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September 29, 2019

Rick Hendrick

Charlotte, North Carolina

THE MODERATOR: Good evening. We are going to start our post‑race media availability here for today's Bank of America Roval 400 with our race‑winning team owner, Mr.Rick Hendrick. Congratulations on that victory. We will take questions for Rick.

Q. Rick, what was your swing of emotions from watching Chase go nose first into the wall and then him coming back and winning?
RICK HENDRICK: Man, I thought it was over. I mean, I thought that he made‑‑ if we came back to the top 10, that would be great. But the car was really fast, and I thought it was hurt when it went into that barrier. But he came out and the lap times were good, and then we got a couple of cautions that helped us, and he got back up to the front. The car was really good, and he made some unbelievable moves, so I'm just really proud. Three out of the last five road courses he's won, that's pretty sporty.

Q. That was a really gritty performance by Bowman. Can you just talk about the heart that this kid has and what he put into his performance today?
RICK HENDRICK: You know, nobody tries any harder than Alex does. He just didn't give up. I mean, and he was quick, but he‑‑ I mean, he just refused to lose today. I thought, man, if he gets up there to Chase, we might have a problem. But no, Alex is committed. He's a hundred percent in. Greg, that's such a good team. I'm excited to see where they're going to go here in the next round. But he did‑‑ when you think about where he came from and finished second, that was unbelievable. Proud of him.

Q. Rick, Chicagoland aside earlier this year, do you believe that today and maybe these last two days are a defining moment for Alex within his history at Hendrick?
RICK HENDRICK: I think Alex is just getting better, and he's had some rough luck. But if I watch his progression, especially on the mile‑and‑a‑half, he's got heart. I mean, he's got talent, and he's got heart. And I think giving him the right circumstances and cars, he's going to win more races.
I'm extremely happy with Alex because his commitment is 100 percent. He and the team work extremely well together, and he will not give up. So I think that's the key to Alex Bowman, and we're getting better, and he's getting better, and I'm looking forward to the future with him.

Q. Last season Chase obviously won his first race at Watkins Glen and then really the team seemed to gel in the playoffs. They got a couple wins the season before the playoffs. Given his performance today and what you've seen so far this season, do you see any reason why he can't be a contender for one of the four spots at Homestead?
RICK HENDRICK: Absolutely. He is‑‑ he's been good everywhere. But the organization is getting better, all the cars have got speed, and Chase has got so much confidence. I'm just looking forward to Dover and Kansas. I think they're going to be great races for us, and I think Chase can go all the way.
There's a lot of guys have built up a lot of bonus points in front of us, but I think we can win our way in.

Q. Chase's celebration, did you see that, and what did you think of it?
RICK HENDRICK: No, I didn't see it. I think he went back to the barrier and did his burnout there. I thought that was cool. But I didn't see it. But I thought it was really neat.
You know, I think Chase, he doesn't give himself enough credit. I mean, he told me after the race he kind of made a big mistake. Man, you drove the wheels off the car and you won, you came back. Everybody, that's a tough‑‑ I think that's the toughest corner in it. But I think that was cool that he did that.

Q. And then during the race, Alex had an incident with Bubba Wallace and Bubba also confronted him post‑race. I was wondering if you saw those things and what your opinions were on it?
RICK HENDRICK: I didn't see that. Any know. I knew Alex was dehydrated and went to the care center, but I did not know anything about he and Bubba having a confrontation. That's news to me.

Q. Did you say anything to Alex after the wreck yesterday and starting the backup car and having kind of this week of adversity? Did you say anything special to him before this race about the odds stacked against him?
RICK HENDRICK: Actually before the race started I talked to him. I said, hey, man, you'll be go, just do your thing. Don't worry about the car, you'll be good. He carries a lot of weight on his shoulders, a lot of pressure, and we try to help him all we can because he wants it so bad. He was beating himself up about wrecking a car with 30 seconds left in practice, but this is a whole new day.
I think coming away from this race, he's going to have a lot of confidence going into Dover because I kept hearing the guys tell him where he was, two points ahead, one point behind, three points, got to pass this guy, you've got to pass that guy. On this track, that is the most treacherous track that I've seen these cars run on. If you make a mistake you're in big trouble. I'm real proud of his performance today.

