Says Danica Patrick: 'If anybody has the key to Richmond, please pass it along because I have not figured it out yet.'
Team Chevy drivers talk about what it will take to do well at Richmond:
DANICA PATRICK (shown above), NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS – 29TH IN STANDINGS “If anybody has the key to Richmond, please pass it along because I have not figured it out, yet. I haven’t run well at Richmond, yet. I loved going there in IndyCar, and I had good success there, I feel like. I had lots of top-five’s there in IndyCar, or at least running consistently in the top-five. It just hasn’t been that way in stock cars. I have a really hard time getting into turn one. I feel like the car is going to spin out the whole time, so I don’t know. Hopefully, this time will be different. I have said in the past when people ask me what my favorite track is, I say ‘Whatever I’ve done well at,’ and I’ve gone from hating to loving a track in one day. So, hopefully, that will be the case at Richmond.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS – POINTS LEADER “Richmond always presents the teams with a challenge because it’s a guessing game. We do our race runs and our qualifying practice runs during the day, but qualifying is later into the afternoon on Friday and the race is at night on Saturday. You know the track will change before qualifying starts on Friday, but how much will it change? And how much will the track have changed Saturday night compared to Friday?”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – 4TH IN STANDINGS “We’ve had a good start to the season, and I’m looking forward to getting back in the car. It was nice to have a weekend off and enjoy some time with friends, but I’m excited to get to the track and in the car for practice and see where we are at. On Saturday, everybody's going to be hunting for the bottom line. The guys that get through the middle, can keep that left-front working that line, are going to have good runs. If you get off the bottom, it's just so slick, you can't really make any ground up there.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET SS – 5TH IN STANDINGS “We have struggled a little at Richmond in the past so we hope this time around will be a better race as a whole for us. We’ve had fast race cars; our pit stops have been good, and we have been close to winning. Even though we haven’t won, it’s still a confidence booster that we are running well. The off-weekend was great for everyone, especially my guys, to recharge their batteries so we will be ready to roll at Richmond.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET SS – 9TH IN STANDINGS "The key for us is to get forward drive coming off of Turn 4 and to get the Quicken Loans Chevrolet to turn in the center. If you get it turning in the center, it helps the forward drive. Richmond is a fun, little short track. It's got challenges, but if you get those right, you'll be in contention for the win."
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW CHEVROLET SS – 10TH IN STANDINGS "Richmond International Raceway is pretty unique. Iowa Speedway is somewhat similar. I've been very successful at Iowa. Richmond just has less grip, you have to really focus on what your car needs for the race."
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 RUSH TRUCK CENTERS/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET SS – 12TH IN STANDINGS “As much as you’re racing everybody else, you have to race the racetrack. It just seems like a place where if you can get the balance right it makes it an extremely fun day. With the two ends of the track being different like they are, it seems like you’re always fighting something, but that’s what always makes the racing good, too. You never really get anybody who gets their car perfect. Even the guy that gets the lead still isn’t happy with his car. So, it’s really trying to find that balance and trying to figure out how to balance both ends of the track together.”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 AXE PEACE CHEVROLET SS – 14TH IN STANDINGS “After a long, relaxing break, I am excited to get back into the car this weekend at Richmond. Our Chevy’s have run really well the past several weeks, so I’m looking forward to carrying that momentum into this weekend’s race and working to get another solid finish.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 CERTAINTEED/MENARDS CHEVROLET SS – 18TH IN STANDINGS "We haven't had the best of luck there in the past, but in the last few races we've started to improve on our finishes. In the fall race last year we took home a fifth-place finish, so that's a good thing to build on for this season. Richmond is a fun place to race and a great short track. The great part about racing on a Saturday night at Richmond is the sparks as our cars clip the asphalt, glowing brake rotors and the fans just seem to get into it a lot more."
AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 BUSH’S GRILLIN BEANS CHEVROLET SS – 19TH IN STANDINGS "We ran pretty good and finished in the top-15 (15th) last year at Richmond International Raceway. We started off massively tight and we were plowing, but ended up with a decent finish. I do actually like racing at Richmond a couple times a year. Although, it is a tough track to prepare for during the weekend. You do not practice at all at the same time of the race. It makes going into the race difficult. You have got to be real easy on your rear tires. At the same point, you have got to get the car to turn. I always think it is fun the way the race plays out because I think the driver can make a difference by not using up the rear tires. It is a cool short track that really is not like any other track so it makes it fun to go to because it is unique. I thought last year we were decent. So, far our short track programs have been pretty good. Hopefully, it will be the same this weekend.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET SS – 20TH IN STANDINGS “When I think about going to Richmond, it’s about being good on old tires. Richmond is a really fun track when you have a good car and one of the most challenging places when your car is bad, because we always get long green-flag runs there. Richmond is by far the slickest short-track that we go to. It reminds me almost of what Darlington or Rockingham used to be. The tires fall-off about a second or second-and-a-half during a full run and we don’t have that at other short-tracks, so it makes Richmond a really challenging.”
