Team Chevy preview

Talladega

CHEVY RACING AT THE TRACK—TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY–JEFF CHEW, NASCAR MARKETING MANAGER, CHEVY RACING: “We are looking forward to bringing the Team Chevy Racing Display to such an historic track as Talladega Superspeedway. Racing is a very important part of Chevy’s long history, and showcasing our involvement in motorsports across the racing venues in which we compete is very important to us. The Team Chevy Racing display includes Chevy race cars, the latest GM Performance Parts and crate engines, Chevy accessories, interactive video games, digital photography opportunities, and activities for fans of all ages. Most importantly, we have Chevy's full lineup of award winning cars and trucks for fans to experience while visiting the display.”

The key to success at Talladega is to have the right combination of aerodynamics and speed.

Alba Colon, GM Racing

TEAM CHEVY AT TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY – ALBA COLON, NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES PROGRAM MANAGER, GM RACING: “Team Chevy heads to Talladega this weekend, which is always exciting racing! It is a great show for the fans, and yet it is one of those races that all the drivers fear in some way. So many things can happen that are out of your control like the 'Big One'. With the new point system in place this season and with seven races in the books so far, there is only a 43-point difference between 10th place and the leader. Every point counts more than ever now, so to have a win or a great finish here will help to increase the gap.

“The key to success at Talladega is to have the right combination of aerodynamics and speed. And of course, you need to have the right drafting partner and just stay out of trouble!

“The Daytona 500 provided the GM Racing engineers with the opportunity to evaluate how the new nose is going to work at the superspeedways. Also, it gave us an opportunity to study the changes made to the cooling system, which is an important factor in tandem drafting. At Talladega, we should see a few more minor constraints to the cooling system compared to what we saw at Daytona. And due to the larger size of the track, 2.66-miles at Talladega compared to 2.5 at Daytona, NASCAR has mandated the teams to use a restrictor plate with openings of 7/8th of an inch. This is just slightly smaller, by 1/64th of an inch, to the openings of the plate used at Daytona. This change should produce an average reduction of 13 horsepower.

“It is 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 and a strong track record at Talladega. Last year, Team Chevy was victorious at both Talladega races with Kevin Harvick’s win in the spring and Clint Bowyer in the fall. We are looking forward to another visit to the Winner’s Circle on Sunday!”

TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT AT TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY:

Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – 4TH IN STANDINGS - HAS ONE TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY (TSS) VICTORY (’06): That possibility (tandem drafting resulting in a big draft pack) is definitely there. We’re all learning a lot about the push drafting and how it works. It just depends on how close together we can all stay. If we’re all in a big pack, regardless of the tandem pushing or not, your chances of a big crash are there. Then if we get into a spread out situation where cars are separated, you might have a single car spin or something like that. It just depends on where the pack is. I can’t say that I do (hope drivers are on their toes at Talladega) -- we feel like we’re crawling around the track. It’s so big and wide. I guess the big fear that’s in the back of my mind is getting airborne. That thought comes through every now and then, but it doesn’t usually happen until you get turned around. Everything up until then, you’re real comfortable. The fact that we can bump and push and do what we do shows how comfortable we are. The fear part is pretty far removed. It runs through your mind quickly when you’re sideways, but up until then and you’re confident and comfortable and bouncing off one another, pushing guys around and we can’t even see as the pusher. You’re just like, ‘Alright man, lead me through, we’re going.’ It’s not that intimidating until things go wrong. The mindset is to have someone do the pushing and the way things worked last time is your water temp and that pop off valve. You have to keep the water in the car and if you pop off that valve that they put in place from getting it too warm then you vacate the water in the engine and it creates a big air bubble in there and that gets trapped inside the engine typically and creates a hot spot within a few laps you are sidelined with a blown engine. That to me is the first thing you have to focus on is making sure you don’t burn the engine down and from there I’m not sure leading is ideal. Trevor (Bayne) made it work at the 500, but you start positioning yourself where you want to be. Hopefully you have a good pusher or you’ve been a good pusher and you’ve got the guy you want to work with there and it’s just strategy at the end. It’s similar to years past. You have a trailer with you now so the overall dynamic once you get inside of a few laps from the finish is very similar. Up until then you have to manage your car far more than you did in the past.”

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET – 6TH IN STANDINGS – HAS FIVE (5) VICTORIES AT TSS (’01,’02-TWICE, ’03 & ’04): "Well, I don't know really (if the racing at Talladega will be similar to the Daytona 500). The track surface is a little bit more worn out than Daytona so I'm not sure exactly how similar it will be to the Daytona 500. I feel pretty good about Hendrick cars, Hendrick motors anytime you go to a track like that, I mean, you have to feel real confident. I don't particularly like that style of racing (new era of two-car drafting). I'd rather have control of just what I've got to do and having to have responsibility for someone else is a little bit more than I care to deal with. But, that is the way the racing is. But, I don't know if it will be like that at Talladega. Talladega is just a lottery, especially with the smaller (restrictor) plate now; it will be anybody's game. That was really disappointing to hear that the plate is going to be smaller, but that is just how it is going to be so hopefully we will do what we need to do in that race to try to be toward the front near the end. Definitely don't want to have the same issues we had at Daytona where we had a really good car and didn't take advantage of that and get the finish that we deserved. I haven't really finished well there (at Talladega) in the last several trips. I'll probably try to take care of my car a little better during the race. It is a very long race. Try to make better decisions; better judgment calls to have my car there at the end when I need to be able to be around to get a good finish. I haven't been able to do that in the last several trips there. Yes, there is definitely an obligation, I guess (to please his fans), that I feel to try to do the best I can to put the car out front all the time at that place for obvious reasons. But, you try to let the reality of the situation and the job you are doing to do override that, but sometimes, you just go all out and want to be in the lead all the time, which is not a bad way to go. It has won races for me there in the past. And, I don't know if that's exactly what's gotten me in trouble in the last couple of events, but, we just haven't made good choices toward the end of those races. Hopefully I can go back with a better sense of what I need to do and make better judgment calls when it comes down to it."

Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET – 7TH IN STANDINGS: “Before the race, I said to expect the unexpected, and I think that was entirely what we saw from the drop of the green flag at Daytona. To be honest, I’m expecting the same type of racing at Talladega this weekend, unless of course, NASCAR tells us not to expect it. The way you raced the race and the way you had to work with other partners, who you partnered up with at some point during the night – everything was different and unexpected. The racing in pairs deal and how you raced was really unique. If you were out front, you could be pretty aggressive about it. If you were in the back you had to really watch your gauges because the air flow was down due to track position. It was demanding. Honestly, I probably spent more time watching my gauges on the straightaway than I did my mirrors at times just because that was more important. I think I had like 11 or 12 different drivers on my radio and didn’t use it once like a lot of the other drivers did. I didn’t need to because my spotter did a really good job of communicating with other spotters. It was just better for me to keep my hands on the wheel and watch the mirrors than it was to reach down and turn the radio knob. Switching was one of the toughest parts of it. Getting that switch timed right and not losing the time that other teams were was – when you can gain a second doing that, that’s sometimes better than what you could gain by having a different drafting partner. You did what you had to do was what it amounted to. Sometimes you had to switch, sometimes you didn’t have to switch depending on where you were in traffic. You had to have a lot of confidence in who you were working with. So, it was more a matter of making sure that your partner knew and trusted what you were doing and the way the cars worked together. You’re relying on a very high percentage of somebody else’s talent to keep you out of trouble. The way the cars get back together, not getting turned around. It was very difficult trusting a teammate – let alone trusting someone who wasn’t a teammate when you’re going for the biggest race of the year. There’s a lot of trust that goes on, and there’s more trust than ever before when you’re doing those tandem drafts. It used to be you trusted somebody not to make a mistake so you were involved in the Big One. Now, you’re still worried about that in conjunction with who is the best person and most respectful to work with that your car will work good with. It’s what we do to get to the end of the day. It is different from every other sport, and I hope that’s one of the reasons that the fans enjoy it.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – 8TH IN STANDINGS: “You know it is a fact now for over a year now that two-car packs are faster than anything else. At Talladega I think you have to do the same thing as always, just ride for a little bit and at the right time try to come to the front and hopefully stay out of wrecks. The big thing is when you get to like…early in the race, people get excited and then it gets calm. Then people are in the back and trying to get to the front when they feel they are at the time to start making brave, aggressive moves. Some of them don’t come out and when they don’t come out, they hit the fence and it causes a hell of a wreck. We have to make sure we are in the right place at the right time and go from there. I think we have a good chance of winning there. Talladega has always been really good for us so pretty excited.”

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET – 9TH IN STANDINGS – HAS ONE WIN AT TSS (’10): “It’s (Talladega) a crap shoot. It really is. You look at the way the Daytona 500 finished. Anybody can win. You gotta be around at the end to do that though so you gotta take care of your car all day. Obviously Talladega there is a lot more room to move around and do the things that you need to do with the bump drafting and the things that go with that. Obviously anybody can win the race and it’s just one of those things where you have to go out and take care of your stuff for a while. I don’t think it (new restrictor plate size) is going to change the style of racing. With the way that everybody’s figured out the pushing and shoving of what’s going on, the speeds are going to be a little bit greater than what they were so I think they’re just trying to be conservative to that. It (being the pusher in tandem drafting) is just full commitment from the back because you can’t see anything in front of the guy in front of you. You just hold it on the mat, and if you hit something, you hit something. The only way to go as fast as you can is to try and stay square on the guy in front of you. The guy in front of you has as much responsibility just holding his car straight and trying to make as little movement as possible. There’s a lot of responsibility on both sides, and it doesn’t take much to mess it up and wreck the guy in front of you. You have to be paying attention the whole time.”

It’s what you do along with somebody else who decides that they’re going to follow you and help you.

Tony Stewart

TONY STEWART, NO.14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL1 CHEVROLET – 10TH IN STANDINGS – HAS WON ONCE AT TSS (’08): “I think it (the racing at Talladega) will be identical to Daytona actually. Maybe even more guys being wider -- it’s a wider track so instead of just three wide you might be able to get guys four wide even there pretty comfortable. We’ve had a lot of success at restrictor-plate tracks, especially Talladega. We’ve run in the top-two there a gazillion times. I’m glad we’re halfway decent at it, but it’s still always frustrating when you have to rely on what everybody else does. It’s not what you do. It’s what you do along with somebody else who decides that they’re going to follow you and help you. That’s the part that frustrates you as a driver.”

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 SCHROCK/MENARDS CHEVROLET – 11TH IN STANDINGS: “I feel like our restrictor-plate program is a lot stronger this year. Talladega is a crapshoot any way you look at it. All four of our RCR cars were strong in Daytona. The cars are fast and our ECR horsepower is really good. Talladega isn’t one of my favorite tracks to go to, but I know that we’ll have a strong piece when we get there. We learned a lot in Daytona. I think we’re going to see a lot of two-car drafts – the push-drafting. I think it’s going to be a wild race. I like the two-car drafting better than being three-wide all day long. You’re still at everybody’s mercy, especially the guy who is pushing you, but I think a lot less can go wrong.”

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 BB&T CHEVROLET – 12TH IN STANDINGS – HAS WON ONCE (1) AT TSS (’10):

“We were really, really fast in Daytona and basically got destroyed there at the end. Our cars and engines are really good. I look forward to getting to Talladega and having a chance at winning. That’s what it’s all about when you go to a race track. It’s such a good feeling. It’s now up to us to make it happen. It just came down to the wire (at Talladega last fall). When you’re sitting in the equipment that we get to sit in at those superspeedways, it doesn’t surprise me that I was racing a teammate (Kevin Harvick) for the win. “I really did think when the caution came out that I was ahead of him, and I was. I didn’t know it was that close, but I really did think that I won. You have to be conscious of your surroundings. You can’t put yourself in a bad situation. If they’re racing hard in front of you and you don’t think you should be around, get out of there! Get out of it and just don’t stay there and hope it’s going to change because nine times out of 10, that’s when it’s going to bite you. Usually it’s pretty apparent when things are going to happen, believe it or not. There might be someone up there that’s not used to being up there and they are racing pretty wild and erratic. That’s the thing, you get used to racing around people. It doesn’t matter if you’re a 20th place team or a top-10 team. You get used to racing around those people. You get comfortable. It’s when those two collide and are racing against one another. That’s when things happen. I hate to say that, but that’s how it is.”

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET – 14TH IN STANDINGS – HAS SIX (6) WINS AT TSS - SECOND ON THE ALL-TIME WIN LIST AT THE FAMED ALABAMA TRACK (’96, ’00, ’04, ’05 & ’07-TWICE): “Horsepower I don’t think has anything to do with it (success at Talladega). But I don’t think luck has anything to do with it either. I think that Talladega is a much wider race track, there’s a lot more racing lines and grooves and room to race on. We should be able to do the two-car drafts a lot easier than we did at Daytona. Hopefully we’re not hooking and spinning one another like we were in Daytona. I think that there’s no doubt that it will come down to two-car drafts, but it’s more of two cars that can stay hooked up together and not have to put air to the nose to the car in back -- the ones that can do the best job of that and the switch over -- those are the ones that are going to go fast. Not horsepower. I kind of like to be the guy seeing where I’m going (in the two-car draft). To me, it just seemed like in Daytona there were some cars that were better at or just had their cooling systems working better than others and I think at Talladega the car is going to drive so good that I don’t think it’s really going to matter. It’s really going to be more about the spotters and getting the spotters in sync and trying to communicate well with what’s coming up. That’s going to be intense in the final laps. It’s about being there at the end and then just how intense it’s going to be and hopefully you make good decisions.”

If you’re in front, sometimes you wish you couldn’t see where you were going.

Mark Martin

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – 15TH IN STANDINGS – HAS TWO (2) WINS AT TSS (’95,’97): “Everybody’s got horsepower. I want some luck (at Talladega). You can’t see where you’re going if you’re the pusher (in the two-car draft). If you’re in front, sometimes you wish you couldn’t see where you were going. Sometimes you run up on stuff -- it’s pretty tough on you sometimes when you’re running up traffic and you have a guy pushing you that doesn’t really see that. It’s something else. It’s about equal either way. We have to trust each other -- we have to. Like them or not, you have to. Everyone knows I’m not a huge fan of this type of racing. But, I will say, that I actually enjoyed it a lot more at Daytona this year than I have in a long time. I’d rather do those two-car tandems all day than run in one big 35-car pack like we used to. There’s a lot that goes into this now. There’s a lot of trust that factors in with your partner. A lot of strategy on who to work with. Then you have your spotters working together because one of them will spot for both cars. And you have that team on your team’s radio. It’s a whole new deal out there that everyone is still sorting out and getting used to. It’s interesting for sure. I loved it.”

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET – 24TH IN STANDINGS – HAS ONE TSS WIN (’09): ”It’s always good to go somewhere that you think you have a chance to win. Talladega is one of those places where if you stay out of trouble and get lucky, I think we have as good a chance as anyone. The most important part there is having the luck go your way. Things happen really fast at Talladega and you can become a victim in the blink of an eye. I am looking forward to having Johnny Morris from Bass Pro Shops at the track this weekend to cheer us on. He is a huge fan of the restrictor plate tracks and I hope we can put our Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet up front.”

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – 25TH IN STANDINGS: “Our (restrictor) plate season last year was less than desirable. We had really fast cars. I am grateful for that. I feel like we have cars that can win races, run in the front and lead a lot of laps. We have to miss the wreck. What happened in both of last year’s races was me minding my own business and the next thing you know, I’m in a wreck. That’s kind of the way Talladega has been for everyone. It seems like you go through spurts where you miss the wrecks and, all of sudden, you go through a spurt where you can’t do anything right. That’s kind of what happened to us last year. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It makes you think about what your strategy should be going back. We were really fast at Daytona. I was real excited about our car in Daytona. I think the two-car draft is something that everyone is going to try to use at Talladega – there’s no question about that. A lot of people have worked on their cooling packages. It’ll be interesting to see how long people can push each other now. A couple of our cars had engine problems, including us. Those guys work really hard and I’m sure we have that remedied. But, certainly, that will be in the back of our mind. The thing about being the pusher is you can’t see. If you’re not communicating with the guy that you’re pushing, or the spotter isn’t working well, its very nerve racking because you can’t see what’s going on. A lot of communication is required. You really have to be talking a lot. You spend a lot of time explaining to the guy behind you what’s going on. The guy pushing has to have full trust. If he’s not fully committed, fully dedicated, to pushing the guy in front, a lot of speed will be lost by not being committed. It takes some trust, and it’s an interesting way to race for sure.”

REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET – 30TH IN STANDINGS: "We like the superspeedways and our Furniture Row Chevrolet had plenty of success in Daytona. We understand that so many things can happen at Talladega, but we're going into the race knowing that we can contend for the win, just as we did in the Daytona 500. I am really proud of our superspeedway program and the power we get from our ECR engines. Not sure how the racing will shake out at Talladega compared to Daytona. My guess is that it's going to be similar. But you never know. What I do know is that we need to be patient and put ourselves in position at the end to win the race."

-source: team chevy

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags chevrolet, sprint cup, talladega