Pocono II: GM Racing preview

TEAM CHEVY AT POCONO RACEWAY TECH TIPS: ALBA COLON, GM RACING PROGRAM MANAGER FOR NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: "Our Chevy teams were very strong when we raced at Pocono in June. The testing prior to the last race gave our teams and drivers a good...

TEAM CHEVY AT POCONO RACEWAY TECH TIPS:

ALBA COLON, GM RACING PROGRAM MANAGER FOR NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: "Our Chevy teams were very strong when we raced at Pocono in June. The testing prior to the last race gave our teams and drivers a good package to start the weekend and build on up to and during the race. Although we weren't able to score a win, Jimmie Johnson, Dale, Jr., Jeff Burton and Mark Martin had strong cars throughout the race and came away with solid finishes.

"It is always good to go back to a track with momentum from the previous race. As the season is unfolding, the teams are making great gains in the Impala SS race car. We are looking forward to building on our successes in the past weeks heading to Pocono this weekend."

TEAM CHEVY RACING IN NASCAR SPRINT CUP COMPETITION:

*Team Chevy has five (5) drivers in the top-12 in points with six (6) races remaining until the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship

*Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Impala SS is second

*Jeff Burton, No. 31 AT&T Impala SS sits third

*Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS rides fourth

*Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS runs sixth

*Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS is 12th

*Chevrolet has won a record 31 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Manufacturers' Cups

*Team Chevy drivers have collected the coveted NSCS driver's championship 24 times

*The Bowtie Brigade has won a total of 627 races in NSCS competition

FROM THE DRIVER'S SEAT:

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS: "I don't think running well at Indy necessarily means you're going to run well at Pocono. I hope I'm wrong, though, because we had a great car last weekend. Our first goal is to qualify better. We didn't qualify well here last month, so an improvement in that department would certainly help our chances during the race.

"The pavement change in turn three is one of the craziest things I've ever seen. The preferred line used to be around the bottom or in the second groove. That strip of brand-new pavement is three grooves up in the corner, and it made it interesting.

"Pocono is a very, very challenging race track for this car. It's fast, flat and rough; it's tough to get the car handling well over big bumps like that. Good track position definitely helps here.

"We're sixth in the point standings, so we can't make any big mistakes. First things first, we have to make sure we get into the Chase. And it would be nice to have the bonus points that go along with each win after the points are reset. It's risk versus reward -- if the checkered flag is in sight, you may take risks. You may try to make a move and go for the win. But you have to make sure you make it to the finish in one piece."

Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala SS: "Pocono really isn't as fun as it use to be. It is still a little challenging to get your car to work. You have to get off turn three to make time down the front straightaway and turn one is really bumpy. Each turn has different challenges but it just isn't as challenging as I remember it to be.

"It doesn't really matter where we are in the points; you just race as hard as you can every week. We have had some really good cars since Sonoma but haven't been able to capitalize every weekend. We have had some bad weeks that have been out of our control. I am very confident in my team and I think we will do everything we can do to make the Chase. I am planning on just going out there and racing as hard as I can. I mean you might not take a chance on fuel or a different pit strategy to win a race but you really don't do much different."

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS: "So much has changed since we won here. There's a different car and a different rules package. Things that really worked for us then won't work for us now. I do have fond memories of the track and I've enjoyed the challenges of it with three separate corners, but it's just such a different world. We were strong here in June and I'm hopeful that what we learned will cross over and we'll have a good race here. Qualifying is important every week for your pit road pick, and then the fact that it's so difficult to pass here. Qualifying is very, very important. The key to winning is go fast. It's a different track. I'm sure you've heard all the stories about it. It's a different track with three different turns and all that stuff, but you've just got to go fast. If you're not fast, it's not a fun day."

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Impala SS: "I hope this race at Pocono is better than the last one. It was pretty boring, but we got a good finish out of it. Hopefully it won't be so hot up there this time. It was real, real hot last time."

Jeff Burton, No. 31 AT&T Impala SS: "Pocono is a place where I always feel like we run well at but we certainly have never run well enough to win. There was a couple of times early in my career I thought we had a good chance and then I broke parts real late in the race. This is a challenging race track. Obviously, everybody is going to come here and say the same things. The three corners are completely different from each other. It's a tremendous challenge to get your car to drive well in all three corners. The bumps are more of an issue with the Car of Tomorrow. We have a new grove in turn three because of some new pavement down there that's really changed the way that we run in turn three. That's really made it interesting. I think that's going to have a huge factor in the race because the fast grove is four or five lanes up from the bottom of the race track, which means the bottom is always going to be open. It's never been like that before. I think that's really going to have an impact on the race.

"I thought we ran real well at Pocono in June. We struggled a little bit during the first part of the race and got the car going in the second half. We were really good in practice. I think we learned a lot in the test. I'm really encouraged about returning to Pocono. I think we have a really good chance."

Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS: "In the June race, I just crashed. I had a top-10 car and got underneath the No. 15 and it was one of those deals where I thought he was going to lift and he didn't (laughs). I tried to stay off of him and probably should have leaned on him a little bit and went on. But I tried to stay off of him and ended up crashing myself. It was definitely a unique situation. When you have two top-10s and back that up with a 39th, obviously there's something wrong. We ran well at Pocono in June. We were running up front and were going to finish in the top 10 and I just made a mistake.

"That track is unbelievable. It's big. The straightaways are so long. I think they wasted a lot of asphalt on straightaways. As a race car driver, I like the corners. That's where you make or lose a lot of time but it's still a fun race track. Pocono is obviously very, very unique. There's no perfect set-up at Pocono. You have to give up a little in one corner to be good in the others and it takes a while to figure out where to be in that situation. You have to decide which one to give up a little in and which one to take from. You kind of have to play it by ear and see how the car reacts and make adjustments from there."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Clint Bowyer , Mark Martin