Team Chevy press release
CELEBRATING COUNTDOWN TO CHEVROLET CENTENNIAL WITH GREATEST TEAM CHEVY NASCAR RACING MOMENTS: In 1994, Dale Earnhardt won his seventh driver’s championship in National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) Sprint Cup Series competition (formerly the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and NASCAR Nextel Cup Series) and becomes the winningest Chevrolet driver in NASCAR.
CHEVY RACING AT ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY – JEFF CHEW, MARKETING MANAGER, CHEVY RACING: “We look forward to bringing the Team Chevy Racing Display to Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race fans who visit the popular track are very interested in experiencing all of the newest Chevy products. Also, racing is a very important part of Chevy’s long history, and sharing that heritage with our fans is very important to us. This year, the display has something for everyone, including the GM Performance Parts and crate engines, and Chevy accessories and performance parts that fans can purchase from their local Chevy dealer. There’s also interactive games, digital photography and other activities for fans of all ages.
"Another special element of the weekend will be that Chevrolet is debuting two specially prepared Camaro pace cars to lead the field on Sunday for the start of the AdvoCare 500 themed to promote our partnership with the American Cancer Society in raising awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”
TEAM CHEVY AT ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY – PAT SUHY, NASCAR GROUP MANAGER, GM RACING: “This week the three top NASCAR touring series head to Atlanta Motor Speedway for their only visit in 2011. A Chevrolet has won each of the last races in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Truck Series here. With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Race to the Chase drawing to a close, the stakes are high for the wild card hopefuls. With only two wins available and at least five drivers who really need a victory to solidify their spot in the Chase, it should prove to be exciting for the fans and drivers alike.
“Our Team Chevy drivers and teams have been doing a great job this year. Even with 9 wins to our credit, 6 drivers currently in the top-10, and a 19-point lead in the Manufacturers’ Cup standings, it's clear that nobody is taking our past success for granted. Every team in the garage has improved; and even though Chevy teams are generally the ones being chased, they haven't let up. It's been a year of hard work for everyone as the fairly mature 'Car of Tomorrow' has become the car of today over the last couple of seasons. As it is with most mature technologies, the next performance gain becomes more difficult to find, and is incrementally smaller than the last one. The teams and our engineers continue to seek out the smallest improvement using every item in our collective box of engineering tools.
“Those tools are nothing without great people to use them, and our Chevy teams have proven over time that they're the best. Over the next couple of weekends I'm looking forward to our teams keeping up the tradition of being the best, and getting as many Chevrolet drivers locked into the Chase as possible.”
TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT AT ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY:
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – TIED FOR 1ST IN STANDINGS: "I think regardless of what any driver or team has accomplished in the past, you're always focused on where you are today. The success we've had over the last five years doesn't guarantee anything for this year's Chase so we're living in the moment, we're living in the now, worried about what we need to do today to win races. When I look at this weekend's race and the success and speed we've had here over the last two or three years. I'm excited to come back and excited to be here. I feel that we will qualify well and have a shot at winning the race. I'm excited, I would love to have another win for the bonus points and also what it does for the team moral, the confidence it gives the race team moving forward. Any momentum you can build now is very helpful in the Chase. I say that in the back of my mind. I think of years where we've entered the Chase pretty far off, much further off than what some critics say where we are now and we still won the championship. So it's not that you have to win but there's nothing bad that comes from it and we're here to win the race this weekend."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 RHEEM CHEVROLET – 5TH IN STANDINGS: “You always want to run good, and any momentum is good momentum as long as it is headed in the right direction. Atlanta in itself doesn’t do anything for us performance wise just because it is so slick and so worn out. It is kind of its own beast. Running good anywhere is a good thing, especially as we get closer to the Chase. I feel good about the things that we have got going on leading into Chicago. I do not know exactly how much of that will bleed over into the next few weeks, but I feel confident. It is definitely not going to be from a lack of effort from all the guys internally and the things that we have going on right now. Atlanta is fast, very fast. You can race all over the race track, from the white line to the wall, and still be competitive. You have to have the complete package to contend for the win there and horsepower is always important. I just like the fact that the car slides around a lot and you have to move around the race track and really search for somewhere to find more grip in order to make the car drive well, and you have to still be able to make fast lap times hunting for places to find grip.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET – 6TH IN STANDINGS: “It’s a great program by Sprint (the Sprint Summer Showdown), and I’m sure there will be additional excitement during the race – especially at the end if one or more of those (eligible) drivers are battling for the win. But since we’re not racing for that bonus this weekend, our focus is on the bigger Sprint prize – the championship. Another victory would go a long way when the points are reset after Richmond. I’m having so much fun right now. We’ve been real competitive recently and I look forward to going to the track every weekend. I think this No. 24 team can do some damage during the Chase and make a run at this championship. This has been a great track for me (Atlanta Motor Speedway), all the way back to my first race here. It’s real tough to get a ‘hold’ of the track, but the thing I love is you can run up high against the wall or down low on the line. You can search for the line that works best for you.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY RESERVE CHEVROLET – 7TH IN STANDINGS: "Don't get me wrong, we're still in a battle to make the Chase. We remind ourselves every day that this is auto racing and you can take a quick dive in the standings. But what I like about our current position is that we control our own destiny for making the Chase. There's no question that our finishes this year at the mile-and-a-half and two-mile tracks have made a big difference. We run the majority of races at these venues and if you're going to be successful, these are the places you need to do perform at. This is an area we weren't that good at last year and the work we have done since the off-season has paid some pretty good dividends so far. Atlanta is another mile-and-a-half test for us and I feel that our U.S. Army Reserve Chevrolet will meet the challenge."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD MILITARY INTELLIGENCE/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET – 9TH IN STANDINGS: “Atlanta is a driver's track because it is so wide and races so wide that there's groove after groove after groove. I always look forward to going down to Atlanta. It’s incredibly fast, and we’ve run well there. I’m looking forward to working with Steve (Letarte, crew chief) and the guys to see what we can do this weekend.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET – 10TH IN STANDINGS: “Just the balance change, really (are the challenges of going from daylight to night racing). If you notice the track cools down at Atlanta and it gains a lot of grip. It’s a very temperature-sensitive race track. So, the biggest thing is just keeping your balance and keeping up with it as it cools off. Normally, I can’t say that it changes a bunch balance-wise; it just changes a lot grip-wise. So, just having the car adjustable enough from the start of the race to the end of the race. Just understanding what you’re going to have at the beginning isn’t what you’re going to have at the end of the day; you have to be patient until it gets dark and until that temperature cools down. And once it starts settling into the nighttime hours, you can kind of get a better idea on what you’re going to have for the rest of the day.”
