Bristol II: GM Racing preview

TEAM CHEVY AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY -- PAT SUHY, GM RACING NASCAR GROUP MANAGER: "Congratulations to Kevin Harvick, Gil Martin, the 29 crew, and all of RCR for their victory Sunday at Michigan! That marked the twelfth win of in the Sprint Cup ...

TEAM CHEVY AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY -- PAT SUHY, GM RACING NASCAR GROUP MANAGER: "Congratulations to Kevin Harvick, Gil Martin, the 29 crew, and all of RCR for their victory Sunday at Michigan! That marked the twelfth win of in the Sprint Cup Series this season for Chevrolet, and boosted our lead in the Manufacturers' Cup standings to 30 points.

"Heading to Bristol this coming week we'll get to see all three NASCAR racing series on the tour battle under the lights. As the Race to the Chase draws to a close in the Sprint Cup Series, there are still plenty of unanswered questions about who will be in and who will be out. Right now, with six Chevy drivers in the top 12, and several more in reserve in the 13th through 15th positions, it's a safe bet that we'll have at least six drivers in contention for the Sprint Cup Drivers Championship. With the already intense conditions at the high-speed half-mile track, drivers will need to balance the drive to maximize points with the need to finish the race. Finding that balance is hard to do, and even harder with an ill-handling car. Over the years, GM Racing engineers have worked hard to develop technology that leads to better handling race cars; and a key component of that for Bristol is the seven post rig.

"Starting off with a relatively basic piece of technology used to run durability testing on production cars, GM Racing engineers saw the potential to do much more. By adding supplemental actuators and sophisticated controls, the 'four poster' became a 'seven poster' and we haven't looked back. It used to be available only at the GM Vehicle Engineering Lab in Warren, Michigan; but today the seven post rig has become a standard fixture at almost every race shop. Our engineers continue work with the teams' very capable engineers and test technicians to achieve ongoing improvements that allow the rigs to better duplicate the behavior of the car on-track. That information allows better pre-race decisions about set-ups and how chassis changes affect the car's handling.

"We'll see how it plays out on Saturday night under the lights, and I'm looking forward to celebrating the next Chevy win when the checkered flag flies."


KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL CHEVROLET -- POINT LEADER: "Well, Bristol is a lot like Watkins Glen. You never know what's going to happen. You could get caught up in someone else's mess before you even know what happened. I'm glad we're not in that position. You can go there and be really aggressive, and take chances that you wouldn't normal take if you were in Clint's (Bowyer) position. You have to race hard, but you have to race with one eye over your shoulder to see what's going on around you, and behind you, and try not to make any mistakes. For us, you can just go there and if you tear something up, you tear something up. You put it in the trailer and go to the house. Things still happen fast, but you can race all over the race track now. There's a lot less cautions. There's a lot less beating and banging, because the corners are so sweeping that you need to have the fenders on the car now, or you become just like any other race track, and the dreaded areo-push takes over. You have to take care of your car in order to be up front. The night atmosphere is great. It always seems to bring a little more enthusiasm to the driver, the fans, and everybody around. It's a cool place to race."

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET -- 2ND IN STANDINGS: "Bristol has been tough for us. We've struggled there ever since they changed the track. I just feel like I had a knack for that place; a grove and a feel and a setup that the cars really worked well for us. Ever since they changed the track, none of that seems to work. It is about re-inventing yourself as a driver from myself trying to find a different groove that works as well as giving good feedback to the team to get the car to work the way we need it to. We feel like we get a little bit better each time we go there. (To hit your marks) there is visual and then there is just timing of getting out of the throttle and getting on the brakes and then as you feed the wheel and you get down the straightaway, you just want to turn off into the corner at the right time and aim the car for certain spots on the track. Sometimes what happens you hit on it and it does everything you want it to and then it is about doing it consistently. Bristol is the type of track where you get into a rhythm there because the straightaways are so short and it is such a quick lap time that you find yourself, if you get it right, it can be really fun. But, if you keep missing it lap after lap, it can be very very frustrating."

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE CHEVROLET - 4TH IN STANDINGS: "Bristol is one of those places where you've got to have everything kind of go your way. If you have one hiccup, it's hard to recover from it. We've only won one race there and we've kind of been all over the board. It's been feast or famine for us. It's like if you have one problem in the first half of the race, it's hard to recover from it. It makes for a very long day. We've had more long days than good days. What you've got to keep in mind is that every time the competition gets closer, it makes it harder and harder to start further back and pass cars. If you're a half-second faster than the 20 cars in front of you, you're probably going to be able to work your way through. If you're half of a tenth of a second faster, it's a lot harder to make up those spots. With the sport and the competition level going up every week, passing is harder. That's why track position is so important. The thing about Bristol is that, at the end of the day, you still have to have a good-handling racecar. You can get good track position, but if you don't have a good car, you're not going to be able to hold onto it."

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET -- 5TH IN STANDINGS: "We ran so well there in the spring, even last year, we had a great spring and fall race. That night race has always been one of my favorites. We look forward to being competitive and hopefully going back to victory lane there. It's a great race track; I've always loved watching races there. I'm glad to actually enjoy racing on that track now."

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET --7TH IN STANDINGS: "I think we are really good at short tracks. Sometimes, our finishes don't indicate how good we ran. I think the short tracks are the strength of our deal. We led a lot at Martinsville, we were very, very fast at Phoenix, and we ran really well at Bristol in March. We were also really fast at New Hampshire and led a lot of laps, so I think our short track program has been pretty solid. We're going to have to move it forward as we go into the last third of the year, but I feel like we're solid there. The spoiler thing is really interesting to me. I talk to some people who think it has changed stuff and I talk to others and they say it hasn't. I know that this is going to sound stupid to y'all, but I haven't really paid much attention to how the spoiler has affected it. I've just tried to pay attention to how the car needs to be better and how I need to drive it better. I think that potentially Bristol is a track, like we talked about Phoenix, having less impact that it would when we went to Texas. I think Bristol is similar to that. I think it is small enough where aerodynamics matter but it is not going to matter as much as it does here. I don't think the spoiler is going to have a major impact."

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET - 12TH IN STANDINGS: "Bristol is all about speed. The track has a tremendous amount of speed for its size, and things happen fast. The key is to avoid trouble on the race track. It's easier said than done. I like the side-by-side racing at Bristol, and the fact that you can race really hard there. I like the track because, like most drivers, it reminds me of my short track racing roots. I think Bristol is definitely one of those races (wildcard race), but any of these races anymore are wildcards. You have to be able to get it all through the whole race. You can run well, but with the way these things are shaking out at the end, it doesn't matter. You have to be there at the end. You have to make the right decision to put yourself in right position to have a good finish."

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST AUTO PARTS/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET -- 13TH IN STANDINGS: MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST AUTO PARTS/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET -- 13TH IN STANDINGS: "Bristol is a tough one because you can't count on anything, and you can't count anything out. This team witnessed that first-hand when we were there in March. We had an awesome race car, possibly the best one we've had all season. We had a chance to win that race and lost it all when we were pushed into the wall by another car. And last year, we led a lot of laps and came up just one position short in the fall race there. All we can do is run the best race we can. It's a great race and we all look forward to it. I think we'll be really good, you just can't count out something crazy happening at Bristol. Bristol is the most exciting race track I think that we race on. It's action-packed, it always has been and I think certainly since I've been driving NASCAR been one of the most exciting races to watch. Sparks fly there."

