Team Chevy press release
TEAM CHEVY AT CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY: PAT SUHY, NASCAR GROUP MANAGER, GM RACING: “Congratulations to Kevin Harvick and his team on their win at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday and on leading our contingent of six Team Chevy drivers into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. We are proud to be represented by six teams from three different racing organizations that have proven over time that they're the best of the best.
“This season has been incredibly competitive and the fight to qualify for the Chase went down to the wire. The list of great teams that didn't make the field is proof of that. In addition to the excitement that comes with the launch of the 10-race Chase this weekend in Chicago, Chevrolet is excited to be leading the Manufacturers’ Cup standings by 27 points over our nearest competitor.
“With the re-seeding that occurred after Richmond, just 12 points separates first from 12th place in the Chase standings. Its ‘go time’ now and we'll soon see what our teams can do now that the Chase is on. If history is an indicator, Chicagoland Speedway is a great place to start for our teams. Chevrolet drivers have won 70% of the races there, and have brought home 62% of the available top-5 finishing positions. Another win would be a great way to start the Chase on a high note and start building momentum for the next nine races.
“I'm looking forward to seeing all three NASCAR Touring Series take to the track this weekend in the windy city. Our past success and the continued high level of performance from our teams give me confidence that we will be in the fight for the win in all three events.”
TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT AT CHICAGOLAND SPEEDWAY:
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET – 2ND IN STANDINGS: “We struggled a little bit there (Chicagoland) last year, but we feel like we’ve done some things to hopefully head in the right direction. It’s a very fast race track. It’s really round, so you carry a lot of momentum through the corners. Hopefully we’ve got a good plan and can get (the Chase) started off on the right foot. I’m excited. I love change (kicking off the Chase at a new venue). I think we should change it up every year. Chicago is a great city. There’s a lot going on Chicago this weekend as we go there to start the Chase and I’m looking forward to it. It definitely helps (the win at Richmond with the team’s momentum going into the Chase). We had a little bit of a rough summer and we got a little bit off of our game. I think a lot of that came from winning so many races early. We were able to try so many things and a lot of them, well most all of them, didn’t work. We went back to what we know over the last couple of weeks and we’ve had top-five cars and to get the win at Richmond gives us a lot of momentum going into the next 10 weeks.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET – 3RD IN STANDINGS: “I haven’t felt like this in a long time and I love the position we are in as a team. We led the most laps at Bristol, and we led the most laps and won at Atlanta. We definitely have momentum on our side. I don’t feel that anybody has shown more strength than we have in the past 10 races. We have some confidence right now, but we also know it’s going to be tough during the Chase. We have to step up our game and we know there are a few tracks we have to improve at. If we can do that, we have a great shot this year. I’m excited about starting the Chase in Chicago this year. This week, the Chase drivers are spread out all around the country going to different places to promote the Chase before we end up in Chicago for additional media opportunities. It’s a great track. It reminds me a lot of Kansas, and we ran really well there earlier this year. I’m excited about our chances at Chicago. The plan is to start off the Chase on a positive note. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and, with the support of DuPont, the gold ribbon – a worldwide symbol for childhood cancer – will be featured on the car. That ribbon serves as a symbol for those children battling cancer, and a sign of support for parents and caregivers. And a memorial for lives lost.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET – 6TH IN STANDINGS: "Really excited for it (starting the Chase at Chicagoland Speedway). I think the Chicago area and the race track is going to be a great host for the start of the Chase. I've been close to victory there a few times. We've always run well and led laps there. Really want to win there for the fact that it is in the Chase and also for Chad (Knaus, crew chief). We've been able to win a lot at my home track. I owe him a couple there and I need to get him one before long. Momentum doesn't hurt going into the Chase; but, we've been without momentum; we've had momentum. Another way to look at it is we've had momentum working against us and momentum working for us and we've been able to win either way. I've said all along, these final 10 races, it's its own world. When everything re-racks and the point spread is so small between first and 12th, it changes things and it's a whole new season. It's a clean sheet of paper and off you go."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY MEDICAL CHEVROLET – 8TH IN STANDINGS: "It exciting to be in the Chase, we worked hard all year to accomplish this goal. We were disappointed last year about not making the Chase (finished 13th in pre-Chase points) and during the offseason we evaluated where we went wrong and one area was the 1.5 to two-mile tracks. We've made a pretty good improvement at those tracks this year and five of the 10 Chase races will be at the mile-and-a-half tracks. What has me pumped is that we have an opportunity for our Soldiers to win a championship that they deserve. Consistency is needed to win the championship. My best guess is that it's going to take a finishing average of at least seven or better in the final 10 races. We've been consistent as of late, but we need to step it up a few notches during the Chase. Avoiding mechanical issues and accidents to our Army Chevrolet are vital if we want to win the championship. Based on how we have performed lately I feel we have a legitimate shot at winning the championship. However, there are 11 other drivers and teams saying the same thing. In the end, it's going to come down to the team making the fewest mistakes, along with being on the receiving end of a few good breaks. We all won a battle, but only one will win the war."
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBILE 1 CHEVROLET - 9TH IN STANDINGS: “I think I’ve always been good there (at Chicagoland). You look at the past and we’ve had some weird events. On Fridays I’ve had two events where I’ve crashed in practice. The first time Hermie Sadler blew a motor and before the caution came out I crashed in his oil and went to the hospital and I missed the rest of the day (2004). And then the very next year I blew a tire in practice and J.J. Yeley had to qualify for me (2005). It’s one of those places where as long as I get through Friday, I feel like we’ve got a shot at it. But I don’t watch the stats very much. You just take it week to week. Technology in this sport changes so fast. What was good the last time you were there doesn’t mean it’s going to be good the second time around. You constantly have to work. You’ve got to keep pushing the envelope. It’s a place I like. This place is really getting racy as far as finally being able to move around and change lines and run anywhere from the bottom to the top. It’s a fun track because of that.”
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET – 10TH IN STANDINGS: “I'm proud to be in the Chase. I feel like I'm a good enough driver to be in the Chase, my team is good enough to be there. As a group, I think we're good enough to be in the top 10, and I can look back over the season and just easily think of several instances where we cost ourselves 10 or 15 points and made this situation difficult this weekend. Had we been more conscious and smarter at certain times we wouldn't have had to even worry about it this weekend. But we're a good team, and I'm proud to carry my sponsors and Hendrick Motorsports in the Chase and represent them in the Chase, and hopefully we're going to work real hard, hopefully we do a good job.”
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET – 14TH IN STANDINGS: “Sometimes moving track dates around (to put Chicagoland on the schedule as a Chase race) is a good thing. Change isn’t always a bad thing. We can’t be afraid of change. I think it could be good. New Hampshire (Motor Speedway) has been kind of my go-to track to get things turned around. We’re still going there though next week and just because it’s not the first race, it doesn’t mean it’s not an important one. I can’t believe I would ever say this, but I might move one of the road courses to the Chase. It’s been, for whatever reason, some of the most exciting racing that we’ve had all season. The tough thing about that is, it’s a make or break you kind of track. There are a lot of things that could happen and a lot of craziness and wrecks that could happen. You either make up or lose a lot of ground. I don’t know. With so much that rides on the line with the Chase, it would certainly shake things up. I hope that we continue with a top-five run (at Chicagoland) or, better yet, a win. That would be big.”
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – 16TH IN STANDINGS: “That was such an incredible night (2009 win at Chicagoland). A nearly perfect night. The restarts there at the end, with Jeff (Gordon) were intense. I had to take his groove away from him and pick the outside lane, even though I didn’t want to. It worked out for us, though. We were so good all weekend. It was Rick’s (Hendrick) birthday the following day too, so it was kind of an early birthday present for him. The momentum the (No.) 5 team had at that point was just incredible. One of the most fun nights I’ve had for sure. We’ve known for the past couple of races that it (making the Chase) was going to be a long shot, so it wasn’t a big surprise after Richmond (Va.) that we weren’t in. We’re concentrating solely on wins. That’s all that racing used to be about -- the win. And I like that. I like thinking one race at a time and not searching for point scenarios. Hopefully we can all take a deep breath and get us a win or two before the season ends.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – 18TH IN STANDINGS: “Chicago is actually one of those places when you drive in you are like…“Where are we?” It’s very similar to Kansas. We should be pretty good there. We struggled in Chicago last year, we felt like we didn’t have the pace we needed. It’s going to be interesting. We have been working on the cars really hard and we are making a lot of changes. You can tell how our cars are a lot more competitive over the last few weeks. I’m excited about the way things have been turning around for us and I think our Target Chevrolet will be good.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 ZECOL/MENARDS CHEVROLET – 23RD IN STANDINGS: “I think it’s good for Chicago. There are a lot of race fans in the area. We’ve run decent there. The intermediate tracks, the 1.5-mile tracks have been our strong suit, and that’s one of them. Chicagoland is a little bit quicker I think (than Kansas track). It has a little bit more banking. The backstretch is turned, or has a curve for some reason, but they are very similar. In looking at all the tracks, I think Kansas and Chicago are two of the most similar.”
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – 24TH IN STANDINGS: “It’s funny. Chicago is one of those tracks where I almost have to go back and watch video to remember it because Chicago and Kansas, until I get there, I get them confused (laughs) and they are a little bit different. They came on board about the same time and they weren’t the tracks that I started racing on so I’ve got to go back and watch video to refresh myself. But it’s been a good race track and I really do like it. I think it’s a fun track. I think that we ought to have the most prestigious race tracks hosting the (Chase) races. So in my view, that’s Daytona, Darlington, Indianapolis, Charlotte; and then we can start getting into the debates. The Southern 500, I know that it being in that time of year would break tradition a little bit, but so what? It’s Darlington. So I think those things would be really cool. For that race track (Chicagoland), it’s certainly a positive (to be the first race in the Chase). There’s no question. That’s a big market. Think of how many companies do a lot of business in Chicago and how many companies are located in Chicago. I think it’s a good race track for us to be in, for the Chase. And we typically have really good crowds there and there seems to be a lot of excitement; so I’m excited about it.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET – 25TH IN STANDINGS: I’m really looking forward to going to Chicago. In addition to the racing, we have a lot of fun stuff going on in town. We will start the weekend by making a visit to McDonald’s World Headquarters on Thursday to meet with employees and fans. Then we are going to have a lot of fun racing in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races at Chicagoland. We have had a lot of positive changes within our team over the last several weeks and I feel that things are headed in the right direction. We had a rough start to our season and have worked hard to catch up. Now that we are down to the last 10 races of the season maybe we can play the spoiler in one of the Chase races coming up and bring home a victory for our team. There would be no better place to do that than in McDonald’s hometown.”
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET – 26TH IN STANDINGS: 'The excitement and hoopla will be on the Chase drivers and that's the way it should be. But that's not going to make any difference about how we will approach the final 10 races. Our Furniture Row Racing team has made some great gains this year, but now is the time to step it up again and get primed and excited for the 2012 season. We all feel that we're close to making another performance gain and the final 10 races, beginning with Chicagoland, are critical from our standpoint. Chase or no Chase, we'll be fighting and working as hard as those 12 drivers competing for the Sprint Cup championship."