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August 16, 2020

Chase Elliott

Daytona Beach, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by today's winner of the Go Bowling 235 at the Daytona road course, Chase Elliott, driver of the No.9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. I believe that's three road wins in a row. Is it safe to say you're becoming a fan of the road courses?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I've just had really good cars I think more than anything. I'm not sure I did anything very special today but had a really fast NAPA Camaro, which makes everybody's job a little easier from my end driving it, from Alan's end calling the race, and then from his end on adjusting, too. Really fortunate from that standpoint. Had a really nice week of preparation, came out and executed really good race. Really proud of the day. I think we have a lot to be proud of and showing up having a car like it needed to be, it doing what I wanted, and then to take that and get the result that I felt like we deserved.

Q. I don't know that you made a mistake today or at least it didn't look like it. I'm curious, did you expect it to go that smoothly at a track that you had never raced at before?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Well, it never goes smooth, or smooth in my eyes, at least. Yeah, I mean, obviously I look back and just‑‑ we had that run there after the lightning break, and then I think the odds of it going green from there to the end, I think we all knew were pretty well slim to none. So it was just a matter of when that caution was going to come out in my eyes and in my head. I had already accepted that long before it came out, and then to me the bigger question was not when but how many were going to be in a row, how many green‑white‑checkereds were you going to have to do in a row, and that's where as time goes on, just executing those is important, and the only way to get better at them is to be in those positions more often as a driver and for me personally, so really proud to be there today and to execute it like we needed to.

Q. I'm wondering, how does it feel to make history and win this race on this first road course here?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, I mean, any win at Daytona is special, and Alan and I were joking, he said we had to change it to a road case to win a race here at Daytona. That was his first win here. This is his home track, he's from down here, so I think that was really cool. Yeah, just a great day.
Obviously Watkins Glen has been good to us, but I was just really happy that we replaced a road course with a road course and didn't just pile something else on the schedule to check a box. I think there was a lot of effort into getting this road course done and completed in time, so appreciate Daytona and everybody that works in the facilities here to be able to turn it that fast, and did a really nice job with it.

Q. With the late restart there, did you have any Roval flashbacks like man, I can't do this again, I've got to do something different?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Well, I certainly didn't want to drive into the barrier in Turn 1, so yes, that crossed my mind: Don't do that.

Q. And you didn't, so you learned?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Learned. I finally learned something.

Q. Speaking of the last restart with three laps to go, were you expecting complete mayhem and maybe to get rooted out of the lead?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I had considered it a possibility for sure. You know, but at the same time, I think if you execute and do your part from the driver's side, you should be able to keep those opportunities from happening if you stay mistake free. Fortunately was able to get a good jump, had a good Turn 1, and then tried to just fall into rhythm there and just tried not to overdrive it. I thought Denny was being really aggressive on corner entry. I was not being as aggressive as him and was just focused in on my exits and trying to just control that gap to him, and yeah, fortunately it all worked out.

Q. Is there any sort of lesson with the car you can take from this road course and apply it to the oval since we're going to be coming back in two weeks?
CHASE ELLIOTT: No, unfortunately not. This is just a whole different animal, car, configuration, body, brakes, motor, you name it; nothing is really the same. This is just kind of a road course racing is a thing of its own and superspeedway racing is just not‑‑ there's absolutely nothing you can take from today and apply it to the week after next.

Q. And since you're becoming‑‑ you've grown to like road courses I presume, so do you think that this Daytona road course could find a permanent spot on the, quote‑unquote, normal schedule?
CHASE ELLIOTT: That's well above me. I don't know. I think you'd have to make‑‑ those decisions are made with a lot of things in mind, and whether or not I like it isn't one of them. That's just part of it.

Q. How does it feel just to win again, to sort of end a little bit of a dry spell and some of the things this team has gone through here in the summer months?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, it feels really good. I mean, any time you can win in this series, I have learned and learned the hard way in some cases that you just can't take them for granted. They're just too hard to get, and it should be, and that makes the feeling of victory feel that much better because it is so hard. You just have to enjoy them. You never know if you'll ever get another one or what tomorrow brings. I don't take it for granted, and we just tried to make the most of a really good car today. You don't have cars like that all the time, so when you do, you really want to make the most of it and try to capitalize and just really fortunate that everything went our way and we executed and did everything on our end that we could control right and had the result that, like I said earlier, I thought we deserved.

Q. Is it also a major positive you beat one of the hottest drivers in the deal right now? Denny Hamlin week in and week out. Does that at least send a little bit of a message to those guys, we can be as good as you and we can beat you guys?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I mean, I don't feel like we need to prove that to them, and we certainly don't need to prove that to ourselves. I think that when we have things going like we can and like we know how to do, I think we can run with whoever. I think we've proven that in the past, and that's not something that I need to sell myself on believing or sell my team. I think we're all on the same page there.

Q. About a year ago when you won the Watkins Glen race, you guys were coming off several tough weeks, and you said it was good to get a reminder that you guys had the pieces of the puzzle and everything in place, that if things went correctly that you could win as you got close to the playoffs. Do you hope that this win can sort of serve in the same capacity this season?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Well, I mean, the points you can't put a price tag on the six points we earned today for the playoffs, and that to me is the biggest piece of the puzzle for as far as a championship goes. Our performance on the ovals the past month have not been what they need to be to compete for the championship, and I think we all know that, so we're working really hard on doing that and getting better, and I think a day like today where we're able to come here, have a really fast car, get some of those bonus points, I don't want to say it bides us time, but having six more points than we would have had than if we hadn't have won today makes a big difference, and especially when you're fighting to run seventh and eighth at Michigan last weekend.
All that stuff matters, and as tight as it's going to be through these rounds and through this last 10, we needed all we could get, and those bonus points, they're irreplaceable. That has Denny and Kevin pretty well locked in to Phoenix, and that's a situation that we strive to be in each year, and those guys have put themselves in that position year and year, so it's certainly possible, and we want to do the same.

Q. You touched on the Michigan disappointment, I guess, from a few weeks ago. You head to Dover next weekend with two chances to win, and Dover has been historically a good track for you. Do you feel like there's any momentum that you can carry in? Obviously the tracks don't compare whatsoever, but do you feel like there's any moral momentum that goes into next weekend?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, for sure. I mean, any win is great, right, and it makes everybody feel good. We should enjoy this. We should enjoy today, tomorrow, and when we go back to work this week, obviously we'll put eyes on Dover, but there's been a lot of emphasis put into Dover and trying to improve, especially after a tough month. So yeah, until we get to the racetrack and kind of see where we stack up and get our report car, obviously we don't know, but yeah, winning, you can't‑‑ there's nothing that replaces that. Like I say, I just think it makes everybody on our team feel like they deserve to feel. I think we have a winning group. I believe that, and there is no doubt in my mind about that, and we just have to have all the puzzle pieces going together to make that happen, just like anybody else does. But I think we have what it takes to run really good and compete with these guys week in and week out.

Q. Earlier this week you were talking about how you and your team really weren't able to keep up the momentum that you may have been able to gain from winning the All‑Star Race last month. Considering that and considering that you're back in Victory Lane today, how much of a point of emphasis is continued success from this going to be in the shop this week?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Well, I mean, we always want to do good. There's no speech that we hear when we have a bad day that makes us want to do better any more than we already do, and if we don't have that fire before you have a bad day, then we shouldn't be doing this, and I don't think that's the case for anybody on our team.

Q. Obviously with last year's win at the Roval and then this win here, two different types of courses, but a little bit of similarity. The Roval being an elimination race, does this give a little bit of confidence knowing that you can go back there with that success on both these style of racetracks and have that potential to move on?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I hope so. I mean, the Roval is obviously a long ways off. Everybody is going to get better from what they had today. Yeah, there's a lot of racing between now and the Roval we need to focus on. You know, a good run here I think gives us a good baseline of a few things we improved on. But it is a different track from Charlotte. That is a different animal I feel like, but some similarities, but certainly different, too.

Q. We heard a lot of drivers talking this week about the use of the simulators and iRacing. How much did that pay off in today's race?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, a little bit. I mean, I think we had some time on iRacing and time with Chevrolet this week. Appreciate Jordan Taylor and Boris Said reached out to me this week, and I feel like offered some really nice help that made a difference today, so really thankful for that. Like I said, just had a really nice week of preparation I felt like personally and spent the amount of time I felt I needed to in certain areas to try to fire off well, and it was just super‑‑ yeah, feels really good to know when you put the work in certain areas you can come out and have a performance like that after you put in the right amount of time.

Q. I want to ask you, how big of a factor was the heat in the race, and during the lightning delay, were you able to cool down and rehydrate?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, I think that lightning delay was pretty crucial for a lot of guys to get a breather. I mean, I was hot for sure. I think everyone was. I mean, it was a hot day. Mid‑afternoon in Daytona is not cool and probably never will be.

Q. Do you think NASCAR may need to make any improvements for this race when the Clash uses the road course in 2021?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I thought the track was fine. They have a ton of 24‑hour events that they've run here over the years, so I don't think they need to do anything. I thought it was all good, no worries.

Q. You mentioned that Arizona is the most important thing to come out of this season, and I'm right here in Dawsonville. What would you say growing up‑wise with Bill as your dad and just growing up in the pick‑your‑boot‑straps‑up‑and‑get‑it‑going in Dawsonville, what do you think it is about you that just provides that bulldog in you that focuses on the championship ahead?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I don't know, I think everybody is‑‑ I'm sure a lot of people are proud of where they're from and that's certainly the case for me. You want to make your hometown proud and fortunate to still call it home, which is nice. But yeah, I don't know. I mean, I've been lucky to grow up in the racing world, and not just my dad, but I've had a lot of really nice, really great racing mentors I feel like to look up to over the years who handled themselves the right way in my eyes on and off the racetrack, and yeah, there's really no other thing to say other than I just got lucky with the people around me that I grew up around and had nice people and good people, good role models to look up to.

Q. This season we were supposed to use the low downforce package on the road courses, but of course for Daytona, being Daytona, we had the big spoiler for this race. What effect did that have on the racing today?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I mean, good question. I don't know. I think about Watkins Glen in 2018, and I think about Watkins Glen in 2019 and it was pretty much the same race, so I'm not sure that it makes much of a difference. It seems like the good cars always find their way to the front. It might take them a little longer at certain tracks, but they tend to find their way back there whether we have an eight‑inch spoiler or two‑inch spoiler or no spoiler, so I'm just not sure that's an excuse we need to use anymore.
THE MODERATOR: Chase, thank you for your time today and congrats on the win again.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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