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NASCAR: Team Chevy – Drivers’ Pre-Race Notes & Quotes at Martinsville

CHEVROLET ON THE TRACK—MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY:

  • Chevrolet drivers have won 51 of 129 races at Martinsville Speedway. Victories by current Team Chevy drivers are:
    • Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, has eight (8) victories at Martinsville Speedway (’04, ’06, ’07 – TWICE, ’08, ’09, ’12 & ‘13)
    • Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, has made seven (7) trips to Winner’s Circle at Martinsville Speedway (’96, ‘97, ’99, ’03 – TWICE & ’05 – TWICE)
    • Mark Martin, No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, has two (2) wins at Martinsville Speedway (’92 & ’00)
    • Jeff Burton, No. 31 Sleep Innovations/Dow Chevrolet SS, has one victory at Martinsville Speedway (’97)
    • Kurt Busch, No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet SS, has one (1) victory at Martinsville Speedway (’02)
    • Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Rheem Chevrolet SS, has one (1) win at Martinsville Speedway (’11)
    • Ryan Newman, No. 39 State Water Heaters Chevrolet SS, has visited Victory Lane at Martinsville Speedway once (’12)

 

  • A Chevrolet driver has won seven (7) of the last 10 races at Martinsville Speedway
  • A Chevrolet driver has sat on the pole at Martinsville Speedway 52 times
  • Team Chevy drivers have scored 241 top-five and 443 top-10 finishes at Martinsville Speedway
  • A Chevrolet has led 25,533 laps (43.6% of possible 58,602 laps) at Martinsville Speedway

 

TEAM CHEVY IN THE GARAGE MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY – PAT SUHY, MANAGER, CHEVROLET RACING – NASCAR GROUP MANAGER: 
“Congratulations to Jamie McMurray, Kevin ‘Bono’ Manion, and the whole No.1 Cessna Chevrolet SS crew on the win at Talladega last weekend. With the uncertainty there, it’s always nice to come away with a win and a bunch of other strong Team Chevy finishes.

“While it’s the pack-racing and high speeds that can cause the ‘big one’ at Superspeedways, it’s the pack-racing and ‘hard to pass’ close quarters racing that will get you at Martinsville.  This weekend’s stop in the Chase season is at the paperclip-shaped, flat, half-mile track that traces its roots back to the beginning of NASCAR.  It’s narrow and rough; it’s hard on drivers and cars alike.  With 43 cars racing on the narrow short track, pack-racing is inevitable. Making forward progress often requires a driver to get physical with the cars around him or her.

“With just four races to go in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, many drivers need good results at Martinsville. We are sure to see an exciting race as the Chase drivers try to get every point possible.  Seven great drivers represent Team Chevy in the playoffs this year, and I’m counting on watching a good portion of them battling for the win on Sunday.”

 

TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT: 
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – POINT’S LEADER: 
“Martinsville has been good to us in the past.  We’ve got to go there and race.  There is going to be a lot of strong competition.  We will make sure we get buttoned up and ready to go for this weekend’s race and go up there to that paperclip and see what we can do.” 

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 RHEEM CHEVROLET SS – 4th IN STANDINGS:
“Racing at Martinsville Speedway is definitely a challenge. You have the tight turns and you also have to worry about the tires falling off. It creates the ultimate challenge of keeping track position, dealing with the fall off of the car, deciding whether you want to be good on the start or end of a run, and when to get tires. There are a lot of challenges in strategy but also in balancing your car at Martinsville. So, not only does the race track itself create a lot to challenges with the tight racing quarters, but you deal with challenges in the strategy as well.”

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS – 5th IN STANDINGS:
“This is the track that I believe has changed the least. The track, the setups and the tires have changed the least since I started racing in NASCAR. Martinsville isn’t about aerodynamics. Even though the cars have gotten faster, the way you drive the track, how you use the brakes, how you roll the center (of the corner) and how you apply the throttle hasn’t changed drastically here versus other tracks.


“It took me a while to figure out how to get around here. During a test early in my career we were just doing lap after lap after lap and finally it just clicked for me. We started having success after that. With all the experience and success that we’ve had here, that can carry over from race to race and even season to season. Because of that, we always seem to enter a Martinsville race weekend with confidence.”

 

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – 6th IN STANDINGS:

“Martinsville isn’t quite the momentum racetrack you think. If you get some clear room and a bit of space between you and your competitors, you can get into a rhythm where you’re doing things repetitively from corner to corner that are working and that give your car speed. So it’s not really about momentum as it is about repetition. You’ll find a line that you like and just continue to repeat that or do little tweaks on it each time you go through the corner and find things that work and don’t work.”

KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/DENVER MATTRESS CHEVROLET SS – 9th IN STANDINGS:
“I love to hate Martinsville. It’s been a tough racetrack for me. I’ve won there, but over the years I have also had my struggles there.  The good news heading into this weekend’s race is that our Furniture Row Racing team tested at Martinsville and we came away feeling pretty good of what we learned. Now it’s a matter of compressing that data and applying it to our set up in our Furniture Row Chevy. Martinsville comes down to having your car rotate the center of the corner and being able to drive off the corner underneath somebody. As the track changes throughout its rubber buildup you have to be able to roll with the changes.  You have to be smart enough to keep track of the changing conditions and not overdrive the car early on.” 

 

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 STATE WATER HEATERS CHEVROLET SS – 11th IN STANDINGS:
“Martinsville is very much a finesse racetrack – 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 racecar. 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.”

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS – 13th IN STANDINGS:
(ON THE TEAM’S FOCUS FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE SEASON.): “We have a strong team, and we’ve been one of the best cars at times throughout the whole season.  Hopefully we can hit on it again these last couple races and at least finish strong and get back in the top 10.  I think at this point in time that would be a successful year for where we’re at right now.”

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET SS – 14th IN STANDINGS:
“We are going to Martinsville off a high for our team.  Martinsville has always been a fun track for me, I really like racing there.  I know that it is an entirely different beast than Talladega, but our team will be able to stick their chests out this weekend to finally breakthrough with a win this season.  I have been saying for a good portion of the year that we are getting close, because our performance has been there on many occasions.  It was just a matter of having all the pieces fall in the right place on Sunday.  Now we just need to continue to perform strong in these final four races.”

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 TURTLE WAX/MENARDS CHEVROLET SS – 16th IN STANDINGS:
Martinsville Speedway is pretty easy to drive, to be honest. What makes it difficult is it is a long race and you only have one lane with 43 cars on the track. It is really hard to get into a rhythm when you’re surrounded by other cars for 500 laps. You can get into a rhythm for a couple of laps, but then it gets broken when you try to pass someone or you’re getting passed. It becomes a game of bumper cars for the most part, and it is very easy to get shuffled out of line and to lose a lot of spots. Track position will be key, so if we can start up front and stay up front hopefully we’ll be in good shape to finish well at the end.”


JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 SLEEP INNOVATIONS/DOW CHEVROLET SS – 20th IN STANDINGS:
“Martinsville Speedway is one of my favorite race tracks for many reasons. I have a lot of memories there as a child growing up and going to watch guys like Richie Evans and Sam Ard race there. One of my first big races was at Martinsville and I also won my first Grand National race, which is now the NASCAR Nationwide Series, at Martinsville. We had a really fast car there earlier this season on long runs. If the race had stayed under green-flag conditions until the end, we had a good chance to win the thing. I tore the nose off of the car earlier in the race so we were terrible on short runs. You would think aerodynamics don’t matter at Martinsville, but it was unbelievable the difference in handling of the car after the wreck. We tested there a few weeks ago too and except to run well again this weekend.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – 22nd IN STANDINGS:
“I like Martinsville. We were running up in the top-10 the last time we were there but unfortunately got a flat tire and ended up having to pit during a green flag run. Track position is important there and if you fall back or have trouble, it’s almost impossible to make your way back to the front so you have to run a smart race. With only four  races to go, we running out of time to get the Target Chevy back in victory lane and hopefully this will be the weekend.”

DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY BREAST CANCER AWARENESS CHEVROLET SS – 28th IN STANDINGS:

“Two extremes going from Talladega to the short track.  I had a great car in the spring at Martinsville so the challenge for me this time around will be to not down shift from fourth to third when I come out of the pits and over rev the engine and have to start from the back and in general just have a better qualifying run so that I can start further up and work from there.  It’s a short track and those leaders are on you very quickly if you don’t have a good qualifying run.  Qualify better and let it play out from there.”

MARK MARTIN, NO. 14 BASS PRO SHOPS/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET SS – INTERIM DRIVER FOR THE INJURED TONY STEWART:
“Contact is acceptable at Martinsville because you can make contact and, most of the time, not spin a guy out or not cause him to lose control and hit the wall. The risk of that happening is low at Martinsville if you’re smart about what you’re doing. It’s just tight quarters. You don’t have a lot of room and you don’t get a whole lot of room. There are times when you have to make a little room, and that happens more than anything. That is the real excitement of Martinsville – the ability to race hard and have contact where it’s acceptable about 75 percent of the time. Then you have the other 25 percent which is the more questionable contact, and that’s when you see tempers flare.”

KYLE LARSON, NO. 51 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – MAKING FIRST MARTINSVILLE NASCAR CUP SERIES START: 
“We tested at Martinsville a couple of weeks ago and we mainly worked on getting through the center (of the turns) and getting good drive off.  I’ve never been to a track with the long straights and tight corners like Martinsville. We got pretty good on the long runs. Running Charlotte and now Martinsville is going to help me out a bunch for next year. I’m trying to get use to the different cars and the different style of racing and so far it’s been a lot of fun.”

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Posted by on October 23, 2013. Filed under Breaking News,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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