Team Chevy press release
SERIES PROGRAM MANAGER, GM RACING: “Congratulations to Tony Stewart, Darian Grubb and the #14 Office Depot SHR Chevrolet team on their big win at Chicagoland Speedway, which was their first win of the 2011 season as well as Tony's 40th career victory. That's the way to start the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and they did it in style!
“Our Chevy teams have delivered 12 wins so far this year. In addition, Chevrolet continues to lead in the Manufacturers' Cup standings. Those are two tasks that are certainly not easily accomplished. It requires a lot of teamwork from everybody involved. Our GM Racing engineers and dedicated teams still have a lot of work to do. Our goal is to do nothing less than to earn the Manufacturers' Cup and the Driver's Championship, and that's what we continue to strive for day after day and week after week.
“With just nine races to go, none of our six Team Chevy Chase contenders is letting their guard down. They are all working diligently to ensure that at the end of the day in Homestead, FL they will be battling for the coveted Championship trophy.
“Coming into the second race of the Chase in Loudon, New Hampshire, Team Chevy is looking forward to a repeat performance of the July race with yet another win. Strong performances at this flat, one-mile oval will keep the momentum going for our teams. We have had great results at New Hampshire Motor Speedway by capturing 16 wins in the 33 races held here; and we are looking forward to another great Sunday in the Winner’s Circle!"
TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT AT NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY:
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET – 1ST IN STANDINGS: “The hardest thing is just making your car turn in the middle of the corner and being able to have enough forward drive up off (at NHMS). It always seems like the New Hampshire race comes down to a track position strategy call on two tires or four tires toward the end of the race. Track position will play a big part, but getting your car to handle right will probably play an equal part. I always look forward to going to New Hampshire. I like that type of track because it's flat, similar to the tracks out west where I started my racing career. There's a lot of braking. You have to really work on getting your car through the center of the corner and still have the forward drive you need up off the corner."
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET – 2ND IN STANDINGS: “It’s a big motor deal (NHMS). With the corners being so tight, you’ve got to put a lot of gear in the car to get it up off the corner. Forward bite is always an issue there too, so it’s hard to get up off the corners. Then you’ve got long straightaways where you can kind of relax a little bit. Coming into the corners, you use a lot of brake, and it’s hard to not only get the car stopped, but to get it to turn. Then you go through that challenge all over again. Obviously, I like it because I’ve had success there. But at the same time, it’s a tough track to pass on. You can be a couple of tenths faster than a guy, but it still takes you 20 laps to get by him. There are other tracks on the circuit where it’s hard to pass, but we still go out and put on good shows there, too. Every race at Loudon seems to be a pretty good race. So, I like it. I enjoy racing there even though it is hard to pass. But when you’ve got a good car, it’s always fun to race. We were really good there in the spring. I am hoping that, that is a scenario, where what we had is going to be really close to what we are going to want this time around again. Both Ryan (Newman) and I were really fast all day long, so I am hoping we can have a similar weekend.”
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 DIET MOUNTAIN DEW/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET – 5TH IN STANDINGS: “I like Loudon. Just getting the car to turn in the middle is important. That track is really flat and it is very hard to get a car to rotate in the middle of the corner really good.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET – 7TH IN STANDINGS: “New Hampshire has always been a good place for me. I'm not a hundred percent sure why. It's the place of my first win, when I hadn't won in a long while, 70 some races. I won again there. This past July we were able to qualify and finish 1-2 at Stewart-Haas. It's a fun race, it's a very finesse racetrack. You can't overdrive the car there very much because it's so flat. I've always said the birthplace of track position. It's a relatively short race. Basically you only need to stop for fuel two, maybe three times depending on cautions. You don't get a whole lot of opportunities to work on your racecar. You start up front; you have a good chance of staying up front. It's a place we've done well at. Our short track program at Stewart-Haas Racing is strong. It's a good place for us to go after the first stop at the Chicago race.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – 8TH IN STANDINGS: “I think I was more intense in the early years (in his approach to the Chase) because any driver has a lot of thoughts and you’re trying to analyze all these situations. Before you win a race, you wonder how you are going to handle those situations and you are trying to mentally prepare for a variety of situations. Once you win a race, you’re like ‘Oh, ok, this is how I do it’; this is how I deal with pressure; this is how I hold someone off; this is how I find a way by someone; adjustments you need to make late in a race. You start building some confidence in your own decision making process. You get into the championship format and it’s the same thing. So, over time, I’ve built a lot of confidence, in truthfully the way I think and the things that I focus on and I feel like I have a better road map on where to focus. I don’t waste a lot of extra time worrying about other areas. Throughout all of that, you know, I’m not the smartest guy and I don’t have a ton of brain power, it’s allowed me to kind of sit back and relax and have fun.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET – 11TH IN STANDINGS: “We had a fast car that day (July race at NHMS), and I’m really looking forward to going back there this weekend. Even after losing the lap because of the battery change, we were still able to work our way up through traffic pretty well. I wasn’t able to run any blowers (because of the electrical issues) and I think that’s what blew the right front at the end of the race. Hopefully, we don’t have any issues like that Sunday. That is not how we wanted to start the Chase (24th place finish at Chicago on Monday). We battled hard throughout the event, and that’s what we’re going to do at New Hampshire and the other eight races. I do feel confident whenever we race here, but a lot of that is the car and the setup. This track has some very unique things that make it challenging, though. It’s flat, and there are some bumps getting into the corners. While we ran well here a few months ago, we’ll see what we have on Friday when we unload. Hopefully, we’ll be just as competitive and battling for the win come Sunday.”
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET – 13TH IN STANDINGS: “Flat tracks like New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Richmond International Raceway always fit my driving style. I love racing up there. It is a lot of fun. Nothing in particular, it just fits my driving style. It has more of a progressive banking to it in turns one and two. You get down there and it almost feels like it is reverse camber. It’s hard to make your car work down there. While you do have to give them (Chase contenders) some more respect because there is so much on the line, you still race them the same way you would all year long. If they race you tough, you race them tough. It’s a two-way street.”
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – 16TH IN STANDINGS: “I’ve felt since mid-season that we were figuring some things out. At Indy we had a great run and would’ve battled for the win if we just had a little more fuel. This team is really good. More so than we’ve shown. And they’re capable of good things. We’re putting our nose down right now and really working hard and its showing. We had a good run at Richmond last week and another one at Chicago. Hopefully we can continue to build on that.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 DEGREE CHEVROLET – 19TH IN STANDINGS: “I think we ran short on fuel the last time we were in New Hampshire; our Target team usually runs really good there. That is one of the first ovals that we have been running really good at and are consistent. Right now it is one of those deals where you go to the track every week not knowing what is going to happen. It is exciting because we are working on the cars really hard, finding some stuff and moving in the right direction. We are going to have a really cool paint scheme this weekend too. It is the Degree Men car. A black and yellow car and I saw pictures the other day and was like ‘Ooh. That is awesome!’”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 SYLVANIA/MENARDS CHEVROLET – 23RD IN STANDINGS: “It's one of those tracks (NHMS) that we've gone to and felt pretty good about our car during practice, we qualify in the top 10, and then we just struggle really bad during the race. We've done a little short-track testing this year to try and help that. Especially after the last visit to Loudon (NHMS); it was pretty embarrassing. Hopefully the testing pays off. We tested at the Milwaukee Mile, which is as close to Loudon as you're going to get. I don't think passing at either end of the race track is that much different from each other. In turn two, there's a wall that you get close to, but it doesn't get in the way. In turn four, there's a lot more room to make a pass."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – 24TH IN STANDINGS: "You really have to be aware of what your car is doing and how it's driving (while saving fuel and trying to pass at NHMS). Sometimes, running lower than the other guy isn't hurting your tires and sometimes it is. You have to be aware as a race car driver what your car is doing and if you're abusing it or not. The problem with all of that is you never know when there's a caution coming out. If you make the decision to sit there and ride and be smart then a caution comes out in 50 laps, then you've wasted your time, and you should have been going. On the other hand, if a caution doesn't come out, then you were really, really smart. You have no way of knowing that and that's what makes these races so interesting. When that caution flies, it affects so much what is going to happen in the rest of the race. We're having less cautions, and I don't know why. That has had a huge impact on pit strategies. The fewer cautions you have, the more likely you are to have fuel mileage become an issue."
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET – 25TH IN STANDINGS: "The first thing that comes to mind about New Hampshire is fuel mileage. Maybe it's because we're just coming off a fuel mileage race in Chicago or that we (Furniture Row Racing) ran out of fuel at the July New Hampshire race while running in the top 15. I don't like the fuel mileage races and it seems like we've had too many of them this season. We've had a couple of top-20 finishes the past two races (18-Richmond, 17-Chicago) but would like to see that improve to top 15s or top 10s. I like the New Hampshire track and thought we had a good setup for our Furniture Row Chevrolet at the July race. Hopefully the car setup will be as good or better this weekend."
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 AXE COOL METAL CHEVROLET – 26TH IN STANDINGS: “New Hampshire is a fun track to race, long straights and flat turns make track position important as it can be difficult to pass. We had a strong run here in the first race this season. We ran up front, but had a loose wheel after one of our stops and had to get off sequence with the leaders. We tried to stretch it to the end on fuel mileage, but came up a couple of laps short in the end. We had a better car than our results showed, hopefully we can turn that around this weekend. We also have a new sponsor on our No. 1 Chevrolet in Loudon, AXE Cool Metal will be on the car for this race, so I look forward to getting to meet a lot of their guests.