Johnson top Chevrolet driver in points heading to Martinsville

JEFF CHEW, MARKETING MANAGER - CHEVROLET RACING: “The Team Chevy Racing Display at Martinsville Speedway will have something for everyone in the entire family. This week fans will have the opportunity to ask questions of Team Chevy’s Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne and Jamie McMurray, as well as have the chance to get autographs from Juan Pablo Montoya’s No. 42 Target Chevrolet race-day pit crew. You also can spend time with one of our friendly product specialists and learn more about Chevy’s great 2013 vehicle lineup, and compete with other fans on our video race simulators. Also on display are Chevrolet Performance Parts crate engines and an assortment of accessories and performance parts for fans to purchase from their local Chevy dealer. We hope to see you there.”

Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

ALBA COLON, PROGRAM MANAGER, NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES, CHEVROLET RACING: “This weekend we head to Martinsville Speedway in Virginia for the final short track race on the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tour. Our Team Chevy drivers always look forward to racing on this historic half-mile track. It’s a fun place that has that old short track feel, and they really enjoy that. It’s flat and narrow, with tight pit lanes, long straightaways, and tight corner radii. It’s a tough track with its own unique set of challenges.

“To be successful here requires a good handling car; and the drivers must find the right balance between braking and accelerating. Brakes can take a beating during the course of the 500-lap race, and the drivers themselves need to maintain control of how they perform. Our Chevy engineers work hand-in-hand with our team engineers and crew chiefs testing brakes, cooling systems, and performance packages. But it is still up to the drivers to manage these systems, while in heavy traffic, throughout the entire race. Also, as we have seen time and time again, track position will be key.

“Martinsville is an important stop on the circuit for our contenders in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. With just four races remaining in the battle for the Driver’s Championship, they must continue to accumulate points, stay out of trouble, and post strong finishes. Our Chevrolet drivers and teams are definitely up to the task, and the racing will be exciting, for sure!

“Martinsville has been good to us and we are looking forward to a successful Sunday for Team Chevy!”

TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT:

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – 2nd IN STANDINGS: “Yeah, I am. It should be a good track for us. We did the 2013 test a month or so ago, so we’ve been on the track recently; and granted the cars aren’t the same so it will be different, but at lease we’ve had some laps on the track. We’ve done a little short track testing that should pay off and make us more competitive. So as excited as I am, I know also that the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) is and I have to assume the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) is pretty charged-up to go. But either way, I feel like it’s a good opportunity for us to get points and hopefully if we’re not in the points lead, we can get awfully close to it or take it there.”

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET – 5th IN STANDINGS: “Our car was really fast at Martinsville in the spring. Even though we had some bad luck, it was a big week for the team to get the pole and show that speed. We went on our best streak of the year after that, so I hope we can go back and get the win this time.”

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET – 7th IN STANDINGS: “It’s still that old short track feel. That’s what I like. We run a lot of 1.5-mile tracks during the year and it’s the only place that races like this. We’ve got two half-mile tracks that we race on. This one’s quite a bit different than Bristol, and that’s what makes it fun. You can out-brake guys and you can run the outside if you get a shot. It’s racing the way we all grew up racing.”

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 PEPSI MAX CHEVROLET – 8th IN STANDINGS: "At the intermediate tracks, we're skewing the rear ends now and doing all sorts of crazy things trying to push the limits for aerodynamics. For whatever reason, things have changed the least amount here when you think of aerodynamics, the things that we are doing to these cars, the tires and the track conditions. That allows an old school guy like me to go to a place like Martinsville, have success and have things work for me that worked 10 years ago.

"Martinsville is just that kind of place where you get into a rhythm, and it's important when you get into traffic to maintain that rhythm, or get back into it as fast as you possibly can. No other track demands the kind of rhythm needed at Martinsville. It's very easy to 'over drive' the corners here. When you're around other cars, you have to change your line and change what you're doing in order to make a pass. It's important to jump right back into that rhythm that you had. That's part of the challenge that comes with Martinsville.

"I can't wait for the race this weekend. It all comes down to preparation. Hendrick Motorsports gives me such great race cars that it allows me to just go focus on my line and my entry speed. I can focus on how we can make the car go faster, how I can get back to the throttle sooner and how I can make the tires last over long runs. I'm already dreaming about it."

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 RHEEM CHEVROLET – 10th IN STANDINGS: “I think Kansas (Speedway) was much more of a wild card than Martinsville (Speedway) will be. I think any race can be a wild card. You can have some crazy things happen at any time, so I really think every race is a wild card at this point, especially if you're in the championship race and need every point that you can get. You never know what's going to happen, when the caution is going to fly, when you’re going to blow a tire, whatever the case may be. Anything can happen.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET – 15th IN STANDINGS: “Martinsville is very much a finesse race track – from a braking standpoint, but also the acceleration part of it, too. You can really chew your tires up on the concrete before you get to the asphalt getting back to the gas, and you have to get back to the gas, but how you do it can make a really big difference in how good your car is for a whole fuel run. A fuel run here is roughly 110 to 120 laps, and you only get three or four times to do that. Tires are important but, if the race goes green for a long time, you can go a lap down by not managing your racecar. For me, I’m thinking about who’s around me, what to expect at the start of the race, how good the car is, what we need to work on, those kind of things. Sometimes your competition is more you than anybody else.

“We’ve got a good setup at Stewart-Haas. I enjoy the simplicity of the track. I enjoy the fact that you have to brake. Tracks you go to where you don’t have to brake just means more people can be closer to driving it because it requires less skill. The tracks where you have to operate that third pedal, it makes a big difference when it comes to driver ability. I think that’s why some people don’t enjoy Martinsville, at first. I didn’t enjoy Martinsville, at first. It was a big challenge. As simple as it is to hit the brake pedal, it’s pretty complex when it comes to doing it right.”

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 MENARDS/ZECOL CHEVROLET – 16th IN STANDINGS: “Our short-track program has been our weakness this year. We’ve had good speed at Martinsville (Speedway) in the past, however, it’s just a game of track position – when to pit, when not to and when to put tires on. We’ve had fast cars; it’s just a matter of making the right adjustments, me giving the right feedback and Slugger (Labbe, crew chief) making the right calls to pit when we need to and stay out when we don’t in order to get the finish we should.”

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 ODYSSEY/ENERSYS CHEVROLET – 19th IN STANDINGS: “There really isn’t much of a difference running Martinsville Speedway between April and October. The weather is pretty similar and I think the biggest thing that changes is the technology. The sport moves so fast where something that works in April doesn’t necessarily work in October. It still works, but it just won’t be good enough to win. Keeping up with everyone else is the hardest thing by far. Everyone is trying to get better and if you don’t keep trying to get ahead, you are going to fall way behind.”

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET – 20th IN STANDINGS: “We are taking a brand new car to Martinsville, so I am really anxious to get on the track to see if this car is as good as what I think it will be. Our guys have been working a lot of hours back at the shop working to make improvements to the cars, so I want to see the results for them as much as anything. I enjoy racing at Martinsville, it is always good side-by-side short-track racing. I love this style of racing, so hopefully we can have a strong run in the McDonald’s Chevrolet.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – 22nd IN STANDINGS: “Martinsville is not as hard as people think. If somebody races hard, you're going to race hard. It’s a place you don't want to wreck anybody because payback is really bad there. We have to have respect for each other out there. The Target team is bringing a car that I feel is one of our best yet. I’m looking forward to getting out there and seeing what we can do this weekend and making more gains toward next year.”

KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/FARM AMERICAN CHEVROLET – 26th IN STANDINGS: "We conducted a test session for the Martinsville race last week at the speedway in Sandusky, Ohio and I was pleased with the performance. The flat track at Martinsville hasn't been one of my best venues, so it was important to get some testing in with the Furniture Row team. This will be our third race together and things are moving along on a positive note as we get ready for 2013. We had a top-five run going in Kansas last week until a number of incidents -- beyond our control -- spoiled our finishing result."

Source: Team Chevy Racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Article type Previews
Tags burton, busch, chevrolet, gordon, johnson, kahne, karvick newman, mcmurray, menard, montoya, stewart

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