Team Chevy drivers prepared for night race at Bristol

TEAM CHEVY IN THE GARAGE INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY– ALBA COLON – PROGRAM MANAGER, NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES – CHEVROLET RACING: “With just three races remaining in the Chase to the Sprint Cup, the stress level of our Chevy teams is running high. Each driver wants to post really good finishes and accumulate wins! That’s the key, to obtain as many wins as you can.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

“There are currently four Team Chevy drivers in the Top 10; and several others ranked between 11th and 20th in the point standings. Under the wild card rule, those drivers can still make it into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. We are working non-stop to secure spots for as many Chevy drivers as possible in the final 10-race championship hunt.

“We head to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend, which is a nice change to go to the .533-mile oval after spending the last month at big tracks and road courses. There is nothing more exciting for fans and participants alike than Saturday night short track racing!

“And this time, to make things a little more interesting, there are some new changes with the recently-altered track surface. The track has been reworked and has lost its top groove. Drivers who used to run in that top groove will not be able to do so now because it will be pretty slick on that part. That means there will be less room to race, which will make the racing more interesting. In some ways, we will get the old Bristol-style racing back.

“Nobody can predict how it will go on Saturday night, but for sure it will give us a lot to talk about. We are looking forward to enjoying a Team Chevy visit to Bristol Motor Speedway’s victory lane this weekend!”

TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT:


DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 DIET MOUNTAIN DEW/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET – 3rd IN STANDINGS:
“That was a big deal to me because I had seen those trophies in my house all my life. They were the biggest trophies you could bring home. They were bigger than even the championship trophy. I admired the track for how tough it was; how tenacious the races were; how hard the driving was; and how difficult it was on drivers. It is just such a unique racetrack. It’s one of a kind.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S DOVER WHITE CHEVROLET – 4th IN STANDINGS:
“I don’t know what to expect. We have had grinding done at some tracks and we bought into a theory that it would do something; then it did the complete opposite. I don’t know what to expect until I really get on the track. I heard that where they ground the track was slick, we will just have to see over all the laps and once we get into the race what really happens there. Bristol went out on a limb here. It’s not about the drivers it’s about the fans. We will see if they make everybody happy.”

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 RHEEM CHEVROLET – 8th IN STANDINGS:
“I have always liked racing at Bristol (Motor Speedway). I’ve got a good record at this track, but to be honest, I have no clue what to expect when we head back. There have been so many changes made to the track over the last year, I wish they wouldn’t have made, so who knows what we might happen when we go back there this weekend.”

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET – 9th IN STANDINGS:
“Not really sure. I’m not exactly sure 100 percent what tire they’re bringing back, but Goodyear ran through a lot of combinations trying to find something that would be a little bit different, a little bit better for the drivers. Pretty excited about the effort they’ve put forward and we’ll wait and see what tire they bring.”

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET – 11th IN STANDINGS:
“The new surface is a real wild card for everyone. If the top lane is really slippery, it will be tough to race up there. I don’t think anyone knows until we get cars on the track. But we were really fast at Bristol in March, so I’m excited to race there again. It’s always a fun place to be.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE CHEVROLET – 13th IN STANDINGS:
“I just hope they didn’t screw up the race track. The racing was different than what we had there in the past because of the tire to me, not because of the race track. I hope that the racing is good. I hope they didn’t take the racing away. The beating, banging and crashing is not the racing that I like. That’s what some of the fans enjoy but that’s not the racing I like. I like being able to run side-by-side. The problem we had the tire just didn’t allow us to be able to fall off so the first five laps of the run were like the last five 120 later. You had what you had. Your car didn’t fall off, your balance didn’t change, and everybody was virtually the same speed. We passed and we raced side-by-side but it made it difficult to see the guy coming from 10th on new tires to pass the guys that were in the top five. It just didn’t happen the way it used to. To me, the tires are the biggest issue when it comes to a place like that.”

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 MENARDS/SCHROCK CHEVROLET – 15th IN STANDINGS:
“It’s a big rhythm track. It reminds me a lot of this quarter-mile track in Rockford, Ill. where we used to race. It has that progressive banking and you kind of run up the hill a little bit. You have to find your rhythm and just click off laps. You know you’ve found it when you understand your car and how it is going to react. Then you just sit back, try to drive smooth and do the same thing over and over again.”

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET – 16th IN STANDINGS:
"It's about wins for us now, and we have three good tracks for us - Bristol, Atlanta and Richmond - to try and get another victory. I love what's been done because I typically run a groove off the wall - I don't run that top groove. Our car works much better further down, so I don't think it will affect us. The fans want to see excitement, bumper-to-bumper action and the drivers getting upset with one another. Eliminating that groove might help. I respect the fact that (Speedway Motorsports Chairman) Bruton (Smith) is being proactive. I applaud him for putting that effort into it and the money behind it as well, and I think it's going to really pay off."

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/ALLSTATE CHEVROLET – 19th IN STANDINGS:
“I think it will be an interesting weekend. With the changes to the track surface since the first race this year, we will have to make the most of our practice sessions and try to get a good qualifying effort for our Bass Pro Shops Chevy. Track position is going to be crucial. I am excited to get back and see how we are at Bristol. We had a really good run and a top-10 finish in March, so hopefully we can be just a little bit better this trip. I always enjoy racing under the lights, and Bristol is just such a unique venue, and always a lot of energy with the fans there.”

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – 20th IN STANDINGS:
“We are still going to see multiple race grooves. We are not going to see a single-file race track. We will see a nice mix of the new and old Bristol (Motor Speedway). You are going to choke down the number of grooves available to the drivers. That very top lane isn’t going to be available to us anymore. We won’t see as many escape routes, but more cautions. A little bit of mix between the old and new.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – 22nd IN STANDINGS:
“It’s a whole new deal for us heading into Bristol this time around. We didn’t test there since they’ve redone the track so we’re not really sure what to expect this weekend. I’ve heard that’s it’s one groove now so that’ll make things interesting when you try to pass. We’re looking to run a clean race and try to get things turned around on the Target team. It’s been a rough season so far.”

REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/FARM AMERICAN CHEVROLET – 23rd IN STANDINGS:
"It's a good feeling about returning to short track racing, and the way our Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet has been running lately, we are pretty excited about Saturday night's race at the world's fastest half mile. It's always fun going to Bristol and we seem to qualify well there and have strong cars. We had a good car back in March at Bristol but an early incident with the No. 5 car (Kasey Kahne) set us back. Regarding the facelift to Bristol's track surface we're just going to have to wait and see how it plays out. Whatever the differences are to the track it's going to be equal for everyone, and the teams that can figure out the changes sooner rather than later, will have the advantage."

KURT BUSCH, NO. 51 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET – 25th IN STANDINGS:
“Yes Bristol is one of those tracks that I get a little extra pumped up for. For me, I think that feeling gets a little stronger when you’re talking about the night race at Bristol. There’s just something special about that race. I knew it before I ever made it to the big league level of the Sprint Cup Series but the first time I was able to experience the night race as a competitor, it’s almost indescribable. It’s a place that gives you a big adrenaline rush. You can literally feel the energy around the track from the competitors and the fans that are just excited for 500-laps of racing at Bristol. There’s really nothing quite like it.”

DAVE BLANEY, NO. 36 SEAL WRAP CHEVROLET – 34th IN STANDINGS:
"The Bristol night race is always one of the coolest races of the year. I’m thrilled to have Sealwrap back on the car for such a big race. I really liked the track with progressive banking. It’s hard to tell whether the revamp will make a little or huge difference. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the change. I’m excited to watch Ryan in both the Truck Series and Nationwide races this weekend. They will be fun to watch."

DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET -
“I’m looking forward to going to Bristol. I’ve look forward to going there every single time. It’s been a track that I enjoy because of the banking in the corners. It’s going to be more challenging now without the top line. It’s going to make it a little more bump and go kind of racing, which could still be fun, as long as I’m the one bumping (laughs). I’m looking forward going there with the Cup car because every time I run the Cup car I feel like the Nationwide car stuff goes better, so hopefully we can get our first really great result on a short-track.”

Source: Team Chevy Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Previews
Tags bristol, burton, chevrolet, earnhardt, gordon, harvick, johynson, mcmurray, menard, montoya, newman, stewart