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August 4, 2019

Chase Elliott

Watkins Glen, New York

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by the winner of the Go Bowling at the Glen, driver of the No.9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, Chase Elliott. Chase, congratulations.

Q. Would you consider the pivotal part of this race beating Martin on that last pit stop? How important was that? Do you think if he'd have gotten out first it might have changed things?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, for sure. I felt like he was a little faster than we were really in all reality, and track position was king, and just having the clean air I think made the difference. Getting out in front of him on the restart and then guys doing a good job on pit road and not having any mistakes, that was a big deal.

Q. Do you think Truex was trying to side draft you on that last restart when you guys made contact on the frontstretch?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I don't know, I haven't seen it. I thought I was going straight, and I thought he just turned in early, so I didn't really know what‑‑ I didn't really know what happened. Obviously I wasn't real happy about it. At the time I was just worried that I was going to have a flat tire because of it, and then we ended upside by side through the Esses, still ended up hitting each other through there, which is fine. It's really narrow. I don't know on the restart thing, but maybe. I'm not sure. Maybe I didn't turn in soon enough. I don't know. But yeah, we hit nonetheless, and I was worried about that tire.

Q. Alan when he was in here said that he felt like that obviously was‑‑ you guys knew whoever came out ahead was going to win the race. Was that pretty much it because it was so difficult passing?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, it was definitely tough. I mean, it was doable. The guy in front just had to‑‑ you had to get close and then the guy in front had to have a little bit of a bobble at the right time. You could bobble, but you just couldn't do it at the wrong spot. So I just tried really hard to‑‑ not to make any mistakes and not give it to him. I felt like he was a little better. If he was going to beat me I wanted him to come up there and out‑brake me and pass me. I wanted to make it as hard as I could on him and not hand it to him was my goal.

Q. When you came over the radio, you said, "He doored me." Why were you surprised that that happened on a restart because, I mean, there's so much bumping and banging that goes on on a road course that I think‑‑ he told us he thought he had the faster car. I guess we kind of weren't surprised it happened, but you seemed surprised.
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, I mean, I don't know. Restarts, they happen. I can't answer that. I'm not sure. I haven't seen it, so I don't know.

Q. Would you consider this to be almost kind of a dream weekend with as fast a car as you've had just every day of the week?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, I mean, we've never done this as a team. This was the first time we've ever gone somewhere and sat on the pole and led the most laps and won the race. I've never done that in my career, and I'm sure Alan has at some point, but as a group we've never done that.
I just feel like that to me is I feel like the biggest piece of the whole weekend is just knowing that we're the type of team and the caliber of team that can go and put on those kind of performances, and those are the kind of performances you have to put on to compete with those guys that win often.
We just need to go do that more often, and I think at the end we can run with them.

Q. What's it like being able to pick up seven playoff points towards the title because a dominant win like that has got to be huge for you?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, and those playoff points are huge, and I think that's the key to those guys and the advantage that those guys have, the guys that have four or five wins already. They have probably double as many playoff points as we do.
You know, those guys that have won often and won that much, they're just about a lock for Homestead. Almost. They have a heck of a lot of help to get there.
That's the kind of position you want to put yourself in before the final ten start for sure.

Q. Your battle with Truex in the final laps, was it more or less to the déjà‑vu moments from last year?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I mean, I felt like it was really similar. Heck, I thought‑‑ it felt the exact same, and he was a little faster than I was, and I was just trying not to mess up. Yeah, luckily‑‑ if I had messed up in Turn 1 like I did last year, I think he'd have got me. I think he was close enough to do it.
So yeah, luckily had a fast enough car to stay out front.

Q. I asked Alan this earlier, and you kind of alluded to it a little bit, but you guys have had a tough last several weeks, not just the win but how your team performed throughout the course of this weekend, how important was that to you to reinforce that you still can put the pieces together before heading into the playoffs?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, I think that's huge, you know, and yeah, the past month and a half has been awful. We've had fast cars at times. It wasn't just a complete lack of speed. But one thing or another ended up for a bad weekend.
Yeah, to kind of have a weekend that wasn't as poor as the last six have been was really nice, and then the way we did it I think was the biggest thing. Like I said a minute ago, we've never had a weekend like that in my career showing up, qualifying on the pole and leading the most laps and win the race. That's the kind of weekend you want to have, and that's the kind of team and the kind of effort you have to put on occasionally and often to compete with the guys that you're going to have to beat in this deal.

Q. Short list of multiple‑time winners in this race, shorter list of repeat winners. Just your thoughts on the significance of that and also adding another notch to your road course resume?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, it was‑‑ like I said, just the weekend and how things unfolded, I hate to keep harping on it, but I just think it's a big deal how this weekend went and just the effort that we put in from the time we unloaded and practice to my qualifying run in practice to qualifying, starting the race, being mistake‑free, those are the kind of weekends you have to have, and a mistake‑free weekend with as good of a car as we had like that, those are the kind of performances and the results you can get from it, so that's always the goal.

Q. Last year you had to worry about the fuel plus Martin. This year you had to go further, many more laps holding him off. Which was more difficult, last year because it was the first, or this year because of more time?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I mean, that's tough. I mean, I felt like Martin was closer to us this year than he was last year in the closing laps, so that was a little different. Obviously wanting to get that first win was a big deal, too. So it's tough.
I just definitely felt as the race went on today, I felt like I felt more comfortable in that position, and that's a good thing. And that's something that‑‑ that's a position you have to be comfortable in. And the only way to get better at that is just to be in that spot more often. Happy to have had a pressure‑filled situation and be able to come out on the right end of it.

Q. William Byron had a rough day today. He had contact with Kyle Busch and Knaus pretty much told him to stand up to him and not take his crap. You were in a similar situation with Hamlin in the past; do you have any advice for Byron‑‑
CHASE ELLIOTT: No. (Laughter.) I don't, no. William will figure it out. He's a big boy, and he knows how to handle things. That's their deal.

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