Transcript: Chase Elliott (Media Centre)

THE MODERATOR: We have now been joined by our race winner, Chase Elliott.

We’ll start with questions for Chase.

Q A few playoff drivers, Hamlin, Blaney, said they had their eye on winning the race, but also looking at the big picture in the points. In what state of mind were you in the last laps?

HUNT ELLIOTT: Yeah, I mean, I don’t really know where we were. I think we got pretty decent stage points throughout the day. I don’t know where we were.

I just felt like when we took to the green for the restart, I thought my chance to win was to get in the top lane. It was certainly a risky move. I felt like we racked up a decent amount of stage points throughout the day, so that made me feel a little better about getting up there, trying to give me a chance to win.

I just didn’t think I was going to be able to win from lane three, the bottom row, with those few laps to go. I just thought it was my shot.

Luckily I moved up there, gave me the right push for the lap and a half, I was far enough ahead to hold Ryan at the line.

Q What do you think of the tie between your current teammate Kyle Larson but Kasey Kahne and Geoff Bodine on the all-time winning list at 18?

HUNT ELLIOTT: I did not know. It’s really cool. A little hard to believe honestly, I mean 18.

Yeah, I’m super proud of that honestly. Just knowing how tough we were, being 18 now is really special. I’d like to keep adding to that obviously over time. Very grateful for the 18 we have. Proud of our team.

It was the same team for the most part, there were a few changes in there, but Alan and Tom, myself on team 9, Eddie, we’ve been there all the way. It’s something special. Proud that we were able to grow together and give each other so many opportunities to catch checkered flags. I hope we can get some more.

Q With Jones, did you have to brake? How did you stay so connected with him?

HUNT ELLIOTT: Everything depended on him. He knew how to give me a very good push. I didn’t feel like I did anything special. I think just when he connected, and the two guys down there were also connected, so they weren’t aggressive recruiting us, trying to separate us.

Yeah, it was just the right time. He did a very good job. I think he deserves a ton of credit for that. Obviously, I’m very grateful that he committed to me during the last lap and a half.

I have a lot of respect for Erik. I ran with him long enough to trust him in this situation and not run over. We certainly pushed to the limit (smiles). It was a handful, but that’s kind of what you have to do in these scenarios. I thought he had balanced that well.

Q You get a big push there, left there by yourself. Coming to the line, did you think you had enough distance to be able to cover them or that you were too far?

HUNT ELLIOTT: I was certainly worried. I saw the 34 disconnect from the 12 at turn four. I thought this was my opportunity, so I tried to get down and pull Ryan as hard as I could, get away, try to get away. I thought that was my safest place.

Yeah, when they’re side by side again, I was a little scared of going too far. When they found each other side by side for this short time, I thought that was enough for me to succeed. I knew it was probably going to be close. Ryan was going to have such a good run, I didn’t really know how I was going to block it. I tried to waste as much time as possible and hope I got to the line first.

Q Racing Ryan, good friends, does that help you when you’re competing against him? Do you know what he can or cannot do? What is the dynamic?

HUNT ELLIOTT: I mean, obviously I know Ryan very well. I don’t know what decision he’s going to make in this particular scenario. A lot of times I don’t know, even as a pilot, until you’re faced with it and have to make a quick choice as to what you think is the right decision at that moment.

I’m not smart enough to put it all together, stay ahead of him, that’s for sure. I’m just trying to make the right decisions based on the information, the things I see, as quickly as possible, hopefully for the best.

Q There’s no added benefit to knowing him as well as you do?

HUNT ELLIOTT: Yes, we are still friends. But we also want to win. I think we both understand. We have always had a really very respectful friendship on the circuit, but also a very good understanding of our jobs and the challenges of Sunday.

Q Have you spoken with Alex, do you know if he can come to the Roval?

HUNT ELLIOTT: I spoke to him after hearing everything. Obviously, I have no idea of ​​his status. I’m definitely not going to speculate on that.

Q You ran with Noah Gragson. As a first-time teammate, what was that experience like before the start of the race?

HUNT ELLIOTT: Yeah, that was good. I know Noah from his time at JRM, obviously my story there. Some of his Cup races too. I thought he had done a good job. I thought he made good decisions.

Really overall I thought everyone was pretty smart about the things they were doing today, kind of understanding where the line was, what we could get away with, what We could not. It was good.

I wish it would continue in these places, but I’m sure it won’t. Yeah, I just thought it was a really good race. Everyone kind of understood where that boundary was, lived right within it. Put on a really good show to the finish line.

Q You talk about a race without many precautions, clean. What do you think of the race in general, exciting to watch for the fans?

HUNT ELLIOTT: Yeah, like I said, I thought it was a good show. Another close finish right at the start/finish line. Not much more than you can really ask for.

Q Have these playoffs challenged you in any other way that others haven’t? Is winning a relief because of the unknown ups and downs?

HUNT ELLIOTT: Yeah, I mean, I feel like I’ve been doing this long enough now to understand the roller coaster running. It’s going to roll, right? Either you learn to ride it on good days, on bad days too, or you don’t. It’s just part of the deal.

So yeah, just try to ride the wave. I had a bad week last week, I had a good week this week. Obviously good to move on to the next round, get six more bonus points. All these things are fantastic, we are very proud of them.

This agreement can humiliate you. We can go to Round of 8 and crash again like we did the first two rounds, or you can go there and maybe have a really good first run.

I do not know. You show up prepared, do your best, go from there.

Q Given that you won half of the races at the Roval, did that factor into the roll of the dice at the end?

HUNT ELLIOTT: No. No. I was just trying to think in the moment what I felt like I could do, be smart, give myself a chance to win today, yeah.

No, I wish I could piece things together that far in advance. I just don’t have it in me.

THE MODERATOR: Chased, thank you.

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