Charlotte II: GM Racing preview

TEAM CHEVY IMPALA SS INSIDE THE GARAGE AT LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY: PAT SUHY, GM RACING NASCAR GROUP MANAGER: "Coming off of a wild Sunday afternoon at Talladega the race this weekend at Lowe's will hopefully be a little less eventful for our Chevy...

TEAM CHEVY IMPALA SS INSIDE THE GARAGE AT LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY:

PAT SUHY, GM RACING NASCAR GROUP MANAGER: "Coming off of a wild Sunday afternoon at Talladega the race this weekend at Lowe's will hopefully be a little less eventful for our Chevy teams and drivers. Chevy leads all manufacturers in poles, top-five finishes, and laps led on intermediate tracks this season. Those statistics speak to the strength of our drivers and the teams that work hard to give them the best car they can on race day. Team Chevy drivers always put up a good fight at their hometown track and this week at Lowe's Motor Speedway will be no different. I expect to see all six of our Chase contenders running strong and working hard to bring home the trophy."

TEAM CHEVY IN THE CHASE: A Chevrolet driver has won 27 of the 44 races held in the history of the Chase ('04 -- to-date in '08)

CHEVY HYDROGEN FUEL CELL POWER MEETS NASCAR POWER: As part of "Project Driveway", the first large-scale market test of fuel cell vehicles with real drivers in the real world, Team Chevy drivers Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon as well as Johnson's crew chief Chad Knaus will take to the streets of Charlotte this week behind the wheel of Chevy Equinox Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles prior to the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Photos and video are available to media of the Team Chevy stars receiving instruction about and driving the Fuel Cell Equinox test vehicles.

FROM THE DRIVER'S SEAT:

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS: "I'm optimistic because of how we performed at Kansas. We are learning more and more each time we run the Chevrolet Impala, so we are hopefully getting much closer to running consistently in the top five and battling for wins. Talladega is behind us and there is nothing we can do about that now. We'll focus on the race at Lowe's and go out there Saturday night and try to win. There's still a lot of racing left this year, and I'm not counting anybody out just yet. Everybody considered Talladega to be the 'wild card' race -- and it was. But we're probably going to have restarts this weekend where guys are battling hard for position in a pack of cars. There could be a points shakeup at one or more of the remaining races."

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS: "I can't believe this weekend is my 250th start. I've been very lucky in my career that I've had one sponsor, Lowe's, since I started racing in the Sprint Cup Series. It somehow seems fitting that we'll be able to celebrate the occasion together at Lowe's Motor Speedway. I'm fortunate to be able to do what I love for a living. I'm so thankful for the success this team has had. I also know that I wouldn't be where I am today without the hard work of Chad and my guys. This sport is a total team effort and I am so lucky to have such an awesome team. Since the track has been repaved, we end up competitive at the end of the race to get things right, but we've had tough practice sessions in the past and tough tests in the past. The test that we had a couple of weeks ago didn't go as we wanted it to there. But I have a lot of confidence in the team and I know when we get into race conditions that our stuff will be where it needs to be. If it were the old track, I would feel more confident about it. But right now I think of it almost like I would Texas. I've won there, but it's still a very challenging track. I don't know where we're going to be and I've just got to show up ready for anything."

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS: "I think night racing is fun and the crowd enjoys it. There is a different rhythm with the crowd at night. It's an enjoyable time and I think it raises the excitement a little. Charlotte is a race track that requires patience and rhythm and, typically, that's when we perform our best. It's a track that's sensitive to temperature but for this race, you don't' go through as big of a transition as you do from day to night in the spring race. This race is shorter so you don't have a big change from the start of the race to the end of the race. We learned a lot when we tested at Charlotte a couple of weeks ago so, based on that, we're looking forward to this weekend's race."

