Team Chevy races previews the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Kansas Speedway.
DETROIT - (May 6, 2014) – The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is still young. Chevrolet SS teams and drivers have only completed 10 races, two at 1.5-mile tracks and only two races under the lights. However, this weekend at Kansas Speedway the Chevrolet SS race cars will be put to the test with both challenges. This season Kansas Speedway has a new date on the schedule and will host its first night race on the eve of Mother’s Day.
Most recent Kansas winner Chevrolet’s Kevin Harvick driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, knows just how fickle Kansas can be.
“We had a solid weekend the last time we were in Kansas,” said Harvick. “I know a lot has changed there, because we did the Goodyear confirmation test before heading out there for the race. Speeds will definitely be up compared to what they were from last year.
"There will be totally new concepts with the cars and tires, so we’ll have to take all of our notes and throw them out the window and create new ones as we go back for the race,” continued Harvick. “So, you never know what the situation’s going to be with tires and cars and all the different things that we have, so you have to be very open-minded.”
Thursday Chevrolet SS teams and drivers will have their first opportunity to get on the track for an extra practice session prior to Saturday night’s race. Harvick along with Chevy SS drivers Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson are all looking to make their way back to Victory Lane at Kansas. Nineteen other Bowtie branded drivers will hope to hoist the trophy for the first time and add to Chevrolet’s four race win total in 2014.
Chevrolet continues to lead the manufacturer standings by nine (9) markers after 10 races and holds the record as the winningest manufacturer with eight (8) victories in the 17 races completed at Kansas Speedway.
Team Chevy’s trip to Kansas Speedway will be highlighted by events at the Team Chevy display located in the fan midway area; which will be open Friday and Saturday. Fans can stop by to see a plethora of performance parts and accessories their personal Chevrolet vehicles, as well, as join Chevrolet in celebrating Military Appreciation Month with activities within the display area.
There will be a variety of drivers making appearances throughout the weekend at the Team Chevy stage including: Spencer Gallagher, Joey Coulter, Jimmy Weller, Tyler Young, Martin Truex, Jr., Paul Menard, Austin Dillon and Jamie McMurray. On Sunday fans can even get autographs from the No. 1 Chevy SS over-the-wall pit crew when they join guests at the Team Chevy stage. Fans can also enjoy an up-close and personal look at six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet SS show car, and explore a wide variety of Chevrolet’s 2014 production car line-up.
DID YOU KNOW? Chevrolet’s redesigned 2014 Impala sedan has gained nearly eight (8) percentage points of retail market share since launch – measuring 14.7 percent at the end of the first quarter compared to 6.9 percent a year earlier when the cars first arrived in dealerships.
BOWTIE BULLET: Chevrolet’s Kevin Harvick has led more laps this season than any other driver. Harvick has paced the field in his No. 4 Chevrolet SS for 553 laps.
ENGINEER EXPERTISE FROM THE GARAGE AREA – ALBA COLON, PROGRAM MANAGER, NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES - CHEVROLET RACING:
“Team Chevy is looking forward to this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway. It should be very exciting to race for the first time under the lights at this track. “This 1.5-mile tri-oval is a fun track that’s smooth and fast. When we raced here in the fall of last year, we had a dual zone tire, but not this time. Add to that, more downforce in our cars and racing at night with ‘summer like’ warm weather conditions, and it will be interesting to figure out the right set-up for each Chevrolet SS race car.
“All the Chevy teams are working really hard to figure out various set-ups to understand what exactly our cars want and need. With ten races under our belts, and after watching how the cars perform on superspeedways, short tracks and mile-and-half tracks, we have more knowledge of what is required to improve and win.
“Our goal is to achieve positive results at all types of tracks, and Kansas Speedway will provide us with yet another opportunity to do that.
“We are all looking forward to some great racing there on Saturday evening.”
WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE THE CHEVROLET SS RACE CARS?
This weeks’ race is at Kansas Speedway. 23 Chevrolet SS drivers will attempt to qualify and compete for the trophy at the 1.5-mile venue. Fans can see all the action on FOX and listen in on MRN Radio, Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and NASCAR.com
TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT:
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 AXALTA COATINGS CHEVROLET SS – POINTS LEADER “There’s something about Kansas that really suits my driving style – even after the repave a few years ago that created some new challenges. Even with the new surface, the groove has widened out the last few races. It’s a smooth track that’s very fast, and I love the transitions and how you transfer from the flatter straightaways into those banked corners. “I’m really excited about this weekend because this Axalta Racing team has been strong on mile-and-a-half tracks this year.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – 4TH IN STANDINGS “We have had fast cars all season, and we are bringing another new chassis this weekend. We did the Goodyear tire test at Michigan (International Speedway) last month, and we were able to learn some things for this weekend. I’m looking forward to getting on the track and seeing what kind of speed we have.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – 7TH IN STANDINGS “I feel pretty good about our 1.5-mile program. We led a lot at California. Vegas went well. We still want to be better but we’ve been in there fighting for wins. So we feel very good about that."
On Mother's Day: "The way treat others, even the way I compete, really reflects my mom. She’s a respectful person and treats others how they treat you; a lot of those things from my mother’s personality show through. I guess more like my mom than my brothers are to a certain degree. So, I’m very thankful for all the sacrifices my parents made. Mother’s Day is a special day; especially now being a parent and understanding that a little bit better."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 KWIKSET CHEVROLET SS – 9TH IN STANDINGS "Everyone enjoys racing under the lights. I certainly do and I think we can return to victory lane there this weekend with the No. 31 Kwikset Chevrolet. It's a different deal now because the track has been repaved and it is so much faster. I think it is going to be an amazing race track with progressive banking once it ages out to the point where we can use the entire track. I really don't know what to expect this weekend after a winter's worth of weather beating up the race track a little bit. I expect our Kwikset Chevrolet to be competitive. When we look at the RCR history at the track, especially scoring the pole and victory back in the fall race, I feel like the entire organization has the potential to bring home a win on Saturday night and I think we have some added confidence when we pull through the gates this week."
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – 13TH IN STANDINGS “Following a good finish for our Target Chevy last weekend in Talladega, I’m excited to be heading off to Kansas this weekend. I wish I could’ve helped Harvick get a Chevy into victory lane last Sunday, but still happy to have pulled a top-10 finish in my first Cup race at Talladega. Our team seems to be continuing to improve and grow, so I’m looking forward to racing this weekend at a track-size that I really like. I’m also excited for another night race; I think those are always fun for the drivers and fans.”
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW CHEVROLET SS – 14TH IN STANDINGS "At the beginning of the year, we sat down as a team and talked about goals and expectations for the year. Kansas Speedway is one of the tracks I circled as a place I think this No. 3 team can win. I've always loved the track. Mile-and-a-halves have been my strong suit in the past. We were able to test at Kansas Speedway a few weeks ago and I learned a lot. Restarts will be important during the race."
AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 KINGSFORD CHARCOAL CHEVROLET SS – 15TH IN STANDINGS “Since they repaved that place it’s been really fast. Under the lights at Kansas Speedway, we will probably have cool weather. Anybody that likes speed should go see this race because it will be interesting to watch. You will get to see how the race plays out for the first time at night and whether the track conditions change or not. It’s going to be a fun race for the fans to watch and hopefully a good time for us with our No. 47 Kingsford Chevrolet SS.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 SHROCK/MENARDS CHEVROLET SS – 17TH IN STANDINGS "I'm looking forward to racing in Kansas on Saturday. Kansas is a fun track to race on with the new pavement. I think it's one of the fastest tracks we race on all year. It'll be interesting to see what the winter has done to the surface and what it will be like at night. Our No. 27 team is ready for anything, so it will be a good weekend."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 JIMMY JOHN’S CHEVROLET SS – 19TH IN STANDINGS “We had a solid weekend the last time we were in Kansas. I know a lot has changed there, because we did the Goodyear confirmation test before heading out there for the race. Speeds will definitely be up compared to what they were from last year. There will be totally new concepts with the cars and tires, so we’ll have to take all of our notes and throw them out the window and create new ones as we go back for the race. So, you never know what the situation’s going to be with tires and cars and all the different things that we have, so you have to be very open-minded.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE/THANKAMILLONTEACHERS.COM CHEVROLET SS- 20TH IN STANDINGS
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 BASS PRO SHOPS/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET SS – 21ST IN STANDINGS “It will have changed some just due to weather. It was so smooth when it was first paved – even the transitions were smooth. We knew going in that it would have a ton of grip and a ton of speed, but it was smoother than most highways you go down. The key is getting more rubber on the racetrack. The more rubber that gets transferred, the better the racing surface is. It will keep getting better the more laps we run.”
CASEY MEARS, NO. 13 GEICO CHEVROLET SS – 22ND IN STANDINGS "We're coming off of three pretty good runs, so we're looking forward to getting to Kansas and continuing the work on our intermediate program. It's been fun to have the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS running up front and being competitive. We're pleased with the support we've received from RCR (Richard Childress Racing) and I think our progress is starting to show as the season wears on. I'm happy for all of the guys on this Germain Racing team because they've worked so hard to start from scratch this year and get us to where we are now. We're focused on continued improvement and this weekend will give us another opportunity to keep building."
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET SS – 24TH IN STANDINGS “Kansas is special for me because I grew up around there and I like going back to that part of the country, it feels like going home. As far as the racing at Kansas Speedway, I feel that it is a track that has special characteristics especially with having been repaved recently. Both of our cars ran good there last year, so I feel good about going back to Kansas Speedway. I think our mile-and-a-half (1.5-mile) program has been strong and I think we have a good baseline. Our teammate, Kyle Larson, did a tire test there a couple of weeks ago and had a good test, so I look forward to having a strong weekend.”
MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET SS – 26TH IN STANDINGS “Kansas has changed a lot after they repaved the track a few years ago. The surface is very smooth, very fast with a lot of grip. But the track doesn't have a lot of banking, which is interesting. Kansas is more like a Las Vegas-type of track than anywhere else we go. It's a track I’ve had a lot of success at -- I’ve been second there a few times so it’s definitely a place I look forward to going to and know what it takes to get it done there. It’s just a matter of putting all the pieces together. Right now we're running better, but still looking to find that rhythm to consistently run up front in our Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 41 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET SS – 27TH IN STANDINGS “I’m expecting high speeds. The track will be fast. Cars will definitely be on edge. This will definitely be one of the tougher challenges of this whole Indy/NASCAR back and forth. The car on edge at Kansas is very different then the car on edge at Talladega.”
“Kansas is unique on how the wind changes direction from day to day. So turn two might be a problem one day and turn four might be a problem the next day. Now we have a night race, so it’ll be interesting to see how the racetrack wants to make the cars handle after moving from day to night.”
JUSTIN ALLGAIER, NO. 51 BRANDT PROFESSIONAL AGRICULTURE CHEVROLET SS – 28TH IN STANDINGS “Kansas [Speedway] is one of my favorite tracks to go to. This weekend will be my second time racing there in a Sprint Cup car, and I feel a little more comfortable going into the race. We tested there last month with Goodyear, so that provided more track time, which is extremely valuable to a rookie like me. We practice during the day, but we race at night and that always presents a little bit of a challenge. This weekend is the first time for a night race at Kansas and I’m looking forward to it.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS – 29TH IN STANDINGS “I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully we can get a good finish there. Our results in Sprint Cup haven’t been great, so hopefully we can turn it around and get some good finishes. Our Nationwide and IndyCar results we’re pretty good, so we need to get the Cup program up there. It’s a night race, so hopefully it’s pretty interesting and good for the fans.”
MICHAEL ANNETT, NO. 7 ACCELL CONSTRUCTION CHEVROLET SS – 31ST IN STANDINGS "Since they repaved Kansas, it's had close, hard racing. I think it will be that way on Saturday night. We were fortunate to take part in the tire test there a few weeks back, which helps me because that was extra time on the track in a Cup car, which I had never had before. I'm hoping it means we'll be able have a little more time for trial-and-error work during the practice sessions this weekend."
REED SORENSON, NO. 36 CHEVROLET SS – 33RD IN STANDINGS