TEAM CHEVY IN THE GARAGE AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY – PAT SUHY, NASCAR GROUP MANAGER, GM RACING: “This week, the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series roll into Fontana for their first and only appearance at Auto Club Speedway in 2011. Team Chevy has come away with wins in the last three Cup races there and with all the hard work everyone has put in over the off season, I'm looking forward to notching another win for the Bowtie Brigade.
“Even though the race has been shortened from 500 to 400 miles, the California track is very demanding in terms of engine durability. Our Key Partner engine builders at Hendrick Motorsports and ECR Engines are the best in the business and know what it takes to find the right balance between durability and power. With the proven reliability of the Chevrolet R07 engine and it's capability to make class leading power, the teams will be able to focus on setups that take advantage of those traits and put their drivers in a position to win.”
TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY (ACS):
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET – 3RD IN STANDINGS – CAPTURED HIS FIRST ACS VICTORY IN 10/10: “Not a lot, really [makes ACS unique]; other than it’s a lot fresher pavement. But with the heat that we have out there you move around a lot on that race track. You can run the bottom and the middle and the top, and that’s what we do at Michigan too. So they’re starting to really pair up a lot and be very similar. It’s nice knowing that as a driver you can help yourself out and you’re not relying so much on the car. Regardless of what everyone else is doing, you can find a way to help yourself out. It makes you feel good knowing that because the place is so wide, you can move around, and basically, earn your money that day. As soon as you feel like you’re not where you need to be [you start to move around on the racetrack]. If you feel like you’re slower than the pace you need to be running, you’re going to move up the racetrack and find a place that helps balance your racecar. Really, from the drop of the green flag, you do it from there on out.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 US ARMY CHEVROLET – 4TH IN STANDINGS: "We ended the season strong in 2010 and have done a good job in carrying the momentum into the new year. It's a tribute to everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing for staying focused and being committed to the big picture. It's always nice to jump out to a good start so you're not playing catch up. The way we ran in Las Vegas was encouraging to say the least. The mile-and-a-half and 2-mile tracks were our Achilles heel in the past. We need to continue to do well on these type of tracks, including at Fontana. I am confident about this weekend, but we have to continue to attack and race smart in our U.S. Army Chevrolet. I feel that we are a team capable of consistently running in the top five. And I know that we are also capable of winning races and making our Army Strong Soldiers proud of their team."
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 SERTA/MENARDS CHEVROLET – 5TH IN STANDINGS: “Fontana (Auto Club Speedway) can be fun some days and it can be a nightmare on others. Usually we have long green flag runs there, which drivers kind of like. You really get a feel for your car and know what adjustments to make on pit stops. It’s just one of those tracks that we go there with our chin up and try to get the best result so we can get out of there with a good finish. It makes us very confident [after having a good run here last year]. Our first intermediate track was in Vegas, and we learned some things that will apply to Fontana. You just keep going to all these race tracks and learning and picking up things. Some place it applies. Some places it doesn’t.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – 7TH IN STANDINGS - HAS FIVE (5) ACS VICTORIES (’02, ’07, ’08, ’09 AND 02/10): “The track has changed so much. The grove now is from the white line to the wall, even below the line down in three and four. Even though it’s a very fast race track, you have to be smart and not take away too much mechanical grip in the race car because the asphalt is very old now and low on grip. To go back to the track that I won my first event at -- we’re coming up on our 10th season or in the middle of our 10th season and it’s just a special time to go back. If I really think about 10 years ago -- where I started and my mindset going into that race, it’s just a crazy trip down memory lane just to see where we’re at and what’s all taken place in these 10 seasons. I’m very happy to be going back to southern California with one race there now. I love winning at that track -- it’s been very good to me and I only have one chance to strike and get a victory. Hopefully, we can take advantage of that this weekend.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – 8TH IN STANDINGS: “We’re looking to get back on track after what happened in Bristol last weekend so we’re hoping for a strong run. Our cars are good, there’s no doubt about that, and they’re fast. California is a fast track and we’ve had some success there so I’m looking forward to it. We need a good points day this weekend.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET – 9TH IN STANDINGS: “At California, I'm excited to get there and work with Stevie and see what his package drives like. Hopefully we'll sort of, you know, have the same success we had at Vegas.”
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – 11TH IN STANDINGS – WON AT ACS IN ’98: I’m really looking forward to meeting Jillian (Michaels, Go Daddy Girl and America’s Toughest Trainer). She’s intense with her diet and work out routine and I’m anxious to talk to her about that, because I’m kind of into that stuff too. (LAUGHS.) I’ll take her out on the track and see if I can scare her a little bit with what we do, then we’ll go the gym and see if she can scare some of these media members with what she does. It should be a fun time for sure. My diet and work out is incredibly important to me. Not just for my career and what we do out on that race track, but for my life. I don’t miss a work out. Ever. That’s my time. And as far as my diet goes, I guess the best way to define it is to call it ‘clean’ eating. I don’t need any sauces or sugars or anything added to my food. That just ruins it. Living like this, and feeling this good, it helps in everything I do.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 JIMMY JOHNS CHEVROLET – 15TH IN STANDINGS: “I got a little over anxious [in last year’s race]. I think a lot of that comes from the year before and not being competitive week-in and week-out and just getting in a hurry there at the end of the race. I should have just let the last few laps play out and tried to take control over the last couple of laps instead of trying to force the issue there at the end. Yeah, I think that was definitely the best lesson I learned last year. I got back in that mind frame of running up front, being competitive and putting myself in contention to win races. It was definitely the best lesson we had last year, and luckily it happened early. You have to be competitive on the mile-and-a-half race tracks to be in contention. I think as you look at the bulk of the schedule, if you’re not competitive on those types of tracks, you’re in trouble.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET – 19TH IN STANDINGS – HAS THREE WINS AT ACS (’97, ’99 AND ’04): “It's big and fast. You got to have the power down the straightaways, you got to have the grip in the corners, same as all the other big tracks. Certainly a track I love, look forward to going to, one we've had success at. Especially when I think of this team, I think of Alan and his group, they've run well there. They've run well here, too. To me, I look forward to going to every racetrack every weekend because it's kind of like starting over and doing some new things that I look at their past performance and I look at their current performance. It's got me really excited to go to the racetrack and see what we have for the weekend. It's a challenge. But I feel like we're working well together and we've got fast racecars.”
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET – 24TH IN STANDINGS: “I should have won that race last October. There was a huge piece of debris in turn three that was there for about 40 laps and it caused a caution as soon as I built a one-second lead on Mark Martin. I haven’t forgotten about it. You know, not to think they would throw a debris caution or anything to spice things up at the end. Nonetheless, I lost because of a piece of debris in turn three. You can ask anyone, the first words out of my mouth were, ‘it better not be for this piece of trash up here in turn three that’s against the wall, five miles from anywhere that anyone’s racing on.’ Of course, I found out it was. As you can tell, I’m over it (laughs). That would have been three wins in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, by the way.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PROSHOP/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET – 26TH IN STANDINGS: “California is a place that you have to really enjoy as a driver. The track is big and fast and lots of different lines to race, it gives you an opportunity to try different grooves to get the car where it needs to be. We are bringing the same car that we had for the second race at Auto Club Speedway last Fall. We were fast at Fontana last year and sat on the pole for both races, so I can only hope that his is the weekend that we turn our luck around here, this early in the season. “
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET – 27TH IN STANDINGS: "I like the California track, we had two strong races there in 2010," said Smith. "Our 12th-place finish in the fall was the catalyst of getting us to a new level of competition. We've done well on the 1.5 and 2-mile tracks in the past so that is also encouraging for our Furniture Row team this weekend. We didn't take advantage at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas track this year due to an engine failure. But our Furniture Row Chevrolet has been fast almost every place we've been and I see no reason why it can't continue in Fontana. It's our type of track. We did OK at Bristol, but are still in a rebound mode after taking a major hit in Phoenix (accident) and Vegas (engine). We need to put a nice streak together, which we are more than capable of doing."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – 29TH IN STANDINGS: “We ran really well there last year. We had a good chance to win. We had a good chance to win the year before, too. The spring race has been a good race for us. We’ve struggled there in the fall for whatever reason. We’ve been in position to win that race a lot of times, but never done it, obviously. It’s a good time of the year for us to go there because for some reason, we don’t run as well there when it’s hot than when it’s cool. We’re racing for a championship. Winning races gets you more points and we need to get the most points. But, with the new Chase format, if we’re not in the top 10 in points, then the only other way we’ll get in the Chase is to win races. I’m not thinking about winning races for any other reason than that. In the back of my mind, I’m not saying ‘oh no, we haven’t won in a long time.’ I don’t think like that. Matter of fact, if you were to ask me how many races it’s been since my list win, I honestly couldn’t tell you. I don’t like not winning, but worrying about it doesn’t fix it. It’s on to the next race and you always try to do better. But, when we do win our next race, they’ll be a lot more to follow.”
-source: team chevy