- Alex Bowman – Polesitter #48
- William Byron – Outside Front Row #24
- Greg Ives – #48 Crew Chief
For the ninth consecutive season, a Chevrolet has topped the leaderboard and will lead the field to the green in one of motorsports most prestigious events: the Daytona 500. In his debut in the iconic No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1 1LE, Alex Bowman claimed the pole position with a lap of 47.056 seconds, at a speed of 191.261 mph. The feat puts Bowman’s name in the NASCAR history books as the first driver to sit on the Daytona 500 front row in four consecutive seasons (2018-2021).
Bowman’s pole win marks his second pole at the 2.5-mile Florida superspeedway and gives Hendrick Motorsports its fourteenth Daytona 500 pole, the most of the series.
“It doesn’t really have a lot to do with me; it’s a testament to these guys and everybody back at the shop at Hendrick Motorsports. They work so hard on these superspeedway cars,” said Bowman. “I’m just really proud of everybody; all our partners at Hendrick Motorsports. Thanks to Team Chevy for giving us great racecars. It feels really good.”
Joining his Hendrick Motorsports teammate on the front row of “The Great American Race” will be William Byron, who was second quick in his No. 24 Axalta Camaro ZL1 1LE with a lap of 47.314 seconds at 190.219 mph. This will be Byron’s fourth top-10 start in seven races at Daytona International Speedway.
Bowman’s pole win gives Chevrolet its 28th pole award in Daytona 500 history and the manufacturer’s 718th pole victory in NASCAR’s premier series. The accomplishment is the Bowtie Brand’s ninth consecutive year to sit on the pole for the event, extending its lead as the longest pole-winning streak of any manufacturer at Daytona International Speedway.
Ricky Stenhouse, No. 47 Kroger/NOS Energy Drink Camaro ZL1 1LE, captured the fifth spot in tonight’s qualifying session, with JTG Daugherty Racing teammate, Ryan Preece, qualifying in the eighth position in his No. 37 Cottonelle Camaro ZL1 1LE.
Richard Childress Racing’s, Austin Dillon, ended the qualifying run in the ninth position in his No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Camaro ZL1 1LE. In the team’s first appearance in the NASCAR Cup Series, Trackhouse Racing’s, Daniel Suarez, qualified his No. 99 iFly Camaro ZL1 1LE in tenth, giving Team Chevy six of the top-10 spots in qualifying.
With the front row spots locked in, the starting order for the rest of the 2021 Daytona 500 field will be determined by the outcome of the Bluegreen Vacations Duels, which will be held under the lights tomorrow, Thursday, February 11th.
The 63rd Running of the Daytona 500 will take place on Sunday, February 14th, at 2:30pm ET and will be aired live on FOX, MRN, and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO:
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by the pole winner for the 63rd running of the Daytona 500, Alex Bowman.
Q: What does it feel like to make history on the front row four consecutive years in the Daytona 500, second time you’re on the pole?
ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, I mean, it’s pretty incredible, right? I’m so appreciative and blessed with this opportunity. I think for me, it’s really hard to sit here and be like, yeah, I did it, and I did this and that, and that’s why we’re on the pole for four consecutive years or on the front row for four consecutive years.
It’s much more about Hendrick Motorsports and the 48 team, Greg Ives, the engine shop, the chassis shop, body shop, Chevrolet, everybody at Ally for all their support. It’s more about the people that make it happen.
I floored it, but I’m pretty sure everybody else did, too. Just appreciative that my race car is really fast.
Q: Obviously there’s so much work that goes into it, there’s so much emphasis from the whole organization. I guess being a superspeedway, why is it so important to Hendrick to have you guys be on the front row every year, to win the pole? Where do you think that comes from?
ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, I mean, that’s really just something that’s important to everybody, and I think it’s really different reasons.
I think it means a lot to Mr. H. He wants to win everything. Like every category, he wants to be top of the list, everything. It means a lot to Greg because he wants to prove that he can build the fastest race car probably.
And it’s a lot of pride for the guys in our body shop, for the guys in our engine shop, to prove that they’re putting the best product on the racetrack that they possibly can.
You know, I think it’s just a real big source of pride for everybody that they feel like there’s — most racetracks we go to you’re trying to dial the race car in to the driver, and there’s a lot of, like, there’s a lot of other things that go into it.
Here it really just comes down to who built the fastest race car. And I think it’s important for Hendrick Motorsports to come up and prove that they’re the ones that did that.
