February 11, 2021
Daytona, Florida, USA
Daytona International Speedway
An Interview with:
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with our second media availability after the Duel, our race-winning crew chief. We'll get right into questions for him.
Q. Do you feel like you learned enough for the 500?
MIKE BUGAREWICZ: Yeah, absolutely. Going forward we're probably just going to polish her up and get ready for Sunday. There's not a scratch on the thing. It's fast. It's shown what we needed to see today. We don't have a lot of interest in practicing any more this weekend. We'll probably go out and run a couple laps by ourselves just to make sure everything is good. Other than that, line up. Everything went to plan today.
Q. As you mentioned already, your car has tremendous speed. What do you feel like this time around, come this 500, it will be the season for you guys to get it done?
MIKE BUGAREWICZ: Yeah, I mean, I feel like last year pretty much every speedway race we went to we had a lot of speed in our car. It's just speedway racing, things didn't work out for us in the end. We showcased that speed throughout the day.
Once again, the company, Stewart-Haas Racing, my team, Doug supplying us with motors, we got another really, really fast car. All we can ask for is opportunities again to be up front at the right time. Hopefully we'll capitalize this year.
Q. Mike, you've worked with several different drivers at SHR. When it comes to superspeedway racing, does anything from driver to driver translate? Anything from drivers you've worked with previously you've been able to apply working with Aric?
MIKE BUGAREWICZ: From the car side of things here, I think we've just built the best-handling, fastest cars that we could, irregardless of who the driver is.
I think in some senses there's maybe you would say less nuances between a driver you might change something in the setup or do something different. Working with Clint, he's also a great speedway driver here in the past. We haven't changed much from what we ran with Clint here.
Hopefully that answers your question.
Q. You came so close last season to so many wins. How great is it to have the momentum of a victory going into the 500 on Sunday?
MIKE BUGAREWICZ: Yeah, absolutely. You're right, it was our first year together and we had a lot of successes throughout the summertime. A lot of those didn't equate to wins just because of simple mistakes, just little things here and there that we need to polish up and do better to beat those upper echelon teams that contend every week.
Obviously starting out the season with a Duel win isn't the 500 yet, but it's the right direction for going into Sunday. Like I said, we felt like our speedway program was really good last year. We keep doing the same thing, keep polishing on it, trying to make it better. All we can ask for is kind of be in the same situation we were last year at the 500, running top three, getting down to the wire. Obviously it's our turn this year.
Q. Knowing you were locked into the Daytona 500, what helped make the decision to (indiscernible) instead of playing it safe?
THE MODERATOR: Could you speak louder for us. We can't hear for us.
Q. Knowing you were locked into the 500, what made it better to push instead of playing it safe to avoid a wreck?
MIKE BUGAREWICZ: I think you want to get a win any time you can. It means a lot to not only us as a team and a driver, but our sponsors out there. This is a special year with Smithfield and Aric. Any time we can capitalize on a win, that's always going to be a positive thing.
The other part of it, the momentum it builds going into the season. Having that confidence that we can win, that showcased today. We can hopefully carry it into the Daytona 500.
Q. Mike, certainly with all the freeze on the parts and everything, these cars are essentially the same as a year ago. I know everybody is still working and refining. How much was this racing that much different from last year or was there really that much different from what you saw last year?
MIKE BUGAREWICZ: Yeah, I feel it's very similar. Your point is valid. There isn't a lot of major, say, large changes that we can make with the parts freezes and those type of things. As race teams, as racers, we don't stop. We keep looking for that small advantage.
I think you see it in showcasing in qualify with how close the field is. It's all those little things you do a little bit better than the next guy that improves your position. I think that even equates, the draft is a little bit of an equalizer, but I think when it comes down to it, leading that line or racing for the win at the end, all those details matter.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much for taking the time to join us. Congratulations.
MIKE BUGAREWICZ: Thank you. Appreciate it, guys.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports