Talladega II: GM Racing preview

TEAM CHEVY AT TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY -- ALBA COLON, GM RACING NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES PROGRAM MANAGER: ""Talladega is one of those races that all the teams fear in some way during the season, especially the contenders in the Chase for the NASCAR...

TEAM CHEVY AT TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY -- ALBA COLON, GM RACING NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES PROGRAM MANAGER: ""Talladega is one of those races that all the teams fear in some way during the season, especially the contenders in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. So many things can happen that are out of your control like the 'Big One'. If our Team Chevy Chasers can leave the track this weekend with top 10 finishes, they will consider themselves blessed and happy to move on. Of course all our Chevrolet drivers are going for the win like they do every week; and they know they can do it.

"It has been a great year for Team Chevy in many respects, but especially in the restrictor plate races. In 2010 we have won the three plate races run so far this season, and will be going for that fourth one this weekend to complete the sweep.

"It's important to have the best cars and the best engines in the hands of the best drivers for the race. We have strength in all of those areas. Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines is going for that fourth restrictor plate win this season as well. They have had success on every size track this year and it will be another great milestone for that organization if they accomplish the task this weekend.

"Another milestone came last weekend at the Martinsville race when Chevrolet drivers reached 200,000 laps led since the inception of the series in 1949. In the history of NASCAR, no other manufacturer has accomplished such a task! This huge achievement is the result of the amazing teams we have in our Chevrolet family. From Fonty Flock, who led the first lap and gave Chevrolet our first win at Columbus Speedway on March 26, 1955; to Kevin Harvick who led lap 200K at Martinsville, and all the teams and drivers in between, congratulations and many thanks! Heading into Talladega, we have now led 200,080 laps in the sport!

"We are looking forward to another visit to the Winner's Circle this coming Sunday at Talladega."

TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER'S SEAT:

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET -- POINT LEADER: "We've tried both approaches (being at the front of the pack and the back of the pack) and the last three years we've made it through there (the big crash) without any big trouble. I can remember Bobby Labonte at the front of the pack racing Talladega one time and gets flipped over and ends up landing on Tony Stewart, who is trying to ride at the back to be smart for points. So there is no safe place. We see a lot of teams trying to be conservative and smart and get to the end of the race and go from there and the problem we have now is when everybody decides with 20 (laps) to go, that it's time to race, you have to race. You need the best finish you can get and that's where the crashes are. So I think we all feel better if we go 480 miles and then get crashed. It really sucks to crash at five miles into the race or something. I think that's what we've done over the years is there's no need to push the envelope now if something weird went on, we could miss that. But at the end you've got to pull (the belts) tight and drive through there and try to get the best finish you can."

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 REALTREE CHEVROLET -- 3RD IN STANDINGS: "I think you can control a lot of more things at the other places (tracks). But when you get to Talladega you're kind of at the mercy of a lot of things that can happen around you. So, I think after you get done with Talladega you'll kind of know where you stand as far as what you need to do over the last few weeks. I think the last few weeks are really good race tracks for us and Talladega is a good race track for us as well. They can all flip you upside down and turn things around and have things turn at any given week, but it seems the Talladega is definitely the biggest wild card as far as what's going to happen and who is going to get caught in a wreck and who isn't. So, I think everybody is waiting for that particular race to see where you stack up from there. Every time you think somebody's out, they come back and rebound. But it really looks like there's starting to be a slimmer group of guys that you're going to have to look over your shoulder or look up to, to see what you've got to do to try to win. So, we've just got to keep doing what we're doing."

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET -- 5TH IN STANDINGS: "It gets to a point at Talladega nowadays where you're just happy to finish in the top five. It's not just about the win. A top five is like a win at a place like Talladega because you survived. So if you find a guy you're working well with that you think you can get up there and worst case scenario finish second or third because you're pushing him, you're going to try to win the race but you're not going to risk too much and you're going to do what you can to finish the race. If you can work with a guy and have a pretty good shot at finishing second, then that's a good guy (drafting partner). That's a good guy to be working with."

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE CHEVROLET -- 6TH IN STANDINGS: "(Making late race moves that might be risky happen) more so now than it's ever been Everybody is pushing the envelope and pushing the yard stick up on how hard you've got to run on the restarts; especially with the green-white-checkered, you don't have to worry about pressures coming up and things settling in. You've got to get everything you can get in those last few laps and that's where you see it more than ever. You just put yourself in positions that you wouldn't do the first half of the race. You analyze it when you do it. Nobody goes into it saying, 'Man, I'm going to take an unnecessary chance here.' You just get down to the corner and you see what that scenario is and you make your decision on what you're going to do after that."

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET -- 9TH IN STANDINGS: "No matter what, finishing the best you can finish is all you can do. My emphasis every time I go to Talladega is to try to win the race; miss the wreck; don't cause the wreck. The thing about the wild card races is who would have thought California? You had engine failures and all the things going on. You had a lot of people breaking engines, you had all this stuff. The No. 99 car (Carl Edwards) stopping on the track...you never know when that stuff is going to happen. Every race is potentially a wild card race. Talladega without a doubt, evidence suggests it is potentially the biggest. But, you go into that race and approach it like you do every other race I think."

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 BB&T CHEVROLET -- 12TH IN STANDINGS: "We have very good race cars. Our plate program is second to none right now. I'm looking forward to going there. I look at Talladega as being the track that I can get my second win of the year. Having a good engine is certainly the piece of the puzzle that has us up front and leading laps, but I'm sure everyone else has picked their program up since then. I think the boys will be ready for the competition and, hopefully, we can bring another win home for ECR. I think the only thing you can take away from being a part of a big accident at Talladega is that it's part of racing. You have to be able to put yourself in those positions. You have to put yourself in the position to get to the front and sometimes, being in those situations, will get you in trouble. It's just the nature of the beast. You have to be able to go for it at times and sometimes that will get you."

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET -- 13TH IN STANDINGS: "We haven't finished one (restrictor-plate race) yet this season, so odds are that we are going to finish one. Our superspeedway luck is due for a change, especially at Talladega. I've had some wild rides there recently. Talladega is a mind game -- a cerebral type of race. There are strategies to ride around and strategies to run up front all day. I think it all depends on how fast our U.S. Army Chevrolet is and we won't know that until we get to the track. The big key to Talladega is the same that it is always been. Stay out of trouble, stay in the lead draft and be in position at the end to win the race. Sounds easy, but after nine years of racing at Talladega it's anything but easy. It's a challenge, and no matter how good of a car you have, you can easily be an innocent victim of multicar crash."

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET -- 14TH IN STANDINGS: "Talladega. Everyone knows how I feel about this race track. It's a total crap shoot. A clench the steering wheel and hope for the best, because you can either win or end up upside down, like we did last year, in a split second. It's madness. Controlled at times, and sometimes not. I just want to get through it. I want to get a good finish for this race team. We finished fifth here in the Spring and that, to me, is like winning at Talladega. We've got a good restrictor plate program and fast race cars. So we'll just try to stay out of trouble and cross the finish line with a clean race car and hopefully a good finish."

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS DALE EARNHARDT TRIBUTE CHEVROLET -- 15TH IN STANDINGS: "Going to Talladega is always a race that I feel I can win each time we go there. It's also one of those tracks where your day can be ruined just as fast due to the high speeds we're running and the proximity of which we race and run those high speeds. Things happen in the blink of an eye and it's so easy to get caught up in a wreck. We had a great car for the race at Talladega earlier this season with the second-place finish, and really thought we were going to get our second win there. This weekend, I hope to have the good graces of Dale Earnhardt with me as we run the special paint scheme in tribute to his induction into the Hall of Fame this year, and his last victory, which came at this same race 10 years ago. So, having that paint scheme, and returning to a track that we've had some great success on certainly excites me. I also hope that with having "Big E" on our side, we'll be able to pull those great Talladega fans to their feet when we take that Gold and Black Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet to the front!"

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET -- 16TH IN STANDINGS: "It's really quiet for most of the day at Talladega, then, it gets really out of control the last 30 laps. It is always exciting. It is about picking the right people to be in line with. You have to have fast cars in your line and people that are willing to push and go to the front. It is important to be with people that aren't going to do anything crazy, I would say stupid. There is a fine line as to how far you can push it at Talladega and one little mistake can cost you a car."

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 THE LEGEND OF HALLOWDEGA AMP ENERGY JUICE/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET -- 19TH IN STANDINGS: "I just look forward to going back there (Talladega). We always enjoy racing there. Always been good and fast. Hope we can get up front and lead a lot of laps and be there at the end. Try be in position to make a move for the win. We haven't really been in position at the end of these races like we need to. Try to be a little more aggressive throughout the race and try to keep ourselves in that position. Some guys just want to risk it and go up front and run hard. It is a risk because you can get yourself in an accident. Some guys don't want to take that risk and know that being there at the end is the most important thing so they'll try to stay out of trouble.

"Deciding to charge to the front and lead laps or hang around in the back of the field is a little tough either way. If they aren't up front in the pack, nobody knows really what kind of car that they have got. Then at the end of the race if you are one of the guys that is running up front all day long, trying hard, then you see all these new players pop up in the last 10 or 20 laps it sort of throws everybody off their game. Either way is a good way to go so you just make up your mind what you are going to do and then do it. A lot of the fans probably don't like the guys that go ride in the back, but, when they come up into the pack in the last 20 laps nobody really knows what kind of player they are and how strong they are. That is a good hand to hold you know when you haven't shown everybody all day long what kind of moves you are capable of making and you can catch people off guard. So those guys have a good hand at the end of race too. The ones that have been up front running hard which is what I like to do, you use up a lot of race car all day long beatin' around bumpers real hard and you use up your car pretty good and you use up your engine. They are hot over and over and over and cycling the heat in and out of it in the draft. And, you've shown everybody what you are capable of doing and the people can use that against you. It is tough call what to do."

REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET -- 30th IN STANDINGS: "We know we have a strong superspeedway program, we just haven't had the opportunity to show it this year. We got wrecked early in the Daytona 500, broke an engine in Talladega while running up front and got wrecked in the Daytona summer race. That's three-for-three of not finishing a restrictor-plate race this season. The restrictor-plate race we did finish this year was the Gatorade qualifying race for the Daytona 500. We did fairly well in that race by finishing fifth. We truly feel we have the potential to do very well this weekend. We just need to stay away from trouble and mechanical problems."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Carl Edwards