TEAM CHEVY IMPALA SS INSIDE THE GARAGE AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY -- PAT SUHY, GM RACING NASCAR GROUP MANAGER: "What a great feeling it is heading down to Homestead. After a tough start and some uncertainty as to who would win the...
TEAM CHEVY IMPALA SS INSIDE THE GARAGE AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY -- PAT SUHY, GM RACING NASCAR GROUP MANAGER: "What a great feeling it is heading down to Homestead. After a tough start and some uncertainty as to who would win the Manufacturers' Championship I can say I breathed a big sigh of relief on Sunday evening in Phoenix. This has been the tightest race for that title in a long time and certainly since my tenure here began. Winning Chevy's 32nd Manufacturer' title gets us one of our two primary objectives, the second one being another Drivers Championship.
"The turnaround in the manufacturers race this year shows the great depth of our Chevy team lineup, every one of our Key Partner Cup organizations contributed. Right next to them is the team of men and women here at GM Racing. They're the best in the business when it comes to figuring out what we can do to help the already potent engineering organizations at the teams.
"My hat's off to Jimmie, Chad, and the entire #48 crew on a great run so far this season. To have gotten themselves into the position they are coming here speaks volumes about them and the support of the Hendrick Motorsports organization as a whole. They never give up and make the absolute best out of every situation, no matter how bad things look. I'm confident that they won't disappoint on Sunday, and I'm looking forward to being there to help with the celebration."
FROM THE DRIVER'S SEAT:
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS: "I'm excited. The No. 99 (Edwards) put up a great fight in Phoenix and has shown true championship character throughout the whole year. Those guys really make us work hard for it and I know as long as something doesn't go crazy for us down in Homestead, we're going to be able to join Cale (Yarborough), and tie history with three consecutive championships) and I can't wait to start celebrating.
"I just can't believe it. When I started way back when, I didn't think all of this would come together and that I would have a chance to drive at Hendrick Motorsports with a sponsor like Lowe's. It is pretty cool."
"I really think where we are in points is going to allow me to go to Homestead and take a little pressure off my brain this week. We can just go down and relax and get in the car and set it up, just do what we know how to do. We'll shoot for the pole on Friday with no pressure. And same thing in race practice; just get the car driving good and comfortable and make sure it has speed in it.
"I'm really excited about Homestead, and there's no need to do anything stupid. But at the same time, how cool would it be to win out? I still think we can do that. I'd love to do that. And that's what our goals are. If we get in the race and I've got to drive at 110 percent to go for the win, there's no need to. But if we can go out there and win the race like we did (in Phoenix), let's do it."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS: "We've never won here, and I would like to end the year on a positive note. And hopefully we can gain a few positions in the standings, too. We've had some strong runs here in the past and, with the improvements we've made recently in our intermediate track program, a strong run this weekend could give this DuPont team a spark heading into the off-season."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS: "Anytime you're competing, you want to finish as high in the point standings as possible. There's a tremendous amount of money involved that helps the team to be able to do the things it needs to do to be the best they can possibly be. There's also a tremendous amount of pride involved. Finishing second is a lot better than finishing fifth and finishing fifth is a lot better than finishing ninth. I think you definitely have to hunt for the best line at a track with progressive banking like Homestead. As a driver you have to be open to trying different lines so you can find which line works best for your car. The problem lies when you are trying to get your car set up during practice. You question yourself as to what line you want to run. It's really easy to set your car up for one line then move somewhere else and find out that it doesn't work as well. You really have to be committed to where you want to run and stay there."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS: "Miami is one of those race tracks that you don't know when it is going to stop aging. Every time we go there it loses a little grip, which is a good thing. Miami is one of my favorite race tracks since they repaved it. Just for the fact that you can move around and it is kind of hard to get a hold of. There are a lot of different places where you can make your car work. For me, it has been a lot of fun to race. I am still going to go out and compete for the win this weekend at Homestead. You go out and race as hard as you can for wins and try to put yourself in the best position that you can. However, anything after first doesn't really matter as far as I am concerned. You go out and try and put yourself in a position to be able to win. Bottom line is we haven't put ourselves in a lot of positions to win this year. We have run really well the second half of the year and we have had chances to win races, but the amount of them hasn't been enough."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS IMPALA SS: "Homestead wasn't one of our best tracks starting out but I think we're getting better at it. We ran well last year but ended up with a broken exhaust pipe, which cooked the transmission. So, I'm looking forward to getting back down there this weekend and seeing how we stack up. The track is unique. It seems like the corners are tight and then they open up, if that makes any sense. It seems like the transition getting into the corner is kind of tight and you really have to pull on the wheel, then it opens up and you have plenty of room up off. It's a unique race track and one I need to improve on. I'm ready for winter and a little change of pace. Before no time at all, it's going to be time to work on next year. I just want to have some fun during the off-season. I'll spend some time with my family ... try and catch up on some sleep and get some rest. It wont' be long before I get the bug again."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS: "It's nice to go to New York and it's a little bit of an appreciation to be up on the stage. For the most part of the whole deal you're just celebrating another man's championship so it's a little bit tough at times. Hopefully we can bring the championship home with Hendrick (Motorsports) and Jimmie (Johnson). We'll be very proud of that. Other than that we're really looking forward to the last two races here and just moving on to next year. I'm real pleased with where I'm at and who I'm working with and real lucky and fortunate to have the opportunity that I have with Rick (Hendrick) and all the employees there. They're just such a great group of people that work really hard. They have the best attitude and they provide you with the best equipment.
"I feel like I'm real happy with how things have worked out. I would have liked to perform better on the race track the last half of the season. The first half of the season I was really excited. We were running really well every week. We were running better than I thought we would at the first half of the year. The second half of the year we still run up front a lot, we run really well every weekend but I couldn't get the finishes I was wanting to get and it was getting frustrating at times. That's just a performance issue. We need to evaluate how we can do a better job of putting the finishes in the bank for the rest of the year and we'll try to work on that next year."
-credit: gm racing