Chase Elliott became a back-to-back Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course winner, taking his No. 9 NAPA Auto Part Camaro ZL1 1LE to victory lane at the 61st annual Bank of America ROVAL 400, his third points-paying victory and 19th top-10 finish in 2020. The win, his ninth career victory in 182 starts in NASCAR’s premier series, secured Elliott’s spot into the Round of Eight of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
Elliott’s impressive road course streak continues, as the victory made the Hendrick Motorsports’ driver just the 2nd driver in NASCAR history to win four road course races in a row. The victory at the 17-turn, 2.28-mile North Carolina circuit is Chevrolet’s seventh triumph of the season and the manufacturer’s 793rd all-time win in the NASCAR Cup Series.
The win is the 20th road course victory and 261st all-time win for Hendrick Motorsports, which was also celebrated by Elliott’s teammates William Byron, who finished sixth in his No. 24 Hendrickcars.com Camaro ZL1 1LE, and Alex Bowman, who crossed the line in the eighth position in his No. 88 Valvoline Camaro ZL1 1LE. Kurt Busch, No. 1 Monster Energy Camaro ZL1 1LE, took the checkered flag in the fourth position, giving Team Chevy four of the top-10 finishers in the race. Joey Logano (Ford) was second, Erik Jones (Toyota) was third, and Ryan Blaney (Ford) rounded out the top-five finishers of the race.
The NASCAR Cup Series season continues next weekend at Kansas Speedway with the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday, October 18, at 2:30 PM ET, kicking off the Round of Eight for the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Live coverage can be found on NBC, the NBC Sports Gold app, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 1LE, PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:THE MODERATOR
: We are now joined by our race winner, Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet. Chase, we’ll start with questions for you. Q. Do you enter these road courses just knowing that you’re going to have a great car? Do you enter these now with some sort of swagger? Does this success even surprise you? Because it’s so rare to rattle off this many road course wins.CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, no, we definitely don’t show up just expecting to be good. We show up trying to be better than we were last time. I thought we did that today. I thought our car was better than it was here last year. I thought I was better than I was last year. Didn’t pile drive the barriers this time. That was good. Was able to finish it off the right way, which is always encouraging. Looking forward to this next round, trying to make some noise. Q. I think you were 12th at Texas and Kansas. Do you feel like you have improved on your program enough to be able to make some noise?CHASE ELLIOTT: I hope so. 12th certainly isn’t going to cut it. We’ve been working tirelessly to try to improve. Kansas has historically been a decent track for us. We struggled there the first race this year. We know we got to be better. Looking forward to the challenge. Q. Two years in a row that you’ve had some type of issue about the halfway point of the Roval. Is this going to be a trend having to come from 28th or back to win?CHASE ELLIOTT: Hey, as long as the result stays the same, I don’t really care (laughter). It worked out. We’ll take it for sure. Those bonus points are big, can be a difference maker. Like I said, just excited to have some momentum going into the next round. Wins are huge. Too hard to get to get picky with them. Looking forward to the opportunity, trying to make some noise and move on. Q. With the road courses, tying Jeff Gordon, that result, have you talked to Jeff about the road course success? How do you feel in that portion of history with road courses?CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, to be honest, we haven’t talked all about it. I know he had a great run. I think we all respect his career beyond just that. Yeah, just trying to get better. Jeff is a four‑time champion. We don’t remember him for his four road course victories in a row, although it was great. Being a champion and trying to have the next level of success that he had is certainly a goal. Just trying to improve. Q. You came down with the loose wheel, you came out 38th or something, pretty far down there. At what point did you feel like you were still going to have a shot to win? Was it immediately you were picking through cars?CHASE ELLIOTT: I mean, you never know, to be honest. I was just focused on trying to move forward. Felt like our car was driving well. Certainly a setback. Got a caution I thought at a really good time, kind of bunched us back up. We had made our way through there some. That kind of allowed us to reset. I felt like at that point we were in a position that we were kind of back to where we were or close to it with the way the strategy was working out. I felt like we just needed to be smart, try to keep our eyes forward and make the next right call, whatever that was. Putting on tires at the caution or not. Alan made a great call, called a good race. I had a fast car. Things went our way. That’s all we could ask for. Q. What is the level of frustration inside the car? You put the blame on yourself last year. This year, not your fault. What happens inside the car that you can rebound from that?CHASE ELLIOTT: It doesn’t matter whose fault it is. The end result is the setback. That’s really the bottom line. Blaming or being upset, as much as sometimes you might want to be, it’s really unproductive. Looking ahead, those guys weren’t cussing me when I ran through the barrier. I wasn’t going to cuss them for a mistake either. I think we just needed to keep our eyes forward, heads down, focus on trying to get back up front and have a shot to win. Q. Would you compare your dominance on road courses to Kirby Smart’s defense?CHASE ELLIOTT: They’ve had a nice run, for sure. Yeah, I don’t know. Hard to compare I suppose. Yeah, hope they can have a good game next week. Q. (Question about the Braves and the Dodgers.)CHASE ELLIOTT: I can’t hardly hear you. Something about the Braves and the Dodgers. Looking forward to watching for sure. I think they’re going to have to definitely be on their A game. I’m excited to watch. Q. In the lead‑up to road course events, mentally is your preparation any different than other weeks considering your track record at them or is it the same?CHASE ELLIOTT: It’s honestly not. I feel like we approach every week the same, to be honest. There’s certainly areas that we want to try to improve on all the time. Like I said a minute ago, I don’t think you can just come to these places and be the same as you were last time and expect to have the same results. I thought our car was better today than last year. I thought I did a better job today than I did last year. I think that’s why we were able to get a good result. Q. Do you wish there were more road courses in the Playoffs?CHASE ELLIOTT: No, I don’t. I would just like to be good at all the tracks. Q. You’ve got Texas, Kansas and Martinsville in the next round. Your thoughts on how you are going to perform, make it to the Round of 4?CHASE ELLIOTT: You never know. That’s why we go race, is to find out who wins and who loses. Just excited to have the opportunity. I think it’s going to be a really big challenge for us to move on, as I think it is for everybody in this round, unless you just have a bunch of wins. I think today’s win is big. Getting those extra five points can be the difference. We just have to bring our A game, push ahead, really try to execute three solid weeks. Q. What were the conditions like? Did watching what happened yesterday in the Xfinity race put you on edge for what might have come today?CHASE ELLIOTT: For sure. I mean, I was shocked it didn’t rain really at all. Feel like we got really lucky that that didn’t happen in a lot of ways. Yeah, I tried to be as prepared as I could be for that if it happened. I felt like the biggest challenge today was that transition period when the track was wet, as it was drying out, understanding which areas were still damp and which areas weren’t. The track kind of has like a sealer to it, when you see a fresh driveway or a big parking lot resealed. It’s kind of like it has that all the time, which makes it dark and kind of hard to differentiate what’s dry and what’s not. That was the biggest challenge, was just understanding where to be, where not to be, trying to stay on the road. Q. A lot of drivers learn how to go racing schools to be a better road course racer or driving instructors like Boris Said. Where did you learn to drive on road courses?CHASE ELLIOTT: I feel like I’ve done all those things. I remember going to Bondurant out there as a kid, driving Corvettes. I remember going to Spring Mountain and spending a lot of time with Ron Fellows. Boris Said is a friend. I feel like dad was a really good road racer, too. I felt like there’s small things that he’s talked about over the years that have helped me, too. I don’t know. I feel like I’ve had an opportunity to be around some guys who have really good knowledge. If you can just pick things from everybody, try to take small little tidbits there, small little tidbits there, put it into one effort I think it’s helpful. I have been fortunate to have some good people to look up to. Still a lot of room for improvement I think on my end, but definitely a good day today. Want to enjoy it. Q. It can be a bit premature to look ahead to 2021, but how thrilled are you to take on a brand‑new unknown with the Circuit of the Americas?CHASE ELLIOTT: Great question, man. To be honest, I’m so focused on this year right now, whatnot, I haven’t spent a lot of time going through the schedule for next year. I think it’s a good addition. It’s a nice course out there. I feel like it’s been quite the spectacle from the F1 side. Obviously that’s a whole different ballgame. Looking forward to going. I think it’s going to bring new challenges and things none of us have ever seen before. I look forward to it, see what happens. Q. Given the race form that’s been implemented, how have you and crew chief embraced this challenge to keep elevating your performance and now be rewarded with the Round of 8?CHASE ELLIOTT: Just trying to get better. We’ve been fortunate to get to the Round of 8 the last couple years. That’s kind of been our stopping point. For us, we’re just eyes ahead trying to assert ourselves amongst that next group. We tend to see the same guys make the Final 4 every year, the same group fighting for those spots. I think for us, we’re very capable of asserting ourselves amongst them. We just have to be a little better, a little more consistent, eliminate those bad racetracks, and I think we can run with whoever when we’re at our best. I’ve said that before. I really believe it. I’m looking forward to the opportunity and ready to move on. Q. You’ve talked about the people that you’re around, good road racers that you’ve learned from, the schools. You’ve always been very smooth on the road courses. Has that been a natural for you? Did you ever struggle with the road courses when you first began?CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, I honestly don’t know. I didn’t feel like we did very spectacular on the Xfinity side when I ran over there. I feel like my first year in Cup, we didn’t run all that good on road courses. It wasn’t like it hasn’t been a work in progress. We’ve just been trying to chip away at it, get better. I think we have a package that works at some of these racetracks pretty good. We just try to improve that. Like I said, I’m not sure that you can just do the same thing every time and get the same results. I think we improved today from where we were last year. I try to make my craft a little better, minimize mistakes. We were fortunate that things were in our favor today. Q. Through today’s victory and being strong in the Playoffs, is there anything you feel you need to improve on as you inch closer to the Championship 4? What do you think your chances are of being in the Championship 4?CHASE ELLIOTT: Like I said, we made the Round of 8 the last couple years. That’s a great thing. That’s a great achievement. But we always want more. Like I said a minute ago, too, we see the same people make the Final 4 every year. We’ve been very close to asserting ourselves amongst that group. I think we’re very capable of it. I think when we’re at our best, we run with those guys. I think we’ve proved that in the past. We just have to be a little more consistent, eliminate those bad racetracks, I think we can make some noise. THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Chase. Congratulations on the win today and good luck with the Round of 8 starting next week in Kansas. CHASE ELLIOTT: Cool, thanks.
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