CHEVROLET NCS IN MICHIGAN: Transcript of William Byron’s Press Conference

NASCAR CUP SERIES
MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
FIRE CASINO 400
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. COPY
AUGUST 6 2022

WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CAMARO ZL1, meets the media before the NASCAR Cup Series weekend race at Michigan International Speedway. Press Conference Transcript:

IS THERE ANYTHING TO DO OR YOU HAVE TO TAKE THINGS INTO YOUR OWN HANDS? OR JUST RACING WITH FOUR OR FIVE FIRST REPLY BEFORE PLAYOFF?

“I think it’s a bit off the highway trend, it’s hard to pass. If you’re late be careful, with these cars, sliding into a wide two-corner with six straight lanes is definitely a recipe for carnage. So it’s just the nature of the way the braking zone exists. Our car takes a long time to brake, number one. So under the green, we braked at 700 I would say; and when it restarts there, we brake maybe at 400 or 500.. there’s still plenty of time to position ourselves to the left or to the right. It’s just the nature of late alertness on the road lane and that’s what breeds, usually, with such wide braking zones. If you don’t, someone will do it for you. You don’t want to slip, so you end up driving deeper than you want because of the guy behind you. ”

ARE YOU IN PLAYOFF MODE ALREADY? IF ANYTHING, IS THERE ANYTHING YOU REALLY NEED TO DO?

“Yeah, I didn’t try to get into any mode. I’m just trying to race. We try, on occasion, to simulate what a playoff race or stuff like that looks like, but it never seems to work out very well. Just try to go out there and race. We will try our best when the playoffs start and we will try our best this weekend. Hopefully this weekend goes the way we want it to. The only things that are now represented are strengths or weaknesses in certain tracks. I feel we got a pretty good walking course. We were in the top three or four cars last weekend. Now, it’s just focus on the 1.5 mile and 2 mile tracks.. how good we are at this point of the season. And next week with a short track in Richmond, it will represent a Phoenix-type track.”

IT’S BEEN FIVE YEARS SINCE THE CHEVROLET CARS WIN THE CUP RACE AT MICHIGAN. BEYOND GETTING THREE CHEVYS IN THE BEST FIVE YEARS, IT’S VERY DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO FINISH ABOVE. WHAT’S CHEVROLET MISSING IN MICHIGAN THE LAST FEW YEARS?

“I think we had the pace last year. Gosh, we covered it.. not only us at No. 24, but car No. 1 with Kurt (Busch) and No. 5 with Kyle (Larson). So the three of us that ended up in the top three, I think, to some extent. I think Denny (Hamlin) is also quite fast. Just got a bit jumbled up there in the end with a late restart. We have a choice of lanes and whoever gets the push or the urge to take the lead will be able to control the race.

So it’s not to our liking, but I think we have a really good car. I don’t know what to expect this year, but all the Chevy’s go fast on the other high-speed tracks.”

YOU HAVE LEADED SOME LAPS IN THIS LATEST STRETCH, BUT THE TOP-10 IS NOT ONE. WHAT IS LOOKING FOR? WHAT HAPPENS IN RACING, OR DOES QUALIFY AND NOT BE IN THE TOP-10 as often AND PUT YOURSELF IN A GOOD POSITION TO START?

“I would be very worried if we didn’t have the pace we have in the last few weeks. New Hampshire is a good Saturday for us; first in practice and qualifying quite well. We just made a few wrong adjustments overnight and just put ourselves out of position there.

But then the last two weeks – yes Saturday wasn’t great, but Sunday at Pocono was really good. We ran fourth; had a pit road problem, the tire came off and there was a penalty. Last week, it might have handled the restart maybe a little differently, but unfortunately got stuck in a loop there and dropped the foot link.

I’d be worried if the last two weeks weren’t like this. But both incidents in the last two weeks, we were in the top five when we had problems. I think we just have to carry on with that.”

JUSTIN HALEY MENTIONED THAT YOU HAVE SENDED HIM FOR CONTACT AT THE BEGINNING OF A RACE IN INDIANAPOLIS. HE SAYS WELL IT WAS NOT HIS Fault.. HE WAS SHOOT FROM FIVE CARS BEHIND. WHY DO YOU NEED TO SEND HIM SUCH A NOTE BECAUSE OF CHAOS AROUND THE RACE, BUT CLEARLY WHAT’S HAPPENING ABOVE?

“It was only at the start of the race. I’m starting a long way back, so I might be able to use a bit of judgment there. Plus, Justin (Haley) is a great friend. We train together, so I think that’s part of that too. I admire him and value him as a person and a driver, so I wanted to reach out to him. He’s someone I like in the garage. That’s the deal.

But as far as restarts go, as I talked to Bob (Pockrass), it’s kind of like a hit or a hit… sort of go-kart demo out there. I have followed many such races on GoPro. If you lift for someone, then someone will hit you from behind. ”

USUALLY WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE ROAD COURSE RACE THE WEEK AFTER, YOU THINK ABOUT PUTING THE MONEY TO FIXING THE CAR. I WANT ABOUT THE HAULER SITUATION FROM THE LAST WEEK. WHAT IS SOMETHING RICK HENDRICK COULD FIX OR SHOULD BE FIXED WITH A NEW HAULER FOR YOU?

“Yeah, so we have a test kit that we usually use. We’ve been to Watkins Glen with this carrier and a few different tests this year. We’ll use it at least for now; put designs on it, make it look nice and stuff like that. Slightly different rhythm for people I’m sure knows where everything is, but for me it’s the same, really. I don’t use the carrier much. Most of my work is off the carrier.”

TALKING RACING SIM, HOW DO YOU THINK THAT OVERALL IRACING HAS BEEN ABLE TO INTEGRATION ESPECIALLY THIS TRACK, AND NEXT GEN CARS? HOW COMFORTABLE DO YOU FEEL FROM GETTING EXPERIENCE FROM IT AND BRINGING IT TO REAL ON-TRACK RACING?

“Yeah, I know they work really hard on those things. I go there every few months when I’m at home; look where it is, see what’s different and what’s new. They are always working on how realistic the track is and how realistic the tires are. Tires are the biggest factor in everything. Obviously we change tires all the time based on the track and that’s a lot to follow. I feel like they did a great job with all that stuff. I really enjoy the community there too.”

YOU REGISTERED TO RUN THE MODEL LATE IN BERLIN ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT. YOU WIN EARLY THIS SEASON AND YOU HAVE DONE GREAT IN THE LAST MODEL. HOW DOES IT HELP YOU ON SUNDAYS? DOES THIS HELP YOU ON SUNDAYS?

“Yeah, it definitely helped me on a Sunday I guess. Number one, just enjoy the race. But the more races I can do, the better I feel as a racer… how much better I respond and all that stuff. It gives confidence.

I raced a late model last week. Unfortunately didn’t win that one, but still a fun race with Erik (Jones). It’s a good race track. IRPs are awesome. We saw it at the truck race, it was very interesting. I enjoyed that and I’m excited for Berlin.

Berlin was a very difficult track the first time I went there a few months ago. I’m sure this time it will need something a little different with slightly hotter temperatures and stuff like that. I can’t wait for that.”

IN YOUR PREPARATION FOR THIS FINAL RACE, HOW MUCH DO YOU LEARN AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY WITH THIS CAR DO YOU THINK WILL APPLY FOR THIS WEEKEND AT MICHIGAN?

“I don’t know – I don’t think Auto Club is now very much like that surface age compared to this one. I think the speed is probably the biggest thing of its kind, but there’s more throttle time here.. much faster speeds. I don’t see a ton of transferability between the two, other than just downforce, speed and grip that will be your biggest factors in success.”

WHAT RACES WILL WE SEE TOMORROW? WILL IT BE STRESS, NOT STRESS?

“This year is always stressful. I don’t think I ever wake up before a race and know what to expect. Last week, I thought I was going for a 25th run. The race started and I went up like the top five. So you really just roll the dice and hope things go your way. But there really isn’t much consistency, as we’ve seen, with appearances. Not much to lean on, in terms of what to expect. Especially coming here for the first time, I don’t know. I hope we are quick and hope it doesn’t get too messy up front.”

Team Chevy’s high-resolution racing photos are available for editorial use.

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