RACE WINNER POST RACE PRESS
GREG ZIPPADELLI, CREW CHIEF, No. 98
Ford Mustang -- DID YOU CLIMB THE FENCE?
"No, I would have
but I am too old to run down there with those kids anymore. I walked
down and they were coming back down when I got there. I did it
before. It is a really cool win, a great place. I am glad I could be
a small part of him experiencing that. I know he was pretty pumped
up to come here being from Indiana and a lot of his heroes race here
and grew up around here."
IS THERE ANY CONCERN TOMORROW WITH
THE CUP CARS ON THE OVAL GOING OVER THE TIRE RUBBER FROM THE RACES
think it will all come up pretty quick. More of a question of there
being only a little bit of rubber in a couple of spaces on the race
track that the cup cars will run on. The rest of it doesn't have any
rubber on it. You know how tires wear here. It will be interesting
to see how the first 10 to 15 laps goes with the tire wear. We have
run before where five or seven laps you get cords in those tires and
the race track will take rubber pretty quick and it will go away."
WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT YOUR
ORGANIZATION AND CHASE THAT YOU HAD TO MAKE THE CREW CHIEF SWAP THE
LAST SEVERAL WEEKS AND HE IS PERFORMING LIKE HE HASNíT SKIPPED A
think it is pretty cool. Chase has not gotten down about it. He has
dug down. He has done a really good job growing and learning and
being a little more of a leader of this team, especially through
this time. We have a lot of good guys and obviously in the
organization and the Xfinity team. There are not a lot of them over
there and these guys work their guts out. I am proud to be part of
it and be able to fill in and help. I have been here anyway so it
was kind of a natural plug and play."
BEFORE THE SEASON STARTED CHASE HAD
SET A GOAL OF EIGHT WINS AND A LOT OF PEOPLE THOUGHT HE WAS ASKING
TOO MUCH OF HIMSELF. HERE WE ARE 13 RACES IN AND HE HAS FIVE. WHAT
DID YOU THINK OF THAT AND HIS POTENTIAL FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON?
"I think the potential is obviously there. You know how it is in
this sport. When things are good you have to jump on it and take
advantage of it. A couple weeks from now you could lose a little bit
and someone else picks up and wins a couple races. You canít get too
confident and certainly canít get cocky or you will get run over.
The people we have been beating every week are working just as hard
or harder to catch what Chase is doing and this team is doing. I am
very proud of him. He is a good little driver, man. A lot of fun to
WE CAN ALL SEE THAT CHASE IS A GOOD
DRIVER. WHAT ARE THE ATTRIBUTES IN YOUR MIND THAT MAKE HIM SO GOOD?
able to dig deep. There are some people that when it is time to
close, I see that a lot in him, he finds a little bit extra. He has
a lot of confidence but isnít getting cocky, which I love. Most of
all he is just a good race car driver. You watch guys and guys go
fast and then you watch guys that go fast and can pass cars and guys
that go fast and takes the driver to learn how to pass or get by
guys. He just has a natural understanding of racing. He does a good
job racing guys and does a really good job of passing. A lot of
these race tracks with the aero and things of that nature, the good
guys learn that and they carry it out. Really he is just a good
hearted kid with a lot of will and want to win."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT THE
TWO SERIESí MIGHT DOING FORWARD IN TERMS OF THE ROAD COURSE HERE NOW
THAT WE SAW THIS PLAY OUT TODAY?
"This was fun. I didnít know what to expect coming in. Nobody has
really had any experience here. We saw F1 races and IndyCar races in
the past, but not these bigger heavier Stock Cars. I don't know if
you could have gotten a better last 10 laps of a race. It is racey.
It was fun to be a part of. I was surprised. It was a lot better
than I -- I didnít know what to expect I guess. I think it turned
out really well. To get both of them in one day and it is only 5:30
and have two good races, I thought that was pretty cool."
ARE YOU READY TO GET OFF THE BOX OR
HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT STAYING? YOUR RECORD IS PRETTY GOOD SINCE YOU
"We will go to
Kentucky and play the support role next week."
SINCE YOU HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SPEND
TIME UP CLOSE WITH BRISCOE, IF AN OPENING OCCURRED ON THE CUP SIDE
OF THE SHOP, WOULD YOU ADVOCATE FOR HIM TO GET A CUP RIDE?
"Oh, without a doubt. I think he is still young and has a lot to
learn but I am very, very impressed with how quick he is learning
how to race these stock cars. I hope he is a part of Stewart-Haas
for a long period of time. He is a good kid and we would love to see
him on the other side with us."
YOU HAVE BEEN A PART OF SOME
GREAT EXPERIENCES HERE AT INDY OVER THE YEARS. THIS TIME IT WAS AN
INDIANA KID WINNING BUT NOBODY WAS IN THE STANDS. WHAT WAS THAT
"Yeah, that is obviously a bummer but with what is going on we
understand and accept it and move on. It is still a win for an
Indiana kid in his hometown and it is very special to him. It is
kind of cool for it to be the road course and for him to get his
first win here. I believe the kid will have many other opportunities
in his life."
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES
SUNDAY, JUNE 28, 2020
PENNZOIL 150 - INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY (ROAD COURSE)
Chase Briscoe won his fifth race of
the 2020 NASCAR XFINITY Series season with todayís victory at
Indianapolis. Pocono Raceway. His other wins have come at Las
Vegas, Darlington, Homestead and Pocono.
CHASE BRISCOE, No. 98 HighPoint.com
-- YOU TOLD US YOU
WERE DOING EVERYTHING. YOU WERENíT KIDDING WERE YOU? "No, everybody
knows that I grew up and my hero in racing was Tony Stewart. To get
to drive for him and watch him win the brickyard, that was always
his signature thing and I just wanted to do it. Obviously it is not
the same prestige as winning on the oval but you still won at
Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It doesn't matter if you are racing on
the oval, the road course, the dirt track or even the parking lot,
it is special when you win here. Growing up, coming here all the
time, it is unbelievable to think that I just won here. I am so
happy to get HighPoint.com in victory lane again. I am worn out.
That fence climb will take a lot out of you."
IS THIS THE MOST
SIGNIFICANT WIN OF YOUR CAREER? "From a personal standpoint,
Darlington meant a ton just because of what I was going through. I
have dreamed of coming to this race track and just getting to race
here. To win here is unbelievable. I canít put it into words. To get
our sponsors in victory lane and driving for Stewart-Haas at
Indianapolis. It doesn't get any better than that."
YOU SAID YOU WERE
HALFWAY TO YOUR GOAL TO EIGHT WINS. I THINK IT IS TIME TO REASSES
THAT GOAL: "Yeah, we arenít going to stop at eight if we get there,
that is for sure. We are really rolling right now. I think today is
a statement win. I don't think anybody had us as a favorite today
with Allmendinger and Cindric in the field but we knew down deep we
could run with those guys. I am so blessed to be driving this race
car. I am a luck guy that gets to drive it and it is truly a
blessing. I hate that there are no fans here. I get to see so many
of my fans, friends and family here that I don't get to see anywhere
else. Kind of bitter sweet to win here but I know they are all
watching on TV. I canít believe we won at Indy."
YOU MADE SOME
AMAZING BOLD MOVES. YOU SPLIT CARS ON A RESTART. YOU BLEW A CORNER
ON A RESTART AND STILL RETOOK THE LEAD. HOW? "I don't know. I think
I had the Good Lord on my side for sure. The restarts, I was
starting on the outside which I didnít think was the best scenario.
It seemed like holes were opening up. I wasnít very good when guys
were right behind me because I needed the back of my corner to be
really good. You canít do that when they are right behind you,
especially Allmendinger. He is so good in the braking zones. I did
give it away in a sense over there. Cindric and him started racing
pretty hard and that gave me a chance to get back in there and I
threw a slide job into 1 and 2 and I think that was by far the
hardest I have ran in my life to try to get a win.
BIG MACHINE HAND SANITIZER 400
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
JULY 4, 2020
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1 1LE, met
with media via teleconference and discussed that he and his wife,
Chandra, tested positive for COVID-19, his emotional and mental
outlook, his activities over the past week or so, the concerns over
his daughters, missing Sundayís race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway,
Also joining the call were Jeff Andrews, Vice
President of Competition for Hendrick Motorsports, and Cliff
Daniels, Crew Chief of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
1LE. Full Transcript:
WALK US THROUGH WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY AND TELL
US HOW YOU AND CHANI ARE DOING
"Thank you to
everybody out there sharing their concerns and checking in on me and
my family. It was just clearly a crazy day yesterday. Chani had some
allergy-like symptoms she was dealing with earlier in the week. And
being the rule follower, and the ever-cautious individual she is,
she felt she needed to go to the local hospital here in Colorado and
have a test done just to be responsible and do our part. And then,
we waited on her test results, which took a couple of days. And
those came in yesterday morning around 9:00 am. And from that point
on, we were just dealing with the issues at hand and trying to
understand if I was positive. I was lucky to get in and be tested
and get a quick result for myself and my children. My kids are
negative. Chani and I are positive, which is a crazy situation to
try to manage in our household right now, in self-isolation, and
also trying to parent. So, thatís really the chain of events and how
weíve ended up where we are today."
HOW ARE YOU DOING EMOTIONALLY? ARE YOU FEARING FOR
YOUR HEALTH? ARE YOU FEARING MORE FOR GETTING IN THE RACE CAR? WHERE
ARE YOU MENTALLY AND EMOTIONALLY?
"Thankfully, I am
asymptomatic. So, I donít have the fear. We donít know how many days
in I am right now, so there is some concern that my conditions could
worsen. But, I have literally had zero symptoms. My wife, at the
most, has had allergy-like symptoms, which isnít uncommon for us
this time of year in Colorado. The Cottonwoods are doing their
thing, and everyone in town has some kind of small allergy-related
symptoms. So, I feel great. I think our biggest concern right now is
for our children. They are negative as of yesterday. Of course,
weíre being very responsible in our home and trying to self-isolate,
but at the same time we have to parent. And, thatís really the
tricky hurdle weíre trying to sort out right now on top of managing
their fears. Thankfully weíre healthy and hope to stay that way, but
for a 9 and a 6-year old to try and manage the fear right now and
they canít come around Mom or Dad. And weíre got to feed them, and
weíre concerned about feeding them and passing the virus. So, weíre
trying to be as healthy as we can, but on the home front with our
kids, weíre heart-broken right now to see the fear in their eyes and
watching them trying to manage whatís going on right now."
HAVE YOU BEEN IN ASPEN SINCE WEDNESDAY OR SO? DID
YOU GO TO INDIANAPOLIS? CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH WHERE YOUíVE BEEN?
"Yeah, weíve been out
here the last few weeks. Iíve been, obviously, to the race tracks to
compete. We did go back to Charlotte maybe 8 or ten days ago for a
brief trip. And then on Thursday, I did go to Indianapolis to
Dallara to drive their simulator. That was a day trip out and back,
and I was preparing to head to Indianapolis tomorrow morning."
YOUR RETIREMENT SEASON CONTINUES TO NOT GO AS
PLANNED. YOUíVE HAD A LOT OF GREAT THINGS HAPPEN IN YOUR CAREER AND
YOUR LIFE, BUT IS THERE NOT A TEMPTATION TO FEEL SORRY FOR YOURSELF
AT THIS POINT AND GO MAN, NOTHING SEEMS TO BE GOING RIGHT?
"2020 has been
interesting. Thereís no doubt about it. I can be down and out on my
situation, but if I turn on the news and I see how this virus has
impacted so many others, I quickly feel thankful that Iím
asymptomatic and that I donít have any major issues. It would be
very easy right now to get bummed-out and to look at this the wrong
way, but Iím healthy. My wife is healthy. My kids are. Our prayers
are that it stays that way. Weíre hopeful that through our situation
that maybe some others can learn from this as well. If it wasnít for
Chaniís diligence on trying to do the right thing at all times, we
would be going on with life as normal. And who knows who we could
have come in contact with and the repercussions that could have had?
I know our country and the world right now is over quarantine and
all these technicalities that we need to deal with, but as a family
thatís been very safe and very cautious to end up testing positive
just shows how diligent you truly need to be through all this."
THIS IS NOT HOW YOU EXPECTED TO SPEND INDEPENDENCE
DAY WEEKEND. ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE A WAY TO MAYBE CELEBRATE A LITTLE
BIT AS A FAMILY?
"Yeah, we hope so. Itís very tricky, though, with
my wife and I testing positive and our kids are negative. Weíre very
scared to be around them and interact with them. Not to mention my
oldest, her birthday is coming up on July 7th and the combination of
fear that she has and then heart being broken for the 4th of
July and her birthday. Weíre going to be celebrating inside of our
house and distancing as far as we can. Itís just been tough for our
little ones to really grasp."
FROM A CONTACT TRACING PERSPECTIVE, ASIDE FROM
NASCAR AND THE SIMULATOR, DID YOU HAVE ANY OTHER CONTACT WITH CHIP
GANASSI RACING? WERE YOU AT THE SHOP FOR A SEAT-FITTING OR ANYTHING
"Yeah, to go back 14
days, clearly I was at Pocono. Iíve been to Ganassi for a seat
fitting and then to Dallara. So, Iíve been through all those steps
to notify everybody and let them know. The CDC has also contacted me
and Chani and has gone through their survey and interview. So, weíve
done everything we think we can and have called everybody that we
could. So yesterday was extremely busy and in some respects,
embarrassing to be in this position. And then you fear that maybe
you came in contact with someone thatís going to have a more
difficult time than we have had. I feel terrible for Ganassi Racing
and any stress Iíve put on their system; and clearly, Hendrick
Motorsports. Itís been a wild range of emotions in the last 12 or 14
hours in dealing with it all. But, weíre doing everything we can on
our side to make sure we notify anyone and everyone."
TO CLARIFY, HAVE YOU BEEN TO HENDRICK RECENTLY?
"I have not been to
Hendrick since, gosh, I was in the parking lot I believe, to drive
one of our first cars for Darlington to make sure everything was
correct. But that was distanced and with just one individual. And,
since then, Iíve not been back to Hendrick. I was at Ganassi, but in
a very small room off to the side. Theyíre very diligent about
following protocol and creating compartments, as well. So, my
interaction on the Ganassi-side has really only been with two to
four people, I would say, at the most."
HOW MUCH DID YOUR PERSONAL ANTENNA GO UP? HOUR BY
HOUR, MINUTE BY MINUTE, TO SEE HOW YOU FEEL; IF YOUR THROAT FEELS
GOOD IF YOUR SINUSES START UP? THE UNCERTAINTY HAS REALLY GOT TO BE
"Iím sure like many.
My wife and I have joked around for months that we have a phantom
symptom, and maybe we have it, right. Like when lockdown kicked-in,
if we sneezed or we coughed; some of that was in our minds and we
joked about it. And here we are, asymptomatic, and have the virus.
At least where Chani is in her art, to test positive on Wednesday,
and now itís Saturday, itís been five to six days for her. And from
what we understand, sheís through probably one of the more critical
points of all this. So, we feel optimistic that with her itís going
to stay the course. For me, we donít know. We just know I tested
positive yesterday. So, a little bit of fear, but all-in-all, Iíve
had no symptoms. So, Iím optimistic that it stays that way and Iíve
talked to many that have had the virus, and quite a few of my
friends and people Iíve spoken to have been asymptomatic, as well.
And maybe itís a tickle in their throat and thatís been the extent
of it. Iím sure hoping it stays that way."
ANOTHER INDYCAR TEST WILL BE KICKED DOWN THE ROAD
A LITTLE BIT. IS IT ALMOST A SITUATION WHERE YOU ALREADY FEEL LIKE A
RETIRED DRIVER BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY GET A CHANCE TO TEST?
"Yeah, what a weird
situation there. Again, Iím trying to keep it all in perspective.
Thankfully Iím healthy. Thankfully, my wife is. That INDYCAR test
will be there. Hopefully Iím cleared soon, and I can get back to the
track. To get in the No. 48 car is my first priority of course. And
weíll get to that INDYCAR test. Thankfully, I have interest on the
INDYCAR-side and sooner or later Iíll be able to drive one and see
what thatís like."
IF YOUíRE HEALTHY LIKE YOU ARE, THERE SEEMS TO BE
A FEELING THAT YOU PROBABLY CANíT GET IT. DID YOU HAVE THAT FEELING
IN TERMS OF DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT AND ARE SURPRISED TO KNOW YOU ARE
STILL ABLE TO GET IT?
"Yeah, I feel like
weíve been very diligent to do the best that we can. Weíve been
wearing masks for a long time and of course, following the protocols
of washing our hands and being as careful as we thought we could be.
And then the other tricky part of this is being asymptomatic, if
Chani wasnít the role follower that she is and as diligent as she is
with things, we would still be going along through life and possibly
infecting others. So, I have more questions, honestly, than I do
answers at this point. I donít think you can be careful enough. With
our best attempts, we still ended up positive, somehow. Weíre
unclear as to how we ended up positive. Yesterday, in going to the
hospital and getting my test and talking to healthcare
professionals, having my positive test, and talking to more
healthcare professionals, there are so many unknowns right now. And
we really, as individuals, have to be diligent to do the best that
we can. City, state, president, everybody involved; thereís just not
a lot of answers. And I canít even get answers having the virus.
Thereís really a lot that counts on the individual and on your
family to self-monitor and self-regulate and to use self-discipline.
So, thatís the takeaway that I have on all this and hopefully that
can encourage others to be as diligent as they can and not let their
guard down right now."
YOU HAVENíT MISSED A CUP RACE SINCE 2002. ARE YOU
GOING TO BE WATCHING SUNDAY? IF SO, WILL YOU BE IN CONTACT WITH THE
TEAM DURING THE RACE OR JUST BE A FAN SITTING ON THE SIDELINES?
"Yeah, Iíll definitely
be watching. Crazy say to have your start streak come to an end. But
Iíll absolutely be watching and hoping for the best for that No. 48
car. My team means everything to me, and I know weíre all very
disappointed with the situation. Iím confident that Justin Allgaier
is going to get in and do a great job. He has track position to
start the race and I hope he can make the most of it. I know Cliff
is going to call a great race and our guys on pit road are going to
get it done. So, Iím wishing him all the best and Iíll be watching
as fan, unfortunately."
DOES MISSING OUT ON SO MUCH MAKE YOU RE-THINK YOUR
SCHEDULE FOR NEXT YEAR TO GET SOME OF THESE ĎLASTSí BACK, LIKE YOUR
LAST SONOMA OR BRICKYARD? OR, IS THAT TOO FAR IN THE FUTURE TO THINK
"Every time I think
what normal is, something changes. So, of course I want to race at
the Brickyard and of course I feel disappointment that Iím not going
to have some of these lasts that Iíd hoped to have had, but I just
donít know where weíre going to be at the end of this year, let
alone next year. I do know that I still want to compete, and I made
that really clear. And Iíve had to inform Hendrick Motorsports that
I do plan to not be in the car full time. So, they have to plan and
do what they need to for the future. But Iím hopeful that I can have
an opportunity to come back and run a Cup car in some races.
Clearly, I have this interest in INDYCAR and Sports Car and other
forms of racing. So, I assume thatís helping me deal with this and
not feel like Iím having some things taken away from me. But, at the
end of the day, Iím just thankful that Iím healthy and not in the
shape that some people are right now and dealing with it. So, Iím
trying really hard to not be disappointed in the professional side
of maybe in some of these more selfish things, that Iím going to
miss out on; and be thankful that Iím healthy and my family is
DID YOU TEST FOR ANTIBODIES EARLIER DURING THE
"I did. Earlier this
year, early into the lockdown when I found out there was a
semi-reliable antibody test, I did take that, and I did test
positive for the antibodies. There was a big gap in the rate of
being positive, to be truthful. Iím trying to think of the word that
comes with that. The test rate or whatever it might be. So, it was
just a data point for me out of curiosity. Chani and I both wanted
to find out if we were antibody-positive, and I did get that result
back that I was positive, and she was not. But we didnít know how
much to trust the antibody test, I think it was like a 20 percent
rate of being incorrect."
IS THAT ONE OF THOSE THINGS WHERE YOU HAVE A LOT
OF QUESTIONS AND NOT A LOT OF ANSWERS?
"For sure. I was
warned by my physician then that although I did test positive for
the antibodies, thereís a 20 percent chance that itís incorrect; on
top of the fact that they donít know what the antibodies mean. And
still today, I donít know what they mean. Once I clear this and go
back into life, I assume I still need to be very cautious and I
could be re-infected once again. There are just so many questions
regarding this virus and what means what. I still donít have
clarity. The longer I get into this and the more issues I deal with,
the more questions I have."
YOU HAVE TAKEN ON THIS ROLE OF A CHAMPION, AND
HELPING BUBBA WALLACE, AND MAKING THAT VIDEO; DO YOU THINK THE VIRUS
IS ANOTHER THING YOU CAN EDUCATE PEOPLE ON?
"Yeah, this is not a
position I thought Iíd find myself in. Iíve been in the sport a long
time and have won many championships and offered my opinion and
advice through the years, but in the last few months with all the
various things that have come along through the video and speaking
up and supporting Bubba, and now this, Iíve found myself in a
position that people are paying much more attention to what I have
to say. I do feel that responsibility. Iíve felt it for a long time,
and itís been interesting how in the last two or three months how my
voice has carried much further. So, hopefully my voice is still
carrying the same message of listen, learn, understand, be kind,
open your heart, from the issues that we experienced last month. And
where I sit now, itís hopefully to keep your guard up. We thought we
were very diligent in our household. And it still found a way in.
So, I can also expand on the fact that testing takes many days to
get your results. And if you do feel symptomatic, do the right thing
and just stay in. Bring your family indoors. The asymptomatic
position that we found ourselves in really caught us off-guard."
DO YOU STILL THINK THERE IS A CHANCE EITHER WITH
CHIP GANASSI RACING OR ANOTHER TEAM THAT YOUíLL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY
TO TEST LATER ON THIS YEAR, OR IS IT TOO EARLY TO TELL?
"As long as Iím
healthy and the world stays open, I really believe there will be
that opportunity. INDYCAR has a high priority to help with driver
development for many other drivers who are interested in coming into
the sport. So, the interest I have from teams and the friendships
and relationships that I have with various teams, I do feel that
opportunity will be there later in the year."
AS BEST YOU CAN, WALK US THROUGH THE EMOTION OVER
THE PAST 14 HOURS
"I guess backing up to
the phone call Chani received, in my head I felt like she was being
Chani and being too concerned and that she just had some allergy
issues and that was the extent of it. So, I played through two
scenarios and then when we found out she was positive, it certainly
kicked one of the scenarios into effect. And, I was blown-away and
surprised and caught off-guard and embarrassed, I guess, to some
respect and fearful of the impact this would have on my race team,
and the folks at Ganassi that I came in contact with. All these
emotions that are primarily fear-based, kick-in. And, it was
interesting because they were much more work-focused than it was
family-focused because we are all healthy. Looking back on that, Iím
thankful that we feel well and donít seem to have any issues right
now and we didnít have that fear in our lives. So, it very much went
into the professional side and trying to manage of that. Of course,
through contract tracing and trying to get in touch with anyone and
everyone we could. So, again, thankfully weíre asymptomatic and seem
to be healthy and well so far and my mind went to the emotions on
the work side. As the day went on, watching the impact that the
positive test has had on our children is heartbreaking. And itís
something weíre going to have to manage over these next couple of
weeks as weíre in quarantine and isolation. To see the fear in their
eyes and watch them try to process all of this and wonder if their
parents are going to be like what theyíve seen in the news and if
theyíre going to experience that. And trying to stay isolated from
them right now and parents at the same time is a challenge weíre not
sure how weíre going to handle."
EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS
RIGHT NOW, WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUR
PHYSICIAN OR THE CDC OR WHOMEVER SINCE THE DIAGNOSIS?
"It appears that
recently there have been more asymptomatic people out there. Iím not
sure if thatís just because testing is more available. It seems
logical. Even the medical professionals Iíve spoken to are
theorizing more than they are giving facts. Iím surprised how many
asymptomatic people have tested positive and those numbers I think,
are staggering. Thankfully the mortality rate seems to be down.
Obviously, thereís a big lag in how all of this works, so my prayers
are for those that do test positive, including myself, that this
does not progress and advance and is going in the wrong direction."
YOU MENTIONED THAT THE CDC CALLED. EVERYBODY WANTS
TO KNOW HOW ONE OF THE HEALTHIEST GUYS IN SPORTS CAN CATCH THIS.
WHAT WAS THE CDC CALL LIKE AND WHAT CAN YOU TELL OTHERS WHO ARE
MAYBE IN THE SAME SITUATION?
"The conversation with
the CDC was much more about trying to understand our location, the
community that weíre in, and who we came in contact with in that
community in the last 14 days. So, it was very much focused on
contact tracing. Outside of that, just some basic health questions
were asked, trying to understand if we had any pre-existing medical
issue that we are dealing with; and I assume just to help with
statistics that we see and read daily as we check-in on the
Coronavirus and how thatís going. It was a very clinical
conversation with them, if you will."
BECAUSE YOUíRE GOING TO BE SOMEONE THAT NOT JUST
NASCAR FANS ARE LOOKING AT, EVERYONE IN THE COUNTRY RIGHT NOW. WHAT
ADVISE CAN YOU GIVE TO OTHERS?
"Itís really just
staying diligent. If Chani wasnít the individual the she is and the
rule follower precautions she takes in life, I would be walking
around asymptomatic and infecting people. I think trusting your
instincts and being cautious. I know everyone is tired of the
lockdown and tired of the new normal that weíve all had to
experience, but it really is for a reason. And thankfully, weíre
healthy and hope that we continue to stay healthy. Hopefully we have
not infected anyone through the delay that it takes in testing on
our side. I think thatís the part that kind of worries me the most.
You go in for minor symptoms and think youíre just being overly
cautious, and then you get a positive test and youíre like, wow. A
couple of days have elapsed and who have I been in contact with?
Looking back, thatís the part that people should be most aware of.
Stay diligent, trust your instincts and your intuition and take
DO YOU HAVE ANY PHILOSOPHY ABOUT HOW THIS COULD
HAVE HAPPENED AT ALL?
"Itís definitely been
on my mind. Iím not sure if Chani gave it to me or if I gave it to
her or if we got it separately from one another. Itís logical to
think that one of us gave it to the other. I always have seasonal
allergies that I deal with. So, having the need to take an allergy
pill over the last few days, few weeks, is very common for me.
Thatís one of the prescriptions that I take. I have a prescription
for Flonase that Iíve always used since It has been available.
Again, I have more questions than I do answers. We came to Colorado
because we felt like being in the mountains out here would be a
safer place to be than in the city in Charlotte. So, we really donít
have many answers. Hopefully through our unfortunate situation, we
can help others be more diligent and mindful and prevent them from
going through all this."
WHY IS ONLY ONE TEAM MEMBER UNDER QUARANTINE?
"On the team member
situation, we immediately, yesterday, began to work with NASCAR and
follow their protocol on how to deal with this very closely. We
began to kind of re-walk, very diligently, the last 14 days with
Jimmie and who he had been around and talked to and so forth. I
commend first and foremost, NASCAR and their processes. Theyíve done
a great job at the race track with keeping everybody safe and
managing this. As far as our team, specific to Hendrick Motorsports,
all of our employees are required to wear PPE of course. We have an
N95 filter insert that goes into our masks, that all of our
employees, wear. Purely out of precaution on our end, the interior
mechanic was the one person that we could say had physically had
contacts with some portion of Jimmieís suit or helmet and so on and
so forth. We made that decision on our own, to hold that individual
back this week. We put that plan in front of NASCAR, which they
fully supported. Thatís kind of how we got there."
SINCE THE WHOLE OPERATING SYSTEM WAS JUST DOWN IN
ATLANTA, AND YOU HAVE NOW TESTED POSITIVE, AND THERE WILL LIKELY BE
OTHERS DOWN THE ROAD, WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO CONTINUE TO THE WHOLE
"If you have
pre-existing conditions, this virus can be really harmful. It can
threaten your life and it can even take your life. So, from my
standpoint I feel like we need to stay diligent and we need to
listen to the specialists and do our part and follow protocol. This
is something unlike anyone in our generation or recent generations
before us have dealt with. So, I think we all still need to take it
very seriously and I think even being more diligent now as it
appears that itís more common now to be asymptomatic. Youíd hate to
pass this on to an elderly person or somebody with pre-existing
conditions and then have the worst happen."
HOW HAS THE TEAM REACTED TO THIS NEWS AND WHAT
DOES JUSTIN ALLGAIER THINK ABOUT NO PRACTICE AND NO QUALIFYING?
"First and foremost,
at the top of our mind, is the health and safety of Jimmie and
Chandra and making sure theyíre well and that he is able to return
to competition within a reasonable timeframe. And then beyond that,
certainly since weíve been back, racing has not been business as
usual for anyone. And so this just continues to be our process to go
through things and to go race. Itís just not normal. I have the
utmost faith in our teams and in Justin to come in and do a good
job. We all spent a bit of time on the phone yesterday just to go
over our plans for the weekend. There was a lot of work done by many
individuals that weíre very thankful for at Hendrick Motorsports and
the shop to get the seat in the car turned around and ready to go.
So for the weekend, I do believe we will forfeit our fourth place
starting position, because of the driver change, and start at the
rear of the field. So, we have a job to do to go out and perform at
the highest level that we can and to make good pit calls and to
execute a good race. Obviously, Justin has a lot of history in Cup
cars and at the Speedway, so we have a lot of confidence in him.
And, our group has been building every week to make sure we can
execute and perform at a high level. Even though itís a very
unfortunate circumstance for us all, we still have to do our part to
make Ally proud and to make Hendrick Motorsports proud and to do
honor to Jimmie and the No. 48 car just to have a good weekend. So,
thatís our plan."
DID YOU HAVE ANY SAY IN WHO WOULD REPLACE THIS
WEEKEND FOR THIS WEEKEND?
"The decision to put
Allgaier in the car, I give a lot of credit to everyone at Hendrick
Motorsports and the process that weíve had in place since before we
went back racing in Darlington. We have had our own basically
secondary line-up and that includes anyone from driver to crew chief
all the way through the crew members that travel to the race track.
Jeff Andrews and the folks at Hendrick Motorsports have managed that
and made sure that roster was strong, and everyone was in place in a
situation like this. So, there really was no extra thought that we
had to put into it. This lineup was already set. We had all the
plans in place just out of the abundance of caution that we wanted
to take. And again, even before going back racing in Darlington,
this has been in place. There were no extra decisions to be made.
Justin has been on stand-by this whole time and has been aware that
this could happen."
"Just to add to that,
Iíve been friends with Justin for a lot of years and raced against
him. With him being at JRM and in the family, if you will, at
Hendrick Motorsports, heís been a great resource for me to get
information from him on how a Saturday goes. Heís just been a friend
and a resource for many years. Iím highly confident in his ability
and excited to him to get in there and wheel that thing."
SINCE NASCAR WENT ON HIATUS AND CORONAVIRUS BECAME
AN ISSUE, CAN YOU TELL US WHAT STEPS HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS HAS TAKEN
TO PREVENT THE SPREAD?
Atlanta, when the industry got shut down, team members of HMS began
to meet daily to discuss our protocol when we would go back to work
whenever that date would happen. A lot of planning and a lot of
preparation went into that by a lot of people and departments. You
know, just an overview of that, we worked two split-shifts. So, we
have two, what you would call an ĎA Groupí and a ĎB Groupí and they
are never thee at the same time. In general, the ĎA Groupí will work
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday; and the a ĎB Group; will come in and
work Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. And we did that, just to always
have a group of people, that should we have anything within the
organization, to where we needed to sit the ĎA Groupí, we could
still have a ĎB Groupí of employees that could come in and work. In
between all of our shifts, we have a complete sanitization of our
facility that goes on. All of our people are in proper PPE the
entire they are there. We screen our people on entrance to the
campus. We are not allowing things like food service and things like
that, do not come on our campus currently. Any outside vendors that
come on our campus are screened before they enter our campus. Weíve
been very diligent about keeping our shop crews and our road crews
separated. So, Cliff any myself and anyone else who travels on the
road weekly to the race track, have not been back in the shop since
we closed there shortly after Atlanta. Weíre doing that out of an
abundance of caution. Iím not sure everybody is doing that, but
weíre just trying to keep, first and foremost, everyone healthy, and
keep in mind the safety of our folks and our employees and just have
as much gap between those groups as we possibly can. I think thatís
a quick overview."
WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR YOU MOVING FORWARD? HOW
SOON DO YOU GO BACK AND GET TESTED? WHAT ARE THE STEPS NOW?
"I have some calls
this morning to better understand that. Iíve been through the chaos
yesterday afternoon and I learned that once I have two negative
tests that I can go back to the track. So, I think itís whichever
happens first, either the 14 days or two negative tests. So, Iím
optimistic that my system will beat this virus quicker than the 14
days. I know I can be tested daily. I just donít know when I can get
my results. Itís just a nationwide problem, if not a worldwide
problem that you take a test and it can be two or three or four days
before you get the results. Hopefully I can close that loop and be
able to do that. Of course, as an athlete, I feel that itís
important to have that test done quickly so I can get back to my
job, but clearly there are people out there that need this test and
quicker response. The labs that can perform that quicker response,
they need that priority more on their side than mine. So, Iíll do my
best to try to get two negative tests as quickly as I can and
hopefully thatís before the 14 days."
AT THIS POINT, DO YOU NOT EXPECT TO BE AT KENTUCKY
ON JULY 12th AND THEN EVEN THE ALL-STAR RACE JULY 15th AT BRISTOL?
"Yeah, I guess with
the 14-day scenario, I tested yesterday so the first day I could get
back to the track would be Saturday, 14 days from now."
YOU FOUND OUT 14 HOURS AGO YOU WILL HAVE A NEW
DRIVER, SO WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST ADJUSTMENTS YOUíVE HAD TO MAKE TO
PREPARE IN SUCH A SHORT TIME?
"A few things come to
mind quickly as we really need to make sure Justin is comfortable in
the car. We had a lot of notes, fortunately, just throughout our
company and our relationship with JRM to get the correct fit numbers
for his seat, foot pedals, steering column, and things like that. We
really want to make sure he is comfortable in the car. And then of
course, we have a July weekend in Indianapolis, so itís going to be
really warm. We want to make sure he stays nice and cool and
comfortable in the car. So, the first priority was making sure we
could get the car changed over adequately to suit his needs and to
make sure he is comfortable. And then secondarily, since we will
have to forfeit an up-front starting position and come from the
back, our strategy is absolutely going to change. There are
adjustments that weíll make to our outlook for the racer and how we
call the race. Again, with Justinís recent experience with this Cup
package and some of our cars, testing for the OEMís, and through the
Chevrolet simulator, he does have experience with the package and
just with the quality driver that he is, I know heíll be raring to
go and to go have a good race. So, weíll make sure that we call a
good race and keep him comfortable in the car and march to the
CAN YOU CLARIFY THE TIMELINE WITH JIMMIEíS TESTING
AND GETTING BACK IN THE CAR?
"Yeah, so just for
clarification, we walked through this yesterday with NASCAR. And
what Jimmie needs to be able to return to the track is two negative
tests, with a minimum of 24 hours between those two tests; followed
by a doctorís release. So, if Jimmie were to go next week and test
on Monday and go back again, 25 hours later and test again, and
those tests are both negative, once he has a doctorís release,
theoretically he could be in Kentucky if that scenario lines up."
BIG MACHINE HAND SANITIZER 400
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
JULY 1, 2020
KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 MONSTER ENERGY CAMARO ZL1 1LE
met with media via teleconference, and discussed his 700th NASCAR
Cup Series career start on Sunday at Indianapolis, having both
INDYCAR and NASCAR racing on the same weekend, the ages of drivers
currently competing in motorsports, the tight pit road conditions at
Indy, and more. Full Transcript:
INDY WILL BE YOUR 700th NASCAR CUP SERIES START.
DID YOU IMAGINE WHEN YOU STARTED YOUR CAREER THAT YOU WOULD HAVE 700
"Itís amazing. To have
this opportunity and to have been blessed to have raced with so many
great race teams over the years, just making it past the local track
was something that I thought was an achievement because my dad was a
local racer. He won a lot. But it was like money, sponsors, and the
whole challenge of even getting to like the Southwest Tour and Late
Model division, that was even tough for us way back in the past. So,
itís amazing. Twenty years of racing at the top series level and now
having 700 starts, I never would have guessed."
WHEN YOU LOOK AT GOING TO INDIANAPOLIS, WHAT ARE
YOUR THOUGHTS? WE HAVE THE ROAD COURSE FOR XFINITY, WE HAVE INDYCAR
THERE, AND IíM SURE ITíS A TRACK THAT YOU FIND INTRIGUING. WHAT WILL
THE WEEKEND BE LIKE IN YOUR MIND?
"Itís a big marquee
race. Itís our Brickyard 400. But unfortunately, we donít have our
race fans. Thatís what I still think about first, each time weíre
heading to the race track. And, with a special weekend like this
with INDYCAR and Xfinity on the road course on Saturday, and then
the Cup race on Sunday on the oval, Roger Penske is the only one
that could have made INDYCAR and NASCAR happen on the same weekend.
And Big Machine is there with their sponsorship and I know they
would put on a great concert and the whole atmosphere around Indy,
it was set-up to be fan-based and to have that extra entertainment
value. So, itís something weíll miss. But Iím focused-in on Sundayís
race. Iím just going to fly in day-of. I would have really liked to
have enjoyed seeing the IndyCars and Xfinity on track, but itís time
to stay in the bubble and stay isolated."
WILL YOU WATCH THE INDYCAR AND XFINITY RACE? AND,
WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR GETTING A WIN AT INDY?
"Oh absolutely. Iíll
be tuned-in to watch and just enjoy it as a motorsports fan. I think
thatís what this weekend is about with it being a July 4th
celebration of our countryís birthday, and to have top forms in
motorsport in America at Indy, you have open-wheel with INDYCAR and
weíve got NASCAR with the fenders on and they go around the oval, so
itís a great weekend for motorsports to tune-in.
WITH YOUR EXPERIENCED IN INDYCAR, DID YOU LOOK AT
ANY CHANCE OF COMPETING IN THE RACE ON SATURDAY?
"I did. I looked at it
and just with everything going on with COVID and the pandemic and
lack of preparation, it just kind of shut everything down as far as
the progress and the approach, because it takes a full effort of
being tested and track time and being ready. And thatís something
that I really put in when I ran the Indy 500 six years ago now. And
so, everything just got shut down. But, it would have been fun to
with Chip Ganassi Racing and then with Jimmie Johnson now doing a
test next week with Scott Dixonís car, itís all right there in front
of us. Itís just the timing wasnít right."
DO YOU HAVE ANY SENSE OF HOW THE NEXT GEN CAR
MIGHT REACT TO THE OVAL? THEREíS SOME TALK ABOUT IF THE XFINITY RACE
GOES WELL OF MAYBE NASCAR DOING THE CUP CARS ON THE ROAD COURSE. BUT
THEN, THEREíS TALK THAT WELL, COULD THE NEXT GEN CAR RACE ANY
"As far as testing and
gathering up information and data on the new car, itís all kind of
shut down as well. And, I see those cars though, where theyíre able
to adapt to any circumstances (like) a street course, road course,
or oval. The way that Iíve looked at it and they way theyíre
assembled, things can be changed out pretty quick. So, you could
almost hammer out a road course on a Saturday and an oval on a
Sunday with the same cars."
CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT HAS ALLOWED DRIVERS IN THEIR
LATE 30íS TO BE VIEWED TO BE IN THE PEAK OF THEIR RACING CAREER
STILL HAVING SUCCESS AND MAKING AN IMPACT? AND IS THAT EXTENDING
CAREERS OR WHAT HAS THAT ALLOWED THOSE FROM LATE 30íS ON TO HAVE
MORE SUCCESS AT A TIME WHEN PEOPLE DIDNíT LOOK AT IT AS BEING AS
STRONG OF A PERIOD FOR A DRIVERíS CAREER?
"It takes a good team
to have a driverís ability to find the success. A team is the
foundation. But the way Iíve looked at things over the years is it
seemed like drivers in the generation before me got in when they
were in their young thirties and would go to their late forties. And
then there was this guy named Jeff Gordon, who came into the sport
and broke down a ton of barriers as far as age, and it opened up the
flood gates for owners to look at all different areas of the country
to find talent and to find racers. Itís been an amazing ride for me.
I got in in my young twenties. And then a guy like Joey Logano got
in in his teens. My little brother (Kyle Busch) got in in his teens.
The change, the shift, has happened for younger drivers to get in
and yet itís still tough to go past 25 years is extreme. I donít
think weíll ever see that anymore. And so thatís that window that
weíve all had this opportunity to race in, and I think itís just a
matter of age blended with the experience level and with a top-tier
team. And when you see that, itís usually in that 32 to 38 range
that I would say could be the peak.
"But Iím having some
of the best years of my career as far as consistency because Iím
using that experience level. Iím using that calmness and that
ability to project the future in the car, and thatís leading to
good, consistent, and quality finishes. Itís just that weíve got to
cross over another barrier of sometimes you just throw caution to
the wind and let it rip. And thatís when you see guys like (Ryan)
Blaney, who now has won the last couple of restrictor-plate races,
but yet ran into my little brother the other day at Pocono just
driving over the nose of the car. So, youíve got to blend in the
youth and the experience and thatís when youíre going to find the
WHAT IS PIT ROAD AT INDIANAPOLIS LIKE? THERE ARE A
LOT OF CHALLENGES AT MANY TRACKS, BUT WITH HOW NARROW AND TIGHT
INDIANAPOLIS IS, WHATíS THAT LIKE IN AVOIDING ANY CONTACT THERE,
WHICH CAN RUIN SOMEBODYíS DAY?
has the toughest pit road in all of the NASCAR circuit. Itís
compounded because of the difficulty of passing on track. And so,
weíre all trying to gain every inch, every foot possible, on pit
road. And so, when youíre coming down pit road at speed, guys are
trying to look ahead and see where to peel off to get into their pit
box, and then it creates an accordion effect of guys that are
sitting there right on top of their lights and their pit road speed,
and so that checks people up. And then when youíre coming out of
your pit box, youíve got to turn hard to the right to get around the
guy thatís in front of you, and youíre mostly likely blending
straight into traffic and people usually just throw all caution to
the wind and go you know what? Iím just going to block you and itís
up to you to check-up because weíre that aggressive on pit road to
keep that track position."
BIG MACHINE HAND SANITIZER 400
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
JULY 1, 2020
TONY LUNDERS, TEAM
MANAGER FOR CHIP GANASSI RACING, met with media via teleconference
to reflect NASCARís first doubleheader race weekend at Pocono, the
expectations going into Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and more.
REFLECT A LITTLE BIT
ON THIS PAST WEEKEND GOING TO POCONO, THE FIRST EVER NASCAR CUP
SERIES DOUBLEHEADER. HOW DID YOUR TEAM PREPARE FOR THAT AND WHAT
WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT?
"We were looking
forward to a double, especially with the lack of practice that weíve
been able to have since the Covid-19 pandemic started. So, we were
looking forward to having an opportunity to race, and then put our
heads together, talk with the drivers and then be able to adjust and
see what types of changes we could make on our cars. It was good to
have that. We didnít know quite what to expect. We havenít done that
with using the same car back-to-back yet Ė we still have a couple
more of those to go. So, I think we learned some things that we can
apply going forward and we were happy to be able to do that."
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT,
TONY, AT INDIANAPOLIS, IN GENERAL? IF YOU LOOK AT THE WEEKEND AND
THEN LOOK AT WHAT NASCAR MIGHT DO THERE, IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE SUCH
A BIG WEEKEND FOR THE FANS.
sure. First off, Indy is an important place for our team. Thereís a
lot of history there with our IndyCar group, Chip (Ganassi), and
weíve had some success there in the past. We take it like we would
most other races, as far as the prep and all that stuff. Obviously
having the IndyCar group there before we get there, thatís exciting
for us. Itís been a long time Ė I think back in the early 2000s we
did some companion races with Trucks and IndyCar, and that was fun
to do. So, weíre looking forward to it from the sense of one, in our
team, we have both groups going up there. We wish were able to
interact with those guys a little bit more and be there on the same
day. But for our Cup guys, it will be somewhat business-as-usual as
weíve had these one-day shows. I think from that aspect, it wonít be
anything different. Weíll show up the morning of Ė weíre actually
flying out Sunday morning. So, our day will look similar to some of
these one-day shows that weíve been doing."
WHATíS YOUR OUTLOOK
FOR YOUR TEAMS ON THE CUP SIDE OF THINGS AT INDY?
is a unique place. Some people relate it to some of the other stuff,
maybe even some aspects from Pocono where we were just at. We need
to run a little bit better there. We didnít have as good of
performance that we wanted at Pocono. I think we took some steps
forward and did learn some things. But weíre optimistic. Indy is
sort of a unique place. Weíre optimistic and we look forward to
getting out there."
HAVING GONE THROUGH
THE POCONO WEEKEND, OBVIOUSLY THERE SEEMS TO BE AT THIS POINT, THE
EXPECTATION THAT THERE COULD BE ANOTHER ONE OR TWO DOUBLEHEADER
WEEKENDS EVEN THIS YEAR. WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT WERE LEARNED FROM
THIS PAST WEEKENDíS EXPERIENCE TO MAYBE CONSIDER FOR ANY OF THE
"When you have a
weekend or a race, youíre trying to makeup for practice time and the
ability to throw some changes into. So, you come into it and put
your best effort forward for the first race. But it gives you an
opportunity to turn right back around and make changes. Not only the
good stuff that you come across, but youíre also going to make some
mistakes. I think in hindsight, you get a chance to digest and look
at what happened throughout the weekend, what you think you did well
and what you think you could improve on. And you can apply that same
type of thing going forward. Itís a little bit difficult with the
protocol stuff that weíre going through now at the track. The way
our team operates as a two-car unit and using the other team and
information you can get from them Ė having our groups split up at
the race track presents some unique challenges for us. So, a big
part of this for us is just trying to overcome some of the
communication stuff and how to apply stuff that your teammate is
learning. One of the strengths, luckily for us, we have two drivers
that are similar in maybe their styles. They both know each other
well and have experience with each other in the past. Their
communication was really high from the beginning. They have a
friendship and a mutual respect for each other that has definitely
helped us through this."
WITH THE 42 TEAM
HAVING A LITTLE BIT BETTER PERFORMANCE THIS PAST WEEKEND THAN WHAT
ITíS HAD, WHAT HAS BEEN THE CHALLENGE THERE AND WHERE THAT TEAM IS
AND WHAT IT NEEDS TO DO TO HAVE EVEN STRONGER PERFORMANCES?
"I think a couple of
things - across the board, obviously nobody has been able to
practice and that hurts most teams equally. I think for us, itís
even a little bit more of a challenge with plugging that in there.
Obviously heís a champion and has won a ton of races, thereís a lot
of respect there. But just getting plugged into our system, itís
taken a little bit of time. And I think in any situation, when you
put a new driver with a new team, you go through that learning
phase. Unfortunately, we have not been able to get a lot of that
done in practice. In a normal practice, you can run through six to
ten changes and get a leg up on that stuff. So, thatís been a little
bit of a challenge where weíre starting a race many times and having
to learn things throughout the race, where I feel like that would
have been accelerated quite a bit given some practice with that
group. Weíve had a couple better finishes, which is good. So, weíre
just going to try and build on that going forward."
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY IS A SPECIAL PLACE FOR CHIP. IíM
WONDERING IF THERE REALLY ARE ANY SORT OF THINGS THAT YOU NOTICE IN
A TEAM AND THE DRIVERS THAT MAKE IT, WHEN YOU GO THERE, SOME PLACE
THAT THEY FEEL EITHER MORE OPTIMISTIC IN WINNING OR CERTAINLTLY MORE
ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT DOING SO.
"One exciting thing
is Kurt (Busch)ís 700th start this weekend, so thatís pretty cool. I
had the opportunity to work with Kurt when he first got into the
Truck Series and itís been fun to watch him throughout the last 20
years or so. Like you mentioned, the history with Chip Ganassi
Racing, Chip, Indy, the Indy 500, the Brickyard Ė thereís just a
long history of respect for that place and what it is. Teams always
circle that race as a big one in their year as one of their goals,
one of the top races you want to put a lot of effort towards winning
and having success there. I think as the year goes, you have
realistic expectations of where youíre at and what you think you can
do. Like I said, thatís a unique place and you lean on some past
experience there in what has worked and what hasnít worked. A lot of
it is confidence in how the teamís working. I think weíre in a good
spot going in there. The teams are working really well together Ė
jellying on pitstops, the pit crew and the road crews. Itís just
different. It will be different showing up there without a huge fan
base. Itís nice to be able to see some of these tracks moving
towards having some fans there because it definitely adds to the
environment when weíre there. Having the empty garages Ė when I say
empty, just a lot less people Ė itís just a different feel to it,
for sure. But the teams, none the less, have put a lot of effort
into winning that race."
WHAT ARE YOUR
LONGTERM PLANS FOR THE 42 TEAM? DO YOU SEE MATT AS THE LONGTERM
SOLUTION FOR THAT TEAM OR ARE YOU JUST LOOKING TO GET THROUGH 2020?
wanted to get some races with Matt (Kenseth) under us, kind of build
that effort there and see where it took us. If Matt decided at some
point that heís enjoying whatís going on and weíre having some
success, maybe thereís something more there. But I think the team is
more focused on now, being mid-season, and what we need to do to get
that car into the playoffs. Weíre back in the points a little bit
and we need to win a race. So, I think our focus is how do we build
that group now to try to get towards the playoffs, win a race, and
weíll let the next year stuff take care of itself as the year goes
on. Hopefully, the success is there. Certainly, there are others
that know that seat is open and would contact us. And thatís all
good, but I think our main focus now is just to get the performance
and let the rest take care of itself."
PERFORMANCE, ARE YOU CONTENT OR SATISFIED WITH THE COMMUNICATION
BETWEEN MATT MCCALL AND KURT BUSCH AS IT STANDS RIGHT NOW?
"Yeah, those two work
really good together. That relationship has just gotten better as
time has gone by. Kurt has a lot of confidence in Matt and that
shows. And likewise, Mattís communication to Kurt is working really
well. Weíve got Kentucky circled coming up here. We got into victory
lane there last year and that was really cool. So, weíre just trying
to build on that and those guys are doing well together. I think
that helps keep us as a company moving forward."
NASCAR CUP SERIES
INDIANAPOLIS RACE WEEKEND PREVIEW
WEDNESDAY, JULY 1, 2020
KEVIN HARVICK NASCAR ZOOM MEDIA AVAILABILITY
KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Ford Mustang -- WHY DO
YOU THINK IT IS, OR HOW IS IT, THAT DRIVERS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO HAVE
MORE SUCCESS AROUND THE AGE OF 40 THRESHOLD THAT IS BELIEVED TO BE A
POINT WHERE ABILITY CAN DIMINISH?
"The things that I would tell you is
that the sport has changed a lot. I think with less practice and
cars changing and a lot of the things are done through simulation
and things like that now. The experience level obviously comes into
play. I think when you surround that with a good team and a good
organization and are able to work those details out, I think the
potential is to drive into your 50ís. Why not? I think with the
health side of things and the way that people take care of
themselves and workout, I think the longevity of the body on most of
us going forward is going to be more durable than what it has been
in the past. I think that experience for the most part is the
biggest key. Especially when you surround that with a crew chief and
team that are good. That is the situation that I am in. I think I
kind of had a second life I guess you could say coming to SHR. That
was very motivating and I think as you look at it now, for me it is
still very motivating. You work your whole career to get into a
situation like this and I had a long conversation with Mark Martin.
You work your whole career to get in this situation, why would you
want to give that up and just say, ĎI quití? As long as Delana and
my family are supportive, I don't think the drive and enthusiasm as
far as showing up to the race track every week will go away anytime
soon. You just have to balance those things. I think as you look at
Martin (Truex Jr.) turning 40 and Denny (Hamlin) and a lot of the
success has been from that particular age group. I don't think that
is going to change any time soon."
SOME TRACKS HAVE STRATEGY THAT PLAY A KEY
ROLE. INDIANAPOLIS CAN BE ONE OF THOSE. WHEN THERE ARE DIFFERENT
DRIVERS ON DIFFERENT CYCLES, IS IT EASY FOR A DRIVER TO JUST DRIVE
OR HOW MUCH ARE YOU WORRIED OR THINKING ABOUT THE STRATEGY PLAY
DURING A RACE? "We have talked
about it before the race and during the race I typically just let
them handle it because they have way more information. From a
driver's standpoint it is a little more stressful because you arenít
really around the cars all the time that you are racing. You know if
you give up a little here and there, you don't know how much they
give up through lap traffic or coming back through the field or what
strategy they are on. From a driver standpoint it is a little more
stressful and you have to push every lap to make sure you get the
most out of that lap to give up the least amount of time. It is just
a different style of race, which is good, right? You have all these
different elements that play in at different styles of race tracks
that arenít the same style and element that play at all the other
race tracks. It is actually more stressful in my opinion because you
canít judge it off a car that is around you. It is somewhere else on
the race track but it all cycles together."
WHEN DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WERE OKAY TO SPEAK
OUT AS A DRIVER? WHEN DID YOU START SAYING WHAT YOU THOUGHT? WAS IT
RIGHT WHEN YOU CAME INTO THE SPORT OR DID IT TAKE SOME TIME?
"Unfortunately when I started I talked too much. It was a thought
that it was more fun to rile everybody up than it was to actually
just worry about racing. My opinions were too many. Then it affects
your team and the things you do. They start having to answer
questions. I think there is definitely a balance and I would
definitely consider myself a little bit of a loose cannon for the
first several years because I didnít care what I said, didnít care
what you thought and didnít care about much other than just driving
the race car. It was a pretty self-centered approach. I think a lot
of that process changed when I came to Stewart-Haas Racing and then
had kids. You have a whole different responsibility that comes with
the things you say and do when you have kids. I think for me in the
race car, in order to get Rodney convinced to come to Stewart-Haas
Racing, his first questions were, ĎYou don't have a very good
reputation with your team and you yell on the radio and do all these
things. The first time all this stuff happens I am out of here and
most likely we wonít even get started unless we can make some
changes in that process.í I think in order to get the right person
and start building a team it was important to commit to not only for
my family but for Rodney and his situation and our relationship. To
have that kind of reset button in order to start over and really
have a different reputation of how you handled yourself, it really
didnít affect the things you do on the race track but how you
handled yourself and that observation that you put out to the world
needed to be different. I think coming to Stewart-Haas Racing and
Rodney are the biggest reason for that."
THE DOUBLE-HEADER WITH INDYCAR AND NASCAR,
ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO RUNNING INTO PEOPLE IN THE GARAGE AND
WATCHING WHAT THE INDY CARS DO?
"I am definitely not going to run into anybody. I know that for sure
because they will all be gone by the time I get there. That part, I
wish that I was able to be in the garage and go over and see what
the Indy cars are all about and watch in person. We will definitely
be watching on TV. It is a great situation for all three seriesí to
be together and a huge step for racing. As you look at IndyCar and
Xfinity and Cup cars all at the same venue because we are all
racers. We all want to see racing be successful and I think this is
definitely a great step for both seriesí to be in the same venue and
bring our fans together and show both sides that it is not about
picking sides, it is about watching a great show and being a part of
a great event."
DO YOU HAVE A CURIOSITY OF THE XFINITY CARS
ON THE ROAD COURSE AND WHERE DO YOU WAY IN ABOUT POSSIBLY RUNNING
THE 400 ON THE ROAD COURSE? "I
would never vote for that because I love everything about the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For me it is all about the oval, I
guess you can kind of call it an oval, racing on the traditional
track because for me I am kind of old school and I think that the
Cup cars belong and really started the Brickyard 400. That was kind
of what it was always meant to be, that iconic one-off just the Cup
cars event. I think with the Xfinity cars and the trucks and K&N
cars and all the things that used to race at IRP, it was a great
event. Hopefully the road course can kind of take that role that IRP
used to have and be able to bring the IndyCars and NASCAR together
to add to that event at the speedway. For me personally, I would
never vote for the Cup cars to not run on the oval."
DO YOU THINK WITH THE LACK OF PRACTICE THAT
YOUR EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN AN ADVANTAGE THIS YEAR?
"I think it could go either way. I
think the experience of our team being together going on seven years
now is definitely a big part of that. Being a part of that evolution
of the things I like in the car and things they like to do, the
evolution of the race cars themselves and what they figure out on
the engineering side kind of evolves naturally. You canít set too
far out on a limb and try a bunch of things like you would in
practice on a normal race weekend. The other peiece of that is that
you don't have a bunch of people studying what you do with all the
SMT data to try to copy it and drive their car and set their car up
like what you are doing because the race is over by the time all
that happens. It has been very unique and it has been something that
plays well for our team to just show up and race because I think for
the most part that experience is helping us get to where we need to
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS
GONE RIGHT FOR YOU GUYS IN GENERAL THIS YEAR?
"I think we have just been consistent. I think the other thing is
for the most part when we have had chances to win races we have won
them. I think Sunday was probably the only one that I could point to
and say that we had the car to win the race and didnít win the race.
I think for the majority of the races that we have had chances to
win we have capitalized on those situations and the days that we
haven't. We have collected some stage points and had a solid day to
go with it. It is not anything out of the norm of what we have done
in the past but I think capitalizing on those moments you have to
win, we have done well."