Team Chevy Indianapolis Pre-Event Quotes

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

TEAM CHEVY AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY – PAT SUHY, NASCAR GROUP MANAGER, GM RACING: “After a well-deserved week off, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Indianapolis for the 18th running of the Brickyard 400. A Team Chevy driver has been fortunate enough to visit victory lane in 12 of 17 races to date at this historic venue.

“Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a demanding 2.5-mile track, with long straightaways and fast, flat corners; which puts pressure on drivers and crews alike. Because of the high speeds, track position is critical. So, our teams will again be focused on finding a good qualifying setup.

“This year, NASCAR has moved the traditional Saturday morning qualifying session to the afternoon, which changes the strategy a bit. Going out first was always the most desirable for qualifying in the morning. And now, the qualifying order is based on speed, from slowest to fastest. So the teams will spend a fair amount of their practice sessions on Friday zeroing in on a fast qualifying set-up.

New engine for Jeff Burton, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
New engine for Jeff Burton, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

“On race day, clean air is what the drivers will be craving; and starting up front provides an advantage early in the race. But not everyone will be lucky enough to be in that position. Therefore, having the speed to run down and pass cars that are in front not only requires good grip in the flat corners, but also the ability to ‘drive-off’ hard and maximize the Chevy R07 engine power heading into the long straightaways.

“Our line-up of Chevrolet teams is second to none; and with all the hard work and preparation that they bring to every race, there's a good chance that a Team Chevy driver and his crew will be "kissing the bricks" for a lucky thirteenth time in 2011.”


JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET – 2ND IN STANDINGS: "I would say parity is really the first thing that comes to mind (when characterizing the first half of the season). You can flip it around and maybe say the lack of a dominant team as well. There have been guys that can flex muscle at times, but no one consistently has just schooled everybody. It's been very, very equal this year and unpredictable if you will. A lot of first time winners, which is great to have and no runaways right now. It's been an exciting time for the fans I believe. Then also we've been acting like fools out there at times so that's always spicing things up. My view is shaped in the 30 or 40 years of watching and there are certainly other names that go further back that mean a lot more, but during my time watching Rick Mears – I don't think I remember watching (AJ) Foyt win there, but certainly remember him hammering on his car one time on pit road. I have to think from a dominant standpoint it would be Rick Mears. Watching Helio (Castroneves) win those three that he has won – I guess that would be the other one that comes in my mind first."

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 JIMMY JOHN’S CHEVROLET – 4TH IN STANDINGS: “When you go to Indy there can be nobody sitting in the grandstands and it’s still the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s still been there for 100 years and still is our second biggest race that we go to. So for us, it’s where you bring your latest and greatest car, you latest and greatest engine, and it’s just kind of like the Daytona 500. It’s all about trying to win the race and putting it on the line to do that is what it’s all about. It’s a prestigious race to win and nobody in the garage is going to go there with any intention other than to try to win the race when they unload their cars. From the first time we stepped foot in that place it’s been a good race track for us. We’ve had good results there. I enjoy going there. It’s just one of those places where I really like going to. All the guys enjoy going there and being able to just race there is an honor. It’s been a good race track for us. It’s flat and we’ve always been good on the flatter type race tracks and I think that’s got something to do with it as well. Really it’s just getting off of all four corners and being able to make your car turn well enough to be in the gas so you can get down the long straightaways. I would say (Turns) 2 and 4 are probably the most important corners because you have so much distance to carry down the long straightaways. It’s definitely a challenge every lap. If it’s really hot it becomes even more of a challenge. It’s just a fun place.”

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET – 7TH IN STANDINGS: "I think NASCAR had a test session here in 1992 or 1993, and I was bummed that I didn't get the chance to participate in it. When I finally got the chance to drive down the front straightaway, it was like 'whoa.' And then to win the inaugural race? Unbelievable. It's still like that for me -- just an incredible feeling driving here. But it also always takes me a few laps to get up to speed each year. The first time you drive off into (turn) 1, it's like 'whoa, I can't make this corner.' Then you realize you let off (the accelerator) way too early. I don't think what I've done should ever be compared to what A.J. Foyt or Al Unser or Rick Mears did here with their four Indianapolis 500 victories. And I don't think Michael Schumacher's five wins (in Formula 1) should be compared either. They are all completely different disciplines -- sometimes on a completely different track."

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET – 8TH IN STANDINGS: “Doing what we do, we’ll take a week off anytime you can get it. This is a demanding sport. We work so hard to get the things that we do on the racetrack, sometimes it's nice to take a weekend off away from the racetrack, neutralize yourself. I had a nice week away working on my hobby farm and even when and four-wheeled with (Tony) Gibson and some of the guys, so it was nice. It was kind of a Catch 22 having the off-weekend, but we’ve still got our momentum and we’re going to Indianapolis as the most recent race winner, so we have that on our side.

“To be honest though, we didn’t kick it out of gear for very long. And we are definitely going into Indianapolis with a lot of weight off our shoulders and a smile on our face is going to be really nice for our team and organization. New Hampshire was huge for our team and even bigger for our organization. I don’t know that I realized how big until the next day when I was doing interviews and someone told me the stat about the last time that a team started 1-2 and finished in those exact positions. As much as I study the history of this sport, I was stunned by that stat and really honored that I was part of something so big. We made that race ours - all the guys came together and made it happen – and I’m just really proud of what we have accomplished.”

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET – 9TH IN STANDINGS: “At Indy, it is real tight getting into Turn 1. If you can roll down into that corner, there is a lot of speed to be gained there because as you go around the track each corner seems to be easier and freer to get through. Turn 4 is the loosest corner. So just turning down in Turn 1 and getting the car turned and being able to carry speed into (Turn) 2 I think creates a good lap. From there, you build on the momentum and speed from what you did in Turn 1. It all has a repercussion on each following corner.”

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET – 11TH IN STANDINGS: “It’s my home race, obviously (IMS). Growing up in Indiana and every year watching the Indy 500 and the whole month of May leading up to it, a race at the Brickyard is more than just a regular points race. It’s always been a big race to all of the Cup drivers, but then when you grow up in Indiana, it just makes it that much more important. It’s a place that is a momentum-driven track. You don’t just have two ends to the racetrack and two big 180-degree corners. You’ve got four 90-degree corners to negotiate. If you have one bad corner at Indy and if your car’s not right, you’re going to be bad in four corners versus two corners a lap. And with it being two-and-a-half miles, you carry so much speed, if you lose momentum at that track, it just seems like it’s really a big penalty. In an Indy car you just don’t lift – if the car’s right. But in a stock car, even if it’s right, you’ve got to lift and you’ve got to brake for at least two of the corners. With the other two corners, you just lift, basically. It’s a challenging track in a Cup car. It’s a challenging track in an Indy car too, but if you can get it right in an Indy car then you can run it wide-open around there, and that’s one less variable you’ve got to worry about when it comes to getting around the racetrack.”

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET – 12TH IN STANDINGS: “It’s a lot of fun to be able to go to Indy. It means a lot to everyone to have the chance to race on that track with so much history behind it. We have to get better at that place. Our first run there was very good, but since then, we’ve been mediocre. We have to get ourselves back to running well on those kinds of race tracks. With that being said, I think we’re bringing a new car there. We’ve tried to put some things together that I think will be the latest and greatest. We’re hoping to get the best result out of it. Indy is a big deal. In the sport of auto racing, Indy is one of the biggest deals out there. I think that the Daytona 500 is the biggest race of the year and Indy is the second biggest race of the year. Jeff Burton and I sat on the front row the first year I was there. It was a great feeling to be able to lead the field down through there into a sea of people. It’s just an unbelievable sight to see and to be able to soak that all in is a pretty cool feeling.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – 17TH IN STANDINGS: “I won the Indianapolis 500 and I think winning the Brickyard would be really cool. It would be cool to have both wins there. We run really well there. And it is not because I really know the track. I ran the IndyCars once there and the road course was the other way around for Formula One. It just suits my style I guess. I really understand what we need to do to make a car go fast around that track. I do think that this year is going to be a bit closer then what we saw have seen in the past, especially after our tire test there a couple months back, but we should be okay. It should be fun.”

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 NIBCO/MENARD’S CHEVROLET – 19TH IN STANDINGS: “I love Indianapolis and I really look forward to going there every year. I was eight years old the first time I ever went there, and it was the coolest experience I’ve ever been through. I’ve been a huge fan of Indianapolis ever since. We would go to the (Indianapolis) 500 to watch my dad’s cars race. Indy has my two favorite races. My favorite one to watch is still the (Indianapolis) 500 and my favorite one to race in is the Brickyard (400). It was very exciting as a child to be at the (Indianapolis) 500 because it was a big, historical event. Indianapolis has a special place in my heart. I just love that race track.”

MARK MARTIN, NO. 1 QUAKER STATE/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – 20TH IN STANDINGS: “This track has so much historical significance to racing as a whole. Knowing who’s raced here before you, who’s walked through that same garage, it’s really very cool. There’s not a driver in NASCAR who won’t tell you that, next to the Daytona 500, the Brickyard is where they most want to win a race. It’s just got that kind of meaning to it. I haven’t gotten a win at either of those tracks in my career, but I’m hoping it changes this weekend. Finishing second, in any race, isn’t something you should be disappointed with yourself about. In 2009, the (No.) 5 team was right there at the end. To fight Jimmie (Johnson) for that win was huge for me and the team. It was hard not to get it, but we were all pretty happy to be fighting for it. Looking back I don’t think there’s anything I could have done differently to get it. I had it all hanging out. In 1998, Dale Jarrett was actually the car to beat. He had some fuel issues and Jeff (Gordon) just ran away with it from there. We’ve been close. Two runner-up finishes isn’t something I’m going to dwell on or be upset with. They sound pretty good to me.”

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – 25TH IN STANDINGS: “I think it’s an honor to go to Indy every year. The history is unbelievable. There is nowhere we go where you get the sense of people like you do at Indy with the grandstands on both sides of the front straightaway. It’s fun going there because we didn’t create the history. We go there on someone else’s coat tails. We made Daytona, Darlington and Charlotte. We didn’t make Indy. It’s a cool race and it means a great deal to race there. When you walk out on Sunday afternoon to start that race, it’s like nothing else. The driver’s introductions there are pretty cool. It’s amazing to see that many people and the excitement at Indy is cool. It’s an open-wheel, sacred-ground race track and the fact that we can go there and race is truly an honor. I think it’s an honor to go to Indy every year. The history is unbelievable. There is nowhere we go where you get the sense of people like you do at Indy with the grandstands on both sides of the front straightaway. It’s fun going there because we didn’t create the history. We go there on someone else’s coat tails. We made Daytona, Darlington and Charlotte. We didn’t make Indy. It’s a cool race and it means a great deal to race there. When you walk out on Sunday afternoon to start that race, it’s like nothing else. The driver’s introductions there are pretty cool. It’s amazing to see that many people and the excitement at Indy is cool. It’s an open-wheel, sacred-ground race track and the fact that we can go there and race is truly an honor.”

REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET – 27TH IN STANDINGS: "Taking in all factors about this weekend's race, I truly feel that our Furniture Row Chevy has the potential to do something special at Indy," said Smith. "We had a pretty good run going last year until a mechanical issue, which was also the case the year before. It's been a pretty good year, but still could be better. Yes, we've had some things go our way, but there have also been races that we let a strong performance slip away due to unforced errors. But Indy is a track that we know we can do well on."

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET – 29TH IN STANDINGS: “It’s hard to believe that it is time to go back to Indy already! Indy is a special race for all of the teams, everyone wants to win at the Brickyard. This is one of the races that all drivers and teams specially prepare for. The teams build new cars, the engine shops get their best engines prepared, there is just a lot of emphasis on this race. It was really cool to win there last year especially for Chip Ganassi. Being able to win the Indy 500 and Brickyard 400 in the same season was really special for our organization. Indy is such a unique track and requires a little bit different set up than so many of the places that we race . It will be cool to get back there, plus Indy is just such a fun town to go visit!”

By: team chevy

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Dale Jarrett , Michael Schumacher , Al Unser Sr. , Rick Mears , Chip Ganassi , Eric Gilbert , A.J. Foyt
Teams Richard Childress Racing
Tags brickyard 400, chevrolet, indianapolis, nascar, nscs, sprint cup