Q: Does your team have certain cars that are specific to you, and if so, was this a car that you had driven before?
ALEX BOWMAN: Yes, so I think for the most part at HMS the cars you have kind of like the 48 fleet, the 24 fleet, the 5 fleet, the 9 fleet.
To be honest with you, I don’t know which car this is. I don’t know the chassis number and I don’t know if we’ve raced it before. I don’t know if it’s a new one. Obviously, it’s a fast one, so that’s good.
But I wish I had a better answer for you. I guess I didn’t do all the homework for you. I don’t know. Greg? He was right behind me. He’s got to be coming in here at some point. I think he’s on the phone with Claire, but after that he’ll probably be able to answer that question.
Q: I know sometimes when big things happen for you, you end up buying new cars, so I’m curious if this is one of those? Have you committed to Rick that you’re buying another car?
ALEX BOWMAN: No, no more cars. I have way too many cars. When he gave me the Chicago car, it 100 percent has like put me out of room in my shop, so I feel like if I buy another car, I’m going to have to build a bigger shop. I’d need to race Cup for a couple more years to be able to do that.
Q: I would feel remiss if no one asked you for an update on your drag racing with Mr. Hendrick.
ALEX BOWMAN: I think we both gave up. I think he broke his car and then I broke my car. I think they’re both running again, but I’m not sure — both cars got so fast, I’m not sure either one of us really have any desire to take a streetcar to a racetrack and go 165 miles an hour in a street car.
I don’t think it’s going to happen, but it’s fun to talk some smack with the boss. Obviously, we’re both big car guys and maybe we’ll race something that’s a little more reasonable and a little bit more in control.
Q: William was on a few minutes ago, saying he has no idea who gets what, that the cars are basically equal, yet you were a mile-an-hour faster than him in the field. What do you think was behind that?
ALEX BOWMAN: I feel like everybody at Hendrick Motorsports has the same tools. What each team chooses to do with those tools is on them. All four teams work extremely close together.
I think Chad this year has done an incredible job of — I just feel like there’s more communication, at least to me. Like, I’ve talked to Chad a bunch this off-season, which is something I really wouldn’t have done in the past.
I think what it really comes down to is Greg Ives and the 48 team being just extremely intent on coming down here and getting the pole and maximizing every little thing. There’s no detail that wasn’t looked over. I think he’s been obsessed with the 500 pole, and it shows in his stats. He’s been on the front row I think the couple years before I was driving for him, as well.
It’s a long streak for him, and it means a lot to him.
Q: Last spring you and Hendrick announced a one-year contract extension. Curious if you guys are having conversations now about your status with the team beyond this season.
ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, you know, just kind of with everything going on in the off-season, we haven’t really talked about it yet. I’m sure it’ll get talked about. I want to be at HMS for a long time, and every time I talk to Mr. H I think that’s a mutual feeling.
I’m not too concerned with it at the moment. I think Ally has been a great partner so far. I think everything has been going extremely well. Yeah, I mean, I’m sure talks will start eventually, but just thankful for the opportunity that I have at the moment and just trying to maximize it.
Q: As you guys pointed out a little bit ago, you guys at Hendrick come down here the last several years with the tools and the speed and the cars to put yourselves in contention to win this race, but it’s been since 2014 that a Hendrick driver has actually ended up in Victory Lane. What’s it going to take for you or one of your teammates to kind of be able to make a return trip this year?
ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, for me it’s been an interesting couple years driving for HMS in the 500 obviously from the front row every year, have had extremely fast race cars. It’s like we make it through every crash until that last one. We go all day, we miss crashes that we probably shouldn’t miss, and then a crash that we probably should miss we get caught up in.
It’s been frustrating to not get a great finish here in the 500. Obviously we’ve had some other superspeedway success, and we want to win this deal. This is the Daytona 500. Everybody wants to win this deal. We’ve just got to get through the whole race. We just haven’t been able to get through the whole race, and it hasn’t ever really been our fault. We’ve always had great driving race cars, fast race cars, led laps, but just got to get to the end.
Q: Since 2000, the driver who’s sat on the pole has not won the race —
ALEX BOWMAN: Aww, why you got to tell me that?
Q: You have to go back to Dale Jarrett with the bad-ass Robert Yates engines. He’s the last guy to pull off that feat. How do you kind of kill that jinx and be the guy that breaks through?