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS: "Our approach hasn't changed. I think we still have a chance. We have been really good on the mile-and-a-half stuff this year and I think all but Martinsville and Phoenix are mile-and-a-half tracks. We are going to try to be as aggressive as we can every week and make our car run as fast as we can to put ourselves in a position to win. We tried a lot of R&D pieces at Lowe's test and I felt like at the end of the day our car was really good. It doesn't have blazing speed but it seems like our car didn't fall off as much of the majority of the other teams. So, I felt as good as I've felt in a long time leaving a test there and, hopefully, that all transfers back to the race weekend. We're just really focused on what we're doing. Obviously, our 1.5-mile stuff has been pretty good this year. It's been really consistent. So we've just go to keep doing those things we've been doing and try to make it a little better, which is what we worked on during the Charlotte test. Charlotte is kind of its own beast with the hard tires and the asphalt is really, really smooth. It's not like Atlanta or Texas or any of those race tracks. So it's kind of its own unique setup, I guess you could say."

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIEL'S IMPALA SS: "If you run well at Kansas, typically you should run well at Charlotte but, obviously, there are no guarantees. Every track has its own characteristics and you have to attack it accordingly. We ran well in the spring race and we had to pit 30 laps in to get a hot dog wrapper off the grill and went two laps down. It was just one of those things but we were two laps down running with the leaders all night so we had a fast car. We just couldn't capitalize on it. During the fall race you don't go from day to night and that helps out a little bit, especially with the set up. I gives us a little better idea what we need to go after during practice."

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS: "We ran really good (at the recent LMS test) I thought. Man that track really runs good around the top and its one of those tracks to where, a lot of tracks I like running the top groove and a lot of tracks the top groove comes in when it's hot and slick like it is right now, but around four or five o'clock when a lot of the Sunday races end the bottom groove comes back in as the grip starts to rise back in the race track. But at Charlotte it seems like you can run the top all night long and that's still the fastest way to run even late in the evening so that's really good for me. I really enjoy racing at that race track. I have a lot of family there watching. It's an exciting race and an exciting race track. The test went really good. We were pretty happy with how fast we were and how quick we were able to run. I feel like that track owes me one. We've ran really good there in the past and haven't got any trophies to show for it so it would mean a lot to me to be able to get an official five hundred, six hundred mile victory at that race track. This weekend I have a different car color. Orange is just my favorite color. I don't know why I prefer it, I just do. That's like asking someone why their vision is 20/30 or whatever. It just is what it is. I sort of gravitate towards anything orange whether it is food or drink or clothes or whatever. As soon as I got a hold of some of the different flavors of AMP, I tried the orange hoping I would like it, and I really did. I'm really excited. I think it's a good looking car."

BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 25 GODADDY.COM IMPALA SS: "I think it's a mental challenge going between the two cars (Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series) because they drive so much different, but the big thing is the track itself. You get to learn a lot about it. You get to see how it changes with the temperature. You know the track is constantly changing, not only with temperature, but the way the tires lay rubber into it. You get to learn a lot about the track, so I think it's an advantage all in all. The testing is so important to build the chemistry between the team and the driver. All that stuff is a work in progress. Experience goes a long ways, but chemistry means just as much, if not more. So that was an important test for us, and certainly the more testing we can do the better the feedback I can give. That will make the cars faster. The more I can drive the Impala, the more I'm going to know about it and the more I'm going to learn about it. It drives drastically different than the other race cars I've driven, so it's a constant learning process. Everyone is trying to learn this car, so the timing is really good. The more testing I can do with Lance McGrew and Rex Stump (Hendrick Motorsports engineer), the better we're going to get."

MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS: "There is no better track on the circuit than Lowe's Motor Speedway. I absolutely love racing there and it's probably my favorite track that we go to. I can remember the first time that I ever went there in 1981 and thinking 'wow' this is just like a small quarter-mile track somewhere, except it's huge, but you could race just like that. "Normally when we go to Charlotte, I'll take one or two laps and come across the radio and remind my team just how much I love racing there. Quite a few of the newer tracks have tried to copy Lowe's, but for some reason none of them have really had a lot of success in replicating the feel of the place. It's just the perfect track for my style of racing and I always enjoy going there. We tested there a couple of weeks with the No. 8 team and the car was really good. I'm looking forward to getting back there and working with the car some more this weekend, to see just how much more speed we can pick up. Tony Gibson (crew chief) and these guys have done a fantastic job all season and it is still my goal to help get these guys into victory lane. I've had some really big victories at Lowe's Motor Speedway, but I can't think of anything that would be any bigger than taking that No. 8 U.S. Army car to victory lane this Saturday night."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson , Chad Knaus
Teams Hendrick Motorsports