TEAM CHEVY IN THE GARAGE ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY– ALBA COLON – PROGRAM MANAGER, NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES – CHEVROLET RACING: “After a very interesting night race at Bristol last weekend, and with just two races remaining in the Chase to the Sprint Cup, each practice session, qualifying effort, and race lap is becoming more and more critical. The stakes are high in the next two races.
“Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. for clinching spots in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. This weekend at the Atlanta Motor Speedway we are looking forward to more Team Chevy drivers securing spots in the final 10-race run for the title.
“This Labor Day weekend, the three top NASCAR touring series will tackle the 1.54-Mile Quad Oval in Hampton, GA during their only visit to the speedway in 2012. Last year, we saw Team Chevy’s Jeff Gordon capture his 85th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career win. It was a very emotional and well-deserved victory.
“Atlanta Motor Speedway is a favorite of many drivers because it's such a challenging track, and they like that. It is wide, and features multiple grooves. The surface itself has lower grip than many of the other tracks, which puts more emphasis not only on the abilities of the driver, but on the crew chief's decisions on set-ups and changes during the race. A well-handling car and strong horsepower will be key.
“It’s a track that has been good for our Team Chevy drivers. Of course, past success doesn't guaranteed future success, but we know how to attack the track and the race. All our teams have been working really hard on improving the success rates of their mile-and-a-half track programs. As a team, we have made huge steps in the right direction.
“Good momentum is really important for all of us; so to leave this track with a win would be huge. We are looking forward to visiting Atlanta Motor Speedway and to making another trip to the Winner’s Circle on Sunday evening.”
TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT:
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET – 2nd IN STANDINGS: “It does. This car especially slides a lot so the tire and the surface with all the sliding it wears the tires out quickly. I typically do well on those types of tracks. It has taken us a little time to sort out the COT (Car of Tomorrow) there and I feel like I have been a lot more competitive over the last trip or two. I’m excited to go back I think we will have a good shot at winning. It’s a unique track that challenges you honestly every foot around the race track.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/DIET MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET – 3rd IN STANDINGS: “I really like racing at Atlanta. It’s a fun race track; it’s incredibly fast, and we’ve run well there. The track is wide so you can find a groove that works for you. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do down there.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 RHEEM CHEVROLET – 9th IN STANDINGS: "Atlanta (Motor Speedway) has been a pretty good track for the Rheem team. We had a runner-up finish recently, where we dominated the race all day. It came down to a late-race restart and we lost it in the last five or six laps. We did a tire test at the track several years ago, found some things that worked from the driver side and it's been a good track for us ever since."
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET – 11th IN STANDINGS: “Atlanta is my favorite track on the circuit. It’s wide and fast, so we can race a lot of different lines. We have a good history here, and I expect a good weekend with a Hendrick Motorsports car under me.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET – 14th IN STANDINGS: "I expect the track to be a lot faster at night, but I think we will still be able to race high, low and everywhere in between. I think one of the reasons so many drivers and teams love this place is the track has a lot of grip, a lot of banking and it is a very fast race track - especially when looking at the qualifying speeds. It's very fast during the race but it has a lot of fall off, so tire wear is significant and the balance of the car changes throughout a run."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET – 15th IN STANDINGS: “Atlanta is fast, especially when the conditions are right. You have to hit your marks. It’s bumpy enough that those bumps can spit you right out. Getting into turn one and the middle of three and four, you’ve got catch everything just right. It’s kind of like surfing or wakeboarding – you’ve got to catch the wave’s right and, obviously, put the car in the right spot to do the right things with the gas and the steering wheel. I think it’s the combination of the tire grip we have, initially, and it’s a wide-open racetrack. There’s plenty of room to race there. It’s one of the best racetracks we go to for three- and four-wide racing in the corners. With Atlanta being a one-off race, it has a different feel to it now and a different feel to it than a lot of tracks we go to. But, in the end, we are there to do the same job, and that’s to win.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 QUAKER STATE/MENARDS CHEVROLET – 17th IN STANDINGS: “Atlanta (Motor Speedway) is one of my favorite tracks. It races really well and it’s a lot of fun, especially with it being a night race now. The race track itself with the old pavement that is hard on tires makes it a lot of fun. It’s kind of a throw-back track that we all enjoy going to.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS CHEVROLET – 19th IN STANDINGS: “I hope that we don’t have to dodge rain drops all weekend. It sounds like we may have some of the outskirts of Isaac while we are in Atlanta. First and foremost though, I just hope that all of the people in the storm’s path are safe. Atlanta is a really fast track and our guys have been working hard on our intermediate track program, so I hope that we can see some of the results of that effort this weekend. Atlanta is also a really busy weekend for me with several obligations with Coca-Cola, being based right there. We will get meet with a lot of their customers and executives over the weekend. One of the really cool things that I will get to do this weekend is on Friday with Chevrolet when we meet with several breast cancer survivors and give them the thrill of a ride-along around the track. I met a lot of these women last year for this event and they are so excited to be there and we really had a fun time together.”
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – 20th IN STANDINGS: "Atlanta Motor Speedway is so slick. It is the slickest race track in the world. It reminds me so much of the old Darlington Raceway. It's just so rough and slick, an unbelievably difficult track. You would think that on those kinds of conditions that the racing would get away, but it doesn't. There always seems to be good finishes there."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – 21st IN STANDINGS: “Atlanta is a fun track. It’s one of the tracks I’d enjoy racing there twice a year like we did before. It’s a cool place that has no grip. It is probably the oldest asphalt we go to, or it feels like the oldest. To tell you the truth, it’s a fast track and a place you can run the high groove at. The Target team has had some pretty good results there so I’m looking forward to going back.”
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/FARM AMERICAN CHEVROLET – 23rd IN STANDINGS: "This will be the first 1.5-mile track with Todd Berrier as our crew chief. I've been upbeat about our potential and going to Atlanta hasn't changed my optimism. Our performance has picked up considerably and we would like to leave Atlanta with a top-10 or top-five finish. Tire management and tire strategy will be important in Atlanta since the track surface there is a little rougher. As I've been saying each week, if we can avoid accidents and mistakes, we should then be in good position at the checkered flag."
KURT BUSCH, NO. 51 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET – 25th IN STANDINGS: “I think one of the biggest things that can be tough at Atlanta is getting your car to handle in turns three and four. It’s very specific. You really need the car to hook at the bottom of three and four, particularly when you’re on fresh tires. If you have a car that can run the bottom close to wide open in three and four, then that’s when you can do to separate yourself to be a race-winning contender.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET - “I’ve heard lots of great things about Atlanta. It’s good racing. The tires definitely go off with the surface, and the line moves around a lot. I’ve heard a lot of really good things about it. For me it’s going to be a big weekend not only from the standpoint that there’s Cup and Nationwide, but it’s a big Coca-Cola weekend so I’ll be really busy. I think nothing is better than going to a new track and having lots of track time.”
Source: Team Chevy Racing