Bowtie Bullet Points: Chevrolet Notes for the Chevy 500 * The End of the Road After 15 races, 3,101 laps and 4,370 miles of hard racing, the IRL IndyCar Series returns to its second home, Texas Motor Speedway, for its 2004 season finale. The...
Bowtie Bullet Points: Chevrolet Notes for the Chevy 500
* The End of the Road
After 15 races, 3,101 laps and 4,370 miles of hard racing, the IRL IndyCar Series returns to its second home, Texas Motor Speedway, for its 2004 season finale. The Texas track has hosted the series' season-ending race since 1999, and Chevy has sponsored the event since 2001. This year's Chevy 500K marks the end of an era as the season finale will move to California Speedway in 2005.
"Chevrolet's relationship with Texas Motor Speedway is truly exceptional, and this event will showcase our continuing partnership," said Glenn Tayler, GM Racing IRL marketing manager. "The TMS staff, GM's South Central Region and Chevrolet dealers have written the book on how to make a motorsports marketing program work. We're excited that Team Chevrolet will back at Texas Motor Speedway for two NASCAR Nextel Cup, two Busch Series and two Craftsman Truck Series races in 2005, as well as the IRL race in June."
* The Chevy Connection
The Chevy name on the marquee at Texas Motor Speedway is emblematic of Chevrolet's longstanding involvement in racing. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the small-block V-8; this remarkable motor is the cornerstone of the performance industry and the mainstay of American motorsports. GM has manufactured nearly 90 million engines based on the small-block V-8 design, and a fair number of them have found success on race tracks. In fact, the small-block V-8 has won more races than any other production-based engine. It's also touched the lives of countless racers, including several of the IndyCar Series drivers who will compete in the Chevy 500.
"My Dad was a drag racer, and Chevrolets were the only cars we owned," said Red Bull Cheever Racing driver Alex Barron. "We had all of the classics - '55 Chevys, Chevelles, Camaros, and Novas. He raced at drag strips all over Southern California, and we always had a Chevy hot rod in the family.
"My first car was a '67 Camaro SS with a four-speed, and my last project was a '63 Nova with a really strong small-block Chevy," Barron recalled. "I've only been to the drag strip a few times myself because I got into racing karts, but it's good to have a real American hot rod in the garage. There are times when you just need to start it up, blow off some steam, and remember why you love fast cars. I'm a big Chevy fan - it's in my blood."
Ed Carpenter, Barron's Red Bull Cheever Racing teammate and Rookie of the Year contender, also has strong ties to the red Bowtie.
"The whole time I was racing in USAC, everything I drove was a Chevy-powered product," Carpenter reported. "Chevy's the dominant engine in USAC sprint cars and Silver Crown.
"I worked a little on the motors and helped adjust the valves, but I'm definitely not an engine guy," Carpenter conceded. "The first car I owned after I got my driver's license was a 1994 Chevrolet Tahoe, and I'm still driving a Chevy today."
Tomas Scheckter, driver of the Pennzoil Panther Racing Chevrolet Dallara, seldom saw Chevrolets on the roads in his native South Africa as a youngster, but he was well aware of the Chevy mystique. His father, 1979 Formula 1 champion Jody Scheckter, drove Camaros in the International Race of Champions in 1975-77.
"People in South Africa think of Chevrolet as a symbol of America, a car with a big, powerful engine," said Scheckter. "Chevy's an icon."
* On the Record
GM engines have won 11 of the 14 IndyCar Series races held at Texas Motor Speedway since the inaugural event in June 1997; IRL Aurora V-8 engines scored nine victories and Chevy Indy V-8 engines won twice. GM has won five of the six fall races contested at TMS since a second race was added in 1998. The roster of winning GM drivers at Texas Motor Speedway includes Arie Luyendyk (spring 1997), Billy Boat (spring 1998), John Paul Jr. (fall 1998), Scott Goodyear (spring 1999 and fall 2000), Mark Dismore (fall 1999), Scott Sharp (spring 2000 and spring 2001), Sam Hornish Jr. (fall 2001 and fall 2002) and Jeff Ward (spring 2002). Tony Stewart is credited with the fastest lap ever run on the 1.5-mile speedway at 228.012 mph in the 1998 season finale - a mark set with a 4.0-liter IRL Aurora V-8. This weekend's Chevy 500 will be the second race held at TMS with 3.0-liter engines.
* Standing Tall in Texas
Everything is bigger in Texas - including GM's presence:
GM has more dealerships in Texas than in any other state (480).
GM has produced over 7.5 million vehicles in Texas at the GM Arlington Assembly Plant.
GM employs 5,500 Texans in 27 facilities located in Texas with a payroll of more than $500 million.
GM dealers in Texas employ approximately 25,000 people with an aggregate payroll of around $1.1 billion.
GM annually purchases $2.4 billion worth of goods and services from 582 suppliers located in Texas.
Texans buy a larger percentage of GM products than the nation as a whole (GM market share in Texas is 33 percent).
* Chevrolet Drivers on Texas Motor Speedway
ALEX BARRON, Red Bull Cheever Racing Chevrolet Dallara: "I'm trying to be really optimistic about the Texas race since we ran really well there earlier in the season with our third-place finish. It's been a long year, but we're still hanging in there and hoping to turn in good results. We seem to do well on the one-and-a-half mile tracks, so Texas is a great place for us to end the year."
ED CARPENTER, Red Bull Cheever Racing Chevrolet Dallara: "The last time we came to Texas, we had a really good car during the race, but, unfortunately, the suspension failed and we didn't get a chance to fight to the finish. We had a good engine test here with Chevy a few weeks ago, so that could be a big advantage for us. I really just want to finish my rookie year with a good result at Texas. I need to do well there for myself and end the year on a positive note."
FELIPE GIAFFONE, Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Chevrolet Dallara: "Texas is a great place to finish the championship because it's always going to be a close race. That's good for the fans and always exciting for the drivers. We've had good races in the past couple weeks with the bigger tracks, and we want to use that momentum in our favor with another strong finish. "
* Racing Around
The season finale of the American Le Mans Series will be run this weekend in Monterey, Calif., where the championship-winning Corvette Racing team can wrap up an undefeated season. Chevy Silverado drivers competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will share the track at Texas Motor Speedway with their IndyCar Series counterparts, while Team Chevrolet will compete in the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series races in Charlotte, N.C. Chevy is the only manufacturer that currently competes in America's premier stock car, open-wheel, drag racing and road racing series.
* About GM
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, employs about 325,000 people globally. Founded in 1908, GM has been the global automotive sales leader since 1931. GM today has manufacturing operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in 192 countries. In 2003, GM sold nearly 8.6 million cars and trucks, about 15 percent of the global vehicle market. GM's global headquarters is at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. More information on GM and its products can be found on the company's consumer website at www.gm.com.