ashley asks....

“They Said What?” NASCAR Cup Series Edition

By: Ashley McCubbin

Sometimes when you stick a microphone in front of a driver’s face – especially when they’re mad, you have no clue what they may say and a couple of times you’ll hear something that surprises you or gives you a bit of a perspective.

Throughout the NASCAR Cup Series season, there were quite a few of these moments. So it seems only fitting we take a glance back through the year at what was said.

Gavin Baker | Nigel Kinrade Photography

“I think it’s the length of the lap first of all. It’s very long. It’s unique in the sense of, so you take like a Sonoma that is pretty low speed corners all the way around the racetrack. Even take Road America and the length is probably longer than COTA, the lap times are probably a little bit quicker which means that racetrack is more high speed. A lot of the corners are mid-speed corners to high-speed corners. COTA is probably unique in the sense that the flow of the racetrack. Very high speed in certain sections. Long straightaways, but into very tight brake zones. The esses you kind of flow a lot of speed through them, so that is what is probably different than every other racetrack that we go to. Those road courses are kind of just one type of racetrack. They’re either pretty high speed, low speed. COTA’s got a little bit of everything there and you know I felt like on the Xfinity race because that was the dry race that I ran in, passing was more difficult than I expected. Track position is even more critical there than I would say at the other racetracks, but that’s probably what is most different out of that racetrack compared to the other ones that we go to.” – A.J. Allmendinger

“There’s never been a rookie in the 2 car, plain and simple. It’s definitely a new chapter for that car, myself, and for the race team so I’m excited for that. It’s a great source of pride for me – I wouldn’t say it’s a motivator. My job is still the same as it would be regardless, and it has been in the past. But there’s a sense of pride in being able to do that with it being Mr. Penske’s foundation in NASCAR. Excited to start the next chapter for the car, and write the next chapter for it.” – Austin Cindric

“I think realistically we want to obviously start by improving our average finish. I would like to see us competing for top 25s and top 20s on a regular basis. We were always right around the high twenties to 30th place, typically, so to see an average spot boost like that would definitely be the first part, and then, for me personally, to see a little bit of improvement on the superspeedway and road courses where we can eventually be competing for those top 15s and top 10s is definitely where I’d like to be. My goals and expectations for the year, even if it’s a pretty big hill to climb, is to be 25th in points. Obviously, last year there’s a lot of heavy hitters that were right around that area as well, but I think you have to set high goals to try to achieve the best and that’s what we’re looking for this year.” – Cody Ware

#41: Cole Custer, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang

“For me, it was extremely durable, especially when you beat and bang – especially front to rear. If you hit somebody in the back of their car, you wouldn’t cave the nose in like the last car and knock your radiator out, so they’re really durable in that sense.  Also, just to feel the tire and how much drive we had and, honestly, how much grip we had at that small of a racetrack was pretty surprising. I think they knocked it out of the park, like I said before.  The car performed good.  The racetrack was good.  The event was good, so I can’t give you any negatives right now.” – Cole Custer

“I don’t think they need to ask me of my what opinion is, but I also don’t think they need to let the inmates run the prison. I think NASCAR is going to be taking the blunt of it so they should be making all the decisions now. The guys that are driving them have the best idea of how to achieve things that NASCAR is looking to do, I think there could always be more communication between NASCAR and the drivers. But generally, I think NASCAR has been an open book with what they’re trying and what they want to see accomplished. I think what I want to see is all the fans give it a minute to figure what this is. We’re only one test into the NextGen car and people are already writing it off or judging it a certain way. Like, let this thing have half-a-season, full season before you judge it because the drivers are going to put the racing on to the best of our ability and just like always with NASCAR, the drivers are always going to deliver a good show. There’s going to be the thrilling endings and battles with this car, just like what we’re used to seeing with the previous car.” – Corey LaJoie

“I remember the first time Ty Norris and Justin Marks talked to me. They told me their vision. What they wanted to create at Trackhouse. They have done everything they told me they were going to do. I think you have seen that vision translate to success on the track. Again, I only see things getting better and better for Trackhouse Racing.” – Daniel Suarez

#21: Harrison Burton, Wood Brothers Racing, Motorcraft / Quick Lane Ford Mustang

“I wanted to come out and do a really good job and I feel like I made a lot of mistakes early. Some things I feel like I did well early, but I don’t know. I don’t know what the grade would be. I haven’t really thought a lot about that. I think the biggest thing is just trying to build off of every weekend. Last weekend at MIchigan was so tough because we just missed it in practice and qualifying and then you get into the race and get crashed early and don’t have a chance to really build off of anything. I’m just trying to get better and better each weekend. If I could give it a grade, I wouldn’t give it a good one. I think we’ve got to run better. There’s no secret about that and there’s no one on our team that believes what we’re doing is enough. We’ll get it done. It’s just a matter of how and I know we’re working hard enough to do it. That’s for sure.” – Harrison Burton

“For our team, we’re expected to go out there and win eight or nine races a year and when you don’t do that it’s a huge disappointment. To come off of last year and not be able to capitalize there, you want to go into this new car and come out with a bang and I think we’ve all see that we obviously haven’t been able to do that and it’s taken a lot of adjustment from a memory standpoint, whether it’s driver, crew chief, road crew – everybody involved – it’s just trying to get our hands and arms wrapped around it and figure it out and go out there and compete.” – Rodney Childers

“I think you’ve seen a lot of teams that haven’t competed at a much higher level are doing much better now, and I think that’s because teams are not engineering their own parts and pieces. We’re all in the same area as far as what we’re bolting on the cars. it’s defiantly going to close the field up. We still have plenty of work on our hands to make these cars drive faster and better, and beat the competition. It’s never going to make the field exactly even, but it’s going to close the gap. When we went down to Daytona for the test, we did really well in the draft. On the first day we topped the boards on speed, so it just allows us to compete at a much higher level than we have before. For me personally, I’ve always driven for the smaller teams and they’re getting hand-me-downs from the larger teams, parts that those guys didn’t no longer want. These guys are bolting them on as if they’re a new piece. So things are never going to be equal, but definitely closer. We still have our own work cut out to make our car faster and driving better, but looking forward to what the car will bring for us.” – Timmy Hill

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s