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Questions and Quotes: Rookies

April 09, 2014, NASCAR Illustrated, for,

NASCAR Illustrated gets rookies' take on wearing the stripe

Do you mind having the rookie stripe on your bumper?

Justin Allgaier

Sprint Cup Driver
"It's helpful. If you cut in front of a veteran driver or switch lines, it gives you a little bit of a free pass. It doesn't get you a whole lot, but as aggressive as the sport is and how important every spot on the track is, it helps. And when you get to take the stripe off, you feel like you accomplished something."

Kyle Larson
Sprint Cup Driver
"It doesn't really matter to me; I don't think drivers look at the yellow stripe. You could be three years into your career and the other drivers know who is good and who is not. Maybe I'm a rookie, but I don't pay attention to the yellow stripe."

Austin Dillon
Sprint Cup Driver
"I enjoy it. It's a year that you can learn from; you can use it as a freebie card. You need to take advantage of it as much as you can."

Ty Dillon
Nationwide Series Driver
"It's something that has been in NASCAR for a long time, and it gives everybody a heads-up on your experience level. Sometimes people kind of need to be denoted as rookie so that you know to use a little extra care."
Do veteran drivers lean on rookies more than they do fellow veteran drivers?

Allgaier: "It depends on who you're racing against. When I first started running the Truck Series (2005), there were a few of the veteran drivers who made that their goal. When they saw a yellow stripe on a back bumper, they made it their mission to make your life miserable. It's changed a lot. I feel like the days of blatantly going after a guy that has a yellow stripe are over."

Larson: "Maybe I'll be able to tell better a couple years down the road, but I don't think veteran drivers race rookies any differently than they do other veteran drivers. A lot of times, they might be more careful around you."

Austin Dillon: "Everyone has to have respect for each other. And I have to earn that respect by racing them clean. By the end of the year, you know where you can give and take."

Ty Dillon:
"When it comes down to the last lap, it doesn't matter who it is. Everybody is going to race as hard as they can. That's what I'd expect out of anybody."

Can rookies ever teach veteran drivers something new?

"When you're a rookie, you tend to be under the microscope a bit more. So when you do something well, it gets noticed just as much as when you do something wrong."

Larson: "I think so. Being young and a rookie, you find yourself trying a little too hard sometimes, and a lot of times that makes you find different lines. Going back to the Charlotte Nationwide race last October, I was the first one to go to the top (groove of the track) and after that, everybody moved up there. Everybody pays attention. If somebody out there is going faster, you're going to pay attention and try and do what they are doing."

Austin Dillon: "I think they've seen pretty much everything you can see. Hopefully, I can just go out there and compete with them. That will show them something — just gaining laps, experience and respect."

Ty Dillon: "There might be times when they can. Rookie drivers seem to be younger, really aggressive, trying to prove a point. So rookies are capable of going out there, busting off some good laps and getting up on the wheel and showing the veterans a thing or two."


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