ALEX BOWMAN: Well, I didn’t know that, so that wasn’t even in my head. So now I’m all worried about it.
I don’t know. Kind of like I said before, you’ve just got to make it to the end, and I feel like if we do that we’re going to have a shot at it.
But yeah, it’s a really hard race to win. So many things have to go right. Your day has to go so well, and it’s hard. It’s tough to do.
It’s hard to do no matter where you start. I don’t think any of our previous 500 runs have really even been influenced from where we start, so just got to get to the end, and if we do that, I know we’ll have a chance.
Q: Is it going to be fun to hold this over William for the next four days?
ALEX BOWMAN: I don’t know about that. I feel like as a driver, it’s cool, but like it means so much to the team and it’s such a direct representation of their effort. I might not make fun of William too much over the next couple days, but if there’s a good opportunity to, I may have to throw a jab or two.
Q: I asked William this and I’ll ask you. Obviously, a big advantage of having teammates on the front row for the 500 is to potentially be able to control the front of the field for the start. What’s your confidence level in the speed and the race setup, that you and William will be able to do that for as long as possible?
ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, I think you’ve seen much more of that, obviously, over the last couple years. We definitely weren’t the first to do it, but I feel like Chevrolet has done a really good job of it, and Hendrick Motorsports has done a good job of it, as well. Hopefully it works out and we can.
We’ve had plans that worked, we’ve had plans that fell apart, but obviously this is a team sport, and when it comes to superspeedway racing there’s a lot that goes into it. We’re going to do everything we can to keep both those cars up front.
I’ve got Greg Ives walking behind me. He actually is funny when he talks, but then he stops talking and he gets real serious in a meeting and you don’t know if he’s going to hit you or if he’s upset about something.
But no, I’m going to floor it and hopefully stay up front.
Q: These are still unprecedented times in NASCAR where you’re not able to get the usual amount of practice and whatnot, yet you seem to have a terrific rapport with this team. You guys are putting fast cars out there and you can’t stop talking about how great everyone has been over at HMS. What does a night like this say about the camaraderie, the unity and the overall togetherness of Hendrick Motorsports and how well they’ve been able to do in these unprecedented times?
ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, I think I’ve watched some of what Mr. H has said in the last couple weeks and he’s talked about how the atmosphere in the shop is better than he’s ever seen it and how people are more pumped up. I would agree with that.
I would say the communication has been better than ever between the teams. Coming off the championship, the guys are all pumped up. Everybody is extremely proud of that and what the 9 team were able to do last year. My guys I think are pretty proud of our Playoff run last year.
I think there’s just a lot of really positive things going on at HMS right now, and a night like tonight just proves all the hard work is worth it.
Back in the shop, some of these guys come and help me on my sprint car and midgets after hours and none of them have been able to lately because it’s been some long nights in the shop. I know that they’ve all been working hard and working some late nights. Just super appreciative of each and every person’s hard work at HMS because it definitely shows up on the racetrack.
GREG IVES, CREW CHIEF OF THE NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO:
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by crew chief Greg Ives of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet.
You’re no stranger to qualifying on the pole here and good runs qualifying. Just walk us through your mindset heading into today.
GREG IVES: Well, you know, we definitely focused a lot on qualifying. We felt like that going into tomorrow’s race that the track was going to have a lot of grip so we could trim out the car a little bit more than normal. And securing that front row starting spot is a big deal. You get yourself in a bad position tomorrow night and you’re able to kind of back off a little bit. That’s kind of what our focus was.
Executing is a whole ‘nother thing. So, we were able to do that. And the common denominator is Hendrick Motorsports. I’m just fortunate to be able to get paired up with great guys like Alex and the team that we have and get to talk to you guys about it.
Q: It’s no secret that you guys seem to be fast when it comes to superspeedway qualifying, as the record speaks for itself. But everybody has to wonder, what is the secret that you guys have when it comes to these tracks?
GREG IVES: Well, I think with the impound qualifying, it’s a decision. It’s a decision whether or not to put your car in race trim and have some type of focus more on how the car is going to be balanced and handle in the draft.
For the Daytona 500 for us it’s a marquee race that you want to get the pole. There’s obviously a special reason why first and second are locked into the race and don’t have to — I wouldn’t say necessarily worry about the 150s, but you have your starting spot, you understand where your pit stall is going to be, you can kind of perfect and get a calm and understanding of where you have to get in the box, get out, and maybe that tenth of a mile per hour better down pit road is going to help you come out first.
For us that was a focus, and I’m sure several people are saying, hey, that wasn’t our focus. Our focus was to have a car capable of racing three wide in a situation that your tires are going to fall off.
Like I said, I felt like we’re going to have plenty of grip tomorrow night. That’s going to — time will tell, right? For us, accomplished the goal that we set out to do, and like I said, that was our focus.
Q: We’ve seen you guys in past years play it conservative in the Duels. What’s the strategy going into tomorrow knowing that you guys are locked on the front row with the pole?
GREG IVES: Yeah, last year we were locked in, as well, and I think we led a lot of our Chevy train, or at least on the back bumper of the 9 car. We came off pit road and came up behind them and there was a three-wide situation that Alex felt not comfortable with, especially with the race car we had, and we lifted.
Like I said, we’re going to put ourselves in a situation to lead our Chevy teammates, our Hendrick teammates, whoever is in our Duel, I’m not sure which one, I haven’t seen the results exactly yet, but that’s the goal is to lead that pack. I’m sure we have the speed to do it, we just have to understand the handling.
At some point, your car is not going to drive good, and you’ve got to understand that situation and how you’re going to counter it, whether it’s something that Alex will do in the car or some feedback that I can put in the race car to make him better on Sunday.
Q: Alex was saying that qualifying here means so much to you, you take pride in having these cars in the front row. What’s your motivation?
GREG IVES: Yeah, first off, great seeing you. It’s been a while.
Yeah, our motivation is just we put a lot of time and effort into our speedway program. For us, it’s a showcase of — it’s a show car. It’s the pinnacle of the hotrods that we bring out of our race shop, and I know there’s a lot of pride in every piece, every car, just from the paint job all the way down to the last nut and bolt.
What Alex talked about earlier, it’s that pride that each shop member has. It’s hard to explain. Obviously, I’m mumbling up here about it, but there’s something special about Daytona, something special about the 500 and qualifying on the front row.
Q: To be so much faster than the 24 and the rest of the field, is that you? Is that Alex? Is it the engine?
GREG IVES: It’s a combination of everybody. So like I said, our focus was 100 percent on qualifying. That showed. You’re going to have some comments made that, hey, we’re not going to race well, and so be it, but we accomplished the goal we set out to do.
Everybody makes that choice. As a crew chief I made that choice for this team. And there’s a lot of pride in qualifying on the pole for the 500 that I’m definitely feeling right now.
Q: I’ve seen the picture of you putting the decal on the front of the car honoring Rowdy Harrell. I can tell from the social media stuff I’ve seen it’s really had a huge impact on you and the team. How have you guys sort of navigated those emotions coming into the start of the new season? How do you work through it with your guys?
GREG IVES: Yeah, I mean, 100 percent. That’s probably — this off-season is probably one of the toughest ones I’ve been through. Not only with the loss of my buddy Bryce but also Rowdy and Blakely. It’s been a tough deal. I don’t build a team to wrench on cars. I build a team to be a family. I build a team to have heart.
I think a lot of heart goes into what we do every week. Why? Because we do it 39 weeks out of the year, and then we have an off-season that we do it again.
You know, for me I know when the birthdays are of every person on my team. I know their addresses, names, I know who they are personally. You know, and that’s what matters most to me. Like I said, they’re not just a front-end mechanic, they’re not just a tire carrier, they’re people that I want to mentor and grow to be humans that impact life in a greater way than sports and NASCAR.
I think that’s one thing that Rowdy was able to do. Not too many people in the garage he probably hasn’t talked to, hasn’t inspired to maybe laugh that day.
Like I said, it’s been a tough off-season. If it wasn’t for the rest of my teammates around me, Mr. H. He’s incredible, the way he supports the teams, not only in triumph but also in tragedy. He was gracious enough to be there not only by the family’s side but by our side every step of the way and give us meaning to maybe something we wanted to ask questions why.
Rowdy is still a big part of our team, a big inspiration. Yeah, it gets emotional. It definitely does. But in this sport you have to have that emotion to succeed.
Q: Can you tell any changes yet with Chad and the role that he’s in, either off the track or at the track this weekend?
GREG IVES: Oh, yeah. You know, Chad has made me the crew chief I am today, so I owe a lot — I wouldn’t be sitting here without — I don’t know what else to say. I wouldn’t be sitting here without his mentorship.
