Team Chevy preview

Jimmie Johnson, Hendricks Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendricks Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: / ASP Inc.

CHEVY RACING AT THE TRACK - RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY - JEFF CHEW, MARKETING MANAGER, NASCAR, CHEVY RACING: “Chevrolet and Richmond International Raceway have a long successful history together, and we always look forward to visiting with the race fans of Richmond. Richmond International Raceway provides a unique opportunity for the fans to visit Chevy in a fan friendly covered pavilion known as the ‘Fan Fest presented by Chevy.’ Fan Fest provides an opportunity for our fans to see Chevy’s full lineup of award-winning cars and trucks, take a test drive of several of our most popular models, and join in the festivities when Team Chevy drivers and crew members participate in question-and-answer and autograph sessions.”


TEAM CHEVY AT RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY – ALBA COLON, NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES PROGRAM MANAGER, GM RACING: “What a great weekend at Talladega! Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson and all the drivers at Hendrick Motorsports for their success on the superspeedway. There are just a few times when you get an opportunity to witness incredible racing like that! And now after a holiday weekend break in the schedule; our Team Chevy Sprint Cup drivers are looking forward to racing under the lights at Richmond.

“The races are always exciting at Richmond, and it is a track favored by most all the drivers. You have to be sure you can adjust your car, and the chassis set-ups are always very important. Richmond is a great short track with multiple grooves (racing lines), so you have to work hard to maintain your position. The practice sessions are during the daytime, but the race is at night, which creates additional challenges. The teams will be talking a lot of notes and learning things they can utilize when the circuit returns to Richmond in the fall and sets the field for the final 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

“While it has been a good venue for many of our drivers, we haven’t won a race at Richmond since September, 2008. So all the Team Chevy drivers are hungry for that victory, and we are looking forward to some exciting racing and to celebrating a win for the red bowtie on Saturday night.”


JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – 2ND IN STANDINGS: “[When you are heading to a track where you have had success] I think that it really boils down to the mental status of the driver. When you come to a track where you have a lot of success and you have a good car and a good baseline, it’s easier to control emotions that you can work your way forward, you can pass people, and it’s the set-up you’re looking for. And I think that works into a driver’s favor during a race. At tracks where you struggle at, once you get track position or if you have track position at the start of the race, you’re just defending and maybe in a different place mentally and chopping people, rubbing on people, and creating some issues that then lead to some DNF’s. So I think a lot of it has to do with the mental status of it. Guys that like certain tracks typically can find a way by without making enemies; and then you’re usually not in a position to defend and to make enemies then, as well.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET – 3RD IN STANDINGS: "I used to race at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) which is real similar to Richmond. The line there and the track are kind of similar. It reminds me a lot of Myrtle Beach, so I was pretty comfortable as soon as I got there, as soon as I started running laps there. Just rolling the center (is what it takes to be fast at RIR). The last couple times I've been there we've struggled turning in the middle. The car has to turn and cut in the center of the corner and have good drive off, especially in Turn 4. You can spin your tires real bad coming off of (Turn) 4 if you aren’t careful."

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET – 4TH IN STANDINGS: “Richmond has probably been our best track on paper in both divisions. We’ve been fortunate to win some races there. We look at that place as if we’re having a bad start, that at least when we go to Richmond, we expect a top 10 out of the car. If everything is running well, you expect to be competitive and running up front. When I was growing up, we spent a lot of time at Phoenix racing and really from day one we’ve always been successful on the flatter type race tracks through the years. Richmond has been a very good race track for us. I think it’s just kind of how I was brought up. We just adapted well right off the bat to those types of race tracks.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET – 7TH IN STANDINGS: “I'll have a special U.S. Army car (at RIR) representing an incredibly dedicated and talented group of men and women who serve in the U.S. Army Medical Department. We are inspired by having Army Medicine on our car and feel that we have what it takes to be successful at Richmond. Our record there over the years along with our performances at the other short tracks in Bristol and Martinsville has been quite good. On paper it looks like we've been slipping, but in reality we haven't. I felt we had a car that could have won both Martinsville and Talladega this season, but instead we finished 20th and 25th. We also had a car that could have won the Daytona 500. We were leading or close to leading when our car got shoved into the wall with three or four laps remaining. We ended up 22nd. I am both happy and proud about our performance this year. We've been a contender week in and week out and I don't see any reason why we shouldn't be just as strong in Saturday night's race. Consistency is always the key to success. Don't get me wrong, I want to drive the Soldiers' car to Victory Lane more than anything, but we need to be up there in order to get that win. You don't want to do anything stupid that could put you in Chase jeopardy."

There’s one line everyone prefers at Richmond so it makes it tough to pass.

Juan Pablo Montoya

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – 9TH IN STANDINGS: “Up until last year I never had much luck at Richmond. It was a tough track for me to get use to because the schedule was so different. You practice and qualify all in the same day with track temperatures that will differ from the race Saturday night. Come race time you need a fast car, good pit stall selection and good track position. There’s one line everyone prefers at Richmond so it makes it tough to pass. This is a track you never want to fall behind on.”

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 BB&T CHEVROLET – 10TH IN STANDINGS: “Richmond is a neat track. I’ve won there in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series. That track has always been good to me and we always seem to run well there. I’m looking forward to going back there. It’s one of my favorites. I think Richmond is the perfect-sized race track. As a fan of this sport, you get to see everything. You get the sensation of speed. You get to see all of us beating and banging on each other on the track. It’s just a perfect-sized race track. I wish we had about three or four more of them on the schedule. These double file restarts really make entering turn one pretty wild. It’s three or four wide and if someone doesn’t give, they’re going to wreck at least one car or several of them. That’s what’s neat about it -- you can make a pass, get under someone and they’re going to drive down hard on the outside of you. They might get you loose or you might lock up your brakes and get into them. You just have to be careful on those restarts, especially, with these double files.”

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 LIBMAN-MENARDS CHEVROLET – 11TH IN STANDINGS: “I’ve always run really well there (Richmond) in the Nationwide Series cars, but the (NASCAR Sprint) Cup cars are a different animal. We’ve really struggled on short tracks over the last two years. RCR has one of the best short track programs, and Slugger and I are learning a lot from what the other guys have done in the past. At Phoenix (International Raceway), we hit on a couple of things that I think will definitely help us this weekend in Richmond. We had some damage early that hurt us in the race so we didn’t have the finish in Phoenix that we were looking for. However, we definitely learned some things that will translate over to Richmond.”

Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Tony Stewart, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET 12TH IN STANDINGS: “It (Richmond) is my favorite track. It’s not one of them, it’s the favorite track of mine on the circuit. I’ve just always thought it’s the perfect-sized track for a Cup race. The other short tracks we run – Bristol and Martinsville – they’re cool in their own right, but there’s a lot of congestion at those two tracks. But at Richmond, it just seems like that extra quarter-mile, and that three-quarter-mile shape, and how wide the groove gets there, allows for good racing. It seems like we have to race ourselves and race the racetrack versus racing each other a lot of times. You do have to race each other, obviously, but there are a lot of times during the race when you have the flexibility to move around on the racetrack and try to find a spot your car likes better than somewhere else. A lot of times on a short track you don’t have the flexibility. You’re more narrowed down with what groove you’re going to be in.”

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET – 13TH IN STANDINGS: “I love Richmond, and I don’t know of another driver that doesn’t like this track. But it is a very challenging short track. One of the keys to going fast here is getting the DuPont Chevrolet to turn the middle of the corner. But it’s tough to get the car to turn the middle without getting the car too loose in and too loose off. It’s tough trying to guess what the track is going to do from day to night. The track will change a lot from the start of the race to the end, so we’ll need to keep up with those changes. Good communication throughout the race is needed to keep up with – or stay ahead of – those changing conditions. I feel our short track program is pretty solid, so that’s another reason for us to look forward to this weekend’s race. But to win here takes the same thing it takes to win anywhere else. You need a fast race car, to be in the right place at the right time, good pit stops, good strategy, good communication and tuning the car to keep up with the changing conditions of the track. If you do all those things, you hopefully will be in contention with the checkered flag in sight.”

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – 14TH IN STANDINGS: “I love racing at Richmond. There aren’t too many drivers out there who won’t say that. It’s a great little short track. It’s small, but it has a lot of racing room out there. There’s multiple grooves, and it really lends itself to some great side-by-side racing and awesome finishes. Racing at night is always good, too. I think it throws in a little extra excitement.”

Richmond is one of the places where handling means everything.

Jeff Burton

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – 22ND IN STANDINGS: “As a race fan, I like watching races at Richmond because there is always something going on. From a competitor standpoint, it’s a fun race track to drive because you have options on where to run your car – you don’t have to run one lane. There are different ways you can enter the corner and accelerate. Options make it difficult but it makes it challenging, too. Richmond is one of the places where handling means everything. The key factors in running well are getting through the center of the corners and throttling up without losing rear grip. It sounds simple to do, but the one that wins did it the best. Richmond is one of the places where handling means everything. The key factors in running well are getting through the center of the corners and throttling up without losing rear grip. It sounds simple to do, but the one that wins did it the best.”

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALDS CHEVROLET – 23RD IN STANDINGS: “Richmond is an exciting place to race. It is always fun to race under the lights on a Saturday night, especially with a track like this. Richmond is short-track racing that allows you to still race side-by-side, however the lower groove is the preferred line around the track. Having a fast car and trying to stay on the lead lap all night are going to be the keys to success for our McDonald’s Chevrolet.

REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET – 30TH IN STANDINGS: "I really like the Richmond track even though we haven't had much success there. We've been through an awful period of bad luck and hopefully Talladega's finish (15th) is the start of good things for our Furniture Row Chevrolet. Deep down I know we can perform with the leaders -- our qualifying efforts have proven that. But if we can't avoid trouble we're never going to get there. I am not looking for good luck, I just to want any bad luck. It's our job to make the good luck. It's time that we live up to some of those preseason expectations."

DAVE BLANEY, NO. 36 TOMMY BALDWIN RACING CHEVROLET – 33RD IN STANDINGS: “Richmond is always a great race for the fans because there is good racing there, and I think most drivers would agree. The shape and size of the racetrack allows for us to pass. Tommy and I finished fourth there in 2006 at Bill Davis Racing, and the team has done a good job on our short track package. I’m excited to get back to the track and see what we can do.”

-source: team chevy

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National Series News And Notes 2011-04-27

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