Las Vegas: JR Motorsports preview

Kelly Bires No. 88 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet After last week's strong run at California, what does the HendrickCars.com team have to do to keep that momentum going? "I'm really proud of our HendrickCars.com team. Last week was our first race ...

Kelly Bires
No. 88 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet

After last week's strong run at California, what does the HendrickCars.com team have to do to keep that momentum going? "I'm really proud of our HendrickCars.com team. Last week was our first race together and we were able to come away with a good finish. The 88 team is used to running up front and I think we laid some solid ground work last week. Las Vegas will be another test for us. We're bringing one of the team's best chassis to Vegas, so we're optimistic about doing well. I've spent a lot of time with the 88 team, but we're still learning each other. I'm sure we'll have our growing pains, but last week was a great way to start off the year."

What do you need out of your car to get around Las Vegas Motor Speedway? "Las Vegas is really its own beast. It shares some characteristics with tracks like Charlotte, but it's still unique. It's such a fast track that you've got to have a good handling car to have success. Getting into turn one is really important. There is a series of bumps getting in, that if your car is handling well you can carry a lot of speed into the corner and almost go full throttle through there. If your car isn't handling well, it makes for a long day getting into that corner."

You're staying over in Las Vegas this week. Do you have any special plans? "Yeah. Vegas is a cool place to spend a couple of days, so I'll definitely be checking out some of the casinos and trying my luck at the roulette table. I've been to Vegas a few times, but never down to the Hoover dam. So I may try to make a day trip down there. I'm going to try to take in a couple shows and play some golf, too. But I'm most excited to get back behind the wheel of the HendrickCars.com Chevy this weekend."

Danica Patrick
No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet

Explain a little bit more about the No. 7 team's goals over the past three races. "Last week's performance really wasn't what we had hoped for. I'm a competitor and I'm used to running up front. That's why a 31st-place finish didn't sit well with me. But we're being realistic about this too. We're not going to come out of the gates and immediately start winning races and running in the top-10 with our Go Daddy car. I know at some point we'll get there. Now, we just need to do what we can, and that's to gain seat time and learn more each week. With that in mind, we're still on pace with our goals."

How are you going to approach another new track like Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend? "It's no secret Vegas is going to be another challenge for me. It's a completely different track from Daytona and California. So I'll spend time learning the lines in practice again. I know it's a fast track and our Go Daddy car will need to handle well. I've got all the confidence in [crew chief] Tony [Eury] Jr. to set these cars up right. He's a veteran of setups, and knows what it takes to get around all these tracks. I can't think of anyone else I'd rather have in my corner than him."

This is your last race before returning to IndyCar for four months, how are you prepared to handle that transition? "I've got a busy week with the IndyCar test and then the NASCAR race this weekend. We've put a lot of effort into these first three stock-car races, but my ultimate goal is still to win the Indy 500 and the IndyCar championship, that's the primary focus. It doesn't mean I'll lose touch with my team at JR Motorsports while I'm back in the IndyCar Series. I'll still stay in contact with Tony Jr. and keep up with the guys as they get things prepared for my return in June. And I'll be cheering on my JRM teammate Kelly Bires over the next few months."

LAS VEGAS NOTEBOOK:

EARLY SUCCESS - Bires began his 2010 JRM campaign with a seventh-place finish at California last weekend. The finish marked his first top-10 at the speedway and the No. 88 team's second-best effort at the facility.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED - Patrick's 31st-place showing at California made her the highest finishing female in the history of Nationwide Series competition at Auto Club Speedway. But the Go Daddy team also met its goal of finishing the entirety of the race, giving Patrick much needed seat time.

BIRES AT VEGAS - In two starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Bires earned one top-15 finish. He has led one lap and earned an average finish of 26th with an average start of 17th.

WHEELWOMAN - Patrick will be participating in an IndyCar open test on Feb. 24-25 at Barber Motorsports Park in preparation for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, before making the trip to Las Vegas for her final NASCAR race until June 26th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

DANICA'S 2010 NNS SCHEDULE -The remainder of Patrick's schedule includes races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (June 26), Chicagoland Speedway (July 9), Michigan International Speedway (Aug. 14), Dover International Speedway (Sept. 25), Auto Club Speedway (Oct. 9), Charlotte Motor Speedway (Oct. 15), Gateway International Raceway (Oct. 23), Texas Motor Speedway (Nov. 6), Phoenix International Raceway (Nov. 13), and Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 20).

-source: jr motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Kelly Bires , Danica Patrick
Teams JRM Racing , JR Motorsports