Team Chevy Bristol II pre-event quotes

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Team Chevy

DID YOU KNOW? The 100-millionth Chevy Small Block engine will be produced in 2011, commemorating a defining chapter in Chevrolet’s 100-year history. Introduced in 1955, the “Chevy V-8” transformed the brand, and fueled American’s love of performance that continues today.

Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson

Photo by: Adriano Manocchia

CELEBRATING COUNTDOWN TO CHEVROLET CENTENNIAL WITH GREATEST TEAM CHEVY NASCAR RACING MOMENTS: In 2007, the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Impala driven by Kyle Busch became the first model Car of Tomorrow (COT) to win in the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) when the car debuted at Bristol Motor Speedway. The victory was also the unprecedented 600th victory for the Bowtie in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition as well as the 200th victory for Hendrick Motorsports.

TEAM CHEVY AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY – ALBA COLON, NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES PROGRAM MANAGER, GM RACING: “With just three races to go before the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins, the pressure is on those teams in the top 20 in the point standings. NASCAR has made it very interesting this year by tweaking the eligibility format with the addition of the Wild Card factor to the Chase. The goal is to stay in the top-10 while racking up as many wins as possible.

“Team Chevy has six drivers in the top 10; and several drivers sitting between 11th and 20th place that can make it into the Chase under this new Wild Card rule. We are looking forward to continuing to work hard to secure as many drivers as we can for the final 10-race Chase.

“As the circuit moves to Bristol Motor Speedway this week, we will get to see all three NASCAR premier racing series battling it out under the lights. There is nothing more exciting for fans and participants alike, than short track racing at night! This high-speed half-mile track offers its own set of unique challenges. Drivers will need to focus on collecting the maximum number of points along with fighting for the win. Having a well-balanced car and staying out of trouble are the keys for success at Bristol. Our GM Racing engineers have been working hand-in-hand with our team engineers to provide the technology that leads to better handling race cars, which is a vital factor in scoring top finishes at this track.

“Chevrolet has had a winning record at Bristol for many years; and we are looking forward to celebrating victories with our Team Chevy drivers in all three NASCAR racing series events this weekend.”

CHEVROLET ON THE TRACK-BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY: A Chevrolet driver has won 42 of the 101 previous NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS), Chevrolet drivers have won 35 poles at BMS

TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY:

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET – 2ND IN STANDINGS: “I feel a lot more in control going to Bristol these days. From a guy sitting behind the wheel, you want options and opportunities to race. The track has that now. In a certain respect, we almost have three lanes that you can run on around the race track especially as the race wears on and the groove gets pushed out. Behind the wheel, that is what we want. That is what we ask for. That is what they gave us. It is unfortunate that some people don’t see it that way. They prefer the old track and the craziness that would take place. As a driver, you want to have a chance to race. We have a chance to race there now. Not only is it fast, we make a lap in 15ish seconds depending on the run and the tire, but, the hard thing is also visibility and that helps enhance the sensation of speed. When you go into a corner at Bristol, the radius of the turn is so sharp, that you would literally need a sun roof to see the exit of the corner because you go in the corner and the exit is over here. So not only are you going really fast in a small area, you can’t see much. You only see, as you are going into the corner, you can maybe only see five car lengths in front of you, six car lengths. When something happened, you see it late and then you are going fast and you can’t stop and there’s so room and it just compounds from there and puts on exciting races; exciting stuff. It puts us in a position where we just have to build a lot of trust in spotters and assuming things are ok in front of you and just hope for the best.”

Jeff Gordon
Jeff Gordon

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 REAlTREE/BAD BOY BUGGIES CHEVROLET – 3RD IN STANDINGS: “We haven’t really figured that out (what it takes to be successful at Bristol) yet since the new banking and the new track design was put into place. We haven’t run great. We’ve run ok, but we haven’t got the notebook that says you need to do this. So we’re still searching a little bit there. The new one (Bristol Motor Speedway) is pretty easy. There is a lot of room to race. Two totally different animals (from old track to new track). It is a lot different than it used to be. Obviously that race for years has been the hardest ticket in our sport to get. It seems like the Saturday night race there always brings out something exciting.”

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET – 6TH IN STANDINGS: “We have one more chance to earn a spot in the Showdown, and I really want to be the driver that wins a fan one million dollars in Atlanta. I think this is such a cool program by Sprint that is a great chance for a fan -- and a charity -- to win a million dollars. The Bristol night race is just a completely different atmosphere. The intensity level may be even higher with the final Showdown spot on the line. Even though we have a little bit of a cushion, the focus hasn’t changed. The goal is to win each and every week. With the cushion, how we go about it has changed. With that cushion, we can take more risks with fuel or pit strategy the next few races to try to get another win. There was a groove – a rhythm – that I found on the old layout. I just haven’t found it yet in the new layout.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 BASS PRO SHOPS/REALTREE CHEVROLET – 7TH IN STANDINGS: “There isn’t not a track on the schedule that I don’t look forward to going to. There are some tracks I look forward to going to more. You get to place like Bristol, it is a little more difficult now to be a product of somebody else’s frustrations because of the way the bumpers align and therefore, it’s a little bit more secure when you are there that you used to be. Because before, if you had one bad run at Bristol, all it took was somebody lifting your back tires off the ground and you were in the fence. There’s a lot to look forward to throughout the rest of the season. We’ve done a good job, like I said, up to this point. But by no means are we locked in. By no means do we feel like we’re a…I shouldn’t say a championship caliber team, but I think we have some room that we need to grow to be more successful and have ourselves a better opportunity at winning the championship.

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/BRISTOL 50TH ANNIVERSARY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET – 9TH IN STANDINGS: “Bristol is a real rough-and-tumble short track and just trying to stay clean and stay out of trouble and stay out of other people’s messes and wrecks and mistakes and have good pit stops and try to have a good pit stall. Need to be able to get in and out of your stall because it’s tight on pit road. There’s a lot of ways to go around the corners so you can kind of find somewhere where your car has speed and speed kind of comes and goes all night long as your car changes with the flow of the race a ton trying to move around and find speed in the corner. The balance of the car is important, but not quite as much as on short tracks. I think the race track is awesome and I think if you put the old car out there, you would see some bad ass races. The first time we went there and raced, it was actually a really, really good race. Me and Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne were running three wide for the lead midway through the race for 50 laps. The track is perfect and fine. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s as good or better than it ever was. It all comes down to choosing the correct tire that allows us to race around the race track because the tire, as Goodyear will probably tell you is one of the most important components to being able to produce and provide good racing and the cars. The COT -- is it for that race track which car provides the better race -- the COT or the old car. Everybody is going to have their opinion about that. We have the COT now and it’s tough with the splitters to drive these things around the short tracks; especially a banked place like Bristol. They don’t really want to turn too well when they get on the splitters. The first time we had that configuration, we had an awesome event I thought. I think what they did to the track made it better.”

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 BASS PRO SHOPS/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET – 10TH IN STANDINGS: “I just love the night race there. To me it’s one of the coolest races of the year but you can’t have anything go wrong. You have to have a perfect race car if something goes wrong to be able to have a shot to get back. If you don’t have a perfect race car it’s a lot of times impossible to get caught back up. So you’ve got to have a problem-free day but you’re going to have to have a good race car. There’s a bunch of guys that are really good there now and you can’t be a little bit off and have a good day, you’ve got to be on your game. The track for sure from day one has been better. You didn’t have to just run behind guys and wreck guys to pass them. You could use the whole race track now. As a driver, especially on a track that size, that’s what you look for. That’s all you can ask for is to have a place that you can move around. I don’t know that the COT has really changed it any different. He’s (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) probably got a valid point. I guess I just don’t think about it. The big thing is just making sure you’ve got a car that you can move around the race track and if you can do that you’re probably setting yourself up for a good opportunity to have a good day because you’ve got to be able to move and switch lanes and run different grooves instead of just running around the bottom all day. When the cars hit the ground you can see the sparks there. Bristol has always had that cool atmosphere because of how short it is and the way the grandstands there are and then you do it at night on top of that, it’s just got a cool feel to it.”

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET – 11TH IN STANDINGS: “Bristol is a half-mile short track bullring. You’re going to have your good runs and you’re going to have your bad runs. Everything happens so fast. The key to success at a track like Bristol is you have to be able to get in the car, settle down and slow everything down, including the pace. You have to think and if you can do all that, you prevail there. Some teams do it better than others. That’s a very difficult situation. If your car is really loose, you don’t have time to breathe and settle down. It’s a difficult situation to be in. You have to slow everything down. I think that’s the key to having success there. I think that the quality of racing at Bristol is much better now than it has been in the years past. The fans want to see some wrecks and some emotions when they go to a short track, and they get that at Bristol. If you’re a true fan and like the quality of racing, you also get that at Bristol.”

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – 16TH IN STANDINGS: “Bristol is one of those races that you can’t really go into it feeling like you have a whole of control. It’s been better since the repave with fewer accidents and it seems like the handling of the car means a whole lot more. With so many drivers fighting for that wildcard spot and for those bonus points going into the Chase, I think there will be riskier moves trying to get to the front and into the lead. It could be a little crazier this time around. We have to win. No other way to do it, really. With Denny’s (Hamlin) bad day at Michigan, that put the Chase in much closer reach, but not enough to do it with just good finishes like we had on Sunday. We have to win. We have three shots left and we’re going to do everything we can to make it happen. But, there are a lot of other teams out there in the same position we are. It’s going to be tough.”

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 SYLVANIA/MENARDS CHEVROLET – 18TH IN STANDINGS: "The racing is great. I know some fans don't like it. If you are a fan of crashing, you probably don't like it. If you are a fan of racing, you probably do like it. Us as drivers enjoy it. There is a lot of room to race and run side-by-side. Uneventful days at Bristol and that (March race) was definitely an uneventful day. We had a pretty good car. I think we had a spark plug that broke toward the end of the race so I would say the last 100 laps or so we were on 7 and a half cylinders basically, which made the car turn really good. We just lacked a little down the straightaway. The car drove good all day so an uneventful day at Bristol is a good day. You can't see anything. Bristol and Dover are probably the two places where you get the best sensation for speed, but you can't see anything the way the banking is. You have to look kind of high through the windshield when you go through the corner so things come up on you in a hurry because you can't really see, but, definitely one of the tracks that we go to where you get a sensation of speed."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – 22ND IN STANDINGS: “Bristol is a place where the Target team always runs really good. The problem with Bristol is that you either run really good or you get involved in someone else’s wreck. We were running top-five or top-10 the time we were there and we had a loose tire, and we had to come in under green, and lost two laps. Once you lose two laps, you are done. It’s all about maintaining track position and staying out of trouble.”

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – 24TH IN STANDINGS: "Bristol has always been a place that when you got underneath somebody, the spot was yours. Now, you can get underneath somebody and the fight has just started. So, in some ways it is exciting and in other ways it is frustrating. Kind of the way New Hampshire changed a little bit. New Hampshire has always been, you get the spot its yours. Now, you get the spot and the fight's just started. So it is exciting in some ways and frustrating in others. There is more energy at night. The driver's introductions there are extremely exciting. The fans have had all day to get pumped up about it. It is just a different feel. Much more of a gladiator feel; like you are going out there and there is a lion trying to kill you and you are trying to keep from being killed. I don't know how else to describe it but there is definitely different than the day. I'm really comfortable there. I like the race track. It seems like we run really well there every time we go. But, it is also Bristol and it is easy to have bad finishes there. We've had some good runs there and haven't been able to finish them off. I've always liked going to Bristol, it is a hell of a challenge. It's a lot of fun. Not too worried about what the last few races have been. This is a completely different environment around here right now and I am really excited about going. Imagine being on the interstate and everybody slamming on the brakes at once then taking back off. Then slamming on the brakes and taking back off. Something's eventually is going to happen. That is the best way to try and describe it. It's really fast. It's better now because there are places to hide. If a wreck happens, there's places to go and in the past there really wasn't. It's better now but it is still pretty chaotic."

REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET – 25TH IN STANDINGS: "We've had a couple of opportunities this year to have a solid finish on a short track -- a top-10 or better -- but something beyond our control seemed to happen late in the race. It's like anything else, we need to forget about past occurrences and focus on the present which is Bristol this weekend. We've been able as a team to post some career firsts this year, and a first top-10 on a short track would be a nice addition to the 2011 resume. We definitely have the goods and the personnel to be successful at Bristol. This is a race we all enjoy except when you get banged around and the hits start to have an effect on your car's performance. We're coming off a decent finish in Michigan (13th) and would like to keep the momentum going in our Furniture Row Chevrolet."

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET – 27TH IN STANDINGS: “It is always fun to go to Bristol, especially the night race; it is always an electric atmosphere. We had a good weekend at Michigan last week although we didn’t end up where we should have with the final results. I think our team found a couple of things that helped us out and hopefully we can bring that with us to Bristol. Although they are two different types of tracks, it is always good to have positive momentum.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags bristol, chevrolet, sprint cup