NASCAR: Cliff Daniels on “tough” second year with Larson

In the post-race press conference after Kyle Larson won at Watkins Glen, Crew Chief Cliff Daniels was asked about this year’s struggles after dominating with 10 wins and the title in 2021.

“It’s been tough. A lot of that I’ve got to say starts with me, right? I’m the leader of the team, I help coach him, the pit crew, the road crew, all the guys at the shop,” said Daniels.

“There’s a lot of different areas I have to cover.

“I’m very I would say happy and pleased with the prep that we put into putting a fast race car on track, how to look at our strategy, all the different things until we get to the moment.

“In the moment, for whatever reason or another, all summer we’ve kind of been plagued like one little mistake here or there, a pit call or a pit stop, a restart or some little thing that has impacted our day, kept us from getting a good finish.

“I take a lot of that to heart. We have a lot of very honest conversations within our team of what we have to do to make sure when you know you have one of the best drivers if not the best driver in the world, all the talent in our team that we had last year, all of the folks at Hendrick Motorsports giving us great cars and engines, all the things that they have given us, it really does boil down to execution.

“I will say the Next Gen car has presented an entirely different challenge for executing a race, managing tire falloff, strategy, a lot of things we wanted it to bring about.

“I certainly own the share of mistakes that I’ve made in that. We continue to kind of keep a tally in a healthy way to say here was a missed opportunity, here is what that looked like, here is the supporting evidence to look for the next time to not make that same mistake again.

“Those are conversations that we have with him, within our team, of just how to be better and execute better.

“Very proud of the team today. Proud of him today because we needed kind of that token of confidence to say we brought another fast race car to the track this week, can we keep it up front, execute the race, have a shot at the end.

“If you have a shot at the end, you get a chance to capitalize, he did a great job today. Very thankful for that.”