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January 28, 2019

Chase Elliott

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us today in advance of the start of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. We are now joined by driver Chase Elliott of the No.9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. Chase, thanks for spending some time with us this afternoon. You just unveiled your new Hooters Chevrolet. Tell us a little bit about the look for 2019.
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, it's still orange and white and has Hooters on it, but it looks good. They've done a good job really every year of having good‑looking race cars that look like a race car should. So looking forward to driving it, and yeah, can't wait to get started.

Q. Yesterday you had one tweet exchange with Jimmie Johnson about possibly teeing it up in the Rolex 24 next year. Is that something you're seriously looking towards doing or was it just kind of said in jest?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I think it would be fun to do. I know there was nothing serious about my Twitter exchange with him, mostly because it was on Twitter. But I think in general, I'd love to run the race. I think it would be a lot of fun, and if the opportunity presented itself, luckily our partners at Chevrolet are deeply rooted in the IMSA series and certainly could potentially have connections there if it were to work out. So who knows, but we haven't‑‑ nothing has been discussed on it, you know, aside from just messing around on there.

Q. I wanted to get your thoughts on the Clash; is there anything that you can take away or learn from that race ahead of the Daytona 500?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, I mean, I think it's definitely a good‑‑ I guess a good tune‑up, especially for the guys that didn't get selected to test throughout the off‑season. You know, for me, I haven't been back in the car since Homestead. It will be nice to get in a race and make sure everything looks right and feels right, and those cars are really similar to one another usually from the Clash to the 500. So yeah, I'm sure there's things to learn.
Obviously the distance is much shorter, but car‑wise it will be a good start, good look at things.

Q. It felt like you guys were getting on a little bit of a roll with those wins at the end of the season. How much momentum do you take on to this next season coming off of a 2018 year that ended on a good note?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, I mean, I think it's nice to have won a couple races. I'm not sure how much of that you can really ride into the next year. It's kind of a fresh start in a lot of ways. I mean, I think definitely there was nothing negative about the wins and things. I obviously wish we could have finished a little stronger those last handful, but it's hard to piggy‑back off of a win and the month of, what was it, September‑October and then continue that in the end of February. But we'll try our best and try to get rolling.

Q. You're entering your fourth year in Cup; how do you view your career so far in terms of success, and where do you see yourself four years from now?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Well, the first two were‑‑ I had some ups and downs, I guess, obviously last year being the best of the three. It's kind of hard to believe that this will be year four. It's gone by really fast.
But yeah, I don't know. I don't know what I'm doing tomorrow, much less in four years, so we'll cross that bridge as it approaches. Hopefully I'm employed and can come see y'all in the media center after some Sundays.

Q. I hear this week there will be a test of the new rules package out at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. From what I know, you won't be participating in that test, but what are some things, without giving away any secrets, will you be looking for as a driver from afar?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, yeah, I don't have the test. I think Jimmie is testing this week, but I think it's going to be a valuable test. Vegas comes up quick on the schedule, and I think Vegas will be a good indicator as to how the package is going to race at some of the‑‑ a little more freshly paved mile‑and‑a‑halfs that we'll go to. So I think it'll be interesting to hear his take and honestly kind of let them do their thing and then digest it, and then talk to them after they've done all that. Yeah, look forward to talking to him about it, but I think it'll be valuable for all of us, and Jimmie is a great asset to go test. He does the best of explaining things and feeling them in the car and then being able to put it into words for the rest of us to understand. So he's a perfect candidate to go out there and do it.

Q. Later this week Jeff Gordon will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. I wonder if you could share what was your earliest recollection of interacting with him and how has his presence at Hendrick Motorsports over the last three years, how has that benefitted you in helping you get to where you are right now?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, honestly before my involvement at HMS I didn't know Jeff no better than I know you. So it was really a fresh relationship then, and I have enjoyed getting to know him. He's become a good friend and definitely a mentor of mine, and as he's taken on more leadership roles and been around the track more with us now, trying to help and get our program in the right direction. I think a lot of him. I think a lot of his career, obviously, in the past. That kind of speaks for itself. But I think he's a good leader outside of the race car, too, and yeah, I've enjoyed having him around. Obviously very well deserved, and no one should be surprised by that, so happy to see it for him.

Q. Last week Alan Gustafson said he's a hundred percent confident that if they give you a car you want in a weekend that you will win the race with it. I'm wondering what does it mean to you to have a crew chief with that level of confidence in you, and how has your relationship with Alan grown in the years you've been together?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, it's definitely nice. I have a lot of confidence in him, and nice to feel from his end it's mutual. I think that goes a long way. But our relationship really has been pretty simple. As I've told a lot of people, I kind of let his do his thing and he lets me do mine, and we really just go about our business that way. Our friendship has grown, I think, over the past couple years. We're by no means best friends. I think he would tell you the same thing. But we work well together, and I think that we enjoy the competition aspect at a similar pace, and he and I, I feel like, view a lot of things the same way from that aspect, and when you're working with somebody and you're in the roles that he and I are both in, I'm not real sure that there's a much better fit or a better way to go about it.
We keep things very simple or as simple as we possibly can, and we believe in our process of how we prepare for races, and yeah, look forward to doing it some more with him this year.
THE MODERATOR: Chase, thank you for your time today, and we wish you the best of luck this season.
CHASE ELLIOTT: All right, thanks.

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