Darlington: GM Racing preview

CHEVY RACING AT DARLINGTON RACEWAY -- JEFF CHEW, MARKETING MANAGER, NASCAR, CHEVY RACING: "We're looking forward to bringing the all-new Team Chevy Racing Display to Darlington Raceway for the first time. There will be plenty for the entire...

CHEVY RACING AT DARLINGTON RACEWAY -- JEFF CHEW, MARKETING MANAGER, NASCAR, CHEVY RACING: "We're looking forward to bringing the all-new Team Chevy Racing Display to Darlington Raceway for the first time. There will be plenty for the entire family, like green-screen photos with their favorite Chevy driver, and the opportunity to learn more about Chevrolet's 2010 lineup of award-winning cars and trucks. Plus, on the track, we will have something new for the fans as Chevy debuts a pair of new Camaro SS custom pace cars."

* Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, will appear in the Chevy Display for a fan Q&A on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.

* Over-the-Wall pit crew for Jamie McMurray's No. 1 McDonald's Chevrolet will sign autographs at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday

TEAM CHEVY AT DARLINGTON RACEWAY -- PAT SUHY, GM RACING NASCAR GROUP MANAGER: ""Team Chevy got off to a strong start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this year and the excellence has continued through the first ten races of the season. Coming into Darlington this weekend, here are a few of the statistics that show why Chevy is the manufacturer everybody wants to beat. In the first ten Sprint Cup Series races to date, a Chevy has led 54% of all laps run and, more importantly, has led the final lap of the race 6 times. Our drivers have occupied 58% of the top-5 finishing positions so far, and currently six of them are among the twelve chase contenders. Each of our Key Partner teams has played a role in giving us a lead in the Manufacturers' Cup points that now stands at 19.

"While all of that sounds impressive, starting Thursday the slate is wiped clean. Each team has to come back and show that they can do even better than they did the week before. Regardless of whether a team is first or last in the point standings, there is always something that can be improved. What separates the best from the rest is the relentless pursuit and continuous improvement, no matter how good they ran the week before. For teams near the top of the standings, it's much harder than for the ones in the rear. At the front of the pack, the gains per dollar (or hour, or whatever measure you choose) get smaller and smaller. That can make it hard to justify spending the resources to find what might amount to a fraction of a horsepower, or a count of downforce or drag. But Team Chevy teams know that they have to do just that in order to continue racing for wins and championships. They make use of their impressive internal engineering resources and take full advantage of the technical resources that GM Racing makes available to uncover more capability in the Chevrolets that they bring to the track every weekend.

"The race on Saturday in Darlington should be a great one for the fans. Every team contenting for the Chase for the Sprint Cup will be fighting hard to stay there, and those outside will be trying to claw their way in. We'll all get to see a no holds barred event at a track that rewards excellence. Team Chevy's excellence has been evident all year, and this weekend shouldn't be any different. I wouldn't bet against another Chevy trip to victory lane."


KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET -- POINT LEADER: ""Darlington's got that same Darlington feel, it's just at a higher speed now and the tires don't fall off at all. So, you can carry a lot more momentum lap after lap so it's just one mistake bites you. You just try to minimize it. It's narrow. It's really a one-groove race track. Track position is going to be very important. Doing your job all night job from the driver's seat and staying off the wall, and doing their jobs on pit road; it's going to be a track position game."


"Darlington is a tough track because of how narrow it is. Since they repaved it, you have a lot more grip than you did in the past. We're running 190 mph around a track that was designed to run 130 mph. And the fact that it's so narrow makes it really, really tough, but at the same time a lot of fun when you have it right. It's one of the coolest race tracks we run on. It was more that direction (racing the race track) with the old asphalt down because you could be hero for two or three laps and then you were terrible after that because you burned the tires off the car. So the mindset of just driving the car on how it could without being abrasive to it and focusing on the track, it used to be really important. It still is, because you're going to fast the walls come up and bite you and you get a Darlington stripe. It's just a place where you need to ignore the other 42 cars and focus on your race car and driving the race. In the past, it's been a good handling race car was key to winning at Darlington. It is still important, but I think track position is really important. A good qualifying effort and good pit stops and anything that you can have that keeps you towards the front is going to make a big difference."

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT/NATIONAL GUARD FACEBOOK CHEVROLET -- 6TH IN STANDINGS: "It's funny when I look at my favorite tracks, Darlington is not one of those tracks that necessarily goes to the top of my list, but it is certainly in my top five and it is primarily just because of the performances that we've had there and the results that we've had there. It's been one of my best tracks from a stats standpoint, and it's one of those challenging racetracks. I don't know a driver that doesn't love a good challenge. Our race team has been really awesome there as well putting good racecars on the track. Like I said, right now I'm looking forward to going to every race. I am. Our cars are really good, especially on the mile-and-a-half [tracks]. We showed it at Vegas; we showed it at Texas. I felt like we were good at the Charlotte test. I felt like we were pretty good at California before we had engine trouble. We have a lot of great things going on and when things are going well for us, Darlington is one of those tracks that I really get excited about."

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET -- 9TH IN STANDINGS: "Darlington is just crazy (since the repaving). Speeds don't fall off. It's crazy. It's like running Texas on a race track that's not made to go that fast. So it's changed some stuff set-up wise and driving-style-wise. I don't think I adapted to it last year quite as well as I needed to. But going back this year I think we have a better game plan in mind and we can be more successful."

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET -- 10TH IN STANDINGS: "It (winning at Darlington last year) didn't mean to me in particular about Darlington, I just like winning. I don't care if it is one of the toughest race tracks or races or whatever. Man, you don't get to choose these things, you just go take the ones you can get and be happy. That's kind of how I felt about it. I don't feel particularly more proud of winning Darlington than I did Michigan or Phoenix or Chicago or any of the others. I mean if it was the only race I won in my career and I only got to win one, Darlington might be kind of up on top of the list but I would still feel the same way. I don't care where it is as long as I get to win one. That is how I feel about it. It was cool to win there. It had been so long since we'd won the Southern 500 that most people didn't know I had won one. It is kind of cool. That was our second win in a short span so it was really, really nice. It was a great team effort by (crew chief) Alan (Gustafson) and everybody on the No. 5 team and it was cool. It was good."

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 31 HARTFORD CHEVROLET -- 12TH IN STANDINGS: "Darlington tests your skills each and every lap. By far, it's one of the tracks that I enjoy the least, but you can't help getting caught up in the history of it all. I won my first pole there and that was really special. Again, it's not easy to get around there and I'll always be proud of that accomplishment. But to win there would be even more special."

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET -- 13TH IN STANDINGS: "They built Darlington a long, long time ago. Racing has changed a lot since then. The line you have to run around that track is really unorthodox. Real narrow race track. You get in the fence a lot during the race and it is real slick. It is a real big ole race track but it is real slick and narrow and tough to drive."

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET -- 16TH IN STANDINGS: Darlington is the only racetrack that we go to in the entire circuit - including road courses - where you accelerate into the turn. You let off on the straightaway going into turn one, then you accelerate up the hill. It's unique all to its own at Darlington to have that characteristic. You know, that stands out. You know, it used to be very unique. It was in a small group with Rockingham, when we had Rockingham, because the asphalt was similar, the tire was exact. You had to race the racetrack. I think it's changed a little bit. You have to race the racetrack at Darlington still only because it's so narrow, not necessarily because the grip changes so much. Used to be easy when you came out behind somebody that came out on fresh tires to try to chase or run them down or at least keep up with them and crash your car. I don't think you have that anymore because of the tire and the asphalt combination we have there.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET -- 18TH IN STANDINGS: "Let's be honest, Darlington is a very cool race track and they repaved it and changed it a lot. It's always been a really tough place to run, but it's in the middle of nowhere. I don't think about it. I go there, I get in the car, drive the car and whether we go to Indy or Daytona or Talladega or Darlington or Richmond -- you get in the car, you do the best you can and you go home. Darlington used to be really difficult because the tire wear was really high. It's always very tricky to get into the pits because the pit lane is like 100 yards below the race track. It's always really, really hard to get up to speed and all that. It's always really dirty. Very easy to hit the wall. It's always very tricky, but it's fun. You just don't think about it. I always hit the wall in qualifying. Honestly, I've been there three times and hit it three times. Hopefully this time I can avoid that. They built it a long, long time ago. Racing has changed a lot since then. The line you have to run around that track is really unorthodox. Real narrow race track. You get in the fence a lot during the race and it is real slick. It is a real big ole race track but it is real slick and narrow and tough to drive. I think it's a cool place. I think it is the hardest race track to get onto the pit lane. Leaving is not so bad, but I think it's the hardest place to get into the pit lane. I think that's where people learn the give and take because if you try to go side by side into turn one then the guy on the outside is usually going to hit the fence."


"I don't know that Darlington is the toughest track. It's certainly a challenging track. When the tires used to give up is when it used to be harder. Hopefully this year the surface has weathered a little bit more. It still drives the same; it's just that it doesn't have the fall off. So I don't know. It's really a fun track. I always like going there. I won a Busch race there for Rusty a long time ago and it's one of my favorite tracks. It's different than what we used to have because the tires just don't give up like they used to. But that's a really long race and you do run close to the wall but it's just a really long race. It's one of the cooler tracks we go to."

-source: gm racing

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jamie McMurray
Teams HART