Friday Press Conference from Bristol

Chase Elliott
Chase Elliott

Drivers
Chase Elliott
Kyle Larson
Austin Dillon
Jimmie Johnson

CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed his involvement with a youth initiative, Chase U, at Charlotte Motor Speedway, his current position in the point standings, his thoughts heading into Bristol this weekend and many other topics. Full Transcript:

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT CHASE UNIVERSITY AND WHAT IS HAPPENING AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY THIS FALL:
"I definitely can't take the credit on all of this. I had some people within our group that had some thoughts about it. It was something I thought was kind of cool and jumped on board with and felt like it might be a good opportunity. I have a lot of buddies that are in college right now, probably where I should be, but I have a lot of buddies who are in college right now and I see kind of that lifestyle and what they enjoy and how much fun they have. I thought it might be kind of something cool if we could incorporate that into what I do on the weekends. I enjoy doing what I do. I wouldn't trade it, so I'm happy to be at the race track each week, but I thought it might be cool to just incorporate some of that. I felt like it would be something to jump on board with. We did and we are going to give it a shot at Charlotte. We are open to maybe trying it at some other places throughout the year this year, but Charlotte was on board and felt like it would be a good place. A home track to a lot of people so to speak so it might be a good place to do that with having a handful of colleges around that area might be a good place to give it a shot. We are excited."

THERE ARE REALLY NO TOUGH COURSES AT CHASE UNIVERSITY RIGHT?
"Well, we hope we will see. I'm not very smart so I might be your first failure out of this university, but I think it will be cool. Charlotte has been very nice and done a great job of jumping on board with us, giving us an opportunity really to have a ticket package and an opportunity for students on a weekend to spend $24 and go to a race and have things set-up for you like it is I think it is pretty cool. It is something that if I was in school, I'm a biased race fan obviously, but I think it would be something I would be interested in. I think it's going to turn out cool."

WILL YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO GO OUT AND VISIT?
"Yes, I'm going to go out and spend some time with the folks that are there and like you said, Charlotte has got an area that is going to be designated just for the folks that do come. Twenty-four dollars gets you a ticket, free parking, which I think is as good as it's going to get."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]CAN YOU USE THINGS THAT YOU LEARNED AT CHARLOTTE IN THE SPRING AND APPLY THEM TO THE FALL?
"I hope so. I think as we go back in the fall Charlotte is kind of a place that hasn't really changed a whole lot from a surface perspective over the past little while from what I've seen racing there the past couple of years. I think you will see some of the similar things that we've seen at the spring in the 600 and the All-Star race. I think it will be similar to that and hopefully we can get things tuned in and dialed up for a 1.5-mile that is going to be a big race, it always is. Racing at Charlotte a lot of home town guys that is close to the shop that is a big deal for everybody, so we are excited to get back there, excited for the next couple of races coming up. I'm excited for Bristol first and foremost and we will take Charlotte as it comes."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW YOU APPROACH QUALIFYING AT CHARLOTTE?
"I mean I don't really think it would be any different than anywhere else for that matter. You are always looking for the coolest temperatures. Everybody is always hunting for that cloud as much as it may matter or it may not. It is probably an ego thing more than it is anything else. I would say the good cars are going to run fast in the sun or in the shade. From that perspective you are always looking to find that little bit of what you think is a little bit. I don't foresee it being any different than anywhere else."

HOW DO YOU VIEW YOUR CURRENT POSITION IN THE POINTS?
"I just view it as another weekend. I mean I don't think there is any need in looking at it any differently. For us, I don't think you can let that consume you. I think if you get consumed in the last few spots of the Chase then you are not looking at the things that matter most. The way we are viewing it as a team is for us we want to be contenders for wins and we want to have our sights set on winning. If we have our sights on being 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th that is probably where we are going to run, so that is not how we want to look at it. No need in letting that consume you just go do our jobs like we know how to do them and we will see how it unfolds. You can't predict the future, but we can do the best job we can. We can be as best prepared as we can before we show up to the race track and that is all we can ask for. We are here to race so hopefully it will be exciting to watch for the fans. We obviously hope we can get ourselves in."

