previous years and previous ways this championship has worked out, I've talked to Ricky Stenhouse quite a bit, just trying to figure out what they were able to do in their two championship years. Both of his were very different. One he was up ahead and one he was chasing, and so try and bounce any information I can off these guys, try and figure out from our teammates what to do and what we need to change, and we'll just see if it's enough here at the end.
I think we can go get this thing. Our team has been very good all year. I'm very proud of what they've been able to accomplish and how consistent they have been, so we'll go into Homestead and see how it plays out. We're just along for the ride. We're going to affect everything that we can. Like Chase said, everything that's in our control, we can handle that. It's just the rest of the components of this thing and the way racing goes, you're never fully in control. We'll go have some fun and see if it all plays out, and hopefully we get to raise a trophy when it's all said and done.
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, I think to add to it, definitely having a year of racing experience at the XFINITY level is I think the biggest thing that's helpful more so than being in the position that we were in last year or whatever. Last year is last year, obviously. Very different from the position we're in currently.
But you know, I guess the biggest thing I take from last season is you get rewarded for outrunning your opponents, and that's what we've got to do to try to catch up.
You know, I think that definitely this weekend is our last chance to try to do that. I think‑‑ I do think we still have a shot. If I didn't feel that way, I'd stay home this weekend. So I think we do have a chance to catch up, you know, and the only way to gain points on everybody else is to outrun them, and it's really about as simple as that. I could sit here and mumble on a long time, but to gain points you've got to beat them, and that's what we need to do this weekend.

Q. Chris, despite your success this year, you've kind of flown under the radar, and now going into the last race people are finally talking about you. How does that feel?
CHRIS BUESCHER: I've been under the radar all my life, not opposed to it, so I've been able to have good success coming up through various series and been able to accomplish a lot to get to this point. It's a little bit more of a quiet way to get there, but you know, we're here. I mean, we've made it this far. It's going to be a good weekend. We've just got to go race. That's what we've been trying to do all my life, and this is the scenario I've been working towards for many years. It's nice people are talking about it, but honestly it's not about being talked about, it's about getting results. That's what we're out here to do.
THE MODERATOR: We thank you for joining us today, and we wish you the best of luck on Saturday in Miami, and we thank the media for joining us, as well.

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