Phoenix II: GM Racing preview

TEAM CHEVY IN THE CHASE FOR THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP: Team Chevy has six drivers in the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, more than any other manufacturer. Currently the top-three Chase point positions are held by Team Chevy drivers. With...

TEAM CHEVY IN THE CHASE FOR THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP:
Team Chevy has six drivers in the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, more than any other manufacturer. Currently the top-three Chase point positions are held by Team Chevy drivers. With two (2) races remaining, Team Chevy drivers rank as follows with Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) stats:

* Jimmie Johnson, No 48 Lowe's Impala SS, is the points leader with six (6) wins to-date in 2009 and a 73 point lead

* In 12 PIR starts, Johnson has three (3) wins, seven (7) top-five and 10 top-10 finishes with one pole

* Mark Martin, No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Impala SS, is second (2nd) in the Chase standings with five (5) wins to-date in 2009

*        In 25 previous PIR starts, Martin has two (2) wins, 10
top-five and 16  top-10 finishes and one pole

* Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, is currently third (3rd) in the Chase standings with one (1) win to-date in 2009

* In 21 starts at PIR, Gordon has one (1) win, eight (8) top-5 and 15 top-10 finishes with three (3) poles

* Tony Stewart, No. 14 Old Spice/ Office Depot Impala SS is fifth (5th) in the Chase points order with four (4) wins to-date in 2009

* In 15 PIR starts, Stewart has one (1) win, seven (7) top-five and nine (9) top-10 finishes

*        Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Impala SS, is sixth
(6th)  in the standings after eight Chase races

* Has five (5) previous starts at PIR

* Ryan Newman, No. 39 US Army Impala SS, is ninth (9th) in the 2009 Chase standings

* In 14 PIR starts, Newman has three (3) top-fives, three (3) top-10 finishes and four poles

TEAM CHEVY IMPALA SS -- FROM THE DRIVER'S SEAT:

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS: "I would say that looking at the schedule, the best track remaining for us would be PIR. We had a really fast car in the spring and had some different issues on pit road and some bad luck with the timing of the caution that kept us back in the pack, and still ended up with a reasonable finish but we passed a lot of cars, and in our opinion felt like we had the strongest car. So going back to Phoenix is exciting for us, and it's one of the tracks I was mentioning in my opening statements there that I feel we can get a victory at, and hopefully make some more cool things take place in the points. For me it's a great track but it's also a great track for Jeff (Gordon). He runs very consistent there, and then Mark (Martin) won in the spring. The two guys I'm trying to stay ahead of in the points have that track as a strong one, as well. At the end of the day I feel very confident. I feel very strong about the performance Hendrick Motorsports will have. I just hope it's the 48 car on top of the heap. "

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/ CARQUEST IMPALA SS: "I love coming here (Phoenix). I have liked this place a lot. I've had a lot of great races here. I've had great battles with Ernie Irvan here and this is a great place. The fans are so supportive of these races. It's a good place to race. So, I'm glad to be here. I still have got my hands full for the top-six positions (in the points) with all those guys. Two guys that knocked me out of championships are breathing down my neck so the race is still on. I don't know why everybody tries to cap this thing off and doesn't just wait and watch. There are still two races to go and still things that can happen."

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS: "A lot can happen in these final two races. There are hundreds of moments that you have as a team every single weekend that maybe don't materialize, or that don't get seen by the public or even the media. But we see it. There are close calls all the time, and it can happen at any time. I get through every race and think, 'whew, we survived this moment or that moment. Phoenix has certainly been on our radar because it's a track that's been hit or miss for us. I'm a little disappointed in how we performed earlier this year, and we certainly need to improve on that this weekend. A lot still has to happen if we are going to realistically battle for the championship in the season finale. But we need to make sure we do everything in our control to secure as many points as possible this weekend."

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OLD SPICE/ OFFICE DEPOT IMPALA SS: "In the spring race, as it (the track) got a little bit cooler it got more grip but that's Phoenix. That's what it always does and that's what makes this place so fun. It's not freshly paved. It's not locked down. You've got to drive the cars here. Nobody's cars drive perfect here, you get one end of the track right and the other end suffers, whether it's tight or loose, and so you have to constantly adjust as a driver and that's what makes this place so much fun for us. You've got a gas pedal, a brake pedal, and a steering wheel and you're using all three a lot of times during each lap. So, it's a balancing act. That's what makes this place fun. The worst thing they could ever do is repave it because it's fun right now the way it is. It makes you have to be real careful on the brakes and not use too much to get your balance front to rear right. It makes you not necessarily be able to just jab the throttle when you want. You have to roll into the throttle. It makes the drivers have to do their jobs."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS: "Phoenix is pretty interesting because, it is one of the few tracks where both corners are very different. It makes it interesting and pretty hard to set up the race car. If you can get a good race car there, it is key. Last time we were there, we had a pretty good car and we had a speeding violation. So hopefully this time, we can have a clean day there. It's hard to know exactly what you want. It would be nice if we could get a win out of these last two races. We've worked really hard all year. I don't know. We'll see what happens. Overall I think it's been a great season. If you sit down and look back a year ago where we were in points and where everything was going and where we are right now."

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 US ARMY IMPALA SS: "It will be interesting to see how the double-file restarts play out at Phoenix. The Phoenix track is a little different from Martinsville in the fact that you have a little bit more room to get three-wide at times. I'm looking forward to Phoenix. It's a driver's racetrack. We've always said that because it's unique. It's different from one end to the other. And, therefore, the crew chief can only get one end perfect, it seems, and the other one the driver has to adapt to. It's one of my favorite racetracks. Scoring strong results in the last two races could move us up a few more positions. It's been a good year with our first-year team and first-year Stewart-Haas organization. We want to continue to have strong performances to carry over into 2010."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Hendrick Motorsports