WHAT OTHER WAYS DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE RACING COMMUNITY CAN STEP UP AND TRY TO ATTACK THE YOUNGER DEMOGRAPHIC?
"For me like anything else and kind of my opinion on it is I think if you have an entertaining sport or something that is entertaining and appealing to people they are going to come watch it, no matter how much it costs, whatever it takes they are going to come. It's like a football game or anything else these days. You don't hear people complaining about ticket prices to a football game, it doesn't seem like. I think if it's entertaining and if it is appealing to people I think they are going to come. I think as much as we can do to focus on that from a racer side from the drivers and obviously NASCAR as a sanctioning body and race tracks as much as we can do to make the racing entertaining I think the more people are going to be interested in it. Maybe that is a dumb answer, but I think it's about as simple as that. I'm all in for it. I will do the best job I can do to make it entertaining and obviously our goal is to have a shot of being contenders and try to win races. That is my opinion and hopefully we will see some of that moving forward."

THOUGHTS ON THE LOWER DOWNFORCE PACKAGE AT MICHIGAN:
"I think it will be very similar to what we have every other week and obviously what we had there the first Michigan race. It's all relative. We are still sealed to the ground. We are still fighting for 1/16th of an inch with the splitter and the side skirts being real close to the ground. Having a little bit of spoiler taken off or a little splitter length taken away I don't think is going to change it drastically. We had that first race with it and it gave you some different opportunities and the balance of the cars was different, but overall you are still fighting for some of the same things. I expect it to be real similar."

IF YOU COULD GET THE DAY OFF AND GO TO A SPORTING EVENT WHAT WOULD IT BE?
"I would be right here."

WILLIAM BYRON JUST SIGNED ON AT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AND WILL BE DRIVING AT JR MOTORSPORTS NEXT SEASON. YOU SORT OF HAD A SIMILAR PATH. WHAT KIND OF STEP DO YOU THINK THAT IS FOR HIM?
"To me I think William has been impressive since he has been around. I've had a chance to race with William the last couple of years. I think when he was just really getting started and I first started hearing about him racing late models in some of the pro late model races I went and ran over the past couple of years and the super late model races I ran as he transitioned to doing some of that stuff. He has had some good opportunities. He's got a great family. He is a really nice guy. I think more than anything he has done a really good job driving and sure he has had good opportunities people say, well he is driving good stuff, he is for sure, but at the same time he is doing a good job with what he has. Just because he has something good to drive doesn't mean that it's all going to fix itself. I think he has made the most of his opportunities. He's a nice guy and to me he goes about his business the way you should. I think he is deserving of a good opportunity. I think he will do well at JR Motorsports. I'm excited to work with him if he wants to work with me in any way I can help I would be more than happy to. I'm happy to have him on our team and looking forward to watching him grow. I was really impressed with him. I didn't know for sure if that deal was going to come together or not, but ironically I was really impressed with him Wednesday night. I thought he did a good job. He impressed me in a couple of ways that I didn't really see anybody else doing Wednesday night, which I thought was cool. To see that news Thursday morning was definitely ironic at the same time, but it was good to see. I think he deserves it."

THOUGHTS ON THE TRACK AFTER PRACTICE:
"I think it's definitely been interesting for sure. I think it's interesting and to be honest with you I kind of applaud Bristol for being open minded enough to do something like this and to give it a shot. I think we were all a little skeptical coming in as to what it might be, but hey, for them to commit like they have to doing something different and working on that bottom lane like they did, hey, I can't argue with that. I do think the grip on the bottom of the race track is there, the Trucks were right around the bottom, more like what we used to see at Bristol like everybody is talking about. I foresee that going away unless they redo it or something changes. I think as the Cup cars and the Xfinity cars race I think the groove will keep working its way up and the farther it goes up the more grip there will be. To me, I think eventually the top lane is probably going to prevail unless they redo the bottom. If that is the case, then that may be a little different, but the way my opinion stands right now I think that the groove will go back up to the top like we have seen here the past couple of races. Which I think is fun and has put on a good show, so I can't complain with that either."

