Team Chevy Drivers Loudon 301 Pre-Event Quotes

New Hampshire International Speedway


TEAM CHEVY IN THE GARAGE AT NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY– ALBA COLON, GM RACING NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES PROGRAM MANAGER: "With the start of the New Hampshire race, we have officially reached the halfway point in the 2011 season, and, we are just eight races away from entering the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Our teams have delivered seven wins so far this year and Team Chevy currently has seven drivers in the top-12. In addition, Chevrolet continues to lead the Manufacturers' Cup standings.

Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

"While our Team Chevy drivers have shown strength during the first half of the year, our GM Racing engineers and dedicated team engineers still have a lot of work to do in order to maintain strong results and to capture more wins. Our goal is nothing less than to earn the Manufacturers’ Cup and the Driver’s Championship.

"Everyone looks forward to going to New Hampshire Motor Speedway. We all love this track. There is no other track like this one; it is fast and almost a flat one-mile oval. With the long straights and flat tight turns, it is a handling track. It requires the race cars to have both the good cornering abilities of a short track along with the aero characteristics required for an intermediate track. Our teams must find the right balance of trade-offs between the two to give their driver a competitive car that will run up front. Also, it will be key to start at the front of the pack because it is hard to pass, but if you have a great car it is going to be fun to go through the field.

"A strong performance at this track should provide us valuable information for when we return here during the Chase. Chevrolet has had great results at this track capturing 15 wins in the 32 races held at the track known as the Magic Mile. We are looking forward to continuing that success on Sunday and it would be great to go into the off-weekend on a good note with another win!"

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

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET – 3RD IN STANDINGS: "I always look forward to going to New Hampshire. I like this 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 bite you need up off the corner. It's one of those places where you have to get through the center of the corner and get up off the corner wide open. That makes it really hard to get through the center of the corner and turn good like you need to. Getting up off the corner under full power without getting loose is really tricky. Passing is harder there than at most places because it's so hard to make your car work getting up off the corner. That makes track position probably the most important thing at New Hampshire."

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – 4TH IN STANDINGS: “New Hampshire was good to us last year. We’ve had this race circled (on calendar) for a while. We’ve got some things that we’ve felt that would work on a really flat track; short-track stuff with our set-ups. I know that (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) is excited to get up there and sort out some stuff and work on the car and I know that I am, as well. We had an awesome run at Kentucky and I’d love to build on that and go to victory lane.”

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET – 7TH IN STANDINGS: “You know, it's hard to really pinpoint why any track you favor, or it favors you. Some of it is driving style. Most of it is the car setup and the team. So I feel like New Hampshire is just one of those tracks that I had a chance to run in the Nationwide Series before the Cup Series was even racing there, and ran well there, had some good success and transitioned that into the Cup Series. It's just one of those tracks where it's a very flat, narrow-groove, tight-corner racetrack, but it's one that seems to suit my style and it seems like as a team, we can communicate well to get what we need out of the car to go fast there.”

DALE EARNHARDT, NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET – 8TH IN STANDINGS: “Just rolling through the center (is the most challenging aspect of NHIS). It sounds kind of simple and we talk about it all the time. But, just getting fast there is about getting through the middle of the corner and getting the car to rotate, turn and go the other direction. Basically just like Martinsville, kind of in a way, where you have to roll the center really fast. Try to get your car to turn to go the other direction.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET – 9TH IN STANDINGS: "It's always a fun and exciting experience going to New Hampshire It's a place of fond memories for me. I've had my share of success there (two wins) and feel as confident about this weekend as I have at any time in the past. Right now the race for the Chase is real tight and I would like to have more of a cushion in points (ninth). With the new Chase criteria of having two wild cards picks based on wins for positions 11-20, you definitely want to avoid a low finish. A win would be a huge boost for our U.S. Army team, and New Hampshire is a place where we can get that victory. The way we fought back last week in Kentucky to finish fourth definitely says something about this Army team. It was a team effort and we made the best of what was thrown at us. It was a positive point swing, and as I said, every point is important as we are now in the homestretch of qualifying for the Chase."

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET – 11TH IN STANDINGS: “It’s a trade-off of whether your car rotates good through the center and seems like if you can get it to rotate through the center then the challenge is trying to keep the forward drive in it. If you get good forward drive then you are normally tight in the center. That’s the two variables you fight the most and the trade-off that you fight to find that balance between the two and how much you can give up in one area to get it in the other area.”

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET – 12TH IN STANDINGS: “I’m just looking forward to getting to Loudon and hopefully unloading a good race car out of the box. That’s a big thing to be able to unload pretty close and be able to fine tune it from there. You have to be able to roll the center of the corner good, you have to be able to get to the gas and stay in the gas up off the corner. I think that’s the biggest thing. A lot of people can get to the gas and can’t quite make that rotation without having to lift and get back out of the gas at one point or another off the corner. I think that’s the key for me is just making sure the old girl rolls the middle good and you can get to the gas hard and wide open like you need to. Traffic is a big thing. It’s hard to pass there. There is one preferred line to be in and if you get out of that preferred line, it doesn’t matter how good your car is, it doesn’t like to be there.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – 13TH IN STANDINGS: “New Hampshire is one of those race tracks that has been like Indy to me. We have a love/hate relationship. The Target team has been fast every time we unload but just haven’t been able to close the deal. We’re in a stretch of races now that we really need to pick up our game and hopefully this will be the place we can do that. The equipment is getting better and from our past performances at New Hampshire there is no reason why we shouldn’t be up front in the closing laps. We need to focus on gaining valuable points now.”

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 RICHMOND/MENARDS CHEVROLET – 16TH IN STANDINGS: “We’ve struggled on short tracks the last few years, but this is the best we’ve run on them in a while. Phoenix (International Raceway) is a totally different track than Loudon (New Hampshire Motor Speedway), but it does give you a little bit of confidence. New Hampshire (Motor Speedway) has relatively long straightaways and tight corners. One way to describe it is that it’s kind of like a large Martinsville (Speedway). You have to get as much gas as you can from the center and off the exit to get down the straightaways. It’s short-track racing, so anything can happen and, a lot of times, people get mad at each other. Loudon is no different than Phoenix (International Raceway) or Martinsville (Speedway). You drive into the corner and get hit from behind, and you remember that and repay the favor later. You don’t go out looking for contact but it’s inevitable that it’s going to happen.”

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – 19TH IN STANDINGS: “This was always one of those tracks that I just couldn’t get the wins at. I liked the track. I liked racing here, and I love the area. It would just seem like we would get so close, but never take the trophy home. In 2009, when we won that first Chase (for the NASCAR Sprint Cup) race, I couldn’t believe it. Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) made the right calls and got us out front. Then we had a pretty tough battle with Juan (Pablo Montoya), but we managed to hold him off on older tires. That was such a big win for me personally. To win the first race of the Chase and to knock another track off the list where I hadn’t won, were both pretty big for me.”

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – 25TH IN STANDINGS: “It’s a clean slate when we go back to Loudon this weekend. That’s one thing about this sport – you have to move on and not dwell on what happened in the past. We have, certainly, been in great positions to have good finishes and even possibly a win but the way we look at it is we would to do something different anyways. Tires, track conditions and cars change. You always want to learn and apply what you learned in the past because its important but, at the same time, you have to look ahead and figure out how to be better. Some races are pretty calm at Loudon and some are pretty aggressive. Restarts are definitely tough. The cars slide around a lot and its one of the places we go to that is hard to have good, clean restarts because the cars don’t make a lot of grip for the first three or four laps. A lot of times, you see contact on the restarts but, short of that, it’s a pretty typical race track. It’s important to separate what is truly out of you and your teams control and what was in everyone’s control. When you really, truly separate it, it’s easier to deal with. When you start attributing everything to bad luck, you’ve now taking control of your destiny out of your hands. That’s exceptionally hard to deal with because, even if you are the best driver with the best pit crew and crew chief, you still aren’t going to win because it’s not in your control. You have to recognize the areas you need to improve in and you have to recognize the areas you couldn’t control. The stuff that you really and truly couldn’t control you’ll find are a lot less than the ones you can (control). So, if you are willing to learn and be better, to me, that mindset gets you through the tough times. If you believe in yourself and the group that you work with then when things are tough and it’s a bad day, you’ll get through it. That’s what helps me.”

REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET – 27TH IN STANDINGS: "Going from a road course (Sonoma), to a superspeedway (Daytona), to a mile-and-a-half (Kentucky) and now to New Hampshire's one-mile track is pretty exciting. I like to the different configurations each week and have a good feeling that our Furniture Row Chevrolet is going to like New Hampshire, which begins the second half of the season. When I look back at the first half of the season it's been pretty special --getting our first win (Darlington), first top-10, qualifying for the All-Star race, running strong in the Daytona 500 and consistently being at the top or near the top in qualifying average. We came into the season knowing that we could do this. Right now, I feel that we can step it up another notch or two during the second half of the season. I would like to start the second half the same way we started the first half, which was a seventh-place finish in the Daytona 500."

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET – 28TH IN STANDINGS: “I’ve always enjoyed racing at New Hampshire. Being a flat track it is difficult to pass so track position is obviously very important. Loudon tends to race like a short track and we were pretty good at Martinsville earlier this year, so hopefully we can turn that into a solid run at New Hampshire. We have a lot of our crew guys on the No. 1 team from New England so it also makes for a fun weekend for all of them. I am also looking forward to watching Kevin “Bono” Manion with his modified team, they will be trying to win their third straight modified race at Loudon this weekend. It should be fun weekend all around!”

By: team chevy

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Eric Gilbert
Teams Richard Childress Racing
Tags chevrolet, loudon, nascar, new hampshire, nscs, sprint cup