Team Chevy drivers preview the All-Star Race.
DETROIT - (May 13, 2014) – No points are on the line, there is no Chase to think about and $1 million awaits the winner - Is that incentive enough for you? It certainly is for the 10 Chevrolet SS drivers entered in this year’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star race Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Since its inception in 1985, the Bowtie emblem has shone brightest under the lights with Chevrolet-powered teams and drivers having made 16 trips to Victory Lane in the exhibition race that highlights points-race winners from the start of 2013.
Each season the All-Star format is tweaked slightly. This year’s race will consist of four 20-lap segments with the final stint featuring a 10-lap dash to the finish. Chevrolet’s Jimmie Johnson looks to add to the history books as he seeks an unprecedented fifth All-Star victory. Most recent NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner Jeff Gordon hopes to tie his Hendrick Motorsports teammate as a four-time winner of the event. Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart all have tasted victory in the event. Each hopes to place their Chevy SS in Winner’s Circle Saturday night.
Drivers not yet qualified for the All-Star event – including 13 Chevrolet drivers – will have an opportunity to race their way in Friday night in the Sprint Showdown. The top two finishers will transfer into Saturday night’s main event. Fans will also have an opportunity to get in on the action and vote one driver into the All-Star race that has yet to qualify.
The Sprint All-Star race will begin at 8:30 p.m. ET on Saturday May 17. Live coverage will be available on FOX Sports 1, PRN Radio, Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and NASCAR.com.
DID YOU KNOW? GMC is extending a special discount to active and retired members of the U.S. military in time for May’s Military Appreciation Month. From now until June 30, all active, reserve, retired and veteran military and their spouses can take advantage of pricing below the suggested retail on any new 2014 or 2015 GMC. The military pricing is available to more than 21 million veterans from all U.S. service branches: Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, National Guard and Coast Guard.
BOWTIE BULLET: Chevrolet’s Jimmie Johnson holds the all-time record for wins in the Sprint All-Star race with four (’03, ’06, ’12 &’13).
ENGINEER EXPERTISE FROM THE GARAGE AREA –– PAT SUHY, MANAGER, CHEVROLET RACING – NASCAR GROUP MANAGER: “Congratulations to Jeff Gordon, Alan Gustafson the No. 24 crew and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports on their victory at Kansas last week. It was a great race and great win for them, and virtually assures another Team Chevy driver will be in the final 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup.
“This coming weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway we get to see the Sprint Showdown and All-Star Races. As always, the format has been tweaked from the qualifying format to the race itself. What hasn’t changed is the fact that this is an opportunity for teams and drivers to experiment with new things without any negative ramifications to their point standings. Engine builders like this event because it helps validate short-term durability and drivability of new engine combinations. These are things that will help provide a basis for future improvements that hopefully will play into the championship run at the end of the year. Likewise, it’s an opportunity to try new car aero or chassis setups that look promising in the wind tunnel or simulation world, but that need to be tried out in race conditions.
“Whatever is tried and whether it works out as planned or not, I know there will be some fast Chevrolet SS race cars going for the win in the last segment; and everyone will learn something that can help get additional race wins in the future. I’m looking forward to another trip to Victory Lane with another Team Chevy winner.”
WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE THE CHEVROLET SS RACE CARS? This weeks’ race is at Charlotte Motor Speedway. 10 Chevrolet SS drivers are locked into the Sprint All-Star race. An additional 13 Chevrolet SS drivers will attempt to race their way into the All-Star event in the Sprint Showdown on Friday night. Those 13 drivers are also eligible to make it into the Sprint All-Star race via a fan vote which will be announced just prior to the start of the race Saturday night.
TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT:
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO CHEVROLET SS: “This is always a fun race. Anytime that you put a million dollars on the line for a race you can expect plenty of excitement. Of course it is really nice to know that you have already qualified for the Sprint All-Star Race and not have to rely on racing your way in through the Sprint Showdown or have the fans select you through the fan vote. It is always interesting to see how the format changes from year-to-year, but in the end that last segment usually seem to be pretty wild. Most importantly, I think this race is especially a really good time for the fans.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 HUNT BROTHERS PIZZA CHEVROLET SS: “Charlotte had never been a track that we’d run very well at, up until 2006. So, to go and win the race in 2007 gave us a lot of confidence, for sure. Obviously, a win in the All-Star Race makes you a million dollars richer and puts you on a unique list of winners that have won that race before. So, it definitely makes you want to experience all of that again as we go back every year.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 TIME WARNER CABLE CHEVROLET SS: “We really haven't been inconsistent this season. We tested at Kansas in April, and I felt like from that point on, we've had really fast cars. At Richmond, we were good. We had some things go on late in the race on pit road, and we ended up 14th, but we had a top six or seven car all night. We also ran well at Talladega and then came to Kansas and ran up front. We were able to try some things at the recent Goodyear test at Kansas and look at stuff a little differently than what we had been, and it really helped the communication between me, the No. 5 team and (crew chief) Kenny (Francis). It's helped us a lot since then, and I feel like that's been the key. Ever since we tested at Kansas, we've ran much better and been a lot more competitive.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 BASS PRO SHOPS TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET SS: “Absolutely. It always is. If your car is driving well, you’re running for $1 million. But if your car isn’t driving well, you’re learning from that and applying it to the 600 instead. I’ve always looked at it as however your car is driving in the All-Star Race is relatively true to how your car is going to drive in the 600. It’s a really good test because it’s really the only time we have to run at night in race conditions.