CASEY MEARS, NO. 13 GEICO CHEVROLET SS – 21ST IN STANDINGS "It was nice to have an off-week and spend some quality time with my family. It was a long run there and everyone has worked hard, so it's also great for the guys on this GEICO team to get some downtime and catch up on their rest. We had a nice run in Darlington, so that made it easier to relax during the Easter break. We're looking forward to getting to Richmond and getting back to work. GEICO's corporate office is just 100-miles away, so it's always kind of a home game for us. We think the No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will be strong, so we're excited to get it unloaded and turn some laps."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE CHEVROLET SS – 22ND IN STANDINGS “I grew up racing on a lot of really flat racetracks and Richmond is one of those tracks where the tires wear out a lot and it’s very line-sensitive. You’ve got to work on running well against the bottom of the racetrack, and trying to find grip for the front tires to turn and find grip on the exit of the corner, as well. It’s just a track that really fits my driving style.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS- 23RD IN STANDINGS (ON HIS WORK ETHIC.): “I got that from my dad. He taught me at a young age that you have to work hard for things, and if you want something, you have to work hard to get it and stay after it. I just kind of always had the same outlook on working and getting up in the morning and doing things like that. So he applied it when I was pretty young, and I’ve always kept it because he was up and gone at five in the morning, every morning. So if he ever came home and I was still in bed that was bad. There were just different scenarios and things that went on, so I just learned from a pretty young age that you’ve got to get up and get things done and go for what you want.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 41 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET SS – 26TH IN STANDINGS THOUGHTS FROM CREW CHIEF OF THE NO. 41 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET SS, DANIEL KNOST: “Richmond is a short track and things happen fast and it’s hard to avoid them, sometimes. Plus, the last few years, the tires have fallen off a bunch throughout a run, so tire strategy becomes a big deal. It also seems like you are always balancing being tight in the center versus loose off at Richmond. Because the track is so small, you are asking the car to do a lot in such a small space and it’s a big challenge to get it to transition through those sections well.”
JUSTIN ALLGAIER, NO. 51 BRANDT PROFESSIONAL AGRICULTURE CHEVROLET SS – 27TH IN STANDINGS “I really enjoyed having a weekend off. We tested for Goodyear at Kansas Speedway during the break, and I learned a lot. Now I’m ready to get back to the track. I always enjoy night racing and short-tracks, and Richmond [International Raceway] is both of those. My best results this season have been at short-tracks, so I’m hoping to continue that trend this weekend."
MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET SS – 28TH IN STANDINGS “Richmond is just a fun racetrack to go to and try to get a win. Without a doubt the whole track is difficult. It’s hard to get a car working good there. You know, the old short track terms -- you have to turn in the center and have forward drive. Finding that balance to get the car rolling in the center good and try to take care of that forward bite is something you really have to work on at Richmond. Our Furniture Row Chevrolet had good runs going at the two previous short track races but had breakage late in the Bristol race and a combination of bad breaks really hurt our chances at Martinsville.”
REED SORENSON, NO. 36 CHEVROLET SS – 31ST IN STANDINGS "It was great having this past weekend off, and being able to spend some time at home with my family. I am looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the No. 36 TBR Chevrolet at Richmond this week, and racing under the lights. The guys have been working hard to get the cars ready for Saturday night, so I'm going to do the best I can out there, and hopefully come home with a solid finish for Tommy Baldwin Racing."
MICHAEL ANNETT, NO. 7 PILOT FLYING J CHEVROLET SS – 34TH IN STANDINGS "Richmond has become one of my favorite tracks. We ran in the top 10 there in the Nationwide Series, and I know Tommy's (Baldwin, owner) cars have had some good runs there in the past. We had a really good passing car at Phoenix, and our car for this weekend should be really similar to that one. I'm optimistic about having a really good night in our Pilot Flying J Chevrolet SS."