Point leader Johnson leads Chevrolet teams to Phoenix

TEAM CHEVY IN THE GARAGE TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY – PAT SUHY, MANAGER, CHEVROLET RACING – NASCAR GROUP MANAGER: “Congratulations to our Team Chevy drivers Jimmie Johnson, for winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, and Kevin Harvick, for his victory of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway!

“Jimmie Johnson's win at Texas was also Chevrolet's 700th win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, a number unmatched by any other manufacturer. And, by clinching the Camping World Truck Manufacturers’ Championship too, Chevrolet has now swept the Manufacturers Championship title across all three NASCAR Touring Series for the fourth time. No other manufacturer has captured all three in a single season.

“Racing this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway should be very exciting. The one-mile track is unlike any other on the circuit, and is a great venue to lead into the season finale. This is only the third race here since the repave and reconfiguration that was completed last summer, and it will behave differently than it did last spring. In that race, the drivers had to be patient in waiting for the track to ‘rubber in’ and offer a second line of racing. Baking in the desert sun all summer will have weathered the surface further, which should allow it to take rubber more easily. Drivers will be able to use more of the available width earlier in the race, which in turn, allows more passing and varying lines around the track. Drivers and crew chiefs like it because a car that doesn't handle well on one particular line might be great on another. If a pit stop setup change doesn't quite do the trick, the driver can often overcome it by searching around for a path around the track that suits him and the car. Our Team Chevy teams can pull from a deep box of tools to analyze and make decisions about how to deal with these changing conditions, giving them a leg up on the competition.

“With three tight drivers’ championship races underway this year in NASCAR, this weekend should offer fans and drivers some of the most exciting racing of the season. I'm looking forward to it, and to three more chances to celebrate in Victory Lane.”


JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET – POINT’S LEADER: “During the race we actually got some type of second lane working in (turns) three and four which was different. The dogleg, kink, turn three, whatever it is on the back straightaway there was a bit of chaos in navigating that thing; guys shooting across the flat, which led to some issues into the real turn three. I think that is really the thing to be focused on. There might be some crashes caused from that. The track has had some time to age and I hope it’s lost some grip so we will definitely move out. They spent a lot of time and effort to try to create extra lanes of racing through their modeling. I hope they are right. The first time there it was pretty narrow and I hope that as it ages we can get a wider race track and really put on a good show.”

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET – 4th IN STANDINGS: “I’m really looking forward to Phoenix. I think the racing will be even better with some more wear on the pavement. We unloaded a really fast car there in March, and our team has been strong on the intermediate tracks all season.”

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET – 6th IN STANDINGS: "This year has been frustrating at times, but it's also been very rewarding too. With all the adversity we have faced during the year, the never-give-up attitude of this team allowed us to secure a spot in the Chase. And while we have had some issues in the first eight races of the Chase, there are still spots to be gained and lost. We'll have to fight hard at Phoenix and Homestead to see if we can continue to make up more spots in the standings.

"You have to keep things in perspective and look at the positives. Even though it's not been the year we had hoped for, we have fought hard the entire season. All things considered, I think it's pretty impressive we're battling for a top-five finish in the standings.

"We haven't done that well (since the track changes), so hopefully we can do better this weekend. The groove widened out from last year's race to March, and I'd like to see it widen out even further this weekend. But I think track position during the race will be very, very important."

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET – 8th IN STANDINGS: "When we went and did the Goodyear tire test last week, the track was narrower than it was when we tested there the first time. It’s tough to keep the track surface clean. It's out in the desert, and that track is real sensitive to being clean. It is a hard challenge for those guys."

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET – 11th IN STANDINGS: "They did a great job of getting the track (Phoenix International Raceway) prepared and I think both races we've run there so far were really good races. The race track really widened out as we went through the races, the groove widened out a lot. They took the fans into consideration, and everybody can see what's going on around the race track. The track is very racy, as well."