“At the same time, the style of racing is very different. Guys that run well in the All-Star Race will run well in the Coke 600, but they’re not going to beat and bang like they might in the All-Star Race.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS: “This entire weekend is always interesting and exciting. With no points on the line, it allows NASCAR and Sprint and Charlotte Motor Speedway to have some unique rules – like qualifying that includes a four-tire pit stop or splitting the race up into several segments. I enjoy the change and the challenge it provides.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 CAT/QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET SS: "I approach it like all the other races, it's a race to win. But, I think it's a race that carries a little more bragging rights to it. It is the All-Star Race and there is a million bucks on the line, so I wouldn't mind earning that payday. Regardless of the format or how the fans vote, the event provides you with a fair chance to win the race and that's why it's a lot of fun for us. It's like a championship, you have a chance. You just have to beat all the other guys doing it."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S PATRIOTIC CHEVROLET SS: “It’s usually such a fun weekend for us. There are always a lot of family and friends in town for the race and there is a lot of money on the line. A lot of the crew guys bring their wives and families to the track and the best part is everyone gets to sleep in their own bed. We have a cool paint scheme with the yellow No. 48 numbers which is a fan favorite. We just go out there to try and win it.”
MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET SS: “Thanks to Sprint, The Sprint Cup All Star Race is a no-holds-barred prestigious weekend for NASCAR. Bringing home a victory in the All Star Race not only pays a lot of money ($1 million) but also carries plenty of prestige. We feel that our No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet has the potential to not only contend for the All Star Race but also contend in the follow week’s Coca-Cola 600. We’ve been a few tweaks short of running upfront and hopefully the two Charlotte races will turn around our season.”
THE SPRINT SHOWDOWN
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW CHEVROLET SS: "We're in the Sprint Showdown and we're giving all we've got, especially as far as cars and engines. We'll be pushing the limits. It's two 20-lap heat races and it will be a wild one, I'm sure. Everybody wants to get into the Sprint All-Star Race so they have a shot at earning that million dollar pay out. It means a lot to our team and our guys. We'll be fighting hard for every spot we can in the Sprint Showdown and see what we can get."
MICHAEL ANNETT, NO. 7 PILOT FLYING J CHEVROLET SS: "Growing up, I always watched the All-Star Race and to finally have the chance to participate in All-Star weekend is really cool. Friday's race will allow us an opportunity to get on the track and have some fun while learning some things for next week's 600."
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CARES CHEVROLET SS: “It was very flattering. I’m very fortunate for the fans that I have. I have to say that from a driver’s perspective, I would rather race my way in, but if I have to get in by fan vote – what other way is better than that? I mean to have the fans put you in the race was something special. I have been so lucky in my career to have such great fans everywhere I go so I have to say thank you for that.”
CASEY MEARS, NO. 13 GEICO CHEVROLET SS: "The Sprint Showdown will be fun for our Germain Racing team because we're running a GEICO military tribute car that features camouflage and the Gecko wearing a helmet. I think the fans will like it a lot and it allows us to honor our troops and thank them for their service to our country. We also found out this week that I'm in the top 10 in the Sprint Fan Vote to be voted into the All-Star race, which is humbling and exciting. I'm always so thankful for the support of the fans and I hope they will continue to vote for me so that we can put that #13 GEICO Chevrolet SS military tribute car in the All-Star race."
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 SERTA/MENARDS CHEVROLET SS: “The (Sprint) Showdown and All-Star weekend is always a good one since there are no points on the line. We can just race hard, have fun and gather some information for the Coca-Cola 600. A lot of families come out to watch during the Charlotte race weekends so hopefully we can put the Serta / Menards Chevrolet into the All-Star race and put on a good show.”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS: “I’m really excited for this Friday’s Showdown race in Charlotte. It’s always fun to race at night, and needing to win the short-lap Showdown to transfer to the All-Star race will make it feel like a B main event from a sprint car race. It would be nice to already be locked to Saturday’s race, but I’m excited to have a chance on Friday to wheel the Target Chevy into the All-Star race. It would be cool to make Saturday night’s race and be among a group of really talented, winning drivers. I enjoy racing on the 1.5 mile tracks, so hopefully we have a couple good races and put a good show for the fans this weekend.”
AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 FREIGHTLINER/MILLER WELDERS CHEVROLET SS: “It is always interesting and a fun race. We will go out there in practice and I think it will be the same thing we have seen at a lot of these mile-and-a-half tracks. I think our first practice is around 11 a.m. or so. Our first time out, there will be a ton of grip on the track and we will be flying around that place. The second practice, the track will start to slicken up. Charlotte Motor Speedway is known to be one of the most sensitive tracks when it comes to heat and temperature in general. I think the track will slicken up and then qualifying will be really fast. The Showdown is really something because you do those 20 laps and you see where your car is and see where you are on the track and that determines if you want to pit, stay out and take a chance to start up front with no tires. You think you have got a good enough car or you have to make changes to your car to try to run up into the top two. So, it makes it interesting. I hate to say that I’ve been in the Showdown every year, but I have raced my way in a couple times and hope to do the same Friday night.”