Bristol: GM Racing preview

GM RACING INSIDE THE GARAGE AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY -- ALBA COLON, GM RACING PROGRAM MANAGER, NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: "Our Chevy teams always look forward to racing at Bristol. There is no other track that has quite the charisma of Bristol....

GM RACING INSIDE THE GARAGE AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY -- ALBA COLON, GM RACING PROGRAM MANAGER, NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: "Our Chevy teams always look forward to racing at Bristol. There is no other track that has quite the charisma of Bristol. This is the first short track race of the year and it will be interesting to see how we stack up against the competition. With the extension of the SAFER barriers in the transition areas coming out of turns 2 and 4, the racing will be tighter.

"The drivers seem to either love it or hate it; but the fans always love the exciting racing on the high-banked half-mile track. Bristol is a huge favorite. They get to see the roots of NASCAR racing with the fast and furious action of a short track. The seats are so close to the track and pit road, they get a great view of the precision and the accuracy teams and drivers have to execute a perfect pit stop and maintain all-important track position.

"We are excited about how well the 2010 season has started with three (3) wins in four (4) races. The hard work of our Chevy teams in conjunction with our GM Racing team of engineers has translated to success on the track.

"We are looking forward to an great race and another exciting finish this weekend. Our Team Chevy drivers are poised to capture a win and we feel good about our chances to be in the winner's circle again at Bristol."


* A Chevrolet driver has won 41 of the 98 previous NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS)


KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, POINTS LEADER: "I feel good about Bristol. I am sure we will base a lot of what we do off of where they were and what we have learned this year. It is all about keeping your track position there and not getting yourself in trouble. Qualifying well definitely helps things go forward. I feel more comfortable at Bristol than I do at Martinsville as far as the performance will go. We should run at Bristol in the top-five and have a good shot at it if everything goes right and be competitive for the win."

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET, 4TH IN STANDINGS: "We're getting close winning at Bristol. It's taken a lot for me as a driver to change my habits and the way I drive that race track. I've had to completely switch over to a different driving style. It was easy for us to look at what worked for the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) for so many years, but I just couldn't make that work. I feel like in the fall race last year we had a really good shot at it, but unfortunately a lugnut had hung up in the wheel and we couldn't get the wheel to index back on the hub. If we didn't have that hang up, I think we could have done it. I'm excited to look at our two chances at it this year and hopefully we can get it done."

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 BB&T CHEVROLET, 5TH IN STANDINGS: "The racer in you, I liked the two-wide racing. I still think you'll be able to do it even with the narrower track due to the safer barriers. I don't think it will change much. It is going to narrow it up. It seems like the fans, they like the emotion, they like the beating and banging on each other and having to knock somebody out of the way to pass them. I'm a big fan of the way the surface is right now, I like being able to run side-by-side, being able to race your way around somebody. Bristol has always been one of my favorite race tracks, no matter before they repaved it or after they repaved it. I think our will always get their monies worth, no matter how wide or how narrow it is."

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET, 6TH IN STANDINGS: "When soft walls first came in, it narrowed race tracks up and everybody flipped out about it but it really had very little impact. It just made you have to change your line a little bit. I suspect the new walls will make a little more of a difference at Bristol because the outside may not work quite as well, may not be able to arc the exit of the corner quite as much, So, we'll have to wait and see how much it will affect the racing. I'm a race fan too and I certainly like the controversy and the arguing and all that stuff you typically get at Bristol. The actual racing at Bristol is better than it has ever been. The wrecking isn't. There is not as much contact and there aren't as many wrecks so I guess at the end of the day, that has taken some excitement away in some eyes about Bristol. But from a racer's standpoint, most drivers like the track the way it is today. It's such a hard and physically demanding race track. It's so unique from any other race on the circuit we go to that it makes it special. It's not about money or a cool trophy. It's about being able to say 'hey, I won at Bristol.' Everybody knows what racing at Bristol is like and it's a challenge to race the race track and 42 other drivers that want it as badly as you do and have a lot of skills.. To say you won at Bristol is rewarding."

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET 7TH IN STANDINGS: "Both times we went to Bristol last year, the guys gave me an awesome race car. We were fast right off the truck. I went out there and both times we were crazy fast. I remember thinking, 'This is crazy. I don't know how many more times I can do that to my heart!' (LAUGHS.) But it's fun. And it's so rewarding to see the guys faces when we're at the top of the chart. The second race last year, it was a really big deal for me, personally. I didn't realize it at the time, but after intros, and it being my 1,000th start, and the way the fans reacted, and the music, it was just all really amazing. I don't get choked up often, but did that night. It was incredible. We finished second, didn't get the win, but it was a great race. Nearly perfect."

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE CHEVROLET, 8TH IN STANDINGS: "The wall is still where the wall is at. We'll see it when we are out there so we always...the good thing about us as drivers, after all these years of doing this, doesn't matter where they put it, we have to stay a fraction of an inch off of it and use every bit up to it. I am sure it is going to make a difference, there is no doubt about it, I mean we all use every bit of room we can get there anyway. It will make the exits of the corners a little tighter but I think the racing will still be good there because of it."

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET, 11TH IN STANDINGS: "We use every inch of that race track. It is definitely going to be unique (with the safer barriers moved in). I am anxious to get there and see how many right sides we take off the first hour of practice. It is like anything else, eventually you get used to it. Then it is going to come down to the side-by-side racing and how that is going to affect that aspect of it. I think the most important thing is that you are really going to have to get your car working well. Because, you narrow the track up that means it might be a little harder to pass. I like the safety aspect of it. It is definitely a good thing. I'm all for. I wish there was a way to move walls so we could keep the width of the track the way it was. But, that's not the case so we are real happy they put the safety barriers up there on the straightaways. I think the racing has been spectacular. I love the fact we are able to get three wide there now. We are certainly racing side-by-side. It is just that there is a little bit more room to race on."

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/ NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET, 12TH IN STANDINGS: "Bristol is a pretty physically demanding track, but we've always been pretty good there. I like running there. It's tough to qualify, but it's important to have a good pit stall selection. You want to have that front straightaway pit. Bristol is a tough track. I got to go there when I was growing up, and I always look forward to going back."

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET, 19TH IN STANDINGS: "I'm really looking forward to get to back to racing period.... I was just really anxious to get back to race track after this off-week, and really can't think of a better place than Bristol Motor Speedway. As for our team, I personally really enjoy the short-track racing, so I'm looking forward to seeing what type of power the Chevrolet motors have at a track that requires a lot of horsepower. They always have good stuff here, so hopefully that will continue with me!"

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET, 21ST IN STANDINGS: "I actually enjoy racing at Bristol. It's one of those tracks that is intimidating at first but I caught on to it pretty quickly. You are on the wheel all the time and it's one of those tracks that you want to be running up front. 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 strong there and I'm sure Brian Pattie and the guys will give me a strong Target Chevrolet for the race on Sunday."

REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET, 26TH IN STANDINGS: "Bristol will always be a special place for me since it was the site of my first career Cup race (March 2007). This race kicks off the short track season and that is fine with me. The Furniture Row team likes the short tracks and we feel upbeat about improving on an already solid start to the 2010 season. We just need to race smart, be patient and have a little luck."

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET. 29TH IN STANDINGS: "There's 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. I think that's also one of the reasons that emotions run so high at Bristol. You have to really be on your toes at Bristol and that seems to be where frustrations can rise and flame-up quicker than any other racetrack. For me, I'm glad to be heading back to Bristol this weekend. Last year, when we went to Bristol in March, it was our first time together there as a team. With the notes that we have now from a year ago, I'm even more excited to be going back. We've seen improvements in our racecars and in our race packages each race this year although our results don't reflect that. So, I'm looking forward to see how we have improved our already good short track program."

BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 71 TAXSLAYER.COM CHEVROLET, 30TH IN STANDINGS: "Bristol is known for producing great racing for the fans, and I don't expect this race to be any different. It will definitely be interesting to see how the racing will change since the track has increased the length of the safer barriers in turns two and four. We're going to have about 3 feet less to race on, and even though that doesn't sound like much, that's a lot of real estate when you've got 42 cars beating and banging. I think the biggest key to success at Bristol is having a good qualifying run so you can -- hopefully -- be ahead of the pack and stay out of trouble. If you can stay out of the mess as much as possible and have a clean race, then you can have a lot of fun."

MIKE BLISS, NO. 36 TOMMY BALDWIN RACING CHEVROLET, 34TH IN STANDINGS: "I like Bristol a lot, and it is a fun track to drive. Of course, it will be nerve-racking trying to get into the race Friday. It's nice to be right there at the edge of the top-35 and the goal this weekend will be to leave Bristol still in the top-35. Our focus this weekend will be on doing whatever is needed to stay in the top-35."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon