Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

TEAM CHEVY IN THE GARAGE BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY – ALBA COLON – NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES PROGRAM MANAGER - GM RACING: “After a well-deserved weekend off for everybody, our Chevy teams are looking forward to being back at the track, especially in Bristol. It is the first short track race of the season and the racing is always great. A lot of patience is required at this race and every driver will try to keep his track position and not get in trouble.

“Our GM Racing engineers have been working hand in hand with the team engineers to provide the technology that leads to better handling race cars, which is a key component to be successful at this track.

“The drivers seem to either love or hate this Bristol; but the fans always love the exciting racing this track produces. Bristol is a huge fan favorite.

“This year the races have been very exciting and our Chevy drivers have shown every weekend that they have what it takes to deliver race wins throughout the entire 2011 racing season.

“We have also had a good start to the season with Jeff Gordon winning in a very impressive way in Phoenix, and with seven Chevy drivers in the top 12 in the point standings. Chevrolet has a strong track record at Bristol, and we are looking forward to another Team Chevy win on Sunday.”

TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY (BMS):

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET – 1ST IN STANDINGS - TOOK THE WIN AT BMS IN ’01: “Bristol is a hard race to win and you look at guys like Rusty Wallace that have had so much success and won so many races, it shows you how good you have to be to win there and win there consistently. It only takes one minor incident ‑‑ you would think being a short track race that if you have a great car you can get there but normally one small mistake will take that opportunity away from you. Seems like the odds are, that you have better odds of something happening that keeps from you winning than you do of actually winning itself.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – 4TH IN STANDINGS: “I actually enjoy racing at Bristol. It’s one of those tracks that can be intimidating at first but once I got out there, I caught on to it pretty quickly. You are on the wheel all the time and it’s a track that you want to be running up front. Track position is key. It’s when you get into the back of the pack that it’s a nightmare and can make for a very long day. Our results have been pretty good there and I’m sure Brian Pattie and the guys will give me a strong Target Chevrolet for the race on Sunday.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 TORNADOS CHEVROLET – 5TH IN STANDINGS: “Bristol is just a great racetrack and a great short track. I’ve always liked the banked racetracks, in general, over the flatter racetracks. So, I guess in some ways you could say I’m more comfortable at Bristol. I think Bristol has always been one of those short tracks that everybody loves. And, obviously, that’s changed with the different surface and the way they have changed it a little bit. But, ultimately, it’s still a great short track. I really love the banking and I love the fact it’s concrete and doesn’t seem like it changes a whole lot. Once you get a car right, it’s typically right for 500 laps, which is difficult to get on some of the racetracks. Honestly, there’s just no place like Bristol. I’ve told people before that Bristol is like a baby superspeedway. If something happens in front of you, it may not be your fault, but you can get caught up in somebody else’s wreck in the blink of an eye. You have to really be on your toes at Bristol. Everything happens so fast there. You don’t have time to think or blink. I learned that in 2003, when I won the pole there. I knew I had a good car but I never anticipated I could put down a lap that fast. You just don’t realize how quickly everything happens at Bristol. You could have the best car out there, but everything is completely out of your hands. One minute, you could be running in the lead and, just seconds later, you could be wrecked in the corner and out of the race and it would be no fault of your own. You won’t even realize what has happened to you until afterward. To me, the racing is at an all-time high at Bristol, compared to the way it used to be. We can race side-by-side and actually gain spots without having to wreck someone.”

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 MENARDS/CERTAIN TEED CHEVROLET – 6TH IN STANDINGS: “The average speed for both Bristol and Phoenix is pretty similar, but at Bristol you have a lot more load with the banking. It’s a fun race track. Since they repaved it, you can drive just about anywhere that you want on the track which makes racing there a lot of fun for us drivers. We probably won’t have the wrecks that you’ve seen in the past, so I think that the jury is kind of out for what the fans will prefer – the old style or new style – but it’s a lot of fun for us to race on. We learned some things at Phoenix that will apply to Bristol, too. Actually, it seems like the corners are wider than the straight-a-ways. You can run three-wide in the corners, not easily, but you can. But then, when you come out of the corner, it really narrows up, so someone has to give. That’s where you see all the action, in the exit of the corners, especially if someone sticks their nose in. You just have to be careful because things can get hairy pretty quick there. You can kind of pick and choose where you want to be while you race, but when trouble does happen, it happens fast, so you have to stay on your toes.”

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET – 10TH IN STANDINGS - WON AT BMS IN ’04: "Luck can play a big part at Bristol for the simple fact that you can have a great car and that you can come up on something at any time. It's a matter of being at the right place at the right time, being lucky and missing the big wreck. Qualifying is very important at Bristol. If you have a good qualifying run, it just makes the race go easier. It’s important to have a good pit stall selection, but if you do qualify in the back, it's not over. We started toward the back the night we won there, so it won’t break your weekend. It just depends on the race situation. But it is definitely a lot better race if you start up front."

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – 11TH IN STANDINGS – HAS TWO (2) BMS VICTORIES – ’93 AND ’98: “Bristol is kind of like Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in the fact that anything can really happen. Maybe not to the extreme that Talladega is, but it definitely has that capability. We saw that last March when we had an awesome race car, but got caught up in someone else’s accident. It just happens. And a lot of times there’s no way to avoid it. The best thing to do is be good right off the truck; qualify well; get a great pit box and a great starting position and just stay up front all night. Not only does that help during the race itself, but it also gets everyone’s confidence up and gets them pumped up for the race.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET – 12TH IN STANDINGS - HAS ONE BMS WIN – SPRING ’10: “I’m just excited to go back to Bristol. I think we were in position in the fall race to fight for the win and race with Kyle (Busch). I feel good. After we won in the spring and coming back in the fall, just didn’t want to be too full of myself. Wanted to be able to go there and run well, but we backed it up there in the fall and had an awesome weekend. Unfortunately we crashed late in the race on the back straightaway. Looking forward to going back. We’re sitting decent in the points, but a good run at Bristol would move us in the right direction in the points. Look forward to going back.”

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 BB&T CHEVROLET – 18ST IN STANDINGS: “I’m looking forward to it. I love Bristol; it’s one of my favorite race tracks. I don’t care when it is. I hope its next week, every week. It’s a fun, wild, energetic, action packed race. You never know the outcome until the last lap. So we’re looking forward to it. We’ve run well at Bristol. It’s one of my good tracks. I really do think someday we are going to win a Cup race there. Hopefully it’s this year. It’s a fun track. It’s an endurance thing. You have to get to the end of the race with the fenders still on that thing. You have to keep yourself in track position and not abuse your equipment, not make mistakes on pit road. If you can do all that, you’re going to have a shot at winning.”

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 PEPSI MAX CHEVROLET – 19TH IN STANDINGS – HAS FIVE (5) WINS AT BMS - ’95, ’96, ’97, ’98, AND ‘02: “Bristol is the ultimate and (the late) Jeff (Byrd) did an amazing job making sure it’s a great facility for the fans and drivers. To have racing here for 50 years is quite an accomplishment. To me, it’s not just about 50 years of racing, though, it’s about putting on a great event and having some of the best racing we’ve ever had for such a long period of time. When I was running in the Nationwide Series, I’d go up in the spotters’ stand and watch Ernie Irvan, Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip and Davey Allison out there battling during the night Cup races. What a cool experience that was for me as a race car driver watching the racing as a fan. While I don’t get to do that anymore, Bristol is still definitely the ultimate fan experience. And, the ultimate driver experience, too.”

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET – 20TH IN STANDINGS - WON AT BMS IN ‘05: “Well you get the side-by-side (racing) and you get the bump and run, but you have to keep the fenders on at Bristol now. You have a lot of stretches of green-flag runs. I can remember we ran100 laps straight there or 150 laps straight the last time we were there, so it’s different than it used to be. Bristol’s a lot better than it used to be. There’s a lot of room and a lot of green flag runs. It’s a much easier track to drive on than it used to be. You have to take care of your car a lot more than you used to, to be able to keep up. It’s a fun place to race. You’ll see when you get there if it’s high or low as far as the groove goes. You have a lot of options as a driver.”

REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET – 28TH IN STANDINGS: "The Jeff Byrd 500 is a classic race named after a classy person. Mr. Byrd was the key force in making the Bristol race one of the best on the circuit. We're looking to rebound at Bristol. The past two races we had good cars but awful luck. An accident at Phoenix and an engine issue at Las Vegas knocked us out. We would like to have our finish in Bristol be comparable to our performance, which wasn't the case in either Phoenix or Las Vegas. Our Furniture Row Chevrolets were really good at those two races, but we didn't have much to show in terms of final results. We've been working hard to improve our short track program and there's no better place to put our efforts to a test than Bristol Motor Speedway. It's a great facility -- a track that I will always have fond memories for since Bristol is the venue where I made my first career Sprint Cup start (March 2007)."

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1BASS PROSHOP/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET – 29TH IN STANDINGS: “I am looking forward to getting back into the action this weekend at Bristol. We had a nice weekend off, but I am anxious to have our team rebound from the difficulties of the first three races, we need to build some positive momentum. Bristol is a place that is a lot of fun to race. We had two solid top-ten finishes at Bristol last year and our guys expect to build on that success, maybe even turn our luck around with a win. One of the things about Bristol that fascinates me is how loud the fans are in the stands. I have never had a win at Bristol, but it would sure be fun to hear that crowd cheering for our Bass Pro Shops team in victory lane Sunday afternoon!”

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – 32ND IN STANDINGS – WON AT BMS IN ’08: “Phoenix was a good test for us. It’s so different from Daytona to Phoenix to Vegas. The racing at Phoenix is so different. So, we’ve had a little bit of that, but there’s nothing like Bristol. Bristol is an animal all on its own. We’re running it a little earlier this year than we typically run it. Early in the year, everyone is full of energy and wants to prove to the world what they can do. Those things don’t usually work well at Bristol. I think for us, we really have to pay attention to what we’re doing. It’s been a good track for us. I feel like we can go there and be real competitive.”

-source: team chevy