After spending last season at Richard Childress Racing calling the shots for Paul Menard, Matt Borland makes the move over to Germain Racing to work with Ty Dillon in 2018.
Popular Speed’s Ashley McCubbin recently spoke to Borland about his thoughts on the upcoming year, and more.
POPULAR SPEED: What are your thoughts looking ahead to 2018?
MATT BORLAND: Well, with the rule changes coming up, it’s going to be interesting. Definitely some things that we’re going to have to do different than last year, but I think that will be a new challenge. I’m excited about getting to work with Ty (Dillon) some more over here at Germain Racing. There’s a good group of people here, and we’re looking forward to running better where we can and have a good season.
PS: So far, what has it been like transitioning over to Germain Racing from RCR?
MB: It’s been relatively smooth. Bob Germain has put together a good group here, and they’ve all been super friendly. With them being an alliance partner with RCR, all of the cars are the same to what RCR has and what we ran last year so getting used to the cars has been easy – which is nice. It’s just been learning new people, and figuring out who does what, and everybody’s names.
PS: What are your goals and expectations?
MB: We haven’t sat down and really discussed that yet, but I think I know from my standpoint which doesn’t change from year to year, and that’s to try to get better every week and not shoot ourselves in the foot. Don’t take ourselves out of races, and always making sure the car is capable of completing the races and every lap.
PS: What track on the schedule is your favorite to go to?
MB: It changes from year to year. Loved going up to Loudon and Dover, but Charlotte is nice because it’s close to home; it makes for a nice weekend. It’s probably Dover, though, I would say.
PS: First year of stage racing – what is your reaction?
MB: It definitely changed things quite a bit. Probably the biggest change is the stage points. In years past, you absolutely could not drop out of races, where with stage points now, if you’re able to score points in the first two stages, you can actually score more points and not finish than somebody who finishes the race on the lead lap. So having the ability to score points and be in the top 10 during the stages is extremely important, and definitely a big challenge.
PS: With NASCAR limiting how many people you will have at the track in 2018, how will that change things for the teams?
MB: For us, on the 13, it doesn’t change things a lot. I think it will put us to just where we reach the limit. So for us, it won’t be a huge change. Now for some of the bigger teams, I think they’re going to shift a little bit how they do things. But all in all, the teams are pretty good at adapting to rule changes.
PS: How did you initially get involved in racing?
MB: I got involved from my first job at General Motors in the proving grounds. I kind of accidentally left the magazine system and a guy called me up, and told me he was racing that weekend. So I went out there and got into it from there.
PS: And then how did that turn into being a NASCAR crew chief?
MB: I don’t know that I necessarily wanted to do that, or even really that this job existed until I moved down to North Carolina and worked with Penske Racing as a simulation engineer. That was really the first time that I was made aware of what a crew chief did. I wouldn’t say it wasn’t any kind of lifelong desire, or something like that; I just liked racing and wanted to be involved with it.
The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season kicks off with the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 18.
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