TEAM CHEVY IN THE GARAGE AT MICHIGAN INERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY – PAT SUHY, GM RACING NASCAR GROUP MANAGER: “Team Chevy rolls into Michigan International Speedway on a roll of its own. With seven wins in the first 14 Cup races this year, we have a 15 point lead in the Manufacturers' Cup standings and seven drivers in the top-12 points positions with only 12 races to go before the field is set for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
"This is an important race to us since it's in our proverbial backyard. Winning for us at the two-mile Michigan oval has always been special, although not easy. After a long dry spell, Team Chevy drivers have brought home a win in each of the last three years in either the spring or the summer event.
“Michigan International Speedway is similar to the California track, but it has longer straightaways and more banking in the turns. Those long straightaways put a premium on horsepower, and those that don't have it will suffer. The Chevy R07 engine, in the hands of our top engine builders, has proven itself to be a top horsepower producer. Handling is also important. With the high straightaway speeds, crew chiefs must find the right balance point between downforce and drag to allow their drivers to pass, or keep from being passed, in the turns and not "dragged down" on the straights. The wide track also allows racing in several grooves. A setup that allows the driver to run multiple lines gives him options in terms of finding the fastest one, rather than having the car dictate the line. Our Team Chevy drivers and crew chiefs have shown that they can communicate and work together to come up with that optimum chassis/aero configuration that gets one of them to victory lane.
“I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with this weekend and hope to be celebrating our eighth victory of 2011 Sunday in the Winner's Circle at MIS.”
TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT AT MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY:
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET – 2ND IN STANDINGS:
“We’ve been close (to winning at Michigan) and our fuel mileage has been kind of our nemesis with two or three things that have taken place there. We’ve led a fair amount of laps over the years and just kind of haven’t had the luck or the mileage or whatever it is at the end of the race. Looking forward to going back. We’re always looking forward to going racing in the area where the manufacturers are based and I want to put on a good show for all the Chevrolet fans and do my part to represent the bowtie. Looking forward to it. We’ve been making a lot of progress on our intermediate setups and race cars. I think this could be a win for the 48 this weekend.”
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET – 3RD IN STANDINGS: “I really like Michigan. It’s a real fun place to race. It is a wide racetrack and has a lot of different grooves. We can move around and find places to run on the track which makes it pretty enjoyable. A lot of times that is a fuel-mileage race. You do need a lot of motor too, and we’re pretty good in that department.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET – 4TH IN STANDINGS: “We were fortunate enough to win the last race we ran there (at Michigan). The tires wear out; you have a lot of options as a driver to move from the bottom of the race track to the top and I think that is why everybody likes going there. It is a fun race track to race on. You have got to have good fuel mileage. You have to have a good handling car. You have to have the whole package. If you are having a good day, it’s not very hard anywhere to drive a good handling race car around and tell your guys what it needs and everybody is in a good mood. If you are having a bad day, you can get behind at Michigan really fast and usually when you are hooked up at Michigan, the leader’s in clean air and moving through traffic pretty well and if you are mid-pack, you can find yourself getting behind and a lap down pretty fast because you are going to have a green flag pit stop and you are going to have a whole bunch of green flag laps. You have just got to be going from the time the green flag drops and keep up with your car and keep yourself up in the pack.”
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET – 8TH IN STANDINGS: “I like racing at Michigan. I like how it’s really wide; it opens up and you can run a lot of different lines on the race track. But I’m telling you, it has been a hit or miss track for us. We either run really well there or we don’t run good at all. You’ve just got to find consistency on a track like that and that’s what it all boils down to. There’s just so many things that happen there that you have to capitalize on. You’ve got to be in position. And then a lot of times, more often than not, it comes down to stretching that fuel as far as you can.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET – 9TH IN STANDINGS: "There has to be a good balance of both horsepower and handling at Michigan. You can have the best horsepower there, but if you can’t make it handle through those long corners you aren’t going to be able to carry speed down the straightaway. But at the same time you can have the best handling car in the corners but if you don’t have something to make it handle down the straightaway it’s not going to matter either. I don’t know that there is anything hard about it (running 400 miles at Michigan). Its knowing the closer you get to the front the better your car is going to drive. It’s having the confidence of knowing what you need to do with your car during a race and knowing where to move out on the race track as your balance changes. That’s the good thing about Michigan races; really wide and you can move around and help yourself out. That’s probably half the battle.”
“I’ll always take handling (over horsepower).
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY 236 BIRTHDAY BUD MOORE TRIBUTE CHEVROLET – 10TH IN STANDINGS: "You talk about an added incentive; I sure have a few this weekend. To pay tribute to Bud Moore at the race we celebrate the Army's 236th birthday is an immense honor. Throughout the course of American history it's been the Army Strong Soldiers like Bud who have put their lives on the line to protect and preserve freedom. I have personally witnessed our Soldiers' mental, emotional and physical strength and it is truly remarkable. From the U.S. Army NASCAR team to all the Soldiers past and present, Happy Birthday U.S. Army and thank you for 236 years of Army Strong. I like everything about the Michigan facility, including the natural and peaceful beauty of the surrounding area. For some reason, we just haven't been able to put it together there in recent times. Our intermediate track program has improved and I am looking for our Army Chevrolet to perform well this weekend."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET – 11TH IN STANDINGS: “I’ll always take handling (over horsepower). But it’s hard to just come out and say that at Michigan because those straightaways are long. You’re on the throttle a long time. Unless you’re saying to me that I can have 25 more horsepower than the competition, then most of the time when we talk about having more horsepower it’s four or five or six or eight horsepower. I’m thinking we’ve got some things to work on in the power department but that to me, is not what’s preventing us from winning races right now. “To me, here (Pocono), Michigan it sort of takes the same package; a lot of power and then you’ve got to get through the corners really good. You can’t just have one. You used to be able to have just one but now you’ve got to have it all and now you’ve got to throw in fuel mileage as well. At these two tracks, fuel mileage is key. And we’ve been working so hard and making our cars faster, that we have not put a lot of focus into fuel mileage and it’s something we need to put a lot more attention on. We actually had a road course test this week and we played around with some things there and we’ll continue to move forward with that. But first and foremost we’re going to try to have a fast race car.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 CARS 2 CHEVROLET – 13TH IN STANDINGS: “Well, Michigan was one of those tracks we never seemed to have much luck at up until the last few times we’ve gone there. The guys have been working really hard to get our cars back to where we need to be so hopefully we’ve learned a few things these last 14 races and can go in there with a strong showing. Aside from that, it’s a really cool race for us this weekend because we’re running the Cars 2 paint scheme on our No. 42 Chevrolet. I had the opportunity to play a part in the Cars 2 Spanish version and now we get to run a cool paint scheme on our car through the Target program.”
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – 15TH IN STANDINGS: “If you look at statistics, Michigan could be labeled my best track on the circuit. Last year, we struggled a bit, suffered damage in the fall race that we could never really overcome. But back in 2009 we got the win on the final lap and when you win them like that, on the last lap, it’s so much fun. Those are the best kind of wins I think. We’ve got some work to do on our intermediate program, but we’ll get there. This is a great track for us to turn that all around on.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 PITTSBURGH PAINTS/MENARDS CHEVROLET – 19TH IN STANDINGS: “I really enjoy racing at Michigan. We had a really fast car there last year in practice, but the pace fell off during the race. You kind of have to guess where your gaps are as far as front-end settings are concerned and we missed that last year. This year we just have to try and put it all together. We’ve been pretty solid at the intermediate tracks this year so I think we’ll unload well and work on it from there. It definitely gives you confidence going in with the ECR engines, plus, the RCR teams have a history of running well there. You can move all over the place at MIS. You can run from the top to bottom of the racetrack. You’re not dependent on certain lines. Instead, you can move around and see where your car works the best.”
Hopefully we will give the hometown crowd something to cheer about!
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – 25TH IN STANDINGS: “That’s what I like about it (Michigan). I like the fact that you can slide around. I end up sliding around too much and then I’m screaming too much about being loose. But I like the fact that you can really side track the car there and you spend a lot of time with the back of the car rolling around pretty far. It’s a really fun race track. The thing that we have to do is just continue to be better. When we’re better at Charlotte, we’ll be better at Michigan. When we’re better at Michigan, we’ll be better at Vegas, you know what I mean? It’s just a continuation of an improvement of our stuff. I feel optimistic going there. Certainly I like the race track. It’s fun to race on and I feel like we can have good finishes there.”
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET – 27TH IN STANDINGS: "Michigan is a track that I truly feel we can produce a strong performance. It's wide and you can pass there. Last year we had solid performances at MIS but didn't get the finishes (21st and 23rd) that our Furniture Row Chevrolet deserved. Our recent 15th-place finish in Pocono was decent, but as I have said in the past, we're just okay with top 15’s, we want to have results in the top-10 and top-five. Though we're making steady progress, we need to get stronger if we want to get in the top-20 in points and have a possible wild card spot in the Chase."
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET – 29TH IN STANDINGS: "We have had a couple of frustrating weeks here lately, so I am hoping that going to Michigan will be a change of luck for us. Michigan seems to come down to being a fuel mileage race, so you can try lots of different strategy to put yourself into position to be up front at the end of the day. I would prefer to just go outrun everyone, but we would take whatever we can get to have a solid finish. Our guys continue to work hard on our cars and we want to represent Chevrolet proudly when we race so close to Detroit. It is always nice to go up there being close to home for Chevrolet and getting to see a lot of people that support our program, but don't get to many of the races. Hopefully we will give the hometown crowd something to cheer about!"