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July 4, 2021

Chase Elliott

Plymouth, Wisconsin

Press Conference

An Interview with:

THE MODERATOR: We've been now joined by our race winner here at Road America, Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports.

This is Chase Elliott's seventh career NASCAR Cup Series road course victory. He is now ranked solely third on the NASCAR Cup Series for road course wins behind Hall-of-Famers Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. Not bad company to be in. Tell us a little bit about Road America today, Chase.

CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, it's super cool an honor to even be in at least like four lines below them much less a couple (smiling).

Just really, really proud of our team. Yeah, we really kind of struggled yesterday and never got into a good rhythm I didn't feel like on my end. And I thought we could be a little better with the car. Made a lot of changes overnight. Kind of started the day. I thought that I liked it - I thought. But I just still wasn't in a good rhythm. About halfway I felt like I started to kind of put things together, start minimizing some mistakes I'd been making all weekend, then started finding some pace.

So, yeah, after that it got fun. I was able to get a flow going, get in rhythm. Then from there we were able to get on -- we kind of got caught up from our bad starting spot, got on the same strategy as the leaders. From there, we were able to go to work. Had things going good enough to keep up and get by those guys.

THE MODERATOR: We'll now go to questions for Chase.

Q. Was there any kind of mindset reset that had to be done, especially after what happened in qualifying this morning?

CHASE ELLIOTT: No. I mean, it is what it is. Yes, it wasn't good, but it's not like you don't have enough time if things are good.

Yes, it's a bad starting spot, a lot of opportunity to tear something up, get in the back of somebody or something back there. That's obviously not good.

At the same time if your car is good, we made the right adjustments, all those things, I feel like 60 however many laps the race was is plenty of time to work itself out. Fortunately, we did make the right changes and our car was good, we were able to move forward and have a shot.

Q. Why do you think you've been so effective on these road courses, so many different types of road courses as well?

CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, I honestly don't know, man. I wish I did. If I did, I'd tell you - maybe (smiling). But I honestly don't. I have no idea. I just feel like it's good cars. Our team has a whole, I mean, has been good at road courses the whole time, too. Kyle won, where, at Sonoma, yeah. I feel like drivers are only as good as what they have to drive. Fortunately I feel like I've got the best stuff and just got to make it work.

Q. As the most popular driver, fan enthusiasm is nothing new for you. But you seem to have a kinship with Wisconsin fans?

CHASE ELLIOTT: I haven't spent any time in Wisconsin, so I'm not sure why they were so loud. It was super cool. Man, they were fired up. The amount of peer pressure I felt to do a burnout was, like, wow. I don't know that I've ever had that much peer pressure in my life to do a burnout. I knew it was going to happen. NASCAR was yelling at me to make sure I went around the whole track. I did a burnout in the frontstretch. I was out of tire. I knew they were going to blow out.

I got down there in the interview, literally that place was packed. All these people are chanting 'burnout' at me. I wasn't going to say no. So I did. Blew the back tires off of it, then ran out of gas, had to have a push. It was just a timely deal.

Sorry for my tardiness. I will say, I mentioned this before, the road to that first win, the lessons learned along the way, one of them is you have to enjoy these moments. They're way too hard to get. You don't know if or when you'll ever get another one. If the fans want a burnout, I'm going to give them a burnout. That's what it's going to be. We'll take the extra time going down the road.

Q. Chad Knaus was in here talking about the passion the race fans have. Did you sense that during the course of this weekend? Did you see it today?

CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, walking around I saw a lot of 9 hats and T-shirts and stuff. Yeah, it's super surprising. I ran two Xfinity races up here. I think I ran an ARCA race in Madison I think, somewhere up here one time. Outside that, I never really spent any time up here. So I don't really feel like I've earned the right to have that kind of support in this region.

But it was amazing. I was super humbled by that. Just the people in general. Whether you're wearing 9 gear or not, there were just a lot of people here. I was just struck by how big of race fans we have and had here today. This place was packed. This is a massive road course. They were literally, I mean, people everywhere around the course.

It's exciting, man. When they change the schedule up, go to new places, you bring energy and excitement that our series deserves to have. I think we saw that today.

Q. Maybe you should stick around and run slinger, too.

CHASE ELLIOTT: I actually considered it, but it didn't work out (smiling).

Q. Are you feeling a little more pressure under your own roof this year because Larson has been on fire, Bowman, light switch has gone on there as well. You guys are winning so much. For you to make a comment where you sound like Mark Martin in his 30th year, these races only come along every so... That's probably your hardest competition.

CHASE ELLIOTT: No, I just genuinely know how hard it is to win. I want to enjoy 'em. That has nothing to do with our team. I think it's great our company's having success. It's making all of us better. It's pushing us to be better. And the men and women at HMS deserve to win. I feel like we have the best people, and most importantly Mr. Hendrick deserves to win for all these given to this sport and the people in it for many, many years.

He deserves to win the most. I'm proud of that. Proud to be a part of it.

But, no, I think my comments just come from literally it's hard to win. I learned that lesson firsthand in how many races I threw away on the way to that first win. It makes you appreciate it more. I mean, bottom line, it makes you appreciate wins more and being in this position.

When the day comes that I don't appreciate it, I should probably go do something else.

Q. You mentioned earlier, Alan talked about Pocono, how damage kind of hurt your days at Pocono. That was his big concern about starting in the back. Did you have thoughts of is this going to be Pocono all over again?

CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, I was very aware. I was trying really hard not to knock the nose off of it, you know, or get hit, have body damage. Bodies are just so important now. Even at the road courses, you don't want to suffer any damage if you can help it.

I did a poor job of that at Pocono. Right there on the first start of the Saturday race, got kind of sandwiched there on the start, hurt our car. Late in the race there on Sunday, I knocked the nose off of it again.

There's a reason that we build them the way we build them. When you break it, it doesn't work as good. There's a reason for all that. I tried to do a better job today of not breaking it.

Q. The race was at Milwaukee, the other one you did.

CHASE ELLIOTT: I ran one there. I did go to Madison one time, but it's been a while. I think it was an ARCA race. Forgot about Milwaukee (smiling).

Q. You should have had a win here years ago, right?

CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, I remember it. Shoulds don't matter. Coulds don't matter. You either do or you don't. We didn't. Today we did and that's what matters right now.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations again on another victory. We appreciate you spending some time with us.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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