Honda Racing–Dixon Does It!

Scott Dixon Scores Honda’s 200th IndyCar Victory,       Leads 1-2-3 Honda Sweep at Pocono RacewayTarget Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon led a Honda-powered sweep Sunday at Pocono Raceway, taking his first victory of 2013 – and Honda’s milestone 200th Indy car win – as he led teammates Charlie Kimball and Dario Franchitti to the checkers in Sunday’s Pocono INDYCAR 400.

Honda’s first Indy car win, posted by Andre Ribeiro and Tasman Motorsports in 1995, also came on an oval:  the one-mile New Hampshire International Speedway.  But today’s 200th came at the fast, challenging 2.5-mile Pocono speedway, in the second round in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series “Triple Crown”, which also includes the Indianapolis 500 and the season-ending MAV TV 500 at Auto Club Speedway in California.

Running the latest specification Honda Indy V6 Turbo engine, Dixon powered through the field from his 17th grid position during the first half of the 400-mile contest, then took advantage of superior fuel mileage to lead 38 of the final 50 laps and record his 30th career victory. 

Coupled with the finishes from teammates Kimball and Franchitti, the result marked the first team 1-2-3 Triple Crown race sweep since Bobby Unser, Rick Mears and Mario Andretti scored a 1-2-3 for Team Penske at Ontario Motor Speedway in 1979.  In addition to being Honda’s 200th Indy car triumph, it also was the 100th Indy car victory for Dixon’s Target Chip Ganassi team.

Behind the lead trio, second-year IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden scored a career-best fifth for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, passing fellow Honda driver Simon Pagenaud on the last lap, when the Detroit race winner was briefly delayed by lapped traffic.  Justin Wilson made it six Honda-powered cars in the top seven finishing positions with his best oval track result since finishing fifth at Indianapolis in May.

Scott Dixon (#9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Racing Honda Dallara) started 17th, finished 1st; his 30thIndyCar win – Honda’s 200th– and the 100th victory for Target Chip Ganassi Racing:  “To say the least, it [winning] was a little bit of a shock.  I knew the car was good, we just weren’t sure about our pace.  But the team never gave up, and you’ve got to hand it to Honda as well.  I think fuel mileage was the key today, and we still had speed up front without having to save [fuel] all the time.  It’s the 200th win for Honda, the 100th win for Target, which is just fantastic.  I’m just so happy.  I love this place.  Pocono, the fans, just everyone has been fantastic.  It’s been a long drought, almost a year, so it’s fantastic to be back in the Winner’s Circle.”

Charlie Kimball (#83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara) started 12th, finished 2nd; equaled his career best (a 2nd at Toronto in 2012) and his best oval-track result:  “Both Thursday at the [pre-race] test and again yesterday, we really focused on our race car [setup].  As evidenced by today’s 1-2-3 finish, focusing on the race day, knowing when it mattered, made the difference.  Throughout the race, the guys made the car better at every pit stop, and the car just got quicker and quicker.  A lot of credit goes to Honda, they gave us both fuel mileage and speed today.

Roger Griffiths (Technical Director, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race and Honda’s 200th IndyCar victory:  “It’s just such an incredible day for Honda and everyone at Honda Performance Development.  I’m so pleased for every one of our associates who have been involved in our 200 race wins, for the Target Chip Ganassi organization on scoring their 100th and Scott [Dixon’s] 30th wins – just a great day all-around.  I think the key for us was the exceptional fuel mileage we were able to achieve today. It set us up for a strong finish when many of our competitors were having to conserve.  I really enjoyed racing at the circuit, and it seemed to be designed with Scott in mind!  In addition, it was great to see Dario [Franchitti] back on form, and I believe this was Charlie [Kimball’s] strongest performance of the year.  Takuma [Sato] also was very strong early in the race, until his unfortunate pit incident, and Simon [Pagenaud] was very quick as well.  All-in-all, just a memorable day for us.  Now we go on to Toronto, which is a Honda event, and full of enthusiastic fans.”

Honda Racing–HPD, Muscle Milk Continue Hot Streak at Lime Rock

Battling oppressive heat and humidity – in addition to the strain of constant traffic – Muscle Milk Pickett Racing continues to be the team to beat in the American Le Mans Series, comfortably winning the Northeast Grand Prix Saturday afternoon at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut in the HPD ARX-03a Honda co-driven by Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr.

In the companion LMP2 category, it was another close-fought battle between the two-car teams of Level 5 Motorsports and Extreme Speed Motorsports, both equipped with turbocharged V6-powered HPD ARX-03b Hondas.  In the end, the contest was decided by late-race contact between the leading Extreme Speed ARX of Guy Cosmo and the closely trailing similar Level 5 ARX driven by Ryan Briscoe.

At the front of the field, the overall win for Muscle Milk Pickett was the third consecutive LMP1 victory for the team in 2013, a streak begun at the Grand Prix of Long Beach in April and continuing through May’s race at Laguna Seca.  It also was the second consecutive win at Lime Rock for the HPD-equipped team, and third in the last four years.

In addition to the ever-present traffic around the short, but very fast, 1.474 mile road course, teams also had to contend with extreme heat and humidity, with several drivers and crew members requiring medical attention due to heat exhaustion and dehydration during the 2-hour, 45-minute event.

Losing the lead at the start to the Lola-Mazda of Chris Dyson, Luhr continued to battle the Dyson Racing car throughout the first 45 minutes, exchanging the lead twice before Luhr established an advantage he would not relinquish for the remainder of the race.  Luhr and co-driver Graf took advantage of a problematic initial Dyson pit stop, then continued to build a massive lead, taking advantage of the performance of their ARX-03a and smoothly making their way through traffic in the large, 33-car starting field to take the checkers with a massive, six-lap margin over the runner-up Dyson team.

In LMP2, Briscoe took the victory, but only after nose-to-tail contact with Cosmo on the penultimate lap sent the Extreme Speed Motorsports ARX-03b into a quick spin and contact with the barriers.  Cosmo recovered and resumed to finish second with co-driver Scott Sharp

As a result of the contact, Briscoe and co-driver Scott Tucker received a post-race penalty that relegated them to third-place championship points, while Sharp and Cosmo are credited with maximum points in their year-long battle for the LMP2 title.  The second Level 5 HPD, driven by Tucker and Marino Franchitti, finished third after a late-race unscheduled pit stop.

After a two-week break, the American Le Mans Series makes its annual trek north of the border for the July 21 Mobil-1 Grand Prix of Mosport at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Ontario, Canada.

Lucas Luhr (#6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03c Honda) 1st in LMP2 with co-driver Klaus Graf, 2nd consecutive win for Muscle Milk Pickett Racing at Lime Rock Park and 3rd consecutive victory in 2013:  “I had fun fighting with Chris [Dyson].  But it’s very tough to overtake here, especially with our [LMP1] car, but in the end I managed to get around him and got a little bit of a gap, and then they had a problem [during a pit stop].  It was tough today, very hot in the car and obviously the traffic here is a little crazy.  You just have to say to yourself ‘calm down, it’s all OK’ because you are stuck in traffic all the time.  It’s almost like fighting against a 747, especially against the GTC cars because the speed difference is just amazing.  On a short track like Lime Rock, you are overtaking every two seconds!  However, we managed the traffic well and the boys did great in the pit stops, even with some of our mechanics suffering from the heat, so I have say a big ‘thanks’ to them.  I’m pretty sure they are exhausted and will get some well-deserved rest tonight.

Ryan Briscoe (#552 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b Honda) 1st in LMP2 with co-driver Scott Tucker, but penalized with third-place championship points due to avoidable contact:  “Certainly what happened going up the hill [nose-to-tail contact with the #01 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b of Guy Cosmo] wasn’t my intention at all.  It looked like he got on the curb a little bit and traction control may have come on or something.  It looks like my nose just tagged his rear.  Certainly not the way we wanted to go, I think it was going to be a good battle [for the class victory].”

Guy Cosmo (#01 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b Honda) 2nd in LMP2 on track with co-driver Scott Sharp, awarded first-place championship points:  “We were really cruising there, we had a great car at the end of the day, and Scott [Sharp] did a great job in the beginning.  It was going well until the end of the day, [it’s unfortunate that] no decision was made for what was obviously intentional contact [before] the end of the race.  So, we’re collecting second-place trophies when we had that race won, [but] we will persevere.

”Steve Eriksen (Vice President and COO, Honda Performance Development) on Saturday’s double victory at Lime Rock Park:  “Congratulations to Muscle Milk Pickett Racing for another overall win at Lime Rock and to both of our LMP2 teams, Level 5 and Extreme Speed Motorsports, on their exciting battle for class honors.  It’s unfortunate that contact decided the outcome, but we’re certain these two teams will regroup and resume what is shaping up to be an enjoyable season-long contest in LMP2.  The heat was definitely a factor for both man and machine this weekend at Lime Rock, and we were very pleased to see how well our teams, our ARX chassis and Honda engines held up under the conditions.”

Dyson Racing–Back on Track

LAKEVILLE, CT July 6, 2013 – The Twitter summary would say Dyson Racing started second and finished second, but there was more to the story here at the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock.

Chris Dyson started the race in the Thetford/RACER Lola Mazda.  It was nose-to-tail Lime Rock racing at its best. Chris took the lead at the start from Lucas Luhr in the Muscle Milk entry.  And for forty-five minutes, he stayed in front, the margin averaging two tenths of a second as both cars dealt with heavy traffic. “The battle I had with Lucas was one of the best races I have had head to head with anybody in terms of the sheer enjoyment factor in going up against one of the best guys there is.  It was clean, it was busy and I hope the fans enjoyed it, because I sure did,” reflected Dyson.

The next two hours brought some racing slings and arrows.  At the first pit stop and driver change, there was a delay in hooking up the belts, followed by the car slowing on track as the master switch was recycled, and some green lap stops for topping up with water.  Guy did the middle stint, making up two spots in the oppressive heat and humidity which has replaced the constant rain here on the east coast.  Chris got back in the car forty minutes from the end, and brought the car up to its second place finish.

Guy Smith noted that “the car had good pace and we  were able to work the traffic, but it was tough in the car   in this heat and humidity.  I think Chris ran into the same challenge with the work rate being quite high. All told, it was good to finish a race after our problematical start     to the season.”

Chris added “there is never a dull moment at Lime Rock.  We ran up front and we proved that we can be on par with the Muscle Milk guys.  At the end of the day, we got it home and I am grateful for that and I am grateful for the guy’s efforts. They have worked very hard between Monterey and here and I think the team should have a better second half.”

The American Le Mans Series enters the meat of their season with seven races in   the next seventeen weeks.  Two weeks from now, the series will be racing north of the border at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park near Toronto.

Honda Racing–Dixon Leads Honda Field in Pocono Qualifying

Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon led the Honda-powered field Saturday at Pocono Raceway in northeastern Pennsylvania in IZOD IndyCar Series qualifying in preparation for Sunday’s Pocono INDYCAR 400. 

Dixon’s two-lap average of 219.5 mph saw him qualify seventh, as local favorite Marco Andretti claimed the pole with a qualifying speed of 221.273 mph. All 21 cars posting qualifying speeds bettered the existing track record of 211.715 mph, set by Emerson Fittipaldi in 1989, the last previous visit of Indy cars to Pocono Raceway.

Continuing his strong form on ovals, Takuma Sato posted the eighth-fastest qualifying run for A.J. Foyt Racing.  Simon Pagenaud was fourth quickest in practice, then qualified ninth in his Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda.  Charlie Kimball was an encouraging third fastest in morning practice, but a brief slide during his first qualifying lap spoiled his run, leaving him 13th overall.  Alex Tagliani crashed, without injury, during his qualifying run. 

Sunday’s 160-lap race, the second round in the 2013 IndyCar “Triple Crown” of long-distance oval events, starts at 12 p.m. EDT, with live network television coverage on ABC.

Scott Dixon (#9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara) qualified 7th, his sixth top-10 qualifying of 2013:  “I think the qualifying run was about what we thought it would be [after practice], which was a few miles per hour off.  We have a good car, and I love the balance of it.  We’re trimmed as much as we can be, but it’s not enough to be where we need to be right now.  This is such a cool place here in Pocono.  I really love driving this track.  The fans are amazing, and I’m looking forward to a competitive event tomorrow.  We hope to put on a great show for all these people.”

Dyson Racing–Thirty Years and Counting

LAKEVILLE, CT, July 5, 2013 – Chris Dyson will start from the front row after his second place qualifying effort today for the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix on the weekend Dyson Racing is celebrating their thirtieth anniversary in professional sports car racing.  He took the #16 Thetford/RACER entry he shares with Guy Smith around the team’s home track at an average speed of 117.287 MPH.

“We missed the first session with some mechanical issues and extensive red flag periods, and that was costly,” said Chris Dyson.  “We took a step with the car we thought intuitively would work but it was a step too far, so we will just go back to how it was the previous session and continue to focus on the race set-up at this point.  We had really good tests at VIR and Road Atlanta before coming here, and we have a good handle on the car in its current state.”

After the late afternoon qualifying session, there was a roast for Rob Dyson to commemorate his thirty year anniversary.  Chris Dyson summed up what those years have meant.  “It has been an honor to grow up with the race team in my life and with all the wonderful people in this paddock. It has been a privilege that that has been given to me because Dad created the platform for us and it is nice to carry on what he started.  I am thrilled to be up here celebrating our 30th anniverasy and looking forward to many more years.”

Rob Dyson finished off the roast by saying that “finally, I want to thank my son Chris.  He has been a great fan of mine and I have been a great fan of his. I remember watching him race go-karts in one of my old helmets at the old Rt. 55 Speedway, and I knew I was in trouble from then on!  We were actually in the same weight class and I used to race him in go-karts.  It is a whole different deal when you run against your son. Chris beat me all but once, and I got to tell you, that one race that I beat him, I feel really good about to this day! 

“But I must say that for all of the drivers that have driven for our team, the key was  they were great human beings and they loved sports car racing, and they wanted to compete, and they wanted to win. But most importantly, they were decent, hardworking great guys.  I want to tell you how much of an honor it is to have become friends with them and so very many great people in racing.” 

Summit Racing–Anderson Determined to Turn First Round Victory for Summit Racing into Win

Anderson Determined to Turn First Round Victory for Summit Racing into Win 
 
Event:  7th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals
Location: Summit Motorsports Park, Norwalk, Ohio
Day/Date: Saturday, July 6, 2013
 
Qualifying for the 7th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals has concluded and Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson is prepared to make his 303rd raceday start at an event that is very special to the entire team. The race in Norwalk, the 13th of 24 on the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule, bears the name of their title sponsor, and it takes place at one of the finest facilities on the tour, Summit Motorsports Park. Flying the Summit Racing banner on the door of his sleek white Chevrolet Camaro is an honor that Anderson does not take lightly.
 
“We want to do well here; we always come to Norwalk with the hope of really making the great folks at Summit Racing Equipment proud,” said Anderson, the No. 8 qualifier. “We’ve got both the Summit Racing Camaros in the field here, and now tomorrow we’ll take on the task of getting one of them to the winner’s circle.”
 
The first round will determine which of the two Team Summit steeds will have a shot at running for the trophy as Anderson and his teammate, Jason Line, will square off in the opening act for only the fifth time in a decade of racing together. Although it isn’t an ideal scenario – the perfect outcome at a Summit Racing-sponsored event is, of course, an all-Summit Racing final round and a guaranteed trophy for the group that has collectively amassed 104 national event wins – but the team is ready to make the most of what lies ahead. The outcome of the first round will determine who will face the No. 1 qualifier, Allen Johnson, who has a first-round bye in the 15-car field.
 
“We don’t care which car goes forward, as long as we learn something for second round,” said Anderson. “It’s going to be a tough one, so we need to learn all that we can first round so that we have a chance. We need to be sure that we go into that round and give the No. 1 qualifier something for his money.”
 
During qualifying, Anderson’s Summit Chevy was consistently a top-half car as he clicked off a 6.638, 6.644, 6.652 and a 6.667, each at over 208 mph. Although Anderson was solidly in the field throughout the first two days of the event in a car that is relatively new (he debuted the white Camaro in Bristol just last month), the Mooresville, N.C.-based driver had hoped for a loftier position from which to start.
 
“There is a certain level of frustration because even though we’re making gains, they’re just not happening fast enough for our comfort,” said Anderson. “But this is where we have to take a deep breath, calm down, and keep pecking away at it. The Summit Racing team has very high expectations for ourselves and there is a very good reason for that – we know just what we’re capable of.
 
“Tomorrow, we will make the most of that first round. The goal from there will be to get the best Summit Racing Camaro to the winner’s circle.”
 

Summit Racing–Line Fueled with Resolve as Team Summit Leaves Norwalk

Line Fueled with Resolve as Team Summit Leaves Norwalk
 
NORWALK, Ohio (July 7, 2013) – Pro Stock driver Jason Line and his Summit Racing teammate Greg Anderson were prepared to battle all the way to the final round at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk. They were disappointingly stopped short at one of their favorite events on the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour, but the team is filled with more resolve than ever before and are already trucking down the road to test their Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaros before the next event on the tour.
 
Line’s best time of 6.645 at 208.52 mph set him up for a start from the No. 9 qualifying position and a first-round meeting with Anderson, the No. 8 qualifier, for only the fifth time in the history of KB Racing. Although the pair never like to meet in the first round and much prefer a final round meeting, particularly at their sponsor’s main event, they were determined to make the most of the circumstances.
 
“The advantage to having to run your teammate in the first round is that you can take advantage of that and use it as a test run,” said Line, a two-time series Pro Stock champion. “That’s just what we did. We tried to learn something so that we could hopefully have an advantage over the guy in the other lane in the second round. Unfortunately, things just didn’t work out as planned.”
 
In their morning meeting, Anderson was too quick at the starting line and launched .027-second too soon, illuminating a red light yet racing to a quick 6.658. Line was second to launch but clocked a remarkable .002-second reaction and turned the final timer on the racetrack to a 6.661, 208.39.
 
The second round meeting with Allen Johnson was pre-determined to be a challenge; Johnson was the No. 1 qualifier at the event and advanced from the first round on a bye run due to a 15-car field.
 
Line did his job on the starting line and had a .010-second advantage as the two passed the tree, but Johnson took the lead and won with a 6.620 to 6.668.
 
“We changed quite a few things in the first round in preparation for the second round, but we weren’t successful in determining what we could do to move ahead,” said Line. “But the good news is that we were the first pair out on Sunday, and that has been something we’ve struggled with in the past – being the first car to go down the track – but both of our Summit Racing Camaros made it down the racetrack. We weren’t as fast as we would have liked, but we both made it down, and that gives us something to work with.”
 
Line leaves Norwalk sitting fourth in the Mello Yello Series Pro Stock standings and looks eagerly ahead to the next race on the tour, the Mile-High Nationals in Denver in just two weeks.
 
“We’re not going home right now, we’re going straight to Denver tonight instead, and we’re going to test our cars up there on that mountain,” said Line. “We have some work to do, and Team Summit is more than willing to do whatever it takes.”
 

Summit Racing–Line Challenged but Ready to Bounce Back on Sunday in Norwalk

Line Challenged but Ready to Bounce Back on Sunday in Norwalk
 
Event:  7th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals
Location: Summit Motorsports Park, Norwalk, Ohio
Day/Date: Saturday, July 6, 2013
 
Jason Line and the Summit Racing Pro Stock team are eager to take the lessons they learned during qualifying at Summit Motorsports Park and turn them into a trophy on raceday at their sponsor’s main event, the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. Starting as the No. 9 qualifier, Line will have his work cut out for him as he braces for a first-round match with his KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson for only the fifth time in their history of competiting together.
 
Line has had a top-half car all year but was uncharacteristically challenged during qualifying in Norwalk. Fresh out of the trailer, the two-time world champion wheeled the blue Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro to a decent 6.645 at 208.52 mph that was seventh quickest of the session for the factory hot rods. However, in the second session, he began a journey down a tough road when a part gave way in the engine. Line mustered a troubled 8.51 and was prepared to come back hitting heavy on Saturday but was surprised by a racetrack that had morphed into a character quite different than the hospitable surface of the first day of the event.
 
“[The car] had too much wheel speed and spun the tire,” said Line. “It did the same thing on both runs today, just shook the tires. Yesterday we had a great racetrack and were too safe, we didn’t give it enough power, but today we tried to apply more power and the racetrack was not the same. A few people had problems with it, but that’s not an excuse for us. The Summit Racing crew is a great team with a lot of knowledge, we just missed it, but you can bet we will be doing everything we can to make sure we don’t miss it tomorrow.”
 
On Sunday, Line and Anderson will meet in the first round, and the winner is assured a quarterfinals meeting with Allen Johnson, the No. 1 qualifier who was afforded a bye run based on the 15-car field.
 
“Really, it doesn’t matter which of the Summit Racing Camaros advances to the second round,” said Line. “What matters is that we are able to figure out what it’s going to take to keep on going until we get one of our cars to the winner’s circle tomorrow. I don’t like having to race my teammate in the first round, but there is nothing we’d like better than to turn this into something positive. The Summit Racing team will be pulling together to do whatever it takes to get that trophy.”

Mopar Racing–Hole Shot Win by Gray in All-Mopar Final at Norwalk

Hole Shot Win by Gray in All-Mopar Final at Norwalk
 
·         Mopar advanced to final eliminations in both Pro Stock and Funny Car classes at seventh annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals
·         Gray scored a hole shot win in a Mopar versus Mopar final elimination against DSR teammate Capps
·         No.1 qualifier Johnson finished runner-up in his 42nd Pro Stock final elimination appearance
·         Hagan remains Funny Car points leader with Mopar teammate Gray moving into second spot
·         Johnson and Coughlin are second and third in Pro Stock points standings

Norwalk, Ohio (Sunday, July 7, 2013) –  In an all-Mopar final elimination showdown, Johnny Gray earned his fourth Funny Car national title of the season on a hole shot win against his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps at the seventh annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, the 13th of 24 national events on the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series circuit. Mopar Pro Stock pilot Allen Johnson also advanced to the final elimination at the Norwalk track finishing runner-up to current points leader Mike Edwards.

 

“Congratulations to Johnny (Gray) from all of us at Mopar on his title win at Summit Motorsports Park and his fourth victory of the year,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “It great to see the Mopar-powered Funny Car package competing so strongly, leading the standings, and back in the winner’s circle for the eighth time this year. It’s great to seeing all four Don Schumacher Racing teammates contending for wins in defense of the championship title nearly every week throughout what continues to be an exciting and incredibly competitive season.”

 

Gray’s fourth final round appearance and series-leading fourth win of the season followed three consecutive first round losses. After last weekend’s event in Chicago, the DSR Pitch Energy team returned to their Indianapolis based shop to rebuild the front end of chassis in less than a day. Not only did the driver appreciate the efforts but he took full advantage by defeating Alexis DeJoria, Chad Head and then his DSR teammate, defending Funny Car world champion, Jack Beckman, on his way to the final Mopar versus Mopar showdown against Capps.

 

Both Gray and Capps posted identical 4.103-second passes, but with a quicker 0.061 reaction time Gray’s Dodge Charger R/T beat his teammate by just 0.006 seconds.

“Everybody said it was back-and-forth all the way down the track, and it was just a great drag race,” said Gray who also posted wins at Gainesville, Atlanta, Topeka this season to bring his career total to seven national titles. “You just can’t say enough for what my crew does for me and this was my day. We came to Norwalk and the car never missed a step. When I get a race car like this, it’s really hard to screw it up.”

 

Capps’ runner-up finish came in his 80th career appearance in a final elimination at his 400th national event and puts him fourth in the standings.

 

Matt Hagan started off strong in his “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” / Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T by making his best run of the weekend in his first round match up against Tony Pedregon only to lose the battle against his DSR teammate Capps. Hagan does however remain in the Funny Car championship points lead on the strength of three wins and two no.1 qualifier positions with just five races to go in the regular season.

 

In Pro Stock action, bolstered by his first No.1 qualifier position of the season, Johnson advanced to his 42nd career final elimination appearance to face off against Edwards. While the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Avenger had the starting line advantage with a 0.015-second reaction time, not having the critical lane choice had its consequences. Loss of grip and violent tire shake early in the run ended Johnson’s chances of gaining some ground on the track and in the points battle against his opponent. Edwards scored his fourth win of the year and the 38th of his career and remains the leader in the Pro Stock standings.

 

“We had a great day but lost critical lane choice with our semifinal run and that ended up hurting us for the final,” said Johnson who has had six final round appearances this year and jumps into second place in the points with his runner-up finish. “We hurt a motor and had to swap out the engine before that semifinal but didn’t have a good enough run to maintain lane choice and that made the difference. We’re on a good run right now, feel like we’re doing things right and we have some momentum heading into Mopar Mile High Nationals. We have guarded optimism heading to Mopar’s signature event but it’s an event we love and have a lot of confidence going into.”

 

Ohio native Jeg Coughlin Jr. was upset on his home turf in the second round by fellow HEMI-powered teammate and defending Norwalk title winner Vincent Nobile. They had each won three times against one another in prior events but in this Mopar showdown, Nobile had the starting line advantage and never trailed for the win. Coughlin remains third in the points chase close behind Johnson, while Nobile, who was unable to defeat Edwards in the semifinals, jumps into sixth spot.

 

V. Gaines drove his Dodge Avenger to the second round where he fell victim to the dreaded left lane and hazed the tires against Shane Gray but remains tenth in points.

John Force Racing–COURTNEY FORCE RACES TO SEMI-FINALS IN NORWALK

COURTNEY FORCE RACES TO SEMI-FINALS IN NORWALK

 

NORWALK, OH —- This weekend Courtney Force managed to turn a No. 10 qualifying position into a semi-final appearance and hang on to the No. 7 spot in the NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car point standings at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.

 

The 25-year-old female racer, who will grace the cover of ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue on July 12th, posted a 4.07 in the opening round against Tim Wilkerson today to kick off eliminations. Courtney also set the track speed record with the first round run of 319.67 mph.

 

“We were matched up with Tim Wilkerson in the first round today. We had him in the opening round last weekend in Chicago, also. He’s a tough competitor. He’s definitely got a good race car this year and he had lane choice over me. It made me a little nervous, so I felt like I had to step up my game. We got down there and had a great pass. We were able to outrun him with a 4.07 so I was excited for round two,” said Force.

This was the seventh time the two Ford teams have raced each other in eliminations and the fourth time they have met in the first round on race day. Force is now 6-1 to Wilkerson, only having lost to the fellow Ford driver last weekend in Joliet, Ill at Route 66 Raceway.

 

“Second round was another all-Ford match-up against Bob Tasca III. I knew he was to my my brother-in-law and teammate Robert Hight in the points, so I needed to win,” said Force.

 

Force took the win over Tasca with a 4.08 to his 4.11. Force is now 5-1 to Tasca in previous events.

 

“Our Traxxas Ford Mustang team pulled through and we were able to get that win light. It was important to us to help out (teammate) Robert (Hight). It was a good win for us,” added Force.

 

In the semi-final round, Force took on Ron Capps without lane choice. Her Traxxas Ford Mustang smoked the tires and got sideways, giving Capps the win.

 

“We had a tough match-up with Capps. The track heated up so it was a little different situation compared to the first round.  We lost lane choice, but I left on him and our Funny Car was a ways out ahead of him. We hit a little bump out there and it sent the tires spinning and put me sideways. By the time I got my Traxxas Ford Mustang straight, he was already getting the win light.”

 

“We both have great cars and (crew chief) Ron Douglas did a great job tuning this car, so it was a tough loss for me and for this team. We made a lot of changes in qualifying so I’m looking forward to the next race and seeing what we can bring to the table,” said Force.

 

In the opening round team leader and No. 1 qualifier John Force took out rising star Blake Alexander. Force’s Castrol GTX Ford Mustang was quickest of first round with a 4.025 second run. This was the second time the 15-time Funny Car champion has raced the driver from Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia and also the second time he has defeated him.

 

Force squared off with veteran Jack Beckman in the second round but came up short in his bid to advance to the semi-finals. The winningest driver in NHRA history will remain winless at the famed Norwalk facility for at least one more year.

 

“We went some rounds and Courtney went some rounds. The fans here get you so excited you just want to win for them and for our sponsors like Castrol, Mac Tools, Ford, BrandSource and Traxxas. I was glad I was No. 1 and racing that kid Blake Alexander in the first round keeps you honest,” said Force. “He has the gut ache to get a win just like I do and you can’t look past drivers like that. I was hoping to get to race Courtney in the final but it didn’t work out. I have to thank the Baders for giving us such a great place to race. They are great promoters. This Castrol GTX Mustang is a great hot rod and Mike Neff and Jon Schaffer have it running great. We ran 4.02 in the first round today. I love being out here and I’ll keep coming back until I win a national event here.”

 

For No. 2 qualifier Robert Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang team the first round left them with an unfulfilled feeling and the gut ache of a missed opportunity. Going into the first round against Bob Tasca III Hight had won the previous seven meetings. His career record is 9-4 now against his fellow Blue Oval racer.

 

“I am not sure what happened on that run. It just wasn’t meant to be. We wanted to go some rounds today and get further up in the Top Ten. It didn’t work out for us but we will be ready for the Western Swing in a couple of weeks. We just finished four in a row and that will get us in a groove for the Denver, Sonoma and Seattle. We will get back in the shop and get our Auto Club Mustang ready,” said Hight.

 

Chevy Racing–IndyCar–Pocono Post Race

IZOD INDYCAR SERIES
INDY POCONO 400
POCONO RACEWAY
TEAM CHEVY POST RACE NOTES AND QUOTES                                                       
JULY 7, 2013
 
Will Power Leads Team Chevy at Pocono with Fourth Place Finish; Helio Castroneves Continues on Top of Point Standings
 
LONG POND, Penn. (July 7, 2013) – Will Power led the charge for Team Chevy with a fourth place finish today in the Pocono INDYCAR 400 for the IZOD IndyCar Series at Pocono Raceway.  Behind the wheel of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, Power led four Chevrolet IndyCar V6 drivers with top-10 finishes, on the way to another strong oval track finish this season.
 
Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, maintained his lead in the point standings with an eighth place finish in the 160-lap/400-mile race on the track referred to the ‘Tricky Triangle’. Ed Carpenter brought his own No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet to the checkered flag in ninth position.
 
Pole sitter Marco Andretti, No. 25 RC Cola Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, finished 10th, and remains third in the standings.
 
Defending Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 1 DHL Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, was credited with a 20th place finish after contact on pit road sent Hunter-Reay to the garage for repairs that put him 39 laps down to the winner at the finish.
 
Three-time race winner James Hinchcliffe, No. 27 GoDaddy Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, was the victim of a single-car accident on lap one of the 11th race of the 19-race season.  He lost one spot in the standings, and now sits fifth in points.
 
Chevrolet maintains the lead in the Series Manufacturers’ standings with eight races remaining in the season.
 
Scott Dixon (Honda) was the race winner.  Charlie Kimball – 2nd, Dario Franchitti – 3rd and Josef Newgarden – 4th complete the top-five finishers.
The Honda Indy Toronto, the second of the double-header weekends the season, and the first with standing starts, is next on the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule set for July 13-14, 2013.  NBC Sports Network will provide live TV coverage of both points-paying races beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, and again on Sunday. Both races will also be broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, including on Sirius and XM Channels 211, www.indycar.com and the INDYCAR 13 App for most smartphones and tablets.
POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
 
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – FINISHED FOURTH:  “It was a good day and a good finish for the Verizon team. The boys gave me some great pit stops today and it was really important for us to score some good points and continue to make up ground in the championship. I really like this track here at Pocono. It seemed like it was a good crowd and we gave it all we had out there. A very physical race, but a good result for us in the end.”
 
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – FINISHED EIGHTH: “Well, it’s definitely good to come out of this race building our lead in the championship. The Hitachi team did a fantastic job this weekend. The race was very challenging. For us, as a team, we had to make a lot of decisions during the race. Ultimately, the key was saving fuel for a good result and we’ll take a top-10 finish and move on to Toronto with the good points we earned here. Thanks again to the fans here. They were awesome and it’s good to be back racing at Pocono.”
 
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA/ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET – FINISHED NINTH: “It was a tough race for us.  We started 14th and finished ninth.  I felt we had a better car than that result.  We didn’t have a fast car in the beginning of the stints, but we came on strong at the end of them.  We made the car a lot better for the race.  We were just missing a little something.  We were a little inconsistent with the tires. They felt a little different with each run.  I guess we shouldn’t be down about a top-ten finish, but I felt we had a shot for a top-five.  I thought we were charging in some portions of the race.  But then the car didn’t react as quickly after a pit stop.  We might have run a little too much downforce, but we need to look at it back at the shop.  It was fun to race at Pocono.  It is hard to pass but you do it.  I hope the crowd liked the Indy cars here.  I loved coming to this track.  The track does a goes job promoting the race too.  It is great to have Pocono as part of the Fuzzy’s Triple Crown.  We’ll have to defend our title at Fontana and stop Tony (Kanaan) and Scott (Dixon) from taking the $250,000 from Fuzzy’s Vodka.”
 
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 25 RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – FINISHED 10TH: “Oh man, I mean we knew early (about our fuel mileage), but not early enough. I think we should have responded quicker, but it’s so hard to be reserved right now. I’m so frustrated for RC Cola and everybody; we were just so dominant and I’m just absolutely gutted.”

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO, NO. 78 NUCLEAR ENTERGY AREVA KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET – FINISHED 11TH: “The car was awesome! It was a really good race. This is a tricky place; you had to time your passes just right. I had a lot of fun out there and the team was great. They gave me a fantastic car and we were able to move forward and make a lot of moves toward the end of the race. I’m really happy that we were able to get a good result for the Nuclear Clean Air Energy car.”
 
TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 SUNOCO “TURBO” KV RACING TECHNOLOGY SH-RACING CHEVROLET – FINISHED 13TH: “I apologized to the crew several times. I made a mistake and it cost us big. I had a run on Dixon, but didn’t really think that I was closing that fast on him. We had a car that was capable of winning this race and putting us in a position to contend for ‘Fuzzy’s Triple Crown’ and the $1 million prize.  We still have a chance to win in Fontana and collect $250,000, but I just feel bad for the crew because they worked so hard to give me a very competitive car.”
 
RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET – FINISHED 14TH: “We were working a lot on our fuel mileage there late in the race and had to jump in the pits for a splash of fuel, which cost us some positions right at the end. That was a bit unfortunate because the National Guard Chevy was quite racy, especially once the fuel burnt off and we got to the end of each stint. We were working on our downforce levels during some of the early pit stops, and the Panther crew was really quick in the pits all day. I’m really thankful Panther gave me the opportunity to run today knowing we’d have to miss practice and qualifications. We continue to gel each time we go out and I’m looking forward to the next one.”
 
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 7 MCAFEE DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 16TH: “It was a tough day, we were running up front well in the Top-10. The second run was really strong for us, just running flat out. We caught Viso and I made the call to come in a lap early, so we came in. Then the track went yellow and that killed our race. We went completely out of sequence with that yellow and never caught a break. After that we tried to save fuel and not make another stop, but we couldn’t make it all the way without a yellow. At this place you cannot save fuel being flat out and wide open the whole race. The #7 McAfee car deserved better today and the crew did an amazing job today.”
 
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 1 DHL ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – FINISHED 20TH: “We had a great car today, just a lit
tle too much understeer to start with, so we were just going to add front wing as we went. I really think we had a great car to challenge for the win, was really looking forward to the rest of the race – I love this race track. Then we were just coming in to pit lane, minding our own business, and we get creamed from behind. It’s unfortunate but we’ve come from further back to win the championship and we’re determined to do it again. The DHL Chevy boys got me back out on the track; we tried to salvage some points, and I think we got one position. It’s so frustrating when you’re running top three, top two, really happy with your car and then somebody comes from out of nowhere to take you out.”
 
E.J. VISO, NO. 5 TEAM VENEZUELA PDVSA CITGO CHEVROLET – FINISHED 21ST: “It was a pretty disappointing weekend from qualifying on; things never went the right way for me. In the race, since Lap 1, it was extremely difficult to drive – we still don’t know what the problem is. During the race, the car was wandering on me in the straights, in the corners, going from side-to-side. I just needed to stop to have a look at the car, to see if there was anything wrong. But obviously, at that point, it was very late in the race and we lost plenty of ground. From here on there are many street and road courses coming. I believe we have everything it takes to be in the front in those upcoming races.”
 
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO. 6 TRUECAR DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET – FINISHED 23RD: “A very rough day. We ran into the exactly the same issue as in qualifying with our throttle getting stuck as soon as we turned on the car. With that we couldn’t race, so we came in to change the throttle and that was the end of our day. It’s been a very season for us and we cannot seem to catch a break. All we can do is stay focused with a positive attitude and see what happens next.”
 
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – FINISHED 24TH: INVOLVED IN A SINGLE-CAR INCIDENT ON LAP ONE OF THE RACE: ON WHAT HAPPENED: “I mean it just snapped, we got loose. We’ve been battling understeer with a hot day. We were planning on the car being a bit more pushy than…I guess it ultimately ended up being. We went a little aggressive on setup. I don’t know, maybe we went too much or what. It’s just so weird.  I  had a moment almost like that in qualifying, and I guess I used up all my luck/talent saving it the; we didn’t have enough this time. With the downforce level we were running, and the setup that we had, there is just no way I thought that was the kind of accident that would have taken us out especially on lap one especially when the tires are fresh and everything was good. It is devastating, man, to have the GoDaddy car out; Andretti Autosport one-two-three didn’t last too long. I feel bad for the team; the guys worked so hard. Hopefully Marco and Ryan can fly the flag, and try to bring it home for us. I’m not entirely sure what happened.  We’ll have to take a look at it.  The car just snapped loose on me.  We went a bit aggressive on setup because we had an understeering car all week, and we didn’t want that in the race.  Maybe we overstepped it a bit; I’m not quite sure.  We’ll have to go back and take a look.  It’s really unfortunate.  It’s a 400-mile race so to go out on Lap 1 is just devastating.  We had high hopes for the Go Daddy car.  We’ve been on a good sort of momentum streak.  It’s turned into a repeat of last year – an accident while running up front right before Toronto.”
 

Wood Brothers Racing–Bayne’s Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion Fast From Start to Finish at Daytona

Trevor Bayne and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion were in the hunt for victory for most of Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. As the laps wound down, Bayne was leading a pack of drivers making a charge in the outside lane. He drove under the white flag in eighth place and counting, but his plans didn’t pan out, and he wound up steering his way through some late-race wreckage to finish 20th.

“Up to the white flag I thought we had shot at that thing with the 2 car [the Ford Fusion of Brad Keselowski] pushing us,” Bayne said.

But the beating and banging that is typical of green-white-checkered-flag runs to the finish of restrictor-plate races ended his bid for a finish at the front.

“We had the top with open track ahead of us and the 17 [the Ford Fusion of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.] got in there somehow to our left-rear and got us completely sideways,” Bayne said. “I thought we were crashed, so luckily we didn’t tear it up and finish that one early, but it wasn’t the finish we were looking for with that strong of a car.

“We ran in the top 10 all day and could drive to the front, but we just didn’t get a good finish.”

Team co-owner Eddie Wood left Daytona happy.

“All you can ask for in a restrictor-plate race is to have a fast car and be in a position to contend for the win when it comes to a green-white-checkered-flag finish,” he said. “And we were in the mix all night long.”

Bayne started 20th, and was running fourth by Lap 40. Throughout the race, he was able to move through the field with relative ease.

Wood said that ability to race well was what the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew was working toward in both of Thursday’s practice sessions, a strategy made possible by the fact that there were just 43 teams vying for the 43 starting positions.

“Since we didn’t have to worry about qualifying for the race, we got to spend time on the race set-up, and it paid off,” he said.

Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team return to action in three weeks when the Sprint Cup Series returns to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Richard Childress Racing–Coke Zero 400

Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola      
Daytona International Speedway  
 
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Daytona International Speedway      
July 6, 2013 
 
Race Highlights: 
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 3rd (Kevin Harvick), 16th (Jeff Burton) and 43rd (Paul Menard) in the Coke Zero 400.
Following the event at Daytona International Speedway, Harvick remains fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, trailing leader Jimmie Johnson by 73 markers, while Menard ranks 20th, 198 points back, and Burton sits 21st, 201 points out of the top position.
The No. 29 Chevrolet SS team ranks fourth in the Sprint Cup Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 27 team 21st in the standings and the No. 31 team 22nd.
According to NASCAR’s Post-Race Loop Data Statistics, Harvick posted the fastest Green Flag Speed of the race with a lap time of 197.465 mph and completed three of the Fastest Laps Run.
Harvick ranked third in Speed in Traffic (197.506 mph), was the eighth-Fastest Driver Late in a Run and the 10th-Fastest Driver Early in a Run.
Burton made 162 green-flag passes and was the only RCR driver to be credited with a lap led.
Menard completed 23 laps at Daytona International Speedway, all of which he ran within the top 10.
Jimmie Johnson earned his fourth victory of the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season and was followed to the finish line by Tony Stewart, Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip.
The next Sprint Cup Series race is the Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 14. The 19th race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on TNT beginning at Noon Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio, channel 90.

 
 
Menard Finishes 43rd Under the Lights at Daytona International Speedway
 
Paul Menard started the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway from the sixth position, but was relegated to a 43rd-place result on Saturday evening after experiencing mechanical issues early in the 161-lap event. Menard quickly moved up to third at lap eight and radioed to crew chief “Slugger” Labbe that the Rheem/Menards Chevrolet was handling to his liking. After settling into position, the field began to spread out single-file and Menard remained in the top three until lap 24 when his car caught fire forcing him to go to the garage. After accessing the damage, the team diagnosed the No. 27 with a terminal engine issue, ending Menard’s night early. The Eau Claire, Wis., native was credited with a 43rd -place finish and now sits 20th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standing heading into New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
 
Start – 6         Finish – 43         Laps Led – 0          Points – 20th
 
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:
“We had a really fast Rheem/Menards Chevrolet tonight, and it’s really unfortunate our evening ended so early. It is a tough break for our team, but we’ll keep our heads up and go to New Hampshire Motor Speedway next weekend hoping for better results.”
 
 
 
    
Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Team Finish Third 
at Daytona International Speedway
 
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser team collected their eighth-consecutive top-10 finish after taking the checkered flag third under the lights at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday evening. Starting from the 26th position, Harvick dropped back in the field during the early laps of the 400-mile event to avoid the troubles synonymous with superspeedway racing. As the race progressed, the California native waited for the right opportunity to begin working his way toward the front of the field, which came at lap 101 when he drove up to the sixth position. Following a fuel-only pit stop on lap 127, Harvick returned to the track in the fourth position and held a spot near the front of the field, working his way up to as high as second. The Richard Childress Racing driver was shuffled around in the pack during the green-white-checkered finish, but maintained ground crossing the finish line third. Following his 10th top-10 finish of the season, Harvick remains fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
 
Start – 26         Finish – 3         Laps Led – 0         Points – 4th
                      
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
“I thought we were in a good spot. The whole thing on the restarts is just getting your line to form.  Everybody on our Budweiser Chevrolet team did a great job. We were able to hold Jimmie (Johnson) door-to-door until the exit of turn two, but on both of those restarts the No. 14 and No. 15, and whoever was behind them. just couldn’t get our line formed up. All night it seemed like the top line would form pretty fast and those guys were able to get going a lot quicker than the inside line.”
 
 
 
  
 
      
 
 Jeff Burton Locks in a 16th-place finish in Kwikset Chevrolet at Daytona
 
When the initial green flag waved for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night, Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Kwikset Chevrolet were lined up 17th. Right from the start, Burton and the Luke Lambert-led team elected to drop back through the field and maintain a position far enough away from the lead pack to avoid trouble, but close enough they could quickly get back and race with the leaders. For the early portion of the 161-lap race, Burton was running in the 30s with few handling issues. Through the first three caution periods, Lambert and Burton agreed to make pit stops for four tires, fuel, minor air pressure and chassis adjustments. During a caution on lap 130, Burton stayed out to lead a lap while others hit pit road as soon as it opened. Just as Burton was starting to make his move towards the front, the caution came out on lap 149 for a multi-car wreck on the frontstretch tri-oval. This brought out the red flag for eight minutes and 53 seconds, before the yellow was displayed to restart the race with Burton in 28th with 27 laps remaining. Burton dodged cars spinning in front of him with five laps remaining while he was up to 19th place. This set up a green-white-checkered finish and, as usual at a restrictor-plate race, mechanical mayhem ensued after the white flag was waved. Burton worked his way up to 16th and maintained his position until crossing under the checkered flag. Right after he took the checkers, he was caught up in a multi-car wreck damaging his Kwikset Chevrolet, but walked away unharmed. With his finish of 16th, Burton and team remain 21st in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
 
           Start – 17              Finish 16           Laps Led – 1            Points – 21st
 
JEFF BURTON QUOTE:
“This wasn’t the finish this Kwikset team deserved tonight. We played it safe there for most of the race and were just getting wound up to go to the front when that caution waved with five to go. That set up the green-white-checkered-finish and it just wasn’t enough time to get to where I know that car could have run.”

Chevy Racing–Daytona–Post Race

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
COKE ZERO 400
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
JULY 6, 2013
 
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON CAPTURES FIRST SWEEP AT DAYTONA IN 31 YEARS
Team Chevy Drivers Take Top-Three Finishing Spots and Seven of Top-10
 
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (July 6, 2013) – Jimmie Johnson is widely known for smashing records and earning milestones, and his performance at the 55th Annual Coke Zero 400 was no different.  Behind the wheel of the No. 48 Lowe’s Dover White Chevrolet SS, Johnson became the first driver to win both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) in the same season, in 31 years.  The last driver to accomplish this feat was Hall of Fame driver Bobby Allison, in 1982.
 
Johnson, the current series point leader, led 94 laps of the161-lap race and extended his lead to a 49-point advantage after 18 races.  This was his fourth victory of 2013 and 64th career NSCS win.
 
“Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus and the #48 Lowes Dover White Chevrolet SS team on winning the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway tonight,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “The team’s focus on race set-up, strategy, terrific driving and execution in the pits made all the difference.
 
“It is extra special that Jimmie and the entire Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 team delivered not only the first points win for the new Chevrolet SS at the Daytona 500 in February, but also produced the victory tonight. It’s also very special because it’s the first sweep for a driver at Daytona in 31 years.”
 
Tony Stewart, No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Chevrolet SS, who came close to scoring his fifth July win at DIS, posted a solid second place finish.  Stewart moved up six positions in the point standings to 10th with his run.   Richard Childress Racing driver Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet SS, retained his fourth place spot in the standings after finishing third overall. It was Harvick’s 11th top-10 finish in 25 races at Daytona International Speedway.
 
“It was great that Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick finished 1-2-3 in tonight’s race,” added Campbell.  “We are proud of the Team Chevy drivers and crews on their strong runs tonight at Daytona.
 
Other Team Chevy drivers in the top-10 included: Kurt Busch, No. 78 Furniture Row Racing/Sealy Chevrolet SS – sixth, Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Cessna Chevrolet SS – seventh, Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS – eighth, and Ryan Newman, No. 39 Outback Chevrolet SS was 10th.
 
Clint Bowyer (Toyota) was fourth, and Michael Waltrip (Toyota) was fifth to round out the top-five finishing order.
 
Next stop on the circuit will be Round 19 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 14th.  Green flag is set for 1:00 pm ET and will air live on TNT, Sirius/XM Channel 90, PRN Radio and

Chevy Racing–Daytona Post Race

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
COKE ZERO 400
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER RACE NOTES & QUOTES
JULY 6, 2013
 
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 RHEEM/MENARDS CHEVROLET SS – Sidelined on lap 22 with engine failure
WHAT HAPPENED?
DID THE WATER TEMPERATURE GET TOO HIGH OR WHAT WOULD HAVE CAUSED THAT? 
“Absolutely no warning, the water was 225 and we were just kind of riding there.  The car was really good, handled great.  Kind of biding our time for the first pit stop came off turn four and something just let go.  It wasn’t smoking, it broke and I could hear it.  I felt the heat come up.  I didn’t know if I was on fire or not.  I couldn’t feel it right away.  Just unfortunate we needed a good run and had a really good car today a good Rheem/Menards Chevy.”
 
ALL WE SAW WAS A HUGE BALL OF FIRE COME OUT OF YOUR CAR WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED OUT THERE? 
“The motor broke.  ECR (Earnhardt Childress Racing) guys build really great horse power.  I haven’t had a motor failure in forever.  Something just broke I’m not sure what it is.  It’s leaking oil right now.  I’m not sure if it was a part failure or what something big happened.  We needed a good run we had a really good car.  Just kind of biding our time there and nothing, it gave no indication, temperatures were fine.  We were running good until off turn four.”
 

 
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – Sidelined in crash on Lap 97.
IT APPEARED YOU HAD NO WHERE TO GO WHAT WAS YOUR VIEW OF IT? 
“We all went to the bottom to create a second groove because they were really checking up on the top. For some reason they decided to try to blend when there was no room.  For a change, somebody made the mistake and we ended up paying for the mistake.  Kind of sucks because everybody on this Target team has been working really hard we’ve got a great car.  We had really good speed in practice, qualified well and we were just taking our time.  It just sucks.”  

 
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S DOVER WHITE CHEVROLET SS – WINNER
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HAD A CAR THAT DOMINATE AT A PLATE RACE?
“That is tough to do at a plate track.  Especially with how tight the rules are.  I think I showed strength early and a lot of the guys knew that and were willing to work with me, and kind of help me through situations, which is great.  I don’t know if I really made a bad move tonight.  I’m pretty proud of that.  Had a great horse to ride got ‘white lightening’ to Victory Lane, which I’m very proud of.  I want to thank Lowe’s and all the employees at Lowe’s for their dedication and support of our race team.  Chevrolet, KOBALT Tools, Gatorade, Sprint for their support of our series as well and I want to give my daughter an early birthday wish.  Her birthday is tomorrow, three already.  Time is flying, but just an awesome night tonight.”
 
WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH ALL YOUR TEAM AND THE FLIPPED UP BILLS OF THEIR HATS?
“I don’t know if it’s West Coast or I can’t really get…I’m looking at East Coasters thinking it’s West Coast.  We will take it we will run bills up.  It’s not as aero as you would think, but just very proud of the night.  I want to thank everybody at Hendrick Motorsports for a great race car, engine shop, chassis shop and aero.  Very fast race car.”
 
FIRST GUY IN 31 YEARS TO WIN THE 500 AND THE 400 SINCE BOBBY ALLISON WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU?
“That is amazing.  Gosh, I remember being in Southern California watching Bobby Allison.  I remember where I was the day Davey (Allison) passed away.  That is how much the Allison family meant to me.  I always thought it was so great to watch Bobby and Davey race.  To tie anything that Bobby has done is pretty special.  Very happy tonight.”
 
AFTER THE LAST FEW WEEKS, HOW NICE IS IT TO PAY ONE OFF FINALLY IN VICTORY LANE?
“Yeah, we have been knocking on the door for sure.  It’s great to get ‘white lightening’ to Victory Lane.  Also want to wish everybody a happy Fourth of July and thank all the men and women that have fought for our country for our independence.  That was fun tonight.”
 
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 BASS PRO SHOPS/DUCKS UNLIMITED CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED SECOND
OPPORTUNITY AND CIRCUMSTANCES KEPT CHANGING. WALK US THROUGH THE FINAL GREEN-WHITE-CHECKERED:
“I mean I can’t remember everything that happened.  I didn’t get as good a restart as I wanted.  I think it kind of worked to our favor there.  It got Clint (Bowyer) a little bit ahead of me and it got Kevin (Harvick) a little bit ahead of Jimmie (Johnson).
 
“That let Jimmie and I both tuck down to those two guys and get going.  Kurt Busch gave us a really good push from behind there and that got us back to getting Jimmie the shove he needed.  It got us out there far enough ahead to where we could worry about racing him.  That is some strong Hendrick horse power up front there.  You get three or four of these Hendrick cars together and they are fast.  Everybody at SHR (Stewart-Haas Racing), Ducks Unlimited, Bass Pro Shops, just everybody did an awesome job this weekend.  Just glad we were ahead of the carnage.”

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER FOLDS OF HONOR CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED THIRD
WALK US THROUGH THE FINAL LAP OR SO.  IT LOOKED LIKE YOU WERE IN THE EXACT RIGHT POSITION:
“I thought we were in a good spot.  The whole thing on the restarts is just getting your line to form.  Everybody on our Budweiser Chevrolet did a great job.  We were able to hold Jimmie (Johnson) door to door until the exit of turn two, but both of those restarts the No. 14 and No. 15 and whoever was behind them just couldn’t get our line formed up.  All night it seemed like the top line would form up pretty quick and those guys were able to get going a lot quicker.”
 
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET SS – Sidelined in a crash on lap 156 and finished 32nd
THAT WAS A BIG HIT COMING OFF TURN TWO GETTING INTO THAT INSIDE WALL:
“Yeah we were… Jimmie (Johnson) moved up to block the outside row coming so I kind of at that point had the lead. I had followed Jimmie a lot throughout the race.  I felt really good with our Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet.  Next thing I know I got slammed and shot left.  It was the end of our night.  It’s kind of how these races go.  You don’t have a lot of control over some of the things that happen here.  I’m happy our car was fast and we put a good showing out.  We ran up front the whole race.”

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 AXALTA COATING SYSTEMS CHEVROLET SS – Caught up in accident on lap 149 finished 34th
YOU GOT KIND OF CAUGHT UP IN THE ACCIDENT WITH THE NO.11 AND THE NO. 20 TALK ABOUT IT FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE:
“Yeah, we lost some track position there.  Had a really strong car, really good handling Axalta Chevrolet tonight so I was happy about that.  Great to have Finish Master and the 50 years that Axalta has been with them on board tonight too.  Just sitting there kind of riding along hoping that outside lane, I can’t say we were riding it was pretty aggressive.  Just nowhere to go and just riding that outside lane hoping they were starting to make progress.  I don’t know I just saw somebody spin in front of me.  We all tried to avoid it.  I guess it was the No. 11 and we all tried to avoid them and Matt (Kenseth) got sideways and then I didn’t have anywhere to go either.  Got the right-front and that just sent the car into the wall.
 
“It’s unfortunate.  I still think we had a great shot at getting the car to the front.  We had a very strong race car and you have to survive before
you can ever get there.  You have to finish too.”
 
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 18TH:
WAS IT AN EXCITING FINISH?
“Well, a green-white-checkered finish is always exciting.  (Dale Earnhardt) Junior and I had a good run through the middle and then up high around (Turn) 4. And I just watched the replay. It felt like I ran just along the wall but it could have been me that came down in front of the No. 38 (Dave Gilliland). It definitely wasn’t what I was trying to do at all. I was just following the No. 88 (Earnhardt, Jr.). So, if that’s what happened, then I definitely apologize. I lost spots doing it.
 
“So, all in all, it was a solid day. I felt like we were a little slow to get going, but I felt like we made the car better and I felt like I figured out some things in the car that helped. Got the Godaddy car in a decent position. Every time I look at the board I’m further down, but we ran strong and that’s what we want to do. I thought the Chevys looked really good in the race.”
 
DO YOU FEEL LIKE MAYBE YOU COULD HAVE MADE A RUN THERE ON THAT LAST LAP?
“I think that I did make a run on that last lap.  The No. 88 (Earnhardt Jr.) and I went up through the middle and then around the outside. So, I think it was a run. It didn’t end up like I wanted, like I said. I, by all means, was just meaning to follow the No. 88 around the top to the line, but I think it was all right. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do on those last laps. Nobody really had a plan because it’s really hard to plan for what 42 other guys are going to do out there.”
 
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING/ SEALY CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 6TH
YOU ARE NOW TOP 10 IN POINTS. YOU’VE GOT TO BE HAPPY ABOUT THAT
“That’s awesome to have a good run like that and stay out of trouble and post a nice Top-10. These Furniture Row guys have been working hard. We’ve made little mistakes here, there, and everywhere. When we start putting it together, it’s now starting to bear the fruit and we’ve moved our way into the Top 10 in points. So that’s pretty cool. We have a long way to go, and yet we still are getting better. I’m just real proud of these guys and the effort that we’ve put forth and just a big thanks to Barney Visser and Furniture Row and Chevy and everybody that’s on board. It’s great. We’re there, but we’ve still got a bit of work to do.”
 

Chevy Racing–Corvette Racing–Lime Rock

CORVETTE RACING AT LIME ROCK: Second Place for Garcia, Magnussen
Hard-charging effort pays off with another podium finish
 
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (July 6, 2013) – Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen stood on the podium at Lime Rock Park for the second straight season with a runner-up finish Saturday in the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix. The No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R ran a nearly flawless race to lead Corvette Racing’s effort in the fourth round of the American Le Mans Series.
 
The result, which played out for a live television audience on ESPN2, moved Garcia and Magnussen from fifth in the ALMS’ GT driver’s championship into a provisional three-way tie for second.
 
Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin finished sixth in a trying race. The defending ALMS GT champions stand third in the provisional standings. Corvette Racing is tied for first in the team standings, and Chevrolet continues to lead the manufacturer’s championship.
 
Magnussen drove his entire stint in the car under green flag conditions on the crowded and steamy Lime Rock circuit. Starting from third, he pitted just over an hour into the race to hand over to Garcia. The hard-charging Spaniard chased down the first-place BMW and clicked off faster laps than the race leader before a late-race caution period halted his charge.
 
Misfortune struck Milner early as the driver’s side mirror broke after contact with a Ferrari early. He fell to 11th in class but worked his way up to seventh by the first pit stop. Gavin entered the race in fifth but the team was assessed a stop-and-go penalty when the Corvette left the pitlane with a cable still attached. Gavin also sustained minor damage when a prototype attempting to overtake him instead made contact.
 
“Today we saw both sides of racing at Lime Rock Park,” said Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan. “”It provided great entertainment for the fans with Jan and Antonio giving it their all and earning a well-deserved, runner-up finish. On the other end of the spectrum, I know Tommy, Oliver and the No. 4 crew would have liked to be part of the fight at the end. We head next to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – a track that should favor our Corvettes and keep us in the GT championship hunt.”
 
Next up for Corvette Racing is the Grand Prix of Mosport on Sunday, July 21 from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. It is the fifth round of this year’s ALMS championship.
 
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“Corvette Racing again did an awesome job. It was the second race in row, plus Le Mans, where we gave 110 percent. We made very good calls and very good pit stops. I think we forced the BMW to take two tires at the end. I don’t think they believed they could stay ahead of us. They took that gamble. I don’t know how much it helped them to take that last yellow; maybe it cooled down everything. At that point, you don’t really know their strategy. I was saving tires and don’t know if they were. Looking at the last four laps how much they were suffering, I don’t know in a full green race what would have happened. I knew the race would come down to tires. We managed things as best we could. We had a very strong car, very good strategy and very good points for the championship.”
 
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“It surprised me that I did my whole stint under green. It’s not like anyone was falling off but they managed to get back on so as to not cause a safety car. I don’t know if people were getting too hot but the driving standards were quite bad. The gap (from Garcia to the leader) was closed up at the end and we wanted Antonio to have as much time as he needed to see if he could do anything about the BMW. Whether it was six or eight minutes, it probably wouldn’t have made that much of a difference. It looked like Antonio had the car at the end. Had we been right with the BMW, maybe we could have done something. Second is probably the best result we were going to have, so I’m very happy.”
 
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“To say that this was a frustrating day would be an understatement. The race didn’t start well for us and never got better. The contact Tommy suffered put us behind early, and we found out again that it is near impossible to recover. The penalty was unfortunate and clearly didn’t help matters. Traffic was more of an issue than ever before but it’s a by-product of the circuit layout. Great result for Jan and Antonio; Tommy and I are eager for similar results again.”
 
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
“We got completely hosed at the start by a competitor who decided to drive into me for the entire length of the braking zone in Turn 1, which knocked the mirror off. I checked out after that and had a nice little race going on before we had to pit to replace the mirror. The guys did an awesome job changing it out. Then on our pit stop, we just didn’t execute and got a penalty for that to put us back again. Traffic was just awful. It made everyone frustrated. You had to drive around in many cases at half your ability. It’s been a frustrating few days and months but we will learn from this and go to Canada with even more determination and desire. We’ll have to make up for these bad couple of races with a win. That’s how it has to be.”

Mopar Racing–Mopar’s Johnson Earns No.1 Qualifier for Second Consecutive Year at Norwalk

Mopar’s Johnson Earns No.1 Qualifier for Second Consecutive Year at Norwalk
 
·         Mopar is competing at seventh annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals this weekend in Norwalk, Ohio. the 13th of 24 national events
·         Johnson earns first No.1 qualifier honors of the season; second at Norwalk in consecutive years
·         Capps is third as top Mopar Funny Car qualifier in his 400th NHRA national event

Norwalk, Ohio (Saturday, July 6, 2013) – Mopar’s Pro Stock driver and defending NHRA world champion, Allen Johnson has earned his first No.1 qualifier honor of the 2013 season in the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Avenger at the seventh annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. Johnson’s second top qualifier position at the Norwalk track in consecutive years was posted with an elapsed time pass of 6.592 seconds (209.75 mph) on his second qualifying run in Friday evening’s unseasonably cool track conditions, a time that held through two more qualifying sessions on Saturday in warmer and more humid conditions, to give him his 29th career pole position.

 

“Last year we ran really well here and our Mopar Express Lane Dodge just loves this track,” said Johnson who has three wins this season and who’s previous No.1 qualifying effort was last fall in Dallas during the Countdown to the Championship. “More importantly we’re gaining on [points leader] Mike Edwards a little bit and I think we made some progress performance-wise as well. The last few races we’ve pretty much matched him engine-wise and we’re figuring out some things on the car. We had one good run and one not so great today but I think you’ll see pretty close to the same conditions on Sunday.  We’ve got a pretty good set-up and we feel good about it.”

 

With only 15 entries qualified for eliminations at Summit Motorsports Park, Johnson will get a ‘bye’ in the first round but he knows that every single run is going to be important if he is going to defend his championship crown.

 

It’s going to be a knockdown, drag-out battle through to the end of this season,” Johnson added as this weekend’s event launches the second half of the season with just six more titles up for grabs before the start of the Countdown to the Championship. “This is what I call ‘getting after it’ time. Hopefully we can do well and keep pushing to try and secure that No. 1 position going into the playoffs.”

 

Johnson’s Mopar teammate and winner of last week’s national title in Chicago, Jeg Coughlin Jr. has never won at Norwalk, his home track, but is hoping to change that this weekend after qualifying third with a 6.614-second run (208.91mph).

 

“I feel great running here,” said Coughlin who had also qualified third on route to winning the “Wally” trophy last weekend. “I love racing at this track. The fans are great, and I have made a lot of runs here in my career. There’s nothing more I’d like to do than make four rounds here tomorrow and turn the win light on in the final to boot.”

 

Coughlin’s JEGS.com /Mopar Dodge Avenger, which is sporting a unique JEGS Racing for Cancer Research Foundation ribbon on the hood this weekend to mark their 10th anniversary and their recent $10 million gift to the Ohio State University Foundation’s Project One, will line up in the first round of eliminations against Steve Spiess.

 

V. Gaines was fourth overall with his Dodge entry on the qualifying scoring sheets after posting a 6.616 second e.t. (209.56 mph) to put him up against first round opponent Kenny Delco.

Last year’s Pro Stock title winner at Norwalk, Vincent Nobile, qualified his HEMI-powered Dodge in sixth spot with a 6.629 second pass (208.75 mph) and will face Steve Kent in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations.

 

In Funny Car action, Don Schumacher Racing’s Ron Capps was the top Mopar qualifier with his third place effort in qualifying for his 400th career NHRA national event. The top position was held by John Force with track record run on Friday night of 4.021 seconds (317.72mph) while Capps set his best time of 4.040 seconds (316.82 mph) in the same session but held on to that third spot through Saturday qualifying to face Jeff Arend as his the first round opponent in eliminations.

 

DSR teammate Johnny Gray qualified his Dodge Charger R/T fourth with a 4.061-second, 312.64 mph run to face Alexis DeJoria in the opening round.

 

Last week’s national title winner in Chicago, Matt Hagan, continued to produce consistent runs in his “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar”/ Rocky Boots machine to qualify sixth with an e.t. of 4.071 seconds (313.29 mph) and will battle Tony Pedregon in his first round match. Defending NHRA Funny Car world champion, Jack Beckman was ninth with a 4.100 second (308.92 mph) pass to set him up against Cruz Pedregon.

John Force Racing–Norwalk

FORCE No. 1 FOR FIRST TIME AT NORWALK

 

NORWALK, OH – There is only one track left that John Force has not been the No. 1 qualifier after this weekend’s effort at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk. His Friday night 4.021 second pass was a track record and checked the famed Norwalk facility off the list of tracks Force has not been the best in qualifying.  The lone remaining track is Bristol Dragway. This was the 25th different track and 30th different event Force has been the No. 1 qualifier.

 

On today’s effort Force talked about the strategy behind his runs in both sessions. Crew chief Mike Neff who has won the past two NHRA events here was looking for the edge to go rounds on Sunday.

 

“We are just out there trying to do everything we can so we can go from A to B. It was warm yesterday too when we ran that 4.13 seconds in the heat. When it cooled down we stepped up and ran that 4.02 which was the track record. The track was good. You fight the elements like the heat today. We wanted to see how far we could push it today. We know we will pull her back in the first round and we will. We have a race here to win,” said the 135-time Funny Car NHRA national event winner

 

This was Force’s record 143rd No. 1 qualifying effort in 624 races. For his career he is averaging being number No. 1 qualifier every four races. It isn’t just the performance numbers that motivate the 64-year old racer it is the cheer of the fans and the support of track operators like the Bader family here in Norwalk.

 

“This is kind of home. I call Pomona our home track because we race there twice a year but we race here twice a year too. I have raced here for 18 years and you get to know the Baders and their whole family. They want to see you do good and they tell me to win this before I tip over. I better get going,” said Force a life-long Orange County California resident.

 

Right behind Force in the qualifying is teammate Robert Hight who had one of the most dominant cars all weekend record one of the three quickest runs in three of the four qualifying sessions including a blistering 4.09 second run in the heat of the day in the final qualifying session.

 

“Today’s runs were all about getting ready for tomorrow. This Auto Club Ford Mustang has been coming around the last couple of races. I am not over confident by any stretch but I am excited to be racing tomorrow. Running that 4.09 was just what we wanted to do. (Crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) was looking at the data and we think there was a little more out there. (Bob) Tasca (III) will be tough and we are battling to stay in the Top Ten,” said Hight.

 

The first round match-up between Ford Mustangs will be an epic tilt as Hight is fighting to hold onto his spot in the Top Ten where he has a seventeen point lead. He came into Norwalk with an even slimmer three point lead but thanks to his strong qualifying effort he was able to pad that lead going into Sunday’s eliminations.

 

“We got a lot of bonus qualifying points and almost earned a round just in qualifying. We need to string some more qualifying weekends like this together. We earned eight qualifying bonus points and then earned seven for being the No. 2 qualifier. You string a couple weekends like that together and we will be in good shape,” said Hight, a finalist at the Topeka national event earlier this season.

 

“You look at the fans that come out here and it was pretty hot today. They have been great all weekend and we want to put on a good show. We want to go rounds tomorrow and you have to win the first round to have a shot at winning the race. It sounds simple but the first round will be a huge round.”

 

Courtney Force made two good passes down the race track in today’s qualifying, preparing her for race day while setting the stage with performances in conditions expected for Sunday.

 

“We made a lot of changes since yesterday’s qualifying passes, which I think are good changes. We’re trying to get our car to be more consistent like it was last season, and it showed a lot of promise today in the heat of the day. Our Traxxas Ford is coming around and it’s doing what we are telling it to do and that’s what we want,” said Force.

Force was able to make the top 12 on Friday with a 4.106 seconds at 312.86 mph and carry over her time to Saturday’s qualifying.

 

“We came out here today having only one run from Friday to work off of and we weren’t even sure if the weather was going to cooperate with us to we could get all of qualifying in. That is one of the most important things because when you don’t get all four shots to qualify, it makes figuring out the car and the track together very difficult on race day,” said Force.

 

Force and her Traxxas Ford Mustang showed consistency when they ran 4.123 seconds at 313.95 mph and picked up one bonus point for being the third-quickest of that session. They then followed up that run with a 4.147 ET at 311.34 mph and earned another additional bonus point for being third-quickest of that session as well.

 

“We got it down the track both runs today so we’re figuring some new things out and we’re feeling confident going into first round tomorrow. We have to run (Tim) Wilkerson  again so it’s going to be a re-match of last weekend,” said Force, who has a 5-1 record against Wilkerson in previous events.

 

“I’m excited and I feel confident in my car and my team. I look forward to racing out here in Norwalk tomorrow. We picked up two bonus points today, so hopefully we can go some rounds tomorrow and be one of the quickest cars out there. We need to continue to get all the points we can now to prepare for the countdown to the championship. Everything matters now,” said Force.

 

Top Fuel pilot Brittany Force didn’t have the weekend she and her Castrol EDGE team had hoped for as they missed the cut today.

 

Round three of qualifying looked to be a good run for the soon to be 27-year-old, until engine issues forced the driver to let off the throttle. Force ended the session with a 4.05 second pass at 223.80 mph.

 

“First run of the day, it went out there and about the 600 foot mark I lifted,” Force said. “The motor had problems and my team came over the radio and told me to lift and I just happen to catch that right before.”

 

That run temporarily bumped the John Force Racing team out of the show. Crew chiefs Dean Antonelli and Eric Lane along with help from veteran tuner Richard Hogan tuned Force’s dragster for the heat as the track temperature increased with each passing minute leading up to the final qualifying session.

 

The Cal-State Fullerton graduate laid it all on the line as she raced down the track, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough, missing the show by 0.038 thousandths of a second. However, Force and company will take what they have learned and move forward to the next event.

 

“The last run we almost made it down there,” Force said. “We really needed to make a good run to get it in the show. We got the Castrol EDGE dragster down the track, but it got out of the groove a little bit and took a hard left turn. I saw that center line come up really quick and I lifted. That was my reaction and that’s something we can all learn from. I think down the road, if I had some more experience, I could have made a different call, maybe driven it back, but I’m still learning and everything is still new to me and my team. With that, my Castrol EDGE team didn’t qualify. We’re bummed we didn’t make the show, but we won’t let this get us down. We’ll use this to get us pumped up for the Western Swing.”

 

Chevy Racing–IndyCar–Pocono Qualifying

Marco Andretti Wins the Pole for the Pocono INDYCAR 400 at Pocono Raceway to Lead Team Chevy in Capturing Top-Six Qualifying Positions
 
LONG POND, Penn. (July 6, 2013) – Marco Andretti continued his family’s legacy at Pocono Raceway by winning the pole for tomorrow’s 160-lap Pocono INDYCAR 400. His father and team owner, Michael Andretti, was the pole winner in 1986.  In 1987, his grandfather, Mario Andretti, won the pole. It is the second pole of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season for the driver of the No. 25 RC Cola Andretti Autosport Chevrolet.
 
Andretti led a contingent of six Chevrolet IndyCar V6 drivers to the top-six qualifying positions today including an all-Andretti Autosport front row, in the second race of the season that will see the field roll to the green flag in rows of three cars.  Defending Series Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay was the second fastest qualifier in the No. 1 DHL Chevrolet, and James Hinchcliffe turned the third quickest time in the No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet.
 
Team Chevy drivers claiming the fourth through sixth qualifying positions were: Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet; Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan, No. 11 Sunoco “Turbo” KV Racing Technology Chevrolet and Series points leader Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet.
 
“Congratulations to Marco Andretti for winning the pole position at Pocono Raceway today for tomorrow’s 400 mile race,” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, IZOD IndyCar Series. “This is Marco’s second pole of the season and is a continuation of the consistency he is demonstrating this year which shows in his current 3rd place position in the driver’s points battle.  Andretti Autosport secured the entire 3-wide front row for the start of the race tomorrow with Ryan Hunter-Reay alongside Marco and James Hinchcliffe beside Ryan.  The Chevrolet IndyCar V6 will also power the second row for Will Power, Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves.  We are very proud of the effort and preparation that our teams and technical partners have put forth for the return of IndyCar racing to ‘The Tricky Triangle’ here at Pocono and look forward to a strong Team Chevy race result tomorrow.”
 
A total of 12 Chevrolet IndyCar V6 drivers are qualified to start the second leg of the Fuzzy’s Triple Crown.  If a driver wins all three races, he or she will take home a $1 million bonus.  Kanaan is the only driver in a position to win the big prize by virtue of winning the Indy 500.  If a driver wins two of the three (the final leg of the Triple Crown is the season finale at Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, California), they will earn $250,000
The 160 lap/400 mile challenge is scheduled for Sunday, July 7th at the three-turn Pocono Raceway. The race will be televised live at 12:00 p.m. (ET) ABC and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, including on Sirius and XM Channels 211, www.indycar.com and the INDYCAR 13 App for most smartphones and tablets.
POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 25 RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – POLE WINNER
 
TALK ABOUT TODAY’S QUALIFYING RUN AND ESPECIALLY GOING OUT SO EARLY AND HAVING TO PLAY THE WAITING GAME:
“Yeah, I mean obviously I always know my teammates are going to be strong.  I got everything out of it so I knew that I was going to be pleased with the result regardless if we were on pole or not.  In IndyCar racing now a days there is five guys that get it right so that is what I was waiting for.  We lucked out today.”
 
YOU SAID YESTERDAY THAT YOU DIDN’T THINK ANYBODY WAS GOING TO GET UP TO 221 AND YOU WENT OUT THERE AND LAID IT DOWN:
“I meant anybody else.  Yeah, no it all came together.  It was going to be all about balance and we really were focusing on every little detail in practice because we got a decent handle on the race car so we hope and we knew we had tonight’s session if we didn’t.  So we focused on really studying everything to get everything to the last detail and we did.”
 
TALK ABOUT BEING ON THE POLE AT YOUR HOMETOWN RACE:
“Yeah, it’s tremendous.  I’ve taken a huge liking to this place as soon as I rolled off here in the initial test.  I really think the Indy cars are built for this track and vice versa.  I really do. This became my favorite track.  I love Indianapolis, but the way this place races it’s so challenging.  It’s so different end to end and even lap to lap that you really have to chase the tools in the car and that was on my own.  There is going to be some traffic tomorrow and it’s going to be the one who gets it right.”
 
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET IT RIGHT?
“Honestly, I think there is going to be a little bit like Indianapolis right place at the right time.  Timing your passes because it’s really easy to get suckered in to try to make something out of nothing because of the way the cars are towing.  You really have to be smart.  You really have to be more than alongside.  I wouldn’t be comfortable just turning in right next to somebody in case you know.  You can’t go two-wide through turn two so you really have to time your passes and right place at the right time.  Hopefully we are on the better end of the luck.”
 
DID YOU GET A CHANCE TO DO ANY LONG RUNS YESTERDAY?
“I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot by saying this, but I mean the race car yesterday was on rails.  I could pass anybody as soon as I got up to them.  Today we were struggling a bit in turn three, but I think that is the characteristic of the wind.  I think relative to my competitors we are still strong.  That is all we can really go for.  It’s going to take more than that.  We know that.”
 
YOU BECOME THE THIRD ANDRETTI TO SCORE A POLE HERE AT THIS TRACK WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE TO YOU?
“Yeah, it means a lot to me.  This is the first place where I was able to, besides Milwaukee get a pole where they did.  We have always run strong here as a family similar to Indianapolis.  Tomorrow is the one we want.  I think that would be just icing on the cake.”
 
THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF FOCUS ON TONY KANAAN WINNING THE TRIPLE CROWN BUT IF A DRIVER WINS TWO OUT OF THREE THEY CAN WIN A $250,000 BONUS WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT?
“My first goal is obviously to work on tomorrow.  I really want to get this monkey off my back because I really feel the wins are going to start clicking off.  I felt we gave a couple away in the last couple of races which is frustrating, but we still managed to except Milwaukee with the electronic issue we still managed to keep it somewhat up there.  We definitely need to close the gap first and foremost on the points lead and hopefully we can take the $250,000 and the championship that would just be awesome.”
 
YOU HAVE SAID OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS HOW MUCH IT WOULD MEAN TO YOU TO GET A WIN HERE.  IT’S ALMOST BEEN A PERFECT WEEKEND HERE.  IS THERE EXTRA PRESSURE NOW BECAUSE YOU HAVE GOT THE POLE AND YOU HAVE BEEN THE FASTEST IN PRACTICES ALL WEEKEND?
“Definitely because if you look at my worst finish I swept that weekend up until the race too.  Tomorrow is the one that counts as they say.  A lot is going to play out.  It’s 400 miles and I think we are up to the task.  It’s just that we need to execute.”
 
 
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 1 DHL ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED SECOND
 
HOW MUCH DOES IT HELP YOU HAVING YOUR TEAMMATES ON THE FRONT ROW WITH YOU?
 
“It does help.  You know there is cooperation there for sure.  It’s like ‘go ahead after you, no after you.’ So it will be a little bit of that, but that’s only for the first lap after that we get going and we get to racing.  It’s definitely go
od this is Andretti’s backyard having Marco (Andretti) on pole.  Andretti Autosport locking out the front row it’s pretty cool.  Three-wide start here at Pocono will look pretty cool.”
 
THERE ARE A LOT OF POINTS AVAILABLE OVER THE NEXT EIGHT DAYS.  JUST TALK ABOUT HOW PIVOTAL THESE NEXT EIGHT DAYS ARE GOING TO BE IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP RUN:

“Yeah, you are right absolutely.  There are so many points.  I mean you look at Toronto there is double points there.  When you look at all the points on the table with pole, leading the most laps, laps led and then the three races we have coming up within a weeks’ time it’s a critical part of the racing season right now. We all know that.  It’s tough you can only do what you can do.  At Detroit for instance we finished second on race one.  Then race two I was just cruising along having a good time and made a mistake by a couple of inches, clipped the right-front on a curbing that was sticking out and ended the day.  We still salvaged some points, but it can happen that quickly especially on a street circuit.  400-miles here going into a double header at Toronto is probably I think the toughest week of the whole season.”
 
YOU GUYS SHARE A WHOLE LOT OF INFORMATION WHEN YOU ARE GOING THROUGH THE PRACTICE THING.  NOW THAT YOU HAVE QUALIFIED DO YOU GUYS MEET AS A TEAM TO TALK ABOUT THE RACE AT ALL OR DO YOU NOW GO YOUR OWN WAY FROM HERE ON OUT?
 
“No, we meet as a team.  Andretti Autosport is really open that way.  We get together as a whole group of four cars.  Each driver and engineer and we go over everything from every session and what we are going to do for the next session and what our big picture thinking is.  What we need to do to win the race, what we need to do to challenge to win, what we need to do better in traffic, so we are constantly talking about as a group what we need to do better.  Each driver likes different things in our race car.  It’s like each person has a different character to them.  You like things in a race car and that is where we go our own separate way a little bit.  Usually it’s not by a whole lot.”
 
TWO DRIVERS CRASHED IN TURN ONE TODAY WHAT IS HAPPENING DOWN THERE?  IS THE CAR JUST GETTING LOOSE?
“Yeah, it can be.  (Alex) Tagliani crashed because he understeered up into the gray, hit the right-front and then hooked back in.  (E.J.) Viso was for a different reason, he got loose early in the corner.  So it was for two different reasons.  This place is tricky in general.  This place is tough it really is.  It’s more thinking and you have to be so on top of the tools in the car, the weight jacker and the bars.  We are running different settings in every different corner; it’s all over the place.  As the wind shifts and changes and then you get into one car or two cars of traffic the place is just always changing.  You really have to be on top of it.  Turn one has a lot of banking and (turn) three has not much at all.  You get two different feelings there.”
 
ARE YOU SHIFTING GEARS ON THE LAP?
“Yeah, most of the time some guys qualify changing gears, some guys don’t.  Yeah, when you are race running you are changing gears just because of the draft and everything and then back down in the corners to get the RMP’s coming out.  It’s a busy lap around here.  It’s definitely I think the busiest lap short of Milwaukee it’s the busiest lap that you have just because you are constantly moving everything around.  Just trying to keep up with the changing balance of the car.  Last week here we were really loose, we got the car figured out a little bit better now, but it’s still pretty loose.”
 
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE UPCOMING SCHEDULE?
“I really like it when we are going and we have a weekend off here and there.  I like it that way.  I wouldn’t mind two weekends off. I’m doing the whole going from here to New York for the Turbo premiere, then Toronto, then to Los Angeles, so I won’t be back until the weekend anyway.  I’m going to have one weekend off.  It will be the same kind of as we just had last week.”
 
INAUDIBLE:
“Yeah, well carrying momentum is another art within itself.  You might have the momentum, but I don’t think it just goes away if you have a couple of weekends off or a weekend off.  We had that last year and we were able to carry it.  It is tough you are right.  If you are going week in and week out hitting everything on the mark and you have two weeks off it can be tough to carry it on, but you have to do it.  You just have to reach in and get it done.  I think our team definitely has the capability of doing that.”
 
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED THIRD
 
YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF YOUR LAP:
“Well, we have been battling understeer in turn one all week long and all through testing and everything.  I told my engineer if we have to lift for understeer we are going to be slow.  I went into turn one on the first lap and got really loose.  So, I had a big moment and had to crack the throttle a little bit and it took everything I am made of to keep my foot in it for the rest of the run.  Just frantically working on the tools either under the track and trying to keep it all together all things considered thrilled to be on the front row.  Andretti Autosport 1-2-3 it is just incredible.  Obviously feel back for E.J. (Viso) he was right up there as well.  That is exactly the same kind of thing that happened to me just got a little bit loose and I was luckier I guess.  Pocono, Andretti on the pole, Andretti Autosport locking out the front row it’s tough to write a better story than that.  It’s going to be a colorful picture I think it’s going to look Skittles front row or something.  It was a good run a huge credit to the boys.”
 
HOW IMPORTANT IS MECHANICAL GRIP AT THIS OVAL COMPARED TO MOST OF THE OTHER BIG OVALS WE GO TO?
“Paramount.  It’s just so different.  This place is tricky.  It’s earned that name.  That is not a marketing ploy the ‘Tricky Triangle’ that is not to sell t-shirts that’s an earned reputation.   I think when you look at how flat turn three is mechanical grip is at an absolute premium.  Trying to balance that set-up between the high banks of turn one and the flat nature of turn three is incredibly challenging.  Add into that being in dirty air and losing a bunch of the downforce that you have any way it really is what is going to make or break I think a race car tomorrow.”
 
TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 SUNOCO “TURBO” KV RACING TECHNOLOGY SH-RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED FIFTH
 
HOW WAS IT OUT THERE?
“It was okay.  I mean obviously our first time here.  I’m excited I’m extremely impressed with the amount of people that came to watch us today. I’ve always heard good things about this place.  I’m excited.  They don’t call it the ‘Tricky Triangle’ for nothing.  We are going to have a lot of work to do tomorrow.  I’m excited.”
 
HOW WAS IT GOING INTO TURN ONE?  YOU ARE WIDE OPEN YOU ARE GOING FOR THE POLE:
“Yeah, I was and then it didn’t stick.  It’s amazing when I came here last week and I did my first 20 laps around this place I said ‘there is no way we are going to go flat into turn one.’ It just doesn’t make any sense.  All of a sudden we did.  It’s exciting.  Obviously three different corners around this track, it’s definitely tricky.  You are not going to have a good car in all of them.  We will see what is going to happen.”
 
MARCO ANDRETTI HAS OBVIOUSLY HAD A LOT OF SUCCESS HERE THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS WHAT KIND OF
EFFORT WILL IT TAKE TO BEAT HIM?
“It’s a 400 mile race.  I think the Andretti guys were strong through the entire season.  If you look at their Indy 500 effort I wasn’t expecting anything less than that.  Today I don’t think I had it for him for the pole.  Maybe it was going to be outside the front row, but what’s it going to take this race is a 400 mile race.  I don’t think you can pick a favorite yet.  It’s a very difficult race track, we haven’t been here so obviously they did a great job putting three cars in the top three, but it’s a long race.  I don’t know what it’s going to take.  It’s a long race.”
 
YOU ARE STARTING IN THE SECOND ROW WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE START TOMORROW GOING BACK TO A THREE-WIDE FORMAT?
“I think it’s part of this ‘Triple Crown’ thing.  We only do it once a year, so I think being in a 400 mile race hopefully we will respect each other like we do in Indy because it’s a long race.  I don’t see a problem.  This straightaway it’s longer than Indy.  So, I don’t see why not doing it.  It’s definitely going to be different.”
 
SOME DRIVERS SAY THAT THE TRACK GOING THROUGH TURN ONE THAT IS NARROWS EXITING TURN ONE.  WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE BEGINNING OF THE RACE AND AS THE RACE CONTINUES ON?
“We can’t get greedy.  I think in the beginning of the race in the first lap we all know that only one car is going to go through that corner at a time.  We just got to respect each other that is definitely the situation there.  I think we can squeeze two cars into that especially on the first lap with the speeds that we are going to be doing.  We are not going to be as fast as when we are going flat out around here.  It’s going to be difficult, but that is what my boss tells me all the time that is why I get paid the big bucks.  We are going to have to make it through.”
 

Chevy Racing–IndyCar–Pocono Qualifying

IZOD INDYCAR SERIES
INDY POCONO 400
POCONO RACEWAY
TEAM CHEVY QUALIFYING NOTES AND QUOTES                                                      
JULY 6, 2013
 
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 25 RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – POLE WINNER: THERE ARE A LOT OF FANS HERE AT POCONO PULLING FOR YOU.  THAT WAS A HECK OF A QUALIFYING RUN DID IT FEEL AS GOOD AS IT LOOKED?  “It felt quick.  I’m pleased with it no matter where we end up.  I think it should be a very strong run.  Honestly, all I know is this team got the best out of it and that is all we can ask for. Hopefully, it holds up.  That is the only thing that is a bummer about an early draw is now we have to wait.”
 
YOU ARE THE POLE SITTER.  YOU TALKED ABOUT HOW TOUGH IT IS TO GO OUT EARLY AND SIT THERE AND WATCH EVERYBODY TAKE SHOTS AT YOU WHAT HAS THE LAST HOUR AND A HALF BEEN LIKE?  “Yeah, it’s been long.  First and foremost I hopefully (Alex) Tagliani is okay; other than that just an unbelievable team performance across the board.  E.J. (Viso) would have been right there so I feel for him as well.  I’m definitely happy for the RC Cola guys and really Andretti Autosport as a whole.  We have been making statement after statement so it’s a good feeling.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 1 DHL ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED SECOND: LOOKING AT THE FRONT OF THE GRID IT’S GOING TO BE ALL ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT ACROSS THAT FRONT ROW.  TELL US ABOUT THE RUN OUT THERE:  “Absolutely the entire Andretti Autosport team has done such a great job here.  We had a good test last week and Firestone came back with a great tire.  We are really happy with that.  We are just looking to make the race car better tonight, hopefully have a great race.  We are really happy with the way the car is balanced in race trim so; I think it’s going to be a great race and a great show tomorrow.”
 
YOU GUYS HAVE CLEARLY PUT A LOT OF EFFORT INTO QUALIFYING IS IT THAT IMPORTANT HERE AT THIS TRACK?  “I think it’s important for sure just to start up in the thick of it and really start off on the right foot.  It’s a long race.  400-miles around this place is going to be tough, it’s going to be grueling.  Hopefully, the No. 1 DHL Chevy will be up front at the end putting ourselves in a position to win this thing.”
 
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED THIRD: HAPPY WITH THAT RUN? “Yeah, I mean the GoDaddy car ran pretty well.  We haven’t been the strongest I don’t think in practice.  Marco (Andretti) has been the class of the field.  We knew it was going to be tough to beat that.  We just wanted to try to stay in contention and he gave me some useful tips after his run, just teammates working together.  I had a little bit of a moment entering turn one the thing got a little loose on me.  I was battling it around the race track. The wind conditions when you are running this light on downforce don’t help.  Solid performance and hopefully that leaves us in the sharp end and hopefully a couple more Andretti Autosport cars can get up there too and we can start this show from the clean part of the track.”
 
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED FOURTH: ON HIS QUALIFYING:  “It was a good job by the Verizon team in qualifying. I think our set up was spot on and we were looking good on the first lap and I thought we had a chance at pole but then we had overboost going into Turn 1 on the second lap and the penalty for that was big and it cost us our chance. Still, qualifying in row two is a good place to be. I like this track here at Pocono – it’s pretty challenging. I think it’s going to be a good race tomorrow. It’s a very long race and you can definitely pass at this place so it should be really fun to watch.”

TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 SUNOCO “TURBO” KV RACING TECHNOLOGY – SH RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED FIFTH: ON HIS QUALIFYING:  “I think I came up to speed too quickly. My fault. The Sunoco car is pretty good this weekend, so we’re going for the Triple Crown. I’m excited to be here at Pocono; it’s my first time.  It’s nice to see how many race car fans we have in this part of the world.  I’m glad you guys are here and we’ll go for it tomorrow for sure.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED SIXTH: ON HIS QUALIFYING: “First of all, I have to say thanks to the fans for coming out and supporting us. It was great to see so many enthusiastic people here today and they’re really excited about IndyCar. Good job by the promoters and everyone here at Pocono Raceway. Now, qualifying sixth is pretty good for the Hitachi Team Penske car. Maybe we were a little too conservative in our qualifying set up, but that’s OK. I know the car has been very fast and very smooth all weekend and I think we will be strong for the race. This track is very interesting and it’s going to be pretty exciting starting three-wide on Sunday. We’re looking forward to a good race and hopefully a strong finish in the Hitachi Chevrolet.”

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO, NO. 78 NUCLEAR ENTERGY AREVA KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 10TH: ON QUALIFYING: “It was a really good qualifying effort for us. I think we might have had a little bit more, but we can be pretty happy, especially when I look at where we started this weekend. We’ve been struggling on the ovals, especially the last two races, but so far the car’s been awesome. I’m pretty happy; the Nuclear Clean Air Energy car has been pretty quick. It’s been a lot of hard work, but we took it step-by-step. Huge thanks to the team for that. We’ve really leaned on Tony and tried to learn as much as possible, because he’s really fast around here. I think we have a really strong race car, so hopefully we should be ok in the race. We’re toward the front, which is where we were hoping for; we should be able to go forward from there.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 7 MCAFEE DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 12TH:
ON QUALIFYING: “We are pretty happy on our qualifying after a bad morning practice session. We didn’t feel comfortable trimming the car out so we just stayed where we knew we would stay flat for the two qualifying laps. We knew it was not going to put us in the Top-5 but at least its a decent qualifying. Now we can try to make the car a little better for the race and we will see what we can get.”
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S VODKA/ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 15TH: ON HIS QUALIFYING: “It wasn’t a good day for us.  We have a lot better car than where we just qualified. We have a lot of work to do now.  And it will be hard.  That’s because it is hard to pass here.  I am disappointed to say the least.  It will be challenging for the race.  Just like Indianapolis, track position will be very important. We just didn’t have enough grip to get through the corners the way I wanted.  I will have to work on getting a good start to make up some spots early.  This place is tricky , just like the nickname says.  With three different turns, it takes a balancing act to get the car as good as possible.  We will analyze our data from today and get a good game plan for the race.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO. 6 TRUECAR DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 21ST: “Very disappointing qualifying session on my side. I’m pretty sure we could have done a lot better but we had a mechanical failure. The throttle sensor destroyed our run as soon as we left the pits. Now we need to focus putting together a fast race car and go from there. Tomorrow will be
a long race so we will see what we can do.”

E.J. VISO, NO. 5 TEAM VENEZUELA PDVSA CITGO CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 23RD: THAT WAS A HARD HIT. WALK US THROUGH WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED:
“I was heading into my second qualifying lap, and I just lost it in the middle of Turn 1 to the point I caught it for a second. I stepped out again and couldn’t do much. It (Pocono Raceway) is much trickier than we anticipated. The testing we had here a few weeks ago, and again two days ago, it really helped us. This accident is really unfortunate as I believed we could have been 1-2-3-4.”
 

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