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TEAM CHEVY IN NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES (NSCS) COMPETITION:
CHEVROLET ON THE TRACK—BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY:
TEAM CHEVY IN THE GARAGE BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY – ALBA COLON, PROGRAM MANAGER, NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES – CHEVROLET RACING: “After a great showing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Team Chevy is looking forward to racing at this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. It is the first short track race of the season, and the action is always exciting at Bristol.
“There is nothing quite like short track racing; and this is one of those places that the drivers either love or hate! This is a very demanding place on drivers, teams and equipment. This high-speed half-mile track offers its own unique set of challenges. Having a well-balanced car and staying out of trouble are the keys for success at Bristol. Our Chevrolet engineers have been working hand-in-hand with our team engineers to provide the technology that leads to better handling race cars, which is a vital factor in scoring top finishes at this track.
“We are very pleased with how the new Gen-6 Chevrolet SS has performed at the first three races of the year on three different types of tracks. We have seen it on a superspeedway, a one-mile, and a 1.5-mile track. This weekend will mark the first time to see it perform on a half-mile configuration. We have a great race car to work with, and all of our teams and engineers are very excited about the continuous on-track improvement of the new Chevrolet SS.
“We are looking forward to some great racing at Bristol and to celebrating winning results with our Chevy teams on Sunday afternoon!”
TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT: JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET SS – POINT’S LEADER: “I think the mechanical aspects will help the cars at Bristol. The last time there we were very curious about the grinding and what would happen and what wouldn’t. The track just changed in some ways and we will just go back and get in a rhythm and see what happens. For the longest time we were not competitive at that track and now we’re in the mix and I’m really happy about that.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – 3rd IN STANDINGS: “I love racing at Bristol and short track racing in general. I look forward to going there every trip. It’s always a tough race, and hopefully, we will come out on top.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 MENARDS/SYLVANIA CHEVROLET SS – 12th IN STANDINGS: “Short tracks are the heart of our sport and Bristol (Motor Speedway) is the type of track that NASCAR was built around. We’ve had some good runs at Bristol the past couple of years, so we are looking forward to this weekend and seeing what the No. 27 Sylvania/Menards Chevrolet can do. Bristol is a track where we have to find a good rhythm and track position is very important. If we can qualify well, stay up front on Sunday and stay out of trouble, I think we’ll be in good shape.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS – 13th IN STANDINGS: “I remember seeing guys like Darrell (Waltrip) and Davey (Allison) run that high line back in 1991 or 1992. I was watching them from the spotters’ stand and it was so cool to see them running right up against the wall. It was hard to pass, so you would see ‘slide jobs’ when they got a run. That’s essentially the same kind of racing we had here in August. I had so much fun racing that way that night.
“As soon as (tire) rubber was laid down in the top groove and there was more grip up there, we started putting all four tires up in that lane. But with that lane being the preferred line, you had to make sure you completed the ‘slide job’ and gained the position. If not, you lost a lot of spots before you were able to work your way back in line.
“With guys probably lined up behind you ready to take advantage of any mistake you make, you have to be sure to complete the pass. I saw some fender rubbing – and some fired up driving – last August. I’m sure the fans would love to see that again this weekend.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 GREAT CLIPS CHEVROLET SS – 14th IN STANDINGS: “It will change it up a little bit but that track is so unique and so different and knowing how we race there, you’ll probably still have that similar race that we’ve had in the past. That’s just one unique place that you are always going to have that the same kind of race when you have 43 cars on that small of a racetrack with that much banking.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 BASS PRO SHOPS/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET SS – 18th IN STANDINGS: “It’s a track where we have struggled. We’ve led a lot of laps there but we just don’t have the wins to show for it. It’s a track I definitely like. Everybody goes, how can you like it when you’ve not had any success there for a while. To me that’s just motivation. It gives us the ambition to be successful. We do have the new car there and that’s a question mark that is the same for everyone. Hopefully we are the ones able to take advantage of it.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET SS – 19th IN STANDINGS: “I don’t think the changes that were made to the track did much to the top lane. Everyone still wound up in the top groove, and the racing ended up pretty much as it was in the past. We had an exciting race there last time, I think any time you go to a short track no matter if the groove is top, bottom or middle you’re going to have cars beating and banging on each other. I think the way the groove moved up the track, everyone is a little more aggressive in trying to slide themselves into a spot, so you have to be aggressive to take the opportunity to pass somebody.” JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CHEERIOS CHEVROLET SS – 20th IN STANDINGS: “You definitely have to be aggressive. I think the fans like to see drivers beating and banging on each other. At the same time, they like to see side-by-side racing. We gave them side-by-side racing and now they want to see us hit each other. You aren’t going to make everyone happy all the time. There are not as many wrecks as there used to be, but the actual racing is better.” JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 CESSNA CHEVROLET SS – 21st IN STANDINGS: “I always look forward to racing at Bristol. This is a track where things can happen real fast, but I have been pretty fortunate to have some good runs there. This will be our first short-track race with the new GEN-6 Chevy SS and the first race that we will have our new partner Cessna on the No. 1 car, so I am really looking forward to an exciting weekend in Bristol.”
JUAN PABLO MONOTYA, NO. 42 TARGET/MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET SS – 23rd IN STANDINGS: “The Target team ran really well at Bristol last year. Actually both of our cars ran well at Bristol last year so it should be a good weekend for us. Our cars have been fast. We’re just trying to find the right balance on the handling and it’s getting there. We’ve made a ton of gains since last year and we need to keep that momentum going.”
JJ YELEY, NO. 36 UNITED MINING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET SS – 26th IN STANDINGS: “This is the first race with the Gen 6 car and I think it will race really well. The goal is always to make it to the end and put on a good show for the fans.”
DAVE BLANEY, NO. 7 SANY CHEVROLET SS – 28th IN STANDINGS: “Bristol is a track where you’ve got to be on your game for 500 laps. It’s a great race for both the fans and the drivers and it’s definitely one of my favorites.” KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/BEAUTYREST CHEVROLET SS – 29th IN STANDINGS: “Bristol has really changed over the years. I loved the old Bristol, but this is the new Bristol. You have to adapt to whatever the Bristol track is asking for. Last year once the rubber caked up on the shiny concrete it just gave us so much grip and the lap times were incredibly fast on the top side. Another thing about Bristol is you have to protect your car and wait for the right opportunity to pass. You learn over the years when to make passes and when you can’t. To contend for the win you want to be in position by Lap 350 — that is definitely the “Go Time” at Bristol. The first three races of the season haven’t come out the way we expected. A strong finish at Bristol is what our Furniture Row Racing team needs right now.” DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDAY.COM CHEVROLET SS – 30th IN STANDINGS: “I’ve liked Bristol since the first time. For me, I respond to the banking which translates to grip and it’s definitely there. We were having a decent run in the Cup car, we were lead lap and top-20 after 440 laps and unfortunately were taken out, but I think that all those events lead us to more potential the next time around with a better baseline setup. I feel like for us and for me, my strong suit is the race or at least at this point. We just need to work on qualifying and get a decent qualifying spot so we can work from there. I feel like it’s not very common to drop back for me so if we can just start further up then we can continue to make progress and be smart and take care of our equipment. Whether you pass people at the beginning or pass them on the run, they are both passes. I look forward to going back there, I like the banked tracks. It was fun.” RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET SS – 31st IN STANDINGS:
“It’s just a great racetrack and a great short track. I’ve always liked the banked racetracks, in general, over the flatter racetracks. So, I guess in some ways, you could say I’m more comfortable at Bristol. I think Bristol has always been one of those short tracks that everybody loves. And, obviously, that’s changed with the different surface and the way they’ve changed it a little bit. But, ultimately, it’s still a great short track. I really love the banking and I love the fact it’s concrete and doesn’t seem like it changes a whole lot. Once you get a car right, it’s typically right for 500 laps, which is difficult to get on some of the racetracks. Honestly, there’s just no place like Bristol. I’ve told people before that Bristol is like a baby superspeedway. If something happens in front of you, it may not be your fault, but you can get caught up in somebody else’s wreck in the blink of an eye. You have to really be on your toes at Bristol. Everything happens so fast there. You don’t have time to think or blink. To me, the racing is at an all-time high at Bristol compared to the way it used to be. We can race side-by-side and actually gain spots without having to wreck someone.”