TEAM CHEVY AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY, COCA-COLA 600 -- ALBA COLON, GM RACING PROGRAM MANAGER NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: "The Coca Cola 600 is always a challenge since it is the longest race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit. It is also really ...
TEAM CHEVY AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY, COCA-COLA 600 -- ALBA COLON, GM RACING PROGRAM MANAGER NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: "The Coca Cola 600 is always a challenge since it is the longest race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit. It is also really exciting for the fans because the 600-miler starts in the day and ends under the lights at night.
"This event is more than just an endurance race. By going from day to night, the track surface at Charlotte Motor Speedway changes more dramatically than any other track on the tour. Our Chevy teams will have to make considerable adjustments to their cars to adapt to those changing conditions. We know that track position a key element, and we have also learned it is very important to take tires. The cars that are the most 'neutral' are the ones that will be ahead of the game.
"It's a long race, and a tough one. When we get down to the final 150 miles or so, that's when the race will likely be won or lost. We have a winning history at Charlotte, and I'm really looking forward to seeing one of our Chevrolets cross the finish line first on Sunday evening."
TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER'S SEAT:
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET -- POINT STANDINGS LEADER: "This race has been the Achilles heel of everything we have done over the last several years at Charlotte for whatever reason. We ran a lot better there the last race we went to. I think we ran 13th or 14th which is like a victory for us so hopefully we can build on that. Like I said, we had a decent test and hopefully we can move forward. Our goal going there is to run in the top-10 and have a solid day. You obviously want to win but the history at Charlotte has not been good for us so going there with a top-10 goal is what I think is realistic."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE CHEVROLET -- 4TH IN STANDINGS: I'm definitely excited for the weeks here in Charlotte. This track has been really good to our race team over the years and also to Hendrick Motorsports. To come to a track that's good for the organization and for the race team to build some excitement and anticipation to get on the race track. For whatever reason, Dover seems to correlate to this track so our run in Dover was really strong. Based on history and how we ran at Dover that we should have a good weekend. I'm excited for it. As far as recent Coke 600 races, I can't really remember each event and what had gone on to lead to that but if I was to say anything I guess it's just that it's earlier in the year and we're still trying to refine packages and things like that. But I still have a feeling that we come here and we're competitive, so I'm not sure why those results aren't any better. In my head I thought we were in the top five a bunch, but it must be the fall race."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT STARS & STRIPES CHEVROLET -- 6TH IN STANDINGS: "The 600 is tough because it's long. This is a great track. It's a fun and exciting track to drive. There aren't many drivers who don't like this track. From that standpoint, it makes it a little easier to go run 600 miles. But still, 600 miles is a long way, especially when you go from day to night and you've got a lot of things that you've got to overcome. Cars are not going to be perfect. If you're perfect during the day, you've got to make some big adjustments to be ready to go at night. And to be perfect at night, you're going to have to be a little off or way off during the day. There are so many challenges, and that's what I think makes it such a tough event; the length of it, and the day to night. Charlotte Motor Speedway, being a track that everybody likes, means that a lot of guys run well here. Usually, no matter what race it is, I don't really ask how many laps there are to go until I feel like we start coming down to win. Everything starts to really play a role in winning the race. When you get down to the last 150 laps or 150 miles, that's what the race is going to be won and lost. And we work on trying to position ourselves throughout the time prior to that, but at that point is usually when I say, okay, how many laps to go and where are we at? And that's when things start to heat up in a big way."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET -- 8TH IN STANDINGS: "Running the Coca-Cola 600 is a long day's work. It's the longest race of the year and it starts late in the day, so those two things makes it harder. Waiting to start the race is emotionally hard. With so many different race day schedules -- east coast, west coast, night race, afternoon race -- it's hard for your body to adjust to what it needs to be doing. The late afternoon start throws a wrench at you because you're eating and sleep schedules change. Then, you add 600 miles of racing on top of that. It's a perfect storm of stuff going on that makes this race a challenge. Don't get me wrong -- there are no excuses. You have to physically ready no matter what. The last 100 miles has a major influence on the race. If you look back on previous race, drivers leading at the 400 or 500-mile mark don't win the race. It's not because of mechanical failures. The added distance gives the drivers in second, third and fourth a chance to make his car better. It gives the driver leading a chance to make a mistake. So, the extra 100 miles is definitely a factor."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST AUTO PARTS/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET -- 11TH IN STANDINGS: "The All-Star Race can't prepare you for all 600 miles. There's just a completely different strategy and outlook for 600 miles compared to 100. But, the All-Star Race definitely gave us a chance to try out a few things as far as setup, where to run on the track, lane choices and those kind of things. We had a great All-Star Race. Not necessarily the finish, but the car was fast. The pit stops were great. We were in contention to win that thing, and that's what we wanted. So, we're all pretty optimistic heading into this weekend. Every race is demanding on your body. And, really, the weather outside plays a bigger role than the length of the race. If it's real hot and humid, that's a rough day on the body. So, this Sunday will really depend on what the weather is like. But I'll tell you, being in good shape physically is really important. It does help for sure. I'll give everything I possibly have to this race on Sunday, just like I do for every race. I don't really think about how I feel physically during a race. There's just too much going on and I'm too focused on all of that. It's when you get out of the car that you really feel anything. It's a long race, but it won't take anything away from what I'm doing inside that car."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 US ARMY CHEVROLET -- 13TH IN STANDINGS: "Driving the U.S. Army Chevrolet on Memorial Day weekend is a humbling honor to represent our Army Strong Soldiers -- past, present and future," said Newman. "We all need to take a deep breath and observe the true meaning of Memorial Day which is to reflect and remember our fallen heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the continuing fight for freedom. It would be pretty cool to drive the Soldiers' car to Victory Lane on this special weekend of remembrance. We need to improve one position from last year's race and it will be a super weekend," stated Newman, who was the 600 runner-up in 2009. "As is the case with many of the drivers, Charlotte Motor Speedway ranks high on the list as one of the favorite tracks. This is home for many of us and this is where we want to shine."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 31 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET -- 15TH IN STANDINGS: "We've struggled there. I've struggled there since the re-paving finding speed, finding grip on the race track. It seems like the tire is so hard because the track has so much grip in it that sensation of the edge is so much finer. You could push over the edge and get yourself in trouble very very quick. I did that a few times and then you get a little bit timid of that edge and you start backing off of it a little bit. Then you find yourself running in the back. It seems like we have always struggled in the spring and learn what not to do. Then we go back there in the fall and have good runs. Hopefully we can have two good runs. Our cars are running better and I think that is going to be the key to a good run there in the 600. I feel like our cars are better. The spoiler test was a big help so I think we can have a good showing there."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD HONORING OUR SOLDIERS/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET -- 16TH IN STANDINGS: "The 600 is a long race, and the track conditions change quickly. You have to have a car that is adaptable. It's not as physically demanding as it is mentally. You have to keep yourself focused and the team focused."
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET -- 17TH IN STANDINGS: "Coming home this weekend to race in our backyard of Charlotte is really great for our whole team. Charlotte's strong link to racing history has only been made stronger the past couple of weeks with the opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame which is really cool for NASCAR Fans and the Charlotte Area alike. This is the longest race of the season, and one of the most exciting, so we'll look to go out and have some fun. Both of the Earnhardt-Ganassi cars were really fast here for the first spoiler test, really I thought we had the best cars out here, so we'll look to be pretty strong for the 600."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET -- 19TH IN STANDINGS: "Well we're hoping for a better result than last weekend's Showdown race. There is no doubt our cars are fast at Charlotte Motor Speedway; we realized that at the test session earlier this year and with the strong qualifying and practice run last week. Now if we can get the results to back-up that performance we'll be in good shape. I know this Target team has it in them if we can just keep the bad luck away from us!"
-source: gm racing