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 WIX FILTERS CHEVROLET -- 14TH 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. You have to really be on your toes at Bristol, and that seems to be where frustrations can rise and flame up quicker than at any other racetrack. Everyone will tell you Bristol has always been a game of survival. Everything happens so fast there. You don't have time to think or blink. I learned that in 2003, when I won the pole there. I knew I had a good car but I never anticipated I could put down a lap that fast. You just don't realize how quickly everything happens at Bristol. You could have the best car out there, but everything is completely out of your hands. One minute, you could be running in the lead and, just seconds later, you could be wrecked in the corner and out of the race and it would be no fault of your own. You won't even realize what has happened to you until afterward. I think the racing and the track are definitely better the way they are now. I think it's more a combination of the tire and the track than it is the age of the concrete. Concrete doesn't change very much, if at all, over time. It's more the combination of the tire and the racing we can do with that tire. With the tire Goodyear has been bringing, the racing has been very good. I think we put a lot of emphasis on qualifying because Bristol is a track where, if you miss the first run set-up wise, you'll be a lap down before you know it. We're going to make the best of it, like any other track. It just happens to be Bristol, and everything happens very fast. To me, the racing is at an all-time high at Bristol, compared to the way it used to be. We can race side-by-side and actually gain spots without having to wreck someone."

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET -- 15TH IN STANDINGS: "I personally really enjoy short-track racing so I'm looking forward to getting back to that type of racing after a long stretch of bigger tracks. Qualifying well is really important so that you have good track position to start with and get a pit stall on the front stretch. Everything happens so fast at Bristol, you can be leading the race one second and find yourself in the wrong place in the middle of a wreck the next, you're really one your toes all night. Since they repaved the track it has more options with running the top or bottom line which can make for some great racing under the lights. Bristol is always one of the most exciting races of the season."

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET -- 17TH IN STANDINGS: "Bristol is one of the best places to see a race. Everybody's sitting right on top of the racetrack. There's nothing else that really compares to Saturday night racing at Bristol. I like racing there and have enjoyed some success at the track. I think my favorite (Bristol memory) of all are just going to those races when I was a kid in 1985. I remember being at both races. In 1987 I remember being at both races. That place when you're young and everything in the world's exciting, I mean, that place really stands out to you. Just being there was just really, you knew that you were seeing something really unique, and there is nothing like that anywhere else in the country."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET -- 19TH IN STANDINGS: "We did a Goodyear tire test at Bristol earlier this year that we were pretty happy with. I actually enjoy racing there. 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. That's pretty much what happened to us when we were there in the Spring. Wrong place at the wrong time and we had to run around the track with a damaged Target car. We've got the cars to get top-fives and wins it's just being there, in one piece, at the end that matters at Bristol."

REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET, 30TH IN STANDINGS: "Every driver likes Bristol and why not -- it's fun, it's fast and it's just a great short-track venue," said Smith. "I especially have a special fondness for Bristol since it's the track of my first career start in the Sprint Cup Series (March 2007). This weekend is also special for Furniture Row Racing because we're paying tribute again to the American farmer and rancher with a special Farm American paint scheme on our No. 78 Chevrolet. We've been running a lot better lately and we're ready for that breakout race and getting in the top-10."

BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 09 PHOENIX CONSTRUCTION CHEVROLET -- 31ST IN STANDINGS: "Racing under the lights and Bristol, it's just right. Bristol is such a fun track, and to have this race under the lights just makes it that much more exciting. This is a fan-favorite track and it's always great to see the fans excited. We're hoping that the fans can come and enjoy this race and sell it out again. It's more enjoyable for everyone when the place is packed. One of the unique things that the track has done is to allow us to come out to our choice of song for driver introductions. We've done it a few times now, but the fans seem to get a kick out of it. I've got my song picked, but we'll wait until Saturday to let everyone know. It's something neat that the track does and it's pretty cool.Racing at Bristol, you have to be patient. This is definitely a place where tempers get hot and accidents are bound to happen. It's feast or famine here. There is a lot of side-by-side racing and a lot of beating and banging. It is hard to come out of Bristol without some sort of damage to your car. It always seems like the guy who has the best looking car usually wins."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick
Teams Furniture Row Racing