HOW DO YOU SEE THIS WEEKEND AND HOW IS IT DIFFERENT TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE OWNERS CHAMPIONSHIP BUT NOT THE DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP?
“Honestly, I don’t see it any differently. I come here with as much concentration as last season when I raced for both championships. Maybe if I hadn’t won last year and already had a championship under my belt, I would have come here with a different mindset. But knowing that I already have that on my CV, it allows me to not be careless on the weekends. We’re extremely focused and would love to win that owners championship for Rick (Hendrick) and bring that big payday home as well. It is the most important part.
ON THE 50 MINUTES OF TRAINING ON FRIDAY CONSIDERING THE NUMBER OF TRAINING FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON.
“It’s a good opportunity to do a lot of little things to prepare for the race and to execute it well. Pit road speeds… I think we can select the fifth stall in order so we already have an idea of what a few stalls might be… we pull into those and speed up and try to do some rep stuff for the race. I hope our car is close enough that you can do this stuff and not go in and out of the garage to work on your car. I think we should be good. We were fine here earlier in the year. I feel like our short track stuff just got better. This is a good opportunity for everyone to practice for 50 minutes.
ON ROSS CHASTAIN’S TRAVEL TO MARTINSVILLE. DO YOU STILL FEEL LIKE SO AFTER LOOKING ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND SEEING OTHER PEOPLE’S REACTIONS? SHOULD NASCAR MAKE A RULE ABOUT THIS?
“I’d like to say after listening to all the fans that my opinion has changed because they’re very educated. But no, it’s not. I feel the same way I felt about this week. I’ll start with this: It was (great). There was no denying it. When I first saw it, I was like, ‘That was crazy. It took courage. I think my opinion was more based on the future and when this move will happen again. Because it will. I don’t even know if NASCAR has to watch it. When a car scares the wall with five to go and don’t even hit the wall they’re giving a warning because they want to put up a good finish At the end of the race it shouldn’t be any different especially with something obvious like that I think there are a lot of layers, security and such. But yeah, my view hasn’t changed. And it’s nothing personal against Ross. It’s po Could have been anyone on the court to pull this move and I would have felt the same way about it. It’s not a fair race. Again, I’ve done this before, so I’m being a hypocrite. But I’m glad I didn’t win because I couldn’t have slept through the night and been proud of it. Just like I don’t think I’d be proud to be in the last four with a move like that.
“It’s the integrity of it. It takes no talent to pin him against the wall and go two seconds faster than the field. I don’t think that’s fair. It’s not fair at all. »
BEING IN PHOENIX AS THE DEFENDING CHAMPION AND HOW DID THE YEAR END FOR YOU? WHAT ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS IN BACK?
“I don’t feel like I’ve done anything different this year than other years as an ambassador. I did a lot of the same things I’ve always done. I continued to race a lot outside of NASCAR. I feel like that’s where most of my heritage lies…I race a lot and develop motorsport. So that hasn’t changed. There are certainly things to be proud of this season. I think the fight we’ve had throughout the season to improve and get stronger as a team is something I’m proud of. Although we did it a bit late, we got to the point where I feel confident when we go into the races in myself and the team. I look forward to one more weekend trying to perform well and bring another championship to Rick Hendrick.
YOU SAID IT WOULD BE A BIG CONTROL. DO YOU KNOW HOW WORTH THE TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP IF YOU WIN IT? AND IS IT WIDESPREAD IN THE TEAM?
” I do not know exactly. I would have to check my emails to see what last year paid! It’s good. It would be good. Everyone’s deal is different. I could give you an answer, but Joey Logano might have a different deal.
DO YOU FEEL THAT YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THE TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP IS MINIMIZED? YOU ARE NOT INVOLVED IN CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA DAY.
“No, it was good. I had a lot to do this week so I didn’t have much time for that anyway. Does not matter to me. I like flying under the radar. I’m sure the show will talk about it a bit and I’m sure we’ll be a part of it. But the main storyline is the Drivers’ Championship. Although the Owner’s Championship pays the bills, the prestige of the championship revolves around the drivers. This has never happened in the Cup Series, at least for a very long time, where you have a team like me racing for the owners championship. I don’t care that we haven’t received much recognition for that. And I understand why. The Drivers’ Championship is what he has always focused on.
POTENTIALLY ENDING THE TREND OF A CHAMPION WINNING THIS RACE.
“I guess I wouldn’t see it that way. I would still consider them one of the championship winning teams. I think this year is different from other years with the parity we’ve seen throughout the season. I think it could be totally different from the five of us. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Sunday was another winner. I think it will happen.
DOES THIS LOOK LIKE A CHAMPIONSHIP RACE TO YOU?
“Yes it does. I don’t feel any different. I don’t see it any different. I feel as focused and motivated as I did last year to win the championship. I answered it earlier and said that If I didn’t already have a championship under my belt, maybe I would have come here a little more careless just because I’d be mad that I wasn’t in. But since I already have a championship on my resume, I’m just glad I got one. So I’m glad I got one. I don’t care if I got another one. Don’t take it the wrong way because I want to earn more. But I think I’m care much more because I already have one.
IS THE CHAMPIONS DIARY STILL A THING, AND ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO PASSING IT ON?
“It’s something so special that you want to read it once when you get it and once more before I give it to the next guy. It’s an extremely special book. It was the thing that stuck with me. “What excited me the most after winning the championship was receiving that. I’m sure everyone in the final four right now feels the same way. I’m sure it crossed their minds this week. I can’t wait to write my little piece and give it to them, hopefully I can win some more championships down the road to see what’s happened since then.
DID YOU OPEN IT WHEN YOU RECEIVED IT AND WILL YOU READ IT BEFORE SENDING IT?
“Yeah, I’ve read it all and I’ve read everyone’s pages. I put it in my safe and it’s been there for almost a year now. I’ll go home, take it out, and probably practice my handwriting to make sure it looks pretty.
BEING THE DEFENDING NASCAR CUP CHAMPION AND HOW HAVE YOU PERFORMED THIS YEAR?
“I think what’s good about me is that yes, there are things I probably should do differently. But I’m me and it hasn’t changed winning a championship or not. I’m still the same person I was a year ago this week before a championship, and I feel like he’s not a bad person. This year has been great on so many levels. I feel that through it all and through the ups and downs of this season, I’m still the same person and plan to be years from now.
JIMMIE JOHNSON MENTIONED EARLIER THAT YOU RUN THE INDY 500. WAS THERE ANY OTHER DISCUSSION?
“When Jimmie raced the Indy 500 this year, I asked him a lot after the race how it was, what it looked like, and this and that. But I never told him about me driving it. I think it’s obvious that I want to race with it. Nothing has advanced with it. If something came to me in a competition car, I would jump on it. I think there are so many limited rides when you’re limited to one manufacturer. It’s tough. I think I read with Kyle (Busch) that it kind of fell apart with him. It’s tough, but I would love to direct it.
REV RACING IS TRUCK RACING IN 2023. WAS IT NOT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A PLACE LIKE THIS TO GET YOUR FEET WET IN NASCAR BEFORE YOU RIDE?
“It was great. Rev Racing was cool. I was so busy that year racing; it was the most I’ve ever raced in a season – 2012 when I raced the K&N East Series. I so haven’t been able to really use the resources of Rev Racing and the day to day activities the kids do there throughout the week in the store as far as working on the cars, the gym or training at the media. because I was out of it the whole time. That being said, it’s a great platform for kids from a variety of backgrounds. I’m glad I got to be a part of it and glad I was able to gain some experience on a few tracks that I got to race the following season in the Nationwide Series at the time. And we won the championship that year, so that’s also something I’m really proud of. I’m can’t wait to see them evolve in the Truck series with the alliance with KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports). like it cool.”
SEASON TAKEAWAYS WITH THE FIRST SEASON OF THE NEXT-GEN CAR?
“The impact it’s had on NASCAR this year has been really cool. It’s been a big change in the sport over the last year. It’s been really cool to see where the sport came from and where it continues to go. moving through all the supply chain and COVID issues a few years ago. Maybe it’s something when you look back 10, 15 or 20 years from now and how it changed the sport, it’s “It’s something you can remember and teach younger generations how the sport has gotten to where it is now. It’s cool to be part of that generation of cars and that class of drivers.