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TEAM CHEVY IN NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES (NSCS) COMPETITION:
CHEVROLET ON THE TRACK—PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY:
TEAM CHEVY IN THE GARAGE PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY – ALBA COLON, PROGRAM MANAGER, NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES – CHEVROLET RACING:
“Congratulations to Mr. Rick Hendrick and the entire Hendrick Motorsports organization for the fantastic 1-2 finish at last Sunday’s Daytona 500! It was a great win by Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus and the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet Racing team, followed right behind by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Steve Letarte, and the No. 88 National Guard Chevy team finishing second!
“Speedweeks was great for Team Chevy in many ways, beginning with the unveiling of the production Chevrolet SS and ending with several wins for the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chevrolet SS race car. We also enjoyed watching Danica Patrick make history in the sport by winning the pole position and leading laps. It was a memorable time, for sure!
“This week the circuit moves to Avondale, Arizona, where we will concentrate on the challenges of Phoenix International Raceway. We all love this one-mile track, but everything will be new for our Chevy SS and the other Gen-6 race cars. This is where we’ll all begin to get into the rhythm of the 2013 schedule, and when we’ll see how we stack-up against the competition. This tough track demands the right balance in the race car set-ups in order for the drivers to obtain the optimum performance, which obviously translates into a winning performance.
“Many of the teams had an opportunity to assess the new cars in different configurations during a Goodyear tire test held at this track late last year. Packages were still being developed then, but at least it provided us an opportunity to start with some solid notes for this weekend’s race.
“Phoenix International Raceway has been really good to Team Chevy drivers, and we are looking forward to continuing our success with some more exciting racing here on Sunday.”
TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT:
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – POINT’S LEADER:
“Definitely a great start for the team. When we were sitting discussing things before the season started, we felt good about the 500, but we’re really excited for everything after the 500. So, very hopeful and excited that our No. 48 car will be really fast in Phoenix, Vegas, moving forward. I think it’s going to be a very strong year for us.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – 2nd IN STANDINGS:
“I think it’s important to get a good start points‑wise. It’s important to put a good foundation together. If you get behind early, it seems like you’re still chasing that Chase (for the NASCAR Sprint Cup) spot at Richmond (Va.). It’s good to get a good start, get a couple points on some guys. We’re a good team. Hopefully we can keep the pressure on them and stay up in the top five in the points and win some races. I want to win some more races this year. That’s our focus.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET SS – 5th IN STANDINGS:
“I like Phoenix, I like the racetrack, it’s challenging. It’s a place I’ve raced at for the last 17 years. I’ve got quite a bit of experience at Phoenix; I’ve raced a lot of laps there. It’s a challenging racetrack and, for that reason, it’s a lot of fun. It’s unique and totally different on both ends of the racetrack, so it’s almost like two racetracks in one. It’s definitely a driver’s racetrack. The driver really has to drive and hustle the car a little bit and still be smooth. It’s those aspects that make the track a lot of fun to me.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDAY.COM CHEVROLET SS – 7th IN STANDINGS:
“No. I mean, I think that would be unwise to sort of start telling myself that top ten is where we need to be every week. I think that’s setting up if failure. The list of drivers in the Cup Series is deep. Daytona is a unique track. These tracks are different and unique. A lot about the car. I mean, you have to be smart enough to do the right thing at the right time. But it’s very much about the car. I feel like I’m still sticking to ‘Let’s see how these first five races go where we go to a bunch of different kinds of tracks, see where we settle in.’ Then start to establish goals from there on out. The only thing we can go off of is at the end of last year and running solid inside that top 20, hopefully get inside that top 15. That’s really all I can think right now. That’s all I can think. It might change after five races. It might be better. Who knows? It might be worse. We’re going to kind of pick up where we left off.
J.J. YELEY, NO. 36 ACCELL CONSTRUCTION CHEVROLET SS – 9th IN STANDINGS:
“I’m happy to get back to my home track after a great top-ten run at Daytona last week. I want to keep the momentum going this weekend in Phoenix and back up our performance.”
DAVE BLANEY, NO. 7 SANY CHEVROLET SS – 16th IN STANDINGS:
“This weekend will be special for us as SANY America will be on board for the first time. Phoenix has become one of my favorite tracks since it was reconfigured and I’m looking forward getting there.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 PEPSI MAX CHEVROLET SS – 19th IN STANDINGS:
“I’d say it’s a two-and-a-half groove track now. The bottom lane is still preferred but the outside lane works and the groove definitely widens out during the race. We know this race presents a huge challenge for us and for everybody, but I’m confident in the plan that Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and the engineers have come up with. After meeting with the team about this race, I can’t wait to head west.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 MENARDS/SERTA CHEVROLET SS – 20th IN STANDINGS:
“We tested at Phoenix (International Raceway) last fall with the new Gen-6 car and it drove really well. I’m looking forward to going to Phoenix; it’s a fun little short-track that can produce some exciting racing. The car’s aero package doesn’t mean a whole lot at there, so regardless of how the new car runs, it’s going to be a good race. Phoenix is one of my favorite tracks and since the new surface is starting to age, the cars are beginning to get pretty racy again. We ran really well at Phoenix last fall, so hopefully we can get a good finish in the Serta Menards Chevrolet this weekend.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET SS – 26th IN STANDINGS:
“Being raised in the western part of the country it will be nice to get to Phoenix and feel the same things I felt in racing while growing up. Phoenix is a type of racetrack that you can change your strategy around multiple ways. A two-tire stop could be left-side tires. We had a strong run in the Furniture Row Chevrolet last fall in Phoenix, ran up front most of the day. The ending was spectacular when we wrecked heading to the finish line with flames shooting out of the car. Phoenix begins a new portion of the season and I welcome the change. We didn’t have much luck in Daytona, being collected three times in accidents.”
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CHEERIOS CHEVROLET SS – 28th IN STANDINGS:
“I think all drivers have become accustomed to it. It is different now because when you get there and unload, the track has no grip and you have to pace yourself in practice. The track gets better throughout the weekend and it changes all weekend long. A lot of the time, the guys who don’t look so good in practice are the ones who win the race because the track changes so much. Understanding the way it is going to change is going to be most important. It’s hard to know how it is going to change.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET SS – 29th IN STANDINGS:
“I’m glad to be heading to Phoenix this weekend. We did a lot of work on the new Gen 6 Chevy SS during the off-season and I feel that this is a track where we can find out how all that hard work will measure up against what the other teams have done. Phoenix is a track where we have had some good qualifying efforts and good runs; we just need to put the whole package together.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 QUAKER STATE CHEVROLET SS – 34th IN STANDINGS:
“I’ve always thought that the more often I go home or go to a race in Vegas or Phoenix, you see more and more people from Washington so there’s a big fan base out there, and I think it’s still growing and it’ll always grow so it’s neat. And with some of the new changes to the sport like bringing these new cars in, the Gen-6 car and Chevy SS for us, I think that’s going to motivate a lot of people. For fans to see that car as what they’re selling in the show room, it’s pretty neat. I’m excited about it. Eventually maybe we can get a track up in the Northwest because I think it’d do great up there.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – 36th IN STANDINGS:
“The Target team has been pretty good at Phoenix since they repaved it. We were fast when we tested there and we’ve been good right off the truck since then. But with these new cars you just never know what’s going to happen. To tell you the truth, even though Daytona was our first race, Phoenix is where you get to see exactly what each team has and who has progressed in the offseason.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 BASS PRO SHOPS/MOBIL 1 RACING CHEVROLET SS – 37th IN STANDINGS:
“I ran a day and a half at the tire test at Phoenix and we didn’t even have a steel body car, it was a fiberglass bodied car. I didn’t really notice a lot there. There was probably a bigger understanding of what we got during the one day we had at Charlotte than what we learned at Phoenix. The car’s got a lot of downforce so far. It’s a little easier to drive. For a new car to come out in that short amount of time, for it to drive that well, that’s a pretty big feather in NASCAR’s cap to have a car that drives that stable.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 JIMMY JOHN’S CHEVROLET SS – 38th IN STANDINGS:
“I’ve been on both sides. Sometimes you go back after winning a race and you run terrible, other times you go back and run well. This year we have a new car and a lot of new things to deal with, you to have an open mind on how to approach the weekend. Obviously, running the NASCAR Nationwide Series race will help by providing a little extra track time, but Phoenix (International Raceway) was a good track for us last year. We finished first and second in the two races last season, so we’re going back expecting that we’ll run just as well.”