TEAM CHEVY IN NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES (NSCS) COMPETITION:
CHEVROLET ON THE TRACK—MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY:
TEAM CHEVY IN THE GARAGE MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY – ALBA COLON, PROGRAM MANAGER, NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES – CHEVROLET RACING:
“After a well-deserved weekend off for all the teams, we head to Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. We all love this track. It’s a fun track that still has that old short track feel. It is flat and narrow, with long straightaways, tight corner radii, and tight pit lanes. In summary, Martinsville has many challenges. Drivers need to be very patient here. They also have to work on track position to be successful.
“Martinsville is a ‘driver’s track’. The racing is really close during the whole 500 laps on this half-mile oval. The drivers need to have good handling vehicles; and for sure, they have to have good control of them. Finding the right balance between braking and accelerating is key at this place.
“The first five races of the season have been exciting; and we know for sure that Martinsville will not disappoint. The season is still young and we are all learning how to find the perfect balance on our new cars. Our Chevrolet engineers have been working hand-in-hand with the team engineers to provide the technology that leads to better handling and balanced race cars.
“Team Chevy drivers have a winning record at this track. We are looking forward to continuing that tradition on Sunday!”
TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT:
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 DIET MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET SS – POINTS LEADER:
*WILL BE MAKING HIS 600TH START AT MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY
“Is that a lot? (LAUGHS). I take a lot of pride in what I’ve accomplished over the years. I’m proud of the two (NASCAR) Nationwide championships, the wins in both series and having worked with a lot of talented people. And it’s an honor to have the fan support that I do. I like that I’m able to do what I do for a living. Hopefully there’s another 600 in there.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – 3rd IN STANDINGS:
“Martinsville is just a quirky track. Once I figured out how to drive it, and frankly once Tony Stewart lapped me there in my sophomore year, it just made sense how to drive the track and I’ve had it ever since. From my first year at Martinsville, I never thought I’d have a stat to take down; let alone a stat that I’d ever have a chance to take down (a victory this week at Martinsville will give him 8 wins, which would be more than any other active Sprint Cup driver). With the new race cars, I think contact is going to be a question mark for me. We have fiberglass panels and stuff now, where it used to all be steel. I’ve seen some crash damage that with a small impact; they had to cut the nose completely off the car. So that could be the issue come race time there. Some minor contact could cause major cosmetic damage. Brakes will be the same old story. It will be the same old thing. This car has adequate cooling and has adequate flow, so I don’t see where there will be any issues with brakes.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS – 7th IN STANDINGS:
“Just having Jimmie (Johnson), Jeff (Gordon) and Dale (Earnhardt, Jr.) as my teammates. I think those guys run really well there. Being part of Hendrick Motorsports, they bring a really nice package to that track. Last year was the best I’ve ever ran there, the most comfortable I’ve been and I feel like it will be like that again this year just because of the guys I’m surrounded with. That was one of my hardest tracks and now I’m feeling like I’m figuring it out and I think it’s because of those guys and listening and learning from them.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 MENARDS/PITTSBURGH PAINTS CHEVROLET SS – 8th IN STANDINGS:
“After having a weekend off I’m ready to get back to racing. We had some great momentum with a string of top-10’s before the break, so I’m hoping to keep that going this weekend. It’s difficult to pass at Martinsville because everyone is fighting for the bottom groove. Sometimes it feels like bumper cars out there, but it’s a fun track to drive. Qualifying and pit strategy are key because track position is so important at Martinsville. It’s going to be all about survival on Sunday.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING/SERTA CHEVROLET SS – 13th IN STANDINGS:
“Martinsville Speedway is called a paper clip, but I call it a parking lot. It’s tough, it’s flat and everybody is beating and banging on each other all day long. You can’t get away from the guys pounding on you from behind. Protecting your brakes and the rear tires are essential if you’re going to have a good finish there. No question, Martinsville has been one of the toughest tracks on me over the years. I won there early in my career, but have struggled in recent years. Came close to a strong finish in the Furniture Row car last fall, but got spun out and ended up 15th. But right now our focus is to continue our recent success with the top-five finishes at the last two races. We tested for Martinsville at Spokane (Wash.) Raceway following the California race and feel we’ll be ready for the challenge this weekend in our Furniture Row/Serta Chevrolet SS.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET SS – 15th IN STANDINGS:
“Braking is obviously going to be something that you look at when going to Martinsville, but I think now the brakes and the rotors and everything are so good that the issue you have now is the tires. The brakes will basically melt the bead of the tire because they’re so hot, so you have to concentrate on not only the cooling of the brakes, but also the cooling of the tires.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 NOVO NORDISK CHEVROLET SS – 16th IN STANDINGS:
“Martinsville is one of my favorite places to race. I have had some good runs there and I just think that it is fun to go short-track racing like that. I am also excited for the special paint scheme that we will run on our No. 1 Chevy SS this weekend. We are going to support our IndyCar teammate Charlie Kimball with a diabetes awareness paint scheme for Race with Insulin. Kimball is the first licensed driver with diabetes to compete at the most elite level of IndyCar. His longtime sponsor, Novo Nordisk (a global healthcare company) makes the insulin and delivery device Charlie uses every day. So Novo Nordisk will join our team at Martinsville as part of an initiative to raise awareness for diabetes.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS – 18th IN STANDINGS:
“I savor wins – probably more so today than ever. And prior to last year, I hadn’t rung the bell before so it was a new experience for me. My kids came to the shop to be a part of it, as well. The bell is so loud that they have to wear headsets, but they really seemed to enjoy being part of the experience. Everybody gets something after they ring the bell and my daughter loved handing out stickers to everyone. It’s become a really cool tradition – one the whole organization has rallied around.
“Qualifying well here (at Martinsville) definitely helps, and getting that first pit stall is an advantage on pit road. During the race, though, it’s all about ‘rhythm.’ You try to get into a rhythm quickly to just knock off consistent lap after consistent lap. But traffic – which you encounter a lot of here – can disrupt that quickly. When you’re around other cars, you have to change your line and change what you’re doing in order to make a pass. It’s important to jump right back into that rhythm that you had.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET SS – 20th IN STANDINGS:
“Martinsville is very much a finesse race track – from a braking standpoint, but also the acceleration part of it, too. You can really chew your tires up on the concrete before you get to the asphalt getting back to the gas, and you have to get back to the gas, but how you do it can make a really big difference in how good your car is for a whole fuel run. A fuel run there is roughly 110 to 120 laps, and you only get three or four times to do that. Tires are important but, if the race goes green for a long time, you can go a lap down by not managing your race car. For me, I’m thinking about who’s around me, what to expect at the start of the race, how good the car is, what we need to work on, those kind of things. Sometimes your competition is more you than anybody else.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 RUSH TRUCK CENTERS/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET SS – 22nd IN STANDINGS:
“Even on the bad days, it can be fun. And when you have a good day, it’s great. The grandfather clock you get for winning is one of the cooler trophies in our sport. Normally, 20-year-old kids don’t get too excited about grandfather clocks, but you realize it’s more than that at Martinsville. There’s a lot of pride and lot of history with this sport at Martinsville.
“One thing about Martinsville is there is no lack of excitement. I don’t care how flawlessly your day goes; you’re going to bump into somebody at some point, even on a perfect day. You put 43 cars on this half-mile track and it’s always going to be exciting. You will never have a race there where you don’t have some sort of drama during the day. I think every driver will say they will have some drama at some point in the day. When you have 43 drivers with 43 dramatic moments, that’s a lot of action going on.”
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CHILDRESS INSTITUTE FOR PEDIATRIC TRAUMA CHEVROLET SS – 24th IN STANDINGS:
“It is so important to remain focused. It’s harder at Martinsville Speedway than anywhere else we go on the schedule. Keep your eye on the ball and try not to let the things going on around you dictate what you do. Your goals need to dictate your actions. I think Martinsville is the hardest race track to stay focused on your goals.”
JJ YELEY, NO. 36 TOMMY BALDWIN RACING CHEVROLET SS – 26th IN STANDINGS:
“We are looking forward to a great weekend of short track racing at Martinsville Speedway. It’s great to have the United Mining Equipment back on board the No. 36 Chevy and hope to give them a good show this weekend along with a solid finish.”
DAVE BLANEY, NO. 7 SANY AMERICA CHEVROLET SS – 28th IN STANDINGS:
“Coming off the weekend with no racing was great for the entire TBR team. We were able to focus on the racecar and get ready for some short track racing. It’s all about brakes at a place like Martinsville and hanging in there until the end. Hopefully this no. 7 SANY America Chevy SS will have a great finish and avoid accidents that the track is notorious for.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDAY.COM CHEVROLET SS – 29th IN STANDINGS:
“I am actually really excited about Martinsville. I like the little short tracks they are fun. We are going to be close racing a lot of the time. We went testing out at Little Rock and got a feel for a track like Martinsville. I thought we actually made some really big gains that day. It was fun. Is there time to look down at your water and oil temperatures? No, there is not. I think it will be fun and I had no idea that a woman had not competed at Martinsville (in Sprint Cup), but I guess these are things I will find out along the way.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – 30th IN STANDINGS:
“Martinsville is hard because it’s always a tough balance between how much the car turns through the center of the corner and how much traction you’ve got off the corner. If you can have a car that turns well and puts the power down good you can have a chance of winning. You also have a lot of braking so you have to make sure you don’t use up your brakes early on. I’m use to that from the open-wheel side so I think that’s one of the reasons why I really enjoy racing there. Our Target team usually does really well at Martinsville.”