What Jimmie and Chad have not only meant to my career, wow, like being an engineer for them and winning races and championships, opening doors that I’ve never dreamed of having the opportunity of, sitting here talking to the media about just collecting his second Daytona 500 pole.
I think one thing that Chad always brings to any situation is intensity, and I knew when I came to Hendrick Motorsports as a crew chief I needed to bring the same intensity as him. Occasionally, I kind of had to look out of the corner of my eye and see what he’s doing because he’s just as much about beating me as I am him. He brings that intensity to all four teams now.
Not that he didn’t before, but the primary focus was either the 48 or the 24. Now his knowledge, his excitement, his dedication to just racing is second to none, and he’s able to bring that to all of Hendrick Motorsports, not just on an individual team basis.
Man, I mean, you probably can — I can sit here and talk about Chad and his influence on my life and what he does for Hendrick Motorsports all night long. Him and I have such a great relationship. We can go to each other with tough questions and give tough answers when they’re needed, as well.
It’s a great role to be in. I know he’s just as proud as I am of the 500 pole. Yeah, he has a big impact in NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports.
Q: How anxious are you to see how this season kind of plays out, rolls out for this team? It seems to me as I look at it the team that you’ve been building, the continuity, Alex gaining experience, you’re about to hit that intersection, that sweet spot where good equipment, good teammate, experienced driver all meet at the same intersection and big things happen. Do you feel that’s the case, and how anxious are you to see how it kind of plays out this year?
GREG IVES: Yeah, I mean, man, I’m super excited about what we have going on with this team. I know our performance of seventh finish last night probably wasn’t too exciting for y’all, but for us I think we had a really fast race car. He was able to pass cars. We got mixed up on strategies there for a second just with how the cautions fell, and I thought everything was going to work out well.
But we were in a position before we got in that crash, in front of the 18 car, not knowing what the leaders were going to do, to potentially win that race.
That’s a big tell of where Alex has come, that confidence that he brought into that race. How we ended last year, you never know what does the off-season do to you, what does the off-season — do you keep on working to improve, or do you fall back and say, hey, wow, we had a good playoff run, we should be good to go. I think the latter is not where we’re at, it’s the previous. We’ve worked hard. Alex has worked extremely hard to pick up where he left off, and that’s what I’m most excited about. We have consistency in our team.
Yeah, we don’t always hit our stride right all the time. We have bumps in the road. But the nice thing is we’re brothers in arms, and we’re able to work through them and know that improving is the ultimate goal, and to improve sometimes you need that constructive criticism and that honest voice, whether it’s my car chief to myself or myself to the car chief or whoever else on the team.
Really excited. Happy to be with Ally, happy to be on the 48 team. That number is really special to me, and like I said, helped open doors that I never dreamed would ever open.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA CAMARO:
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by William Byron. We will open it up for questions.
Q: William, a big advantage of having teammates on the front row is to potentially control the front of the pack and the race as it gets rolling. How confident are you that you and Alex can do that as the race starts and keep doing that?
WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, I mean, I think for us, we’ve started up there together before, so I feel like for us, we can rely on that experience, especially being teammates with Alex for the last three years, I guess. It’s really been comfortable to work with him.
I feel like that’s the goal, is to stay up there and contend and lead a bunch of laps and control the lanes. That’s our goal first and foremost. But you’ve got to get to the end, as well. And if you get yourself in tough positions, you just have to realize that it’s better to try to rally back at the end of the race and not tear something up. That’s kind of what I’ve learned.
And it can kind of go in waves as the race goes on. And sometimes you’re up front and sometimes you’re kind of mired in traffic, so you just have to take it how it comes to you.
Q: I would say Daytona and Talladega are the two late races last year you won, and Talladega where you were in contention were probably your best plate races. You seemed more confident in the moves you were making, a little bit more aggressive. Did something just click or were you more confident? Was it the spotter? Seemed like something was different last year with your superspeedway moves.
WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, I think it just takes time. I feel like the first couple years in Cup I was able to lead laps at certain times of the race on speedways but never towards the end and never in the right timing of the race.
I feel like now the moves that I’m making are a little bit more — I know kind of how to make those moves at the right time, and things have just worked out better for us in those last couple races.
Yeah, I think there’s definitely more confidence, and some of it comes with just knowing your car and knowing some of the things that you can and can’t do. And I feel like the last two races, like you said, Talladega was really close to a win, and Daytona, obviously. I feel like we can build on those for sure.
Q: I just wanted to ask you if this was kind of what you expected of your team for you and Alex to be this fast. It wasn’t necessarily like that in practice, but you guys really seem to bring it when you have to. And were you surprised at how fast he was?
WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, I feel like it’s always — Hendrick always gives us great cars to come down here and qualify well and also race well, so you never know which guys are going to have the speed out of the four of us.
To see how we approached the weeks leading up to this race and how we were really determined to go out there and start off strong with obviously the Clash last night, finishing fifth was great for us, good solid start, but our goal today was to go out there and try to qualify on the front row.
It’s nice to be able to kind of check that off. And great to see both Alex and I – the 48 team and the 24 team – both up there.
Q: Some guys never know the feeling of starting on the front row for the Daytona 500. You’ve had that experience before. What’s it like? I know with not as many fans in the stands there’s not as much electricity this year as in the past. But what’s it like to be able to lead the field beyond the front row for the Daytona 500, coming to the green flag in NASCAR’s biggest race?
WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, first and foremost this year we’ve got to get to that point first. I think there’s a lot of boxes you still have to check to get to starting there. You’ve got to get through the Duels. You’ve got to get through practice.
That’s TBD, but I think that in the past it’s been great to start up front. It’s been a really cool feeling. I’d say there’s nothing like the experience I had in 2019 when I started on the front row. And having all those fans here was just amazing. I mean, I was pretty speechless and a little bit nervous.
I think this year will be similar. Obviously less fans but still fans, and it’s going to be fun to have them here. It was fun to have them here the last Daytona race, too, so that was definitely noticeable.
Q: Is there a little bit more extra nerves than if you were starting on the front row of another race at another place?
WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, I mean, yes and no. I feel like there’s certain tracks that you go in the first corner, you don’t really know what to expect. You go to some of these road course tracks and we’ve seen how hard it is just to make the first corner because you’re leading and you don’t have really a reference.
I mean, it’s probably harder at some of those road courses than here, but I think quickly the pace and the intensity kind of ramps up after the first lap here, so you’ve got to be ready for that.
Q: Do you have any ideas why Alex was a full second faster than you?
WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know if he was a full second, but I think he was like three/tenths, which is a lot. Yeah, it was fast, though. Greg is over here, he’s got all the secrets. I don’t know. I don’t build the car. But they certainly did a heck of a job.
Q: I’m sorry, I meant a mile per hour faster.
WILLIAM BYRON: Oh, okay. Yeah, that’s a lot.
Q: It seems like the last several years you guys have come down here, Hendrick, with the speed in the cars to put yourselves in contention to win in race, but it’s been since 2014 when a Hendrick driver has done it. How badly do you guys want to be able to kind of complete the deal and put one of these cars in victory lane again?
WILLIAM BYRON: It would be huge. I mean, we’ve won other events here, and it would be huge, though, to win the Daytona 500 for any of the four of us.
I feel like even more so this year there’s a concentrated effort on that and making sure we’re helping each other and we’ve just gotten better and better at that over the year.
The dialogue has continued to be open, and I feel like we’re going to continue to try to move that forward and try to get one of us in Victory Lane. It’s definitely our goal this year.
Q: As you just mentioned, the longer that you’ve been at Hendrick and the longer that the four of you get the opportunity to work together, do you think that that’ll translate into better opportunities to work together at plate races like Daytona?
WILLIAM BYRON: Yeah, for sure. I mean, it was obvious last time it was that way with the 9 helping us at the end. Obviously you’re going to take the run that you have and it’s your job as leader to block and protect and make guys help you, but I think there’s a concentrated effort for us to make sure we’re pushing each other when we are able to.
You know, that was a big help the last race, and I think it’s going to continue to be that way regardless of who is out front and kind of who’s in control.
Q: Mr. H was in here on Monday and he was talking about getting excited to be back to the track and how fun it was going to be and watching everybody interacting. He talked about how big it would be to win this race. How big would it be, especially after the year we had, to have Mr. H back at the track and to pull a victory in the Daytona 500 with him there?
WILLIAM BYRON: It would be amazing. I think the coolest thing is hearing from him after wins and good results. And I feel like that’ll be the same if one of us are able to win on Sunday. It’s going to be a pretty amazing feeling.
We’re getting closer and closer to that magic number for Hendrick, so I feel like all of our efforts to try to get as close as possible as soon as possible is important, so you want to be that guy that can mark off kind of a marquee race win.