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET – 12TH IN STANDINGS: “It’s a fun race track (Atlanta Motor Speedway). I think it’s an important race track for us. I can’t wait to get there and race. It’s very competitive and I always race well there. It puts on a good show for the fans and that’s item number one right now. It’s fast and very slick. It’s multi-lined. Most of the tracks that are that fast, are one-lined race tracks. Atlanta is an exception to that rule. You can race up high, down low, in the middle and all over the place. Even from the first laps on the track, the grip level isn’t there that you would feel at other race tracks, but somehow the speed is. It kind of plays tricks on your mind because it feels like you’re sliding and you’re a little out of control, but halfway through the lap the car is accepting the speed and you hammer down. The first couple laps on the track, you have to adjust yourself. I think this will be a big show for them (the fans). Sometimes pulling back a date isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes you have to make it one big show instead of two mediocre shows. I think it’s more important to have something go off as a huge success than it is to be greedy and try to thin it out. I think the excitement level will be at a premium and things will get back to what we’re accustomed to seeing there.”
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST AUTO PARTS/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – 19TH IN STANDINGS: “With only having one race at Atlanta this year, it makes me more excited to get there this weekend. The racing is just so intense at Atlanta. It’s one of my favorite tracks for that reason. There are multiple grooves, and it’s usually clean, side-by-side racing. Lots of passing. It actually races a lot like a short track, but on a much bigger level, of course. Qualifying is wide-open, hold-your-breath-for-one-lap crazy. It’s a good time, and if you’ve got a fast race car it’s really fun.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 MENARDS/QUAKER STATE CHEVROLET – 20TH IN STANDINGS: “My first Cup start on an oval was at Atlanta and I think we finished seventh. It’s an easy track to overdrive; tires fall off a lot and the pace slows down. It’s an easy track to overdrive and you just have to manage your equipment and it works for me, I guess. It changes a lot; the car attitude and the loads on the springs changes a lot from qualifying to even at the beginning of a race run to the end. It’s a couple seconds slower, so you have to plan accordingly.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – 23RD IN STANDINGS: “Atlanta is a fun place. 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 feels like a way faster Darlington, like the old Darlington. I think it has a lot of character to it and I’ve had some success there. People always ask what my favorite track is and this has to be one of them. It’s where I learned to drive in the high groove.”
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – 24TH IN STANDINGS: “In my rookie year (1994) there (Atlanta) in a Cup car, we were leading and I had a late race caution and had a bad pit stop and got beat and finished fourth. And that one still stings because that was my fifth race and we would have won it. And that one still stings. So there are a couple of things about Atlanta that stick out, and I want to redeem myself. I think moving the date (to Labor Day weekend) is a win for everybody. The early date hurt Atlanta, I think, you know, with the weather. I think this date is a really nice date. It’s a holiday weekend and there’s a lot of things about this that make a lot of sense.”
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET – 25TH IN STANDINGS: "We have to bring the entire package to Atlanta from Furniture Row Racing's main shop in Denver, Colorado. Atlanta is a very fast track so you need horsepower, aero and a really good handling car. That's the ultimate hat trick for a solid tune-up and I am confident we will have all three in Atlanta. The Atlanta track has been pretty good for us -- last year we had finishes of 14th in the spring and 17th in the fall. We're ok with top-15s, but top-10s are the goal for our team. I still feel we haven't hit our stride this season-- we're close -- but not quite there yet."
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET – 26TH IN STANDINGS: “I’m excited to go to Atlanta this weekend. I think we have really made some strides with our team over the last few weeks, so I’m excited to see how that will translate over to Atlanta. Our guys have a lot of confidence after the fifth-place finish last weekend at Bristol. Atlanta is one of the tracks that I really enjoy going to, and have enjoyed success with winning a couple of times in the Nationwide cars. It would be nice to bring one home in our McDonald’s Chevrolet this weekend in the Sprint Cup Series.