Loudon II: GM Racing preview

TEAM CHEVY AT NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY -- PAT SUHY, GM RACING NASCAR GROUP MANAGER: "Team Chevy has been flexing its muscle during the Race to the Chase and it shows. Winning thirteen of the first twenty-six races; leading almost half of all...

TEAM CHEVY AT NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY -- PAT SUHY, GM RACING NASCAR GROUP MANAGER: "Team Chevy has been flexing its muscle during the Race to the Chase and it shows. Winning thirteen of the first twenty-six races; leading almost half of all laps raced and having more finishers in the top-five than all the other manufacturers combined has been an impressive offensive from our teams leading up to the start of the Chase. Congratulations to all of our teams that made it in. For the teams left on the outside looking in, the quality of those teams should prove to anyone how truly difficult it is to get into the Chase.

"Now, with six outstanding Chevrolet teams poised to start the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, we'll get to see who can build the momentum necessary to clinch the driver's title.

"The resetting of driver's points means that Kevin Harvick, who's led the point standings for so many weeks, must now start over in distancing himself from the competition. For the rest of the group, it's a new opportunity to try and do the same. That second chance is one of the things that makes the Chase format so exciting. As I've noted before, the races leading up to the Chase was a time for teams that were either locked in, or highly confident of their chances of being in, to try different things in terms of chassis setup or engine-build specs. Based on what they learned, the teams will be bringing "the best of the best" of those ideas along with the best of what worked all season long to their Chevrolet race cars for the next ten races. However it turns out, I'm confident that we'll be celebrating another drivers and owners championship for Team Chevy in Las Vegas after the season finale in Homestead."

TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER'S SEAT:

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S/JOHNS MANVILLE CHEVROLET -- 2ND SEED IN CHASE: "New Hampshire has been on everyone's mind since Daytona. As you start to lock in and know that you are going to lock in, you really draw all attention to that race and then all the races following. We have been looking at Loudon and we feel very confident with the Loudon race track because we won there in the spring and we had a very dominant car throughout the day. So it's top of mind for us too and we have been doing some testing too and I think the performance we had in Atlanta was a great step for this team at the 1.5 mile tracks. So hopefully we have got momentum and performance coming at the right time."

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET -- 3RD SEED IN CHASE: "I think it's important to just go there (New Hampshire Motor Speedway) and have a solid day. If we can put ourselves in position to win, that would be great. It would be nice to get started on the right foot, but I don't winning necessarily has to happen at that particular race. I think we've got good momentum now. I think we have to take what we built upon and try to maintain that as we go from week to week. The season is not just starting at New Hampshire. It's not really how we've raced or do anything different, it's just go do the same thing. I think it's been a great race track for us. We ran well there last time. Jeff (Burton) probably had the fastest car last time so I feel like we have the opportunity to go up there and run well. How it all plays out, I don't know. But, it's the most competitive that we have ever been as far as speed and the things that you need to race for wins, and in order to win the championship, I feel you're going to have to finish in the top-five a lot and you're going to have to win a race or two to make that happen. And this is the first time we had not just been coming and going seventh, eighth, ninth place finishes. We have been able to run in races in the top-five."

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE CHEVROLET -- 6TH SEED IN CHASE: "The only way you know (the importance of getting off to a good start) is after 10 races. You could finish dead-last at Loudon and theoretically still win the championship, so it's hard to say how much of an impact Loudon really makes 'til you get down to the end and you look at the point standings. I think probably the most important part is just momentum for the team and keeping the morale of the team up. You don't want to start the Chase and get behind and feel like you've got a strike against you for the next nine weeks. If you can get that momentum early and even if you just have a solid, decent run that can make a big difference in the morale of the team."

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT/NATIONAL GUARD FACEBOOK CHEVROLET -- 8TH SEED IN CHASE: "Consistency has always been one of our strengths which is why I think the old points system worked well for us. And we'll approach these 10 races with the same mindset. There are a lot of points to be gained and lost. You're trying to win each race, but 10 races is longer than many people realize. You want to make sure you get the absolute best finish you can each week and not put yourself into a position where you end up with a 30th- or-35th-place finish. When I look at the 10 'Chase' tracks, Loudon is one of those that I feel we can have a really strong finish. We tested recently at Milwaukee, and I believe that test will help us out this weekend. You don't want to be in a hole after the first event. We've not qualified well recently, and that's something we need to really step up in the Chase. A good qualifying effort leads to better pit stall picks and better track position at the start of the races. When we qualify well, we seem to perform better. We're showing week in and week out that we're a very, very strong team. I still think we could have won three or four races up to this point -- if not more -- already this season. And I can't see why we can't still win multiple races before this year is out."

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET -- 10TH SEED IN CHASE: "It (getting off on a good foot at Loudon) doesn't matter. It's the points that you accumulate over 10 weeks. It doesn't matter when the points come. We try to tie this mental thing into numbers, but the fact of the matter is you take all the numbers and add them up at the end of 10 and the guy with the most points at the end of ten wins. So it doesn't matter. The whole premise that you can focus differently from one race to the next, I don't understand that. Every race pays the same points. Every race you have to race the racetrack. Every race you have to go faster than everybody else. We have to put a great effort into every race. We can put lesser efforts into a race track that we do really well at and expect to have success on it. My way of thinking, and hear me that I've never won a championship, but my way of thinking is that every track has to have the same effort put into it and that effort has to be a 100% effort and anything less than that won't be enough whether you're good there or not. Now the type of effort that you put in and your preparation changes for every racetrack, but the effort has to be 100% no matter what. When I look at the Chase I feel good about Phoenix; I feel good about New Hampshire; I feel good about Dover; I feel good about Martinsville; I feel good about Texas. When I go down and look at the racetracks that we're getting ready to go to, I like them. I think it works well for us, but we don't look at any one race track and say, 'that's the one we've gotta do good on' because it pays the same points as the other tracks. So we've got to put the right effort on every race track and we've got to do well at every race track."

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET -- 12TH SEED IN CHASE: "Loudon is just a good little race track. You've got to have speed. You've got to be able to roll through the center good and get to the gas early and be able to hold the gas down. That's the biggest thing there is a lot of times when you get to the gas early it kind of creates a shove and then you get loose there at the wall and you've got to be able to rotate under power and leave the hammer down. I love it. I think it's a fun race track. I like all the short tracks."

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET -- 13th IN STANDINGS: "Loudon is unique. It's not flat, it feels flat and it almost feels off camber. But a lot of car control. Just the way the cars drive at that race track; I mean, it's very much a driver's racetrack, but to me it was also the birthplace of track position. It's a place where we spend a lot of effort and put a lot of time into qualifying. I've always said it's never been my favorite track even though I've had some success there. I won my first race at Loudon and have had a blast in the Modifieds. I've always liked banked racetracks the best -- just my personal preference. Loudon is far from that. We're obviously disappointed that we're not in the Chase. But we have the opportunity to win more races in our U.S. Army Chevrolet. We're going to do our best in the next 10 races to get the most points of anyone in the Chase."

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD'S CHEVROLET -- 14TH IN STANDINGS: "I've always enjoyed racing at New Hampshire. Loudon is a fairly flat track and those are the kinds of tracks that are difficult to pass on, but if you go there with a great car, you can make anything happen. I'm excited to be coming back to Loudon again with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. Juan (Montoya) dominated this same race last season. I'm also excited because I know how much this track means to my Crew Chief, Bono... He grew up right down the road in Massachusetts, and really started his career racing the modified circuit up there in New England. The same can be said for my Car Chief, Gary Putnam, who is from Connecticut. Aside from Cup racing, those two guys will be doing what they love this weekend, when they run their Modified! They've been working really hard on it, they've already won two races in two tries so far this year on the Modified circuit (Loudon and Bristol), and I know they are excited. So, I'm looking forward to supporting them this weekend in that effort."

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET -- 15TH IN STANDINGS: "I had never won at New Hampshire before, and I just kept thinking that this was going to be one of those tracks for me. We would get so close and just not seal the deal. But Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) made great pit calls that race and put us in a position to win. We had a lot of cautions there at the end and I thought 'Oh no. Just don't mess up. Don't lose this one.' It was an emotional win for us because of it being the first race of the Chase, too. We were contenders and that win proved it. We, as a team, have got to figure out how to make our GoDaddy.com Chevrolet faster. That's what we're focused on. Being 13th in points doesn't matter. Winning would be great. Contending for wins is what we're fighting for. We made some big changes during the Richmond (Va.) race that had us headed in the right direction. It's going to take risks like that and experimenting to get there. We all have to give 100 percent, and that's what we're going to do."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 ENERGIZER CHEVROLET -- 16TH IN STANDINGS: "We run really well at New Hampshire. Hopefully another pole and see if we can finally close the deal. This is one of those race tracks that has been like Indy to me. We have been there all the time and have never been able to close to deal so it would be nice if we can close the deal there.

I like it because I run good there. It is just one of those places where you either run good or you run bad. When you run good, things go well and you look good. When you run bad, you run bad and that's it. It is like Pocono. Why do we suck at Pocono? I would love to know (LAUGHS). Right now I would say it (2010 season) has been a better season, we have just been having a lot of bad luck. Been involved a lot in other people's wrecks. You can't control that. They wreck in front of you, they come across and hit you and you are out of the race. When you do that, you lose all those points but it is just tough racing."

REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET -- 30TH IN STANDINGS: "We tested at the Milwaukee Mile a couple of weeks ago and felt it really helped our performance last week in Richmond. We were running in the top 15 until the car's splitter got damaged near the midpoint of the race. The Milwaukee test was also designed to help with this weekend's race in New Hampshire. We're confident that our Furniture Row Chevy will be equally as good as it was in Richmond. I like the New Hampshire track - it's the kind of venue that we all grew up on."

BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 09 PHOENIX CONSTRUCTION CHEVROLET -- 31ST IN STANDINGS: "We sure do hope that this seventh start is lucky for us. We're getting better as a team and making improvements together. Richmond was a good run for us until the fire ended the night. We were moving up, passing guys and things weren't bad. We need to qualify a little bit better this weekend (at Loudon). That will help us and give us a better chance to get into the top 10. But, we're still fighting the good fight and making improvements. Loudon is a great track, and one we can do well at. We have seen the track go through many changes over the years, but it's still flat and handling is essential. The car needs to roll through the turns and you need to be on the gas early. You have to be aggressive around it. This team brought home a sixth-place finish at the track in 2009 with Brad Keselowski behind the wheel. Hopefully the notes from that race, and the notes that I have gathered over the years, will be to our advantage. We'll see if we can't repeat that finish or even be a bit better."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Brad Keselowski
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing