TEAM CHEVY IN THE GARAGE AT KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY– ALBA COLON, GM RACING NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES PROGRAM MANAGER: “History will be made this weekend when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) visits Kentucky Speedway. It will be the first time the Series will run a points-paying race on the 1.5-mile track. In fact, this will mark the first time in 10 years that the NSCS has introduced a new venue to the tour.
“Racing at a new track is always exciting. It’s the excitement of the unknown, the opportunity to learn something new, and, also, a chance to become the inaugural race winner. For the Cup Series, it is a new market and a perfect opportunity to further expose NASCAR and Chevrolet to a new group of enthusiastic fans.
“Leading up to the race, NASCAR is allowing teams to test their back-up cars on Thursday for approximately six (6) hours during which they will acquire data that will be very important to develop the correct vehicle set-ups for Friday’s practice and qualifying sessions to prepare for Saturday’s evening race.
“Although Kentucky Speedway is an intermediate track like others on the Sprint Cup tour, it has its own unique characteristics. Our Chevy teams will rely on information gathered at the Goodyear tire test earlier this year, and from some of the other intermediate tracks that we have visited as a starting point for set-ups.
“We enter this weekend at Kentucky with Kevin Harvick leading the Driver’s Standings for Chevrolet, and we congratulate him! It is an amazing feeling to be at the top, but it is never easy to stay there. Our drivers are working very aggressively to be at the top of their game every week. With only nine more races until the start of the Chase to the NASCAR Sprint Cup, we are hungry for wins. We are looking forward to a successful race for Chevrolet on Saturday night.”
TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY:
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET – POINTS LEADER: “I’d say every one of us has been there in some way, shape or form. Some of the guys may not have raced there, but I know for me, when I first raced there was in 2001. Through the years, there has been a lot of testing that has taken place at that particular race track. I think it’s a race track everyone is pretty familiar with, but not familiar with this new-style car there, as everything was probably done with the old car. So it’ll still be a challenge for sure. I think just knowing that the tire is good. It’s a very durable tire. You’re not on edge. I think the biggest thing is just putting that to bed and knowing that we’re not going to have any tire issues. For me, I’m a rhythm racer. I’m not going to be one of those guys who’s just going to go out there and shove the thing in the fence by just trying to go fast right off the bat. I’m going to creep up and kind of know the limits of my car and keep pushing them until I feel like that’s the edge.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – 6TH IN STANDINGS: “Been there (Kentucky Speedway) in a Nationwide car and then when I first came on board, we tested there a lot. We didn’t have the testing restrictions that we do today. Turned a lot of laps over there; a lot like pretty much every driver out of my generation. We would be there amongst four or five other teams and guys running like crazy. I’m sure it’s changed a lot since the last time we were there and it looks like we have an open test day on Thursday, July 7 leading into that weekend. That will be good for all the teams. I don’t think we’ll have an advantage by any means. It will be nice to go there, get some data, get used to the track, work on some setup stuff and then kind of get the flow of the race track once again.”
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 DIET MOUNTAIN DEW/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET – 7TH IN STANDINGS: “We have all been there testing so there is no real challenge. Everybody has tested there at least a dozen times in their careers, so, it’s not like opening up a new place. We just haven’t had a full-on race there and everybody will be trying. When you test, you don’t get around cars as much. Everybody will be wantin’ to get on the race track and get around people and see how the aero is and see what you need to work on with your car when you are in traffic.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET – 8TH IN STANDINGS: “It has been a while since I’ve tested there so seeing if anything has changed. It’s a new track so we don’t have a lot of data. I mean some of the guys have run there in Nationwide maybe have a little more experience on the track. I think adapting to a track that you are not as familiar with from a driver standpoint as well as the set up, the springs and shocks and combinations, it’s a pretty rough race track, so I think to battle the grip level and getting the car aero-wise to get the most grip out of it but also handling the bumps is probably the biggest challenge from a technical standpoint. We used to test there all the time. It’s the one track that we could test at before it became a Cup track, so I think if we go back to those notes that’s certainly going to give some information but the most valuable would be the tire test that Mark martin did. That’s the most current data that we have with more of the cars and set ups that we are running today. We’ll hopefully get something out of it.”
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET – 9TH IN STANDINGS: “I think it’s great. I’ve raced there a couple times in a NASCAR Nationwide Series car. That’s a huge fan base out there, there’s no question about that. Kentucky Speedway is the only place we can pack the house in a Nationwide Series stand-alone event. I think it’s going to surprise a lot of people at how many fans are attending that race. The track is rough. You’re really going to have your hands full trying to get a good package on your car to get through those bumps. The goal is to bounce through the bumps better than the next guy. No one is going to bounce through them well, but you want to be able to bounce through them better than the next guy. Noone really has an advantage from racing there before; I mean all these guys are professionals. It doesn’t matter where we go, they’re going to adapt and get up to speed. It’s going to come down to who can get their suspension and chassis packages working the best. They are the people that will prevail at a place like Kentucky Speedway.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 TORNADOS CHEVROLET – 10TH IN STANDINGS: “I look forward to going to Kentucky. I was one of the first people to win at Kentucky Speedway back in the ARCA series when they opened the place up in 2000. I think it was actually the track’s third race at that point, or something like that. I started on the pole, led a lot of laps and ended up winning the race, which was a pretty big feather in our cap at that point in time. It was my third start for Penske Racing in the ARCA Series, and I ended up getting my first pole and my second win. So it was a pretty big deal for me and that team and that point in time. So going back to Kentucky is going to be pretty cool for me. Going back to a place that few people in the Sprint Cup Series have won at and a place you have history at where other people don't, is a good thing. I definitely think it's a great track and a great market and I look forward to it. I don’t think there’s going to be huge challenges at Kentucky. Between our practice sessions – the opening test day and our practices on Friday – on top of the fact that a lot of guys have had experience there in the Nationwide or Truck Series. It’s part of the cookie cutter spectrum of racetracks where it’s a mile-and-a-half, semi-banked. I don’t think there are going to be any big issues. It’s a little bit of a rougher racetrack from what I understand. I haven’t been up there to test for a while. Just getting a good shock package and getting a good feel for what the tire is up there is going to be a big part of it, but we have a lot of practice to do that. If we don’t get it figured out by race time on Saturday night, it’s out own fault.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET – 12TH IN STANDINGS: “I’m excited about going to Kentucky. I like going to new places that we don’t have history at. Obviously, there’s a lot of drivers that have run the Nationwide Series there and do know the track and what to look for. It’s kind of fun for a lot of us. None of us have raced there that don’t run the Nationwide Series on a regular basis. Even though at some point over the last seven or eight years, we’ve tested there, none of us have raced there. That kind of makes it fun. It’s neat to go in there and not have an idea of what to expect. It always makes it fun the first time. The first thing you do is try to figure the line out around the track and when we’ve tested there in the past, we didn’t have a lot of rubber down because there weren’t a lot of cars running a lot of laps. It was a lot harder to really get a gauge on what the line was around there. That’s what you’ll spend the first part of the day on – on Thursday, the practice day. You’ll just work on the line, figuring out your braking points, where you need to be getting back in the gas and at the same time the crew chiefs and the engineers are going to be trying to figure out how to get ride heights where they want it. The standard things that they do every weekend. The drivers are going to have to take a little bit of time in learning the race track. We’ve all had to do it all along the way, but that’s the first thing to do is just literally try to figure out where your reference points are for braking and accelerating for entering the corner.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – 14TH IN STANDINGS: “To be honest with you, my first time around Kentucky Speedway didn’t go as well as I had hoped. It was a test session and the first time I ever drove a Cup car for Chip Ganassi. I hit the wall pretty hard. A lot has changed in those five years so hopefully there won’t be anymore contact with the wall this time around. We need a good run in order to have a chance to make the Chase this year. Every weekend counts and we’re starting to run out of time in the points battle. I’d like to get the Target Chevrolet out front early and stay there.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 SYLVANIA/MENARDS CHEVROLET – 16TH IN STANDINGS: “It’s going to be a good crowd at Kentucky (Speedway). I think they’ve had sellouts every time the Nationwide Series has gone there. It’s probably overdue for a Cup race, honestly. I’m looking forward to going back there. There isn't an advantage of having run there before because there are maybe four guys in the garage that haven’t run at Kentucky (Speedway) before. Everyone else has run there before whether in (the) Nationwide (Series), (the Camping World Trucks Series) Trucks or testing. Back when we could test there, that was the most popular test track. So, some guys have a lot more laps there than I do just from testing.”
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 QUAKER STATE/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – 18TH IN STANDINGS: "I’ve tested at Kentucky before. This team has tested here before. But testing there and knowing you’re going to race on that specific track is different. It will be a help to us. A good starting point. But, really, when you throw in all of the testing time that all of the teams will get on Thursday, it will even out a little. That’s a lot of time on the track for everyone and I think that will prove to be the most valuable. With the amount of testing time we get on Thursday, we’re all going to be able to figure our own cars out. I don’t think we’re going to be as dependent on past information or knowledge due to that testing period.”
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – 24TH IN STANDINGS: “I’ve always said that the tracks that can bring people in are the ones that deserve races. Kentucky Speedway, from what I’ve heard about their sales, the fans have really supported them. I think that’s a great thing. It’s cool to go somewhere else, to a new circuit. I always think that is neat. The local fans will be excited and energized about it and I’m optimistic. The only concern I have about Kentucky Speedway is how rough the surface is. These cars seem to put on the best races at tracks that are a little bit smoother. That’s my only concern about the race track. I think the race track itself is a good race track. I think it can put on a typical (Sprint) Cup race, which means it could be a great finish or someone could drive away from everyone. The bumps will be a huge factor as to who has success there and who doesn’t. It’s interesting because some people have raced there and some people that have not. A lot of times, when new race tracks are added to the schedule, no one has raced there. New Hampshire is kind of the same way. When it first came on, there was a group of us that had raced at New Hampshire three or four times before the Cup cars were ever there. In some ways, it’s an equalizer, and in other ways, it could separate some things a little bit because people have a lot of experience. There’s a thought that, that could really benefit those people.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET – 27TH IN STANDINGS: “I am looking forward to going to Kentucky this week. I have raced there a couple of times and have had good finishes each time. Of course, just because I have some experience at the track doesn’t mean things haven’t changed. We will find out what we have to look forward to for the weekend with the open test day on Thursday. I think it is good for our sport to have the Sprint Cup Series go to new places. It is always cool for new fans to be able to come out and see the sport up close and personal.”
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET – 28TH IN STANDINGS: "Though I haven't been to Kentucky Speedway in four years, the venue has crossed my mind a number of times since I last competed there in the 2007 Nationwide race for Ginn Racing. We were the dominant car that evening, but didn't give ourselves a chance to win due to a fuel miscalculation. I qualified on the pole and led a number of opening laps (45) and felt we were going to win the race. But when I was leading and called into the pits for an early stop, I was already out of fuel and that put us a lap down and out of contention. I guess you can say I have some unsettled business to take care of at Kentucky Speedway this weekend. It's a great track and the crowd support has always been fantastic. I was happy to hear when Kentucky was awarded a Sprint Cup date. Our Furniture Row Chevrolet likes the mile-and-a-half tracks and we're aiming to come away with a good result in Saturday night's race."
By: team chevy