June 6, 2021
Sonoma, California, USA
An Interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much for joining us and congratulations on the victory. Just to let all the media here joining us, we've now been joined by Jeff Andrews who is the executive vice president and general manager at Hendrick Motorsports. It has been an exciting couple of weeks to be a part of Hendrick Motorsports. What does it mean for Kyle to take home the victory today in Sonoma especially after the celebration last week as well?
JEFF ANDREWS: Yeah, certainly every one of them are just as special. Obviously last weekend was huge for our company, the history and heritage of our company. We're obviously very proud to do that for Mr. Hendrick in our backyard.
Now we come out here to Sonoma and we get one for Kyle in his backyard. Just cannot say enough about this amazing race team right now, what Hendrick Motorsports has going on. All the men and women back in Charlotte putting these amazing race cars on track right now. All the credit goes to them.
We're enjoying the ride, but we surely know there's a lot of work left to do. We need this kind of momentum and speed coming up in October and November. We're working hard to maintain where we're at. We'll celebrate today, get out of here, start back to work next week on Texas and Nashville.
THE MODERATOR: We'll go to questions.
Q. You have won the last four races, but you've also had two of your guys finish one and two in those last four races. They've been on very different tracks. Talk about not only having a team running on all cylinders, but your guys basically covering the field in many different types of tracks in the series.
JEFF ANDREWS: Yeah, I think one of the things that I think means the most to us, what's going on right now, is the consistency we have across the organization and the way we've been able to put that across four race teams, get that performance on a weekly basis.
Then obviously, as you mentioned, across many different track types, aero configurations, engine power configurations. That's something for us that we worked on a long time at Hendrick Motorsports. We've had certainly years of great success with the 24 and the 48, Jimmie, all these things.
I think for the company, internally in the company, I know to Mr. Hendrick, one of the things that means the most is just that consistency across the company and the way all four race teams are working together right now. That's the key for us at this moment.
Q. Would you look at your group of guys and say there was anyplace on the schedule where one of them couldn't possibly win the race?
JEFF ANDREWS: I think coming here, this was one that the Gibbs cars are really good here and have a great history of running well at this track. We did not have, I don't want to say confidence coming in here, but we knew we would have our hands full with those cars.
Certainly coming out here, this was one we had on our plate. I think Texas is another one for us next weekend. Anxious to get there and run the All-Star Race. Certainly got some new venues coming up in Nashville and some unknowns really for everyone there.
I think you take your philosophies, obviously some great race cars being put on the racetrack right now by Hendrick Motorsports. We'll take them one week at a time here and start to build our arsenal and get ready for the Playoffs here.
Q. Five weeks ago everybody thought Hamlin would win the regular-season title. Kyle has really closed the gap. Is that something you're going to start looking at? How important would it be to get the extra bonus points?
JEFF ANDREWS: Obviously I think you saw Cliff make some calls today on bonus points and Playoff points, the way he called the race. Certainly that regular-season championship has an incentive there to go get.
We've got a long ways to go until we get to the start of the Playoffs, and obviously well into the Playoffs. I don't think for us that we necessarily have our eyes on that right now. We're just trying to keep building on the consistency we have right now and making sure we're keeping a focus and urgency in our shop and continuing to make our race cars better. That's the biggest thing right now.
Certainly if that works out for us, we'd love to have that because that's obviously a huge boost going into the Playoffs.
Q. You said it's going to be important what happens in September and October. How do you keep the company from becoming complacent?
JEFF ANDREWS: That's our main focus right now, for sure, is to make sure that we keep our heads down. Certainly you have great weekends like we had last weekend where you need as a company to take a little bit of time with your folks after Dover and get together and take a picture, celebrate a little bit. It's been so hard in this environment that we've all been living in in the last year. There really probably hasn't been enough celebration, enough rewards going on for the folks. So we need to take a little bit of time and soak all this in, make sure the folks are celebrating a little bit, enjoying it.
We have to keep working because others, I promise you, are working very, very hard right now. Our folks are, as well. I'm not saying that we're not. We've got to keep that focus going forward here. We obviously need to be and want to be running like this when we get later on in the season and start advancing through the Playoffs, so...
Q. There was a time when Hendrick didn't perform well. What kind of a message is this to the rest of the field that you have a very young team that is doing phenomenal? How far does this carry forward?
JEFF ANDREWS: Well, correct in there's some young people. It's an interesting mix. There's some young people obviously at the front of it. There's some very young guys in drivers' seats. You take people like Cliff Daniels who really have come up through our company and you put those folks in key positions, and that's great to see. Obviously very rewarding, gives you some good confidence about your future, as well.
As I started to say, there's some great youth up front, but there's also a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge and depth in folks behind the scenes that are working really hard to get these great race cars to the track.
It's a really good balance right now. Certainly Mr. Hendrick and Jeff Gordon do an amazing job of finding the talent to put in our race cars, let us come out here and compete like this on Sundays. We've got a great group of crew chiefs who are working well together to bring that consistency across the company.
Q. Obviously you knew that Kyle was a talented driver when you brought him in. Did you expect it to all come together as quickly as it has? Three wins and could be even more.
JEFF ANDREWS: Yeah, I think certainly you hope for things to work like this. I think the thing for that race team and Cliff Daniels and that group of guys, we started putting that together a little over a year ago this time. I think Kyle, we're extremely fortunate to have him behind the wheel of our race cars. Obviously a tremendous talent.
But I think Cliff gets a lot of that credit, as well, for what he's been putting together and what he's been working on as a race team. I think sometimes we feel like those things take a little bit more time to get the depth in that race team like he has.
Certainly Kyle hopped into some great race cars there. I think when you get those two combinations working together, you start to get the results very quickly that we are.
Q. It's turned Mr. H into a nervous wreck at times, but how great does it make you feel that your cars are racing at the front but they race each other so respectively without incident?
JEFF ANDREWS: In the closing laps we saw our guys nose to nose, tail to tail, racing hard for the lead. I know there's a great deal of pride Mr. Hendrick has when you sees that.
Yeah, he does get nervous like all of us when you get in the situation with those late-race restarts. Chase and Alan had a great car there in the closing laps. It's great to see. As you're texting back and forth with him, he's watching it, you can tell he's very nervous about how close they're running together.
But it is also very important to him for them to race each other with the integrity that they do. Hats off to both of those guys. Both great race car drivers. Put on a great show today.
Q. Did you expect Kyle to blossom as quickly as he has at Hendrick Motorsports?
JEFF ANDREWS: I think obviously we knew a ton of talent there in Kyle Larson. Really whatever he gets behind, he has the ability to adapt and go out and win in that. Again, for us, I think the pressure really was on us to make sure that as he came into our organization, that Cliff and his race team got him up to speed quickly. I think you saw a great blend there, a great chemistry that happened very quickly that are leading to the results that that race team is getting right now.
Q. People ask what else has been the difference. Obviously another clear change is the role that Chad has taken on. How have you seen that kind of smooth things out at Hendrick?
JEFF ANDREWS: Obviously Chad Knaus is a great asset to any organization, whatever position that he works in. When you take someone of his depth and his experience in racing, I think I talked a few minutes ago about the youth on the front side of our company, then on the back side you have key guys that have done so much in this sport and are so knowledgeable about a race car that come back into our race shops, and started working closely with our race teams, our crew chiefs, and our guys in the shop.
Just doing a tremendous job. I mean, I can't say enough about the role that Chad's taken on, what he's been doing. Without question it's contributed to our success so far this year.
THE MODERATOR: Jeff, we appreciate your time. Congratulations again on the victory.
JEFF ANDREWS: Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports