Team Chevy Watkins Glen pre-event quotes

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Team Chevy

CHEVY RACING AT WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL – JEFF CHEW, MARKETING MANAGER, CHEVY RACING: “This is a trip we’ve had circled on the calendar for a long time. Both Chevrolet and Watkins Glen have a long history in racing, so that alone makes this a very special weekend for us, but Team Chevy is going to be very busy both on the track and at the track, and we think the fans will like what they see.

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

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

"Chevrolet is celebrating its centennial in 2011, so this is a very special year for us. Bringing the Team Chevy Racing Tour to Watkins Glen allows us to share our heritage with our fans, so this display has something for everyone, like the latest GM Performance Parts crate engines and Chevy accessories and performance parts that fans can purchase from their local Chevy dealer, to go along with interactive games, digital photography and other activities for fans of all ages. We’ve known for quite some time that some owners want to personalize their Chevy, and this is a phenomenal way for them to do exactly that.

"Plus, race fans can take part in question-and-answer sessions with Team Chevy drivers Jamie McMurray and Jeff Burton.”

TEAM CHEVY AT WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL – PAT SUHY, NASCAR GROUP MANAGER, GM RACING: “With just five races to go until the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship line-up is decided, the tour winds its way through New York’s Finger Lakes region to Watkins Glen International.

“The Glen is a fast race track when compared to Infineon Raceway, the other of two road racing courses on the circuit. It also has more passing opportunities with many heavy braking zones and the famous bus stop chicane. Those extra passing areas take some of the pressure off the importance of track position early in the race; but depending on how the cautions fall, teams still need to be ready to use pit strategy and be able to maximize fuel economy to ensure a good finish.

“Our Chevy teams and drivers work hard to continuously improve upon their past performances. They’ve all been actively testing at various road courses where they can work on set-ups and engine tuning to emphasize grip and fuel economy. That testing is preceded by extensive simulation and rig work to select the best suspension packages to take to the tests. Modern CAE (computer aided engineering) tools and test rigs have dramatically increased the number of chassis and suspension changes that can be evaluated before ever going to the race track. Careful analysis of the data from these tools help teams focus on items that are most likely to provide them with the desired results at the track tests. Being able to focus their track testing on items that have the greatest impact allows them to make the most of their testing time and avoid spending energy on things that don't work.

“Our racing engineering group has developed suites of tools that help teams with both simulation and rig testing. Those tools provide a platform that the teams complement with their in-house technology and experience to stay ahead of the pack. It's this hard work and careful attention to detail, not luck, which has brought a Chevrolet driver to the winners circle more than any other manufacturer at the Glen.

“We've watched road racing evolve to look more and more like short track racing; and with the Chase drawing near, that's bound to be the case this weekend at The Glen as well. With the added pressure of the wild card spots that are still to be determined, there will be plenty of incentive to use any means necessary to get a good finish. As usual, I'm confident that our teams will make us proud on Sunday and hopefully chalk-up another win for Team Chevy.”

TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT AT WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL:

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – 2ND IN STANDINGS: "Wins are everything. We want more Ws and I am taking the time to go run the Nationwide Series car for Junior. I have my video game on the side of that race car which is going to be fun and help promote it. Hopefully that leads to a smooth race, a better race for us on the Cup side and we can go to victory. We were just at Road Atlanta testing for two days. So, we're making that effort to try to be on top. I personally love road course racing and want to be very successful at it. It is just something that is very important to me. The Glen, for me, it is the carousel, the long right-hander after the back straightaway. Depending up what driver you speak to, there are a couple of different numbers that they put to it, but, that corner there seems to be the area where I have given up the most speed over the years. I've got to get that corner right because it leads on to a pretty important straightaway and sets you up for a passing opportunity once you work your way around to turn one. If you can gain on that big right-hander, the carousel, and then get through (turns) 10 and 11, you are on someone's bumper for turn one."

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET – 5TH IN STANDINGS: “The cars are a little bit different because you make so many high-speed rights at Watkins Glen compared to the really slow speeds in the corners at Sonoma. Aerodynamically, you want your car to be right. At Watkins Glen you run over a lot of curbs and really fast corners. At Sonoma, they are really slow and kind of technical corners with a lot of throttle control coming off. So they are really just two totally different places. Watkins Glen is definitely one of those places where fuel mileage is going to come into play. You want to put yourself in position but you never know where the cautions are going to fall. You want to pit before everybody else and hope that the caution falls right after that so you can have the right pit strategy. So it’s just one of those things where you have to have a little bit of luck; but fuel mileage will definitely be a factor.”

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET – 7TH IN STANDINGS: “It’s definitely nice to have that (50-point) gap to 11th. It gives us the opportunity to take more calculated risks for a race win. It’s important to stay in the top 10, though, because bonus points for wins are only awarded to those inside the top 10. Any points advantage you can get will be worth it. Watkins Glen is a much faster and more aggressive track while [Infineon] is a finesse track. Here, you have to attack the track – without making too many mistakes. It’s easy to make mistakes here because you have so many turns and braking zones and obstacles with the down shifts – like wheel hopping in turn one. It’s just really, really difficult to get deep into turn one, not overshoot the corner while also not wheel hopping the rear tires. The DuPont Motorsports website is being re-launched on Thursday, and we have some cool things going on with that at Watkins Glen and in the future. I think the fans will really like some of the exclusive content that will be available there.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET – 8TH IN STANDINGS: "As I've always said I enjoy the challenges of the road courses. Hustling the cars through the different corners is fun and it's a nice break from our weekly oval races. The cars are bunched in the corners on a road course and you have to avoid spins and getting knocked around. Staying on the course is vital. Watkins Glen may not be as technical of a circuit as Sonoma, but trouble can still happen any time. We don't take anything for granted. This is auto racing and things can turn against you pretty quickly. You can easily stumble while another driver or two gets on a hot streak. Until someone tells me we have mathematically clinched a Chase berth, I won't feel secure. It's been a good season so far, but you can't be satisfied. We're always trying new things to get us to another level. One thing about our Army team is that we never give up and have come back many times from not being that good to posting a solid finish. It's the Army way to never quit, and when you represent the best-of-the-best, you keep on battling and don't look back."

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET – 9TH IN STANDINGS: “It’s a race that we always look forward to. We’ve had a lot of success there and it’s just fun. It’s like taking Sonoma and just multiplying the speed times three. It’s just a lot faster track. It still has the same elevation changes, but you’re just running a lot quicker. Both Sonoma and Watkins Glen are two places on the schedule that we really enjoy coming to. When you’ve won five races, it gives you that confidence that you know how to win, and know what you have to do to get to victory lane. I know what feel I need when we get here. It’s just a matter of going out and practicing and putting yourself in that position.”

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET – 10TH IN STANDINGS: “I think I can do better at the Glen because it’s got some straightaways on it. It’s a little easier; it’s not quite as technical of a road course. I’ve got more confidence going in there and I’ll try to put up a better result. It’s going to be fun to see Jimmie (Johnson) driving the car (JR Motorsports Chevrolet in Nationwide Series). I guess one of the more mechanical or important parts of the deal, or underlying issues, is that it will give our over-the-wall guys some practice on pitting the car backwards like they do at the road courses. That was what was more interesting to Chad (Knaus) and Steve (Letarte). It will be three teams for us (JR Motorsports) so it will give us an opportunity to get the HMS (Hendrick Motorsports) guys there and get the Sunday guys some more time in race conditions. So, I’m looking forward to it.”

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET – 12TH IN STANDINGS: “I've always run well at Sonoma where I'm very comfortable. I get to Watkins Glen and I struggle. I think I've gotten a lot better at road courses. I'm looking forward to Watkins Glen. I think we can get another top 10 if not, a top-five finish there. It's a lot faster than Sonoma. The speeds are much higher at The Glen. Sonoma is a very tight, technical track. You have to get settled in and hit your marks. It's a challenging race track. However, Watkins Glen is wide open, straight off into the corner and running harder than the next guy. You have to keep that momentum up because it's a very fast race track. There's never a good place to pass on a road course. There's not enough room anywhere. Obviously, the best place to pass is getting into turn one though it's hard. You have to get yourself off the last corner to set yourself up for that pass."

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 PITTSBURGH PAINTS/MENARDS CHEVROLET – 14TH IN STANDINGS: “Watkins Glen is a totally different race track and atmosphere. It is really tough to pass at Sonoma (Infineon Raceway), and everyone drives in way over their heads. You see a lot of tore-up race cars at Sonoma. You'll probably see some of that at Watkins Glen, but it's a lot easier to pass there. It will be more of a straightforward race. I like racing at Watkins Glen better than I do at Sonoma. We've had good runs there in the past. But, we've had bad runs in the past. I still don't like either of the road courses, but if I had to pick a favorite of the two, I like Watkins Glen better than Sonoma because it's more open, and you can pass more. You have more room to race."

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – 15TH IN STANDINGS: “We couldn’t race at two more different types of road courses. Infineon is more of a short track style of road course where Watkins Glen is like the superspeedway of road courses. I love it. I’ve run better here over the course of my career, so I’ve always kind of enjoyed it more. This track has more of an open feel to it and carries a lot more speed than Infineon does. We haven’t had the best runs on road courses here lately, but I’m hoping that turns around this weekend and we can get a good solid finish. We have to win (in order to make the Chase). And really, with Brad (Keselowski) getting his second win at Pocono last weekend, we need to win twice. Climbing to 10th in points would be ideal, but we have a big deficit to make up and that’s going to be very difficult to do with this point system. Is it possible? Yes. But it’s not going to be easy. We’ve performed better over the last few weeks and have gotten better finishes, but to get inside the top 10 we’re going to need solid top-10 and even top-five finishes every week.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – 21ST IN STANDINGS: “Going to Watkins Glen should be exciting. I was pretty happy that we ran much better at Infineon, where we normally struggle. So I think that should be a good place for us. The Target team needs a good finish right now, we’ve been struggling and a win there would definitely go a long way.”

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – 24TH IN STANDINGS: “The tracks at Watkins Glen and Sonoma are comparable in the same way as Pocono and Indy are comparable. The tracks are different but the same. For people like me who don’t have road course experience, I think there are similarities because the driving style is very similar. In some ways, technically, there is not a lot of information we use from one race to the other but from a driving standpoint it’s the same. I feel good about our road course program. We ran a little better than where we finished. We did a nice job of having a fast car and not letting it get taken away from us. That’s been our history on road course; we run well and finish awful. Last year, we ran well and finished decent. That was big for us. That was a step in the right direction as to what we needed to do at the road courses. We feel good about running road courses, but if you look at the records, they’re horrendous. But, if you go back and look at our average running position it’s pretty competitive. The last 10 laps of the races on road courses at almost every race, someone spins me out. After Sonoma this year, I decided that there’s a few of them that the next time I get to them I’m sending them around as quick as I get to them. That’s what continually happens to me and it’s with the same people over and over. So, it’s not happening again.”

REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET – 26TH IN STANDINGS: "Watkins Glen is my home track," said Smith, who grew up in Cato, N.Y. near Syracuse. "I have a lot of family and friends coming to the race and you always want to put on a good performance for them. I am really looking forward to spending some time in central New York this week. I haven't had a lot of experience on road courses but we are getting better. We had a decent finish in Sonoma back in June (16th) and had a good run going last year at The Glen until we experienced breakage with the track bar mount with five laps remaining. We're having our best year thus far and would like nothing better to have another strong finish this weekend in front of all the central New York fans."

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET – 27TH IN STANDINGS: “I always enjoy racing on the road courses and Watkins Glen is especially fun because it allows you several opportunities to pass. With the long fast straightaways being able to out-brake other cars is crucial. We had a solid run there last year and Montoya came home with a victory for our team, so we hope that we can bring home some solid results for EGR again this year. Watkins Glen is one of the places that if you go there with a mindset that you like the track, you always seem to run better. I actually wish we had a couple of more road course races on the schedule, they are fun to drive!”

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Series NASCAR-NS
Tags chevrolet, nascar, sprint, watkins glen