Team Chevy Racing press release
TEAM CHEVY AT TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY: ALBA COLON, NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES PROGRAM MANAGER, GM RACING: “Team Chevy heads to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend, which is always exciting racing; and at the same time, a little bit stressful! So many things can happen that are out of the drivers’ control to ruin a good day, and trust me; you want to finish in one piece especially if you are a contender in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Nonetheless, it is always a great show!
“With just five races remaining in this extremely tight run for the Driver’s Championship, every point and every position counts.
“As is always the case at Talladega, the right combination of aerodynamics and speed is the recipe for success. Of course you need to have the right drafting partner too, and just try to stay out of trouble!
“Compared with the last time we were at Talladega race six months ago, NASCAR has mandated some minor changes for this race. The restrictor-plate will increase in size, the pressure release valves on the cooling system will be recalibrated to reduce the pressure, and the addition of lubricants to the rear bumper cover is prohibited. All of these changes will improve the racing.
“It is always important to have the best cars and the best engines in the hands of the best drivers, and we have strength in all those areas. Chevrolet has a strong success record at this track. The last Talladega race was really good for Team Chevy with a great qualifying effort and a great finish. We hope to repeat those results this time and are looking forward to a safe and clean race on Sunday.”
TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT AT TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY:
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 JIMMY JOHNS CHEVROLET – 2ND IN STANDINGS: “Restrictor plate stuff has been great for us, you never know how it is going to go at Talladega, but we have been pretty good there in the past. I don’t anticipate the restrictor plate change doing anything. I think the speeds will be a little bit higher. I think the pop-off valve will probably be a bigger change than the restrictor plate for sure. I don’t think it’s going to change the two-car tandem other than you’re going to have to switch spots a lot more to keep the engine cool. For whatever reason, we’ve just always had a good plate program at RCR and when you have good cars, it makes it a lot easier to have success. We’ll stick with our teammates and see where we fall at the end. Everyone is just battling to keep the cars up front and doing the things they have to do (in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup). We haven’t had the fastest cars in the first few races, but we just have never given up on it and wound up with decent finishes. Hopefully we can keep at that and get a little more speed out of them.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 EL MONTEREY/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET – 5TH IN STANDINGS: “We’re looking at it (the Talladega race) as an opportunity to gain some points and positions. Every time you’re at Talladega you try to take care of yourself and your equipment by not getting yourself in compromising positions that are going to take you out of an opportunity to get you to the end of the race. For me, it’s no different whether the race is in April during the regular season or in October when I’m in the Chase.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 MYLOWE’S CHEVROLET – 8TH IN STANDINGS: "I think with the new rules it's a step to make us pass more. I don't think we are going to be able to stay connected as long. Any time you put a bigger plate on the cars it allows for a larger closing rate with more opportunities to pass with more power. With that said, I don't think the changes are large enough to have us not push. That threshold for pushing, the grip level is still so high at the race track that I don't think it's going to separate us yet but it should make for more passing. We see that more with a larger plate and then the fact that we can't stay together we're going to be changing, I don't think we'll be staying together as long we'll be changing out more often which could lead to us being in a big pack like some of the fans want to see. We'll get down there and see what happens. I don't care what the rules are. I learned a long time ago to stop worrying about that stuff. I just go."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 DIET MOUNTAIN DEW PAINT THE 88/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET – 9TH IN STANDINGS: ““It was frustrating (two-car drafting) because you had to learn a whole new way to adapt and draft. You had to buy into that way or you weren’t going to be good at Talladega. And you had to buy into it all the way in Daytona. We did well at Talladega, and we were okay at Daytona but I got separated from my teammate. I think this change will shake things up and hopefully for the better.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET – 10TH IN STANDINGS: "We need to have some special runs in the next five races. We definitely have the potential to do well at each of the next five tracks. We just need to avoid the bad breaks that plagued us during the first five Chase races. No matter which way you dissect the numbers, we haven't produced the results in the past couple of years at the restrictor-plate races in Daytona and Talladega. However, our recent sub-par finishes at the restrictor-plate races were not from a lack of performance, but mostly of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We'll have to wait and see what effect the new rule changes will have on restrictor-plate racing. We all have our theories but won't know for sure until we actually get on the track this weekend. Personally, I think there will be less tandem drafting than in the past because of the rule changes. But weather will also dictate how long we can push each other before swapping. Cooler temperatures the better."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET – 11TH IN STANDINGS: “My strategy is to race whatever way gives us the best chance to win. I think the bonus ($100k to the driver who leads the most laps, provided there are 100 or more lead changes during the race) is a cool thing that the track is doing, and 100 might be reachable. Our plan is to be there at the end battling for the win. That could mean battling lap-after-lap for the lead, or it could mean staying a safe distance back and watching the race unfold. It could also be a mixture of the two. We’ll just have to wait and see once the green flag is waved. I don’t expect a whole lot different (regarding how rule changes will affect the racing), but we won’t really know until we get into Friday’s practice and start drafting. I think you’re still going to see two-by-two, but the cars might have to swap more frequently. But we are going to try to do everything we can to not have to swap. When I first started racing here, we were racing single file and you had to work lap-after-lap-after-lap for just one position. If you didn’t complete the pass, you could be shuffled out and lose 20 or 30 spots. Then we began racing in huge packs where you could race from 20th to first back to 20th in the span of a few laps. Now, it’s evolved into this two-car drafting, and it’s not as easy as maybe it looks on TV. It takes some skill but, most importantly, it takes getting two cars and two drivers and two spotters and two crew chiefs to work together. You have to watch your gauges a lot, you have to be really aware of what happens around you, and then you still have to put yourself in position as a two car tandem to win the race. It’s not an easy thing”.
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEVROLET 100 CHEVROLET – 13TH IN STANDINGS: “I am looking forward to seeing what the rule changes are going to do. It’s a step in the right direction. Do I think it will fix the two-car tandem? I really don’t know. I am reluctant to answer right now. Only time will tell. It’s not really up to me, you or anyone, but the fans. If the fans don’t like it (tandem racing) then I don’t like it and no one likes it. If they love it, then everyone loves it. We are in show business and here to put on a show. It’s as simple as that. Unfortunately, you can’t (give a Chase contender a break to avoid ‘the big one’). As soon as you try to be consciously aware of a specific individual and try to give them something to help them or whatever, you’re probably putting them in more danger by not going with the flow of things and making sure everything is right. That’s kind of a tough to juggle at a track like Talladega Superspeedway.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 ENERGIZER CHEVROLET – 19TH IN STANDINGS: “Talladega is a fun race and it comes right down to the very end so it’s anyone’s to win. With the changes it’ll be interesting to see how fast we run at Talladega this time around. If we were running 200 mph in the spring and they give us a little more power, we will be doing like 210 mph in tandems. If you are by yourself you will be doing 195 mph. You are going to want to be in tandem no matter what come race time. We will see if we have to swap, but typically we (EGR) always do swap. It should be fun.”
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – 20TH IN STANDINGS: “I know NASCAR made some rule changes for this race, and I’m anxious to see how it affects the way we’ve been racing on these restrictor-plate tracks this year. I’m a big fan of the two-by-two racing. I like it a lot better than those huge packs that we used to race in. There’s a whole new element to this style -- working specifically with another driver and having a plan in place -- than what we did in the big packs It’s intense. That may go away a little with this new package, but we’ll have to see after we get on the track and get some practice laps in.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 SERTA/MENARDS CHEVROLET – 21ST IN STANDINGS: “Our number one goal (this weekend at Talladega) is to win the race. If we can’t do that, we want to finish second; and if we can’t do that, we want to finish third. If we can help our teammates along the way without hurting our position, we’ll try to do that also. You’re still going to see the same two-car breakaway drafting that we’ve seen all year. I’m not sure that the rule changes will change that a whole lot. We’ll probably go a little bit faster when we do it, but it should be about the same two-car drafting. If you look at the number of lead changes and leaders and stuff, we’re at record numbers. I think that’s what race fans like is to see passes for the lead. We don’t have the big pack racing, but you still get the ‘big ones’ that people want to see also. So I don’t think you need to do anything to it.”
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – 24TH IN STANDINGS: “With the two-car tandem, we saw a lot of lead changes and pushing and a lot of things going on because the risk for danger wasn’t as big as it is when you’re in a big pack. So, I know a lot of fans didn’t like the two-car tandem pack, but there were some positives from that too; it wasn’t all negative. You never know the consequence when you make a rule change and this rule change has been made and it might force drivers to be real conservative. One guy will stand there and say yeah, it wasn’t good to watch and I didn’t like two-car tandems, and the next guy will say it was fine. Was it needed for other reasons? No. From a technical standpoint it worked fine. We had wrecks because of the two-car tandem and we had wrecks without a two-car tandem. It’s Talladega and Daytona. So, I don’t know if it was needed or not. But I understand there was a percentage of fans who didn’t like the two-car tandems and I don’t know. We’ll see what happens. With the two-car tandem situation, we would no question dedicate somebody to be with him (Kevin Harvick) all day. But without being able to bump-draft, in that tandem, that’s going to take some of that out because once you overheat and once you blow that valve off, you’ve got trouble. And you cannot start pushing water. So it’s going to take away the opportunity to help a teammate that’s in the Chase.”
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET – 26TH IN STANDINGS: "I enjoy the restrictor-plate races and feel that our Furniture Row Chevrolet has a good shot at winning this weekend. It's going to be interesting to see how the new rules package will come into play. As a team, we've had discussions about the new rules but really won't know until we begin practicing on Friday. I keep on getting asked about the Talladega race three years ago when it appeared I won, but was penalized for passing below the yellow line on the final lap. I don't feel the Talladega track owes me anything. Winning at Darlington earlier this year has softened the disappointment because I would wonder if I would ever again be in position to win."
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET – 27TH IN STANDINGS: “We typically have a good restrictor plate program and our guys have done a lot of work on our speedway cars so I am excited for Talladega. We will sit down as a team during the weekend and discuss our strategy with regard to how we want to approach the race with our teammates on the No. 42 car. The last few superspeedway races have been the two car tandems and everyone has a different opinion about that style of racing. I think that it is interesting that Talladega has put up an award of $100,0000 to the driver that leads the most laps if there are more than 100 lead changes during the race. It would be cool to see that many lead changes there, as it is a testament to how competitive this series is on restrictor plate tracks.”
DAVE BLANEY, NO. 36 GOLDEN CORRAL CHEVROLET: "I'm really looking forward to Talladega. We had a great run there in April, and it was by far the most fun I've had on the racetrack all year. Tommy has always had good cars at Talladega, and we will have the same car that we ran at the superspeedways this year. Daytona in July was an unfortunate day because we had an engine problem from the beginning. Other than Daytona in July, we have been really strong at superspeedways this year. Hopefully, we can get Golden Corral a top-10 finish so kids can eat free on Monday."