NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
CAMPING WORLD RV SALES 500
TEAM CHEVY QUALIFYING DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
OCTOBER 19, 2013
Three Team Chevy Drivers Will Start in Top-10 at Talladega
Qualifying for Camping World RV Sales 500 Cancelled Due to Rain
TALLADEGA, Ala. – October 19, 2013 – Qualifying for Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway has been cancelled due to inclement weather.
The starting grid has been set per the provisions in the NASCAR rulebook. Starting positions are based on the times from the first practice session held on Friday.
There will be 18 Chevrolet SS drivers in Sunday’s race. Starting in the top-10 will be Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS – 2nd, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 Mountain Dew/Xbox One Chevrolet SS – 8th and Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Cessna Chevrolet SS – 9th.
Earnhardt, Jr. is the only Chevy Chase contender that will start inside the top-10. Other Team Chevy Chasers will start as follows: Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS – 11th, Ryan Newman, No. 39 Wix Filters Chevrolet SS – 17th, Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet SS – 19th, Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS – 28th, Kurt Busch, No. 78 Furniture Row/Wonder Bread Chevrolet SS – 30th and Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS – 33rd.
A total of 44 cars were entered for Sunday’s race, and the qualifying rainout determined that Sam Hornish, Jr. (Ford) is the only driver who will miss the race.
Aric Almirola (Ford) was the quickest during the first practice session and will start from the pole position, and Marcos Ambrose (Ford) will start third.
Other starters in the top 10 are: Martin Truex, Jr. (Toyota) – 4th, Carl Edwards (Ford) – 5th, Greg Biffle (Ford) – 6th and David Ragan (Ford) – 7th.
The Camping World RV Sales 500 is scheduled to start on Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 2:00 p.m., EDT and will be aired live on ESPN, MRN Radio and Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED SECOND
YOU TURNED IN SOME FAST SPEEDS HERE YESTERDAY, AND KNOW WHAT IT TAKES TO GET AROUND THE HIGH BANKS OF TALLADEGA. TALK ABOUT YOUR CAR AND YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND
“I think my outlook is probably about like everybody else’s. I hope to miss the big wreck and get through that part and be there at the end. On pit selection and all that, I don’t think it really matters where you start here. Certainly having clean in and clean out on pit road means a great deal.
“It’s kind of funny because in the spring race here, when everybody knew it was going to rain, I think I was 30th or something. And I couldn’t figure out how to run a fast pace for that. And then yesterday I was second. So, that tells you I really don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve pretty much confirmed that (laughter).”
DRIVERS ARE LOOKING FOR A VERY NEUTRAL FEELING IN THEIR RACE CARS. WHEN YOU MADE THOSE LAPS, WAS YOUR CAR AS CLOSE TO WHAT YOU WERE HOPING FOR DURING THE RACE?
“Well, we were first, second and third so I think we were pretty happy. It’s so situational. When you’re four-wide and the middle of the car drives different than it does when you’re four-wide on the top. It’s really kind of hard to mess with handling a whole lot here. It sounds silly. The car’s got to be fast enough to get done what you need to do. And you try to do everything you can to take downforce away and take drag away. Typically, handling is not an issue here. Although, the last few races, people have struggled with being a little bit loose. I don’t know that really, in that situation, of running nose to tail, that running a line down, that really the car is; it almost don’t handle if that makes any sense. We’re just sitting in there and driving it. It’s not like it’s very difficult. So, if handling does come into play, it’s more when we’re three or four-wide in the middle of the pack. And then we’ll see what the handling is. But it was really hard to tell that yesterday.”
HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK YOUR TIME AT RCR HAS IMPACTED YOUR CAREER AND YOUR LEGACY AND EVERYTHING LIKE THAT?
“I’ve had a really good relationship with Richard (Childress) he is really good to work with. He’s a good person. He does what he says he’s going to do in a tough business. It’s hard sometimes in this business as things change to really do what you said you were going to do. He always has and I don’t think neither one of us are real happy with the total amount of success that we had, but at the same time we both know we gave 100 percent and did everything we could together. I’m disappointed that we didn’t have more success. I think when I went there it was a bit of a gamble but it felt right to me. It was a team that kind of needed to get rebuilt. I think we did a really good job with helping rebuild that and get it to where it is. It was probably one of the best places to be. Then it got to where it wasn’t. We did a lot of stuff. We made the Chase three years in a row with all three teams. I took a lot of pride in being part of that. Ultimately with the No. 31 we just didn’t have the success that either one of us really wanted to have. That disappointed both of us, but there are no hard feelings about it. We both know we worked hard at it. We want to win. He wants to win; I want to win so the next five races are about that. It’s really not very complicated. There are only a few chances left so it means those races are more important, but at the same time they are putting the same amount of effort into it. There hasn’t been any let down in effort we are trying real hard to finish up strong. We will see what we can get. I do feel like we’ve been building. There are days we run really well and there are days we run not so well. I feel good about the tracks coming up. Phoenix has always been a good track for us. Texas has always been a good track for us. Martinsville has always been a good track for us. I feel like we’ve got a lot of really good tracks coming up and hopefully we can do something good.”
DO YOU EVER THINK BACK TO THAT YEAR YOU LED THE CHASE GOING INTO MARTINSVILLE?
“Daily. I thought I had a lot of chances at Roush to win championships and to be perfectly blunt about it we just didn’t have everything together. One year we would have pit stops couldn’t get it done, the next year we would have too many engine failures. Kind of like Mark’s (Martin) career too where he had a lot of chances to win championships and it just wasn’t all together at the right time. We had the speed to win championships, but didn’t have necessarily everything else. The year at Childress that we had the best shot, we won the second race in the Chase, had a pretty good lead and went to Martinsville and broke a motor. And then went the very next week with three races left and blew a tire and boom you are done. They are never over until they are over and watching this championship everybody keeps saying it’s a two or three car race. No, not yet. But that year honestly I really thought we had everything in place that year to get it done, pit crew, crew chief, driver, everybody was in synch and it just didn’t work out.”
HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO QUALIFY RIGHT IN BETWEEN TWO GUYS WHO HAD A PLAN?
“I was along with them. Honestly there were four of us that went out and it just worked out where the four cars had gotten far enough back to where the front pack as Marcos (Ambrose) said they kind of got doubled up. Once they got doubled up then here we come, so I didn’t have a grand plan. Like I told you in the spring I had
a grand plan and I think we were 30th. Here I didn’t have a grand plan and we were second.”
THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT HOW SANDBAGGING WONT WORK AS A STRATEGY SUNDAY THE WAY IT HAS IN THE PAST AND THAT MIGHT BE TIED TO THE NEW CAR. AS SOMEBODY WHO HAS BEEN COMING HERE FOR TWO DECADES AND HAS WITNESS ALL THE DIFFERENT TACTICS THAT YOU HAVE WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF SUNDAY’S RACE? DO YOU EXPECT THE CHASE CONTENDERS TO RUN UP FRONT?
“I disagree. I think that you can sandbag. I don’t think there is any reason you can’t. I think we even saw it yesterday. One time I fell back just to kind of see how far you could get back and sucked right back up to the front pack. I think you will see some of the guys in the Chase ride around. I think you will see some of them trying to lead as many laps as you can. I think you will see a typical Talladega race where some people just aren’t comfortable running every lap in the front and some people are. I don’t agree. I think that when you go, if you ride around, when you go is what is important. If it’s 188 lap race and you take it easy for 100 there is no reason why you couldn’t get back to the front in 88 laps. There is no reason in the world. So I don’t know. I think you will see a mixture of stuff. These races are crazy. We got single file sometimes for no reason and I don’t understand why that happens. You just never know what is going to happen at these races, but I don’t agree with not being able to sandbag.”
SINCE WE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT PLANS CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR FUTURE PLANS AT ALL WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO BE DOING NEXT YEAR?
“Like I told you I feel really good about what is going on and when I can talk about it I can talk about it. I’m really comfortable with where I am and the opportunities that have been presented to me the last month have been really interesting. Maybe one day I can talk about some of them because some of them are crazy. It’s been interesting. It’s been a kind of interesting last few months, but I’m really comfortable with where I am and what I am going to be doing. I’m just not in position to talk about it. I promise you when I can I will.”