Q. Rick, I was just wondering if you could talk about the maturity of William Byron through the first round of the playoffs and how far that can take them?
RICK HENDRICK: Yeah, nobody knows how hard William Byron works. Chad Knaus gives him homework. He studies everything. He's mature way beyond anything I could imagine. He listens, he picks every single video apart and looks at all the traces. Nobody works as hard as William does to understand what he did wrong and what he did right or the guys that are in front of him, what they're doing. He is coming so quick to be, what, 10 front row starts, five poles, laps led. He was really good at Sonoma. He was good at Watkins Glen. He got into that jam with Kyle. But that kid is going to‑‑ I'm not going to call him kid. That man is going to be really good for a lot of years to come. I'm super excited about our young guys.

Q. Not related to the race, the Stenhouse news this week created a little bit of a flurry. There's a lot of driver change going on. I know your lineup is presently set. What do you make of what's happening right now, and do you consider this a reset?
RICK HENDRICK: You know, I can't really put myself in anybody else's shoes. When you're a team owner you get a lot of pressure from the sponsors. People expect you to do things, expect your people to perform and handle themselves a certain way. You know, I can't really judge what another owner does because I'm not in their shoes.
It's a tough business. That one shocked me because I thought that Buescher was all set in the 37.

Q. Rick, you started today with two drivers on either side of the cut line and you walk out of today with the win, four drivers in the top 10 and three drivers moving on in the playoffs. Just talk about how big today was for Hendrick.
RICK HENDRICK: Well, you know, any time you can bring all the cars and they can run well‑‑ we haven't been as good as we needed to be this year and last year, but we've worked extremely hard, and to see the cars run like they did today, super proud of them, and it's a lot of‑‑ you know, it's a lot of hard work. There's so many good teams and good cars out there. To finish in the top 10 or top 8 with four cars, it's really hard. I've never seen the competition as tough as it is right now with as much talent as there is in the top 10 drivers. It's going to be a dogfight all the way to Homestead.

Q. Rick, of your four drivers, Chase and William were obviously the youngsters, Jimmie is the elder statesman, but a lot of people don't remember that Alex has got almost 150 starts in the series. Do you put additional pressure on him because of his experience, or do you let him just kind of be his own man and whatever evolves evolves?
RICK HENDRICK: I don't think you can count his starts. I think you have to look at the equipment he was in, and if he had equal equipment as what these other guys have, I think he would be in much better‑‑ he would have done better, won more. Every time we put Alex in a car‑‑ the first time up in New Hampshire, he was running up in the top 10. I mean, he's got a tremendous amount of talent. There's so many guys in this sport that have a lot of talent that just never get an opportunity to get in the right seat.

Q. I think you touched on what I wanted to ask you about, but with the stable of drivers that you have now compared to years ago with Gordon, with Johnson and whatnot, what is the learning curve when you have a younger set of drivers and you're trying to groom them but trying to manage the expectations of sponsors and running the business?
RICK HENDRICK: You know, our sponsors are pretty excited about the young guys because they see how much potential they have. I think by having Jimmie there with them and Chase's experience, that they feed off of each other. I look forward to years to come because I felt like, yeah, William had not done‑‑ he hadn't spent any time in most any series, but he's a quick learner and got a lot of talent. But you never know how good they're going to be until you put them out there with the best, and it's when they start running the top 15, top 10, that's one thing, but when he starts running up there in the top 5 with the guys that are winning the races, that's when you see the level of talent they have, and now what they need is experience. They just need to keep racing and running up front, and they'll get their share of wins.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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