Kyle Larson
Kyle Larson

KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 HUGGIES CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media along with his friend Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. to discuss a special helmet each driver will be wearing in memory of their friend Bryan Clauson. Larson discussed the helmet, racing at night and other topics. Full Transcript:

ON RUNNING THE SPECIAL HELMET:
"We both have these helmets painted. Bryan, this design, I think was his favorite he had; he ran it this year some. He won a lot of big races with some pink helmets. This has the puzzle pieces for the autism stuff. That meant a lot to him. He does a charity event during Chili Bowl that raises a lot of money for autism. His good friend Ben has autism. It's cool to come here and show our support to Bryan and his family. I know Lauren and her family are on their way here. That is going to be fun to hang out with them. I got to spend a little bit of time with Lauren and Bryan's families at Knoxville. Just do what we can to show our support. He was a great person, awesome race car driver; we have both finished second to him quite a bit. I hate to see him go, but we are going to do our part to support him."

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT NIGHT RACING?
"I always thought night racing was cool to watch. But now racing I like day racing better just because the tracks seem to be hotter and slicker and the groove gets wider. Here at Bristol it doesn't matter day race, night race, it races the same. But you go to Charlotte the day race there is awesome, the night race is horrible. I don't know it's definitely exciting for the fans and stuff like that, but I enjoy day racing."

YOU ARE IN A TIGHT PACK BATTLING FOR THE LAST FEW CHASE SPOTS. SUM UP WHERE YOU THINK YOU STAND IN THAT BATTLE:
"I was looking good before the last lap there at Watkins Glen. I lost 25 or 26 points there. Now I think I'm 30 behind Jamie (McMurray). That is going to be tough to do in these last four races, but Bristol is probably my best race track and Michigan I always run pretty well at. Darlington is a decent one for me too. I got some good ones to make some points up. It would be nice to get a win, but if we don't get a win we are going to have to be top five probably these next four races to have a shot at making it. Just going to continue to work hard and try and get some good luck to go our way. Like Ricky said, Chris Buescher is probably going to end up in the top 30. I know I'm in the Chase right now, but I haven't viewed it that way since he won. Like I said, just keep working hard and hopefully we can do what it takes to make the Chase."

WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF THE TWO RACING GROOVES AFTER THE FIRST PRACTICE SESSION?
"Ricky and I both like running the top. Right now I would say the bottom has got a little bit more speed in it than the top does, at least for the first 10 or so laps. I think after that the top is not too far off. The top still has a ways to go before it is right. (Turns) 1 and 2 has got a little bit more rubber up there than (Turns) 3 and 4 does. I think once three and four gets a little bit wider entry and you can get up in the grip earlier you will run about the same lap time as you can on the bottom later in a run. I still think the first few laps you will run the bottom. It will be fun, I think, I wasn't too happy with them putting the stuff on the bottom, but I think in the race it will be good. I think we will all probably qualify around the bottom and you may spend the first little bit of the race on the bottom, but I think it will wear out and the racing should be really good. I think once you get to traffic you will be able to kind of move around and try even more lanes than before."

Austin Dillon
Austin Dillon

AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW/GREAT STUFF CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed the potential of making his first Sprint Cup Series chase, his up-coming 3-on-3 charity basketball tournament and many other topics. Full Transcript:

YOU ARE ON PACE TO MAKE YOUR FIRST CHASE FOR THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP THIS SEASON. TALK ABOUT HOW YOUR TEAM WILL APPROACH THE NEXT THREE RACES AND OVERALL HOW YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR SEASON HAS GONE:
"Well, I feel like we've had a solid season to this point, a couple of up's and down's throughout, but overall I'm pleased with the speed and the direction of our cars. Pocono was a highlight this year. I felt like we had a car that could win a race. I think we are heading in the right direction. I wish we could have some races back. I think everybody does, but we do have some circled that we wish we could have back because we lost some big points on because of just failures and what not. Three races to go, well, four really, I'm feeling pretty confident in where we are at and the direction, like I said where we are headed. Want to have a solid run here in Bristol to kind of get to these last three."

HOW DO YOU VIEW WHERE YOU ARE IN POINTS RIGHT NOW?
"I think we have to be aggressive. Anytime you play defense and you start playing that game it seems to hurt you. I try and lean on some of my past of Xfinity championship and Truck championship to figure out I think the best one to lean on is the Xfinity championship. We were kind of playing from behind there the last six races or so against Sam Hornish and we were able to really string together some really solid runs, top-five's. Four to go, just got to look at it, finish in the top 10 and I think we are solid four races, four top 10's that would be a great goal. We have a little leeway right there, top 15, but I think top 10 would take us home."

TALK ABOUT YOUR 3 ON 3 BASKETBALL GAME COMING UP:
"Yeah, everybody does golf and I always wanted to try something different last year and it seemed to be successful kind of the same format as golf, but just playing a different sport. We've got a good line-up this year. I've been working hard on trying to get different celebrities from different realms. Got Tyler Farr, Chris Lane, Colt Ford, got a magician, Carl Michael and a football player Will Witherspoon, a lot of different guys from different sports. I'm excited about it. I've got different college basketball players coming to play so there will be some dunks. Joey Logano is now a coach. He said he would rather not play, but he feels like he could coach so I got him in there. I've got to thank him; he has got his own team there. I'm excited about that. Denny Hamlin will be there. I'm trying to talk in a couple of other guys, but for some reason every time I get responses, ‘have you seen me play basketball?' I told them I would put good players around them and hopefully I can get more to come. I talked to Jimmie (Johnson) and Kyle (Busch) and different people, so we will see what we can get. I've got a good line-up so far and we've got enough for 16 teams. That is pretty solid and it's at the LJVM Coliseum on August 31st in Winston-Salem (NC). I want to invite all you guys out there and have a good time. There is an open bar out back so we will have some fun."

WITH THE WEATHER THE WAY IT'S BEEN DO YOU HOPE IT KEEPS RAINING OR DO YOU REALLY WANT TO GET SOME PRACTICE IN?
"I think everybody wants to get in a little practice to see where their cars are for sure. And with the bottom line being a little more predominant this time, quite a bit more yesterday, I would like to get the Cup cars out there for at least one practice. Sometimes you get too much practice and you can throw yourself off. I would like an hour for sure. I think our cars have stepped up, so I would like to go qualify also and see where we are at. If not, we are starting in 13th and we can do it from there and have a solid day. We are sitting in a good position either way, but I would like to have an hour or two of practice."

LET'S ASSUME YOU MAKE THE CHASE HOW DO YOU ATTACK THAT FIRST SEGMENT?
"I think we attack it with no limits. One thing on our mind is to win races and we've got to do that. I actually feel like we have a good shot of winning one of these last four. We've got two of the four circled and never know what can happen at the other two. For us, it's just throwing everything at it, whatever we can to get to the next round each time. I really feel like there is a bunch of good races in the Chase for me. If you look last year we had some really solid runs at the end of last year in the Chase. I just want to get in there and battle it out. I feel like there are a lot of 1.5-miles that play to where we have been good at this year in the Chase. Then the short tracks that are in it are places that I've run well too, New Hampshire, Martinsville, those two places are solid. I like the places that we go in the Chase."

HOW CLOSE DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TO YOUR FIRST CUP SERIES WIN? TALK ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE BRISTOL NIGHT RACE WITH THE NO. 3 CAR HERE WHAT DOES THIS RACE MEAN TO YOU?
"This place is always special. You come here and there is nothing like it walking down into this place and kind of get jacked up coming in here and want to run well. Obviously, the history has a lot to do with that. I like what the track is doing with trying to make that bottom line come in. I think that is good. I think they have already kind of started without what they are doing. I think what they did to just make the track smoother down there, when you see that stuff come up I still think there is going to be a bottom groove somewhat. It's going to be a fun and interesting race. I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays out and hopefully you see some of that old-school bottom style driving. Then past that the other question was winning a race, yeah, I thought Pocono was probably our best race this year other than just the finishing part of it due to weather and just some small things that we made mistakes on that we could have done better. Speed wise that was my favorite car we've had. We've got something coming similar just like that car to Michigan. So, I'm looking forward to getting there."

WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO RACE AGAINST YOUR BROTHER IN THE CUP SERIES?
"Well I think it would be great. I think it will push me and it will help our organization. He has a lot of fire in him and hopefully that happens. I would love to see him out there. That is my little brother, man, I want him in there."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MICHIGAN AND THE EVEN LOWER DOWNFORCE PACKAGE?
"I enjoyed it the first time. I think there were some things that we could do a little better. I thought I heard that they were putting rubber down there too in the top lane or something I heard that, but that should be interesting if they did the same thing to Michigan. So if it widens out a little bit that would be something to really enjoy. I'm looking forward to it. Looking forward to the challenge and I think we can build on what we did the first race."

Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 KOBALT CHEVROLET SS, met with media and discussed the season to date, leading into the Chase, the new package at the upcoming Michigan race, his expectations for the Bristol race this weekend, and more. Full Transcript:

TALK ABOUT YOUR SEASON THUS FAR AND YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND

"During the off-weekend, I spent a lot of much-needed time with my family. I feel like the battery is charged and ready to go for the final stretch of the regular season and then the most important part of the year for us, which is the Chase. A lot of hard work went on during the break that we had. Just judging by excitement from (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) and all the way through Mr. Hendrick, we're definitely turning over some stones and are hopeful to bring a little better product to the race track week in and week out. We've been struggling at times, trying to produce speed and lap times of late and making mistakes in the process. We're still rallying with some decent finishes from time to time, but then again still having some bad luck. I think Watkins Glen kind of speaks to that as well; and also self-inflicted mistakes (laughs).

"I'm looking forward to a good clean race here at Bristol, which is obviously an interesting place to have those expectations or desires. There's usually nothing clean or simple at this race track. But if we can do that, and get through here, and close out the regular season strong; we're gearing up. I think come Chase time in the middle of the Chase, the way things are looking back at the shop and the excitement I see in all the departments, we're expecting a good late-season surge for Hendrick Motorsports."

LOOKING BACK WHEN YOU RETIRE AND ARE IN YOUR ROCKING CHAIR, WILL IT BUG YOU AT ALL THAT YOU'VE NOT WON AT EVERY TRACK? IN PARTICULAR, HOMESTEAD?

"Well, it's not over yet."

WELL, WOULD IT BOTHER YOU?

"No, it won't. It is not something that has been on my radar from a goal standpoint. I wanted to win a race. And when that happened, I had to start changing my goals quickly. And that was my dream from my late teens when I thought NASCAR could be a career path for me. So, I've exceeded all my expectations. Sure, it would be awesome to do it. If I can, it will mean a ton; just like many other things that I've been fortunate to accomplish, but I won't sit in the chair and be upset over that one. No, not that."

LOOKING AHEAD, GOING BACK TO MICHIGAN WITH THE EVEN LOWER DOWNFORCE PACKAGE, WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF THAT AND THE IDEA OF GOING BACK AS OPPOSED TO TRYING IT AT ANOTHER TRACK

"It's a tough decision that we're in, but I'm thankful that the teams, and it's the biggest burden on the teams, and certainly NASCAR being open-minded to trying these lower downforce packages. We've seen a lot of great things in the 2016 season with these lower downforce packages. It's hard to say that Michigan is the best track to try it. From the drivers' standpoint, we've asked for slower center of the corner speeds; and Michigan has the highest center of corner speeds, so to try this package there, I get it. I'm not sure it gives us exactly what we would need. I'd love to see it on a short track. I'd love to see it on a 1.5-mile before we make a decision and move on. But the truth of the matter is we don't have that luxury, especially when we get into the Chase. We can't take this to a Texas or even a Richmond coming up, which isn't in the Chase, but it's just very difficult to pull off and develop a product. But everybody is trying. So, I'm very excited about it. I think it is good to go back a second time to Michigan and let the teams have another shot at it. From my standpoint, the first Michigan, with the lower downforce, it was still Michigan. It still raced the same. It was still tough to pass. It's been that way ever since we've resurfaced the race track. So, I don't put a lot of weight in the package as the culprit there. Going back a second time with it, hopefully we refine our cars and we can race a little bit better. But, again, if I had a perfect world, we could have started the process early in the year and pick some tracks that are more common on the schedule and get a better feel for it. But, it's just not the situation we have."

YOU'VE OBVIOUSLY BEEN IN THIS SITUATION BEFORE WHERE YOU'RE IN THE CHASE AND IT'S THE END OF THE SEASON; HOW DO YOU MANAGE THIS END PART OF THE REGULAR SEASON WHEN MAYBE THERE ARE OTHER GUYS OUT THERE WILLING TO TAKE SOME CHANCES THAT YOU MIGHT GET CAUGHT UP IN BECAUSE THEY WANT TO GET INTO THE CHASE?

