World of Outlaws–Schatz Slips Past Hodnett in Final Corner, Wins Williams Grove Thriller

Schatz Slips Past Hodnett in Final Corner, Wins Williams Grove Thriller
Defending champ drives to fourth World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Victory of ’13
MECHANICSBURG, Pa. – May 17, 2013 – Donny Schatz caught and passed Greg Hodnett in the final corner on Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway to win his fourth World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series event of the season in thrilling fashion.

Schatz, who started 12th, picked off series points leader Daryn Pittman and two of Pennsylvania’s fiercest competitors, Fred Rahmer and Hodnett, over the final three laps to win at the historic central Pennsylvania venue for the 17th time in his career.

The lead was never safe in the 25-lap feature event. Paul McMahan started on the pole and led the first 10 laps before Hodnett worked his way to the front to complete Lap 11 just as caution came out. Hodnett tried to pull away on the restart but McMahan, Rahmer and Pittman stayed in close pursuit. It looked as if the vaunted PA Posse with Hodnett and Rahmer was going to deal the Outlaws their second consecutive defeat in as many nights before Schatz ran them both down on the last lap, surprising Rahmer by going to the outside in turns 1 and 2, then setting up Hodnett in turn 3, passing under him in turn 4 and charging down the long front stretch to absolutely stun the huge crowd.

“Man to lead the last lap is important and I got Greg at just the right time, he went to the bottom to protect it and I wasn’t about to lose that way,” said Schatz, driver of the Tony Stewart Racing STP/Armor All J&J. “I gave it everything I had tonight, it worked. A lot of nights it doesn’t.”

It definitely was working for Schatz, who has now finished first or second in each of the past three World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series events as he chases his sixth series championship.

“When my tires were cold I thought I could keep momentum around the top, then those guys showed me the bottom,” said Hodnett, driver of the Trone Outdoor Maxim. “I knew I needed to slow down and put the right rear back under the wing and hopefully it rotated and got a decent shot off. Donny was just able to run way harder than we were so, you know, just chalk it up to experience.”

Rahmer, the legendary leader of the PA Posse who is experiencing a bit of a resurgence on the Pennsylvania dirt tracks this season, looked at times as if he was going to be the man to beat, but Pittman, Hodnett and eventually Schatz were able to do just enough to hold him back.

“Our car wasn’t as good as it needed to be, you can’t drop the ball at all with these guys,” said Rahmer, driver of the Truline Contractors XXX machine. “We came home third and hopefully we can come back and just make the show [on Saturday] to start and just get a little better, I’ve got to drive a little better, the guys did a good job on the car, just a little off and you can’t do that on a show like this.”

Pittman, the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship leader, etched his 15th top-five finish this season with his fourth-place run after setting quick time.

The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series returns Saturday night to Williams Grove Speedway where the feature event will determine where the Morgan Cup trophy will reside the remainder of 2013. The traveling trophy goes to the organization represented by the highest finishing Outlaw or PA Posse racer in Saturday’s A-main. The past two seasons, a dash determined the Morgan Cup winner, with Jason Sides and Steve Kinser earning victories that let the trophy find a home in the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series office in North Carolina.

Summit Racing–Anderson Determined to Pick Up on Second Day of Kansas Nationals

Anderson Determined to Pick Up on Second Day of Kansas Nationals
 
Event:  25th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals
Location: Heartland Park Topeka, Topeka, Kansas
Day/Date: Friday, May 17, 2013
 
The first day of the NHRA Kansas Nationals left Summit Racing driver Greg Anderson hungry and a little perplexed as he made a pair of clean runs, just like teammate Jason Line, but didn’t see the numbers come up on the scoreboard that he expected. Eager for day two of the event at Heartland Park Topeka, Anderson is set on rectifying the situation and rising in the line-up from his current position as the provisional No. 6 qualifier.
 
“Quite honestly, we felt that we had made decent runs today,” said Anderson. “It’s a little puzzling because we’re just not lighting up the scoreboard like we should be. The runs weren’t perfect, but they were good, they just ran like they had the parachute dragging all the way down the racetrack. We know these Summit Racing Camaros are better than this, so we’ll be working hard before those next two qualifying runs to pick up the pace.”
 
Anderson clocked a 6.662 at 207.88 mph in the first session and crossed the finish line with a 6.655 at 207.85 mph in the later run on the first day in Topeka.
 
“It’s not the track; the track seems fine and it held up great all day,” said Anderson. “We’re just not going nearly as fast as we think we should for how clean these runs are. We were being too conservative, so we’re just going to have to get more aggressive tomorrow, and we think this track will hold it. We just need to be careful not to go over the edge, and hopefully, we can move up the ladder.”
 

Summit Racing–Line Surprised by Early Results, Eager for Day Two in Topeka

Line Surprised by Early Results, Eager for Day Two in Topeka
 
Event:  25th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals
Location: Heartland Park Topeka, Topeka, Kansas
Day/Date: Friday, May 17, 2013
 
Summit Racing Pro Stock driver Jason Line made a pair of clean and straight runs down the racetrack at Heartland Park Topeka at the first day of the 25th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals. The runs were so clean and straight, in fact, that Line was taken aback to learn that the times recorded were not among the quickest when he emerged from his blue Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro at the top end.
 
“I was really surprised,” admitted Line, who was 6.684, 207.40 mph in the first session and improved to a 6.657, 208.20. “The second run, especially, I expected more because it was probably the nicest run I’ve made all year. When I crossed the finish line, I thought to myself, ‘Well, that’s at least a 6.62.’ Nope, it was a 6.65. It was really surprising.”
 
There was some cloud cover and the air temperature at Heartland Park was quite warm on the first day of the event, but the track proved that it could hold a 6.61 for the low qualifier. Line and his Summit Racing teammate Anderson will be looking to close in on that number on the second day of the event. Line is currently No. 7 in the line-up.
 
“In a way, you would rather that the runs were lousy so that you could easily know what you needed to fix, but the truth is that they were nice runs, the graphs looked really good, they were just slow,” said Line. “We just need to find some speed, and that’s what we’ll be looking for tonight.”

John Force Racing–HIGHT AND C. FORCE DOMINATE KANSAS NATIONALS ON FRIDAY

HIGHT AND C. FORCE DOMINATE KANSAS NATIONALS ON FRIDAY

 

TOPEKA, KS (May 17, 2013) – It is only the first day of the NHRA Kansas Nationals but it was a great day for Robert Hight and Courtney Force who finished each qualifying session 1-2 in the Funny Car category. It was the first time all season Hight’s Auto Club Ford Mustang has been the quickest of the first two sessions and the two-time Kansas Nationals winner was pleased with his first day effort. Hight gave a lot of the credit to his crew chief Jimmy Prock and his pre-race decision to try a new tune-up.

 

“For some reason we always do good here in Topeka. We have qualified well but here lately we have been struggling and we’ve been working on the early part of the run. We definitely got it today being low ET of both sessions. It has been ages since we did that.  The back half of both of those runs weren’t very good. If we could have finished those out this thing would have really run,” said Hight. “It put a couple cylinders out. The reason it put cylinders out is it wore the clutch out and it didn’t lock up. We definitely fixed what we have been looking for what seems like a year. You see these other guys out there running these low numbers to the 330 (ft. mark) and you just can’t be giving that away. It has taken a lot of hard work and a lot of testing. Jimmy Prock just hit it right out of the box.”

 

Hight and the Auto Club Mustang have been inconsistent throughout the start of the season earning one No. 1 qualifier in Las Vegas. The rest of the season Hight has struggled to put two or three runs in a row together. A combination of lack of testing and poor weather during races has hurt the team’s ability to gather data

 

“Mother Nature hasn’t allowed us to test much. That is the biggest problem. We are missing twelve runs that we would have had from testing in Las Vegas, Charlotte or Houston. We have lost six qualifying runs we have missed because of weather. That has really hurt us but obviously it is the same for everybody. Jimmy just made a decision to come in here with a new set-up. We just really hoped we would get some data that first run. Luckily he hit it right on the head in that first run,” said Hight.

 

It has been a complete team effort to get a workable tune-up for the Auto Club Mustang that can be transferred to all the JFR Funny Cars.

 

“We always work together. It got us back on track be were struggling. It still didn’t get us quick enough in the ET department where we can make up some of that ET on the back half but as Jimmy has been looking at it we have some hot races coming up and summer is here. It will be tough to make that up if you give that much away early. You just can’t get that time back,” said Hight.  “We definitely found it today I know it is only two runs, what we have been missing. If we can get the back end right we’ll be in good shape. That run was pretty hairy because it had at least two cylinders out. I have looked at the computer data yet. It was dragging me over towards the wall. If we could have finished that off and run 270 (mph) at half-track this thing would have run 4.03 easily.”

 

Courtney Force, driver of the Traxxas Ford Mustang, made two great passes today to kick-off the weekend and qualify in the provisional No. 2 spot.

 

The 24-year-old ran a 4.133 ET at 307.16 mph, followed by a 4.068 ET at 312.86 mph in the second session which sent her to the top of the pack. Force stayed No. 1 until the next pair of cars including Robert Hight made their last pass. Hight beat out Force for the top spot by .001 seconds.

 

“It feels great coming out to Topeka and being able to make two great passes. We went to the top of the field only to be bumped down to the No. 2 spot by .001 of a second by my teammate and brother-in-law Robert Hight. I guess if I had to be bumped by anyone, I’m glad it’s someone on our team. I’m proud of my guys. They have been working hard. We really needed those runs for ourselves. We collected some points and to try to creep our way back up to the top. But, you know what we’re out here to have fun. It’s great to be back here at Heartland Park Topeka,” said Force.

 

Nine-time NHRA Kansas Nationals winner John Force stepped up in the second qualifying session posting a solid 4.117 second pass at 309.27 mph. He will go into Saturday’s final day of qualifying as the provisional No. 8 qualifier.

 

“We got all three Funny Cars in the show and Robert got low ET and that’s big. Courtney is right up there with him. I was No. 8 and we’re testing this new chassis. This is only its second run. It’s hard to tell what is going to happen tomorrow because we were 1, 2 and 3 after the first session in Atlanta. What matters is if we get to race tomorrow, I think we will be okay,” said Force.

 

In the first session the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang shook the tires loose but crew chief Mike Neff stepped up in the night session and got Force down the track with a good run as one of the early pairs.

 

The Castrol EDGE Top Fuel dragster piloted by Brittany Force made to good runs and the rookie driver was the quickest Top Fueler to not carry a time over into Saturday. The twelve quickest race cars post a time but on Saturday the Yorba Linda, California driver will have two opportunities to grab a spot in the top sixteen.

 

In the first session Force had a respectable 3.884 second pass that was good enough to be in the top half. Her Dean Antonelli and Eric Lane tuned dragster improved in the second session to a 3.847 second run at 319.52 mph but many of the teams stepped up as conditions improved.

 

“I’ve always loved coming to Topeka, so I’m excited to be here. We had two qualifying runs today and ended up 13th. We were hoping to improve on that last run, but we still get two more rounds tomorrow so that’s what we’re banking on and hoping to get us in the top half of the field and race on Sunday,” said Force.

 

Chevy Racing–Sprint All Star Race–Kurt Busch

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY QUALIFYING NOTES AND QUOTES
MAY 17, 2013
 
 
KURT BUSCH WILL START ON THE FRONT ROW FOR SATURDAY NIGHT’S ALL-STAR RACE
 
CONCORD, N.C. – May 17, 2013 – Kurt Busch, No. 78 Furniture Row/Sealy Chevrolet SS, posted the second-fastest time of the 19 drivers who have earned spots in the 29th NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.   Busch ran a time of 111.297 seconds and average speed of 144.068 mph in the unique qualifying format that included three laps and a four-tire pit stop. 
 
With Busch on the front row, there are a total of three Team Chevy drivers who will start tomorrow night’s non-points race in the top-10.  Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Farmers Chevrolet SS, qualified ninth and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Cromax Pro Chevrolet SS, will start 10th.  So far, a total of eight Chevrolet SS drivers have already earned spots for tomorrow night’s event.   Two more drivers will race their way in via the Sprint Showdown race, while one more will be voted in by the fans to round out a 22-car field for the All-Star race.
 
Martin Truex, Jr. (Toyota) won the pole for the Sprint Showdown while Earnhardt Ganassi drivers Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/National Wild Turkey Foundation Chevrolet SS, qualified on the outside front row in second and Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS, was third.
 
Carl Edwards (Ford) won the pole for the All-Star race, Greg Biffle (Ford) qualified third, Kyle Busch (Toyota) was fourth, and Joey Logano (Ford) was fifth to round out the top-five starting positions.
 
The NASCAR Sprint All Star Race is set to start under the lights on Saturday, May 18th at 9:00 p.m. ET, and will be aired live on SPEED.   The Sprint Showdown will also air on SPEED and will begin at 7:00 pm ET.
 
 
NASCAR SPRINT SHOWDOWN QUALIFYING QUOTES:
 
JAIME MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/NATIONAL WILD TURKEY FOUNDATION CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED SECOND:
IT DROPPED ABOUT FOUR DEGREES. HOW ON-EDGE WAS YOUR LAP?
“It was pretty good. I got a little bit loose in Turn 3 but overall the grip from practice was a lot better. I don’t know about the rest of the teams, but for us I remember testing here when it was only 50 degrees. So to come this afternoon and test when it was 90 degrees out because it is a totally different track. It was a lot different. The set-ups we had from January were somewhat irrelevant. Out Bass Pro Chevy, I thought, was good in race trim. And I feel like this will be a good qualifying lap. I don’t know if it will be the pole, but if the sun stays out it might be.”
 
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED SEVENTH:
“I feel like we’ve made improvements throughout the day. We had a good debrief with Tony (Stewart) and Ryan (Newman) and I feel like maybe something that we did for qualifying might have been worth some grip in the middle of the corner in front. Hopefully this translates to a good race car; something consistent. Man, it’s just so tough in the middle of the day when it’s so hot and slippery out there. But I feel like we made some progress and hopefully we have a good race car for tomorrow. I’d love to race my way in and that’s the plan.”
 
NASCAR SPRINT ALL-STAR QUALIFYING QUOTES:
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED: 15TH
HOW WAS QUALIFYING WITH THE PIT STOP?
“It was pretty good. We had a loose lug nut on the left front, so I guess it’s going to cost us a lot of time. But I think I put together a good run.  I liked the pit stop. I liked having the pit crew involved. Getting onto pit road speed. I liked that. It’s pretty crazy. I’m that’s not how we have to do it every week like the old days because that would definitely get your attention. You really wouldn’t be looking forward to any pit stops getting tires like we do now. But I think we did a good job. We just had a little miscue on the car on the stop, but otherwise I think we put a good show on for ourselves and I’m pretty happy about that effort.  I liked practice. I thought practice was really good. I thought that we had good speed and the car has good handling. We’re just not going to get the starting position we wanted and we’re going to have to work real hard all night and kind of an uphill climb.”
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S PATRIOTIC CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED: 18TH
COULD YOU FEEL THAT THE CAR WASN’T ABLE TO STOP?
‘Oh yeah, oh yeah. I started wheel-hopping and that was a big problem trying to get it stopped. I scared them from pit road with my entry speed. I put a big effort up there but unfortunately just didn’t have the car under control to brake its own and the back tires started bouncing at that point and I knew I wasn’t going to stop in my box. I was just trying to avoid spinning out. It was different.”
 
POST QUALIFYING DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
 
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/SEALY CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED THIRD:
THE ALL-STAR RACE IS A BIG EVENT FOR SPRINT CUP SERIES DRIVERS TOMORROW NIGHT. DO YOU THINK YOU CAN GET TO VICTORY LANE?
“I think we’re definitely in a good position. Our team continues to define speed each and every week. To unload today and to have a good practice session and then to execute coming on top pit road at 157 mph, it’s pretty wild. It’s like a step back in time when you get a chance to throw caution to the wind and let it rip coming on pit road. It was fun. Thanks to Mike Helton and John Darby and Robin Pemberton for coming up with that rules change. When I first heard about it I was really excited and gave it my best effort. We were right there. The pit crew had a nice steady stop; it just wasn’t the fastest stop. And so we fine ourselves outside pole, but we find ourselves in a great position for being up front and for trying to win that first segment. And then to see how it goes from there. We want to be up front early in the race. It’ll now direct us in a different pattern, probably, for out pit strategy for the four segments. We just need good average finishes with the way they’re going to do the line-up on the final segment. To be in the top-five all night is where we hope to be. The guys on the team just need a nice steady night. No big drama and just have a smooth night and I think we’ll be in the mix.”
 
HOW DID YOU GAUGE HOW FAST YOU COULD GO ON PIT ROW? DID PRACTICE HELP YOU WITH THAT OR WERE YOU LOOKING FOR A MARK? HOW DID YOU FIGURE THAT?
“I just found a mark and used it for a braking marker like you would at a road course. And so the only thing that’s a little different is the tires only have a lap and a half of heat and the brakes have no heat at all. So in practice, the tires had more heat and the brakes had more heat so the car was going to be more consistent in practice. So I just came in a little conservative. I didn’t want to overshoot the pit box, but I think our mile per hour was 157. There was only one guy who was quicker than us getting into the pit box with that trap speed. The trap speed is one thing, and that’s what I learned in drag racing versus the whole elapsed time, and that is the deceleration rate getting into the pit box. So it was just a point that I picked. I practiced it twice and then executed on the third time.
 
ASSUMING THAT CARL EDWARDS WAS JOKING, THIS IS NOT A GOOD SYSTEM FOR A REGULAR RACE, IS IT?
“I don’t know what Carl Edwards said.”
 
HE SAID, ‘HEY, WE COULD DO THIS EVERY WEEKEND’. THAT’S PROBABLY NOT A GOOD IDEA, RIGHT?
“Yeah, that’s one of the remarks I made earlier about throwing caution to the wind and that’s because we have a controlled environment with only one car on pit road at a time and the crew guys had to wait until the car came to a complete stop. Yeah, we can’t have ca
rs doing 157 miles an hour on the entry to pit road. Imagine being in that 43rd box and having cars zip by you that fast. It was just a fun treat to do this All-Star weekend. It’s just the whole atmosphere.
 
“Tonight is military appreciation night at Furniture Row so I’m headed from here to the store, which is just a couple of miles away, to shake hands with our military guys and have a soda pop with them. We’re running the banner that’s on the cars supporting our military and so we hope we’re able to deliver for those guys and support our troops. It’s always fun to kick it off this weekend with Armed Forces Day on Saturday and with next week being Memorial Day. I’ve just got to thank Barney Visser and this whole team. We’re definitely finding some speed and we’re showing some results. It’s been a good feeling.”
 
WILL THERE BE A PROBLEM RE-ADJUSTING WHEN YOU HAVE TO GO BACK TO THE OLD SPEED LIMIT ON PIT ROAD?  DO YOU THINK IT WILL CAUSE PEOPLE TO SPEED IN THE NEXT RACE?
“Well, it’s just the green-flag stops that will cross your mind when that happens. But for the All-Star race, there’s a caution every 20 laps, I think we’ll have everybody under control. But it was just fun to do it. It was fun to do something different and give a moment of throwback when speeds were above 150 coming on pit road. It was pretty wild. Edwards and those guys executed well and their pit stop I think was 1.2-seconds quicker than ours and they beat us by 1.1. It was definitely fun challenging the other drivers to go fast on pit road.”
 
I UNDERSTAND YOU GOT YOUR OPPORTUNITY IN LAS VEGAS IN LATE MODELS BECAUSE OF A TRAGEDY IN THE DICK TRICKLE FAMILY. YOU ACTUALLY RACED AGAINST DICK. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT AND GIVE US YOUR THOUGHTS ON HIM AND HIS PASSING?
“You know, when I was growing up running in Vegas the Trickle family was the racing family in the city. It was Chuck Trickle was the dad, Chris Trickle was the son, and they were known as the big name. And we always looked up to those guys on how they raced and how their demeanor was outside of the car and inside the car. Yeah, I did get a chance to race against Dick Trickle once. It was at Slinger Speedway in Wisconsin. He was there in a driver’s meeting. It’s 3:30 in the afternoon and he’s got a cigarette in one hand and he’s got his coffee in the other hand and we hung out and shared some stories.
 
“And just all those stories you heard about Dick, it made you think that wow, one person has done all of this. He’s lived an extraordinary life and it was always fun when he was at the track. And when you were there racing against him, you knew he was always going to have a smile on his face. Jeff Gordon always told the story on when you knew you were going back to green when the cigarette butt came flying out the window and hitting the track. And so there are a lot of good Dick Trickle stories out there. The boys on ESPN were always showing his highlights even though he was running 38th. It would just get a chuckle about his name. But he was a true hero on the short tracks. You don’t win a thousand races by accident. A guy that comes up in my mind today that really takes over for short track America with a name in history like that is Steve Kinser. And we’re all going to miss Dick. I need to find Chuck Trickle. I need to reach out to him.
 
“I got my opportunity in Late Models when Chris Trickle was tragically shot in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. I was actually away at college in Tucson, Arizona and the phone rang and they said that Chris had been in an accident. Of upmost concern of course was coming back to see him in the hospital and to hold his hand and to try to help him through it. But he never was able to pull through. He spent over 13 months in a coma from the injury. And that opened up the door for me to be able to jump in that car and take it to a championship in the Southwest Tour. So it’s tough to lose another Trickle. That’s to say the least.”
 

Chevy Racing–Sprint All Star Race–Jeff Gordon

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
MAY 17, 2013
 
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 CROMAX PRO CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway and discussed this year’s All-Star Race format, the correlations of winning the All-Star Race and the championship and many other topics.  Full Transcript:
 
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF NO SPEED LIMIT ON PIT ROAD?
“I think it’s going to be really exciting and interesting.  I think this is a perfect event to do that with.  That is what the All-Star Race creates to me is the ability for NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway to have some fun and keep it exciting.  Change it up from time to time and really take full advantage of this is the All-Star Race.  Put the drivers to work, put the pit crews to work, make the car work good and go out there and be aggressive.  Certainly coming to pit road that fast is very aggressive and it’s hard to practice it with so many cars and the track being slick.  It’s very hard to get a good judgment and I went through this before.  We tried to practice when I think it was ’97 or ’98, whatever year it was we did this. Maybe it was later than that, I can’t remember.  The pace was so much faster when it came to qualify it carried so much more speed down pit road that when I finally decided to get on the brakes it was way too late and I never made it into the pit stall.  I’m going to try to take that experience and what I learned a little bit today and try to make it in the box.”  
 
YOU COMPETED AGAINST DICK TRICKLE MUCH OF THE 90’S, COULD YOU SAY A FEW WORDS ABOUT HIM AS A COMPETITOR? MAYBE A STORY THAT KIND OF SUMS UP HIS CHARACTER?
“He was a fierce competitor but he was very relaxed and did things his own way. You’ve got to respect a guy for that. He drove so many different types of cars and had success in so many different types of cars. I don’t have any great Dick Trickle stories. He’s the only guy I raced against that you would be at Darlington in the middle of the summer and it’s as hot as can be, and you’re getting ready to roll off to take the green after a caution and he would flick a cigarette out the window and then we would go racing. You know, I had never seen that before.”
 
DID HE REALLY HAVE A LIGHTER IN HIS CAR?
“I think he did. He was the only guy I know that had a lighter in the car when I raced. There might have been guys that did that earlier. He was a really cool guy. He didn’t say much. He left it all out there on the track. He raced a lot. He was a tough, tough guy. When he was on he was tough to beat. He drove everybody’s cars. He went through the highs and the lows of the sport. Certainly he is going to be missed.”
 
IN TERMS OF THE ALL-STAR RACE, DO YOU FEEL THE FREEDOM TO DRIVE DIFFERENTLY AND MAYBE MORE AGGRESSIVE?
“This is definitely that race that lends itself to all the things that you would think it would.  “If you’ve got a shot at the win and it comes down to a restart, you’ve got to dive in the corner hard and get back in the gas hard. You’ve got to get past that guy; you’re going to do it. Everything you do is so crucial as far as getting that position and getting the car out front and just go as hard as you can. That starts in practice, in qualifying, and it happens in every lap of every race. I mean it doesn’t make sense to go do that for sixth or seventh or tenth (place), but for the win absolutely.”
 
ON THE FLIP SIDE, WHEN PEOPLE ARE MAD AT EACH OTHER COMING INTO THIS RACE, IS THIS A GOOD PLACE FOR PAYBACK?
“I don’t know. That’s a great way to create more rivalry. It isn’t a bad thing. I always say do unto others as they do to me. So, if somebody cost me points, I want to cost them points. I race everybody the way they race me. I’ve made some choices and mistakes over the years that maybe not have always showed that, but there is usually a reason for it. I don’t know how other guys do it. I don’t even know how I do it. To me the All-Star race is not about payback, it’s about racing really aggressively, and if that aggressiveness causes things to happen that might hurt somebody else’s chances to win the race, so be it.”
 
HOW HARD IS IT GOING TO BE TO WIN ALL FIVE STAGES?
“These days it’s near impossible. I’m not saying it is impossible. It just used to be a bigger gap in competition. The rules are so much tighter and the cars are so much closer, track position is so much more important, it’s a lot harder to do. But it’s possible.”
 
DO YOU THINK THE TWO MILLION DOLLARS IS AN EFFECTIVE MOTIVATOR TO GET PEOPLE TO LAY IT ALL OUT THERE?
“I think just the fact that it’s the All-Star race. This race means a lot to all of us as far as just pride and bragging rights, and momentum that it can give you for next week as well as the season. The $2 Million doesn’t hurt though.”
 
THE INDY 500 IS COMING UP, WHAT MAKES THAT RACE SO SPECIAL?
“It’s an amazing race. I don’t know about others but for me as a kid growing up, the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500, those were the races you wanted to watch. I’m always watching throughout the day right up until I go to driver’s meeting. I’m following on my phone finding out what’s going on. It’s a fun, exciting race to watch. It’s a huge day for racing. You forget Formula 1 is running the Monaco Grand Prix as well. To me, between Monaco, Indy, and here at Charlotte it’s a pretty spectacular day.”
 
IS THERE A SOMEBODY IN PARTICULAR THAT YOU WATCH OR YOU KNOW IN THAT GARAGE?
“Is AJ (Allmendinger) running there? I don’t know many of the guys. I raced with Ryan Hunter-Reay in a prototype race in Daytona 24 hours and few years ago. He’s a great guy and doing well. I’m a big fan of Roger Penske. Because I grew up as a Rick Mears fan, so I like to see the Penske group do well. If AJ is running, I would love to see him do well.”
 
WHEN YOU READ THE HEADLINES FROM THIS YEAR, WHETHER IT’S ABOUT SAFETY ISSUES AND CRASHED OR PENALTIES AND FINES, THERE’S NOT A LOT OF TALK ABOUT RACING. IS THAT KIND OF WEIRD?
“I think as long as people are asking questions, talking, and have interest and are engaged that is for the good. Some weekends you talk about the spectacular race, other weekends you are talking about the drama and things that happen off the track. In this world today, with social media and just the internet in general, I think any kind of buzz is a good thing. Some kind of story line that’s keeping people’s interest up so on Sunday when the race comes around people are tuning in to see what’s going to happen next. I hope when they do that, they see a great race.”
 
ARE YOU COMFORTABLE GETTING ADJUSTED TO THE TIRES?  IN THE PREVIOUS MODEL THAT CAME OUT WASN’T THAT PART OF THE ADJUSTMENT FOR YOU WAS THE CAR AND THE TIRE?
“Well anytime there is a repave and then they go with a harder tire or when they came out with the COT (Car of Tomorrow) all of a sudden that tire was really hard on right-side tires.  They had to go harder on the tires. That wasn’t benefiting me and my driving style.  I really like to get that right-front out there and feel it and be able to push the limits of that right-front.  When you go to a hard tire like that you just have no feel out there on that right-front and really not the right-rear either.  The car that has more grip which along the way with the COT we started gaining grip.  At the beginning we didn’t have the grip.  Then we started gaining grip, I started getting better with it.  Now this car has good grip and it’s taken a little weight out too so it’s allowing Goodyear to maybe look at softening up some of those right-side tires.  There needs to be more steps in that direction, but it’s encouraging and so I’m enjoying it.  That doesn’t change going to Ka
nsas or Michigan and having a rock hard tire because that is what has to be there for durability.”
 
WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT LEANING MORE ON THE RIGHT-FRONT TIRE WHAT DOES THAT ALLOW YOU TO DO WITH THIS TIRE (THE NEW TIRE)?
“If you have more grip, then you are able to use that tire more.  Some guys like to feel the right-rear, the left-rear, the right-front.  Everybody has a little bit different feel, but I don’t like a tight race car.  I like to feel the car turn.  I like to just keep it right there on the edge of turning and tight, which I think most guys probably do. It’s just how they go about it.  When the tire is really hard, think of the grip level as a peak it’s real easy to get to that peak and the more you spread it out then the harder it is to get to that peak. You can lean on it, you have more adjustability in your driving style, in the car adjustments and it just allows you to have more options.  To me like this week we were in New Hampshire as soon as it put more grip on the car I liked it.  Even though the pace fell off more as we ran I liked that tire better.  Instead of going out there and slipping and sliding around trying to find the grip for three laps and then it finally comes in and doesn’t fall off.  I prefer to have the grip at the beginning and then have it gradually fall off.”
 
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO GET A FOURTH ALL-STAR WIN AND BE THE LEADER ALL-TIME WITH ALL-STAR WINS?
“Well, just an All-Star win in general is an amazing feeling and experience.  We have had opportunities that have slipped away from getting that fourth victory and we have been in position where we weren’t really close and competitive enough to do it.  I’m excited about this weekend. I feel like our team has been working hard to get us a car that can compete for a win.  Qualifying is going to be a little tricky tonight.  We know how track position plays a role in this race.  The way segments are unwinding with that average finish I like that.  I think that falls back into our hands a bit and can give us a great opportunity to win.”
 
IS THERE ANYTHING MORE SPECIAL TO BE ON TOP OF A LIST WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON AND DALE EARNHARDT, SR. (WHO ALSO HAVE THREE ALL-STAR WINS)?
“Honestly, I never look at it that way.  I couldn’t even tell you where I’m at on the list at most tracks until the media says something.  I just go to a track and I know that I like that track, we have had success at that track.  I might know how many times I’ve won at that track, again because of press releases and the media talks about it.  I just know going into a track whether I have confidence in that track, whether I like that track and if I don’t I always see how practice unfolds and then start building it or start working hard to get it.  That is the way I approach every weekend.  I think that is what has gotten me through 700 races and gotten me all the wins and the top-five’s it’s just I don’t focus on the stats and the records.  I focus on just going and doing my job the best I can every weekend.”
 
DID YOU REALIZE THE THREE YEARS YOU WON THE ALL-STAR RACE YOU ALSO WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
“I did years ago because a lot of people used to reference it, but I had forgotten about it until you just reminded me.  I don’t know if that is coincidence or not.  Like I said I think to win the All-Star Race usually the best team winning this race.  I don’t think that is a coincidence especially when it turns into a championship.”
 
THE (COCA-COLA) 600 NEXT WEEK, HOW DO YOU CHANGE YOUR PREPARATION FOR A LONG RACE LIKE THAT?  
“There are a lot of things that are different.  It starts during the day, the track changes a lot when the sun goes down.  It’s a very long race.  You’ve got to hydrate if it’s going to be warm and humid.  You’ve got to be ready to stay on top of the adjustments.  Almost get ahead of them instead of getting behind them.  Things are going to change.  I like long races.  It suits my style, but the car has got to be right.  You can’t go into it thinking ‘oh we are just going to cruise at the beginning and wait for the track to come to us’.  That just doesn’t exist anymore.  That used to exist.  It doesn’t exist anymore.”
 

Mopar Racing–Mopar’s 2012 NHRA Champs Johnson and Beckman Look to Defend National Title Wins at Kansas

Mopar’s 2012 NHRA Champs Johnson and Beckman Look to Defend National Title Wins at Kansas
 
·         Mopar competes in the 25th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals this weekend, the 8th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Series season
·         Mopar’s 2012 NHRA Champs Johnson and Beckman are also both defending winners at Heartland Park Kansas
·         Coughlin and Hagan running strong in second place in the NHRA Pro Stock and Funny Car points standings
 

Topeka, Kansas (Friday, May 17, 2013) – Not only will Mopar take on the 25th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals as the defending winner in both Pro Stock and Funny Car categories, but last year’s two title victors also went on to earn their first career NHRA Championships, so you’ll have to forgive Allen Johnson and Jack Beckman for hoping that their defense of those victories might have a similar ending this season as well.   

 

“Every single title the J&J racing team won last year was very important in our chances to become number one at the start of the Countdown and take a run at the championship but Topeka win gave us the confidence that we were headed down the right path,” said Johnson who had a near perfect weekend at the 2012 edition of the Kansas Nationals by securing the top qualifier position, taking almost every bonus point and working his way through the elimination rounds to post his second win of the season on his way to his first world championship title with a total of seven wins and 11 final-round appearances.

 

“We need a little bit of that right now as our focus has been a bit off in the last three weeks,” admitted Johnson who after posting wins at the Gainesville and Las Vegas, hasn’t made it past the second round of eliminations in the last three events. “We’re shooting to bounce back in Topeka and doing everything we can to get back to fine form. It’s an altitude track at which the HEMI-powered Mopar Dodge Avenger normally does really well at, just like Vegas and Denver. The key to doing well at here is having the tune-up correct at altitude.”

 

Both he and Mopar teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr. tested at Tulsa Raceway Park in Oklahoma as preparation for this weekend’s event to try and close the gap to rival Mike Edwards in the both the points battle and on the track.

 

“We’re working on getting more consistent and getting a better combination for our Mopars,” said Johnson who has two ‘Wallys’ at Topeka in the last three years and would like to add another as quickly as possible. “I think we’ve gained a little on Mike (Edwards) in the past few weeks, cutting his advantage a bit at a time. He’s been quickest qualifier every weekend but Atlanta, when Jeg got it. He’s the front runner right now but I think we cut the deficit in half on what he was leading on everybody since the start of the year.”

 

For his part, Don Schumacher Racing’s Jack Beckman is looking forward to returning to the place where his own drive for the 2012 Funny Car world title began and getting back to winning more elimination rounds to move up from his seventh spot in the points standings.

 

“We haven’t been horrible; we have six round wins but we expected much bigger things by now,” said Beckman. “This could be a big shot in the arm for us, emotionally going back to the place where our run to the championship kind of officially took off last year.”

 

Meanwhile two other Mopar drivers have a bit of momentum and good results both finding themselves in second place in their respective classes; Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Matt Hagan.

 

Hagan has the ‘Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar’ Dodge Charger R/T second in the Funny Car points standings on the strength of a title win at Charlotte, one No. 1 qualifier position, two runner-ups and a semifinal finish in seven events.

 

Coughlin for his part jumped into second place in the Pro Stock points with a No. 1 qualifier position at Houston and two final round appearances and posting three semifinal finishes in the first seven events of the season. He now has his sights set on taking the Jegs.com Mopar Dodge Avenger to a semifinal appearance in Kansas to help mark his 500th round win in NHRA Pro Stock competition. Only 11 other drivers have achieved that milestone;  Joe Amato, Greg Anderson, Kenny Bernstein, Larry Dixon, John Force, Bob Glidden, Kurt Johnson, Warren Johnson, Cory McClenathan, Tony Schumacher and Tony Pedregon.

Chevy Racing–E.J. Viso Claims Fast Friday F.E. Harding Fastest Lap Award at Indianapolis Motor

E.J. Viso Claims Fast Friday F.E. Harding Fastest Lap Award at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as Weather Halts Track Activities
 
INDIANAPOLIS (May 17, 2013) – Andretti Autosport driver E.J. Viso, who has shown great speed throughout practice for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500, was at the top of the speed charts as severe thunderstorms blew in and canceled the remainder of the day’s on-track activities.
 
Viso circled the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 229.537 m.p.h. falling just short of the expected 230 m.p.h. as Team Chevy drivers practiced for the first time with the increased qualifying boost in their Chevrolet IndyCar V6 twin turbo charged engines. But, as a result of the fastest lap of Fast Friday, the traditional name for the final day of practice before qualifying, Viso was awarded the $10,000 F.E. Harding Fastest Lap Award.
 
Chevy drivers Marco Andretti, Carlos Munoz, Will Power and J.R. Hildebrand posted top-five fastest speeds. While Oriol Servia, A.J. Allmendinger and Townsend Bell were solidly in the top-10 on the charts as the session ended with just under three hours left to practice.
 
After a morning practice session from 8:00 a.m. to 10 a.m, qualifying is set for tomorrow,  Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. when, in addition to the pole sitter being crowned; the fastest 24 cars and drivers locked into the field.  NBC Sports Network will broadcast pole qualifying live from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and again from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Verizon FiOS 90/590, DirecTV 220, DISH 159 and AT&T UVerse 640). In addition, qualifying will be broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, including on Sirius and XM Channels 211 and

Chevy Racing–Sprint All Star Race–Dale Earnhardt Jr

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
MAY 17, 2013
 
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway and discussed the format for this year’s All-Star Race, the success of JR Motorsports and other topics.  Full Transcript:
 
THIS IS THE 20 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF YOUR DAD WINNING THE ALL STAR RACE AND COKE 600 IN THE SAME YEAR.  AS YOU LOOK BACK ON THAT AND REFLECT ON THAT ACCOMPLISHMENT DOES ANYTHING STICK OUT IN YOUR MIND?
“I was really young then and I remember in that year and in that season or maybe that year before or after that….1986 and 1987 were two really, really good years.   He started off one of those years winning like eight of the first ten races or something crazy like that.  But they just had a really good team and they were having a lot of fun and everybody was really happy and getting along with the success they were having.  There were some really good personalities on that team that are still in the garage today.  I just walked past Danny Lawrence walking in here.  So you think about not only the success but you think about the group of guys like Chocolate Meyers and all those people that were involved in getting that car to the racetrack and they just seemed to be hitting on all cylinders and it was a lot of fun to witness and a lot of fun to see week in and week out.
 
“It’s definitely rare and you have Jimmie (Johnson) winning five championships and you have things that happen in the series that are phenomenal, but it’s rare.  It happens but it’s rare when you see a team that can take control of the entire sport throughout the season.   And in ’86 and ’87 they were really about as great as you could be and it was just a lot of fun to watch.  I know the 600 was a big race and it’s still a big race, but we didn’t have Indy and places like that to share the spotlight.  Yeah, this was a big event and it was similar to Daytona and everybody was at the 600 and everybody was here.  We would sit up in those condos and watch everything.  All the practices, and every lap that every car ran all weekend long and it was just a lot of fun and certainly a different time and different sport than it is today.  But it was a good experience for me in just being young and having the run of the place really.”
 
BEING A NATIVE OF NORTH CAROLINA I KNOW IT’S GOT TO FEEL GOOD FOR YOU TO RUN AT A PLACE LIKE CHARLOTTE:
“Yes this place is great as far as the history and the connection to the sport.  Being local and having a lot of the crew members and mechanics and everybody involved in the sport get to bring out the wives and the girlfriends and the kids and all that stuff.  Everybody gets to enjoy the race and gets to come and enjoy the weekend.   We are around here all year long and this is home and I drive up to Hendrick Motorsports every week so you are around this place all the time.  I am glad it is as successful as it is and the history that it has.  I think it’s great that we run the All Star race here, being local and have the opportunity for everybody to have a good time.  It is a fun weekend and is a fun event.   I just hope that the track can have as much success that it had, and that I have witnessed it have and I hope the track can move forward and continue to have great races and produce great memories and moments that will be in everybody’s memory bank for a very long time.  I think it’s been very successful so far and I just wish it the same going forward.”
 
HOW DID YOUR BRISKET TURN OUT?
“Everybody loved it and we didn’t have any left.   That was fun. I texted Myron Mixon, who I have used his recipe out of a book he wrote.  And man, it turned out perfect.   So that was fun and I am excited and my mom wants me to do that over the holidays now, so I am excited about that.   But we are going to cook two next time so we will have some leftovers, because we could have really used some brisket that next day.”

WAS THAT FOR MOTHER’S DAY?
“Yes.”
 
SO YOU ARE GETTING THE HANG OF BARBECUING AND GETTING GOOD AT IT?
“I don’t know if that was pot luck, or I had a good recipe to go by for sure.  So I enjoyed that.  I never really slow cooked.   We started at nine o’clock in the morning and we ate at six.   It’s something that when I got home from the Darlington race, I injected the brisket that night and put it in the refrigerator so we had been working on it all night and all the next day.  It was good and I am ready to do it again.”
 
YOU SAID THIS PLACE IS SPECIAL TO YOU AS A KID.  WHAT DID YOU DO DURING THE RACE LAST OCTOBER WHEN YOU DIDN’T RACE HERE?
“I watched on TV.  You know, I thought about coming since it was close but I didn’t want to be a distraction and I didn’t want to give………you know I wanted Regan and the guys to concentrate and do the best job they could.  Emotionally it was just really hard to watch the car practice.  Watching the race was…I knew I wasn’t going to race.   But the hard part is to see the car practice because I enjoy the process that we go through in practice when it’s me and the guys and we are trying to figure out how to go faster.  Once you are in the race you have set the table and you sit down and you have dinner and whatever happens, happens.  The preparation and build up to it is what I enjoy most and I just really didn’t like watching that.  They were fast but man, when the car would go fast it was just a lot of emotions like envy, and jealousy, and just wishing to be out here.  I was real selfish about it I guess to a fault.  But I am competitive and I wanted to be in the car and glad that I am back.”
 
HOW HAVE YOU CHANGED IN THE CAR AS FAR AS THE THINKING PROCESS? IS IT SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENT THAN A FEW YEARS AGO AND IF SO, HOW HAVE YOU KIND OF EVOLVED TO THIS POINT?
“I don’t know how much I have changed over the years, but I know that Steve (Letarte) does a really good job of bringing that information that he needs out.  We have a good enough relationship that I can talk to him and he can talk to me.  It’s not difficult to explain things to him and he is good at sort of catching what I am trying to sell him when I am talking about the car.  He is real good picking up and I don’t have to feel like I am beating my head against the wall to get through to everyone what the car is doing and what I am feeling and what I need. I have a lot less of that with him since we have worked together.  I think that helps a lot.  I think that over the years when you first start driving race cars and moving up in the series that you are just really over-eager in a lot of situations.  I think the older you get the smarter you become, and the better you are at making decisions and understanding what battles are the battles you need to fight.  And what battles aren’t battles that you need to be in the middle of.  I think you get smarter at that and you finish races.   You finish more races and you don’t end up on the hook and you don’t end up tearing up your race cars often and you become a smarter driver over the years.”
 
RACING FOR 2 MILLION DOLLARS SOMETIMES PEOPLE LOOSE THEIR HEADS ANYWAY AND WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE FORMAT THAT YOU LIKE, DON’T LIKE, WHAT ARE YOU ANTICIPATING ON THE QUALIFYING TONIGHT?  WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS FORMAT?
“The one thing I do like is the 10 lap finish.  I don’t think we need any more than that to settle the winner.  A better idea might be that last segment to have three green-white-checkers.  The sprint and the urgency that 10 laps or something that short or compact brings
is what the ending needs.  The fans seem to really love when a race has a green-white-checkered.  The drivers aren’t very fond of it, but if the fans love it.  If I’m watching a race and I’m not in it I like watching that too.  That might be something that they could bring in down the road.  The 20 lap segments it’s all irrelevant to me how many segments we have before the finish and the qualifying is zany, with the coming down pit road with no speed limit and all that.  I think it would be fun.  They got rid of the thing downtown with the pit crews and I really used to enjoy the pit crew competition they had a Rockingham back in the day.  I think that was fun.  That was kind of a big deal for the crews back then.  There was a lot of pride in that.  Maybe that could be something to do with qualifying, maybe we don’t run any laps we just pull into a stall, cross a beacon, have a pit stop and exit the stall. I know the pit crews are a part of the process in qualifying, but maybe make it more focal about the pit crews themselves, solely just for qualifying that would really put them on a pedestal.  Those guys deserve it.  I used to not like that the format changed.  I used to love the ’87 format was the only format we needed.  That’s the way I always thought.  I thought that was the most exciting one.  Why change it?  I kind of think it’s fun to tinker on it every once in a while.”
 
INAUDIBLE:
“Yeah, I really, whatever they want to do.  Those kind of things used to really … I used to be really old school about things like that.  No a days whatever makes it more fun to watch.  Whatever makes it more exciting to watch I guess is what we need to be concerned with.”
 
COMPARE AND CONTRAST THE PERFORMANCE OF YOUR JRM (JR MOTORSPORTS) TEAM FROM THIS YEAR COMPARED TO THIS POINT LAST YEAR:
“It’s been really good.  We have turned things around somewhat. We still got a ways to go.  I think we are still a little bit off speed wise from some of the other teams.  We are doing really good in the points.  Regan (Smith) has driven some great races. He makes me nervous because he drives so hard.  Sometimes I feel like there was a couple of laps at Richmond where I thought he was going to spin out on the inside of the No. 31 car there are just instances like that where I’m like man, you know, I wish I could talk to him or be like you sure you know what you are doing?  Or do you really need to be driving this hard right now?  But he doesn’t spin out, he doesn’t wreck and he finishes races.  That is all I can ask of him.  I told him that we are going to put him in position with cars and people to have a shot at winning the championship.  I really felt comfortable about that. I think if he makes good decisions and we don’t have any odd failures or anything like that we can really make a run for the championship.  Obviously, we are in good position right now to do that.  Real happy with everything going on, especially the people.  We changed a lot of people, we changed some crew chiefs and really we kept a lot of people that had been there for a long time.  It’s real easy to move people around under the surface, but when you keep that all the same and you bring in top tier management type people it’s hit or miss whether the group is going to listen to this guy or listen to that guy or follow this guy’s ideas or the way he wants to do things.  We were real fortunate that everybody is really on the same page and excited about each week.”
 
WHEN REGAN (SMITH) TOOK THE POINTS LEAD TWO RACES AGO IT WAS THE FIRST TIME THAT YOUR ORGANIZATION HAD LED THE POINTS.  DO YOU FEEL WITH ALL THE CHANGES THAT YOU JUST TALKED ABOUT THAT YOU ARE ON TRACK TO BE A LEGITIMATE CONTENDER?
“Yeah, I think we are a contender.  Again, we are just off a little bit on speed, but we have made gains this year already to get there.  I think we are contending well.  The fact that I’m getting asked about it is reason enough to believe we are doing well.  Used to have to bring up how JR Motorsports was doing, used to not get too many questions about it, and really had to promote it myself.  The fact that we are relevant in the series and we are considered competitive and considered one of the teams that is going to be up there racing each week I think that says a lot.  It is fun to work with Regan (Smith) and the chances of how that all worked out really had a whole lot to do with us getting together last year when I was going through the concussion deal.  He just happened to get fired at that time and I felt like he needed to be in a race car.  We just happened to need a driver and all that kind of worked out.  We built a friendship.  That turned into this relationship now at JR Motorsports.  I consider all that kind of fate.  I think that what is happening is happening for a reason.  Hopefully, propels Regan back into the Cup Series at some point and gives us the success we were experiencing when we had Brad (Keselowski) in the car.  Get us back into a more competitive place.”
 
FROM HERE WATCHING IT LOOKED LIKE THAT 15 MINUTES OF PRACTICE FOR THE PIT ROAD COMPETITION WAS PRETTY CHAOTIC.  WHAT DID IT FEEL LIKE FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT AND WERE YOU ABLE TO GET A CLEAN RUN?
“Yeah, it was just really a lot of guys trying to learn what to do there.  A lot of us hadn’t ever gone down pit road under those circumstances without any pit road speed.  I think a lot of people, the crew chiefs especially were nervous about their equipment.  Trying to get the car back in one piece was the most important thing.  In that 15 minute period, I tried to get everything I could out of it, but I think I definitely need more time experimenting with that kind of thing to really perfect it.  I think you are going to see a lot of people kind of all over the place as far as how they approach coming onto pit road and leaving pit road, but we will try to do the best we can.  It was pretty chaotic though, it was borderline humorous at times what you were seeing out there, but everybody was really giving each other plenty of room and letting everybody get a shot at it.  It was pretty orderly to be honest with you.  We didn’t know what to expect.  I don’t know if anybody knew what to expect pulling off pit road what was going to happen.”
 
WITH NO POINTS OR ANYTHING ON THE LINE IS THIS A GOOD RACE TO KIND OF GET BACK AT A DRIVER IF YOU NEED TO KIND OF RETALIATE AGAINST SOMEBODY?
“(Laughs) I mean what’s wrong with the other races? (Laughs) Those are good races too.  I think if you really want to get after somebody you don’t have opportunities coming up too often.  You take them whenever you can get them.  I try to race how people race me.  I know everybody say that, but it is the truth.  You treat people the way you get treated, no matter if you are driving a car or not.  I don’t think this race broadens opportunity any more than any other lap.  To be honest with you, when you get a chance and you want to stick it to somebody you can definitely make it hell for them.”    

Chevy Racing–Sprint All Star Race–Danica Patrick

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
MAY 17, 2013
 
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CARES CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media and discussed, how she approaches the Sprint Showdown, the potential of winning the Sprint Fan Vote and other topics.  Full Transcript:
 
DOES IT MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE TO YOU WHETHER YOU RACE YOUR WAY IN OR GET THE ALL-STAR VOTE?
“What do you mean? For what reason? You asked what’s the difference between making it in versus racing in? What does it mean? Well, making it in is making it in. That’s great. But personally, of course I would love to race my way in. But the best that can happen is racing in the race. That’s going to help the most for next weekend. So, anyway, I would love to race my way in.”
 
INAUDIBLE QUESTION REGARDING PIT STOP:
“We don’t do that. Only the ones in the race do that. I think maybe one of the most unique things is going to be watching qualifying for the guys that are already in the race. No speed limit on pit lane is going to be kind of cool to watch. I know they used to do it in the old days, but it’s going to be exciting.”
 
THIS IS A SHORTER RACE WITH SHORTER LAPS. IT’S NOT AN ENDURANCE RACE. HOW MUCH FUN IS IT GOING TO BE TO GET OUT THERE AND LET IS ALL HANG OUT?
“I think we see with a lot of our races that when it comes down to the end, things get exciting because it’s all on the line. NASCAR obviously recognizes that it gets good when you put us in a short timeframe. It doesn’t completely change the preparation of the car because essentially you’re still running the whole tire life of them. Or at least for our race, for the race to qualify, it’s 40 laps. You can make a pit stop if you want, but track position is very important. So, 40 laps is still a pretty long run on tires so set-up is not necessarily going to change but every lap is going to be pushing really hard.”
 
DO YOU PREFER THAT PUSHING HARD RIGHT OFF THE TOP OR THAT STYLE ANYWAY?
“Sure. Get it in; get it done; whatever is more entertaining for the fans.”
 
WILL YOU BE WATCHING THE INDY 500 NEXT WEEK FROM HERE?  DO YOU FIND IT FASCINATING?
“Do we watch it? Oh, yeah; we watch it. I will watch next week. I think we are all curious. We’re all in racing and we all watch racing. I think that’s a common thread and it always will be there; and especially with the Indy 500 being such a cool and old historic race. We’ll all be paying attention. Obviously we’ve got qualifying this weekend for IndyCar and next week will be the race. Last year they put on a great show.”
 
HOW WAS THE DOVER TEST?
“The Dover test was pretty good. We had 11 or so cars there. So I know that Stewart-Haas was really good there last year with not a lot of rubber down and then coming back for the race and being really bad and not feeling like they had made a lot of progress with the car and being way out of balance. So, I think that will help pay off. Any kind of testing we can do on tracks we’re going to race on is absolutely going to help for that one, but we’re going to tracks and we’re using the right tires when we’re doing it. So, it was a good test and we made a lot of progress and we learned a lot.”
 
WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE IN THE BIG RACE SATURDAY NIGHT, DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE SOME SCORES SETTLED?
“I think that in a 20-lap segment you push as hard as you can no matter who you are around. I don’t know if there are scores to be settled. I don’t know.”
 
TALKED ABOUT WHAT YOU LEARNED AT DOVER? ARE YOU GOING BACK TO DOVER SO YOU CAN RUN BETTER?  ARE THERE THINGS THAT YOU’VE LEARNED THAT MAYBE WILL HELP?
“It’s going to help, no doubt. I feel like it will help. At least it will get me comfortable with finding a limit with the car. We’ve been loose in every part of the corner at some point and we’ve been kind of tight in every part of the corner at some point in the days we were testing. So, let’s hope that the rubber put down will translate to the same balance when we get back to the race.”
 
HOW WAS PRACTICE?
“Practice was okay. I feel like I didn’t do a great job of getting a lot of time out of the car on the first run, but we were relatively consistent and I felt like to me, that was making progress because the tires and the heat of the track and sliding around out there, it doesn’t get any easier as the tire life wears on. So, my runs were fairly long. I feel like we made progress. I don’t think we were the fastest car by any means but hopefully we’ve got ourselves a car that will be consistent enough to put those 40 laps together.”
 
WHILE CLARIFYING THE RULES THIS WEEK, YOUR NAME CAME UP A LOT WITH THE MEDIA. IS THAT FAIR TO YOU?
“I don’t know in what light they were talking about.”
 
SOME PEOPLE CALL IT THE DANICA RULE
“What rule?”
 
ON HAVING OR NOT HAVING TO BE ON THE LEAD LAP AT THE END OF THE SHOWDOWN
‘From my understanding, that was a mistake on NASCAR’s part earlier in the week. So, outside of that I have absolutely no idea what the rules are from the past or what they’re going to be or what they have been. It’s all-new to me. I had no idea that qualifying was like a three-lap pit stop thing. So, it’s all new to me.”
 
(GREG) ZIPADELLI (ZIPPY) SAID THAT YOU GUYS WERE MAKING PROGRESS AT STEWART-HAAS RACING BUT THAT EVERYONE NEEDED TO BE PULLING IN THE SAME DIRECTION TO GET BETTER.  HAVE YOU NOTICED ANYTHING IN THE TEAM MEETINGS AS YOU GUYS ARE KIND OF WORKING ON THAT?
“Well, I feel like we all have the same feeling about the car and we all have a similar opinion of what the car is doing and more importantly what it’s not doing.  And when that happens, it’s time to go to work to figure out how to get that out of the car.  And I feel like once we do we are going to be better for the struggles that we have had.  But we do need to figure those out and I think we are all in agreement that we need to make a lot of progress and I feel like sometimes that is half the battle.”
 
YOU RAN THE 600 HERE LAST YEAR AND YOU HAD TESTING IN JANUARY.  DO YOU FEEL ANY MORE COMFORTABLE HERE THAN OTHER PLACES YOU HAVE BEEN THIS YEAR?
“Yeah, and I always go back to it.  It’s really dependent on the car.  I mean essentially I had better results in my Cup races last year than I have had this year other than Martinsville and Daytona.  So we have had a couple of really good highs but the rest of them have been not so good at all.  So I don’t think I unlearned things from last year, it’s just a matter of getting the car to a place where it does what we all want it to do as drivers on the team.  So I feel comfortable, yes.   There is a lot of stuff that I don’t worry so much about and I can just get in the car and go.  But things I am more familiar with are looking at a tire sheet, or understanding what happens to a car in the corner and being able to translate to Tony Gibson.  But it really all comes to being comfortable with the car that you have underneath you to be able to go do the job you need to do.”
 
DO YOU FIND THAT COMFORT WHEN YOU ARE RACING AT NIGHT AND PRACTICE DURING THE DAY AND THE TRACK CHANGES DRAMATICALLY.  DOES THAT REALLY HELP YOU IN FEELING MORE COMFORTABLE WITH THIS TRACK?
“I feel like there is so much experience on the crew chief’s part about the transition from day to night that they have an offset that they know already.  So what we learn today will help us later as long as we get that right offset from daytime to nighttime. Which is something pretty well known by the crew chiefs.”
 
IS TONY (GIBSON, CREW CHIEF) MORE ADJUSTING AT THIS TRACK TO WHAT YOU WANT?
“The track changes when its sunlight versus shade and versus dark.  So as long as they know it gets tighter or looser and
the offset for that, and then all the changes are still applicable.”
 
IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO RACE YOUR WAY IN THE ALL STAR RACE, HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU THAT YOU WILL WIN THE FAN VOTE?
“I don’t know. I feel like I am very lucky to have so many great fans and all my partners and everybody involved are doing a good job of promoting to the fan vote.  Hopefully that is there, but again, I would rather just focus on racing my way in and if I needed the fan vote then I will cross my fingers.”
 

Chevy Racing–Indianapolis 500–Team Penske

MEMBERS OF TEAM PENSKE met with members of the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Full transcript:
 
97th INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRESS CONFERENCE
Team Penske
Friday, May 17, 2013
 
            MODERATOR: OK. Good morning, everyone. I’m Bob Jenkins, and it’s my pleasure to host this news conference, which I have done in the past but haven’t in the last few years. But glad I can do it again.
            We have the members of Team Penske up here. From on the far end of the line is, of course, the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves. Tim Cindric, president of Penske Performance. Will Power. AJ Allmendinger. And the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner, Rick Mears.
            Tim, I know you have something to say regarding Roger (Penske), who is unable to be here with us today.
 
            TIM CINDRIC: I just wanted to on behalf of Roger send his regards. He’s a bit conflicted this week for sure, as he had promised Mille Miglia. At the Mille Miglia in Italy this week. When he made that promise, he wasn’t quite sure how it all conflicted with pole weekend. So anyway, it’s in the midst of it next they’ll or four days competing in the Mille Miglia with Mario Illien. So he started that process last night, actually ran in to a bit of a mudslide, so he called me actually at 10 o’clock here. So he’d just gotten to the hotel for the first round of that. So he’s having fun. It’s good to see the boss do something a little different than work. But he certainly misses being here at this place, but obviously he’ll be here next weekend.
 
            MODERATOR: Start with the junior member of the team, AJ Allmendinger. Dinger, is –
 
            CINDRIC: Dinger, that’s a good name for you.
 
            A.J. ALLMENDINGER: Thanks, Bob.
 
            MODERATOR: Glad to do it. So was this on your bucket list, seriously?
 
            ALLMENDINGER: Yeah, I mean, back when I was in Champ Car and growing up through open-wheel racing, this was the pinnacle. I always wanted to be here and, you know, as the split happened and Champ Car wasn’t here, and I never got the opportunity to run here, I mean it was always disappointing. The Memorial Day weekend, it was always difficult sitting at home watching it and not having a chance to run it, especially being a Indy-car driver at that point, and obviously over the last seven years being in NASCAR, just to watch it on TV was kind of always a thing Sunday morning before the Cup race, I’d sit there and watch Indy 500 and just always wanted to be here. Always did, and, you know, happy to have the opportunity to be here with Team Penske and for Roger to give me the opportunity to kind of live out a dream and to be here with no better team than Team Penske. It’s kind of a dream come true. And having to deal with Will and Helio a little bit for two weeks straight gets a little much. Today Helio was singing Taylor Swift to me. It was rough. It was hard. (Laughter). But other than that, it’s been a lot of fun so far.
 
            MODERATOR: Is there anything similar from the ChampCar that you drove to these things nowadays?
 
            ALLMENDINGER: No. Not that I remember. The problem was, since I’ve got back into this race car, I’m just trying to remember, was it this hard to drive a Champ Car? You know, seven years of a Sprint Cup car, it’s — everything that I’ve learned back in my open-wheel racing that I’ve gotten used to, you know, it took a couple years switching to stock cars to really feel comfortable in the car. And it’s kind of — the roles have gotten reversed since I’ve come back here. Try to get used it to again and understand what this car likes and how hard you’ve got to drive it to be fast, especially on the road and street courses.
            It’s been a tough challenge. I really enjoy it, though, and I feel like the first two races I’ve had decent speed in the race car, decent race pace. Haven’t had the finishes to show it, but Will and Helio have helped me out a lot since I have come back to really just bring me into the race team and, you know, make me feel like actually a member of the race team, not just a part-time, third-time car. You know, it makes me feel like part of the team, and hopefully there’s little things that I’ve brought to the team that hopefully help them, my energy level, my excitement. My charm and good looks. (Laughter).
 
            MODERATOR: There you go. Of course, Kurt Busch was here and did the rookie orientation, a lot of speculation as to whether he might do the double. Is the double something that you might want to do some day and think you can?
 
            ALLMENDINGER: I think I could, but it’s got to be the right situation. This year wasn’t the right situation to try it. I think it’s something that — it’s — there’s so many things that have to line up perfectly to be able to make it happen, and do it the right way, not just to say do it. And that’s the big thing.
            You know, one day, you know, one year maybe, maybe the right opportunity is going to show up and everything falls into place at the right time and that’s the right year to do it, but I hope we’re all celebrating after Indy. I wouldn’t be worried about the 600.
 
            MODERATOR: Now, Rick, you are in a great position of being experienced, needless to say, on this racetrack. What do you teach these guys? Or can you teach them anything?
 
            MEARS: Can’t teach these guys anything. Obviously all three of these guys know what to do, they know how to get around these joints and how to drive race cars. I think with A.J., obviously, it’s more of a matter of laps. Like he said, getting comfortable, getting back in the swing of things, getting comfortable with the team, working with the guys. With these cars working on the timing on the racetrack as far as traffic goes, that kind of thing. That’s just laps. That’s all it is. He obviously knows how to drive a race car; all three of them get around this joint pretty well.
            So I just kind of stand back and watch if anything pops up that I might be able to help with I try to help. That’s the main thing.
 
            MODERATOR: Now, if Helio is leading on Race Day, and he’s got a full lap on the field, and you’re seeing him as a member of the four-time winner club, will you throw a bottle on the track or anything to keep him from joining your club?
 
            MEARS: I haven’t decided yet. (Laughter).
 
            MODERATOR: Helio, what do you have to say about that?
 
            HELIO CASTRONEVES: I say that Rick, he didn’t win four, he actually won six and a half. (Laughter) Because he’s — he’s been there since my first one. And certainly without him and the Team Penske I would not be able to do what I did
. So hopefully, at the end of the race I will get another one, and it will be a dream come true.
 
            MEARS: I’d go for that.
 
            CASTRONEVES: OK. Good. I dream every night, obviously. But we’re working very hard to make that happen. We have three fast cars, very competitive fuel. The course today is a different day, we’ll focus on qualifyings, increasing the boost level. So speed’s going to increase, and it’s going to be interesting.
 
            MODERATOR: Do you still get the chills when you get out there for the first time?
 
            CASTRONEVES: When I walk into this place, I get the chills. It’s just amazing. We went to the museum the first night and to see all the history of this place, it’s incredible. It’s never the same. Always there is something different. And obviously in the situation that we are right now, we’re certainly feeling very confident, but we know what we need to did, as well, there. So now we’re looking strong.
 
            MODERATOR: By the same token, is it different the night before the race here? Do you have a little more trouble sleeping or relaxing?
 
            CASTRONEVES: Certainly you don’t rest as well as you wish. Because first you got to beat the traffic, which is always a good thing. And second, you know, you’re thinking about a lot of things. We’re talking about 500 miles; there’s a lot of circumstances that could play in your favor and could go against you, as well. And I have to say every time in any race but especially this one, when you start playing the national anthem, and the Indianapolis song, everything. It’s just kind of like “(Back Home Again in) Indiana,” thank you. (Laughter) So I knew it was something like that. I didn’t know how to say it. (Laughter).
            So basically that’s when the butterfly goes in your stomach. And it is awesome. Especially when you have the crowd there, oh, my God, guys, it’s the best feeling in the world.
 
            MODERATOR: All right, Will. I think the very first time I talked to you was on pit lane after you qualified, and one of the questions I asked you was, where in the world is Toowoomba? And you might refresh our minds as to where that is and how big it is.
 
            WILL POWER: Toowoomba is west of Brisbane, about an hour-and-a-half drive. It’s in the state of Queensland in Australia. It’s an awesome town. It’s got probably over a hundred thousand people.
 
            MODERATOR: Really?
 
            POWER: It’s not as small as you think. People come to Toowoomba. He doesn’t know how to pronounce the name. He calls it Chambawamba. (Laughter).
 
            MODERATOR: Do the residents really get behind you this time of year?
 
            POWER: Yeah, I think so. I don’t go back there very often, but I do there’s a big “Will Power” –
 
            MODERATOR: So how’s the month gone for you so far?
 
            POWER: It’s been interesting. You know, I think just trying to work out a good race car. Obviously qualifying such a different — different thing because you have a different boost levels, so probably going 6 or 7 miles an hour quicker.
 
            ALLMENDINGER: Really? That fast? You didn’t tell me that, Rick.
 
            MEARS: Surprise.
 
            POWER: So you probably won’t being as good as you were. (Laughter) But yeah, I mean, we’re just trying to get good car in traffic. I can tell it’s a very competitive field this year. You can’t really see anyone that’s sticking out as being the quickest. So it’s going to be interesting, I guess, come qualifying day to see when everyone’s on the track by themselves see where they stack up. But we’re still working away and, you know, just hope to have a good solid race car and see if we can qualify up front somewhere. Pole would be nice.
 
            MODERATOR: Tim, elaborate if you will on this boost increase and how you deal with it in terms of setup and so forth.
 
            CINDRIC: It is a bit challenging. I think it’s difficult sometimes for the fans to understand as well because there’s an anticipation typically of the speeds building through the month, and then on Friday you have this large buildup in terms of the speeds. And the teams, it’s difficult for us to actually work on qualifying setups throughout the week until today. Today we have a weather situation where you might have rain from 3 o’clock on. It kind of amplifies the day. But today’s the day when the pressure really starts to mount in terms of for the drivers and really trying to understand how to get ready in a very short period of time. And understanding how the speeds will then affect the balance of the car. It’s a lot to ask of these guys to have that increase in speed, this 5- to 7-mile an hour difference, where they’ll get — you know, if it rains today two or three hours of that today and then right into qualifying tomorrow morning.
            So it’s very challenging and, you know, I think that it’s good in terms of the overall impact to the sport to continue to go faster on qualifying day. It’s just difficult to do that in a very short period of time like we have. But I’m certainly an advocate of trying to set new track records here, so I think we need to continue to work towards the right balance of safety and speed.
 
            MODERATOR: So 230 is likely, you think?
 
            CINDRIC: I think you’ll see 230 in terms of the times in practice and tomorrow morning. In qualifying, I think it really depends on the engine manufacturers, and I think that’s yet to be seen. But I guess last year I think it was a low 227. So I think 230 might be a stretch. So I don’t want to put that expectation out there, but I think we’ll see those laps with some draft.
 
            MODERATOR: OK. Let’s open it up to questions.
 
Q: I’m going to take a shot at each one of you, a question I asked the Ganassi guys already. Each of the drivers — well, in fact both of you, both Rick and Tim can weigh in, too. What is it about your love of the Indianapolis 500 that keeps bringing you back? What makes it special to you personally?
 
            ALLMENDINGER: For me, I mean it’s the prestige of the race. You know, it’s one of those races, and it may be the biggest race in the world when it comes to, you know, if you’re not even a race fan, you don’t really know anything about racing, but you say you won the Indianapolis 500, they know that’s pretty special. And for me, that’s something that the first time I signed with Penske last year, you know, you walk into the main o
ffice and the Borg-Warner Trophy is there with the helmets of everybody that’s won the race. You know, for me, it’s like as soon as I walk in, being a NASCAR driver, at that point that’s special right there. You see what that means. And to me, just to — it would be special to have my face on that trophy, have that trophy in your trophy case. And, you know, once you become an Indy 500 winner, that will never be taken away. You’re part of a special club. And that to me is what makes this race so amazing is the fact that, it doesn’t matter who you say it to, if you say you’re an Indianapolis 500 champion, that’s pretty special.
 
            MEARS: Pretty much the same thing. For myself it was, you know, we had heard about Indy, listened to it on the radio early on. Then finally when they came out with a little bit of the live coverage growing up. But for me it was way out of my league. There was no way. I never dreamed of coming here because it was way out of my league. You know, we were just racing around home for fun as a hobby and recreation, and I never realized — even thought about coming here until about six months before I actually got into an Indy car.
            I didn’t dream about because I didn’t think it would ever happen. There was no question. So to be able to accomplish that and hook up with Team Penske and the right organization and have the tools to be able to accomplish what we have here is just incredible.
 
            MODERATOR: Will, Tim, Helio.
 
            POWER: Much the same as Rick and A.J. said. You know, it’s just — I didn’t realize how big the event was until I’d actually been through the process of the month. And it’s just — couldn’t believe the media coverage, and Race Day is the biggest eye-opener when you walk out into pit lane and just the amount of people. It’s phenomenal.
            And apart from all that, it’s a challenge of getting it right because, you know, it’s such a hard place to get right in the car. And when things aren’t working, you don’t even want to be out there. It’s just so hard. But when they do work, you have a good car and you’re passing people, you know, it’s the best feeling in the world. So it’s a very unique place, nothing like it in the world.
 
            CINDRIC: For me it’s pretty simple. I grew up watching all the history being made. And to be part of and have the opportunity to work with these guys and Roger, it kind of all puts it full circle and perspective for me to understand how difficult it is. I watched my father try and win this race with an engine for 30 years and he never got that done. And to have the chance to be part of five of those is a big deal.
            And, you know, Rick, I tell the story all the time about the time when I was kid he went back and got me a hat. And I never forgot that. So, you know, to work with him and these guys, it’s a big deal for me.
 
            CASTRONEVES: Well, several things. History, challenging of going for 500 miles in this place, when you’re able to accomplish that, it’s just an amazing accomplishment. And drinking the milk. It’s all about, do you want to be there. I guarantee everybody’s thinking I want to drink that milk. Those are the things.
 
Q: Helio, if you want to comment, has there been a change, sort of a transition in mentorship between you having Rick your rookie year and then now seeing somebody like AJ coming in, have you kind of taken over that role of kind of being his mentor and teacher here? I know he’s not a rookie to the Speedway itself but to these Indy cars?
 
            CASTRONEVES: It’s amazing. Helping Jr. here, it’s not — it’s been quite challenge, you know (Laughter). Certainly Rick would be my mentor. I don’t know if I’m Jr.’s mentor, but I’m certainly trying to keep him in line, but he doesn’t need much to be honest, of — you know, it’s easy to say because he’s out there, seems to know exactly what he wants, and it’s good. It’s good to have another guy on our team again to — like he said, his energy, and we just got to keep controlling him a little bit better unless he goes all out of control. So, it’s cool. It’s very nice. I feel awesome.
 
Q: This is for Rick and all the current drivers. I know weather is a key factor, but every time you take a lap on this oval, what are one or two things that you always have to remind yourself and be aware of?
 
            MEARS: Well, you say weather. One of the key things for me around here was always the weather. Just worry about the weather coming in and setting your strategy when you need to get what done. But as far as the track, we were talking the other day, every time you roll out of pit lane here, like during practice today, the last thing I did as I rolled off was look at the flag, see which way the wind was blowing, what it was doing. Because you always have to figure that into the equation of the change you made on the car. How much of it was the change, how much of it was the wind. So weather as far as all four corners is always changing on you with the wind direction. Temperature changing, they’re very critical and sensitive to that. So weather is a key factor at this place.
 
            ALLMENDINGER: I think for me it’s just every day is like starting over, just kind of a reset. And talking to all these guys about coming here. And I guess in a way you never want to get too comfortable. You want to — for me it’s just going out there and I kind of just reset my mind, and those first laps are always a little — kind of got the nerves built back up just because, you know, I watched this race for many years, and talking to everybody, it’s about, you know, you got to respect this place every lap. Because I think as soon as you let your guard down a little bit, like “OK, I got this place,” that second will bite you.
            And as Rick talked about the wind, I’m starting to become familiar now as an Indy driver because you wake up, and a couple days ago opened my hotel room window and the trees are blowing, I’m like, “Oh, crap.” So it’s something that you just got to — for me just got to — I’ve got to start over every day, just a little bit, just kind of work back up to it.
 
            POWER: The wind is so bad around this place, especially this car, more than the previous car because it’s a little bigger. And, you know, the wake that’s left of the car in front is a massive deal. I mean you totally change the balance, so it’s really hard to get the car working around that. But that’s something you’ve got to always be aware of when you go out.
 
            CASTRONEVES: Yes. Same. Weather is always — plays a big factor in this place.
            And like junior said, you got to reset every time you come out there.
 
Q: Question for Tim and for A.J. Tim, I would like to ask this question to Roger but maybe Tim can answer. For the next years in IndyCar will stay with the Dallara chassis. Nevertheless, nothing is impossible in motor racing. Given the circumstance of coming to the right place at the right time, do you think Team Penske will ever build its own chassis like they did in the past? And question for A.J. and (inaudible) which way you want to be
both together.
 
            CINDRIC: I think the answer to your question really is obviously to determine on which way the direction of the series goes in terms of what is allowed. At this point in time it’s not an opportunity, it’s not something that’s really in our short-term future. I don’t think it’s in the short-term future of INDYCAR at the moment because of the agreements that they have.
            But we do feel like this place was really based on innovation. And there’s a balance between having 33 participants at this race. And if you were to open up a complete innovative scenario like what it used to be, I think you’d really struggle to fill the field. So there’s a certain balance where that can be. But I think it’s somewhere beyond where we are now. But to the extent of Penske building an Indy car, I think that’s probably a ways away.
 
            ALLMENDINGER: Yeah, I mean I think for me it’s — you know, I just — it’s the same as this year, I just kind of look at whatever the best opportunity is for me. I don’t have in mind one series over the other of what I’d like to be in. And for me to be a part of this organization, to be with Team Penske and be one of Roger’s drivers, it’s very special. And I feel like the luckiest guy in the world, honestly, to have a second opportunity at it.
            And it’s — it’s as I told Roger, if he wants me here, I’m not going to think about it. I’m going to be here, no matter what it is. And he’s taken care of me and I feel very special to be a part of his family, and to be here to be just called one of his drivers, whether it was a NASCAR driver or IndyCar driver, sports car driver, whatever it is, to be part of Roger’s organization, for me it’s the best thing in the world. So if that opportunity’s there, I’m going to be here.
 
Q: Helio, can you take us through your first three wins a little bit? I know each of them are different, but this is kind of looking forward to maybe getting number four. Is there anything you can take from those first three as you look back and say, “OK, I need to do X, Y and Z in order to get number four?”
 
            CASTRONEVES: Well, I look at those, and certainly those are the ones that may have happened, but I look more at the ones that didn’t happen, why? Because the recipe was there. You know, we know we can do it. And I look more at the place — at the races that we didn’t do it. You know, 2003 I have a very fast car, and unfortunately we got caught in one of those scenarios where we finished 3/10ths behind my teammate. 2005, I think we finished third. It was ‘5 or ‘6, when rain came out unexpected, and people took a gamble and just went with what we could tell. I mean I look at those more than actually why. Especially last year, for example, why we didn’t have a better performance than we did. So it was — the rest of it, the other ones that we won, for me the first one was just knowing a little bit and understanding and listening a lot of what we had to say. The second one was an opportunity to put ourselves in and be able to took a chance and gamble. And the third one, it was — the car was extremely well. And we took advantage to make a move at the right point and keep going.
            So it’s all about putting ourselves in that situation, and the key to this place is when. That’s the toughest part to find.
 
Q:  When or wind?
 
            CASTRONEVES: When to make it happen.
 
            MODERATOR: We’ve got time for two more questions.
 
Q: Helio, you touched on it a little bit, but talk a little bit more about what it means to have three wins here and have a fourth. And do you feel fortunate? Is it — how do you sort of explain being able to do this given the frustrations that so many race drivers have had here?
 
            CASTRONEVES: I feel blessed to be in this opportunity, to be in this elite group, I feel blessed. Certainly there was, as you said, there’s a lot of guys, lot of races, and being in very good position, unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. But again, this place is more about there was so many things that can go wrong, and so few things that can go right. So that’s why this team’s won fifteen times because they found a way to look for those moments that it makes right.
            But for me, certainly I’m happy. But I still have a great chance to keep going. And until this team and myself have the fire inside to go and try everything we could, we’re going to keep trying.
 
Q: For decades, when you’re trying to deal with — whether it was Paul Page or Bob Jenkins or Marty Reid, when you try to tell the millions watching on television, you know, what you’re thinking, that we don’t know, if you’re coming off Turn 4 and you’re about to win, Will or AJ, your first Indy 500, Helio, your fourth, TK says if it happens for him we all know he’ll be thinking about his dad, the promise he made to his dad. But for you three, coming off of Turn 4 about to win your fourth and joining a very elite crew, or you guys about to win your first, where do your thoughts go? Who do you think about? Who’s the first person in your mind that you think about that’s so special that makes this day?
 
            CASTRONEVES: Get off Turn 4. Complete Turn 4. (Laughter) We seen before that did not happen, unfortunately. But you got to be focused. It’s a tough question. For me, you know, I only look at the checkered flag. I want to make sure I see that checkered flag first and then just thank God. For me it’s just, “Thank you, God; you first put me in this position and to do what I love to do.”
 
            ALLMENDINGER: I think for me — and I’ve gotten asked the question already, what — what’s that — do I look ahead to that moment, and it’s too far away. Way too far away. This is kind of a step-by-step process day by day, and for me right now lap by lap. And, you know, I don’t allow myself to think, you know, what’s it going to be like when I come off the corner to win the race. It’s there’s so many things that got to happen in this race to have an opportunity — even have an opportunity to win the race let alone actually have it happen. And, you know, it’s just — I don’t want to let — I don’t even want to allow myself to think like that, you know, what happens. You know, I want that moment if it does happen to just be in the moment. You know, and I don’t know what it’s going to be like. I don’t know if I’m going to be — there’ll be so many emotions that run through, but I won’t allow myself to look ahead. You know, that’s something that, as it happens, it happens. We got a way too long of a time before we get to that point.
 
            POWER: Yeah, I mean, it’s — I couldn’t imagine. I just couldn’t imagine the feeling of winning this race. It’d just be — you know, it’s a life-changer. So, yeah, like AJ I haven’t really — just haven’t thought about it. I mean it’s such a process to have that happen. So many things have got to go your way. I mean things — it’s just got to be your day. It’s such a funny race that you could never predict who’s going to win. You know, you just kind of — if someone moves quick all month, you know, you just can’t tell. So, that’s what makes it pretty cool, makes it great for the fans. If you happen to accomplish winning the Indy 500, I m
ean it’s the biggest race you’ll ever win because it is the biggest race in the world, AJ.
 
            ALLMENDINGER: You will get that billboard in Toowoomba?
 
            POWER: I might get that. I probably could get the billboard. Maybe even Australian of the Year (Laughter).
 
            ALLMENDINGER: Adam Scott won the Masters; you ain’t getting that.
 
            MODERATOR: Thanks to Helio, Tim, Will, AJ and Rick. Best of luck with the rest of the month, and there will be an opportunity for one-on-ones.
 

Chevy Racing–Sprint All Star Race–Jimmie Johnson

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
MAY 17, 2013
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S PATRIOTIC CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway and discussed last year’s All-Star Race win, his thoughts on the format for this year’s All-Star race and other topics.  Full Transcript:
 
THIS IS THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF YOUR FIRST SPRINT ALL-STAR WIN AND IF YOU WERE TO GET A FOURTH ALL-STAR WIN YOU WOULD HAVE SOLE POSITION OF THE ALL-TIME WIN RECORD.  TALK ABOUT HEADING INTO THIS WEEKEND TRYING TO GRAB THAT FOURTH ON SATURDAY:
“I’m pumped.  I’m happy to be home. Happy to have the support from Sprint they have done such an amazing job of supporting our racing series.  To have this weekend and all that goes on with our All-Star event it’s just really cool.  I’m thankful for what they do for myself and all of us in this room and all of us in the sport.  It’s going to be a cool night.  They put an extra million bucks up.  We will see if somebody can ring that bell.  The format has changed.  We will see how that plays out.  Clearly you want to start as close as you can to the front in that final segment and have a shot at winning.  We will all be trying real hard through each and every segment to get that done.  If I am the lucky one to win and fortunate one to win, I will be very happy to beat two guys that I have idolized by whole career, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Sr. on wins in this particular event.  We will see what happens.”
 
HOW DOES THE WAY THEY HAVE CHANGED THE RULES CHANGE HOW YOU APPROACH THE RACE? DO YOU THINK IT’S REALISTIC THAT ONE GUY CAN LEAD ALL FIVE SEGMENTS?
“Yeah, I think there is a good chance.  It’s not going to be easy.  Last year’s format whoever won that first segment had a free pass for the rest of the night.  If they didn’t turn it into a test session they would have been foolish to not handle things the way we did.  We played the game right and it paid off.  We left with a million dollar check and a cool trophy.  That is our job as teams and drivers is to figure out how to beat the system.  I remember one year, Jeff Burton was going to take the checkered on pit road after he finished a pit stop.  It’s fun to have those opportunities to think like that and to find an advantage that others don’t.  Some maybe upset with the way we won last year, I take great pride in it.  We worked the system and did a good job.  That’s not going to work this year you’ve got to run hard.  I think there is a chance. I think that it’s a long shot.  With the competition that exists in the All-Star Race it’s going to be a long shot, but it’s worth it and it will bring some excitement.  If somebody does ring that bell it will be a hell of a party.”
 
DO YOU REALLY CARE ABOUT THE FORMAT FOR THE ALL-STAR RACE OR THINK ABOUT OR HAVE EMOTION ABOUT THE FORMAT? TALKING ABOUT THE GUYS JUMPING OVER PIT ROAD AND HOW YOU MAY STOP DIFFERENTLY I WOULD LIKE TO ASK ABOUT THAT AS WELL:
“The format I think every team looks at it and says ‘alright the million bucks is after that final segment. I need to start as close as I can to the front.  How do I do that?’ Depending on the year there are different formats from inversions. When there is an inversion and it’s a fan vote you know they are going to want to see a big inversion so there is always a group of guys fighting for fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth on the race track. They do away with the inversion or it’s a random and then you’ve got to take a guess at it.  But you are assuming the winner of that final segment or whatever it is, is going to get the pole position.  The last year was far different and we played that game perfectly.  This year’s game is go fast.  You have to go fast to have a shot to win this thing.  Ideally starting on that front row is key.  So, that is going to be the game we play and everybody is going to work real hard to maintain track position and try to win segments.
 
“Pit road and no qualifying speed, I remember watching it and it was exciting just watching it.  Now I’m going to be a part of it and man I hope we get a chance to really practice it.  Getting off of the banking at that speed and I assume accelerating again to get down pit road and how slick pit road is, it’s going to be exciting (laughs).  I remember watching on television and (Jeff) Gordon came off and slide right to the edge of the grass and was on the throttle. Then tried to slow it down and all of his crew guys, I think (Chad) Knaus might have been on the team too.  Standing there on the pit wall waiting for the car to come to a stop and it just blew right on by, four or five stalls past.  I would assume we will see a little bit of that tonight with guys getting real aggressive and trying to get to their pit box.”
 
IS 15 MINUTES ENOUGH TO PRACTICE GETTING ON AND OFF OF PIT ROAD, LIFT POINTS, BRAKE POINTS, ALL THAT SORT OF THING OR WOULD YOU LIKE A LITTLE BIT MORE TIME TO WORK ON THAT?
“I would like some more time.  The biggest reason is 20 cars trying to go through that is going to be chaotic.  Trying to find a clear opening, if it was 30 minutes you could kind of wait until things calmed down and then get out there and try again.  The amount of time is fine, it’s just the space that we have to work in is confined with a lot of vehicles.  Maybe if they let three or four guys go at a time over 15 minutes you could all get two or three clean attempts and learn a lot more from that than I think a free for all like what we are going to have.  The spotters will earn their keep today in that 15 minute practice session trying to find clean holes so we can get it done.”
 
IS MONEY THE ONLY MOTIVATION THIS WEEKEND? OR IS WINNING PROVING PEOPLE WRONG WHO SAID YOU WON THE FIRST SEGMENT WRONG? OR IS THERE MORE YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH IN TERMS OF GETTING ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR?
“I think there’s an order. First and foremost, there’s that big check. That’s top of the list. And then from there, you work down. And it still is a race against the toughest guys in the field, so a second-place finish isn’t a bad thing. It can help for morale right on down through probably Top-5. You can justify it as a good night and you learn something. There are other people that might not consider themselves (as) a favorite and have a shot to win, so they’re going to experiment and use this weekend as a test session. Even some of the big teams; I know we always try a thing or two here to see if it will work and if we want to bring it back for the 600. And then, the last piece is just laps on a track that we race at with the right tire and with all the competitors here. It just makes the teams better and stronger. So, there are a lot of layers to it, but it’s just kind of in order; and teams do that, you know? If you win, awesome. If not it’s like well, okay. We learned this, and right on down the line.”
 
I KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT CURRENTLY INVOLVED IN A FEUD OR DISPUTE. BUT IF YOU WERE, WOULD THIS BE THE PERFECT PLACE FOR PAYBACK BECAUSE THERE ARE NO POINTS ON THE LINE AND YOU’RE NOT GOING TO TOTALLY TRASH SOMEBODY’S SEASON IF YOU CHOOSE TO GET EVEN?
“It really depends. If somebody harmed you or did you wrong in a points-paying situation, you want to pay him back in a fair manner, which would be during a points-paying event. So, it depends. Everybody has their own motivation and a way that they like to handle things. Nobody is going to give each other a lot of slack here. And if you do get caught-up in a racing accident, you’re more willing to be caught-up and okay with being caught-up in a racing accident here because the points aren’t on the line. So it kind of buys you some slack in a few areas;
maybe not as much. You can’t send a message as strong as you want to in others. But at the end of the day, when we get ticked in the car when something happens, you don’t think about those things. So, if that switch had flipped on whomever it is, it could still happen. There really isn’t a clear-cup path or code to it all. But the smart guys, they wouldn’t do it here. They’re going to wait until points are on the line and it has the same impact on that guys as it did to them.”
 
WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE SITUATION BETWEEN KASEY KAHNE AND KYLE BUSCH THE LAST FEW WEEKS, YOU WENT THROUGH A STRETCH WITH KURT BUSCH WHERE IT SEEMED LIKE YOU GUYS WERE RUNNING INTO EACH OTHER EVERY WEEK. DOES THAT GET IN YOUR HEAD WHEN YOU SEE HIM ON THE TRACK AFTER REPEATED RUN-INS WITH THE SAME GUY?
CAN TWO GUY’S DRIVING STYLES CONFLICT TO THE POINT THAT THEY STRUGGLE TO RACE ONE ANOTHER?
“After talking to both of them, they’re both frustrated. Kasey has come out on the losing end of it three times and is more frustrated than Kyle. But it’s not like Kyle has an issue with him. There has just been stuff. And we’ve all been through it. I’ve had it with Kurt. I’ve had it with Sterling Marlin in like ’03 or ’04. And it’s really no fun when it happens and you kind of have a magnet for whatever car it is and it goes on and on. The way I’ve been able to break the cycle is you just consciously have to get away. After one wreck and it wasn’t on purpose, you’re like okay. No big deal. Second one happens and you’re like oh man, really honestly, I really didn’t mean to do it. And then if it goes to a third time, you’re like okay. If I see you coming, I’m getting the hell out of the way (laughs). You go by and I’ll go over here. And you just have to try to make it stop that way.”
 
IN TERMS OF AGGRESSION, DO YOU NOTICE ANYTHING DIFFERENT ABOUT HOW DRIVERS RACE THIS RACE?
“Yeah, you’re not going to point a guy by if he’s faster, especially with the average finish of each segment counting towards the final starting order, there will be no pointing guys by and working with one another. It will be door-to-door and you’re going to have to do a slide job or something to clear somebody and get by. So that part will pick-up. But if you’re racing for 10th, it’s going to be a little different than if you’re racing for the lead. You don’t want to tear-up cars and run a half-a-track behind for 10th or something. That doesn’t make a lot of sense. But track position will be very important and it will encourage more side-by-side hard racing.”
 
YOU HAVE A HUGE 44 POINT LEAD OVER EDWARDS AND 59 OVER KENSETH AND YET THE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS HAVE BEEN CONSISTENTLY FASTER THAN THE HENDRICK CARS FOR MOST OF THE SEASON. WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT MORE: THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE A BIG LEAD OR THE FACT THAT THEY HAVE BEEN FASTER?
“They definitely have some speed on the 1.5-mile tracks. I feel like our short-track stuff has been real good. Our plate stuff has been awesome. And we’ve got some mile tracks coming up. Dover has been really good to us and I hope to run well there. But if I were to pick an area we need to improve on, it would be the 1.5-miles. We’re not bad. We’re still getting good finishes. But we don’t have that magic right now. I’m very happy to have this big points lead and would love to lock early as you can imagine. But I don’t know if I’m just making this up for my own good and helping my cause, but I’m glad I’m not peaking-out. We always point that out about the team that gets on a roll and are they peaking too early. I’m not saying those guys are, but I’m glad we don’t have our best stuff right now and we’ve got some time to get there. Hopefully we do.”
 
THERE WASN’T LOT OF OVERLAP BETWEEN YOUR CAREER AND THAT OF DICK TRICKLE. DID YOU KNOW MUCH ABOUT HIM AND DO YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS ABOUT HIS DEATH?
“I’m shocked and saddened by it. I didn’t race a lot against Dick. His stories were legendary throughout the ASA and short track racing that I did in the Midwest. I raced a little bit against him in the Nationwide Series. And then where I got to know him the best was racing in the IROC Series. Those practice days were so laid back and relaxed. And with Dave Marcus and Dick being there, we’d all hang out and talk about cars. Hop in your car and run a little bit. Leave the track for lunch and run down to a little spot to eat and come back. And those are the memories that I really have in getting to know Dick and spend time with him. I certainly don’t know the whole story in what’s gone on, but I’m just saddened to hear that he took his life. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones that are left behind.”
 

World of Outlaws–Dietrich Downs Outlaws Again, Repeats in Gettysburg Clash at Lincoln

Dietrich Downs Outlaws Again, Repeats in Gettysburg Clash at Lincoln
PA Posse racer tops World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car stars for second year in a row
ABOTTSTOWN, Pa. – May 16, 2013 – A year after being schooled by the vaunted Pennsylvania Posse at Lincoln Speedway, the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series racers made great strides but still came up short as local star Danny Dietrich powered to victory in the Gettysburg Clash for the second consecutive season.

Last year it was hard to find an Outlaw in the top 10 at Lincoln, this time around Donny Schatz pressured Dietrich for the entire 35 laps before settling for second by about a car length at the checkered flag. Sammy Swindell, Tim Kaeding and Brad Sweet rounded out the top five on the first of four consecutive nights of action for the Outlaws.

Dietrich remained faithful to the bottom of the race track, making Schatz have to use the high side to get around him. Schatz kept pace using the high side early on, but as the bottom proved to be the preferred line he moved down and tried to force Dietrich into a making mistake.

“Just was determined to get the jump on every restart, I screwed up a couple of times, but was able to recover from it,” said Dietrich, of Aspers, Pa. “I saw his nose probably half a dozen times, I was just trying to hit my marks, I figured if I could just hit my marks everything would probably be OK. It just feels real good to beat the best of the best guys in the world.”

Dietrich wound up leading all 35 laps in his Sandoes Fruit Market Maxim, and the capacity crowd went crazy as the PA Posse member pulled into victory lane.

“I tried everything, tried pulling the wing back, putting it forward,” said Schatz, driver of the Tony Stewart Racing STP/Armor All J&J from Fargo, N.D. “The guys did a tremendous job, you come out here there is some pretty stiff competition, we’re not happy with second, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.”

Also for the second consecutive year at Lincoln, Sammy Swindell qualified at the top of the charts in the Big Game Treestands Eagle and was able to earn a position in the dash. An unlucky dash draw of eight, though, shifted Swindell from the front to row to the fourth row, where he eventually worked his way back to a podium finish by the end of the night.

“The last couple of weeks have been really bad for us, and so it’s good to come here and get a third,” said Sammy Swindell, of Germantown, Tenn. “We were a little scared to go too far. Everything we did the first part of the year seemed to be wrong. To come here and get a third is just great.”

Sixth-place finishing Brent Marks was the next PA Posse driver in the finishing order, one spot ahead of World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series championship point leader Daryn Pittman.

The night did not go so well for one of the PA Posse’s biggest stars, Greg Hodnett, from Thomasville, Pa. He went out late in time trials and qualified an impressive eighth, when few drivers were moving up in the qualifying order. But Hodnett’s night would end there, as a mechanical failure would keep the car off of the track for the rest of the event.

Kerry Madsen managed to save what could have been a rough night. The Aussie qualified a dismal 40th but he was able to work his way up to the third position in his heat race, and was racing for a spot in the dash. He would not be able to take the dash spot away from Hafertepe Jr., but he would go to the feature. Madsen started 24th in the feature due to his qualifying position, but picked up eight spots to finish 16th.

The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series heads to Williams Grove Speedway on Friday and Saturday, with Saturday night’s feature now the determining event for where the Morgan Cup trophy will reside the remainder of 2013. The traveling trophy goes to the organization represented by the highest finishing Outlaw or PA Posse racer in Saturday’s A-main. The past two seasons, a dash determined the Morgan Cup winner, with Jason Sides and Steve Kinser earning victories that let the trophy find a home in the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series office in North Carolina.

Chevy Racing–Rookie Carlos Muñoz Sets Fastest Lap of Week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Rookie Carlos Muñoz Sets Fastest Lap of Week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
 
INDIANAPOLIS (May 16, 2013) – Rookie Carlo Muñoz didn’t let the warmest temperatures of the month slow him down. Rather, the native of Bogata, Colombia posted the fastest lap of the combined six practices held so far for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500. Behind the wheel of the No. 26 Unistraw Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, Muñoz posted a lap of 225.163 m.p.h around the famed 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
 
Other familiar Team Chevy faces in the top-five of the final speed chart were: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Helio Castroneves and E.J. Viso.
 
Joining the top-10 quickest were Chevrolet IndyCar V6 drivers JR Hildebrand, Ed Carpenter and Oriol Servia.
 
1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier made his first on-track appearance today to bring the Chevrolet IndyCar V6 roster to 17 for this year’s 200-laps/500-mile race. Lazier concluded his “installation” laps today, and will participate in a special 30-minute refresher session on Friday morning.
The final day of practice, Fast Friday, is scheduled to see cars on track from noon to 6:00 p.m. as teams make their final preparations for Pole Day for the Indianapolis 500. Qualifying is set for Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. when, in addition to the pole sitter being crowned; the fastest 24 cars and drivers locked into the field.  NBC Sports Network will broadcast pole qualifying live from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and again from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Verizon FiOS 90/590, DirecTV 220, DISH 159 and AT&T UVerse 640). In addition, qualifying will be broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, including on Sirius and XM Channels 211 and

Chevy Racing–Indianapolis 500- Practice Day 5

Drastic Change in Air and Track Temperature Produce Varying Conditions for Chevrolet IndyCar V6 Teams and Drivers on Day Five of Practice for Indianapolis 500
 
INDIANAPOLIS (May 15, 2013) – With a drastic change in air temperatures that reached 91 degrees at one point, and track temperatures in excess of 125 degrees, Chevrolet IndyCar V6 teams and drivers worked through a new set of conditions as they continue their preparations for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500.
 
Townsend Bell in the No. 60 Sunoco “Turbo” Panther Racing Chevrolet put up a speed of 223.716 m.p.h. to stand second at the end of the day on the final speed chart.
 
“The Panther guys have done an awesome job,” said Bell. “We had a rocky start with me coming in late from Laguna (Seca), but we’ve rebounded nicely since then.”
 
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske Chevrolet was third on the speed charts followed by defending IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 1 DHL Andretti Autosport Chevrolet who put up the fourth fastest speed of the day.
 
Posting speeds that landed them in the final top-10 of the 32 cars taking laps around the famed 2.5-mile speedway were Team Chevy drivers Marco Andretti, EJ Viso and Carlos Muñoz.
 
Pole Day for the Indianapolis 500 is set for Saturday, May 18, 2013 when in addition to the pole sitter being crowned; the fastest 24 cars and drivers locked into the field.
 
Practice will continue Thursday, May 16, 2013, from noon to 6:00 p.m. EDT.
 
CHEVROLET DRIVER QUOTES – PRACTICE DAY FIVE:
 
POST PRACTICE PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
TOWNSEND BELL, NO. 60 SUNOCO “TURBO” PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET:
 
IS IT MORE FUN TO GO FAST THAN JUST TALK ABOUT PEOPLE GOING FAST?
“It is, it’s a lot more fun.  It feels a lot more at home for me to just jump in and not have to say anything.  Not have to smile, nobody can see you behind the helmet and just get after it.  It’s been great.  The car is solid. The Panther (Racing) guys have done an awesome job.  We got off to a rocky start when we came in late from Laguna (Seca) and car wasn’t ready.  My first run was like happy hour on the third day.  I came on track and you know what it’s like (talking with Dario Franchitti) when you haven’t been here for a while it’s all the little things.  At the last second my spotter just said ‘you might consider the warm-up lane’ at that point I was already doing about 200 (m.p.h.) and wouldn’t make the warm-up lane and would cause an even bigger accident.  So I just kind of squeezed up and tried to drive near the grass and it was not good, but we have come a long way since then.”
 
IT SEEMS TO BE VERY SURPRISING YOU JUMP FROM SPORTS CAR INTO OPEN WHEEL CARS AND BACK INTO SPORTS CARS.  IS IT DIFFICULT TO ADAPT?  IF YOU ARE AN ACCEPTABLE OR GOOD RESULT HERE AT THE INDY 500 ARE YOU NOT THINKING OR PLAYING WITH THE IDEA TO DO A WHOLE SEASON IN INDYCAR AGAIN?
“Your first question about adapting it’s like I said, it’s a whole lot easier adapting from a sports car to an IndyCar than from the telecast booth to being a racing driver (laughs).  In Laguna Seca we had a great weekend there, finished fourth in GT.  Which was our best result and a great result for all our partners.  The nice thing about Laguna (Seca) is you do a lot of left-hand turns so it’s nice to just shake off the rust driving anything.  Whether it’s a shifter cart or a GT car, luckily this is my seventh time at Indianapolis and so it feel pretty familiar.  The track hasn’t changed.  The equipment is largely the same year over year.  I’m driving for a team that I have driven for in the past, although everybody is kind of new for the most part. Still got JB (John Barnes) there, but engineering wise, mechanics, it’s just the chemistry of getting going.  Spotters are new, all of that.  So, it’s the non-driving things that are hardest to adjust to.  We’ve got some timing stand issues and telemetry and radio and it’s all that stuff.  Once I actually put the visor down and get out on the track and drop the hammer so to speak it feels very much at home.
“Your second question regarding full-time, I work hard to make sure I’m at the Indy 500 and I’ve got a great program this year with a bunch of great partners.  I haven’t been very successful in the past at trying to force things outside of Indy.  Usually it’s just the phone rings and somebody needs somebody for a few races or something and I’m able to jump in.  These days I’m pretty busy now between the television and the ALMS (American Le Mans Series) which I’m really enjoying.  It would be hard for me to say no to other IndyCar opportunities.”
 
LAST YEAR YOU SHARED WITH US THAT YOU LIKED GUMMY BEARS AS A CHILD… IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH US IN THIS PRIVATE TIME?
“I didn’t know what you meant by revealing myself. I don’t know.  I love coming back here.  Shoot… what kind of secrets do you have over there brother (talking to Dario)?  I’m married, I’ve got two kids. I mean it’s all out there.  I Twitter, Facebook, generation you’ve got to stay high and tight. I was sworn in as the honorary Sheriff of the Pacific Palisades two weeks ago. I am a badge carrying sort of quasi law enforcement.  It’s a real gray area to be honorary Sheriff.  That is pretty cool.”
CAN YOU MAKE CITIZEN ARRESTS? “I think we all can (laughs).”
 
IN REGARDS TO DARIO FRANCHITTI MISBEHAVING IN THE AGE OF TWITTER AND FACEBOOK: “I don’t know a lot of guys that go to Sebring with their motorhome for a week just to watch (laughs). I actually went into the infield for the first time there at night. That was interesting.”
 
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO 3 SHELL V-POWER PENNZOIL ULTRA TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: ON PRACTICE: “The Shell-Pennzoil car was good today. It was interesting out on the track with the wind conditions. We will keep finding little things and making improvements.”
 
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 1 DHL ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET: ON TODAY’S PRACTICE:  “It was a good day for the DHL crew. We tried quite a few different setups because the weather is changing: the wind’s changing, it’s getting hotter. So we’re just logging more data for weather conditions and ended the day on a good note. We were on the top of the charts most of the day, but finished with a great race car so I’m really happy with it.”
 
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 25 RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET: ON TODAY’S PRACTICE: “Today was interesting to say the least. We finished sixth overall, but we were trying new things on the car – obviously some things aren’t always going to work out for the best. It kind of goes back to ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it’ – so not every change to the car is a good change. We made more progress yesterday than today, but that’s why we practice so much here. Tomorrow will be a better day for the RC Cola Chevy, we have a solid idea of the setup we want the car to have at this point.”
 
E.J. VISO, NO. 5 TEAM VENEZUELA PDVSA CITGO ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT HVM CHEVROLET: ON TODAY’S PRACTICE: “The preparation is still happening – we’re still following each of the steps of our test plan. Today we still answered some good questions that we had about the car, and what we are trying to do right now is make our race car even stronger. I think we are going to be good for the race, but there are still plenty of details to fix to have an even better car.”
 
CARLOS MUÑOZ, NO. 26 UNISTRAW ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET: ON TODAY’S PRACTICE: “Today’s practice was very similar to my run yesterday and we are continuing to practice different race setups before qualifying this weekend. When we got out
on the track this morning we needed to make some changes so we couldn’t get as many laps in as we would have hoped. Practice this afternoon went well when we ran as a team and I think I am improving after each run in the No. 26 Unistraw Chevrolet. The conditions on the track were similar to yesterday’s so there were no big changes, but I still need to improve running in these temperatures. Tomorrow is another day with different programs to try out. We still need to focus on figuring out what is going to work best.”
 
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET: ON TODAY’S PRACTICE: “We had a busy day. We ran 107 laps, more than twice any other day for us.  We had bad day on Tuesday, just a lot of problems.  The Fuzzy’s Chevy felt much better today and we ran in a lot of traffic.  With the heat and more cars, the track was more in a race setting.  We aren’t where we want to be just yet, but I think we are back into our scheduled plan.  We aren’t sure how the weather will play out the next two days, so we wanted more laps today.  We have been working on the race car and haven’t trimmed anything out for a qualifying setup.  Let’s just hope the weather is cooperating with us to get more laps in for Thursday and Friday.”
 
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET: ON TODAYS PRACTICE:  “I think the GoDaddy crew made some really good gains today. We had some troubles early on but we’ve bounced back from that. We’re still fighting the good fight that is Indianapolis. Well keep working at it – we gathered a lot of data over the five (Andretti Autosport) cars today and we’ll see where we are at come week’s end.”
 
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET: ON TODAY’S PRACTICE: “We’re feeling pretty good. We haven’t worked very much on our qualifying stuff yet, because there are still a couple of days before we really have to do that. More than anything, once we get to Friday and Saturday it’s hard to work on race stuff, so we’ve been running through a lot of things to make the National Guard car work well in traffic. And we’ve been trying to figure out what we need to do so we’ve got a fast car, but also a car that works well throughout an entire stint. I feel like we’ve made good progress the last few days. It’s always hard to tell running in traffic what other guys are doing, but we certainly aren’t one of the cars struggling to get by people out there. But we’ve got to keep working at it, because at this place you certainly can’t take anything for granted.”
 
ORIOL SERVIA, NO. 22 MECUM AUCTIONS PANTHER DREYER AND REINBOLD RACING CHEVROLET: ON TODAY’S PRACTICE:  “It was again a difficult day in terms of the conditions. It was very hot and even windier than yesterday. It’s tricky because the car wants to slide around.There towards the ends, we made a couple of changes that gave me more grip which is what we were after. Honestly, it’s hard when you do changes to get a read sometimes because you’re out there and do some laps alone and you get a perfect read. Then all of a sudden you’re behind a big pack of cars and you basically lose 200 pounds of downforce. We get caught in trying to see both things – how the changes are and how your car is in traffic because that’s how it’s going to be during the race. It’s an interesting dynamic that happens out there. I think we made the best of it today.”
 
A.J. ALLMENDINGER, NO. 2 IZOD TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET:  ON TODAY’S PRACTICE: “It was warmer outside today than it was yesterday which changed some of the things the IZOD crew out into the set up of the IZOD Chevrolet. The track had less grip than the day before as well. I got to experience being in race traffic along with practicing pit stops which was a first for me. Overall, it was another solid day on the track. We continue to learn more and more as the week goes on.”
 
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: ON PRACTICE: “We did a lot of race set-up work today – some long runs and the guys worked on pit stops too. It was a good day for the Verizon team we accomplished a fair bit of work today. There is bit more in the car and I feel pretty good about it.”

Anderson Plans to Continue Resurgence with Topeka Win

Anderson Plans to Continue Resurgence with Topeka Win
 
Mooresville, N.C., May 15, 2013 – Greg Anderson and the Summit Racing team continued to exhibit signs of resurgence last weekend at the weather-delayed Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals, and with just a short pause in the action before the 25th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, the championship-caliber Pro Stock team plans to stay right on course.
 
This weekend’s event in Topeka, Kan., just six days after leaving Atlanta, marks a return to a facility where the KB Racing crew dominated from 2003 to 2007 with three low-qualifier awards and four event titles. The only Pro Stock competitor to have won more in Topeka is Warren Johnson, who holds the record with five victories.
 
Although Team Summit experienced a dry spell in Kansas for several years, last season was a return to form, and the now 74-time national event winner narrowly missed starting from the No. 1 position and powered his Summit Racing-backed doorslammer all the way to the final round from the No. 2 spot. Although he was stopped just short of the win, Anderson made an impact as he set top speed of the meet at 211.30 mph and his Summit Racing teammate Jason Line recorded low e.t. of the event with a 6.566, both of which were Heartland Park Topeka track records.
 
“We’re obviously hoping to build on what we did there in Topeka last year and take it one round further,” said Anderson, currently tied for eighth in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings. “Last year, the KB Racing team really put our noses to the grindstone and figured out what we were doing wrong, and we ran very well because of that. We should have won the race, but we made a mistake in the final and shook the tires a little bit. We definitely had the strongest cars out there, though, and we feel like we left one on the table.
 
“Thankfully, we know how to run fast there again, and we’re on an upswing with both of our Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaros this year. We certainly think we should be able to go to Topeka and come away with the trophy.”
 
The vast Heartland Park Topeka facility provides plenty of space for the competitors to comfortably set up camp, and the facility has historically been the site of record-setting performances in some categories. It has also, however, been recognized as a venue where unpredictable weather can be a deciding factor. After a series of rain-plagued events this year, NHRA drivers are hoping to catch a break with a replay of last season’s picture-perfect weekend in Kansas.
 
“Topeka is definitely the King of Crazy Weather,” said Anderson. “You never know what you’ll get there, if you’re going to get twisters or record-setting temperatures, so it’s definitely exciting. We’ve had a little of everything and been able to run well, so we have a lot of confidence that we can play with whatever cards Mother Nature deals us.”
 
At this time last season Anderson had three wins in five final round appearances, and although the 2012 stats comparatively look better on paper, the four-time NHRA Pro Stock champion feels strongly that he is in a much better position now than he was then.
 
“To be honest with you, I have a lot more confidence in my car right now, especially after Atlanta and the test sessions we’ve had,” said Anderson. “I really think we’ve turned a corner. My car is going to be good, and it keeps getting better each weekend. At this time last year, I didn’t feel like we had a complete handle on our racecar, but this Summit Racing Chevy Camaro is adapting to the different conditions that we have to race in, and we’re closer now than we have been in a long time to making good, consistent runs, time after time.
 
“I’m really, really hungry for a win. The win that my teammate Jason Line got a couple of weeks ago in Houston really helped this team. We’ve been working very hard ever since then, and it gave the guys a little more drive. It’s time that I find my way back to victory lane. I believe I still know how to do it, but I need to prove it to myself. I’m overdue, but nobody is going to hand you one of these things. You need to go out and earn it, and that’s what I plan to do this weekend.”
 

Line Focused on Achieving Long-Awaited Topeka Victory

Line Focused on Achieving Long-Awaited Topeka Victory
 
Mooresville, N.C., May 15, 2013 – Summit Racing driver Jason Line is pleased with the progress that the dedicated KB Racing team has shown in the last few events in NHRA’s 2013 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Steady forward momentum resulted in a Houston win for the second-generation drag racer in the shiny blue Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro and a positive showing for both Line and teammate Greg Anderson at the rain-delayed event in Atlanta just last weekend, where they were in the top three in qualifying and put forth some of the quickest runs on raceday.
 
But now, Line is very focused on checking off what has become a fairly high-priority task on his to-do list by earning the trophy at a racetrack where he has yet to see the inside of the winner’s circle as a Pro Stock competitor. Heartland Park Topeka is one of just six facilities – including New England Dragway, a new addition to the tour this year – where the two-time series champion has yet to score a victory as a pro.
 
“Still, I’ve always enjoyed going to Topeka,” said Line, who experienced success as a sportsman racer at Heartland Park and won a division-level event there before graduating to the professional ranks. “I raced my Stocker at the first event held there, so I have some pretty good memories to draw on when we roll through the gates. Last year the KB Racing team did pretty well there, and hopefully we’ll be able to do even better with our Summit Racing Camaros.”
 
Last season, Line clocked a remarkable 6.566 in the first round of eliminations on raceday in Topeka to claim low e.t. of the meet and reset the Heartland Park Topeka track record. Line was extremely fast in each round on Sunday, and the only person who could stop him turned out to be his Summit Racing teammate Greg Anderson, who got the nod in their semifinals meeting and was runner-up at the event.
 
This year, particularly in light of their recent upswing, Line is optimistic that Team Summit will have a chance to again ruffle feathers in Kansas.
 
“The whole team has been working really hard both at the KB Racing shop, in testing, and at each race we go to,” said Line, currently No. 5 in the Mello Yello Series standings. “We should be competitive when we get to Topeka, and we may not be as fast as we were last year, but we will be able to make a decent showing. You always hope that one of these years you’ll manage to win this thing – my teammate has won it four times, so I know it’s possible – and maybe this will be my year to do it.”
 
This year has so far been a challenge for all of the NHRA teams as they’ve battled gruesome weather, shortened qualifying sessions, and many delays. The unforgiving conditions have kept teams on the road without much of a break, and with less than a week between last weekend’s delayed completion of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta and the upcoming event in Topeka, teams are stretched to their limits.
 
“It’s both good and bad,” said Line. “We miss having the time at the shop to work on things, because that time is definitely valuable, but the way things have worked out certainly allows you to get into a groove, so to speak. Hopefully, that will work to our advantage because my expectations are to win this race. No question about it. These Summit Racing Chevy Camaros are capable of winning, and that is always the expectation.”

Honda to Participate in the FIA Formula One World Championship

Honda to Participate in the FIA Formula One World Championship

16 May 2013

TOKYO, Japan, May 16, 2013 – Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced its decision to participate in the FIA1 Formula One (F1) World Championship from the 2015 season under a joint project with McLaren, the UK-based F1 corporation.

Honda will be in charge of the development, manufacture and supply
of the power unit, including the engine and energy recovery system,
while McLaren will be in charge of the development and manufacture of
the chassis, as well as the management of the new team, McLaren Honda.

From
2014, new F1 regulations require the introduction of a 1.6 litre direct
injection turbocharged V6 engine with energy recovery systems. The
opportunity to further develop these powertrain technologies through the
challenge of racing is central to Honda’s decision to participate in
F1. Throughout its history, Honda has passionately pursued improvements
in the efficiency of the internal combustion engine and in more recent
years, the development of pioneering energy management technologies such
as hybrid systems. Participation in Formula 1 under these new
regulations will encourage even further technological progress in both
these areas. Furthermore, a new generation of Honda engineers can
experience the challenges and the thrills of operating at the pinnacle
of motorsport.

Commenting on this exciting development, Takanobu Ito, President and CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. said:
“Ever
since its establishment, Honda has been a company which grows by taking
on challenges in racing. Honda has a long history of advancing our
technologies and nurturing our people by participating in the world’s
most prestigious automobile racing series. The new F1 regulations with
their significant environmental focus will inspire even greater
development of our own advanced technologies and this is central to our
participation in F1. We have the greatest respect for the FIA’s1
decision to introduce these new regulations that are both highly
challenging but also attractive to manufacturers that pursue
environmental technologies and to Formula One Group2, which
has developed F1 into a high value, top car racing category supported by
enthusiastic fans. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to
Mr. Jean Todt, the President of FIA1 and to Mr. Bernie Ecclestone, the CEO of Formula One Group2
who showed great understanding and cooperation to help realise our
participation in F1 racing. The corporate slogan of Honda is “The Power
of Dreams”. This slogan represents our strong desire to pursue and
realise our dreams together with our customers and fans. Together with
McLaren, one of the most distinguished F1 constructors, Honda will mark a
new beginning in our challenges in F1.”

Also, Martin Whitmarsh, CEO of McLaren Group Limited said;
“The
names of McLaren and Honda are synonymous with success in Formula One,
and, for everyone who works for both companies, the weight of our past
achievements together lies heavily on our shoulders. But it’s a mark of
the ambition and resolve we both share that we want once again to take
McLaren Honda to the very pinnacle of Formula One success. Together we
have a great legacy – and we’re utterly committed to maintaining it.”

Jean Todt, President of FIA said;
“I
am very happy to hear about Honda’s important decision to return to
Formula One with McLaren from 2015. The introduction of the new power
train next year, in the form of a 1.6 litre, 6 cylinder engine with
direct injection and energy recovery, is a very exciting challenge and
demonstrates a vision for the future of the sport. I am sure that Honda
will become a strong contender in the years to come. ”

Bernie Ecclestone, CEO of Formula One Group said;
“It
is a great pleasure to see Honda back in Formula One. Their engine
technology and passion for motor sports make them a natural Formula One
contender.”

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