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 DIET MOUNTAIN DEW/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET – 12th IN STANDINGS: “Phoenix did a good job on the repave, but I haven’t run good there since they repaved it. I’m just kind of anxious to go back and hoping we can find some speed and be competitive because I do like the racetrack. I’ve ran well on all the repaves this year so maybe we’ve got something for them going back.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET – 14th IN STANDINGS: “Phoenix has always ranked up near the top of my list of favorite racetracks. It’s really one of my favorite racetracks because the design of the racetrack makes it fun and challenging to drive. It’s a fun racetrack. It’s unique and totally different on both ends of the racetrack, so it’s almost like two racetracks in one. You have to adapt as a driver, you have to adapt with the racecar and your crew chief has to adapt to the track. Then you have to, as a driver, mix it together. So it’s definitely a driver’s racetrack. 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 not a compromise if your crew chief does a good job setting up the racecar because you can do things to try to manipulate those opposite ends of the racetrack. But, when your car is not working, it’s up to the driver to make up what you can of what’s left and that, I think, separates the men from the boys at Phoenix. The driver really has to drive and hustle the car a little bit more and a little bit differently and still be smooth. It’s those aspects that make the track a lot of fun to me.”

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 MENARDS/RHEEM CHEVROLET – 16th IN STANDINGS: "From when we tested out there (at Phoenix International Raceway) to when we went back to race it was a lot better. PIR had some racing school cars run on the surface which put more rubber down. Then it sat over the winter and when we came back in the spring it was better yet. I think that when we got back there this fall it will be even better after sitting through the 110-degree summer heat in Phoenix every day."

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – 19th IN STANDINGS: “Phoenix International Raceway has been a really good track for me. Every time I go there we run well and have been in position to win the race. We’ve even won it several times. It’s just been a good track. When we go there, I’m very comfortable and feel like we know what it takes to win.”

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/ALLSTATE CHEVROLET – 20th IN STANDINGS: “I am looking forward to go to Phoenix this weekend. We are taking a newer car, that we have raced only once at Martinsville a couple of weeks ago. I feel like this new car that we built has a lot of potential and I am looking forward to getting another race on this chassis. We tested the 2013 Chevy at Phoenix two weeks ago and felt like we had a good test with the new car. I know it is different than the car we will race this week, but it is always nice to get a few extra laps on the track after the reconfiguration from last season.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – 22nd IN STANDINGS: “We’re bringing a brand new Target Chevy to Phoenix so I’m looking forward to this race. The guys have done a lot of work back at the shop and our cars keep improving every week. We’ve learned a lot on what to do and what not to do that will help us in 2013. We’re experimenting in hopes of finding a little extra something that will give us a competitive edge heading into next season.”

KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/FARM AMERICAN CHEVROLET – 25th IN STANDINGS: "First, Sunday's race in Phoenix is Veterans Day and a special shout out goes out to all those men and women who served in the military. You are my heroes and thank you for protecting our freedom. Regarding the Phoenix race, everyone at Furniture Row Racing is excited about how the team is taking shape after being together for only four races. We finished eighth in Texas, and actually had top-10 cars at the previous two races, but got caught up in accidents. We tested at the Phoenix track a few weeks ago and I look forward to having another solid performance in our Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet."


(On what she has learned over her three years in NASCAR) “For me, I have just transitioned through quite a bit over these years. It was just coming every month or so into the car and doing a race and trying to get comfortable quickly after driving an IndyCar for a while. There was that transition for two years, then this being the first full-time year (in the Nationwide Series), then sort of sprinkling in some (Sprint) Cup races, then next year going full-time Cup. That is a lot of transitioning and a lot of changes and a lot of things to get used to, whether it’s new cars, new schedules or a new crew chief. It’s just been a lot to get used to, but I think it all helps me adapt more quickly. It helps me focus on being more specific with my words and being more poignant with what I want. There has been a lot I have learned, for sure, and I have a lot left to learn. Just understanding the cars and how they change from practice to the race, and how they change throughout the race. Those are things that are just so much more unique to NASCAR than they are to IndyCar, I feel. In IndyCar, you could set the car up in practice and it would feel the same in qualifying and the race, for the most part, when it came to adapting to weather changes, the downforce levels. To that, they were equal. You could calculate that. There is a lot more transitioning within the weekend itself in NASCAR. So, getting used to that has been something I’m still learning.”

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson
Teams Furniture Row Racing
Article type Preview
Tags burton, busch, chevrolet, earnhardt, gordon, harvick, hendrick, johnson, kahne, mcmurray, mendard, montoya, newman, patrick, phoenix, stewart