"Fortunately, we're locked into the Chase. So, if it is somebody trying to make the Chase and something happens, we would be bummed that it would affect us, but it doesn't prevent us from getting in. Honestly, it gives us an opportunity to take chance too. We're starting this week with a new front tire changer, so it's nice to get some reps there. A longtime member of our team had to pick-up and unfortunately had to leave the race team to do what was right for his family and isn't with us any longer. So, it's going to be nice to get some reps. We'd also love to have momentum on our side from the pit stop standpoint, and from the consistency of running up front standpoint. The pressure that comes with fighting for a championship is really intense. And we feel if we're able to put our team in that race-winning environment, it better prepares you for that. So, that's really the goal, to close out the regular season and head into the post-season."

IF WE DIDN'T HAVE THE CURRENT CHASE FORMAT, A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD PROBABLY BE LOOKING AT YOUR STATISTICS AND SAYING GOSH, WHAT ARE THEY DOING TO ADDRESS THEIR PROBLEMS. BUT THE KIND OF ATTITUDE FROM PEOPLE APPEARS TO BE NOW THEY'RE IN THEIR CHASE, WE'RE NOT THERE YET, AND THERE IS PLENTY OF TIME. BUT IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU GUYS ARE NOT RESTING ON YOUR LAURELS AND ARE TRYING TO ADJUST THE THINGS BEFORE YOU GET TO THE CHASE

"Oh, for sure. I hadn't thought of it from that standpoint if it was the old format and statistics wouldn't be good. And I also think we wouldn't have taken as many risks trying different set-ups and do different things that have gone on. But certainly, no matter which format it is, it hasn't been a great year for us. We won a couple of times early and showed some early-season strength, and it's been a tough summer. Nobody knows that more than us and we want to be better. Not only the team, but all of Hendrick Motorsports has been working really hard to get back to where we want to be. Fortunately there is time and fortunately there is the Chase format. A lot can happen before the season is up."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS ADDED WILLIAM BYRON THIS WEEK AND HE SAID HE GREW UP AS A JIMMIE JOHNSON FAN. HAVE YOU PAID MUCH ATTENTION TO HIM AND WHAT DO YOU THINK OF HIM?

"Yeah, I've definitely been paying attention to him. We live in the same neighborhood. And I can recall him Trick or Treating at my house in one of the rare opportunities we were home (laughter). I absolutely know who he is and have gotten to know him and have seen him around home. I think he's an amazing talent with a great head on his shoulders and I'm very excited that he's under the Hendrick umbrella now. Hopefully we can take advantage of his youth and great talent and give him a great run. I'm excited that he's on the team."

HOW ARE YOU GOING TO KNOW IF ANY OF THESE IMPROVEMENTS ARE WORKING CONSIDERING YOU'VE GOT TWO SHORT TRACKS, THE 2017 IN DARLINGTON WHICH I DON'T KNOW IF THAT RELATES TO ANYTHING ELSE

"Yeah, we are shooting blind a bit. I think that Michigan will help some. Yes, it is a totally different package. Darlington will be a good indication for us as to where things are at. Granted, some things change but you have some more speeds to the 1.5-miles, so I think Darlington will probably be the best gauge for us. And then obviously getting into the Chase week to week is a big part of it. We need to continue building strength from week to week."

IF THE BOTTOM TURNS OUT TO BE THE PREFERRED LINE THIS WEEKEND, AND IT TURNS OUT THAT IT'S THE OLD BRISTOL SO TO SPEAK, DOES THE BUMP AND RUN BECOME MORE ACCEPTABLE THAN IT IS ON ANOTHER WEEKEND? ARE DRIVERS OKAY WITH THAT OR ARE YOU GOING TO GET ANNOYED IF SOMEBODY DOES THAT TO YOU?

"You're never annoyed when you're passing, but you're always annoyed when it happens to you; regardless of the circumstances. I think you're more tolerant if, it might sound crazy, but if it's for the win….to run a 15th and get wrecked for 15th, it doesn't make a lot of sense. It's an interesting question and it depends if you're a Chase contender or if you've won a bunch this year, you're probably more relaxed on it. If you're looking at the first win of the season or an opportunity to get into the Chase and somebody dumps you or knocks you out of the way, you're going to respond differently. And getting moved is one thing. Getting dumped is another. So, I feel like this car, the way the bumpers match up, it's much easier to have casual contact and not crash a guy. There definitely could be some bumping and banging, but you've got to go to some great lengths to dump somebody. And if that happens, I think the person is going to be upset, period."

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