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Give us your thoughts on running the first CoT race on an intermediate-sized race track Dario Franchitti: "I think the biggest challenge is finding the limits of the car, not overdriving the car, not underdriving the car, driving the car free...

Give us your thoughts on running the first CoT race on an intermediate-sized race track

Dario Franchitti: "I think the biggest challenge is finding the limits of the car, not overdriving the car, not underdriving the car, driving the car free enough that it's going to be quick over a long run, getting used to the compromises of driving the car. And that's before you even go into the race and get used to the new style of racing. How physical the races are, as far as people bumping into each other, that kind of stuff. Again, somewhere like Fontana in an IndyCar, there's one, maybe two lines. In the stock car, there's guys running the white lines, they're guys running up against the wall, all these different things."

Reed Sorenson: "We struggled at Las Vegas during the West Coast test, but we had much better results at California. Those two pre-season tests were very beneficial for the team because it gave us an idea of where we needed to improve on our intermediate program. We made some changes to the car that we think will help it turn better and I'm very optimistic about our chances to run well this weekend. California is a multiple groove track so if the car isn't working in one place you can search around for a different line.

"The Target team had a great Speedweeks and we're hoping to keep that momentum going this weekend. This is our first stint inside of the top 12 and we'd like to keep ourselves there."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "I'm not really sure what to expect this weekend. We had a tough test at the track in January and never could seem to get the car right. Donnie (Wingo) decided to bring a car that we had success with last year instead of one of the cars we tested out there. Hopefully that will help. California Speedway was a tough track for us last year too.

"I am excited about my first race with Juicy Fruit for the year. Last year I drove the Big Red Dodge, but never had the opportunity to drive the yellow car. They are doing a lot of fun things around the program, and that's all a driver can ask out of sponsor."

Topic: Clauson, you are originally from California, born in Carmichael. What would you consider your strongest memories about your childhood growing up there? What is up with you growing up as a Jeff Gordon fan?

Bryan Clauson: "I think about racing, mainly watching dad [Tim Clauson]. Watching him race as a little kid was really fun and that is all we did until I was five or six. We went every Saturday night and then I started my racing career in quarter midgets when I was five, but before I got in the car we spent a lot of time out at Placerville Speedway and Silver Dollar Speedway, supporting dad. Dad ran sprint cars out there. That is how I got the racing bug for sure. He was a really good local racer, and raced with some of the best of them. He raced and worked with Jeff Gordon when they were both a little younger than they are now [Clauson smirks]. I think Jeff was probably six or seven and dad was in his early teens probably. So, growing up and following NASCAR, we always followed Jeff's career and have all always been big fans of his because of his and dad's history and how they helped each other out earlier in their racing careers."

CHASSIS INFO

No. 40 Target Dodge (NSCS): Chassis #746, which was previously tested at California and Las Vegas this year.

No. 41 Energizer® e2® Lithium (NSCS): Chassis #803. No previous starts, tested at California.

No. 42 Juicy Fruit Dodge (NSCS): Wingo and the No. 42 Juicy Fruit team are bringing chassis #731 to California Speedway.

-credit: cgr

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing