Summit Racing–Line Puts up a Good Number, Ready to Start Fresh on Saturday

Line Puts up a Good Number, Ready to Start Fresh on Saturday
 
Event:  7th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals
Location: Summit Motorsports Park, Norwalk, Ohio
Day/Date: Friday, July 5, 2013
 
Pro Stock driver Jason Line and his Summit Racing teammate Greg Anderson are looking forward to the second day of qualifying at their sponsor’s main event, the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park, following a set of qualifying runs that have them warmed up and ready to make big moves.
 
Line, of Mooresville, N.C., was stellar in his initial launch, recording a .014-second reaction time, and made a safe and strong pass in his first venture of the weekend down the quarter-mile racetrack in Norwalk, Ohio. He cleared the finish line with a 6.645 at 208.52 mph and was seventh quickest overall.
 
With a good read on the racetrack, Line was eager to return for the later session and have another go. The blue Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro was again solid on the starting line and in the early increments on the track, but as his car approached the back half of the course, a part within the engine gave way.
 
“We just hurt a part, nothing major, but it’s something that will require a little time to fix,” said Line, whose official time in the second session was 8.518-second. “The good news is that the Summit Racing team is well-prepared, and we have several engines with equal power, so we decided to change it tonight rather than fix it here.
 
“We will take care of the small issue when we get back to the KB Racing shop, but for now, we felt it was a better decision to start fresh tomorrow. Thankfully, it was nothing catastrophic, and Team Summit will have another couple of runs to make improvements before Sunday.”
 
Line ended the first day of the event in the No. 8 position. Two sessions of qualifying are scheduled for Saturday, at 11:45 am and 2:15 pm (Eastern).
 

John Force Racing–Norwalk

FORCE, HIGHT RUN AWAY FROM FRIDAY FIELD IN NORWALK

 

NORWALK, OH – John Force and Robert Hight were a potent 1-2 punch at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park on Friday night. Force’s Castrol GTX Ford Mustang set the track record with a provisional No. 1 elapsed time of 4.021 seconds at 317.72 mph. Right behind Force was teammate Robert Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang who ran 4.030 seconds at a track speed record of 318.77 mph.

 

“I was amazed it was hotter than heck and we came out and ran that 4.13 or whatever we ran in the heat. We got a handle in the heat,” said Force, who is in position to pick up his first No.1 qualifier at Summit Motorsports Park. “We are OK but we are not where we want to be. We are not where we want to be to win a championship. There are just a bunch of good race cars out here. To get low for tonight is good.”

 

“We need some good weather and we need some great races for the fans. We have had some bad weather this year and it has hurt the NHRA. The Bader family they work really hard. I have a good race car and (crew chief) Mike Neff and (Assistant crew chief) Jon Shaffer give me a good car with that team. It has plenty of funding from Castrol, Auto Club, Traxxas and Ford engineering goes into it. We will see what happens. Low ET doesn’t win you any races it put you on the edge actually. We will see if it will hold and then we will celebrate.”

 

The past two year’s Force’s current crew chief Mike Neff has won the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals as a driver and ironically this facility is one of two that Force has never won an NHRA national event. The tandem has been working together and over the past three weeks they have three final rounds and a win to their credit. Force thinks that Neff’s driving skills help make the 15-time Funny Car champion a better driver.

 

“I was always good. You will never get me to say different. Neff is good. We have been trying a lot of stuff. I have made some mistakes and Neff has been able to point those out to me. We talked about it and one of them was Neff said Force you are living in that gym trying to be a gorilla but I still have these Budweiser abs but he said I was way over steering the car,” said Force.

 

“Neff said I was the one taking it out of the groove. We started watching the videos. He understood what I was doing. The kid has a lot of talent not only tuning but also driving. He really helped me just calm down and keep driving. My other car was a dump truck and this car has like power steering and you have to finesse it like a Top Fuel dragster. We are a team. We win together and we lose together. I am excited right now.”

 

In addition to the performance advantage Force has experienced in the past month he is feeding off the fan excitement at the famed Norwalk facility.

 

“I have been coming to Norwalk for 18 years. I have won a lot of these Night Under Fire match races. You feed off the fans especially here at Norwalk. I learned a lot about racing here. The Bader family, I call them the PT Barnums, they are the best promoters in the world. Bader said to me it is not just drag racing it is entertainment. That is what you do.”

 

As dominant as Force’s Castrol GTX Ford Mustang was in the final qualifying session on Friday the Auto Club Ford Mustang was up to the task as well posting the quickest run of the first qualifying session and was second to Force in the night session. Hight picked up five qualifying bonus points for his efforts today.

 

“It’s definitely coming around. Right now points are everything and we have to stay ahead of everyone that’s behind us to stay in that top 10. Every run where we can pick up points in qualifying and go rounds on race day is huge. Today, we made five points on Tasca (Bob, III) and that’s exactly what we needed to do,” said Hight who sits 10th in the Mello Yello Funny Car point standings.

 

“I’m proud of my crew chief, Jimmy (Prock), that he didn’t just give it away tonight. We were low ET the first run. You know, we could have gone up there swingin’, trying to run in the threes, because that kind of is his style. He played it safe and we came up a hair short against John,” said Hight. “Just like last week when we lost to Capps, I told my guys, right now, when I lose on race day, I don’t want to lose smoking the tires, I want to lose going down the track making runs. If you throw out that run from last weekend when (Matt) Hagan and I got shut off, my Auto Club Ford Mustang has gone down the track every single run and ran 4.0’s. I’m proud of my guys. We need to do it twice tomorrow and see where it shakes out.”

 

Hight’s night time run may not have earned him the track elapsed time record but his monstrous speed of 318.77 mph grabbed the track speed record for the 2009 Funny Car champion.

 

“A track speed record is huge, but you can look at the incrementals and there’s more out there. Mike Neff ran almost three mph faster than us at half-track, yet we had the top speed. So, if we get ours to run through the middle like he did, you can run 321 mph. You see all these numbers, but there’s room for improvement. I’m excited because we’re not right out the ragged edge and we can run better,” said Hight.

 

Courtney Force made a great run today to qualify in the top 12 going into Saturday’s qualifying rounds. Piloting the Traxxas Ford Mustang, Force posted a 4.142 second run at 306.46 mph.

 

“Luckily the weather held out and we went out there and made a great run and went to the No. 4 spot with a 4.10 in the first session,” said Force.

 

The 25-year-old Funny Car driver struck the tires on her second shot at qualifying and was not able to improve.

“In the second session, we were trying to take advantage of the cool conditions, and being that it was a night run, it cooled down and we were trying to run in the low 4.0’s to see if we could go to the top spot and get around my dad. This Traxxas Ford Mustang wasn’t having it. It went out and struck the tires almost immediately, but that’s okay. You have to go out and give it all you got when you have such good conditions like that. We’re going to go out tomorrow and we have two more chances. We still made it into the top 12 for today so we’ll see what this Traxxas Ford can do,” said Force.

 

The first day of qualifying didn’t end the way Top Fuel rookie Brittany Force had imagined as she ended up 16th at the end of the night in Norwalk.

 

Force’s first pass in her Castrol EDGE dragster consisted of a 4.274 second pass at 197.05 mph after smoking the tires and ultimately having to shut off the engine early. Despite having experience in getting back in the throttle and nailing the run, there was just not enough time to do so.

 

“First run I went out there, it went up in tire smoke, so I lifted off the throttle,” Force said. “For us, there wasn’t a reason to try and pedal it and get down the track. Hoping that we have three runs, we don’t want to do anything that would hurt the car.”

 

Going into session two on Friday night, her Castrol EDGE team along crew chiefs Dean Antonelli and Eric Lane along with new hire Richard Hogan tuned her car for cooler temperatures, but once again, there are just some things that you can’t control, especially in racing.

 

“On the second run, I felt some different things on it,” the 26-year-old California native said. “It went out there and carried the front end for a little while, but it was when it set back down that it kind of started to drift in and went up in tire smoke. That’s when it really moved the car over and that’s when I lifted. Inside the car it felt like it started to go sideways. I watched the video with my c
rew chiefs and it was good that I lifted. Hopefully we can make some changes and come out tomorrow and have better runs.”

 

Hogan, who led Steve Torrence to three Top Fuel wins last season joined John Force Racing this week. He will work with Antonelli and Lane adding some Top Fuel experience to the rookie team.

 

“We just have had some discussion over the past few weeks if I was interested in trying to come over and help Guido (Dean Antonelli) and Eric. The have been typically Funny Cars guys and they have the dragster now and they just want to see if they can improve the performance some,” said Hogan.

 

When asked where he thought his strengths on the tuning side would come into play with the Castrol EDGE Top Fuel dragster Hogan talked about how he can work with the team to harness the BOSS 500 power.

 

“I think I can help with everything in general because I have made so many runs with a Top Fuel dragster as far as how aggressive you have to be with it. I understand how much power it takes to get them to run really good ETs,” added Hogan.

 

For the Automobile Club Road to the Future Award rookie of the year candidate the addition was met with excitement and encouragement for her young team.

 

“I’m excited to have Hogan on board. I think he, along with Antonelli and Lane, will be a good team together and we’ll get some stuff figured out and get into the Countdown,” said Force.

Wood Brothers Racing–Bayne to Start 20th in Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

Bayne to Start 20th in Coke Zero 400 at Daytona
July 5, 2013

With only 43 teams entered in Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, Trevor Bayne and the crew of his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion enjoyed a luxury not often afforded to a part-time Sprint Cup team.

Since there are 43 starting spots, there was no danger of missing the race. Bayne and his Motorcraft/Quick Lane team were able to spend the majority of the two practice sessions perfecting the race set-up for their No. 21 Ford Fusion. Most weeks, a good portion of practice is devoted to qualifying set-ups since the team usually has to make the starting field based on their qualifying time.

Nonetheless, Bayne ran a lap at 192.583 miles per hour to earn a respectable 20th starting position.

Like the rest of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew, he was more concerned about how his Ford Fusion will perform in the race than how it ran by itself against the clock.

“Hopefully our car is good in the pack,” he said. “You can’t really tell from qualifying with gusts and things like that.”

“Being an impound race, obviously that takes away a little bit of the things you would do if you were just qualifying, but I’m always proud of this team at superspeedway races, and hopefully we’ll be able to work our way up and be at the front by the end of this thing.”

Chevy Racing–Corvette Racing–Lime Rock Qualifying

 
Corvette Racing Stands Up to the Heat
Compuware Corvettes to start third, fifth in GT at Lime Rock
 
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (July 5, 2013) – Corvette Racing’s two Compuware Corvette C6.R race cars will roll off the GT grid from the second and third rows for Round 4 of the 2013 American Le Mans Series at Lime Rock Park, airing live at 3 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2. Oliver Gavin qualified the No. 4 Compuware Corvette third in class for the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix with Antonio Garcia fifth in the No. 3 entry.
 
Gavin’s best lap Friday was 51.490 seconds in the car he shares with Tommy Milner. Garcia, teaming with Jan Magnussen, turned a 51.357-second lap around the 1.5-mile circuit in northwestern Connecticut. Both cars are in prime position to repeat last year’s performance that saw the velocity yellow Corvettes second and third in the GT class.
 
The heat Friday bordered on oppressive. Air temperatures hovered near 95 degrees with track readings above 120 degrees. Both crews worked up a sweat throughout the day – especially the No. 3 group, which had to change the car’s gearbox following the day’s first practice.
 
The efforts of both teams paid off with each of the Corvettes within a half-second of the pole-winning car.
 
“Today was a mixed bag,” Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan said. “We had to change the gearbox on the No. 3 Corvette, but both Oliver and Antonio put in solid qualifying efforts. We know the race will be the typical GT slugfest, which is made that much more difficult with the close quarters and short lap around Lime Rock. It will come down to who can execute on the track and in pitlane. If we can do that and run as clean a race as possible, we will be in the hunt at the end of the day.”

Chevy Racing–Corvette Racing–Lime Rock

Corvette Racing Stands Up to the Heat
Compuware Corvettes to start third, fifth in GT at Lime Rock
 
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (July 5, 2013) – Corvette Racing’s two Compuware Corvette C6.R race cars will roll off the GT grid from the second and third rows for Round 4 of the 2013 American Le Mans Series at Lime Rock Park, airing live at 3 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2. Oliver Gavin qualified the No. 4 Compuware Corvette third in class for the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix with Antonio Garcia fifth in the No. 3 entry.
 
Gavin’s best lap Friday was 51.490 seconds in the car he shares with Tommy Milner. Garcia, teaming with Jan Magnussen, turned a 51.357-second lap around the 1.5-mile circuit in northwestern Connecticut. Both cars are in prime position to repeat last year’s performance that saw the velocity yellow Corvettes second and third in the GT class.
 
The heat Friday bordered on oppressive. Air temperatures hovered near 95 degrees with track readings above 120 degrees. Both crews worked up a sweat throughout the day – especially the No. 3 group, which had to change the car’s gearbox following the day’s first practice.
 
The efforts of both teams paid off with each of the Corvettes within a half-second of the pole-winning car.
 
“Today was a mixed bag,” Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan said. “We had to change the gearbox on the No. 3 Corvette, but both Oliver and Antonio put in solid qualifying efforts. We know the race will be the typical GT slugfest, which is made that much more difficult with the close quarters and short lap around Lime Rock. It will come down to who can execute on the track and in pitlane. If we can do that and run as clean a race as possible, we will be in the hunt at the end of the day.”
 
EDITORS: High-resolution images of Corvette Racing are available on the Team Chevy media site for editorial use only.
 
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
Qualified third, 51.490 seconds (103.057 mph)
“We found a bit more speed from the practices, and you always push harder in qualifying. I managed to stick a reasonable lap together, and we made a few adjustments with the car that helped us find a little bit more. It’s always a delicate balance here. There is not a huge amount of grip and you’re all the time seesawing from the rear of the car being too loose to the front of the car being too pushy. You try to massage that balance between the two because one end is always breaking free. Very rarely will you get a car that’s really good and stuck and lets you attack every corner with no fear.”
 
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 COMPUWARE CORVETTE C6.R
Qualified fifth, 51.537 seconds (102.963 mph)
“We all lost a lot of time from the first session due to the red flags and then we had to change the gearbox. We never got to try anything to improve the car from the first practice. In qualifying, I had no read from the car on new tires and we needed to judge what the car would do on new tires. I think I was pretty close to everyone other than the two leading cars. But after the problems we had this morning, we put in a very good qualifying effort. We are all very close and know how races here work out. We will all be single-file for two hours and 45 minutes, very close to how Laguna Seca was. We need to be spot on pit stops, tire changes and everything. If everything goes smooth, we have the car to be out front at the end.”

Chevy Racing–Daytona Qualifying Notes

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
COKE ZERO 400
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY QUALIFYING NOTES AND QUOTES
JULY 5, 2013
 
 
KASEY KAHNE LEADS TEAM CHEVY IN QUALIFYING AT DAYTONA
FOUR CHEVROLET DRIVERS WILL START IN TOP-10 FOR THE 55TH ANNUAL COKE ZERO 400
 
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida – July 5, 2013 – Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet SS, led the way for all Team Chevy drivers during qualifying on Friday at Daytona International Speedway for Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race.  Kahne turned a lap of 46.595 seconds at a speed of 193.154 mph to earn a fourth-place starting position for the event.
 
Paul Menard qualified the No. 27 Rheem/Menards Chevrolet SS in sixth position and was followed by Kahne’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Lowe’s Dover White Chevrolet SS – who qualified eighth.  Danica Patrick, No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet SS, who won the pole here in February, will start in 10th position for the summer race.
 
Other Team Chevy drivers qualifying in the top-20 were:  Tony Stewart, No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Chevy SS – 13th, Juan Pablo Montoya No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS – 14th, Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 National Guard Chevy SS – 16th, and Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevy SS – 17th.
 
Kyle Busch (Toyota) won the pole position, Matt Kenseth (Toyota) qualified second, Clint Bowyer (Toyota) will start third and Martin Truex Jr. (Toyota) rounded out the top-five in fifth.
 
The 55th-annual Coke Zero 400 will take the green flag on Saturday, July 6th at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be aired live on TNT.
 
 
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED FOURTH
A LOT OF DRIVERS HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THE WIND OUT THERE WHAT DID YOU FEEL?
“I just thought it looked really windy.  I saw the flags moving.  It looks like it’s blowing from the backstretch to the frontstretch.  I just kind of went around there.  I felt where it pushed me a little bit.  I never felt it bog the car down.  That was good, our engines run really well.  I think we have a fast car, obviously to go that quick today.  We have a good Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet and looking forward to tomorrow night.”
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S DOVER WHITE CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED EIGHTH
WHEN YOU CAME INTO THE GARAGE YOU SAT IN THE CAR FOR AWHILE FIRED THE ENGINE, TURNED IT OFF, FIRED THE ENGINE TURNED IT OFF.  IS EVERYTHING OKAY WITH THE LOWE’S CHEVROLET?
“Yeah everything is in good shape.  Just taking my time to get out of the car make sure I cycled it a few times.  We are trying to get every bit of speed we can out of these cars and tape over the radiator inlet is really the best way to do that in qualifying.  We were being aggressive there, but just want to get the car cooled down before we push it in.
 
YOU HAVE THREE HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS TEAMMATES OUT THERE THAT ARE REALLY FAST.  HOW COGNIZANT ARE YOU OF WHERE THEY ARE AT DURING THE RACE TOMORROW NIGHT?
“You know it’s tough in this format to do a lot with a teammate.  With the tandem drafting that we had in years past you had to have a partner and you may as well in the best situation was race with a teammate. You can plan things in advance and really work around that.  In today’s world it’s tough.  You try to help when you can, but you really have to look around and be aware of who you are racing with because every driver has their own tendencies and style.  I will get behind someone because I know they are going to get to the front it doesn’t matter who it is, what make it is, whoever is behind the wheel you know they are going to the front that is who you want to get behind.”
   
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 11TH
THE GUYS THAT WE FIRST TALKED TO WERE TALKING A LOT ABOUT THE WIND OUT THERE.  WHAT DID YOU EXPERIENCE?
“I didn’t feel like the car was buffeting today as much as it was yesterday.  Wind definitely plays a factor even from qualifying here at the beginning of the year for the (Daytona) 500 when we were on the pole there was certain spots that I gained and lost on that lap.  We kind of figured it was probably a wind thing.  Obviously, it’s not going to be the pole, but I think it will still give us a decent starting spot.  We found some ways to get better in practice yesterday and that should help us in the race.”
 
GIVE US AN IDEA OF HOW A LAP HERE FEELS IN QUALIFYING IN JULY VERSUS FEBRUARY:
“You know it’s hotter obviously. Just everything gets going a little bit slower.  You can feel the heat.  Shoot I feel a little bit slower, it’s hot.  It doesn’t mean we are going to start in a bad place.  We are not going to get the pole obviously, but it still should be a decent spot to start for the Coke Zero 400 tomorrow night.”
 
WHEN YOU GET OUT THERE TOMORROW AND GET THIS RACE GOING ON IT’S GOING TO BE A LITTLE BIT SHORTER TIME, A LITTLE BIT DARKER, A LITTLE BIT COOLER, MAYBE A LITTLE BIT MORE GRIP.  ANYTHING GOING TO CHANGE OTHER THAN TRY SOMETHING’S YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE BEFORE?
“Well, it will be darker; it’s going to be dark.  It will have more grip and it will be cooler.  All those things will happen tomorrow night and we obviously didn’t practice in those conditions but we have the extreme of them which is at the beginning of the year.  If there is one track we get a lot of laps on it’s here at Daytona.  I think as teams go we all feel pretty comfortable and that is why you don’t see a ton of practice out there from everybody because we have brought the best things that we can.  We will just have to see how it shakes out tomorrow night and hopefully the GoDaddy car can end up on top.”
 
ON THE CAR
“This is the same car that I used to test at the beginning of the year and it was a great car then. We weren’t even sure if we were going to use the other car as our primary. But we did. And it was fast and we got the pole and unfortunately we lost that car at Talladega. But that’s the way it goes on speedway racing. So, we’ve got a good car here, no doubt. And I’m sure that the red-white-blue added GoDaddy car will still start in a decent position for the race. Things change quickly here. I don’t think it’s going to be quite as much like follow-the-leader maybe as you saw at the beginning of the year in the 500. I feel like it’ll be fine.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 BASS PRO SHOPS/DUCKS UNLIMITED CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 13TH
YOU KNOW A THING OR TWO ABOUT WINNING THIS PARTICULAR RACE HOW WAS THAT LAP OUT THERE WITH ALL THE VARIABLES WE ARE FACING TODAY?
“I wish I could make it sound really exciting but from a driver’s side today’s is really just a showcase of what the teams how good a job they do coming here.  Our job is to watch the tach (tachometer) when we leave the pit road and shift three times and then just try to hold a really steady smooth wheel and let the car run what it’s going to run.  My job gets a little more interesting tomorrow night when I have to put my shoes on.”
 
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RUN:
“Uneventful, you just try to do everything you can to hold the wheel real nice and straight and not clip the apron and just have a smooth lap.  It’s going to run whatever it’s going to run.  Proud of our team everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing has done an awesome job.  Like always we have great Hendrick horsepower.  Uneventful day.”
 
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 CESSNA CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 27TH:
“You are running wide-open the whole time so you transfer a lot of heat through the gas pedal to your feet.  But we haven’t had any problems with our Cessna Chevy this weekend.”
 

Chevy Racing–Daytona–Tony Stewart

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
COKE ZERO 400
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
JULY 5, 2013
 
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 BASS PRO SHOPS/DUCKS UNLIMITED CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed what it would take to win this weekend’s 400-mile race, his Mobil 1 ‘soda cookies’ commercial and other topics.  Full Transcript:
 
TALK ABOUT COMING BACK TO DAYTONA; CERTAINLY A PLACE THAT HAS TO BE FOND IN YOUR MEMORY:
“Yeah, definitely any place you win 19 times at you kind of look forward to going back to.  It’s cool, I didn’t realize until I think three weeks ago or something when we were here for our winner’s circle appearance that we have the opportunity to tie David Pearson this weekend.  That’s a pretty cool stat to be brought into.  Obviously if we get lucky enough to get another one that would be something to be really proud of.  Definitely excited about having that opportunity.  Excited our buddy Johnny Morris is going to be here this weekend with a bunch of people from Ducks Unlimited and that is a really big deal for us this weekend.  Excited to have them on the car and excited to have a good weekend.  Last night was pretty neat being here in town and actually having an evening to go enjoy the fourth (of July).  It was fun to remember why we all get the chance to be here.”
 
DO YOU EAT SODA COOKIES?  DID YOU DO THAT SPLIT YOURSELF OR WAS THAT A STUNT DOUBLE?
“Let’s make no mistakes about it if I got down there I would still be down there (laughs).  No they did not ask me to do that, they had me get down on the ground for the camera shot, but they had green screens.  They had some male gymnast do it.  I don’t know who it was.  I didn’t want to be there when he did it. It was actually a lot of fun shooting the spots because I’m sitting there and I never look at what the spots are supposed to be before we get there.  So I get there and I’m starting to read the scripts and it’s saying Tony is getting on an exercise bike, he’s doing the splits and I’m like which Tony is doing this by the way?  Is there another Tony?  But it was fun.  Mobil 1 is pretty creative with their spots and I can’t say that I have ever just sat down and grabbed a Coke and grabbed Oreos.  I’ve ate Oreos and then chased them with a Coke, but I can’t say that I have done a lot of dunking.  It’s actually pretty good.  It might start a new trend now.”
 
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT COMING TO DAYTONA THREE WEEKS AGO AND WHAT YOU DID FOR THE MEDIA TAKING THEM ON RIDES AROUND THE TRACK:
“Yeah, the memory that keeps haunting my dreams is Holly Cain (writer for NASCAR.com) screaming at the top of her lungs in the car when we took her the ride around in the pace car.  It was fun.  It’s fun for us to be able to do that.  The media that were here it’s actually cool to be able to do that because it’s not every day they get the opportunity to go ride around the track like that.  It would be a lot more fun if we got to do it in a Cup car, but a pace car was a lot of fun.  We had a good time.
 
“To be able to talk through what we are looking for while we are on the track and having media members be able to actually physically see what we are talking about and the challenges.  It just adds that much more depth to what you guys are able to talk about when you are here for the race weekend.  It was a lot of fun.”
 
OBVIOUSLY FOR YOU TEAM IT WOULD BE VERY GOOD IF DANICA (PATRICK) WON A RACE. IF PUSH COMES TO SHOVE IF YOU GOT IN POSITION AND YOU WERE IN POSITION TO HELP DANICA WIN THE RACE OR WIN THE RACE YOURSELF WOULD YOU PUSH HER OR TAKE HER TO THE WIN OR IS SHE ALL ON HER OWN AND YOU ARE GOING TO GO FOR THE WIN?
“I don’t know if you know, but I actually have another teammate that drives for Stewart-Haas Racing named Ryan Newman.  It would be good for him to win a race too. Yeah, a win for any three of us is a splash for the team.  I will be honest I’m going for the win.  So, I’m still a race car driver first.  You can call me selfish if you want, but that is how I got in this position.  To be an owner and a driver is because I’m competitive and I want to win.  I’m not going to let somebody else win unless I feel like I can’t.”
 
TALK ABOUT STARTING THE CHASE AT CHICAGO AND ALL THE THINGS THAT HAPPEN AROUND THAT RACE:
“It’s actually fun.  The thing that probably I remembered most about last year is a bunch of the guys went out after it was over and for a lot of them because we have so many obligations up there the married drivers that have children didn’t have their kids up there and they were all excited because they all got to go out and do stuff.  I remember when I started and a bunch of these guys didn’t have kids and its stuff we used to do anyway.  It is it’s a lot of fun.  It’s the calm before the storm and doing the media stuff before we actually get started.  Chicago is a huge race from the stand point that it really can set the tone for the next nine weeks after that.   It’s not critical to get a great start there.  I mean if you don’t have a good start it doesn’t mean you can’t recover from it and win, but if you have a solid finish that first race of the Chase there it really gets that 10 week stretch kicked off in the right way.  You can carry that momentum.  It’s fun for me.  I grew up four hours south of Chicago and didn’t realize how much fun downtown was until I actually got to go up there through NASCAR.  It’s a beautiful place and NASCAR is gracious enough with all the obligations that they do have for us up there to give us some time to do some stuff on our own.  It was neat to walk around and just see things up there.”
 
WHEN YOU LOOK BACK AT A MOVE YOU MADE TO WIN HERE LAST SUMMER PASS GREG (BIFFLE) AND MATT (KENSETH) HOW MUCH OF THAT IS TAKING ADVANTAGE OF AN OPPORTUNITY THAT IS THERE ON GUT INSTINCT AND HOW MUCH OF THAT IS BASED ON WHAT WORKED AND DIDN’T WORK IN PAST RESTRICTOR PLATE RACES?
“It’s very much exactly what you are saying.  It’s a lot of trial and error.  I lost the Daytona 500 here that I wish over and over I could have done different and maybe would have tried something.  I may have gotten wrecked doing it, but I wish I would have at least tried.  There are times that I have tried things that didn’t work and there are times when I wish I would have tried things that may have worked.  A lot of it is instinct and trial and error.  Anybody that sits there and says they know exactly what to do at what time is pretty much lying to you.  Its guess work.  A lot of it is just the right circumstances at the right time.  You can do the right thing as a driver, but there is still 10 guys or 20 guys behind you that their scenario maybe different and may alter what your decision was.  It’s very much I call it the Peyton Manning deal.  You are constantly calling an audible in those last two or three laps.  It may work it may not work.  You can’t sit there and say okay this is the playbook this is what we do, this is where we want to be on that last lap.  There are no guarantees.  It’s just literally adjusting what you think you need to do by what you are seeing in the mirror and what you are seeing in front of you.”
 
DO YOU THINK EXPANSION HAS THAT HURT STEWART-HAAS RACING, OR IS THAT A REASON WHY MAYBE YOU GUYS THROUGH THE FIRST HALF OF THE SEASON HAVEN’T GOTTEN THE RESULTS THAT YOU WANTED?
“I don’t think so.  I mean I think we have got enough depth there to cover the three teams.  It’s just I think the combination of…we planned for all the expansion over the winter, but with the new car there were a lo
t of parts and a lot of things that we had to really wait late in the off season to get completed.  I think for us we got ourselves behind with that.  I think we have caught up since then, but I think just learning a new car and learning what it wants and what it likes and how to transfer that to the feel we are looking for.  It’s something that Ryan’s (Newman) struggled with Danica’s (Patrick) struggled with and I’ve definitely struggled with.  I think it’s been a combination of trying to figure out exactly what it’s wanting.  I think we did get a slow start to the year because we were behind on getting things prepared.  But I don’t think it was due to the expansion as much as it was just the cycle of going through to the new car.  But it was the same for everybody just some teams did a better job of getting off on the right foot than we did.”
 
YOU SAID YOU NEVER LOOK AT SCRIPTS AHEAD OF TIME. MIGHT YOU DO THAT AFTER SODA COOKIES? 
“You’ve got to remember, and you guys love this stuff.  I’m not smart enough to remember the scripts if I look at it before so there is no point in me looking at it until we get there.  We have done some pretty fun stuff in the last 15 years with partners.  I think a long time ago sponsors figured out that drivers aren’t good actors.  So the funnier they can make it the better off it is.  This has been a set of spots that Mobil 1 has done that has been very successful because of the comedy in it.  You get Jenson (Button) and I to both do all this and have it turn out the way it did I think they are pretty happy with it.”
 
THERE WAS A LOT OF CHATTER IN HERE YESTERDAY THAT TALLADEGA WAS A LOT DIFFERENT THAN DAYTONA.  SOME DRIVERS EXPECT TOMORROW NIGHT’S RACE TO LOOK MORE LIKE TALLADEGA THAN THE DAYTONA 500.  DO YOU HAVE ANY SENSE AFTER PRACTICE YESTERDAY WHAT TOMORROW NIGHT MIGHT LOOK LIKE?  MIGHT THERE BE A MOVE LIKE YOU MADE TO WIN THIS RACE A YEAR AGO?
“Sure, it might.  The hard thing is literally I don’t know that you can predict what is going to happen, especially at the end of the race.  As far as what the race is going to look like for the first 300 miles or 350 miles I don’t know what that is going to be like either.  Everybody in practice is not trying to figure out what to do late in the race, they are trying to figure out how their car will suck up to the car in front of them and what they can do to pass guys. What the sense of urgency for these guys during the course of the race is going to be different than what it was in practice.  It’s hard to get a feel for it.  At least from my mind like I say I’m fairly simple so I’m not sure I’ve realized it as much as some of these other guys may have.  I don’t know that we can predict what the race is going to be like. At the end of the race I think guys were trying yesterday to figure out what they could do to get a run on guys.  It’s always hard to predict especially if you get a caution late in the race.  It can definitely jumble it up quite a bit.”
 
19 DAYS UNTIL THE TRUCK RACE AT ELDORA.  DO YOU GET MORE INVOLVED IN THE PREPARATIONS FOR THAT NOW THAT WE ARE JUST A FEW WEEKS OUT? AND YOU ARE NOT DRIVING THAT RACE, CORRECT?
“I am not driving in that race.  Honestly, Roger Slack has done a great job and all of our staff at Eldora has done a great job getting things ready.  I will be there after; I’ve got sprint car races that weekend.  I’m going straight I think Sunday night is my last race that weekend and I will be there Monday on.  It’s more out of curiosity for me.  I will be available for whatever they need me to do that I can do.  If I had to be a part of it and had to actually be there hands on to do it I wouldn’t have the confidence to do it.  I’m more than confident in Roger and our staff up there that they’ve got everything squared away and ready to go and prepared.  It’s not something that somebody like me coming in a week before is going to get it ready.  It’s been months and months and months of work to get ready for this event.  I’m very confident in everything that they have done up to this point.”
 
LEVI JONES RETIRED LAST WEEK.  DID THAT SURPRISE YOU?
“A little bit.  Levi has won five championships for us in the sprint car series there and he’s won a Silver Crown championship.  He talked last year about cutting back on his schedule a little bit.  His family has expanded obviously.  His family has got a very successful business in St. Louis and he told me last year that is why he didn’t run our Sprint Car full time this year because he wanted to cut his schedule back and spend more time with his family.  It wasn’t a total shock by any means.  I thought there were other things that he wanted to do in Sprint Car racing.
 
“I know he wanted to run a wing car some and he had started to do that a little bit.  I was a little bit surprised.  I think it’s good that if that is the decision he wants to make.  He’s in a financial situation now where he can go work with his family’s business and retire from racing on his own terms.  I stand behind him 100 percent on it.  I’m sad that he’s not going to be running, but at the same time I understand why too.”
 
DID HE HAVE MORE RACES PLANNED FOR YOU THIS YEAR?
“Yeah, he was driving our Silver Crown car.  We definitely had races on our plate that he was going to run for the rest of the year.  I think when a driver makes that decision as an owner and as a fellow driver you understand.  Race drivers don’t make those decisions very easily.  They don’t make them overnight.  For him I know it was something that he had thought about a long time and like I said he had started talking about it a year ago.  It wasn’t a surprise, but at the same time when they finally make that decision you stand behind them 100 percent.  You don’t make them question why they are doing it.  You don’t ask them why.  They have thought it through already.”
 
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON MATT KENSETH’S SUCCESS DRIVING FOR GIBBS THIS YEAR?
IS KENSETH GOING TO BE YOUR TOUGHEST CHALLENGE IN SATURDAY NIGHT’S RACE?
“Yeah, definitely. Matt is one we will definitely see in the front at some point tomorrow. They ran really good at Daytona and they ran really good at Talladega. There is no reason to think that they won’t do the same thing. Matt is somebody who, in the last couple of years, has taken his restrictor plate program as a driver to another level, and gotten even better than he already was.
 
“And now he’s in cars and an organization that seem to be a good fit for him. He’s done an awesome job this year in that car. I don’t think anybody doubted whether he was going to have success over there. It was just a matter of how much and how quick. And it was right out of the box. When they came down here they ran well. And he’s been on a winning streak ever-since. He’s definitely done a great job. He’s pushing his teammates over there and that’s a good scenario to be in.”
 
IF THE NO. 3 CAR RETURNS TO CUP RACING NEXT YEAR, HOW DOES THAT COMPARE TO WHEN YOU BROUGHT THE NO.14 BACK INTO COMPETITION FROM A.J. FOYT?  WHAT SORT OF RESPONSIBILITY DOES THAT CARRY? DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AS NO. 14 OR WILL NO. 14 ALWAYS GOING TO FOREVER BE A.J.?
“In my scenario, I look at is as it’s always going to be A.J. In my career, I’ve run a lot of different numbers, whether it was No. 20 in the IRL and Cup, and I had No. 20 in the Sprint Cars, but I’ve always had different numbers in my career. And A.J. had different numbers, too. But A.J. made the No. 14 famous just like Dale (Earnhardt) Sr. made the No. 3 famous.
 
“I’m not sure there’s really a sense of responsibility. Since Austin (Dillon) has been
racing, he’s been running the No. 3, whether it’s been in the truck or in Nationwide. So it’s a part of his legacy now, too. So, even thought he’ll start next year in the Cup series in the car that was Dale Senior’s number, it’s been his number as well and been in his family forever. That’s how it became Dale’s number. Yeah, I think it’s generations. I think newer fans that have been following the sport the last three or four years will associate that No. 3 with Austin more so than Dale. Fans that have been around this sport a long time, if you’ve been around here more than 15 or 20 years, when you think of the No. 3 in the Cup Series you think of Dale Senior. And if you’ve followed IndyCar racing, you’re thinking the same thing about A.J. Foyt, no matter who runs the number afterwards. For me it’s definitely going to be a huge part of my career the rest of my time. My Sprint Car is No. 14, and when we run a Modified or a Late Model, we run the No. 14. So, that’s my number now, too.”
 
WHAT THINGS DO YOU THINK YOU WILL TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION ONE DAY WHEN YOU DECIDE WHETHER TO KEEP DRIVING OR NOT?
“I don’t know because I’m not even close to that. I really don’t know. It’s not even on my radar. I don’t see myself retiring from racing for a long, long time. So, I think a lot of it, for drivers that have families, that’s a huge part of it. Since I don’t have a wife and children and I don’t have that extra burden or responsibility, so to speak that I need to consider. I have the ability to lead a more selfish lifestyle from a driver’s standpoint and I don’t have to worry about somebody at the end of the day. But I’m sure that plays a huge part I would assume, and is probably a bigger factor than most people would like to admit.”
 
WHEN YOU LOOK AT BRAD KESELOWSKI, CAN YOU DRAW SOME PARALLELS BETWEEN YOUR SITUATION A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO AS OBVIOUSLY A VERY TALENTED DRIVER, STRUGGLING A BIT WHO CAN GET ON A ROLL AND MAKE THINGS HAPPEN AT THE END OF THE SEASON?
“Yeah. It’s a new year. It’s different I think from most years. It’s a totally different package this year. They were really strong last year with figuring out how to get the cars skewed and get the side force in the cars and this year’s package takes all that away; not some of it, but all of it away. So, it’s tryng to figure out a whole new package. It just shows how tough this sport is form the technology side. You can have the same people in place, but technology plays such a huge role in year to year. But when you take a season when you throw a whole new body style in it and a whole new rules package, it really can take a lot longer for some teams to adapt to it than others to find that sweet spot. We know they are definitely capable. When they hit on something and find what they did last year and find something that’s working for them, they definitely can put together the consistency do what they did just like last year. It’s just a matter of getting themselves to that point.”
 

Hopp Racing–Soap Lake Regatta

The “World’s Fastest Grandpa” APBA Grand Prix driver Jerry Hopp wins the Soap Lake Regatta. Driving Hopp Racing’s Happy Go Lucky Jerry’s consistency paid off. Jerry finished all 4 heat for the weekend winning the event and put Happy Go Lucky in an early lead in the GP points race. Jerry holds the APBA-GP Kilo record at 169.081mph. Jerry would like to thank his sponsors this year for their excellent products that help keep Hopp Racing in the winners circle.

ARP, Ed’s Automotive, Kendall Oil, Lunati, PumpTech, Silver Lake Dental Arts, Taylor Cable and Wired Energy Drink.

Chevy Racing–Daytona–Dale Earnhardt Jr

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
COKE ZERO 400
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
JULY 4, 2013
 
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS met with media and discussed memories of Daytona, strategies of how to win, the NO. 3 car, and more. FULL TRANSCRIPT:
 
TALK ABOUT COMING TO DAYTONA
“It’s a really special racetrack and one we enjoy coming to. The track is a lot of fun. It’s a good town. There are a lot of great restaurants and there is a lot of history. Being around here for so long and coming here for so long you find a lot of things about it that you like and look forward to all those things when you come back every time. It’s been a bit of a challenge for us to win here in the last several years. We’ve come awfully close trying to win the 500 in the last few years. We’ve been finishing well, but haven’t really been able to figure out what I need to do to get into first place on the last lap. We’ve had no problem finding our way to the front, but not been able to overtake the leaders. So, I think we might need to try to be at a better position sooner, where we’re not having to have to do so much right at the end of the race and not have an opportunity to challenge for the win.
 
“So maybe throughout the race trying to be a little more proactive toward improving track position, being a little more aggressive just trying to improve track position might be in our best interest if we want to try to have a shot at winning. The way the 500 was going, it was a big risk to pull out and try to make a pass or try to do anything to move forward because you were out there by yourself and you basically would go to the back of the pack in just about every case. So it was difficult to find out how there was any other way to pass or move forward. And then we had that late restart where we were able to take advantage of some people.
 
“But I look forward to the race and I hope that the asphalt has aged a little bit. I know that the weather should improve the style of racing; we’ll see, where the handling is a lot more of a factor. Handling was a big factor in the Daytona 500 race and that’s important to providing a good race at this race track is when the handling on the cars is more of a challenge. We might have a good opportunity to see a real exciting race and I think when things get more exciting at the plate tracks, I’ve got a better shot at finding my way toward the front for an easier shot at it.”
 
THIS RACE USED TO BE ON JULY 4TH. DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL MEMORIES WHEN IT REALLY WAS ON THE ACTUAL HOLIDAY? SHOULD NASCAR TRY TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT AGAIN?
“I don’t know about that, but it does haven’t to fall exactly on the 4th, to me. I still kind of connect it to whether it’s on the same day or not. And I think one of the memories that sticks out to me was I think it was 1995 or maybe 1994, but I was watching from the pits and Greg Sacks was three-wide down through the front straight-away in the tri-oval and was bouncing off two cars.
 
“I think one of them was a Petty car and I can’t remember who was on the outside, maybe Derrick Cope. And it’s just like a 22-car pile-up right there in front of the pits. And I’d never seen an accident, that large of an accident, that close. We were literally 30 yards away from that happening, so it was just really crazy to see that. And, I think Dad ended up winning that race. I had been here several times before in ’87; I think it was the year that Kenny Schrader flipped on the front straightaway. Dad had some kind of a tire problem or something and got a lap down, but he was still running rather well. But we were in the scoring stand down in Turn 1 where all the wives and the kids went, and we’d watch the race there. And we were leaving like 10 laps before the end because Dad’s real fast about getting out of the race track.
 
“And so Teresa had me and Kelley and we were hustling out of there to get in the car or something, and come over to the garage to be ready when Dad was, because he was obviously not in the running for the win. He was a lap down. And just as we walked out the door, I turned to watch the cars go through the corner and Dad blew a motor going into Turn 1 and hit the wall and he was just sliding across the wall. I don’t know why that memory sticks out to me. But I was trying to get Teresa’s attention to tell her that Dad was in the fence and she was like c’mon, c’mon, c’mon (laughs); I couldn’t get her attention to tell her what was going on. But I was the only one that saw it and for some reason that memory stands out to me.
 
“I never came here for the 500. I’ve talked about that 100 times in here (media center) it seems like. But I never came here for the 500 until I drove in it. But we came to the July race every year and just had a lot of fun. We’ve got pictures of us burying each other in the sand and things like that when we was little kids. I certainly enjoyed some good times here and driving as well. Obviously winning in 2001; that was an incredible experience. But, I have always enjoyed coming down here.”
 
ARE YOU A LITTLE SURPRISED ABOUT HOW WELL MATT KENSETH IS DOING THIS YEAR WITH A NEW TEAM?
“No, I’m not.  I’ve raced against him for a really long time and I’ve known Matt to be one of the most talented guys in the seat, in the car holding the wheel.  He is as good as anybody in the garage.  I don’t know that he is surprising a lot of people that have been in that garage for the last several years because I think we all kind of knew how good he was.
 
“He is in some really good equipment and he is with some really good people in Joe (Gibbs) and J.D. (Gibbs) they are going to give him an amazing opportunity.  When I heard about his deal last year I was excited for him because we have been pretty good friends for a really long time.  I knew that this was going to be a great experience. He’d had some really good experiences with Jack (Roush) and the Roush deal.  He worries a little bit too much.
 
“He was really worried about making that type of decision you know because he’s having kids and he’s just really hoping he’s making the right choice.  I just felt like this was going to be exciting and he was really going to have a lot of fun.  It looks like it’s working out.”
 
AUSTIN DILLON IS RACING FOR RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING NOW, BUT LOOKS TO BE MOVING TO SPRINT CUP NEXT YEAR.  COULD YOU JUST TALK ABOUT HIM AND HIS CAREER AND HOW HE IS PROGRESSING AS A DRIVER?
“Yeah, I think he has really surprised everybody.  He has got great speed.  He has shown he can be aggressive and he will work real hard at every position.  Just watching him run laps and watching him in races you see he is just a tough competitor and he works really hard.  I’ve known his dad for a really long time.
 
“I think it’s exciting to see Richard (Childress) have something new to kind of keep the fire going in him and keep RCR (Richard Childress Racing) excited about their future.  That rests squarely on those two kids shoulders.  They were raised really well.  They’ve got great manners and every time I’ve been around them I’ve been impressed.  Obviously, they do a lot of good things on the race track too.  I’m excited for both of them.  Austin, I think he’s ready.  I think he’s ready to go.”
 
DOES DANICA PATRICK HAVE ENOUGH EXPERIENCE YET WITH PLATE RACING THAT YOU COULD HELP HER WIN AND EVEN MORE DOES SHE HAVE ENOUGH EXPERIENCE THAT SHE COULD HELP YOU WIN IF YOU GET IN A SIMILAR HELP EACH OTHER SITUATION LIKE YOU HAD IN FEBRUARY?
“Yeah, I think the answer to that is yes for both.  With plate racing you just don’t know.  Mark Martin was pushing me in the Daytona race and he has as much experience as anybody and we didn’t get the job done as good a
s I think we are at it.  There are so many other variables in play that the best plans never really seem to work out.  You just sort of go by your gut in those last moments of those races.  It really comes down to anyone, her or I or anybody making the gut decision at that moment when you are faced with a choice to do one thing or another making the right one.  You don’t always do.  You don’t fall back on years of experience or race after race of doing it.  It comes down to really like dodging a bullet you move left or right and hope you make the right decision.”
 
IS SHE CAPABLE OF WINNING THIS RACE?
“Yes, of course, absolutely.  Every car in the field with the exception of a few one or two; I think every car in the field, what we saw at Talladega proved that about anybody with this style of package can get up there and make it happen.”
 
YOU TALKED EARLIER ABOUT BEING AGGRESSIVE CAN YOU JUST KIND OF CLARIFY WHAT YOU MEAN ABOUT BE MORE AGGRESSIVE EARLIER IN THE RACE PUT YOURSELF IN POSITION AND ALL THINGS SEEM TO INDICATE THAT THE NO. 3 CAR WILL RETURN IN CUP NEXT YEAR.  OBVIOUSLY WE HAVE SEEN IT RUN IN OTHER SERIES.  WHAT WILL IT MEAN TO SEE IT IN CUP NEXT YEAR AT THIS TRACK?
“Being aggressive and trying to get track position or make track position happen or move forward just mentally aggressive not out there driving in the side of everybody, more so, just trying to force myself to take a few more chances.  It was hard to do in the (Daytona) 500 because everybody ran around the top and if you pulled out you went to the back.  That is what you did.  What I did see was that if there was enough room in between the guy in front of me and the next car if I could make a run and side draft and actually create even more room by side drafting and fill that gap you can leap frog one car at a time.  You keep doing that and I was able to pass a few guys doing that and you can pass maybe one car every two or three laps. You just continue to leap frog one at a time, but that one guy you aren’t successful with you go all the way to the back.  It’s a gamble, but maybe if you want to win the race, I’ve got to be further ahead than fourth on the last lap.  We had enough race car to win the (Daytona) 500 and just ran out of laps.  I need to be a little further forward to be able to have that shot.
 
“I think it will be great.  It was an iconic number for my father and it means a lot to a lot of his fans.  This sport doesn’t really retire numbers and all the numbers have history tied to them for several different reasons.  The No. 3 is no different.  I think that for Austin (Dillon) a kid like Austin in this regard any kid that wants to come up through the ranks and he drove the No. 3 in dirt racing and he drove the No. 3 in his Truck series and Nationwide series.  He has earned the right to run that number as long as he wants.  It could have been anybody, but it’s Austin.  It could have been any kid coming up through the ranks that had ran that number and that’s his number.  Maybe he’s not even an Earnhardt fan maybe that is just his number.  He wants to run it I think it’s not really fair to deny somebody that opportunity.  I’m okay with it.  I know that might not be the way a lot of people feel or some people feel, but I’m sure it’s the minority that feels that way. I think that a lot of people will be telling Austin positive things about it.”
 

Chevy Racing–Daytona–Jeff Gordon

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
COKE ZERO 400
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
JULY 4, 2013
 
JEFF GORDON, NO 24 AXALTA COATING SYSTEMS CHEVROLET SS met with media and discussed racing at Daytona, his bubble position for the Chase, looking ahead to other races and more. FULL TRANSCRIPT:
 
CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT THE ADVANTAGE OF STARTING THE RACE AT CHICAGOLAND IS AND IF THERE IS AN ADVANTAGE?
“I think the only advantage is if your 1.5 mile program is really strong and if that has been a really good track for you in the past.”
 
HOW ABOUT FOR YOU?
“It’s been an okay track for us.  We actually were running really well there last year when we had the trouble that we ran into with the throttle.  But I am very encouraged by how well we ran last weekend at Kentucky, and I think our 1.5 mile program is actually pretty strong this year.  So, first we have to get in the Chase, and then we can start worrying about how good we are going to be in Chicago.”
 
WHAT KIND OF RACE ARE YOU EXPECTING HERE THIS WEEKEND?
“Well we know the temperatures here are going to be warm so certainly you are going to slip and slide around a little bit more than what we did here in February.  Other than that I think we have just gotten more laps and experience with this car in the draft between the Daytona race, Talladega race, and I feel that we have all just gotten more comfortable and are wanting to get more aggressive out there.  I am not sure to be honest with you until we get out there.”
 
YOU ARE 12TH RIGHT NOW AND SITTING ON THE BUBBLE, SO HOW MUCH DOES THE REALITY SET IN THAT YOU STILL HAVE SOME WORK TO DO?
“You know, we have just had such an inconsistent year and so many crazy things thrown at us that I am impressed that we are 12th, and I am pretty happy with that to be honest with you.  I feel like we have so much more potential that if we just live up to our potential that there is no doubt that we can get in the top-10.
 
“Every year we see where those positions eight through 14 or 15 are just crazy swapping every single weekend. So we just have to go out there and focus, do our job – do it well, and get to the tracks like New Hampshire that are coming up.  We also need to do well at some of these other tracks that are coming up, and get some great finishes and make sure that we do that.”
 
BEING IN THE POSTION YOU ARE IN, DOES IT MAKE IT TOUGH TO SET IT ON KILL AND GO FOR THOSE?
“No, I feel that is pretty much where we are and I would rather be here honestly than maybe eighth.  I feel at eighth you can be a little too conservative and trying to maintain in that top-10. For us, we are so tight among us…..ninth, and 10th, and further back – we don’t have any choice but to go out there and go hard and be aggressive.”
 
REGARDING COMING UP ON THE 20TH RACE AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY AFTER YOU GOT THE FIRST WIN AND BEING FROM THERE
“You know, it’s hard to believe that it’s been that long and that really blows me away.  As a kid growing up, before I even moved to Indiana, Indianapolis Motor Speedway was very special to me.  I had always dreamed of racing there and to finally get that opportunity to do it there in 1994 in that first Cup race was a dream come true.  I had never even imagined winning it and now we have won three more times since then.  I love going there.  I love the fans, I love the atmosphere, I love the track, and I just love everything about it.”
 
GIVEN WHERE YOU ARE IN THE POINTS AND IF IT COMES DOWN TO THE LAST LAP, DO YOU ALMOST HAVE TO TAKE A DECENT FINISH OVER GOING FOR THE WIN?
“The first thing you have to do is to survive here.  You have to get to the final laps, which is not an easy thing to do.  We are going to look at where we qualify, we will base our strategy on that as well as how things went the last time we were here, and that is how we are going to run this race. We are just going to have to come with the best strategy that is going to get us a win and get us a good finish.  If we are in the closing laps of the race and we have a shot at winning it, then we are going to go for it.  You have to go for the win and that’s always the case.”
 
REGARDING HOW TOUGH IT WILL BE ON THE WILD CARD BUBBLE WITH FORMER CHAMPIONS ALL AROUND YOU
“That is true and somebody is going to be out, or actually more than one.  At this point, and I think this is how we race every race and every year, is that we race ourselves.  I try to focus on what our car and what our team is capable of doing, and get the most out of it.  I don’t think we have lived up to our full potential this year and have had a lot of crazy things happen.  I am hoping we can put some of that behind us and really start putting some finishes together like we have the past couple weeks.  If you do that; it takes care of the competition, points, and all those things. That is what I am focused on.”
 
HOW UNIQUE IS NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY AS COMPARED TO OTHER TRACKS THAT WE HEAD TO? “New Hampshire is very flat, but has long straightaways so you carry a lot of speed into the corners.  It’s hard to maintain a lot of speed for such a long, flat corner.  I have always enjoyed New Hampshire although the flat tracks have not always been my favorite types of race tracks growing up.  It’s been one that I have enjoyed and we actually did the tire test there.  We have run well there the last couple of years, so I am certainly excited to get there and optimistic about how we can do.”
 
ARE YOU GOING TO TEST SOMEWHERE BECAUSE OF WHERE YOU ARE IN POINTS?
“I am not, but my team is.  I have three tests planned over the next month or month-and-a-half, so we are going to be testing a lot this summer.”
 
ARE ANY OF THOSE NASCAR TRACKS?
“You know the way it works, it’s all NASCAR tracks and that is just the way that the testing rules are this year.  The way those rules are this year, you have to come together as an organization and decide where you are going to test.  Obviously we get invited to the Goodyear test and if we decide that is going to be beneficial then we usually go.  I think there have been some verification tests that have come up like at Atlanta. I don’t think we are going to be doing that, but we will have a Hendrick car there.  We are looking at test dates and all that right now, and I think they are all NASCAR tracks.”
 
WAS THERE A POINT IN GROWING UP AND RACING THAT YOU FIGURED OUT THAT YOU CAN DO THIS AND GO A LONG WAY?
“No.  I mean every step of the way, you find out and the question gets answered.  I wondered if I had what it took to go to the next level, but I was fortunate that when I got in the car that things went well. I was comfortable, confident, and was obviously fortunate to have good race cars.  The statistics kind of spoke for themselves every step of the way, and on to the next step until I got here.  Until I got that first win in Charlotte, I didn’t know if I had what it took to be in the Cup series.  But that day said a lot to me,  my team, and from that point on – there was no turning back.”
 
REGARDING HIS SON RACING ONE DAY
“You know he is three.  I am sure that both of my kids will get behind the wheel of a race car at some point whether it’s just for fun, a hobby, or something serious and that is up to them as far as their excitement, passion, or work ethic.  If they really want to pursue it at that level, you will know it based on them wanting to get in the car over, and over, and over again.  If that is the case, then absolutely. I have had an amazing experience in racing and why would I not want to share that with them or help my kids have that opportunity?”
 
THIS RACE USED TO BE ALWAYS RUN ON JULY 4TH; WOULD IT MA
KE SENSE TO GO BACK TO THAT?
“Was it always July 4th?”
 
FOR THE FIRST 29 YEARS IT WAS JULY 4TH AND FOR THE LAST 25 YEARS IT’S BEEN WHATEVER THE SATURDAY IS CLOSEST TO IT
“That is interesting and that is a good question.  Good observation.  I guess I didn’t know that.  I think I have raced this race on July 4th but think it was on a Saturday.  (laughs).  So to run it on the Saturday or the weekend makes sense.  But I don’t know.  I think getting into the heads of the fans and the people who would attend this race, and would watch it at home…..that is the research that NASCAR, the tracks, and the media do a much better job of than I do.  That is all that would matter to me is whether the fans would enjoy it being on July 4th.”
 
ARE MID-WEEK RACES SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE FEASIBLE IF THEY HAD IT LIKE ON A WEDNESDAY?
“I would love to see that.  I think when Monday Night Football ends, we should start Monday night racing.  But that is just me.  I have always felt like needed weekday races, but of course I came from Thursday Night Thunder, and Thursday Night Thunder was ridiculously successful back in the day.  I am not saying we need to do it every week, but if we could find the right week in the schedule and mix it up, make it special, and make it make sense for the fans at home as well as the ones that could attend then I think it would be awesome.  I think July 4th might make sense because everybody is off on that day and looking for something to do.  Of course, we are not off, but I think that is why it could work.
 
“It seems like every time I talk to NASCAR about doing a weekly race or one mid-week, they say ‘oh well if you do it on this day you won’t get as many people coming to the track, so the track suffers, and if you do it on this day then maybe the track does well but then the people at home won’t watch it because of this’, so it always seems to be some kind of obstacle.  But the fourth makes the most sense.”

Chevy Racing–Daytona–Jimmie Johnson

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
COKE ZERO 400
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
JULY 4, 2013
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON NO. 48 LOWE’S DOVER WHITE CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media today at Daytona International Speedway and discussed what it will take to win this weekend and become the first driver in 31 years to sweep Daytona in the same season, last weekend’s race at Kentucky and other topics.  Full Transcript:
 
TALK ABOUT COMING BACK TO DAYTONA AFTER YOUR DAYTONA 500 VICTORY IN FEBRUARY:
“Yeah, I’m excited to be back.  I have fond memories of dancing around like fools doing the Harlem Shake out on the front stretch, even watching Jayson Werth and Willie Robertson from Duck Commander wrestling outside my motorhome once everything had thinned out.  I came back and looked outside my bus and I’m like ‘that’s where those goons were wrestling.’ Can’t help but think of our good times out there on the front stretch.  So excited to be back.  Our restrictor plate program has been very strong as always.  I think that I’ve done a nice job with this rules package to race for track position, maintain track position and put ourselves in position to win.  Clearly did that with the (Daytona) 500 and then in Talladega we had an awesome weekend too and ran up front.  Starting the last lap I really felt like we had a chance to win.  Then the Front Row guys they came blowing through and won there.  I felt like we were in a very good position starting the last lap of the race.  Excited to be back and look forward to some fun Saturday night.”
 
LET’S DISCUSS THIS RESTART THING.  WHAT IS GOING ON THERE?  THERE HAVE BEEN A COUPLE OF TIMES WHERE YOU HAVE HAD ISSUES AND SEEM EXTREMELY CONFUSED WITH THE RULE.  HOW DO YOU UNDERSTAND IT AND WHERE DO YOU STAND RIGHT NOW WITH YOUR FRUSTRATION WITH THAT?
“Yeah, there are a couple of bad restarts that have been highlighted and a focal point here of late.  There are a lot of other great restarts that have happened; a lot of other great opportunities to win races and lead laps and pull all that off.  I know the rule.  I feel like I’m maybe a little focused on the way the rule reads exactly and paying maybe too close of attention to that.  Maybe I should lighten up and loosen up on the way some restart and then certainly the way I do.  There are a lot of restarts, especially during the Kentucky race that I brought down that I feel like a good citizen, a good student in doing exactly what I’m supposed to.  There are other times when I don’t feel that exactly happens and that it’s not called on or viewed from the tower as kind of the rule reads.  At the end of the day I’m just going to lighten up on how I think about it and use that zone and that area regardless of the way the rule reads to get an advantage and worry about myself.”
 
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE CHANCE BOTH YOU AND DANICA (PATRICK) HAVE OF DOING AS WELL THIS WEEKEND AS YOU DID IN FEBRUARY CONSIDERING THIS IS A 400 MILE NIGHT RACE?
“Yeah, I really feel like we have a great chance to come here and win again. The rules are the same so from a car stand point our race car that we won with is out in the parking lot basically at Daytona USA.  Outside of that not a lot has changed.  I feel like the speed in our race car and what we need there from a mechanical stand point is there.  Then it is just down to racing luck and how that plays out.  Plate racing we all know the odds there.  It’s tough to get it right that is probably why that stat is in existence and someone hasn’t won the 500 and the 400 in the same year. I feel we will have a great chance to do it and I expect to run up front all night long and be a factor and hopefully have racing luck go our way.  As far as Danica (Patrick), if she did it in the spring or did it here in February she can do it again without a doubt.  I think these tracks suit her style.  She had a lot of comfort in running flat out and running side-by-side in a restrictor plate situation.  She should be very competitive.”
 
IT’S BEEN 31 YEARS SINCE ANYBODY HAS SWEPT BOTH RACES HERE AT DAYTONA.  WHY IS THAT SO DIFFICULT DO YOU FEEL?  IN GENERAL IS IT THE RANDOMNESS OF THE RACING HERE OR WHY IS IT SO HARD TO DO THAT?
“Have plates been on for 31 years too?  Is that pre-plates?”
 
YES.
“I mean with restrictor plate racing we know the packs that we run in and the wrecks that we cause, but if that number goes back prior to plates being on I don’t really know.”
 
ONLY FIVE YEARS BEFORE PLATES:
“Okay, in the past I could say in my early years racing here the 500 cool temperatures, track had a lot of grip; people are a little more relaxed for a 500 mile race and trying to get to the end.  When you came back for this event the track had so much less grip, much hotter conditions, there is just more urgency to lead and be up front that I feel there is just more energy and more opportunities to make mistakes in the July race than in the February race.  Due to track conditions and also everybody is just charged up for a night race, fourth of July and all those things.”    
 
HOW DO YOU LOOK AT RESTARTS IN GENERAL?  SINCE DOVER HAVE YOU REVIEWED TAPE AT ALL? BIG PICTURE HOW DO YOU LOOK AT IT AND HOW DO YOU INTERPRET IT?  WHAT ARE YOU DOING SO IT DOESN’T HAPPEN TO YOU AGAIN?
“Well learn from mistakes for starters and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how I interpret the rule it’s how it’s enforced.  That is the thing that I’m trying to focus on now.  It doesn’t matter how I read it, what I think.  Clearly the way I’ve felt a few things have gone are different than the way it’s enforced.  The way it’s enforced is all that matters.  That is where I’m focusing now.”
 
IS IT POSSIBLE AT A PLATE RACE TRACK TO LEARN FROM WHAT YOU HAVE DONE IN THE PAST AND PUT A MOVE IN YOUR HIP POCKET?  OR IS IT ALL JUST SO UNPREDICTABLE NONE OF THAT MATTERS?
“It is really unpredictable for sure.  The thing that makes it so tough to consistently work on time and time again is most passes if not all you don’t do on your own.  You might see the opportunity, but you need to have maybe let off the gas or drug the brake to back up to the car behind you to get the run at the right time to take advantage of that hole that opens up or what you see is going to happen.  That is tough to do.  That is the hard thing.  Then sometimes you make that move and you get out there and you look in the mirror and the cars behind you didn’t agree with the move you made and you’re a sitting duck.  You might get along side of the car you are trying to pass, but they have all stayed in the bottom lane and now you are dropping like a rock.  That is the part that makes it so tough is one week, actually one lap, during the course of the race everybody is trying to pass and do what they can.  Not every one of them work out.  You just kind of play the numbers.  You keep trying and trying and try to show… I was taught by Jeff (Gordon) show that you are going to complete the pass.  Make the pass and the effort in the right spot at the right time and people will follow.  You have to show people and build that trust and rapport that you are going to make the right move here that is not only going to work for you, but for the guys behind you.  If you get a little too narrow minded and just worried about a single car pass a lot of times that will come back to bite you.  Especially if we are chasing the yellow line around the track, usually you can defend and hang on the yellow line.  I lost a (Daytona) 500 here, I can’t remember the year, but coming down the back straightaway I thought I was in a great position.  Pulled out
going into turn three pulled out to the outside and thought everybody would follow me because it was the last lap.  It was way too early.  If I had waited until off of (turn) four I think people would have gone with me.  I just went too early.  They stayed in line and I came back by in seventh or eighth.”
 
IT’S NOT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU WOULD TRY IN AN EARLIER RACE THAT WAS JUST BECAUSE OF THE WAY THE RACE HAD GONE:
“Just the way it worked out.  You are thinking about yourself.  Well, the guy behind me is like ‘well I’m going to push you to the lead and then it’s you and I stuck in the outside lane dropping like a rock.  Why am I going to do that?’  You need to have a vision in some respects where why would somebody want to follow you, why are they going to work with you.   If you have from turn three to the finish line that is a long gap.  You need to wait until you get over here where it’s a little shorter distance.”
 
AFTER THE RACE LAST WEEK IN THE GARAGE AREA THERE WAS TALK THAT THE RESTARTS ARE STARTING TO GET IN YOUR HEAD. IS IT EASY TO NOT LET IT GET INTO YOUR HEAD AFTER THAT RULE CAME DOWN THAT SORT OF BIT YOU?  IS THAT NOT PART OF IT THAT YOU HAVE STARTED TO LET IT GET IN YOUR HEAD?
 “I’m not smart enough to let it get in my head.  So we are fine there.  There is not much between these ears (laughs).”
 
IT WASN’T ABOUT THE FACT THAT SORT OF BIT YOU BEFORE AND YOU WERE OVER THINKING IT?  WAS IT JUST THAT YOU WERE SORT OF STICKING ON THE RULE AND THIS IS THE RULE I’M GOING TO DO WHAT THE RULE SAYS?
“Yeah, very focused on the rules for sure and in the way they read, expecting things to be officiated that way. Again I’ve made so many mistakes throughout my career and these two restarts look like something, but we all make mistakes out in those race cars every single lap all the time.  Just opportunities learned really the way I’m looking at it.”
 
MATT KENSETH ARE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW HE’S DONE THIS YEAR AND THAT HE IS A CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDER SEEING AS HOW HE IS THROWN IN WITH A NEW TEAM?
“No, not at all.  Our sport is really about people and the relationships between driver and a crew chief is really the start of that whole process.  Matt (Kenseth) is awesome.  The guy does a great job driving the car, knows what he is looking for, doesn’t let things rattle him and can withstand pressure.  He can do it all.  He really does a great job.  Dave’s (Rogers) has been coming along as a crew chief, growing, learning very smart guy, very well respected guy in the garage area.  The pairing of those two I think the garage area took notice when Matt made the decision to leave and then who he was paired with I think everybody felt they are going to have their hands full over the course of the year with the No. 20 car and that has been the case for sure.”
 
AS WE LOOK FORWARD TO THE 20TH BRICKYARD 400 IN A FEW WEEKS.  YOU ARE GOING BACK AS A FOUR-TIME AND DEFENDING RACE WINNER THERE.  WHAT DOES INDIANAPOLIS STILL MEAN TO YOU PERSONALLY?
“To me on a personal level I just recall sitting on the couch with my dad and my grandfather watching the Indy 500.  I can remember a variety of races and instance that took place from watching myself.  I remember my grandfather’s stories and talking about his heroes that raced on that track and his opinions of it.  I remember that childhood aspect and how cool that track was.  Truthfully through my upbringing in off road racing with Rick Mears and Robby Gordon coming from my world and going into IndyCar that is the route that I wanted to pursue and the road I wanted to go down. Clearly things took a much different turn as I got older and my professional career developed.  Now to go there and have won at that track four times it’s insane.  One of my heroes with Rick Mears in that situation it’s been a wild experience and a very rewarding experience at that race track. It’s very special to win here in Daytona, I mean it is.  It takes others on the track with the draft and how you work that and you almost want to thank other drivers and it’s often done in Victory Lane.  I wouldn’t have been able to win the race if so and so didn’t push me or help me, but at Indy it’s a different game.
 
“The track is so technical and so hard to drive.  It took me a long time to figure it out.  Once I figured out the line and how to drive it we have had great success there.  With that the challenge that goes with it there is huge reward when you are able to win.  I have been able to experience that a few times and it’s really cool.”  
 
YOU HAVE WON A LOT OF RACES, BUT RACES LIKE LAST WEEK DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU LOST THAT YOU GAVE IT AWAY? CAN YOU BE YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY INSIDE THAT CAR?
“At times I mean all drivers can be their own worst enemy.  I feel like that one in Kentucky is definitely on me.  I’m the guy behind the wheel at the controls.  We went down into turn one and I’m not exactly sure I haven’t seen the video, but we were three-wide going in the corner.  The air affected my car and I got turned around.  If I didn’t spin there I really feel like regardless of the restart not being a pretty one for whatever reason.  I still had a very good opportunity to win the race.  I feel like our car was strong enough if I came out of there in second or third I feel like I had enough laps to get up there and take the lead again.  I hate that really what went on in turn one in two and the spin.  That is really, I know a lot of people had talked about other issues, but for me the bottom line is getting turned around. If we didn’t get turned around in (turns) one and two I still think we could have won.  I’m going to make sure we can get through (turns) one and two and not spin out that is really the ultimate thing.”
 
YOU ARE A VERY LAID BACK KIND OF GUY AND VERY SELDOM GET REALLY FRUSTRATED.  HOW DO YOU KIND OF GET BEYOND THAT LAST WEEK AND WHAT DO YOU DO TO PUT THAT BEHIND YOU OR DO YOU USE THAT AS FUEL GOING FORWARD?
“No, it might seem that I’m real calm all the time, but I think all drivers leave the track frustrated with something.  A missed opportunity, car didn’t perform all weekend or car didn’t respond.  There are pit calls, there are driver mistakes, speeding penalties.  I rarely leave the track and not go home in deep thought thinking about what I could have done differently.  They sting a bit more when you lead all those laps and don’t leave with the trophy there is no doubt about it.  But I’ve been doing this long enough to know how to shrug that stuff off, focus on what is important and what I can learn from and then go to the next race.”
 

Chevy Racing–Daytona–Danica Patrick

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
COKE ZERO 400
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
JULY 4, 2013
 
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed her success in the Daytona 500 in February, if she has a plan for the last lap of this weekend’s 400-mile race and other topics.  Full Transcript:
 
TALK ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS COMING BACK TO DAYTONA:
“Happy 4th of July.  We had the pole here in Daytona and started the year off that way.  It would be nice to start the second half of the year off the same way.  At the end of the day it’s not the most important thing, but it sure is nice to start up front.  Obviously we don’t have our Daytona car here, but we have our back-up and that tested really well.  We nearly ran that anyway.  It should be good still.”
 
CAN YOU DO THE SAME THING HERE SATURDAY NIGHT THAT YOU DID IN THE DAYTONA 500?  HOW MUCH DOES A 500 MILE RACE IN THE WINTER TIME AND THE DAYTIME HERE TRANSLATE TO A 400 MILE RACE IN THE SUMMER TIME AT NIGHT BOTH WITH THE CAR AND THE SET-UP AND WITH YOU AND THE SKILLS YOU HAVE LEARNED AT DAYTONA SO FAR?
“To answer your first question can I do the same thing yeah I don’t get worse as the year goes on.  Especially in the early years of running in a new series, so presumably I should hopefully have better experience at doing it especially having done Talladega too.  It’s definitely possible.  The difference you know the cars are well stuck here.  I feel like it’s not going to be worlds of difference.  It’s maybe a little less single file just because we have been in the car all year and people don’t feel the need to just kind of get on with the season, get it started and start the year off well.  As opposed to maybe a little more antsy-ness, a little more comfort in the car.  You could see some more people a little bit more prepared to pass and know how to do it a little easier than at the start of the year.  It should be very similar in the end.”
 
DO YOU HAVE ANY MORE IDEA NOW HOW TO CLOSE THE DEAL AT THE END OF THE RACE? OR IS IT STILL HELTER SKELTER?
“I think it is still a little bit of helter skelter.  Right after the race I said I wish I would have had a plan, but then I got done with it and I talked to Tony (Stewart) afterwards.  He said you probably had more to lose than you had to gain by trying something at the end.  He said you could have just as well of been 20th in the end as opposed to where you did finish.  You probably had more to lose so he thought I made the right decision on what I did.  After I said good job to Jimmie (Johnson) after he won.  I had said that I wished I knew what to do better.  He said that the two times that he has won now at Daytona were the two times he didn’t have any kind of plan.  I suppose it is about being at the right place at the right time and having the right people behind you.  There is luck that plays into it that way.  Although a lot of times good drivers win, so you still need to know what to do.  Probably more than anything it just means have a little bit of experience so that you can handle whatever situation comes up best.
 
“Maybe if I would have seen that Dale (Earnhardt, Jr.) was dropping back I would have just drug the brake to stay back to him.  Maybe it wouldn’t have necessarily been about trying something other than just making sure that I wasn’t going to get a run. Nobody was going to get a run on me maybe.  Just being kind of ready in the moments of what’s going on.”
 
IF THE SAME SITUATION DID PRESENT ITSELF THIS TIME DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE IN THE SAME MINDSET OR IS THERE A DIFFERENT MINDSET NOW THAT YOU’VE GOTTEN THAT FINISH.  COULD YOU RISK MORE TO GO FOR SOMETHING EVEN IF YOU DID DROP?
“No, I think that is a really good question.  I think that is a good point.  On these speedway races there is definitely a feeling of, I feel like over time, especially the longer you have been in them.  It’s like to go for it.  I think that you have to start to take a chance to try and put yourself in a position to win.  I don’t feel like I would want to just settle for the same thing.  Although a top-10 finish is always good to have.  I think that in the long run it will serve you better to try things.  It will show other drivers that you are willing to do it.  That when the time comes maybe next time or the time after or the time after all of a sudden then you’ve got a little bit of a better trust and following of other drivers that you want to win.  Every driver wants to follow someone who wants to go for the win.”
 
DO YOU COME IN HERE WITH ANY MOMENTUM HAVING FINISHED ON THE LEAD LAP YOUR LAST FOUR RACES? YOU GUYS TALKED ABOUT SMALL STEPS AT THE START OF THE YEAR.  IS THAT A STEP?
“Yeah, I mean it is getting better.  Do I wish it would get better faster?  For sure, I mean everybody that is not running in the top 10 every weekend wishes it would get better faster.  Its small steps and part of it is being a rookie and learning.  Part of it is just making changes and making the car better or making things better internally so that you can go faster.  Faster cars all that kind of stuff, so there is a lot more that plays into it than just getting experience.  Through getting experience on the track I’m also getting experience and understanding how a team works and giving my input on how I think it could get better.”
 
ON THE LAST LAP OF THE DAYTONA 500 YOU WERE RUNNING THIRD. WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS AT THAT POINT?
“I think it was pretty much what I was thinking at the last lap was like ‘come on, come on boys keep it flat, don’t lift, nobody lift.’  The thing that threw me off was that, and this is probably some of the inexperience’s that, I was flat out.  I was hoping they were too, but the reason that allowed me to be able to go flat out and feel like we were going faster and potentially pulling away was because Dale (Earnhardt, Jr.) was dropping back.  Whenever you lose the push behind you, you need to make up for it in throttle.  I know better now.  I was thinking ‘man I feel like we are driving away from them right now.’ But that really wasn’t the case.  I was just thinking ‘let’s hold onto this’ because a top three would have been great.  It ended up being at top 10 which is till good, but I was just thinking let’s just hang onto this and let’s finish it off like this.”
 
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT RESTARTS AND HOW YOU WERE WHEN YOU FRIST CAME TO CUP COMPARED TO INDY CAR AND WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED?
“As far as me and the restarts go, I feel like they are getting better and better; and a lot of it has to do with the car sometimes if it’s really tight or really loose on a restart, there is just nothing you can do about it. You’re just hanging on. So, you tend to not have as good a restart in those situations. But there are other ones where, man; I’ve passed five cars and having awesome restarts.  So I feel like I’m actually having those days now. So, that’s very important, especially this year with how important track position has been. That’s where you can make up the most amount of ground. It’s challenging to pass. It’s really tough to pass. So, that’s good.
 
“Now, the difference between IndyCar and NASCAR starts are totally different. I think it’s hard for people to understand just how quickly IndyCar’s accelerate. In NASCAR, it’s really just about Turn 1. In IndyCar it’s just about who gets flat first. That’s the whole restart. It’s who can get flat first and anticipate that. So, even jumping the start on some; there’s a lot of jumping the start that goes on in IndyCar I feel like. Where in NASCAR, there is
a penalty for it. But it’s been this way for a long time, so it’s a much more organized start and I feel like it leads to a little bit more of kind of putting yourself in the right place at the right time and understanding how each lane works and where you might need to go. Like sometimes at a track, the outside lane is really where you want to be and sometimes it’s the inside. So, hoping to get in the right line. But in IndyCar it gets a lot more spread out a lot quicker and it all happens right on the initial start when the green comes out or as I said, maybe just before.”
 
WHEN YOU WERE HERE IN FEBRUARY, THERE WAS A LOT OF TALK ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH RICKY STENHOUSE, JR.  ARE YOU HAPPY THE HOOPLA HAS DIED DOWN AND HOW DO YOU THINK IT IS GOING AS FAR AS WHETHER YOU HAVE DEFENDED HIM (TALLADEGA).
“I don’t think there have ever been any scenarios where we’ve been put in a position to defend either one of us or say anything. The only incident we had was at Charlotte during the Coke 600. Honestly, I don’t really get that many questions about him. More than anything, you are one of the first kind of questions I’ve had where somebody is asking how it’s going and how it’s been going in the media and things like that. I don’t really get asked about it a lot. For the most part, I’m the one who has stories that I say, ‘Oh, Ricky and I were talking about this,’ but, nobody really asks me specific questions about him. I guess I would say that it’s going fine and I don’t really have to answer a lot of questions about it.”
 
IS THERE ANY DISAPPOINTMENT ABOUT NOT RUNNING THE NATIONWIDE RACE THIS WEEKEND?
“Not necessarily. I will always run it if I can. But if I don’t, it’s okay too. I think that it’s about getting the right funding and getting it all together. To be honest, our focus as a team was put on running Watkins Glen, which comes after this one. So, that’s kind of where we put our efforts to get the funding to run. So, I understand that this one came second and it didn’t get done because Watkins Glen is not done. So, I’m okay.”
 
WITH YOUR NATIONWIDE SUCCESS HERE AND HOW YOU RAN IN FEBRUARY WITH WINNING THE POLE, HAVE YOU FOUND THAT YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL HUNGER TO WIN AT DAYTONA?
“I would say that it came more in Nationwide because it was the best opportunities to win.  Tony Eury Jr., just like Tony Gibson builds very good speedway cars and I felt like we had a real chance to win on the speedways. As a driver, if I’m going to pick a race to win, of course I want to win the Daytona 500. That’s a huge one. But as a driver, you want to win the challenging driver tracks. You want to win at places like Bristol or Darlington or places that are more known as driving tracks. So I wouldn’t say I’ve marked it down. No. But I haven’t marked any one of them off. So, I’ll take any one I can get.”
 
LAST WEEK JIMMIE JOHNSON SPUN OUT AND WAS REALLY TICKED OFF ON THE RADIO
“But he held on so good, didn’t he. Oh, that was really impressive.”
 
AND THAT’S WHAT I WAS GOING TO ASK ABOUT. HE CAME BACK AND STILL GOT A TOP 10. HAVE YOU EVER DRIVING TICKED OFF IN THE CAR AND DID IT HELP YOU AT ALL?
“Oddly enough, it does help you. When you’re mad, you just get extra aggressive and get on a mission. It can help. And you wonder to yourself, why can’t I just do that all the time? But every now and again, a certain emotion bubbles inside of you and it makes for a different result or different racing on some levels. And a lot of times it happens when you’re running better and you get taken out of that position. So, those are also days where you probably have better cars to do it, too. I wouldn’t say that I’m running 26th and something happens and I end up 30th and I’m like oh, my! I can’t believe it. But, on those days where you really get all that mad.
 
“But when you get knocked out of being up front, you’re probably there because you have a good car and it makes it more possible to get up there. It doesn’t, by any means, make it easy. And him (Jimmie Johnson) coming from the back of the field to 9th at the end was pretty impressive. But you do tend to find a little extra.”
 
WHEN YOU GET CRITICISM, HOW DO YOU SEPARATE THE CONSTRUCTIVE FROM THE SNIPING? DO THOSE LINES EVER BLUR? IS THERE ANY EXAMPLE OF SOMETHING THAT’S BEEN SAID EITHER ABOUT YOU OR TO YOU THAT MIGHT HAVE SOUNDED LIKE SNIPING BUT THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE ACTUALLY TAKEN AS CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM ALONG THE WAY?
“I think that if there is ever constructive criticism that comes, it tends to come on a one-on-one basis from a driver or a crew chief or something like that. But it tends to come from a driver. And they’ll talk to you one on one. It’s happened a few times; whether it be on how you handle lapped traffic or how you handle running with somebody. It just tends to be a one on one situation in a conversation. Anything beyond that it just conversation.”

Follow A Dream-Good Showing at Jegs Allstars

Marstons Mills, MA -July 3, 2013-Jay Blake’s Permatex/Follow A Dream team reached the final at the prestigious Jegs Allstars race for the second time in three years, this time coming within 12-thousandths of a second of the win. Driver Todd Veney fell to Dale Brand in the final round, 5.59 to 5.62, as both cars made their best runs of the event.
“Just being in the Jegs Allstars race is an honor,” Blake said. “To be in the final again was unbelievable. Every member of the team did his job perfectly, and we just missed winning.”
“I never saw him and was thinking we were going to win as we came up on the finish line,” Veney said. “It was a disappointment, but with the caliber of cars there, you had to be pretty happy just to be in the final round of a race like that.”
After running back-to-back 5.66s to qualify No. 7, Veney ran another 5.66 in the first round to beat Chris Foster and a 5.64 in the semifinals to take out Steve Gasparrelli.
At the Route 66 Nationals, which was run the following day, the Permatex/Follow A Dream faced Foster in the first round again and came out on top again in an even closer race, 5.640 to 5.644. In the quarterfinals, the car kicked a rod for the first time in several years, handing the win to Fred Hagen Jr., who would have been hard to get around regardless with low e.t. of the entire event (5.52).

Chevy Racing–IndyCar–Chevrolet IndyCar V6 Teams Prepared for “Old-New” Venue at Pocono Raceway

Storied Venue to Host Close Championship Battle and Round Two of 2013 Fuzzy’s Triple Crown
 
LONG POND, Penn. (July 3, 2013) – As the second half of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season kicks into high gear, the Chevrolet IndyCar V6 drivers and teams prepare for a trip to the Pocono Mountains to take on the ‘Tricky Triangle’ known as Pocono Raceway.
 
Although none of the current Chevrolet IndyCar Twin Turbo V6-powered drivers have ever competed on the 2.5-mile three-turn track, it is not the first time that Indy cars have raced at the unique facility; having competed at the storied venue from 1971 to 1989.  This year the IZOD IndyCar Series brings back the sights and sounds of Indy car racing with high stakes on the line, and a few twists thrown in for fans to enjoy.
 
Not only is there a close championship battle being waged that has Team Chevy drivers occupying the top-five positions in the order led by Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves, but once again the track will play host to one of the legs of the prestigious Triple Crown.
 
With nine races remaining in the season, Castroneves leads the standings with Andretti Autosports teammates Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and James Hinchcliffe close behind.  Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan sits in fifth position, still within striking distance of the championship lead.
 
Back in the day, the Triple Crown contests included 500-mile races at Indianapolis, Pocono and Ontario, Calif. from 1971 to 1980, and from 1981 to 1989 at Indy, Pocono and Michigan.  This season the three-race challenge returns with 1 million dollars up for grabs for the driver that can take home all  three victories at Indy, Pocono and California (Auto Club Speedway).  Chevrolet driver Kanaan is the only driver who can complete the trifecta after the popular Brazilian-born driver took his No. 11 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Victory Lane in May, 2013 to claim his first Indy 500 win.
 
“Team Chevy rolls into the Pocono Mountains this weekend for the return of IndyCar racing on ‘The Tricky Triangle’,” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, IZOD IndyCar Series. “The learning curve will be steep, but our technical partners, teams and drivers have been doing their homework in advance to get acclimated to this unique circuit which blends very fast speedway characteristics with three unique turns that require individual technique to get through quickest.   We hope to carry the momentum of the previous weeks into Pocono Raceway and continue the quest for the championships by focusing on each race as a must win situation.  The Chevrolet IndyCar Twin Turbo V6 is ready to do battle and put our Chevy drivers in a position to win at this special venue.”
 
This week the IZOD IndyCar Series announced another competitive element to put more excitement in the mix.  Not only did the famous Indianapolis 500 start three abreast, but this weekend’s race at Pocono and the third leg of the Triple Crown at Auto Club Speedway will also start in the famed three-wide formation.
 
Before heading to their seats for all of the on-track action, fans can stop at the Chevy Racing Display in the Fan Fest area at Pocono Raceway.  In addition to registering for a free Chevy IndyCar t-shirt, posing for a photo in the display, interactive games for fans of all ages; fans can see several of the great vehicles from the Chevrolet line-up including Malibu, Impala, Sonic RS, Traverse, Camaro ZL1 Convertible, Volt, Spark and the all-new 2014 Silverado. The display will be open Saturday, July 6th: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., and Sunday, July 7th: 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
 
In addition, fans can see live on-stage several Team Chevy IndyCar drivers including Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe and E.J. Viso on Saturday at 3:00 PM followed by Tony Kanaan at 4:40 PM and on Sunday Ed Carpenter will be in the display at 9:45 AM.
 
The 160 lap/400 mile challenge is scheduled for Sunday, July 7th at the three-turn Pocono Raceway. The race will be televised live at 12:00 p.m. (ET) ABC and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, including on Sirius and XM Channels 211, www.indycar.com and the INDYCAR 13 App for most smartphones and tablets.
 
 
CHEVROLET IN THE IZOD INDYCAR SERIES – FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT:
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, POINTS LEADER (ONE 2013 WIN):
“I always like going to new tracks and I’m really looking forward to racing at Pocono this weekend. The track has so much history and it’s great that IndyCar is back at Pocono. We’re also back racing the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet this weekend and we learned a few things in the test at Pocono last week and we’ll get a chance to learn even more Thursday at the series open test. We need to make sure we keep the lead in the championship coming out of this weekend and we’re happy we have a guy like Rick Mears, who’s had so much success at Pocono in the past, in our corner. With the long straightaway and the unique three corners at Pocono, it’s going to be an awesome race for the fans to watch on Sunday.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO 1 DHL ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 2nd IN STANDINGS (TWO 2013 WINS):
“Racing 400 miles at Pocono will be a new challenge for every team and driver in the series, which really makes things interesting. No one really knows what to expect. We have a different tire compound and downforce package compared to what we tested last week, so I’m not quite sure what we’ll have to deal with this weekend. It’s a clean sheet of paper for everyone and I think that bodes well for the No. 1 DHL team. 

“Looking ahead we have an exciting week and a half coming up with the Pocono race, Turbo movie premier in New York (City), Toronto race week and then the ESPY awards in LA.  I want to thank all the fans, DHL, Sun Drop and Chevy for their votes and support.”

MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 25 RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 3rd IN STANDINGS:
“The last three races have been strong for the RC Cola Chevy, but we maybe gave up a couple of wins when it came down to it. Pocono is basically my home town, so it would be an awesome place to close the gap to the points lead. I think we can have the car to do it – we just need to execute.”
 
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 4th IN STANDINGS (THREE 2013 WINS):
“Everybody is really excited to get to Pocono. First of all, there’s a lot of history there and we love going to tracks with history. Secondly, it’s a new challenge for everyone and I think every team believes that they will be the ones to get the jump on the field at a new venue. Of course, only one of us can be right! But the test went well, I think the racing is going to be just like Indy, and in case you missed it that race was nuts! We’ve had good momentum on the GoDaddy Chevy the last three weeks, obviously capped off with the Iowa win last race. The big thing for us is to keep that trend going, not only to keep us in the title fight but also to have the confidence high heading into Toronto!”
 
TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 SUNOCO “TURBO” KV RACING TECHNOLOGY – SH RACING CHEVROLET, 5th IN STANDINGS (ONE 2013 WIN):
“Pocono will be the third of four races (Mid-Ohio fourth) I will run in the Sunoco “Turbo” car and after the success we have had in the first two with them, finishing on the podium at both Texas and Iowa, I really want to keep that momentum going at Pocono and hopefully do even better. You know, this is also the second leg of the Fuzzy’s Triple Crown and because of the Indy 500 win I am the only driver with a chance to win all three events (Fontana third).  I have never raced at Pocono Raceway, but we know we had a good car at Indy and had a good test at Pocono a few days ago.”

WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, 10th IN STANDINGS:
“W
e had a good test with the Verizon car at Pocono last week and we look forward to getting some more time on track this week before the race on Sunday. Pocono is a pretty interesting track with the tri-oval and the unique and separate corners. You have to make some decisions on how you set up the car and how it handles through the three turns. It will be good to spend the day running the Verizon Chevrolet at the IndyCar open test on Thursday so we look at all of our options heading into race weekend. Hopefully we’ll get a good crowd this weekend because I know we’ll put on a good show over the 400 miles of racing on Sunday.”

E.J. VISO, NO. 5 TEAM VENEZUELA PDVSA CITGO ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT HVM CHEVROLET, 11th IN STANDINGS:
“Heading back to a 2.5-mile oval, it’s something that I can see is going to be good. With the pace we had during the (Indianapolis) 500 – it was awesome; going back to a long track is going to work in our favor. Two weeks ago at Iowa, practice wasn’t the best for me as we experienced some issues with the engine, but I have a lot of confidence in the Chevrolet team and that they already have my engine back up to speed. I can’t wait to have another weekend, and Pocono, I think, is going to be an amazing race.” 

ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA/ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, 13th IN STANDINGS:
“A lot of NASCAR tracks don’t seem like they would make a good IndyCar track, but that’s not the case at Pocono.  I am really happy that Brandon and Nick (Igdalsky) worked out a deal with IndyCar to get us back there. I would like to see the schedule be a little more balanced, say 50-50 (ovals, road and street courses), and I think the series would like to see that too. But, it is a matter of finding more good partners like what we have found here at Pocono to put them (ovals) on the schedule. We can’t just add them if they are not going to be quality races and not promoted properly. I think you’ll see the number grow, but it’s not going to happen overnight.  Turn 1 is the really tricky part of the lap and that’s the hard corner to get right without messing up the other two. The challenge of doing something new.  Everybody came here with a set-up on the car that we thought that would work, but, with having no experience here and being how unique the track is, you are just guessing on the car. We don’t go to too many new tracks, so it’s fun trying to figure out what the car needs. Every corner offers a different challenges, especially Turn 1. It’s a beast! It’s a monster of a corner.”

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO, NO. 78 NUCLEAR ENTERGY AREVA KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, 18th IN STANDINGS:
“I’m pretty excited to be going to Pocono. It’s a brand new track for everybody and it should be a lot of fun driving there. We tested there last week which was good. I’m sure the Chevy power is going to show really strong at this track and the team has been working really hard, so hopefully we’ll have a good result.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 7 MCAFEE DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, 21st IN STANDINGS:
“I am really looking forward to running at Pocono this weekend. It’s a really different oval and I am up for the challenge. We have had a tough season so far, so I am looking to get back up front this week.”

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO.  6 TRUECAR DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, 23rd IN STANDINGS:

RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET, 28th IN STANDINGS:
“It will be a busy weekend between racing the National Guard Chevrolet at Pocono and the Level 5 car at Lime Rock. It’s great that Panther is giving me the opportunity to race at Pocono even though I won’t be here Saturday for practice and qualifying. Fortunately, I will be able to prepare the car for the race and it was a big bonus having the test day last week and then the open test on Thursday to get as much track time as possible. Last week we spent our time working on our race prep and we worked hard on trying to find something that will get us through the field during the race on Sunday. Pocono’s a big track and it’s a long 400-mile race, so we feel plenty confident even having to start in the back. I know the National Guard crew will work hard, and with all the track time we’ll have on Thursday, we can get to the front.”

Summit Racing–Anderson Hoping to Raise the Bar at Summit Motorsports Park

Mooresville, N.C., July 3, 2013 – Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson is eager to jump back in his Chevrolet Camaro this weekend for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, for several reasons. Anderson relishes each opportunity to race in front of his sponsors at their title event, and this will be the third time this season he has had the honor to do so. The special event is even more exciting for the four-time season champion because he is hot off of a final round appearance last weekend in Chicago and fired up to close the deal with a victory.

There is no finer facility to accomplish the task for a Summit Racing driver – the racetrack in Norwalk bears the name of the high performance mail-order parts leader and is in very close proximity to the company’s headquarters.

“Last weekend was definitely a morale booster, and we’re ready to build off of that,” said Anderson. “The fact that we now get to go to Summit Motorsports Park is just the icing on the cake. This is a race we look forward to all year, and we hope to really give all the Summit Racing brass and employees who come out to support us something to cheer about.

“That racetrack is the best place for us to perform, it is very rewarding to do well there, and we’ve gone there before and really turned the team around. Right now, Team Summit is really heading in the right direction, and I give a lot of credit to the employees and bosses at Summit Racing for their encouragement. They always make us want to raise the bar, and hopefully we’ll do that for them.”

Anderson, a 74-time national event winner, is heavy in the hunt for his first win of the 2013 season, and the final round finish in Chicago just a handful of days ago was only further indication of the progress that the tireless team has made over the course of the season.

A regular top-half qualifier, Anderson made the daring move to bring out a brand new white Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro in Bristol, and the immediately favorable results included a trip to the semifinals and a journey that fell just one round short of a final-round appearance. Last week, the Mooresville, N.C.-based driver made up ground in the series standings with his strong performance and moved up one position, to seventh.

“We need to capitalize on what we’ve learned, and we have every capability to do that,” said Anderson. “There really is no better place for this Summit Racing team to excel, and each of us on the KB Racing team is looking forward to getting to Summit Motorsports Park and putting on a great show for our sponsor. They’re our family, really, and we want to make them proud.”

Summit Racing–Line Looks to Start Second Half of Season on a High Note

Mooresville, N.C., July 3, 2013 – Jason Line and the Summit Racing Pro Stock team are making their way to one of the most anticipated events on NHRA’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour this weekend, the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, for the first race of the second half of 2013. Line is in pursuit of his second win of the season and second at the racetrack that flies the banner of his title sponsor.

“The KB Racing team has historically risen to the occasion at Team Summit Races, and this one is especially big for us because it’s at Summit Motorsports Park,” said Line. “It’s always fun when you get to come out and race in front of your sponsor, but to get to do so at the track that bears their name is even more exciting. The Summit Racing team definitely looks forward to this race every year. The goal is always to represent Summit Racing the best we can, but we especially want to do well this weekend.”

Line came achingly close to parking his Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro in the winner’s circle in Norwalk last year; he was just one win light shy of claiming his second victory at the facility after grabbing the trophy in 2009, and the Mooresville, N.C.-based driver certainly had the car to beat as the No. 2 qualifier.

“It’s always a great thing to get one of the Summit Racing Camaros to the final round,” said Line. “But it’s disappointing to come so close and see let the win get away. We don’t want to see that happen again, and the KB Racing team hasn’t really taken much of a breath lately because we want to have the fastest cars out there so we have the best chance of bringing home those trophies.”

Line, who has competed in 225 NHRA events as a Pro Stock driver, possesses 30 national event wins in 63 final rounds and has two world championships in the category where wins and losses are typically recorded by mere fractions of a second. The chief dyno operator lives his life away from the racetrack finessing engines at the KB Racing shop near Charlotte, the heart of the Motorsports capital of the United States, and has seen Team Summit power come to life through top-half qualifying efforts at ever event on the schedule this year. Seven times he has been fifth or better when the line-up was finalized.

“The season is more than half over now,” said Line, noting that this is the 13th of 24 races of the 2013 NHRA tour. “It’s neat that we get to start this second half in Norwalk at Summit Motorsports Park. Hopefully, we’ll get off on the right foot. The Bader family always put on a great show, and they have a nice facility that feels like home for the Summit Racing team. This race gives us a chance to see a lot of the folks from Summit who we don’t get to see the rest of the year, and we really want to do well for them. This would be a great time for our Summit Racing Camaros to perform to their full potential.”

Wood Brothers Racing–Wood Brothers’ Summertime Success at Daytona a Motivator for Wingo and Motorcraft/Quick Lane Crew


Considering his team’s track record at Daytona International Speedway, it’s understandable that veteran crew chief Donnie Wingo would put some extra effort into preparing the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion for Saturday’s Coke Zero 400.

His Wood Brothers team leads all others in points-paying Sprint Cup Series victories at Daytona with 15 overall. The next closest owners are Richard Petty and Rick Hendrick, who have 11 apiece.

The Woods have won the prestigious Daytona 500 five times, most recently in 2011 with Trevor Bayne driving and Wingo as crew chief.

Where the Woods have really excelled over the years is in the 400-miler in July, a race they’ve historically had impressive driver line-ups.  Some of NASCAR’s greatest names, like Cale Yarborough, David Pearson, Neil Bonnett and Buddy Baker have made history in Wood Brothers cars.

“There’s a lot of history here with this team,” Wingo said. “We always put a lot of emphasis on the cars we bring to Daytona.”

For this year’s race, Wingo has chosen the same Ford Fusion that the team took to Talladega Superspeedway in May but ran only 22 laps before being sidelined by engine issues.

Wingo and his Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew did a lot more than just dust off their preferred superspeedway car.

“We’ve done a lot of tweaking and tuning on it trying to make it even better,” he said. “It’s been to the wind tunnel twice since Talladega.”

A lot of Wingo’s effort, at the shop and in practice at Daytona prior to the 400, is being focused on perfecting the handling of his team’s Ford Fusion under race conditions, especially since the track is hotter in July than in February and that could cause handling issues even though the track has relatively fresh asphalt.

“With the July heat, the cars can get a little looser,” he said.

Then on Saturday, his goal will be to develop a race strategy that will put Bayne near the front of the pack as the laps wind down.

“If we can be there at the end, hopefully we can do something like we did in the 500 in 2011,” he said.

Qualifying for the Coke Zero 400 is set for Friday at 4:10 p.m. Eastern Time, and the race is scheduled to start on Saturday just after 7:30 p.m. with TV coverage on TNT.

Dyson Racing Celebrates 30 Years

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY July 2, 2013 — Thirty years ago, Rob Dyson raced a 1983 Firebird in his first professional race at the IMSA Coca-Cola Three Hours of Lime Rock. He had been racing in the SCCA since 1974 but moved into professional racing on that Memorial Day.  Of the thirty-seven cars entered that day, only one team still racing today: Dyson Racing.  The team will be officially commemorating their thirtieth anniversary at the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park next weekend, July 5 – 6. 

Many of the team’s milestones over the past thirty years have occurred at Lime Rock Park, their home track with their shop less than an hour away.  Two years after first running the 1983 Firebird, Rob Dyson moved up to an IMSA GTP Porsche 962 and debuted the car at Lime Rock in May of 1985 and won the first time out. The following year, the Lime Rock GTP race was the first professional pole for the team. The team also gave Mazda its first P2 victory at Lime Rock in 2009. And Lime Rock is special for Chris Dyson as he began his racing career here at the age of seventeen in the Skip Barber Racing School and scored his earliest SCCA victories.
 
Recent years have seen the continuation of the team’s winning ways at Lime Rock.  Chris Dyson won the P1 pole in 2011, and Guy Smith set fastest lap on the way to a dominant win, the pair leading 165 laps of the 187 lap race.  Last year, Guy Smith set a pole record and Chris and Guy finished second and the team won the Michelin Green X challenge.
From 1985 on, Dyson Racing continued to race the Porsche 962 during the golden years of GTP racing against the factory teams of Nissan and Jaguar and took home twelve wins and twenty additional podiums. In 1995, they moved to a Ford-powered Riley and Scott which netted them thirty-six wins over eight years including two  24 Hours of Daytona victories in 1997 and 1999 and several championships.  From 2002 to 2006, they ran AER-powered Lolas and from 2007 to 2008, two Porsche RS Spyders in the ALMS. 

In 2009, the team partnered with Mazda in the ALMS.  The team won at Mid-Ohio in 2010, giving Mazda its first overall IMSA/ALMS victory.  In 2011, Dyson Racing ran the table of championships, winning a total of five including the Drivers Championship with Chris Dyson and Guy Smith, the Manufactures Championship with Mazda, the Team Championship and the Michelin Green X Challenge.  Last year, Guy Smith’s 0.083 margin of  victory at Road America set the record for the closest ever overall finish in ALMS history. Also in 2012, Chris Dyson celebrated his 100th ALMS start at Baltimore and the team scored their 200th podium at Mid-Ohio

he history of Dyson Racing provides a comprehensive overview of sports car racing in North America for the past thirty years.  The team has won championships and races in the American Le Mans Series, International Motor Sports Association, Grand-Am, World Sports Car, the United States Road Racing Championship, and World Sports Car. All told: nineteen championships, seventy  victories, sixty-eight poles and two hundred and eight podiums.  Past drivers include James Weaver, Butch Leitzinger, Andy Wallace, Marino Franchitti, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Bobby Rahal, Price Cobb, Drake Olson, Johnny Dumfries, Oliver Gavin, Jan Lammers, John Paul, Jr., Scott Pruett, Dorsey Schroeder, Vern Schuppan, Max Papis, Andy Lally, Hurley Haywood, Ron Fellows, and Scott Sharp.      

“One of my favorite early memories was when we went to Lime Rock with the Porsche 962 for the first weekend and won,” noted Chris Dyson.  “It was such a great win.  We were a small crew back then and to come with a family team and run against the best in the business and win, that  is when we realized we had a future at the highest level.”

Rob Dyson won the first race he competed in, an SCCA regional at Watkins Glen, in a Datsun 510.  “I remember when it was just me and Pat Smith.  We would leave at 5:00 in the afternoon and drive all night to Nelson Ledges or Summit Point.  We would sleep in the truck since we were too late for a hotel.  I smile when I think about how much we did not know and how much we were learning every weekend.  Every chapter of our team’s history has been different, but at all times, there has always been that one constant spark of emotion of absolutely wanting to compete with passion and to win.”  For over three decades, that overriding passion has never wavered.

John Force Racing Looks Towards Norwalk

BRITTANY FORCE READY FOR 4TH OF JULY WEEKEND CELEBRATION IN NORWALK

NORWALK, OH (July 3, 2013) — After a tough weekend in Chicago, Auto Club Road to the Future Award candidate Brittany Force puts that race behind her as she rolls in to Norwalk for the 7th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.

With two blown engines and a first round loss in eliminations throughout last weekend, Force and her Castrol EDGE Top Fuel team take what they learned at Route 66 Raceway and hope to apply those concepts coming into Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park. She also believes that having these back-to-back races contribute to the learning process as well.

“I think, as a driver and for my team, having back-to-back races is helpful,” Force said. “It keeps us all in that momentum and in that groove of trying to keep everything consistent. Learning from each run and really just keeping that focus rather than going home for a week and getting out of that rhythm. It helps me as a driver feel more comfortable in the car coming back after only a few days and getting right back in it.”

This will be the first time the John Force Racing Top Fuel pilot will be competing in the professional category at this particular racetrack. Force raced in the super comp class several years back when she first began her racing career.

Another member of the Castrol EDGE team who has had prior experience at this historic track is crew chief Dean Antonelli. He understands that in business, there is no guarantee that track conditions will always be perfect.

“Norwalk actually is hit or miss,” Antonelli said. “We’ve been there when it’s been 95 degrees with 80 percent humidity, but we’ve also been there when it’s been 70 degrees with 50 percent humidity. You don’t know what you’re going to get. Right now the forecast is calling for high 70’s, low 80’s, which that’d be pretty good conditions, but that’s a week away, so we really won’t know what we got. Typically if it’s hot, it’s a very tricky track. If it’s real cool, it’s as good as any place.”

Aside from racing, the 26-year-old Cal State-Fullerton graduate is looking forward to celebrating the Fourth of July with the most important people in her life: her family. 

“I’m excited! My whole family will be coming to Norwalk,” Force said. “My nieces and nephews will be there so that’ll be exciting. We stay at the Kalahari water park hotel, so that’ll be a lot of fun with all the kiddos running around and swimming. I’m looking forward to it and celebrating Fourth of July with my family and going after a win.”      

FORCE AIMS TO KEEP STREAK ALIVE

Sport’s Biggest Winner Seeks First Victory at Summit Motorsports Park

 

          NORWALK, Ohio (July 5, 2013) – Drag racing icon John Force tries to keep his streak of final round appearances intact this week on one of the few racetracks on which he has not yet won an NHRA tour event.

 

          The sport’s all-time winner, who has climbed from 10th to third in the Mello Yello driver standings in less than a month, tries to make it four finals in four weeks when he sends his resurgent Castrol GTX Ford Mustang after the Funny Car Championship at the seventh annual Summit Racing Equipment Nationals.

 

          Force, who is bidding this year for an unprecedented 16th NHRA Funny Car title, has won NHRA tour events at 24 different tracks, but never at Summit Motorsports Park where he is 0-for-6 with only a runner-up finish in 2010 to show for his effort.

 

          The irony is that he is a many-time winner of the track’s largest independent event, the August “Night Under Fire,” and has been successful enough in that race to have had a spectator grandstand named in his honor.

 

          A 2012 inductee into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, the 15-time Auto Racing All-American may never have a better chance to end that Norwalk drought than he has this week.  Not only does he have momentum, he also has Mike Neff,

 

          After spending the last two seasons behind the wheel of a John Force Racing Mustang, Neff opted this year to return to what he most enjoys and that is making the mechanical decisions on a 10,000 horsepower race car capable of zero-to-320 mile-an-hour acceleration in less than four seconds.

 

          Nevertheless, while he was driving (and serving as his own crew chief), the former motocross rider earned back-to-back victories in the Summit Nationals in 2011 and 2012.  He is, in fact, the only JFR driver to have won the race.

 

          Technically, then, he is bidding this week for his third straight win at the Ohio track, albeit his first as Force’s crew chief.

 

          “Mike Neff and these kids have given me a fast hot rod,” Force said.  “We can play the game in the heat or we can play when it’s cool.  A good race car gives you confidence (as a driver).  You get a good car and you get natural on the lights.  We were struggling with the chassis, the motor and the clutch but now it seems like it’s all coming together.”

 

          Indeed, after compiling a 6-9 match race record in the season’s first nine events, advancing beyond the second round just one time, Force has gone 10-2 the last three weekends with a win at Bristol, Tenn., that gave him at least one tour victory in 26 of the last 27 seasons.

 

          In addition, that particular win earned the 135-time tour winner a guaranteed berth in this fall’s Traxxas Nitro Shootout bonus race in which he is the defending Funny Car champion.

 

          “They were ready to print up t-shirts that said ‘John Force: Extinct,’” he said of his uncustomarily slow start, one in which his winless streak stretched to 31 races.  “It would have been a big seller, too, but I ain’t dead yet.  I can still drive.  I’ll know when it’s time and it ain’t time, yet.

 

          “The losing is the part that guts you,” Force said of his motivation, “but (losing) makes you want to get back (to the winners’ circle) so much more.  All I could think about (during the first nine races) was getting back.  Winning again is a great feeling, especially being able to share it with all the young guys that work on my hot rod.”

 

-www.johnforceracing.com-

                                                                              

 

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Showtime Funny Car–FIA Main Event

FIA
Main Event

Santa
Pod May 24th – 27th

  Official Santa Pod Video

The Main Event was the 2nd
round of the new European Funny Car Series. The 4 cars who had contested Round
One at Easter were joined by a fully fit Leif Helander and newcomer Henrik
Christiansen from Denmark who would be doing observed licensing runs.

The newly re-laid track was getting
“rubbered-in” and was expected to provide some great racing – it didn’t
disappoint – thanks to the staff and track crew for an excellent job in
preparing the surface.

 

Qualifying began on Saturday, the first
run around 2pm, John running with Shockwave. A little slow on the green and a
0.92 sec 60 foot. The racing groove was still quite narrow and when the car
dropped a cylinder just before half track it got out of the groove and spun the
tyres. John idled through the top end in 7.22 seconds. Servicing was routine.
Having got some valuable data it was decided to miss the second qualifier and
look at the tune up options for Sunday when there would be more rubber on the
track.

 

Qualifier 3 at 12.25 alongside Leif
Helander. Better RT this time and 0.94 secs to 60 foot. John ahead until just
after the 1/8th when again spun the tyres. Well that’s the first 1/8th
sorted out. Now all we needed to do was get the second 1/8th sorted.

 

Qualifier 4 just after 5 pm would decide
the 4 qualifiers for Monday’s eliminations. Going in to the session John
was  “on the bump” with a 6.39 secs.
Kevin in the West Ten car ran immediately before us, recording a 5.80secs to bump
us out. All down to this run –0.96 to 60 foot, dropped a cylinder before the
half, then flashes of orange flame which disappeared briefly then came back.
Through the top end in 5.669 secs with smoke evident, but we were through to
eliminations.

 

During the service we found we had a
damaged lifter and cam-shaft. So the spare motor was readied and installed for
eliminations on Sunday.

 

Round 1 against No.1 qualifier Jason
Phelps, John was away first and never headed, 5.44 secs at 277mph – that was
more like it! No problems on servicing and a date in the final with Leif
Helander.

 

What a final, Leif cut a light but John
had the better incrementals all the way down. A holeshot win for Leif 5.496secs
at 278.1mph to John’s 5.460 at 278.9mph. Margin of defeat 0.068 secs( just
about 1 cars length)

 

We now go to Hockenheim in August laying
second in the championship, 1 round win behind Jason.

As
you read this our preparations for Hockenheim are well underway.

Racer News and Results