Dover II: GM Racing preview

TEAM CHEVY IMPALA SS INSIDE THE GARAGE AT THE MONSTER MILE: ALBA COLON, GM RACING PROGRAM MANAGER NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: "Our Chevrolet teams have made tremendous progress in the development of their Impala SS race cars since we raced at...


"Our Chevrolet teams have made tremendous progress in the development of their Impala SS race cars since we raced at Dover in June. Of course, for the six Chevy teams and drivers in the Chase, there is additional pressure to have the setups for their cars as close as possible when they unload on Friday for practice.

"Dover is the only concrete, high banked, high speed one-mile track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule. It requires great horsepower in our R07 engines. Having the speed and handling through the corners to get up and off turns two and four on to the long, fast straightaways is critical.

"With this being the second race of the Chase, tension and pressure are high to practice fast, qualify well and score a strong finish. However, having data from three previous Dover races in their notebooks, crew chiefs have more information to work with going into this weekend.

"We had some very strong cars in June and unfortunately, had some of our drivers caught up in very early accidents. But Dover tends to produce those types of multi-car accidents. The track is fast and things happen so quickly that despite how wide the racing surface is leaving virtually no time for drivers to avoid trouble.

"We had a really great start at the Chase kickoff at Loudon with three drivers in the top five. We are looking forward to another strong Team Chevy performance this weekend at Dover."


* Team Chevy drivers have won 28 of 77 previous NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races at Dover International Speedway (DIS), more than any other manufacturer


JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS: "We shake off every race that is behind us -- whether we win or finish 40th. We are a dangerous organization and we enter each race thinking we can win. And that's what we hope to do at Dover. We were good there earlier this year, and I hope we can make some gains to challenge for the win.It's a great track; one that's high-banked, fast, with action-filled races and multiple grooves. A strong run, and especially a strong finish, is what we need.We're testing this week on a 1.5-mile track, and I hope that pays dividends later on this year.But on Friday, our mindset will be getting the most out of this race weekend. It would be nice to put on a good show for all the DuPont guests and employees in attendance since their headquarters are right up the road in Wilmington."

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS: "I certainly feel good about things. The last three or four months we've been making a lot of progress. At Brickyard we were able to show that when we get it right, we can go out and race for these wins and in some cases, do it in a dominating fashion. So the million-dollar question is can we do it during this final 10 (stretch) and over a long enough period of time during this final 10 to be the champions. I feel good about where we're at. I'm excited about what we've learned as a company and as the No. 48 car and the strength we have as the No. 48 team and the confidence we all have in one another. So I really feel that we have all the stuff there to be competitive and we just have to get racing and see where we fit in and where luck falls into place and how things play out. Before and during the '06 championship battle, I didn't have any fun. There was no fun to be had. A victory was good, but it was short-lived. Tuesday morning or Wednesday morning or whenever it was when you're flipping things around in your mind to get ready for the next race, that pressure would set it. And it's like, here we go again. And it was because I wanted that championship so badly and we'd been so close and things didn't work out. Last year, I had some fun through it. And this year I hope to expand on that and have more fun. I'm doing what I love, racing against the best drivers in the world. I'm confident in what I can do in the car. I'm confident in my team. I need to have some fun with this. I operate better and my team operates better when we're enjoying ourselves and having some fun. I'm looking forward to it. We'll see. Unfortunately we live and die by what takes place on Saturday afternoons. As of right now I think everybody is in a good mood and we'll just see how it goes from here."

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS: You truly are going downhill in a short period of time. It feels like that. It feels like it gets high in the air and then when you get to the corner, it falls. I've done it long enough now where it's just normal. But, some young guys have come and asked me about it and it's hard. There's a lot of time when you're not real sure what the car is doing for about three car lengths. And you're hoping it lands pretty quick so you can figure it out.It's probably one of the races where we have the least number of cars on the lead lap because it's easy to get off there. It's easy to get yourself in position where you can't do the things you need to do.It's one of those places where it's hard to make it back up. It's really tough. It's a really hard race track. You get long greens. You get varying grooves. It is a race where people can stand to have really bad races. And you don't just spin out there and not hit something. It has happened, but it's rare. Normally if you get into something, you're done. This is a demanding race track. It's a really fun race track. It's a huge challenge. I think it's one of the biggest challenges of the year. I always look forward to it. But it know it's going to be a tough day, a long day. We've had some success there and hope to continue that."

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS: "The key for us being successful is just keeping everything in one piece.The last handful of races at Dover we have had part failures or got involved in somebody else's mistake.The last race at Dover we were really competitive and just got caught up in a big melee and had to settle for a 38th-place finish.I think if we can start up front and stay on the lead lap we should be able to come home with a top-five finish. Things happen so fast.There really isn't a lot you can do when someone wrecks in front of you.However, you can usually tell when something is getting ready to happen in front of you.The real trouble spots are driving in too deep under someone getting in and washing up, getting a bad push or loose off the corners.Dover is considered a self-cleaning track with all the banking so it's hard to get out of the way if you are in the groove and it all starts coming down the hill.Most of the time you just go with your instinct and pick a line and hope for the best. Dover is an extremely fast track.You really need to concentrate the entire race just to make sure you don't get caught up in someone else's mistake.The track is very narrow with a lot of banking, which makes for some great side-by-side racing.This track is one of the toughest places on our circuit to pass.You also need to have a good qualifying run since pit road is very small and narrow which can cause you to lose many positions during a routine pit stop."

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIEL'S IMPALA SS: "We always run well at Dover, we are always a top-five car there, we might not finish there but we are always running in the top-five there. Dover is a good track for us.You know what, it's a championship -- the checkers are for records, that's what this Chase is about.But you've got to be able to run up front.If you don't, if you're not running in the Top-5 and winning races, let's face it, you're not going to win the championship and that's what it's all about.That's what the Chase is about is winning the championship."

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS: "My teammates are my toughest competition. If we do everything right, we'll all be up there battling. Obviously Rick (Hendrick, team owner) would want us to do whatever we can to win to win a championship first, and second do whatever we can to help our teammates in their quest as well. I've always felt that way. When I had teammates, I always did everything I could to help them so I'm comfortable with that. I feel like those are the two goals you should concentrate on. On the win-first, help-your-teammate second mentality, it's a little bit of gentleman's understanding. Rick demands that everybody help each other and do the best for each other. He spends a lot of time and spends a lot financially for us to all have this opportunity and be able to work here in such a great place with such great co-workers and employees to be working side by side with. We're just really fortunate that this is even here. I think everybody sort of buys into Rick's theories very easily."

MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS: "They call Dover the Monster Mile, and I tell you what the track earned that nickname with me a lot in the early days. I won my first NASCAR race at Dover in the Nationwide Series in 1987 and we've won there four times in the Cup car since, but early on it was a big thorn in my side. We should have won there so many times in the Cup car before we finally broke through. We would have a flat tire leading or get wrecked or something. I did not think we would ever get that first win at Dover for the longest time. Despite all of that, I've had a lot of success at Dover and I can honestly say it is one of my favorite tracks on the circuit. We ran really well there in this race last year, but we were way off during the spring. Our challenge is to go back this weekend and find what we need to be competitive in the race. We are still looking for that first win in the No. 8 car and Dover does have one of the coolest trophies on the circuit."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup