Chevy Racing–Daytona Testing

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
PRESEASON TESTING
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
JANUARY 10, 2013
 
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed the first test session, her expectations for the 2013 season and other topics.  Full Transcript:
 
FIRST TIME OUT ON THE TRACK IN THE GEN-6 CAR AND HERE BACK AT DAYTONA TALK ABOUT HOW THINGS WENT FOR YOU AND WHAT YOUR EXPECTATIONS THIS YEAR?
“It’s good to be back.  It was a quick off season, but I’m pleased to be back in the car.  I was happy driving to the track this morning.  It started off a little bit slow.  I had a vibration and they saw that the shift mount was sort of dragging on the drive train or the drive shaft casing or the drive shaft itself.  I don’t know; that is how technical I am.  So, they thought that is where the speed was in the first run and then came in from the second run and it was still the same slow speed.  I shut it off and luckily I shut it off a little bit early coming into the garage.  Just so it doesn’t run and get hot.  They noticed that the car wasn’t rolling.  They kept trying to tell me to do something when I was sitting there. ‘I’m like I don’t know what else to do other than sit here’.  They found that the brakes were dragging so, pushed the brakes back for the last run.  They pushed me out, it probably looked like I was doing a full qualifying run, but we really just pushed the brakes back to see if that is exactly what it was.  Sure enough we popped up the speed chart pretty well.  It’s nice to know that the speed is there so now we will just start with our test plan.  They feel like they have it figured out what is going on with the brakes so we will get going this afternoon.  It’s definitely good to be back in the GoDaddy car.”
 
MANY OF THE SPRINT CUP DRIVERS IN THE CIRCUIT TODAY HAD TOUGH YEARS IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES, BUT SOMEHOW THE STEP FORWARD WAS MUCH BETTER FOR THEM.  DO YOU FEEL BETTER IN THIS CAR THAN YOU DID IN THE NATIONWIDE CAR?
“Well, it’s not like I didn’t do any Sprint Cup running, I did ten races last year.  It was a good warm up for this year.  As far as this new car in particular, I couldn’t even tell the difference between a Nationwide and a Cup car here.  It’s pretty straight forward here at Daytona.  I know that what the most important thing is. I feel as with any team whether it is racing or another sport is that the team itself is critical.  It’s important to have good energy together, understand each other well and work well together.  I feel like the switch over to Tony Gibson and his team at the end of last season for the last two races was a really good change.  I feel like I really saw some potential in having a good year this year. There will undoubtedly be really tough days.  I know the areas that we need to work on.  I think that having that good run at the end of Phoenix there to go for a top-12 finish was a pretty good day.  I think we are all really confident going into this year.  We just have to be optimistic, keep our heads down and stay positive when it gets tough.”
 
BEING NEW TO THE CAR OVER THE NEXT THREE DAYS WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO LEARN?  WHAT CAN YOU LEARN OVER THESE NEXT THREE DAYS?  WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH?
“It’s really going to come from the team side.  I think just playing around with the different things on the car based on the different shape of it. A little bit of aero stuff, a little bit of air box stuff, for me as a driver there is really not all that much to do.  We will see in bump drafting when that finally shows up, probably tomorrow, what that feels like and the differences on pushing with these cars versus the old cars.  But everything I’ve heard so far says that it’s pretty good.  A Chevy to a Chevy has been good.  The fronts of our cars are a little bit sharp in the middle, but they seem to be pushing okay.  As far as just riding around by myself I don’t really think you are going to notice anything.  I’m not anyway.  Some better drivers might have some better feedback for you, but I don’t.”
 
THERE ARE A LOT OF CHANGES HAPPENING THIS YEAR.  YOU’RE MOVING UP IS A CHANGE FOR YOU, BUT IT’S A BIG CHANGE FOR THE TEAMS ALSO, YOU HAVE A BRAND NEW CAR.  CAN YOU SHARE WITH FANS WHAT IT IS LIKE FOR YOU TO MOVE UP, WHILE EVERYBODY ELSE IS REALLY BUSY TRYING TO GET THE CAR READY?
“I don’t think that matters, it’s just the circumstance.  I mean there are a lot of rule changes in NASCAR happening from year to year and definitely this year with the new car.  I know that it was really late getting like decklids and things like that for the team.  They only just got them this past week.  I know that there is a lot of stuff going on that has made the guys kind of work longer, later, especially in these first few weeks of the year.  But that is just what happens when a new car comes out.  I think that for me as a first year full-time in Sprint Cup, I think that a new car is probably a positive for me.  Everybody is starting off on sort of a little bit more of a level playing field.  Who knows maybe this new car will play into my driving style better than the old one.  I’m not really sure.  I have heard it drives a little bit more like a Nationwide car, so maybe it will be something that will be more familiar to me. I think that especially with a new car, being a new driver, I’m not going to be looking for a feeling that the old car gave me; because I don’t really know it that well.  Especially, going with Tony Gibson and the guys for the last couple of races with some different set-ups I think that we will be starting with a clean sheet of paper for this year.  I think that could be a real positive.”
 
DO YOU KNOW EXTRACURRICULAR BEYOND CUP WHAT YOUR NATIONWIDE SCHEDULE IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE AND ARE YOU DEFINITELY NOT DOING THE INDY 500 THIS YEAR?
“I can confirm to you today that I will not be doing the Indy 500.  I am just going to do the Coke 600.  The team and I decided to focus on Cup.  It’s going to be plenty of work as it is.  It’s going to be important for me running for the championship full-time for the first time to really keep myself focused with the Cup car.  But if I do the Indy 500 moving forward it will be with GoDaddy.
 
NATIONWIDE?
“Nationwide I am not sure if that is completely set.  I know there have been some reports that have come out about running for Turner (Scott Motorsports).  We are definitely talking to them trying to figure it out and we are definitely working on that, but there has been nothing signed yet.  The exact dates, the races and the sponsor have yet to be confirmed for all that.  We are working on it, but I would like to.  I think that would be a good weekend to do it.”
 
TALK ABOUT YOUR MINDSET YOU WERE ALWAYS SAYING LAST YEAR YOU WERE NOT GOING TO BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF.  HOW DO YOU FEEL COMING INTO THE FIRST SEASON?  HOW IS THE VISION IN THE CAR?
“The vision is the first thing that popped out with what you were saying.  I feel like I almost sit higher in the car.  I feel like I can see more out the front window.  I don’t know if the dash is lower or not, but these are things probably Tony (Stewart) would know.  I don’t know.  It seems just fine to me.  I feel like I can see better out the front.  I think again just like last year obviously things have been changing for me year to year over the last good few years now.  Again, to just stay relaxed and stay positive, as I said earlier you can’t let the tough days get you down.  I’m sure they are going to happen, so I thi
nk that is going to help us have more better days if we can stay positive and stay up beat.  Tony Gibson (crew chief) has said to all of you guys and said to me that we need to create certain expectation levels as we go along and make them realistic, be smart about them and move them slowly.  That is a really good perspective for him to have.  It’s great to go into the season and think ‘gosh we left off so well’ and we should run top-10 or 15 now every weekend, we are going to do that.  But I think that it is going to be tough to do that every weekend given my first year.  I think everybody has got the right attitude.  Everybody is excited.”
 
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 BASS PRO SHOPS/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET SS, joined teammate Danica Patrick to talk with the media about his experience at the test session.
 
TALK ABOUT HOW THINGS WENT OUT THERE FOR YOU FIRST PRACTICE AND OUTLOOK FOR THE SEASON HERE AT DAYTONA:
 
TONY STEWART: “We are excited obviously.  We have a lot of work to do to get all three teams ready for the year with the new body changes, so far so good.  The big thing is just getting here and seeing the new look of the cars; I think it really looks good.  It’s nice to see.  I’m glad we finally got away from the Car of Tomorrow that wasn’t, I don’t think, the best of ideas by Gary Nelson (laughs).  It is nice to get back to cars that look like production cars again.”
 
DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH TESTING YOU ARE GOING TO GET IN, BESIDES THIS WEEK AND NEXT WEEK AT CHARLOTTE, OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS?
 
DANICA PATRICK: “We are going to do a little short track testing next week before Charlotte.  Beyond that we will figure it out.  It probably depends on how these tests go really.  How fast is the car, how well does it handle, how well am I getting up to speed and how well are clicking.  I feel like the team is pretty good at making decisions quick on their feet if we need to go somewhere and do something.  We will address that probably at the end of next week.  Right now I think the testing is pretty well set for these two weeks and then we will regroup at Daytona.”
 
YOU GET A LOT OF ATTENTION IN CYBER SPACE FROM FANS DEBATING WHETHER YOU WILL BE SUCCESSFUL AT THIS LEVEL.  DO YOU PAY ANY ATTENTION TO THAT STUFF?  DOES IT BOTHER YOU?

DANICA PATRICK: “Well what they say doesn’t create my finishes.  I think it is great that people are talking about me.  It’s great there is a conversation, but I really try not to read those things.  Because at the end of the day they really don’t matter.”
 
THIS WILL BE YOUR FIRST YEAR GOING IN AFTER SEVERAL YEARS OF TRANSITION IS THERE A DIFFERENT FEELING THAT YOU HAVE GOING INTO THIS SEASON? IS THIS TEST ALSO A TIME FOR YOU GUYS TO HANG OUT, TEAMMATES AND TEAM, WHAT ARE YOU DOING BEYOND THE RACE TRACK TO BOND?
 
DANICA PATRICK: “I feel really excited I have to say going into this season versus a lot of other seasons in my career I just feel excited.  I’m looking forward to it.  Sometimes I get a little more nervous going into the year, but I think that we have just got such a good atmosphere on the team all around that makes me excited.”
 
HAVE YOU DEFINED ANY STATISTICAL GOALS FOR 2013 AND JUST GIVE ME YOUR OUTLOOK ON THE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR BATTLE:

DANICA PATRICK: “I think it’s very difficult at this point in time to put sort of numbers to exactly where I should be finishing.  I think you can look at a little bit of what happened last year as a bit of a baseline as to expectation levels and definitely areas that need work.  But it’s a new year; it’s a new car and a lot of stuff changes so obviously I will be working full-time with Tony (Gibson, crew chief) and the guys now.  I think everything changes a little bit and you can never really know what to expect.  I think we just need to get started on the season, get these first few races out of the way and then start to create some baseline for what we are expecting and what we are shooting for.”
 
WHAT YOU YOUR OUTLOOK ON WINNING THE ROOKIE-OF-THE-YEAR TITLE?

DANICA PATRICK: “You know you just race hard.  I think those are the things that just happen.  If it does it does, if it doesn’t it doesn’t, but I think that if I shoot for great results each time and keep bettering myself all the time that is the best goal that I can have as opposed to just shooting for Rookie-of-the-Year.  It’s going to be something I’m sure that will come into thought at the end of the year.  What decides that is it just championship or what does? I don’t even know.  Is it points?  I don’t even know what I have to do necessarily.  Just do the best I can and hope that is enough.”

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed his thoughts on testing thus far, the off season and other topics.  Full Transcript:
 
HOW HAS YOUR DAY OF TESTING BEEN?
“We had a good day.  We just did single car runs, which was pretty much our plan and then we’ll do some drafting tomorrow.  Thought it went well.  Cars are driving really good by themselves.  Good speed.  It was a fun day to see this new body style out there, it looks great and drives good.  It’s an exciting way to get the season started.”
 
DO YOU THINK THERE WILL BE SOME CRAZY MOVES COMING BACK INTO PLAY TO WIN THE DAYTONA 500 WITH THIS NEW CAR?
“If they take away that yellow line, absolutely.  Some of those ridiculous moves were just because you had to go wherever the car in front of you wasn’t if you had the momentum.  Back then they didn’t have that yellow line so you could go down to the apron, which made things pretty exciting and interesting.  Now that we’re not able to do that limits you a little bit, but I haven’t drafted yet.  I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t be able to do things like that, but looking at the size of the spoiler and the speeds that we’re running I’m anticipating that handling is going to be a little bit more of a premium than what we’ve had in the past.  Just because there’s a little less down force in the rear of the car.  I really won’t know until tomorrow.  I saw those guys drafting out there a little bit and it looked like the cars were moving around a little on them when they got into some turbulent air, but other than that I really can’t say until I get out there in those conditions.”
 
DO YOU FEEL LIKE THERE ARE A LOT OF CHANGES TAKING PLACE THIS YEAR AND WHAT IS THAT LIKE?
“It’s always great when you can carry that momentum and excitement that the team experienced in Homestead into the off-season.  No matter what changes are coming, whether they’re very little or big changes like we’ve had with the new car, the team can rally around that and it’s a great boost.  You need a lot of energy over the off-season.  Those guys work really, really hard while the drivers might get some rest, the crew chiefs and the team guys are getting very little rest because they’re preparing for the new season.  You add on top of that a new car, there is a lot of work to be done.  We don’t have a lot of these cars sitting in our shops right now.  Certainly, not many speedway cars.  Even while we’re down here, there’s a lot of work happening back at the shop.  To be able to have a great finish like we had at Homestead and take that into the off-season is a big plus and big positive for us and it’s helped us stay energized through the off-season to get ready for this new season.  I don’t think anybody is better than Hendrick Motorsports when changes come in adapting to them and new cars and being prepared.  I feel very confident in the team and our organization
to come out strong and be strong throughout the year.  That is also energizing.”
 
WHAT DO YOU STILL NEED TO LEARN IN THE COMING DAYS ABOUT THIS NEW CAR?
“You want to have a fast race car, that’s always the case.  I feel like we’ve got pretty good speed.  There’s a couple cars that we have our eyes on that look like they have a little more speed.  Things will change by the time we get back down here in February.  Not too concerned with that right now.  The car has good speed so that is number one.  The next thing is just getting the car to drive well in traffic.  Cooling and overheating and things like that have always been an issue down here the last couple years.  We anticipate looking at the opening in the grill for that to be something we’re going to have to deal with again.  Then whether the tandem drafting is going to happen at all or not.  It doesn’t appear that it is, but I still think that you have to explore it to see if with three to go, if there’s a green-white-checkered or something like that, you can be prepared to do what you have to do to win the race.  You have to come down here and kind of patiently be aggressive by exploring those things now.  It’s better to explore them now so we know what to anticipate when we get back down here in February for Speedweeks.  That’s the nice thing about being in the Sprint Unlimited, in that race it gives us a great opportunity to understand what we’re going to be dealing with for the upcoming races, the Duels as well as the 500.”
 
HOW DID YOU END UP ON A YACHT FOR NEW YEAR’S EVE AND DID YOU AND CLINT BOWYER HAVE A CHANCE TO TALK?
“The question is how he got on the yacht.  That needs to be the real question.  My family and I have been going down to St. Barts for the last four of five years and we love going down there for New Year’s.  I knew that Clint (Bowyer) and Kevin (Harvick) were down there because Rick Hendrick’s boat was down there and I think they were on that boat through a charter with some friends of theirs.  I stopped by there to say hi one time and they were gone, they were out having fun or doing something.  Then I went about my business and on New Year’s Ingrid and I went to a couple different parties and ended up at one, which was really the party of the year if you ask me.  It was an amazing event that P. Diddy had.  We were just hanging out having a good time and on walks Bowyer and Harvick and a couple other folks.  I don’t know, it was a great New Year’s.  I enjoyed myself very much.”
 
HOW ENTHUSIASTIC ARE YOU ABOUT GETTING RID OF THE COT?
“I think that’s just part of when you’ve been in the sport long enough, you get accustomed to a certain, especially when you come into the sport to drive a car a certain way and that’s what got you there and you come to adapt to it quickly and had success.  When things change in a big way, it’s how you change along with them and the longer you’re in the sport, the harder it is for you to make those transitions.  I think the COT definitely played that kind of a role with me.  If you come into it when the COT came along, you can adapt to it fairly quickly.  When you’ve gone through all the changes and I felt like I kind of dealt with the same thing with the big rear springs and the big front sway bars and just took longer to adapt to them and did very well.  I feel like this year it’s kind of the same thing.  It’s all new with a different car, different down force levels and we just have to adapt to them.  Some are going to do better than others and I hope that our team and myself make for a good combination to be able to keep up with those changes.  The test at Charlotte next week, when I tested Charlotte last year the rules were a little bit different.  They didn’t have all the down force that the car has.  It’s gone through this kind of wave where it was down force, no down force, lots of down force.  I look forward to getting back in the car in Charlotte next week to see what that package is like and how it drives and the kind of feedback I’m able to give the team to go faster.  Tire-wise, I don’t remember those changes in the tires back then.  I certainly know the changes in the tires in recent years that I haven’t done a very good job at.  Maybe it was similar to that back in the days.”
 
DID YOU AND CLINT BOWYER LEAVE THE BOAT AS FRIENDS?
“I don’t remember seeing him leave the boat.”
 
DID YOU TALK WITH CLINT BOWYER?
“We talked.  We talked.  I had a great New Year’s.”
 
DO YOU THINK TOYOTA OR ANY MANUFACTURER HAS AN ADVANTAGE WITH THE NEW CAR?
“Can’t tell yet until we get out there drafting.  I know when we were down here or when our cars were at Talladega testing I spoke to Kasey Kahne and the shape of the nose of the Chevrolet for pushing if it’s a pushing and tandem drafting type of race that our noses don’t seem to line-up as good as some others.  But then it just comes down to cooling and getting air into the grill.  That little piece that NASCAR has added to the bottom of the rear bumpers seems to have addressed that.  I don’t see where anybody has an advantage at this point.”
 
DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO THERE BEING MORE MANUFACTURERS LOBBYING IN NASCAR AGAIN?
“I think NASCAR has gotten very smart over the years through trial and error and just experience.  You’re talking about a totally different situation.  I’ve been telling this story a lot lately about 1995 when the Monte Carlo came along and it was a dominant race car.  It was basically taking the street version and turning it into a race car.  It was superior to the competition.  It really became a race among Chevrolets that year.  That was a different greenhouse, a different rear deck lid, a different nose.  This car that we have here where I think they’ve gotten very smart is they each have their own identity and they’re great looking cars, but the important aspects that keep the cars as equal as possible are the same.  The greenhouse, how that air meets that rear spoiler.  Even the noses have different characteristics to them and in the wind tunnel they are all very, very close.  I may be wrong, but until we get through some races I don’t think we’ll really, really know.  Usually by this point, if we felt like we were at a big disadvantage you would already be hearing about it.
 
“I feel like right now we’re as good as anybody out there.  I don’t see where anybody has any distinct advantage manufacturer-wise.  There are some pluses and minuses to that.  At one point I think NASCAR wanted to get away from some of that and say, ‘We don’t want to go through that process throughout a year where one has a distinct advantage and one is lobbying and trying to get a little more spoiler.’  I remember when there was one getting a little more spoiler, one getting more kick in the nose and all these things.  Yet, that also had a lot of buzz and people talking about and really getting behind their manufacturer to try to either get them help or support the good things that are happening.  It’s always interesting trying to figure out what things are going to bring the most entertainment and excitement and draw the most attention from the media, the fans and the viewers that are going to keep this sport great.
 
“To me, I think we’ve got a great car, great looking car and it’s driving very well.  There’s a lot of buzz and I think the racing is going to be great.  I think our racing has been great.  I haven’t had issues with the racing.  I think it’s been fantastic.  The double-file restarts helped a lot to keep the intensity and the racing exciting.  Of course we’re always trying to think about ev
olution of how aerodynamics are playing a role.  That’s across the board in motorsports.  The lead car having an advantage over the second-place car and how do we create more passing and all those things.  I still think we are so far better than the rest of the racing out there that I still think even if we have a little of that aero turbulent air, the dirty air and all that stuff, I still think our racing is the best out there.  Something that we can all continue to progress with.”
 

Honda Racing- 25 Hours of Thunderhill

All-new ILX Developed, Prepped and Raced by Team of Honda Associates
TORRANCE, Calif. (December 11, 2012) – Developed and prepared by Team Honda
Research-West, the competition version of the new 2013 Acura ILX proved its speed at last
weekend’s 10th annual 25 Hours of Thunderhill endurance race, leading qualifying in the
competitive E1 class and setting fastest race lap in the class en route to a fifth-place finish.
Two Acura ILX sedans were entered by THR-W for the traditional 25-hour endurance race that annually concludes the NASA season at the challenging three-mile Thunderhill road course north of Sacramento, California. THR-W is primarily made up of Torrance, California-based associates from Honda R&D Americas, Inc., who work after hours to showcase Honda and Acura products on the track.

The blue-and-silver Acura ILXs immediately demonstrated their speed, as drivers Scott Nicol
and Edward Sandstrom qualified first and second in E1, with Nicol’s final qualifying lap claiming the class pole in a time of 2:00.851 in the #25 Acura ILX. “Qualifying went well. Better than I expected. We had a good set of tires and I made my way through traffic, putting in a good time right at the end of the session,” said Nicol, an associate with Honda of Canada Manufacturing. Sandstrom, a guest driver with the team from the multimedia auto enthusiast “Speedhunters” group and a regular in FIA GT3 competition, led qualifying for much of the session in the #27 ILX before slipping to second behind his teammate.

A series of issues delayed both cars during the course of the 25-hour run, but the #27 ILX still set fastest race lap, a sub-two minute time of 1:59.926 set by Sandstrom in the early morning hours of the race. The first delay for the Acura effort took place at the three-hour mark, when the #25 ILX slipped off course and became stuck in soft ground and mud, resulting in a 20-minute delay. An exhaust problem delayed the #27 car early, but the team fought back from that issue to claim fast-lap honors and regain the class lead at the 10-hour mark. Later, a transmission problem delayed the #27 a second time, resulting in a fourth-place finish in E1, 24th overall in the 70-car starting field. The team’s #25 car lost more time with a broken exhaust and finished ninth in the E1 class, and 46th overall.

“As expected, the K24 powerplant in the Acura ILX proved to be a great endurance engine. It
had excellent torque off the corners and ran without a hiccup,” said Lee Niffenegger, senior
engineer for Honda Performance Development (HPD). “At different times in the race, both cars suffered a similar exhaust issue, but we learned how to deal with it for the future,” Niffenegger added. “Unfortunately, the lead car was sidelined by a transmission problem that we need to investigate, but the gearbox in the second car was flawless. That’s really the point of these events for us: to push the new models before our customers do, so we can make them even better race vehicles and more reliable passenger cars.”

Founded in 1996, THR-W has a long record of success racing Honda products in both Sports
Car Club of America (SCCA) and NASA competition, with more than 50 race victories in a
variety of classes. THR-W first raced at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill in 2004 with an Acura
Integra, and just a year later joined its sister THR team from Ohio in taking a pair of Honda Civic Si’s to the E1 class 1-2 sweep, including a fourth-place finish overall. In 2006, THR-W took another podium finish in a Honda Civic Si and in 2010 debuted a Honda Fit in the new B-Spec category with a fantastic fourth-place E3 class finish.

Honda Performance Development (HPD), responsible for Honda racing programs ranging from entry-level categories to the IZOD IndyCar Series and World Endurance Championship,
contributed several racing-specific components to the ILX project. These included an HPD lightened flywheel and racing clutch package, limited-slip differential, motor mounts, anti-roll bars and rear upper suspension control arms. All of these parts are available to racers through the HPD Honda Racing Line program.

Chevy Racing–Nascar Preseason Testing

 
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
PRESEASON TESTING
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
DECEMBER 11, 2012
 
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/DIET MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media today at Charlotte Motor Speedway during a test session to learn more about the 2013 car.  He discussed how the test has gone so far, how the car feels, what his expectations are for 2013 and other topics.  Full Transcript:
 
TALK ABOUT HOW THE TEST HAS GONE SO FAR AND THE NEW CHEVROLET SS:
“Our test is going pretty well so far.  The cars drive really well.  I know everybody is probably real curious about how we think the racing is going to go.  It’s real early in the game, this is the first time I’ve driven the cars at all.  I’m really impressed.  I really like the balance of the car, the downforce seems to be relatively good.  The car has driven well for us today.  We will just move through the next couple of days here and keep tuning.  Trying things and see what the car likes and doesn’t like.  Hopefully, get some more testing in before the season starts so we can continue to understand.  A lot of the rules and decisions that NASCAR is going to make on this car, some are finalized, some are not.  It’s still a little bit of a moving target for the teams.  I’m real encouraged so far.”
 
DID YOU GET ANY SENSE OF WEATHER PASSING IS GOING TO BE ANY EASIER WITH THE NEW CARS?
DID YOU DO ANY DICING OUT THERE?
“No, we didn’t.  We didn’t get a chance to run any cars together or around each other too much.  That is kind of what I meant by it being early in the game.  It’s just we only run for four hours, just by ourselves.  From what I could see nobody else was really in a competitive kind of atmosphere out there with other race cars.  I think that the car has really awesome potential.  I like it already leaps and bounds beyond the COT or the old car we ran.  This car really gives me a lot of sensations that are similar to the old car that we ran four years ago or however long ago it was.  It’s still early.  I’m trying not to get too excited or form too big of an opinion or too solid of an opinion of the car.  We have got a lot of things to learn about it.  There are still some rules and things to be finalized and still a lot to learn.  I think it’s important for us as the drivers and the teams to try and help NASCAR as much as we can.  We are all sort of working toward the same goal this week, trying to put a good show on.”
 
HOW DOES THE CAR FEEL DIFFERENT?  DO YOU NOTICE THE WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION DIFFERENCES?  THE CAMBER DIFFERENCES? THE REAR SUSPENSION DIFFERENCES?
“The rear camber is a big deal.  I haven’t driven a car today with the old stuff and the new stuff, but I do know that it’s going to provide a ton of grip being able to camber the right-rear tire any more than we had in the past.  I know that is a big advantage to adding grip to the car.  The body on the car itself I think behaves better aerodynamically.  For the most part you still have a splitter and you still have similar geometry and what not.  We have a gigantic rear spoiler on the car.  You can’t see out of the car very well, but that spoiler is doing a lot.  NASCAR seems to think that spoiler is the one that is going to provide the better package for better racing.  It definitely gives the car a lot more comfort and it does resemble what we ran many years ago.  Those were some pretty good race cars back then.  The car really drives down in the corner, turns in the corner and turns off in the corner good.  I really don’t miss all the stuff we were moving around in the back of these cars last year, I don’t miss any of that stuff.  It did make the cars go faster, but they were a little bit more of a challenge to drive.  The sensations that you got going off in the corner crooked weren’t a lot of fun.  This is awesome for me personally I kind of like going in the corner with the car going straight, like it’s supposed to.  I’m enjoying this.”
 
CAN YOU COMPARE AND CONTRAST THE CAR THAT YOU ARE DRIVING TODAY WITH THE ONE THAT YOU DROVE IN 1999? WHAT KIND OF ADVANCEMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE SINCE THEN?
“Well, we were talking about the horsepower.  There is about 100 to 115 more horsepower under the hood that is a huge difference.  That is 10 mph maybe at the end of the straightaway.  That changes everything about how a car is going to run a lap when you change the end of the straightaway speed that much.  We are running bump stops as opposed to; we weren’t coil binding back then, but as opposed to running a conventional set-up in the front-end.  That really changes a lot of things in how the cars drive.  Back in 1999 we were just straightening the rockers out.  In 1998 and 1999 on the Nationwide cars we had those old rolled under rocker.  We didn’t have anywhere near as much side force.  We really didn’t have moving the rear bumpers down to a science like we do now and getting the side force and the quarter panels straight on the cars.  Just a lot of different stuff, a lot of changes, the tires are tremendously different.  Now there is a lot less tread on the tires, we have a lot harder tire, a tougher tire, more durable tire.”
 
YOU TALK ABOUT THE FEEL OF THE CAR BEING MORE LIKE THE OLD CAR ARE YOU SAYING YOU NEVER REALLY ADJUSTED TO THE NEW (COT) CAR BECAUSE YOU SEEM TO BE MUCH BETTER DRIVING THE OLD CAR?  ALSO, CAN YOU GIVE US AN UPDATE ON WHERE YOU STAND WITH SPONSORS?
“I don’t have any update as far as our sponsorship situation goes.  I thought the COT was just frustrating for me.  I had good runs and good races in it.  I had races where the car drove well and was comfortable, but I never really connected with that car from the very beginning.  Just personally I didn’t like the car.  I didn’t really appreciate it for what it was.  The cars that you see in the garage, you will stand there and see Fords and Toyotas and Chevrolets driving b.  It’s great because everything looks different.  Everything is recognizable, instantly recognizable.  You don’t have to think about the driver and the team itself to associate with a manufacturer.  You look at the car and you can see it instantly.  That is a great feeling for me.  I can appreciate the cars for that fact.  I know all you guys probably understand it, but I’m not sure a lot of people realize how important that is having that instant recognition on a manufacturer for our sport.  How much healthier our sport can be with that happening.  I can of like that when you see a car and you can recognize it instantly.  The cars for me the cars feel like they have a ton more downforce, but these are perfect conditions.  It’s real cool, the track has a great surface; this is a tough tire that is going to get ahold of it real good. So we are just flying out there and the car feels great.  If we got to Texas or Homestead which is worn out and you wear the tires out and start sliding around it may feel a lot more similar to the COT.  Today’s feeling good and driving well.  I think there is good potential for this.  The car looks great; it looks like a race car to me.  I can get excited about that.  I can get behind that.”
 
YOU HAD A REALLY CONSISTENT SEASON IN 2012 ARE THERE AFTER AFFECTS OF ALL THIS GOING INTO 2013 OR DO YOU JUST START OVER?
“Well, you would like to believe in momentum and things like that.  In this sport you can be a hero one week and a zero the next.  There is so much competition out there.  There are a lot of variables too with the new car, completely new; the sport is going to be revolutio
nized again with this car.  There are a lot of things that are unknowns, but I’m with a great company that sort of does really well under those kinds of circumstances.  When there are a lot of unknown variables they are really good at figuring those variables out and figuring out how to be competitive given a certain working space they can kind of figure it out faster than most people.  I’m fortunate in that regard.  I feel like I can be confident. I can go into next year confident that we are going to put good cars on the track and I’m going to like the way they drive and I’m going to enjoy the races that we have.  Again, I think the first 10 races of the season are the most important races as far as making the Chase, putting down a good foundation of points.  If you end up after those first 10 races around eighth or ninth or 10th that kind of seems to be where you end up fighting all year long.  Just try to stay in the Chase.  It’s a real tough mental battle and it wears on the team, it wears on the drivers that are in those positions.  It’s nice to get out there and get up front early and stay there.  That is our outlook and I think that we are in a good position.”
 
IS IT POSSIBLE WITH SO FEW CARS TO REALLY GET THE FEEL OF THE CAR AND KNOW WHAT IT WILL DO RACING AROUND OTHERS?  WILL SOME DRIVERS JUST TAKE TO THIS NEW CAR MORE THAN OTHERS?
“Yeah I mean if you get excited about it you will kind of dive into it a little more aggressively and speed up the learning curve a little bit.  If you don’t have a good attitude about something then you typically don’t have a good outcome.   I don’t know if there are enough cars here to really… I don’t think that we are all out there seeking to be in racing conditions to get out there and run around each other.  Everybody is bolting on parts, going out and running, seeing what that does, repeat, rinse and do all that good stuff.  You just keep on doing that over and over and nobody is really out there seeking each other out trying to race.  That has to be kind of manufactured by NASCAR for us to say ‘hey man six of you get out there and race each other’.  That probably won’t happen until May here in Charlotte anyways.  I like the car and I think it has good potential, but again it’s just real early I don’t want to put words out there.  I don’t know enough to really make a good enough guess on weather this thing is going to do everything everybody wants it to do.  I’m excited.  I think it has good potential.”
 
YOU SAID THAT THE VISIBILITY WAS DIFFICULT OUT THERE BECAUSE OF THE SPOILER IS THAT CORRECT?
“Well we have had that kind of deal before when they had the wing on the back it was just different.  You would like to look out the back of your car and not see anything, but other cars.  The first race I ran in Japan I think we had gigantic seven inch spoilers on the back of these cars.  I mean it’s nothing new.  You think though what drivers and fans and NASCAR want is for the guy that is running second, third, fourth to have good downforce to be able to drive up to the guy in the front without having an aero push.  You know big giant spoilers you would think that would negate that idea.  We have had them before, ran them before so we will just have to see.”
 
IT WAS OKAY THOUGH?
“Yeah, I mean it’s not dangerous or nothing.  I can see.”
 
IF YOU HAD TO GUESS WOULD THOSE WHATEVER DRIVERS END UP BEING THE MOST SUCCESSFUL IN 2013 BE THOSE WITH TEAMS THAT ARE MOST ABLE TO GET A GRIP ON THIS NEW CAR THIS SEASON?  ALSO, DO YOU THINK SOME TEAMS ARE AHEAD OF OTHERS IN THAT REGARD?
“Yeah, it’s too early to say whether anybody is ahead of anybody yet.  The guys that have tested the most are the guys that are going to have the most information, the most data.  The people willing to do the most work.  The teams with the most resources obviously have to feel like they have a comfortable advantage knowing their resources outnumber the next guy.  I am with the best team I think in the garage when it comes to resources and work ethic.  I feel good about that, but I know there are some other guys out there that are willing to work just as hard and aren’t short on resources either.  A situation like this where everybody is kind of scrambling to learn as much as they can there are some teams that will stand out I’m sure.”

HPD Displaying at IMIS Show

Honda Performance Development To Feature Oval-Track Products, Support at IMIS Debut

 SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (December 5, 2012) – Honda Performance Development, the racing arm of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., will showcase its products and support programs for grassroots oval-track racers at the 2012 International Motor Sports Industry Show (IMIS), December 6-8 at the Indianapolis Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.

This is HPD’s inaugural appearance at IMIS; however, Honda has a long history of grassroots oval-racing participation, having supported Quarter Midget racers in the Midwest for the past decade. Through HPD, Honda also provides a broad program of contingency awards for this entry-level category. 

“We are proud to be able to use IMIS to showcase our support for oval racing,” said Marc Sours, Commercial Division Senior Manager at HPD.  “We are happy to complement that support by reaching out directly to the racing community and featuring a sampling of oval classes in which competitors use Honda engines and components. The IMIS show provides an ideal platform for accomplishing this goal.”

Featured at the HPD display stand, IMIS booth #261, will be a HPD-branded Quarter Midget, powered by a Honda GX-series engine, along with several Honda generator models, which are found in pit lanes throughout the racing world.

A United States Auto Club (USAC) National Midget car, powered by a Honda hybrid engine utilizing a K20 cylinder head with a K24 engine block, will also be on display at the HPD booth.

In addition, registration forms to join the Honda Racing Line will be available at the HPD IMIS booth.  Competitors may also register for the Honda Racing Line through the HPD website. To register, visit http://hpd.honda.com/racing-line/become-a-member/.

Launched in July 2009, the Honda Racing Line is a program targeted at licensed participants in sanctioned amateur and entry-level professional racing. The Honda Racing Line was formed to provide members with a direct connection to Honda Performance Development and its unparalleled record of success at the highest levels of motorsport.

Honda Performance Development (HPD) is the Honda racing company within North America.  Located in Santa Clarita, Calif., HPD is the technical operations center for high-performance Honda racing cars and engines. 

As one of three engine suppliers to the IZOD IndyCar Series, Honda won this year’s Indianapolis 500 with driver Dario Franchitti; and competes in prototype sports-car racing under the HPD banner in the American Le Mans Series, sweeping all manufacturer, engine, team and driver awards in the 2012 ALMS LMP1 and LMP2 categories; and the FIA World Endurance Championship, winning the inaugural LMP2 championship during a year where it again took a P2 class win at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans

HPD offers a variety of race engines for track applications from prototype sports cars to karting; and showcases “fun-to-drive” products for professional, amateur and entry-level racers.

Chevy Racing– SS Unveiling

2013 CHEVROLET SS UNVEILING CEREMONY
 
JIM CAMPBELL:  It’s been a great decade for Chevrolet and NASCAR and our NASCAR teams.  57 years ago at the old Columbia Speedway in South Carolina, a racer named Fonty Flock earned Chevrolet’s first Cup win driving a ’55 Biscayne powered by the legendary Chevrolet small block V 8.  That was win No. 1 for team Chevy.  Just a few weeks ago, Jimmie Johnson and the 48 Chevy powered by today’s version of the Chevrolet small block V 8 won at Texas Motor Speedway to give Chevrolet its 700th Cup victory.  Thanks to Jimmie, Chad Knaus, Rick Hendrick and the entire Hendrick Motorsports team for delivering this milestone victory.
 
We’d also like to thank every team owner, driver, crew member who contributed to Chevrolet’s 700 wins.  We wouldn’t be here today without the determination of these teams:  Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Stewart Haas Racing, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Furniture Row Racing, and Phoenix Racing with James Finch.  All told, these teams have earned almost half the Cup wins for Chevrolet.
 
Chevy has been fortunate to have some of the best drivers in the sport, including Jeff Gordon, who has delivered 87 Cup wins plus four championships; Jimmie Johnson, with 60 wins and five championships, as well as Tony Stewart with 31 Chevrolet wins and three Cup championships.
 
Chevy’s 702 wins over seven decades include legendary champions, drivers like Buck Baker from the ‘50s; Rex White and Ned Jarrett from the 1960s; Benny Parsons and Yale Yarborough from the ’70s; and even Richard Petty won a championship with the bowtie in 1979; and Darrell Waltrip and Terry Labonte won championships in the ’80s; and of course the legendary Dale Earnhardt won seven championships with Chevrolet.
 
It’s an amazing group of drivers and owners, and that’s just in the Sprint Cup Series.  Chevrolet also had an exciting run in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, thanks to our Silverado teams for delivering in the 2012 manufacturer’s championship, Chevrolet’s eighth championship in the series.
In addition, congratulations to James Buescher and the 31 Silverado team for winning the driver’s championship.  It’s also been an exciting finish in the Nationwide Series.  Our Nationwide teams clinched the manufacturer’s championship for Chevrolet in 2012, our 15th overall.
 
Now, I know the Nationwide teams have been busy building and testing their new Camaro race cars.  We introduced that car in July at the Brickyard, and we’re excited about racing it in 2013.  We like the linkage between the Camaro racing the track and the Camaro we’re going to sell in the showrooms.  It’s a performance legend that continues to lead its segment in sales.
And today, we’re going to show you where Chevrolet is heading in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.  To do that, I’m pleased to introduce someone who’s passionate about performance, he’s a strong advocate for the role and contribution of motorsports to what we do every day.  He’s a true car guy; please welcome the president of General Motors North America, Mr. Mark Reuss.  Mark?
 
MARK REUSS:  Well, thank you, Jim.  It’s been an exciting year for Chevrolet and NASCAR as you saw.  We’re even more excited about 2013.  While our teams were racing and winning over the past decade, Chevrolet and NASCAR were looking forward to the future of the sport.
 
We’ve both been focusing on a number of important initiatives to build a stronger connection with our fans by incorporating relevant technologies that we’re using on today’s high performance Chevrolets, while also creating designs that help our fans make the link between what they see on the track, on the streets and in Chevy showrooms.
 
It’s been an ongoing process.  Ethanol based fuels came online here in 2011; fuel injection was implemented this last year; and we’re all focused on putting the stock back in stock car racing during 2013.
We approached the development of the 2013 Chevrolet SS race car with the same processes and technologies that we use on all of our production vehicles.  We developed the race car’s body surfaces and math, using the latest computer modeling tools.  We then used CFD, or computational fluid dynamics, to model the aerodynamic performance without having to build an initial prototype, saving a lot of time and money.
 
Then we built a 40 percent scale model for the next stage of aerodynamic development and ran it in a state of the art rolling road wind tunnel to prove that we were on the right track with our computational analysis.
John Cafaro, the designer of Chevrolet passenger cars, worked with the race car development team to ensure the design characteristics of the Chevrolet SS production car were seamlessly integrated into the race car.  After making refinements on the scale model, we then built a full sized version of the Chevrolet SS race car for additional wind tunnel testing.
 
This was the first of hundreds of tunnel hours dedicated to refining the exterior of the car.  This is the kind of work that got us where we are today.
 
Of course, we tested on the track.  Just like with our production cars, we camouflaged the exterior of the SS to hide its design characteristics from the cameras.  There’s a few little pieces if you really zoomed in on the camouflage that said SS on it, so for those who were paying attention, they saw it.  This is how the car looked during our NASCAR test sessions.  Our NASCAR teams began dialing in their own Chevrolet SS race cars this past spring.  We tested on a variety of tracks like Martinsville, Homestead and Talladega Superspeedway.  Of course the SS has been on many other racetracks for NASCAR, as well, and the results are very, very promising.
 
And now the time has come for the camouflage to come off.  Let’s bring out the car.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the all-new 2013 Chevrolet SS race car.  Let’s welcome our special guest, Mr. Jeff Gordon.
 
JEFF GORDON:  Thank you, Mark.  Appreciate it.
 
MARK REUSS:  What do you think of the new SS?
 
JEFF GORDON:  Oh, my goodness.  This thing looks amazing.  It looks fantastic.
 
MARK REUSS:  Excited to race it?
 
JEFF GORDON:  I’m so excited to race this car.  I had a chance to test it at Charlotte a couple weeks ago.  Drove great.
 
MARK REUSS:  Well, would you like to see the car with your own number 24 livery?
 
JEFF GORDON:  Oh, my goodness, I can’t wait.
 
MARK REUSS:  Let’s take a look.
 
JEFF GORDON:  I love it.
 
MARK REUSS:  What do you think of it, man?  Isn’t is awesome?  It’s awesome.  I am so excited to see your car.
 
JEFF GORDON:  I am, too.  I always say a fast race car goes a little bit faster on the track, a fast looking race car.  But I’ve got to ask, what was that there at the end?
 
MARK REUSS:  That’s a little bit of taste of what’s to come here on the production car.  That is the production Chevrolet SS there at the end.  Just like the race car, the production version of the SS will be powered by a V 8, and it will be rear wheel drive once again.  The design of the engineering was done by our global railroad drive team that’s responsible for performance vehicles like the Chevrolet Camaro and the Holden Commodore that is yet to be introduced.  If you’ve driven any of our current rear wheel drive cars like the Camaro, you know that this is a good thing.  You also own a ZL 1 Camaro, don’t you?
 
JEFF GORDON:  I do.  I actually got a chance to test the ZL 1 at the proving grounds.
 
MARK REUSS:  Oh, on the MRC.
 
JEFF GORDON:  It w
as so much fun, and that sold me on the car, driving it on that track, I said I’ve got to have one of these cars.  Fantastic car.
 
MARK REUSS:  I think you got a convertible, as well, didn’t you?
 
JEFF GORDON:  I got the convertible.  I don’t know, somehow Rick Hendrick got in line before me on the coupe, so I had to wait for the convertible.
 
MARK REUSS:  That’s a good thing.  I’ve got one on order and I’m picking it up when I return to Detroit.
 
JEFF GORDON:  I love what they’ve done not just with the performance of the car but with the interior, as well, and of course a great looking car.
 
MARK REUSS:  Well, I’m happy you’re an owner, and I’m soon to be one here in about a week.
The same team that developed the ZL 1 engineered the Chevrolet SS, and I am you’re a Chevrolet dealer, too, aren’t you?
 
JEFF GORDON:  I sure am.
 
MARK REUSS:  Right.  Well, do you think you can sell some of these?
 
JEFF GORDON:  Are you kidding me?  I can’t wait.  We’re definitely going to sell plenty of these.
 
MARK REUSS:  Great, great.
 
JEFF GORDON:  And when can the fans  
 
MARK REUSS:  The fans have to wait a little bit, but Daytona will be here before we know it, and of course you’ll always be there, but we’re going to introduce the car here in Daytona here during Speedweeks, which I think will be a first for us, as well.

JEFF GORDON:  So what you’re saying is we all have to wait.
 
MARK REUSS:  Yeah, just a little bit, just a little bit.  Everybody give Jeff Gordon a round of applause.  Thank you so much for being here for this special day for Chevrolet, and thanks for all you do for us.
 
JEFF GORDON:  Appreciate it.
 
MARK REUSS:  Now let’s take a closer look at what the Chevrolet SS is really is.  This car puts, again, the stock back in stock cars.  The new SS won’t be mistaken for any other car on the track.  It bears a striking resemblance to our production car, the 2014 SS, and that will be in showrooms here next fall.  Like the production car, the design of the front end is bold, purposeful and highly styled.  The hood has distinctive contours that replicate the production model, as well, and similarly, the rear of the race car is very representative of the stock SS as you see in the picture there.
The profile clearly shows the large wheel arches and the dramatic cove behind the front wheel here just like the production car.  The exterior similarities between the SS race car and the production car are very, very car.  There’s a little bit of math representation of that.  The blue line here on the slide is the race car; the green line is the production car.  The cars match up extremely well.  This is good for our fans, it’s great for NASCAR, and Chevrolet and our dealers, and most importantly, the relationship for our customers.
Everybody wins here.  The development of the SS has been a collaborative effort with NASCAR.  To speak to this, please welcome one of our most important partners here, the president of NASCAR, Mr. Mike Helton.  Mike?
 
MIKE HELTON:  Thank you, Mark, and this is exciting.  All year long as we were working on the 2012 season, we were completing the evolution of our 2013 car, and this concludes the rollout of them, so we’re all very excited about getting to Daytona during Speedweeks and the Daytona 500 in 2013 and seeing these cars in action on the racetrack there and for the full season next year.
Robin Pemberton, our vice president of competition, led our group to work with the manufacturers for the past several years.  Actually, as Mark alluded to the process at Chevrolet, that process applied to the other manufacturers, as well, and without their support and their collaborative effort, we would not have gotten to this point.  So Mark, Jim Campbell, Mark Kent, Alba Colon, Pat Suhy, everybody from the Chevrolet side and everybody from the other manufacturers, thank you very much, because we’re excited about this and we’ve talked about it all year long.  The anticipation going into 2013 is building, it will build over the off season, and it’ll be, we feel, one of the milestones that we’ll look back as we celebrate our history in the future, we’ll look back and see 2013 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup car as a very significant milestone for us.
 
As I mentioned, it was a collaborative effort, and along the way we have learned that there are people engaged in our sport that know how to do things like this, and working with their design teams and their engineers, Robin and his group were able to, we think and feel very strongly, deliver something that the fans had asked for.  As Mark alluded, we’ll put stock back in NASCAR stock cars, and so now we’ve completed the circle as we introduced the Nationwide cars earlier, it’s already been announced back in Indianapolis that the Chevrolet Camaro would be part of the Nationwide Series, and these cars will be representing the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2013, and we’re very excited about that.
 
Enjoy your weekend in Vegas.  Thank you, everybody, for being here.  Mark, particularly thank you.  It is your energy that led a lot of this and a lots of your suggestions and thoughts guided us through this whole process for everybody.  So thank you.
 
MARK REUSS:  Mike, thank you for your partnership over the last couple years to do this and our team and the other manufacturers, as well.  I think this is a landmark time for NASCAR, and thank you for listening.  It’s really important you listen to the fans, you listen to us, and I think we’ve got something here that will really change the sport here for the future really.
 
MIKE HELTON:  I agree with you.
 
MARK REUSS:  Thank you so much.  Thank you for being here.
Thanks to you, Robin Pemberton, John Darby and the rest of the NASCAR team for working with us.  That partnership is so crucial, and I know I speak for all the manufacturers in saying this is really a landmark time for the sport.
 
We can’t wait to get back onto the track.  I also want to thank Brian France and Lesa France Kennedy for being here, and Jim, in helping make this day possible for us at Chevrolet, and again, we can’t wait for 2013.  As I told Jeff, the world will see the new production car for the SS when it is unveiled in February during Speedweeks in Daytona.
I can’t think of a better time or place to launch the SS.  I think this is the first time this has ever been done, as well.  The new SS looks great in Chevy racing livery, and will be raced by drivers and some teams like Kevin Harvick and Richard Childress with the Budweiser No. 29 Chevrolet SS; in the Lowe’s No. 48 Chevrolet SS, Jimmie Johnson and team owner Rick Hendrick; Tony Stewart and Gene Haas with the Bass Pro Shops No. 14 Chevrolet SS; and Jamie McMurray, driver of the McDonald’s No. 1 Chevrolet SS with team owner Chip Ganassi.
 
As a surprise for today, would you really like to see what the rest of these cars look like?  I know I do.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome four more members of the 2013 Sprint Cup Series teams.  These teams along with all of our other members of team Chevy really provide the skilled driving talent, commitment, determination that it takes to win both on and off the track.  Thank you all for being here, and now I’d like to invite Jim Campbell back on to close the program.
 
JIM CAMPBELL:  Thanks, Mark.  What do you guys think?  Well, Mark, for you and Mike and all the drivers and team owners that are here, thanks for being here.  The cars look great.  To the NASCAR fans, thanks for being here.  We’re going to see all of you at Victory Lap on Las Vegas Boulevard
this afternoon.  For all of you online, thanks for joining us for the worldwide debut of the 2013 Chevrolet SS race car.  See you in Daytona in February.
              
2013 NASCAR Chevrolet SS Unveiled
Will Debut at the 2013 Daytona SpeedWeeks in February
 
LAS VEGAS – Chevrolet today opened a new chapter in its storied racing history, unveiling its eagerly anticipated 2013 NASCAR Chevrolet SS race car. Powered by the legendary small block V-8 engine, the rear-wheel drive performance sedan will be Chevrolet’s newest entry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, beginning with the 2013 SpeedWeeks in Daytona, Fla.
 
The new NASCAR race car closely resembles the all-new rear wheel drive V-8 Chevrolet SS performance sedan that will debut early next year.
 
“As a passionate race fan, the debut of the SS NASCAR race car is a genuinely exciting moment for me,” said GM North America President Mark Reuss. “With the SS, Chevrolet is delivering a true rear-wheel-drive NASCAR race car that is very closely linked to the performance sedan that will be available for sale, ensuring that our most loyal enthusiasts will have the opportunity to experience the same thrill every day on the open road that our race car drivers enjoy on the track on race day.
 
“The Chevrolet SS also demonstrates how we are able to leverage our global product portfolio to deliver a unique performance experience,” Reuss said. “The specialized development and testing work done for the race car will certainly benefit the entire Chevrolet product lineup.”
 
The Chevrolet SS is the next in a long line of famed nameplates that Chevrolet has campaigned in NASCAR. It replaces Impala, which scored 152 wins from 1959-64 and 2007-12.
 
“We are looking forward to another exciting year of NASCAR competition and expect that the new SS race car, with some of the most skilled drivers on the circuit behind the wheel, will distinguish itself on the track,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports.
 
The Chevrolet SS will be a derivative of the award-winning global rear-wheel-drive architecture that spawns performance vehicles like Chevrolet Camaro and Holden’s upcoming VF Commodore. The limited production version of the Chevrolet SS will be a 2014 model and will arrive in dealer showrooms in late 2013. It is the first time in 17 years that Chevrolet will offer a rear-wheel-drive sedan for sale in the United States.
 
Chevrolet has long used the SS (Super Sport) designation on high-performance models of some of its most enduring nameplates. The SS designation first appeared in 1957 on a Corvette prototype race car built under the guidance of Zora Arkus-Duntov with the plan to enter it in the Le Mans 24-hour race.
 
The first production vehicle to be offered with an SS optional package was the 1961 Impala – 453 were built with the performance upgrades, which included a modified chassis and suspension, power brakes, a steering column mounted tachometer and unique wheels and tires.  The SS designation returned to the Chevrolet lineup in 2010 with the debut of the fifth-generation Camaro.
 
Chevrolet has 702 victories in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, more than any other manufacturer.  Fonty Flock earned the manufacturer’s first win on March 26, 1955, at Columbia, S.C. Five-time series champion Jimmie Johnson achieved Chevrolet’s 700th victory earlier this month at Texas Motor Speedway.
 
Chevrolet was America’s best-selling performance car brand in 2011 with Camaro and Corvette accounting for one out of every three sports cars sold in the United States.  The addition of the SS to the lineup is expected to further strengthen Chevrolet’s position as a leading performance brand.
 
What they’re saying about the Chevrolet SS:
 
JIM CAMPBELL, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT PERFORMANCE VEHICLES AND MOTORSPORTS:
“It’s exciting to finally lift the camouflage off the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chevrolet SS. It’ll be great to be racing a Chevy small block V-8, rear-wheel drive car on the race track and selling a Chevy small block V-8, rear-wheel drive Chevrolet SS in the showroom. The SS has a great history – it stands for Super Sport – and I can’t wait to see the Chevrolet SS on the opening lap of the Daytona 500 and for the rest of the 2013 season.”
MARK KENT, DIRECTOR CHEVROLET RACING:
“It’s going to be exciting to see the new Chevrolet SS on track, continuing our quest for more product relevance. We have bio fuels, fuel injection and now we have a car that is closely tied to its production counterpart. So, it’s going to be exciting to see these cars on track. We think the fans are really going to enjoy seeing the new car, and we think it is going to be great for the racing. The new car is an example of how the manufacturers working hand-in-hand with NASCAR resulted in a product that we are very proud of. It’s going to be not only product relevant, but also very exciting on the track.”
PAT SUHY, NASCAR GROUP MANAGER CHEVROLET RACING:
“It was a great opportunity to have my group work on a race car design, and use the same tools and methodologies that we use on production cars. We used math to develop it, built the prototype, tested it in the wind tunnel, got feedback from our leadership on the styling, and got feedback from our teams on the aero performance. We had a really good time working with all of the people from our teams and NASCAR really pushing the envelope much further than we ever thought we could.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON – NO. 48 HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS:
“It’s been a huge effort, and the times that I have driven the 2013 Chevrolet SS race car, I’ve been very impressed. I’m excited for Chevrolet, and really for all the manufacturers to have such a cool looking race car. The cars look sharp; they look good; I think the fans are going to be excited to go to the showrooms and buy these vehicles. We have been able to work on them from an aero balance. I know that my friends at GM are awfully smart, and are going to give me a great car to go race with.”
 
KASEY KAHNE – NO. 5 HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS:
“I think the car is going to be great.  They just have to figure out the final touches are that they put on it for everybody.  When I tested it at Homestead at the start of the year, and then the Talladega test, both times I was really happy with what we had. When I was in the car I felt like it was really nice and it drove really good.”   

KEVIN HARVICK – NO. 29 RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING:
“I think it’s one of the most important moves that NASCAR and the manufacturers have made in a very long time.  Just for the fact that the cars on the race track will be very significant in looking like the cars on the showroom floor.  I think from a manufacturer’s standpoint it’s probably the most important move that has happened in I don’t even know how long, but a really long time.  For the fans to have that relevance from the race track to the showroom is important.”
 
TONY STEWART – NO. 14 STEWART-HAAS RACING:
“The new SS looks awesome. That’s the great thing – it’s back to looking like a production car again. It’s a design that I really like. It’s got the perfect blend of having a race car look, but a street car look at the same time; and that’s hard to do. No matter what you’re a fan of, you’re going to be able to pick out your favorite brand of car and see it from the stands.”

JEFF GORDON – NO. 24 HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS:
“I’m really excited about the new Chevy SS. It looks great and drives great. There is still some development work to do to fine-tune everything, but I can’t wait to get in that car for next year.”

DALE EARNHARDT, JR. – NO. 88 HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS:
“I’ve had the opportunity to see the Che
vy SS and it’s really an incredibly good-looking race car. It looks like it’s ready to go fast; it looks like it’s going to be competitive, and it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun to drive.  It looks like something Chevrolet should be proud of.”
 
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING:
“First of all the car is beautiful.  I think the new design of really making a race car look like a street car is a huge step in the right direction, especially when the street car looks good.  It really is a good-looking race car.  It gets us more to where we need to be from an aesthetics standpoint.  From a competition stand point NASCAR is really working hard to not just make this about aesthetics, but to make 2013 about better racing, closer racing, more fun to watch, more fun to do by the way.  I’m real excited about that.  In the testing that I have done with them we have done things that didn’t work and we’ve done things that did work. They have a lot of information to go on now and really that is what I’m most excited about.  I think our fans want us racing closer.  They want better action.  We have to work really hard at it because we run a lot of 1.5-mile race tracks and it’s hard to have good close racing on 1.5-mile tracks.  The concept of making the car so that we can race better together I’m a big proponent of, and I think that is going to be hugely positive.”  
 
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO 1 EARNHARDT GANASSI RACING:  
“We’ve done a lot of testing with the 2013 Chevy and it seems to have a lot of speed. It handles really well and I’m looking forward to getting to all the rest of our testing and then getting to Daytona and actually getting to see all the cars painted up for the first time.”
 
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 EARNHARDT GANASSI RACING:
“I think it looks amazing.  From what I’ve seen, I did the photo shoot already with the car, the race car looks amazing.  It looks great.  I think it has a lot of personality.  It looks like a proper Chevy that I think is great.  Knowing that the street car is going to be close to that, I can’t even wait for it.”
 
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING:
“I am excited about the new look of the Chevrolet SS — the SS name symbolizes sportiness and speed, and to wrap that into a 4-door rear-wheel drive sedan will be exciting to see the final product. Overall, the way the identity of the brand, the Chevrolet and SS, will now be promoted in NASCAR is the look that we’ve been needing.”    
 
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 CHEVROLET SS:
“We are very excited about the new ‘13 Chevy SS race car, and can’t wait to get it on-track full-time next year. At Hendrick Motorsports, we have been involved in the development process and have worked closely with the Chevy engineers. There will be some challenges, but I enjoy a good challenge.  I do think it will create good racing on the track.  In typical Chevrolet fashion, it has high-qualify parts and is definitely a great looking car!”

KENNY FRANCIS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS:
“I think the new race car will be an interesting new challenge.  The rules are quite a bit different than what we have been working with lately.  The aerodynamics are going to be a lot different.  It’s a lot cooler looking car compared to what we have now.  Everybody is excited about that.  It’s going to present a unique opportunity and some challenges for everyone.  We are just looking forward to it.”

GIL MARTIN, CREW CHIEF, NO. 29 RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING:
“I’m just excited about it because it’s a completely different look than what we have had in the past.  I think it’s going to offer us a lot more opportunities for aerodynamic changes on the car.  I think the fans are going to be able to relate to it because it looks like something they can get in the showroom. The car seems like it’s going to be a lot more stable in race traffic.  The handling characteristics of the car is that it has a lot more grip, so the cars are going to handle a lot better.   I think that is going to promote a lot better racing than what we have had in the past.  I’m looking forward to it and it’s going to be fun.”

SLUGGAR LABBE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 27 CHEVROLET SS:
“I’ve been part of four of the ‘13 tests.  My first one was at Texas.  To see where they started to where they are today is a huge improvement.  You’ve got to give NASCAR credit for working with the manufacturers and the teams to make it better.  Obviously, if we didn’t do all that testing we might have started the season off not as good as what we had hoped.  It took a lot of effort from a lot of people to get to that point.  They are still tweaking on the rules a little bit, but I think for the most part they feel confident that we have a really good package.  The rules that they are going to make are really small.  I’m really excited about it.  They seem to race better now, more so than what we have today.  With what we have done at the tracks, but we went to Charlotte Motor Speedway two weeks ago and we ran 740 miles.  Jeff Burton was worn out.  He did a lot for us.  We definitely learned a lot.  Again, you just have to compliment NASCAR for really reaching out and saying ‘hey look guys let’s make this the best we can be.’  They really haven’t done that in the past.”

TODD BERRIER, CREW CHIEF, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING:
“Obviously the ’13 race car has a lot of style and a lot of things the current race car doesn’t have.  It’s nice to have a car that has some character built in it instead of something that looks the way the current car we have does.  That part of it is really encouraging.  I think the car is appealing to look at compared to what we had before.  That part makes it a lot of fun.  There are a lot of shapes and things that maybe will allow us to work in areas that we have not worked in the past. There are now at least some differences in the brands and difference in things like that, which will maybe cause some disparity across the field that will enable us to pass and have good racing.”

JIM POHLMAN, EARNHARDT GANASSI TEST TEAM COORDINATOR:
“I think having a new style car is what we have needed for a while here in NASCAR.  I think it gives a little brand identity back, which is going to be huge for our fans.  So that we can get them back in touch with the race cars; it’s going to be a big deal for us.  I like a lot of things about the car.  I really love the clear shark fin. I think that really helps with the brand identity.  I like the shape of the car, the slope of the front windshield, and the rear glass.  I love how they have put all the character back into the car with the wheel flares, and the body character in the nose and tail.  I really think that those details are the kind of thing that fans are looking for to reconnect with the car.”
 

Brenda Grubb Update

2012 resulted in two wins and a 5th place finish in NHRA Division 2 Stock Eliminator. The year’s first win was a class win in C/SA at the NHRA Jeg’s Cajun Sportsnationals. This was the first NHRA Class win for Brenda since 1999. Brenda does not normally like to show her hand during class elimina-tions, as she likes keeping our Class competitors in the dark as to how fast the car can really run. Then after hurting both 396ci C/SA engines (both with crankshaft issues), the 427ci A/SA engine was back in the car after two years of storage. Without a test ses-sion and using notes from previous runs from Atlanta in 2010, the 427 per-formed flawlessly with no drop off in performance. At the very first race with the 427, Brenda claimed her second win of the year (Atlanta NHRA Divisional) by crushing her opponents both at the starting line and at the top end.
In addition to two wins, Brenda com-peted in her first two Super Stock races at the NHRA Divisional Race in Valdosta, GA and the NHRA Jegs Cajun Sports Nationals. Thank you to Pat Clifford for allowing us this op-portunity. It was an invaluable ex-perience. What the team learned about Super Stock and running two cars will pay dividends in the future.

Division 4, Here We Come!
Brenda Grubbs Motorsports is moving to Houston, Texas!
Brenda was recently promoted to a National Account Manager at General Mills. Brenda will handle the Sysco ac-count headquartered in Houston, TX. Sysco is one of General Mills’ largest customers in the foodservice division. Brenda started with General Mills in 2006 and has been promoted numerous times. In 2010, she received the “Ring of Excellence” Award given to the top salespeople at General Mills.
The prospect of racing in a new division is very exciting for Brenda. While there are many great racers in Division 4, Brenda Grubbs Motorsports has historically had great success when attending races in the South Central Divi-sion. Both Brenda and Bill are excited about moving to Houston and look forward to racing in the South Central Division. Brenda Grubbs Motorsports

Stotz Racing–An Almost Cinderella Weekend


It is cold here in Chicago as we pack up and head to Valdosta, GA for the Nov. 9-11 Manufacturers Cup World Finals. Right off the bat, first qualifying session, Frankie runs a 6.99 at over 200 mph to set the standard for the weekend. There will be three more six second passes by the time a Pro Street Champion has been crowned. A very close battle for the points is at stake. Bud Yoder is #1, Joey Gladstone #2 and Frankie Stotz is #3. Our Cinderella story means we need a little luck, good luck, not the stuff we had in Indy. Lady luck graced us in the second round when the #1+2 points leaders got eliminated in the second round. This put us #2 in points but we would have to win the race to win the Championship. The semi-final put Ryan Schnitz with a 7.07 to Frankie’s quicker 7.04. We earned lane choice. Both lanes had been very good all weekend so we stayed in the right lane. Just before us went the newly crowned MiRock Champion Rodney Williford and he laid down a 6.95! The track was great but then I noticed he had left some oil on the track. We wiped up what we saw in the first 30 feet and I decided to line Frankie up to the left of the possible oil on the track. The track temp was dropping fast and if we waited for a track clean up the track would most certainly not hold the 6.99 I had tuned for. Frankie and Ryan both had fantastic reaction times .017 and .016. Frankie had a 1.20 sixty foot time to Ryan’s 1.22 so we were ahead! Halfway thru 2nd gear the tire started spinning. Frankie pumped the throttle and tried to hook up again but Ryan was too far ahead. Whether it was oil or too far out of the grove or whatever, that’s racing. The final saw the track temp drop like we were afraid of. We were all waiting to see if Rodney could be the first Pro St
reet bike to dip into the 6.80 zone but the track was too cold and they both spun with Ryan Schnitz getting the win. Our Cinderella dream did not pan out but we finished the season #2 in points and as they say here in Chicago (for the Cubs anyway) Wait till next year!

In 2009 motorcycle drag racing looked very bleak when AMA Dragbike closed its doors. Now at the end of 2012 it is stronger than ever with a record 800 entries at the Indy and Valdosta events and fans in the stands again. We will be chasing two great Pro Street Champions in Bud Yoder for the Man Cup and Rodney Williford for the MiRock series in 2013. Our new cbr1000rr will be at the spring event and hopefully we can test it sometime before that. We can’t wait to get another shot at the first side by side Six Second run in Pro Street history.

RCR Racing– Homestead Post Race

RCR Post Race Report  
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Homestead-Miami 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway     
 
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Homestead-Miami 400
Homestead-Miami Speedway
November 18, 2012  
 
Race Highlights:
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished eighth (Kevin Harvick), 11th (Paul Menard) and 19th (Jeff Burton).
Harvick closed out the 2012 season ranked eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 79 points shy of champion Brad Keselowski, while Menard ranked 16th in the standings and Burton held finished in the 19th position.
Harvick completed 88 Green Flag Passes, 32 of which came while running in the top 15 (Quality Passes).
According to NASCAR’s Post-Race Loop Data Statistics, Menard ranked third in the Closers category gaining seven positions in the final 10 percent of the race, while Harvick ranked fourth gaining five positions and Burton ranked seventh while progressing three spots in the closing 27 laps.
Menard made the seventh-most Green Flag Passes (109) and spent 126 laps competing in the top 15.
Burton made 98 Green Flag Passes during the 267-lap race.
Jeff Gordon earned his second Sprint Cup Series victory, crossing the finish line ahead of Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle.
The annual Sprint Cup Series Awards Banquet will be held at the Wynn Las Vegas on Friday, Nov. 30. SPEED will broadcast the banquet beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

PERMATEX/FOLLOW A DREAM TEAM WINS HISTORIC TAFC EAST REGION TITLE

Marstons Mills, MA –November 16, 2012-Jay Blake’s Permatex/Follow A Dream team swept its last two races to win the 2012 East Region Top Alcohol Funny Car championship, overcoming a midseason slump that made the title seem out of reach. Driver Todd Veney qualified No. 1 and set low e.t and top speed en route to victory in Richmond, Va., in April, and closed the regional season with back-to-back wins in Cecil County, Md., and Bowling Green, Ky., both over perennial championship contender Mickey Ferro in the final.

“We weren’t even following the points anymore at one point, but there was no chance if we didn’t beat leader John Anderika in the semi’s at Cecil County,” Veney said. “That one and the final against Mickey took us from fourth to first, and winning Bowling Green just about locked it up. It was a total team deal – both times, the crew came up with our best run all weekend in the final.”

“This is a perfect example of the power of positive thinking, determination, and teamwork – the things I talk about every day at Follow A Dream,” Blake said. “For a long time, it looked like we were out of it, and we end up with three wins, the most we’ve ever had in a season. To think that we’re the first team other than Frank Manzo’s and Bob Newberry’s in the 32-year history of Top Alcohol Funny Car to win this championship…it’s still hard to believe.”

Chevy Racing–Homestead Driver Post Race Statements

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT 20 YEARS CELEBRATORY CHEVROLET – WINNER
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO END THE SEASON IN VICTORY LANE?
“Oh my gosh, it means so much. This is for DUPONT right here. 20 years. That is a long time to be together with a sponsor. For them to commemorate that with this awesome paint scheme, this silver car means so much. I knew we had a great race car going into the race. At times I didn’t think we had a winning car, but you know what, we played the strategy perfectly, and we had a really good car. It is just unbelievable to experience this. After last week, then to come here and battle like this and end up in Victory Lane, just unreal. Have to thank Drive To End Hunger, DUPONT, Pepsi, Quaker State, Chevrolet. This team is just awesome. I love Alan Gustafson (crew chief). This is a great way for us to end this season. I know it’s about the championship, so turn it over to the champion.”
 
YOU AND CLINT BOWYER BATTLED AT THE END. IS THIS REDEMPTION AFTER WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK?
“Can you believe that? There was one restart where I had Joey (Logano) and maybe Aric (Almirola) and Clint right there surrounding me. That thing is going to work itself out some way through racing. I felt terrible how I went about it, and I still regret the way I went about it. But, I can’t take it back. But what we can do is look forward and race guys as hard and clean as we possibly can. This is a great way to get some positive things going because this year has been really up and down. It’s awesome to be able to have my family here in Victory Lane. Have to thank Sprint, all the fans. What an amazing turnout this has been for this final race, and the championship battle. I’ve got to take my hat off to Jimmie Johnson and that team. They did an excellent job battling for the championship. I know they didn’t win it, but you know what, they were up against somebody really incredible in Brad (Keselowski). They did an excellent job. Paul Wolfe and the guys. I have got to say congratulations to Roger Penske on his first championship. I know how much that means to Roger being in the sport as long as he has.”
 
WHAT A SEASON IT’S BEEN. TO GIVE HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS IT’S FIRST WIN AND YOUR FIRST WIN AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY IS GREAT. DESCRIBE HOW YOU FEEL
“This is just huge. Man, it’s been an emotional week and a hard one; one of the hardest ones I’ve ever gone through just looking back on my decision. So, to come here and focus on trying to win this race on 20 years of DuPont, that’s awesome to have them on the car here in Homestead with this silver commemorative paint scheme and for all that they’ve done. And this is half of my live that I’ve been at Hendrick Motorsports with DuPont. And I’ve got to thank Drive to End Hunger and Pepsi and Quaker State as well. But what an unbelievable week. There were so many ups and downs this week; and to be able to end in Victory Lane with just an awesome team effort was just awesome.”
 
HOW MUCH DID THE TRACK CHANGE THROUGHOUT THE RACE GIVEN THAT WE STARTED UNDER HOT SUNNY CONDITIONS AND THEN FINISHED AT NIGHT?
“When we took off there, I was a little concerned. My car was really good in practice; especially in slick conditions on the long runs and we struggled a little bit there in traffic and then eventually the car really started coming to me and we started getting in some cleaner air and made some good adjustments and man, we were up there I think as good as the leaders. And then we had a little bobble on a pit stop and some other things that didn’t go our way, but the fuel mileage did. Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) made a great call by coming in.  I don’t know what happened to the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and it was just us and the No. 15 (Clint Bowyer) and I got him in traffic and it was just adjustments there. The car was great and saved a little fuel and it felt amazing.”
 
WHERE DOES THIS WIN STACK UP IN YOUR CAREER WINS?
“Well, this is huge. We won in Pocono and it was not the kind of way you want to win a race. This is the way you want to win a race, by just going to battle with them and having a good race car and playing it all out really smart. Having my family in Victory Lane means more to me than anything. It’s something that (during) those 13 win seasons and all those things, I didn’t have. So, this is just an amazing feeling to get my first win at Homestead as well as Rick Hendrick’s first win at Homestead. And to do it with this 20th Anniversary DuPont car, especially after what happened last weekend, is incredible. I didn’t think we’d be able to get to Victory Lane this weekend.”
 
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET – FINISHED THIRD
THIS IS A VERY SOLID END TO YOUR 2012 SEASON. TELL US ABOUT YOUR RACE HERE TODAY AT HOMESTEAD
“I’m just proud of the guys. We had a horrible short-run car but we had an awesome long-run car. The U.S. Army Chevrolet, four years strong, and we’re proud to represent them and proud of their support and we wanted to finish on a great note. We’re just happy we can end the season on a good note and go into the off-season and build momentum for 2013.”
 
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET – FINISHED EIGHTH
ON HIS RACE:
“That was a battle. We just kept working on our car all day, and we were able to get it better. Just pitted at the right time, and were able to save enough gas to get in our pit window. We’ve worked hard on fuel mileage, and it paid off for us today.”

KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING/FARM AMERICAN CHEVROLET – FINISHED NINTH:
ON HIS RACE:
“I just can’t thank the guys enough for putting me in position for a top-five but the balance wasn’t there at the end.  We had radio issues and did not have two-way communication and that made it difficult to dial in the car. I could hear them, but they couldn’t hear me. I was not aware of a fuel issue  — had I known I could have saved two positions. We ran out of fuel coming into Turn 4 on the final lap. It appears we had a short in the wire.  All-in-all we finished the season strong with three straight top-10s and four straight 10 15s. You can’t ask for much more in a short period of time together. We’ve made a tremendous amount of progress in six weeks. Some of the handling issues we’ve had have been narrowed down in these six weeks and that’s a big plus heading into the offseason. Congratulations to Brad and Penske Racing.”
 
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET – FINISHED 20TH
ON HIS RACE:
“We had a pretty good car today, we just battled with the car being really loose on entry and tight through the middle most of the race.  Our last fuel run, we saved some fuel and managed to pick up a few positions in the closing laps.  I am proud of the effort from all of the guys on the Bass Pro Shops team today and all year.  I also want to say thanks to all of our partners on the No. 1 team for everything this year.  We look forward to enjoying a few days off and then we will be right back to work focusing on having a strong 2013.”  
 
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET – FINISHED 21ST
SUM UP YOUR FIRST SEASON WITH HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS:
“It was a pretty good season really.  I mean it could have been better.  I could have finished better tonight.  I’m more thinking about tonight’s race than the season.  I sped on pit road and that lost us a little bit of time there at the end.  We just got off, we had to pit more than the other guys. So it is kind of what it is.  With Farmers Insurance, Chevrolet, Quaker State, Hendrickcars.com, everybody did a great job.  Fourth is okay.”
 
HOW AWARE WERE YOU OF WHAT HAPPENED TO THE NO. 48?
“I have no clue.  I was just trying to learn more about what went on.  That last run was forever.  So I just had no clue what was going on.”
 
HE HAD SOME PROBLEMS ON PIT ROAD, A LOOSE LUG NUT.  WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT
THAT POTENTIALLY COSTING HIM A CHAMPIONSHIP?
“Where did Brad finish?”
 
15th…
“So it would have been close, but Brad (Keselowski) was probably saving and stuff there at the end.  So it’s hard to say, hard to just blame it on that.  I didn’t realize it was that close.”
 
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – FINISHED 28TH
ON HIS RACE:
“It wasn’t the weekend we had hoped for or the way we wanted to close out the 2012 season. What a tough year for the Target team. We still have a lot of testing coming up and with the new car and new motors next year I’m looking forward to a fresh start. I’d like to thank Target and all the partners for their support this year and we’ll go chase that championship next year.”
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – FINISHED 36TH
NOT THE WAY YOU WANTED TO END.  PUT A BOW AROUND YOUR SEASON AND YOUR DAY HERE AT HOMESTEAD:
“Definitely a disappointing finish to it all.  We were putting the pressure on like we need to.  We had strategy on our side.  Really in position to make it interesting there at the end.  A couple of little problems, well, one problem then a fatal issue got us at the end.  We are not sure why we lost the rear-end gear.  There is oil everywhere something happened back there.  Disappointing for sure, but I’ve got to reflect back on an amazing year and a year where we won a lot of races, led a lot of laps, so I need to thank everybody at Hendrick Motorsports for their efforts.  Lowe’s and their support, my family, Chevrolet and my wife and daughter for their great support too.”
 
WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE THE LAST 20 MINUTES?
“Pretty heartbreaking, you know. We were doing what we needed to, and certainly in position to put a lot of pressure on the No. 2 car. It’s racing. Stuff happens. It’s out of my control certainly. I just have to reflect back on an amazing year. A ton of effort from everybody at Hendrick Motorsports, especially this No. 48 team. Great support from Lowes, Chevrolet, my fan base, my wife and daughter. Definitely not the result we wanted. But, I’m very proud of how we raced in all year long; the success we had on track; the pace we had on track. We didn’t get the result, but that’s life. We’ll come back next year again.”

Jeff Gordon Wins at Homestead; Second Victory of Season
Jimmie Johnson Finishes Third in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Standings

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Jeff Gordon won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2012 season finale’ at Homestead-Miami Speedway to lead five Team Chevy drivers in the top 10. It was Gordon’s second victory of the season, and 87th since making his series debut on Nov. 15, 1992.
 
“I knew we had a great race car going into the race,” said Gordon, driver of the DuPont 20 Years Celebratory Chevrolet. “At times I didn’t think we had a winning car, but you know what, we played the strategy perfectly, and we had a really good car. … This is a great way for us to end this season.”
 
Gordon’s previous best finish at Homestead was third in 2004.
 
“Congratulations to Jeff Gordon on his first victory at Homestead and the 87th of his career,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “It was a strong finish to the season for Jeff and Hendrick Motorsports, who are such great partners with Chevrolet.”
 
Jimmie Johnson, who went into the race 20 points behind Brad Keselowski in pursuit of his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver’s championship in seven years, encountered problems on pit road and on the track and finished in 36th-place at Homestead, ending up 43 laps off the pace. Johnson, a five-time series champion, dropped from second to third in the standings, 40 points behind Keselowski and one point behind Clint Bowyer.
 
“Congratulations to Brad Keselowski and team owner Roger Penske on winning the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship,” said Campbell. “Roger is a long-time racer and champion, and the performance of the No. 2 team this season is certainly worthy of a championship.
 
“We are proud of Jimmie and the No. 48 Chevrolet team that never gave up this year, and all of our Chevrolet teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. We are looking forward to starting the 2013 season strong at Daytona.”
 
Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, had been running near the front of the field when he had to return to pit road on lap 212 because of a loose lugnut, losing a lap, and then 13 laps later, a mechanical issue sent the No. 48 to the garage.
 
“Definitely a disappointing finish to it all,” said Johnson, who led three times for 25 laps. “We were putting the pressure on like we needed to. We had strategy on our side. Really in position to make it interesting there at the end. A couple of little problems; well, one problem then a fatal issue got us at the end.”
 
Kasey Kahne, in his first season in the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, ended up in fourth place in the standings, following a 21st-place showing at Homestead.
 
Ryan Newman (No. 39 US Army Chevrolet, third), Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet, eighth), Kurt Busch (No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, ninth) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, 10th) also finished in the top-10 for Team Chevy.
 
Chevrolet earlier clinched the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers’ Championship for the 10th consecutive season, and 36th time overall.
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – FINISHED 36TH IN RACE; 3RD IN FINAL NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES STANDINGS:
POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
 
            KERRY THARP:  Five‑time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion joins us, finished third in the points.
            Jimmie, certainly disappointing finish to the event here this evening.  Maybe take us through what happened.
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, we were in position and putting the pressure on the No. 2 car (Brad Keselowski) like we needed to.  I said at the beginning of the week, 15th isn’t a lay‑up, and I certainly had him in position.  He made it really interesting here at the end of this thing.  It we could have not had the mistake on pitted road and then the gear failure at the end.  Didn’t really catch exactly what happened but I know there was oil under the back of the car.
            So there was oil under the back of the car.  I’m not sure if a fitting busted or was hit by debris or line but something back there allowed the car to puke out gear oil.  So as I was saying, there was oil all over under the back of the car, so something happened from either a line failure or a fitting was hit by debris or something and it puked all the gear oil out and burned up the gear.  So again, disappointing, and we were right there in position and putting pressure on like we needed to.
            But I have a lot to be proud of this year and so does this race team, and I can’t thank everybody ‑‑ I need to thank everybody at Hendrick Motorsports.  Every man and woman there put in countless hours giving me great equipment, the support from Lowe’s, my fan base, Chevrolet and my family.  We did all we could and came up a little short.
 
            Q.  Do you have any idea whether the oil line, or whatever damage occurred, occurred after you had to come back in?  Was it something that could have been related to the missing lug nut?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON: 
I don’t think so.  When I returned to the track, I could smell gear oil, and my experience is you never smell your own, you smell someone else’s.  But clearly, I was smelling mine.  And maybe something coming down pit road like a loose lug nut or some debris on the apron as I was getting on the track could have.  But again, that’s just speculation.  I don’t know if a line failed or exactly what went on.  But putting a lug nut back on like we had to come down for would not create the problem.
 
            Q.  So maybe the mistake on the pit road was irrelevant, maybe your situation was doomed anyway?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, I guess if we find out if a line broke, that could be the case.
 
            Q.  You came into this thing with people not giving you much of a chance.  Would it have been easier to take if you had just never had a chance all day long?  Does it hurt worse when you surge and you can almost taste it again?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  In a lot of ways, yes, but ‑‑ I would have hated to come out here and do the trash talking I did to start the week and run 25th all night long.  You know, I’m proud of the fact that we went out there and backed up what we said we could do and we put the pressure on.  It doesn’t take the sting away from losing the championship.  It helps in some ways and stings in others, so it balances out, I guess.
 
            Q.  If you could just talk, all of this happened within what felt like a five‑minute period.  You were leading, Brad had his trouble, you were ahead in the points, and then boom, the lug nut, and then boom, this.  If you could just speak to your emotions, because this all went down in a very tight time frame.
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yes, it all unraveled pretty quick.  You know, the pit road thing, I was just kind of dealing with it, the first two or three laps I got on the track and trying to think through what was going on.  Chad had some optimism left in his voice.  I wasn’t sure why or what.  Maybe he was just doing a good job of being a cheerleader.
            But I ran a handful of laps and then I could smell some oil.  And when the gear failed, I mean, there was a lot of shaking in the car.  I knew it was big and going to be fatal.
            First I thought it was the engine, but it was the gear.  It was still running.  We came in the pits and I fired up the engine and the engine was running.
            Definitely disappointing, but again, I feel that we had the speed; we had 80 percent of the Chase that we needed to have.  So it’s hard to be real down on myself or real down on where we finished.  These championships are special, and it takes an entire 10‑race ‑‑ clean 10 races to win one of these things.  We hurt ourselves in Phoenix, and then today didn’t help.
 
            Q.  (No microphone.)
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  You know, I felt so calm and relaxed all day long because I didn’t have anything to protect.  But it was as much like a normal race for me as ever.  And that’s something that I enjoyed, it allowed me to stay loose in the car and communicate what I needed and we made the car better.
            I didn’t see Brad, but I wasn’t ‑‑ I didn’t have the tingles of a championship feeling.  I didn’t even know where Brad finished and had to ask Jamie before we went on the air, and at first she said 21st, and about lost my lunch when I heard that.  She said, Well, he got to 15th.  I said, well, it would have been interesting.
 
            Q.  You guys, the crew even after you went to the garage worked until the very end and you wouldn’t get out of the car.  Kind of go through what’s going through your mind at that point and what’s that say about the team that they just wanted to get the car back out on the track?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, it’s just one of those things that teams do, and certainly the 48 team does, to get back out there and try not to have a DNF.  In the event that somebody has a problem or if the 2 did, we could capitalize on it.  But our troubles were pretty big, and there weren’t many laps left.
            It was more about going through the motions and trying from a pride standpoint to get out on the track and run the final lap of the season.
 
            Q.  In Brad’s earliest introduction to this sport, did you have any run‑ins with him at all, and can you talk about the progress he’s made over his three years and just your impression of what he’s done this year?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  No, I haven’t had any run‑ins with him.  We were teammates for a handful of years.  He was in Jr.’s car, and when you’re teammates with someone you get to know someone on a different level and your guard is down and it’s much more friendly than meeting somebody out on the racetrack door to door for the first time.  We had a good relationship then, and I can’t go without saying congratulations to Brad and the entire team.  I’ve known Paul for a lot of years, and through my disappointment, I’m happy for him.  I’m happy for Brad, and very good friends with Roger and happy that he was able to come out with the championship.
 
            Q.  Assuming career‑wise seven or eight championships is something you want to achieve, how tough is it to finish so close this year and come short?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  You know, to be close is just ‑‑ it sucks to be close and not get it.  That’s just the way it is.  The statement I made about the eight championships is on that big wish list that ‑‑ we all have a wish list.  The reality of that isn’t something that motivates me, and I’m not focused on it or think about that number.  It was really to give everybody an answer because everybody would ask me, What next?
            So I thought it would bide me some time to have to come up with some type of answer.
            But I’m just disappointed that we came so close.  We had 80 percent of the Chase that we wanted to have, a ton of momentum late in the season, and then those final two races bit us.
 
            Q.  You said you almost lost your lunch when Jamie (Little) told you Brad had finished what she thought was 21st.  How did you feel when you had the lug nut issue, and is there any sort of consolation that even if you didn’t have that issue that that gear would have broken anyway?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  That’s hard to say on the gear.  We lost the oil, so until I understand why we lost the oil or the gear grease, I don’t k
now.  But we were in position to win the race.  We were ahead of the 24, and the 24 won the race.  We had a great strategy, called me to pit road to top off, and it seemed like we were definitely in the catbird seat.
 
            Q.  (No microphone.)
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, I was eerily calm for whatever reason.  Flat lined.  Had the lug nut on, came back out and then we had our other problem.
 
            Q.  The same strategy that you were on ended up winning Jeff the race, and just wondered if you were surprised or Chad was surprised that Brad didn’t cover your move when you came to pit road to top off.
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, I was surprised, and they I think were trying for track position and probably a little frustrated with being stuck in the middle of the pack.  You know, it’s tough to really race hard when you come down here and you have something to protect.  I’ve been through it enough, and I definitely think those guys were feeling it today.
            Maybe outside of their game a little bit and going for the fuel mileage perspective, and it gave us an opportunity.  It was definitely going to make things interesting.  Unfortunately we couldn’t execute at the end.
            KERRY THARP:  Jimmie, thank you so much.  You’ve had a good season, five‑time champion.  Thank you for coming in.
 
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 20 YEARS CELEBRATORY CHEVROLET, RICK HENDRICK, TEAM OWNER, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AND ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF NO. 24 CHEVROLET – RACE WINNERS
 
 
KERRY THARP:  Our race winner is here with us.  That’s Jeff Gordon.  He drove the No. 24 DUPONT 20‑year celebratory Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports.  He’s joined by his crew chief Alan Gustafson.
            What a way to win here, your 20th anniversary with DUPONT and Hendrick Motorsports, your 87th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory, your first win here at Homestead Miami Speedway. You have now won at least one race at every active Sprint Cup Series track except Kentucky Speedway, and the only reason you haven’t won there is because you’ve only raced there twice.
            JEFF GORDON:  Yeah, somebody tell them to stop adding tracks.
            KERRY THARP:  Listen, congratulations, Jeff.  Maybe just talk about the win, talk about how that has got to be special, 20 years with DUPONT, 20 years with Hendrick Motorsports.
            JEFF GORDON:  There’s a lot of reasons why it’s special.  This is a big win.  I mean, we’ve been really close here in the past years with some good race cars, but just coming up a little bit short.  And today we just did all the right things.  With the way this team has handled things and fought through things and some great moments and some pretty low moments, to be able to end the season like this, pretty amazing.
            But I think what I’m most excited about is DUPONT.  To be able to have a special paint scheme commemorating 20 years together, it’s such an incredible accomplishment, and then to be able to kind of pay them back or give them thanks by pulling that car into victory lane, I know how pumped they were.  They were very, very excited, as well as I can’t believe ‑‑ it’s not very often you get Hendrick Motorsports a first for Rick Hendrick.  We got to do it together, Buddy.  I appreciate that.
            KERRY THARP:  Crew chief Alan Gustafson, talk about the win here today.
            ALAN GUSTAFSON:  Yeah, it was a really good race.  To echo Jeff’s sentiments, to be able to win DUPONT’s 20th anniversary and Jeff’s 20th anniversary with that silver car, which I think is gorgeous, it looks really good on the racetrack and even better in victory lane.
            It was a good race, had a solid car.  I think we made the right decision there pitting.  That was obviously a pivotal moment there for us to be able to contend for the win and had a really good car and a solid day.
            Big deal for the team.  We’ve been through a lot and are in a position that we wish we were in a lot better position in points right now, and we’re closer to contending, but we know to contend you have to win races in the Chase, and we were able to do that today, so that’s a big deal.
            KERRY THARP:  And Rick, you finished the season, now you have 209 ‑‑ your racing organization has 209 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories.  You had the big 200th win earlier this season at Darlington.  You finished the year with a big win.  Just talk about how special that has to be.
            RICK HENDRICK:  Well, you know, our goal is to win every race when we can, and the cars all ran well today.  Jeff was fast.  I think he had the fastest 10‑lap average yesterday.
            You know, it was a great day for us, a great day for DUPONT.  You don’t have sponsors that come on board and stay with you that long. To look at the number of wins Jeff has, 87 now?  87 out of 209, that’s pretty good.
            JEFF GORDON:  Yeah, that is good.
            RICK HENDRICK:  But it was a great race.  I went over and congratulated Roger and Brad ‑‑ Roger is actually wearing my hat and I’m wearing his.  And he’s a great friend.  And Brad did a good job, so we’re happy for them.
            We talked about it before the race started.  We wanted momentum out of this race carrying into next year.  And I think I’m real proud of Jeff; he had the bit in his mouth today, and Alan made all the right calls.  Good to get one here at Homestead because this is one of the other tracks we never won at.
            Q.  Jeff, can you take us through the emotions of the week, obviously starting in Phoenix and having to deal with the aftermath, and here you are, victory and having finished second to Bowyer without any incident.  Just take us through that if you can.
            JEFF GORDON:  It’s like our whole season wrapped up in one week.  Yeah, you know, I mean, definitely the emotions, and you can try all you want to try to move past the moment, but man, it just ate me up inside all week.  I just kept going back and forth about the decisions that I made and wishing I had made different decisions to backing up reasons why I made the decisions I made, and I just kept going back and forth from being disappointed, being angry, feeling that I had a right.  I didn’t have a right.  So that just ate me up all week.  It meant the world to me to have Rick stand here by my side not just in the media center but all week as well as Alan and the team, and I think that
was what was so special today was to go into victory lane.  And I think it started in our team meeting before the race; I apologized to those guys for some of the things that transpired that they had to get involved with that wasn’t their doing last week, and I put them in that position, and I apologized to them and I thanked them at the same time for having my back.
            That’s the kind of team that we’ve been this year.  We’ve had to have one another’s backs because we’ve all made mistakes this year.
            And so to be able to celebrate with them in victory lane was very special, very meaningful, and gives a tremendous amount of momentum to go into 2013 with the new race car.
            Q.  For Rick and Jeff, obviously Jimmie would have had a chance to win if he didn’t have his problems.  What’s it like to see him have those problems?  You’ve never seen those problems in the past Chases that he’s been in.  Is that just the odds catching up to them?
            RICK HENDRICK:  I think so.  A pinhole in that line, that could have ‑‑ something hit it or I don’t know how it happened, but I think about that.  I mean, we had to run a bunch of perfect races to win five in a row, and Jeff to win his four, I mean, we’ve ‑‑ I saw Terry break his hand and come back and win a race.  And today, this Chase setting we have with the points as tight as they are, you just can’t have a problem, and I know it wasn’t from the lack of effort.  We had a lug nut that started and then we had the hole in the line.  But that’s just racing.
            If you let that destroy you, you’ll never be able to win again, and I think we go back and figure out what happened and try to prevent it from happening on any of other cars again.  That’s the way we usually work together.
            It’s disappointing, but at the same time it’s racing.  The tire blew in Phoenix; you can’t help that.  And those kind of things happen.  You just have to accept it if you’ve been racing as long as I have.  I’ve had a lot of them on white flag and something happens, and you just have to go on and race again the next day.
            Q.  Kind of following up on that, you came into the day kind of hoping to be in both victory lanes or at least one celebrating a championship. What were the mixed emotions you had celebrating the win with Jeff knowing that the 48 team had kind of blown the championship?
            RICK HENDRICK:  Well, I think, again, I feel awful blessed to be able to have won as many as I’ve won, and after a while you just do the best you can and prepare the best you can.  And if somebody just beats you, then you know you’ve got to go to work.  If things happen outside of your control, then that’s just the breaks of the game.
            I thought it was a long shot anyway coming in here tonight.  Brad as good as he’s been, he’s run a flawless Chase, and unless he had the same kind of problem we had tonight, and that could have happened with a lug nut or run over something or an oil line or whatever, could have happened to him.  So you know what can happen, but the likelihood, the way their year has been going, for that to happen was pretty remote.
            It wasn’t a total shock.  I thought that the 48 and the 24 were strong and could make it on fuel and we were going to be ‑‑ probably about 10, 12 points, 10, 11 points, something like that.  Unless they had the same kind of problem the 48 had we weren’t going to do it.
            We talked about this again on the radio before the race with Jeff and Alan, we need to go out and get the job done today, and that’s what they did.  So I’m celebrating that one and letting the other deal go.
            Q.  For Rick, I notice you have the Shell hat on.  I understand you and Roger switched hats out there.  Did you say anything or can you share what you said with him out there?
            RICK HENDRICK:  Well, you know, he and I watched a race together not long ago when we were out of town.  He’s one of my best friends, and I wanted to congratulate him, and he reached for my hat when I got to him and said, “I want to wear that hat.”  And so I was happy to swap with him.
            You know, I respect him so much, and he is such a good friend.  So I’m real happy for him.  I’m very, very ‑‑ he’s paid his dues, he’s won a bunch of championships, and he’s done a lot of hard work in this sport.
            And Brad, he was with our organization for a while, and he’s got a lot of talent.  So you want to see friends do well.  That doesn’t mean I don’t want to ‑‑ this is it, that one is enough.  Next year is not going to be that way.  We talked about it, we laughed ‑‑ we were actually texting before the race.  Keep it in the family; that’s what we said.
            If we both get the win tonight, that was pretty good.
            Q.  Jeff, were you close on fuel at the end, and if you were, how close were you?
            JEFF GORDON:  You need to ask Alan.  He’s the one that gambled on it.  I was saving a lot, I know that.  I just kept looking at the gap ‑‑ what made me concerned was that the run before that I had gotten really, really tight in the center and loose off, and so I lost some speed at the end of the run, and the 15 was able to run me down, and I didn’t want to see that same thing happen.
            And so when he started saying save fuel, save fuel, I said, well, how many laps are we short?  He said, no, we’re good, but we want to pad it a little bit.  I kept thinking, I don’t want to pad anything because the last run we gave up a lot at the end.  But they made an adjustment to the car, the car stayed good throughout the whole run.  It was hard to break up the momentum or the rhythm that I was in on my entry and getting to the gas in the middle, but we started working with it and keeping that gap.  But I don’t know, how close were we?
            ALAN GUSTAFSON:  We had probably a lap to be good.  We had a two‑second lead, and there was no reason ‑‑ you don’t have to win it by just a foot.  So we knew we had two seconds to spare, and shame on us if we’re out there trying to stretch a lead and run out of gas.  That’s not very smart.  We kept the two seconds as close as we could, and within that two‑second window I had a thought in my mind if he got to one second we’d turn him back loose, but he never did.
            Q.  This is more of a career question or for Mr. Hendrick:  In light of what Mr. Smith said a couple of years ago about Miami and now that you’ve finally won here, could you shed some light or Mr. Hendrick shed light on how over the last two decades NASCAR has changed from a southern
‑rooted sport to one that’s trying to extend its outreach to across borders, across the United States and across different foreign borders?
            JEFF GORDON:  I mean, I think we feel the same way as NASCAR does, that we want everybody to be a NASCAR fan.  The more fans, the better reach that we have to bring crowds and entertain them as well as sponsorship opportunities.  I think that’s just the way the world is working, certainly in the marketing world, as well, of who the customer is out there.
            But definitely this race, I’d say probably the Phoenix race, as well, just really reaching out and broadening the fan base.  And it’s great to see.  It’s really grown over the years.  You see the Latino fans and Hispanic market growing here each race that we come here, and it’s very cool because typically they probably wouldn’t follow NASCAR.  But if this track wasn’t here, or the fact that it is here, I think it really displays our racing at its best.  It’s a great racetrack.  It’s very entertaining.  It’s a great weekend of racing with the trucks, the Nationwide and the Sprint Cup Series battling for the championship.
            So it doesn’t get much better than this.  And the fans that I come across, they just love the fact that they’re able to come here to this racetrack and see NASCAR racing at its best, that they don’t always get a chance to in other parts of the country.  So yeah, that’s definitely an area that’s really grown.
            RICK HENDRICK:  You know, we had two fans from Israel that came, were in victory lane tonight, and we didn’t know them until they spoke to my wife.  But they were wearing Gordon stuff, and they were telling us that ‑‑ we were telling them that we visited there a couple years ago.
            JEFF GORDON:  Was it the couple with the little boy?  Yeah, so at the airport this morning, we were at the airport, my wife and my kids and myself, getting ready to helicopter out, and they were sitting right next to us.  But they didn’t say anything, and I didn’t really see anything.  And then all of a sudden they were walking out to go get on this bus, and the little boy had a 24 backpack on.  And so I said hi to him, and I was kind of struck that they didn’t say anything to me or get a picture or an autograph or anything.
            And so my wife saw them at victory lane, or outside of victory lane, and she recognized them from this morning and said come up into victory lane.  So I’m glad you got a chance to say hi to them and see them and learn more about who they are.  I know the little boy was a big fan, so to get to go to victory lane was pretty cool.
            Q.  Clint was in here a little while ago, and he said it had obviously gone through his mind that you were the one ahead of him and I’m sure it was going through your mind that he was coming from behind.  Was there any thought about that, or were you just more worried about keeping your distance to win the race, or were you thinking at all about Bowyer?
            JEFF GORDON:  I thought a little bit more about him when I was passing him for what could possibly have been for the lead because Alan told me that if this thing goes green, you’re racing the 15.  So we came into some lap traffic, and I could tell he was pretty anxious and running hard.  He knew the same thing that I knew.  I was able to get to the outside of him and get by him.  But I had to race with him a couple of times, and there were no issues.
            It didn’t matter who was behind me.  I’ll be honest, I wanted to win the race, and Alan put us in the position to win the race.  We had a great race car, and I didn’t want to give it up to anybody.
            But I thought it was pretty ironic.  I mean, there was one time where it was a restart, it was me, Joey and Clint, and I’m like, isn’t that just the way it goes.  And so we just really tried to focus on our car, our team, our position and get the most out of it.
            After it was over, I thought, you know, wow, I can’t believe that we just finished first and second after what happened last week.
            Q.  Jeff, you’ve been a four‑time champion obviously, and you congratulated Brad after the win tonight.  What kind of champion do you think he’ll be for the sport?  That’s a pretty big ambassador role, and he’s obviously the first guy born I think in the 1980s to be a champion in the sport and kind of looks at the world a little bit differently.  How do you think he’ll do as the lead face?
            JEFF GORDON:  And I think because of that, he’ll do great.  His ability to reach out to the social media and the younger crowd, you know, I think that he’s ‑‑ he’s somebody that takes it ‑‑ wants to take it and wants to be that, and he’ll ‑‑ because of that, he’ll put a lot of effort into it.
            He’s entertaining.  You know, that’s for ‑‑ you never know what you’re going to get with Brad.  I enjoy or look forward to watching him, and I think this experience, he will just mature to a whole ‘nother level because of being in this position and carrying this responsibility.  When he sees all that’s involved ‑‑ every champion that I’ve ever seen win their first one, they always come out of it with a whole new perspective on past champions.  And I remember when Jimmie won his, he was overwhelmed with everything that comes along with it.  It makes you grow up.
            If you’re ready for it or not ready for it, it doesn’t matter; it’s there, and there’s a lot to take in, and it makes you really look at things a lot differently and recognize that responsibility that you have.
            So I think he’ll do a very good job.
            Q.  Rick, your season has been unusually erratic.  You went 10 races at the beginning without winning, then you won seven of the next 11, then the next 11 without a win and won three of the last four.  Was that all just happenstance and the way things happen, or is consistency something that your team needs to shore up?
            RICK HENDRICK:  Well, you know, I don’t really know how to answer that.  We’ve run good every week.  We had all four cars in the Chase.  Everybody won a race.  I think we had 11 poles and 10 wins, and we finished ‑‑ I don’t know where we finished in the points.  We could have ‑‑ we had a shot to finish one, three and five two weeks ago, and I don’t really think we’re erratic.  I think the competition is pretty stiff.
            You look at Greg Biffle, who led the points going into the Chase, and so I just think it’s the level of competition, if you are short on fuel, you go from 1st to 12th.  If you have a tire go down or you have to come back in on a speeding penalty, like Kasey, you lead the race and then you end up 20th, it’s just so many good car
s out there.
            I don’t think anybody can just be perfect for the whole year.  I’d say if I can go every year and get them all in the Chase and win 10, 11 races and 10, 11 poles, I want to win a lot of championships, but if you run like that, you’ll win your share.
            Q.  For Rick, at one point Brad was in the Hendrick stable with JR Motorsports, and I guess the thought was eventually he may get a ride with Hendrick and he left.  But did you see this potential in him back then and any thoughts you wish you could have retained him at that time?
            RICK HENDRICK:  You know, I knew Brad had a lot of talent, and we looked at ways to try to keep him.  I told Roger he was on loan. Now he won’t want to come back.
            But no, you know, sometimes guys really blossom, and they are really way ahead of the curve and the timing isn’t right, but I wish him all the luck in the world.
            And you know, he’s a great talent, and if ‑‑ we worked to get him in the Nationwide car and then his first win in the Cup car with James was one of our cars.  You know, if we kind of helped him get there, that’s great.  But I ‑‑ you just never know what turns life takes, and I’m happy for him, but I’m happy with our lineup.
            Q.  That was part of my question.  He won his championship in his 125th start, and the guy who did it in the fewest starts is Jeff in 93 starts.  I guess that’s an impressive start, and I think it’s impressive because I don’t think anybody thought three years ago that Brad could do that, he was sort of raw and aggressive.  Would you agree with that?  Did you think that he could turn it around that quickly?  And my second question since you know Roger so well, does that guy ever show emotion?
            RICK HENDRICK:  He was pretty emotional tonight when I was with him.  He was ‑‑ he genuinely was happy, Roger was.  Brad, and Jeff worked with Brad, Brad, he rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, but he was very aggressive. But he learned how to control that and how to race, and he did it in a hurry.  And he did it almost in a year.
            And you know, and I think Paul Wolfe has been a great influence, and that’s a great combination.
            You see guys ‑‑ I remember Kyle Busch, and Alan was the guy that had him, first race he ever ran in the Nationwide car, he should have won.  When you’ve got a lot of talent ‑‑ a lot of guys you see guys with talent and they get too aggressive or they just don’t know when to race, and he figured it out in a hurry.  He’s been very, very ‑‑ he’s been a very smart while he was aggressive racer this year.
            JEFF GORDON:  Well, I mean, when he was with us, I don’t know if I saw this much potential out of him, but he certainly had talent.  I think he races smart, like Rick said, and a lot of times when you look at champions in any series, you have to have talent and know how to get the most out of the car, but you have to be smart.
            To me, and Alan might even be able to talk to this point a little bit, what impressed me so much this year is that there were times when there was some back and forth between whether they were missing something or didn’t have what we had, and those guys went to work, and they made their stuff really strong, and it takes engineering, good crew chief, fabricators as well as a solid driver to pull together like that and make improvements.
            You’ve got to give them credit.
            Q.  You’ve been the champion four times; Rick, you’ve had numerous championships.  Could you talk about the mental toughness in Brad to ‑‑ when you guys go full court press, you guys go full court press.
            RICK HENDRICK:  Well, I’ll tell you, I remember just like yesterday Brad sitting in my office, and he eats, sleeps and drinks wanting to be a race car driver, and he ‑‑ when he was with the Nationwide team, he was all under the car, all around the car with the guys, and he brings a level of intensity that I see in very few people, just that determined.
            And I think he’s matured in a hurry, and he learned how to race, and race 500 miles and race against guys and know when to race and the gas mileage thing.  They figured it out.  I guess they were first, weren’t they?  They kind of had the gas mileage thing down first.  They won a couple races that way where everybody was saying, hey, can they go that far.  So that was planning with he and the crew chief, and I think he spends a lot of time over there, and he’s made that whole organization better.
            Again, I think like Jeff said, he’s ‑‑ I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anybody mature as quickly ‑‑ not so much mature but learn how to race and accept racing with guys that were champions and looked at as being the best but wanting to beat the best.
            He deserves it.  They deserve it this year.  They had a great year.
            KERRY THARP:  Jeff, Alan and Rick, congratulations on this win, congratulations on a good season.  Happy Thanksgiving, and we’ll see you in Las Vegas.
 

Chevy Racing–Homestead Driver Press Conferences

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
FORD ECOBOOST 400
HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
NOVEMBER 17, 2012
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed his mindset going into the final race tomorrow, what type of race we should expect to see on Sunday and other topics.  Full Transcript:
 
WHERE IS YOUR MIND RIGHT NOW AFTER ALL THE PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING IT’S TIME TO RACE?
“Yeah ready to race for sure.  Very pleased with how our car finished up.  It’s really nothing for me to lose sleep about tonight.  It’s an easy night for me.  I got my training in this morning.  I know I’m going to be tired and ready for bed.  We finished on a high note in practice and just got to bed, get up and get to work tomorrow.  Easy from my stand point, because I’ve got nothing to lose.  We will see what they do on the other side.”
 
WE SAW SOME GUYS CRASH IN PRACTICE RACING SIDE-BY-SIDE. WHAT TYPE OF RACE DO YOU THINK WE ARE GOING TO SEE ON SUNDAY?
“The crash that we had I think there was just some confusion and it kind of looked to me like people thought they were two-wide, but they were three-wide.  There was just some confusion there that led to the crash on the front stretch.  That happens anywhere.  It’s kind of odd to happen in racing, but I think spotters might have a tough view in turn four.  Turn four is a tricky corner.  The car turns so strong through the center of the turn and then as you come up onto the straightaway you can lose the front end a lot.  So, I think that is why we see issues over there.  The race should be good.  We are going to be on the line to the wall.  This progressive banking makes for a really good race.”
 
WILL WHAT HAPPENED CHANGE THINGS? BRAD (KESELOWSKI) WILL NOW MOVE UP AND BE ON THE INSIDE TO START THE RACE ON THE FRONT ROW.  CHANCES ARE HE WILL LEAD THE FIRST LAP…
“I hope he tries really, really, really hard to lead that first lap.  I know (Marcos) Ambrose next to him is going to try hard too.  That could be good for me.”
 
DOES THIS TRACK LEND ITSELF TO A LOT OF CHANGE DURING THE RACE AS FAR AS IF YOU ARE BAD EARLY CAN YOU GET YOUR CAR BETTER THROUGHOUT THE RACE OR IS IT MORE WHAT YOU’VE GOT IS WHAT YOU’VE GOT?
“If we have cautions you will have a chance to work on your car.  That is biggest problem is when we got to these tracks, especially 1.5-mile tracks, and we don’t have many cautions you don’t get chances to work on your car.  It’s tough to tune yourself in.  I hope that we are close and we don’t need the cautions to work on our car, but that is really what sets the pace for the race and allows people to get back into it. The more cautions the more opportunities to improve your race car.”
 
I KNOW THE CONDITIONS CHANGE HEADING INTO TOMORROW BUT GIVEN WHAT YOU SAW FROM THE OTHER GUYS AND WHAT YOU FELT IN YOUR OWN CAR HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU IT IS A WINNING CAR?
“I think we are a top-five car right now, winning we will work on that tonight and put some final touches on it.  I knew coming into this weekend I was going to have a big hill to climb with the No. 2 car and the points lead that they have.  They have done their part and have been very competitive all weekend long.  We will just have to see how that race goes tomorrow.  I feel we have made our car a lot better through the course of the weekend.  The last two race runs we had were pretty strong and in the mix.”

RCR Racing–NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NASCAR 200

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
NASCAR 200      
Homestead-Miami Speedway 
November 16, 2012
 
Race Highlights:
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished third (Joey Coulter), 18th (Tim George Jr.) and 25th (Ty Dillon).
Coulter finished third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship point battle, while Dillon ranked fourth in the standings.
The No. 22 Chevrolet team finished third in the Camping World Truck Series owner championship point standings, the No. 3 team finished fourth in the standings and the No. 2 team 14th.
Dillon earned the 2012 Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, marking the third-consecutive award for RCR.
According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Coulter earned the eighth-highest Driver Rating (97.2), while Dillon ranked ninth with a rating of 89.1.
RCR drivers made a total of 125 Green Flag Passes during the 134-lap event with George earning 48 passes, Dillon with 41, and Coulter with 36 passes.
Dillon scored the seventh-highest Average Running Position of 7.336, while Coulter ranked ninth with a 9.721.
Dillon was the fourth-Fastest Driver on Restarts, and Coulter ranked eighth-fastest in Friday’s affair.
Coulter ranked fourth in the Closers category for the 134-lap event.
Dillon earned the fifth-Fastest Driver Early in a Run, while Coulter was the ninth-quickest and George ranked 21st.
Coulter spent 100 percent of the event in the top 15 ranking him first amongst the rest of the field, while Dillon ranked 12th (92.1 percent).
Cale Gale won his career-first Camping World Truck Series event at Homestead-Miami Speedway and was followed to the line by Kyle Busch, Coulter, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Miguel Paludo.
The Camping World Truck Series Awards Ceremony is scheduled to be broadcast on SPEED beginning at 8 p.m. ET. on Thursday, Nov. 30.    

RCR Racing–Ty Dillon Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year

Ty Dillon Clinches NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year Honors
Richard Childress Racing Claims Third Consecutive Rookie of the Year Award
 
MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (November 16, 2012) – Richard Childress Racing’s Ty Dillon was officially named the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year on Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
 
The 20-year-old grandson of Richard Childress claimed the Sunoco rookie honors with his 25-place finish at the Homestead, Fla., facility following a season-long battle with two other drivers. Dillon entered the season finale race at Homestead with a 74-point lead in the rookie standings over Cale Gale and Ross Chastain.
 
The Sunoco Rookie of the Year award is calculated using a driver’s 14-best finishes and a vote by a Camping World Truck Series rookie of the year panel that considers a driver’s competitive abilities and interaction with other drivers and the media.
 
“This is awesome,” said Dillon. “I’m so proud of this entire No. 3 Bass Pro Shops team. They did a great job all year and because of all of their hard work, we won the 2012 Rookie of the Year. We made goals in the beginning of the year, and this was one of them. I’m excited to be able to keep this award in the RCR family another year and win it just like my brother did back in 2010.”
 
It is the third consecutive year that RCR has earned the year-end rookie award. Joey Coulter earned the 2011 Rookie of the Year award for RCR, and Ty’s older brother, Austin Dillon, claimed the honors in 2010 prior to winning the championship last year. RCR is the only team to win three consecutive Rookie of the Year awards in the Camping World Truck Series.
 
“For Ty to have won a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in his rookie year and come down to Homestead with a chance to win the championship are great accomplishments in his rookie season,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “He’s continued the success he had last year after winning the ARCA Racing Series championship and, If not for some misfortune, he would be in an even better position for this year’s championship. But for him to win the rookie of the year in the Truck Series, after Joey Coulter did it last year and Austin did it in 2010, is a pretty cool deal for RCR, ECR and our family.”
 
Driving the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for his first full season of competition in a NASCAR series, Dillon finished fourth in the championship point standings on the strength of one victory, three pole awards, seven top-five and 17 top-10 finishes. The Welcome, N.C., native also added the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship to his resume last season.
 
“I’m really proud of Ty and the whole No. 3 Bass Pro Shops team for all their hard work this season,” said crew chief Marcus Richmond. “It’s an honor to be part of such a great team and family like RCR.”
 
Dillon joins a list of former Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year winners that include his brother, Austin, and RCR teammates Coulter and Brendan Gaughan, in addition to Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Johnny Sauter and David Reutimann, among others.
 
The Sunoco Rookie of the Year award is presented at the annual NASCAR Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series Awards Banquet at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel on Monday, Nov. 19. SPEED will broadcast the banquet on Thursday, Nov. 29 from 8-10 p.m. Eastern Time.

Chevy Racing–Buescher Camping World Truck Series Champion

James Buescher Crowned 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – James Buescher, driver of the No. 31 Great Clips Chevrolet Silverado, claimed the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) championship with a 13th-place finish in the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His title, the first for Buescher and team owner Steve Turner, clinched Chevrolet’s 12th driver’s title since the Series’ 1995 inception.

“On behalf of Chevrolet, congratulations to James Buescher and the No. 31 Chevrolet Silverado crew on winning the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “James and his team demonstrated determination, perseverance and that never-give-up attitude to win their first championship. Congratulations to Steve Turner and his entire Turner Motorsports organization on this accomplishment.”

The 22 year-old driver led the series with four wins, 10 top-five’s and 14 top-10’s in 22 races this season.

Buescher, who carried an 11-point lead into the season finale, is the seventh Chevrolet Silverado driver to win the NCWTS championship, joining Austin Dillon (2011), Ron Hornaday Jr. (2009, 2007, 1998 and 1996), Jack Sprague (2001, 1999, and 1997), Travis Kvapil (2003), Mike Bliss (2002) and Mike Skinner (1995).

In addition to winning the championship, Turner Motorsports has amassed seven NCWTS wins with drivers Buescher, Nelson Piquet, Jr. and Kasey Kahne. 

“This caps a very successful season for Chevrolet in the Camping World Truck Series,” Campbell said. “We’d also like to congratulate Ty Dillon for winning the Series’ Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year title.”

Chevrolet earlier clinched the NCWTS Manufacturers’ Championship for the eighth time.

Chevy Racing–Homestead Driver Press Conferences

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed what last week’s win at Phoenix does for him and his team, how he feels the evolution of safety has come with the Car of Tomorrow, what it is like to run multiple races in a weekend and much more. Full transcript.
 
GETTING THAT WIN, WHAT DOES THAT DO FOR THE TEAM MORAL WISE?
“Well I think everybody knows we are going to go out and try to be competitive and win races. For us as a whole it shows that we can still go out and make it happen. It’s great to have that momentum at the end of the year. It will do a lot for the off season.”
 
THIS IS THE LAST RACE FOR THE CAR OF TOMORROW, IT’S NEVER REALLY BEEN BELOVED, WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHAT IT DID IN TERMS OF SAFETY DID IT KIND OF DO ITS JOB?
“I think so. I think the safety evolution has been pretty remarkably fast as far as how fast it has taken place over the years. The evolution of whether it be cars, or seats, or rules, or whatever the case may be it’s not something that NASCAR has let their guard down on. I think that part of it has been great. It’s definitely started the path and accomplished a lot of things that they wanted to accomplish from that standpoint.”
 
WHEN YOU ARE IN THE COCKPIT OF THE CAR, IS IT DIFFERENT THAN WHAT IT WAS LIKE IN THE PREVIOUS CAR?
“Oh yeah, absolutely. The roll bars are not sitting next to your head. In speedway races the roll bar would actually be touching the left side of your head because you couldn’t get the seat down low enough with where the truck arms were. So, just from a driver’s standpoint as far as room in the car is a remarkable difference.”
 
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO RUN MULTIPLE SERIES IN A WEEKEND?
“It just depends on a lot of things. It depends on how they are running. A lot of it depends on where you are at in a season as far as how you feel and things like that. When you know you are going to run every race and you know you’re going to have to go through the dead of summer, that’s really the hardest part is going through the dead of summer and run both of those races and keep yourself hydrated. You have to be in tune with how you are physically with your body. It’s a challenge for sure. When we first did that back in 2001 everybody thought we were crazy and now it’s just kind of normal to run a lot of races.”
 
IN REGARDS TO THE 2001 SEASON AND FILLING IN, HOW DIFFICULT IS IT COMING IN AND RUNNING THE CUP SERIES WHEN YOU WEREN’T EXPECTING TO RUN IT?
“I always tell people that my career started backwards. You start out with a lot of attention and fans, just in a very unique situation. Then you go through the years trying to figure out and learn how to whether its manage your time, or manage your money, or manage your team, whatever the case may be, there’s just a lot of challenges that come with this level of races. It becomes a lot harder than you think it should be after the first year and you learn as you go. I think as we did that, it was definitely different starting the way that we do.”
 
THIS IS SAM HORNISH’S SECOND GO AROUND IN CUP, WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN IF ANYTHING A DIFFERENCE IN HIM AS HE’S RACING ON THE TRACK?
“He just crashes a lot less. I think that’s the biggest difference. I think the first time that he came around he didn’t have a great feel for the cars and had a lot of pressure put on him to go out and perform. The cars weren’t running near as good as they run now. As he’s had the opportunity this time to come around, he’s got a much better feel for the cars. You’ve got to have experience to be successful at Nationwide or Cup. To have that feel for the cars and know where it’s going to spin out and know when to let people go, and he takes care of his equipment really well now. You can race door to door with him and not have to worry about who you are racing. So, he’s made a pretty tremendous turn around since he started.”
 
WHEN THE CHASE DEVELOPED, DID YOU EVER THINK THAT SOMEBODY WOULD EVER BE ABLE TO GO OUT AND WIN FIVE CHAMPIONSHIPS IN A ROW?
“No, I think the Chase was developed so it would be more competitive. But, I think that goes to show you just how competitive that those No. 48 guys have been. Jimmie (Johnson) is obviously a great driver and got a great team. It’s been pretty remarkable to watch.”
 
BACK IN 2010 YOU FINISHED THIRD BUT YOU HAD A BETTER AVERAGE FINISH THAN THE TWO GUYS IN FRONT OF YOU. KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW NOW BACK THEN, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENT?
“Win more races. That’s what it boils down to is wins.”

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed making his 500th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start, the high and low points of the season and other topics.  Full Transcript:  
 
500TH START THIS WEEKEND CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT MILESTONE?
“It means I’m getting old (laughs).  I’m pretty proud of that.  It’s a cool accomplishment.  I remember when I came in the series watching guys get recognized for their 500th start.  That is pretty neat.”
 
LAST RACE WITH OFFICE DEPOT TALK ABOUT WHAT THEY HAVE MEANT TO YOU AND YOUR ORGANIZATION:
“They have been awesome.  They were the first company that came and wanted to be a part of this program when it started.  Even before I actually signed my deal with Gene (Haas) was when they came and say ‘hey we don’t know if what we are hearing you are doing you are going to do, but if you are we want to be a part of it.’  That was nice to have that kind of vote of confidence from somebody like Office Depot.”
 
IN YOUR MIND WHAT ARE THE HIGH POINTS AND LOW POINTS OF THIS SEASON?
“I think the high point is probably winning at Las Vegas, winning at a track we hadn’t won at before was definitely a high point.  A lot of places that we were so good at last year in the Chase, not being good this time and this year around was a little disappointing.”
 
DO YOU FEEL DISCOURAGED GOING INTO NEXT YEAR GIVING THAT YOU RECENTLY HAVEN’T BEEN RUNNING WELL AT THE SAME PLACES YOU RAN WELL AT LAST YEAR?
“We’ve got such a different car and different package next year, everybody just kind of starts over.  I am discouraged that we are finishing this way, but not because of what it’s going to lead to next year.  Everybody is going to start with stuff that is totally different package wise than what we have.  A totally new body that is obvious to everybody, but things underneath the car that the guys are doing to the cars this year that we are not going to be allowed to do next year. There are a lot of changes and it’s going to be a whole new learning process starting over in Daytona.”
 
WHAT TYPE OF RACE DO YOU THINK WE ARE GOING TO SEE ON SUNDAY?
“You always ask that after practice when nobody has ran around each other.  I honestly have no idea.  When we went on the race track there was rubber all the way across from the bottom to the top so they are obviously using the whole race track before we even started.  That is a good sign that the race track still moves around.”
 
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT JEFF (GORDON) DID LAST WEEK?
“I’m not going to get involved in that.”
 
THE ELDORA RUMOR HEATED UP AGAIN CAN YOU SAY ANYTHING ON THAT?
“When we have something to say we will tell you guys. It’s starting to get annoying every week it’s like we don’t even know answers and you guys want answers that we don’t even have answers to.  When we have answers we will come to you guys I promise we will not let you be left out of this.”
 
LAST YEAR GOING INTO THE FINAL WEEKEND YOU AND CARL (EDWARDS) KIND OF TOOK SOME JABS AT EACH OTHER IN YOUR ESTIMATION WHAT IMPACT CAN THAT HAVE SAY BETWEEN BRAD (KESELOWSKI) AND JIMMIE (JOHNSON)?
“I don’t know I haven’t been p
aying attention to what they are doing.  It affects different guys different ways.”
 
DOES THE CHASE GET MORE DIFFICULT OR EASIER WHEN YOU HAVE SOME WHAT OF A CUSHION OR IS IT BETTER IF YOU DON’T HAVE A CUSHION AND JUST RACE KNOWING YOU NEED TO PUSH IT EVERYTHING AS HARD AS POSSIBLE THE WHOLE WAY?
“I don’t know.  We’ve been in both situations.  The whole day is evenly as tough no matter where you are at it’s a tough day.  There is nothing easy about it.”

 

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT 20-YEAR CELEBRATORY CHEVROLET, AND RICK HENDRICK, OWNER OF HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed the 20-year relationship with DUPONT, the incident at Phoenix International Raceway and other topics.  Full transcript:
An Interview With:
JEFF GORDON
RICK HENDRICK
            KERRY THARP:  We have a special availability in here this afternoon at Homestead Miami Speedway.  We have Jeff Gordon.  He’s driving the No. 24 DUPONT 20‑year Celebratory Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, and we’re pleased to be joined by Jeff and his team owner Rick Hendrick.  This is 20 years for Jeff Gordon in the DUPONT Chevrolet with Hendrick Motorsports, a terrific accomplishment in any walk of life to be together for 20 years.
            Jeff, congratulations.  Four‑time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, also getting ready to start your 689th straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday.  That’s third all‑time, and Rick Hendrick will be going for his 11th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship as an owner on Sunday afternoon with the 48 car of Jimmie Johnson.
            Jeff, let me ask you first, 20 years with DUPONT, a terrific organization.  We have many of those folks today in the back row.  Thank you for being here today.  Just talk about the relationship you’ve had with DUPONT and the relationship you’ve had with Hendrick Motorsports.
            JEFF GORDON:  Yeah, it’s obviously been a phenomenal relationship and really a partnership.  We saw them in the Nationwide Series getting involved with NASCAR racing.  Rick can tell you more about the meetings that they had from the beginning that were interesting and what eventually led to the sponsorship.  And once they came on board and took a chance on a rookie driver and a new team, kind of the rest is history.  But those early days and our excitement of getting out there into the Cup Series and their excitement about what they could do for their customers and their business, and seeing those two come together, I think they’ve entertained more than 250,000 people at races over the years and really kind of set the benchmark for how sponsors go about entertaining their clients, their customers at track and how valuable that is from a business standpoint.
            It’s been really amazing all the great success.  A lot of great memories and championships and wins, but this weekend that car really means a lot to me.  It’s a very cool‑looking car.  To have 20 years with one company and to be with Rick for 20 years is something that I’m very proud of, and we look forward to a great weekend.
            KERRY THARP:  Rick, certainly you’ve won a lot of championships, four of them with the gentleman sitting to your right, but talk about the relationship not only with Jeff Gordon but also with DUPONT.
            RICK HENDRICK:  Well, I think everyone has heard the story of me seeing Jeff in Atlanta, and I have to thank Andy Graves, his roommate, for ‑‑ I just happened to say in front of Jimmy Johnson, who was the Jimmy Johnson that ran Hendrick Motorsports that it was a shame that this kid that I saw driving that Nationwide or Busch Car back then had a contract with Ford, and Andy Graves said he doesn’t have a contract.  So we went to work and we designed a deal without a sponsor.
            I was talking to the folks at DUPONT because I was using their products in the dealerships, and I was asking them about an associate sponsorship and had no idea they’d go for ‑‑ they said, well, how about us sponsoring a whole car.  And you look back at them taking a chance on Jeff and what they ‑‑ like Jeff said, the way they have entertained at the track and the paints that they’ve brought to the track, from the day glows to all the wild colors, then we’ve rolled that into SEMA shows.  So it’s been an unbelievable journey.
            And I think 20 years has gone by in a hurry.  But we really appreciate them because they have been there from the very beginning and they took a chance, and they deserve to have the success that they’ve had over the years.  We’re just proud to carry them on board, and you’re right, to have a sponsor that sticks with you for 20 years, that’s an awful long time.
            Q.  Is there something that Rick doesn’t know about you after 20 years?
            JEFF GORDON:  There might be a couple things but not many (laughing).  We’ve gotten pretty close.  If you guys had a chance to see “Beyond 200,” which I’ve got to say thank you to SPEED Channel for bringing all that together, Rick did a great job hosting it.  But I was so impressed with that show.  A lot of laughs, a lot of tears, but I think even those quick little bytes there in that show, I think it showed how Rick and I have bonded over the years through a lot of ups and downs.
            I don’t know, can you ‑‑ I can’t think of anything that I’m willing to admit right here that he doesn’t know.  There’s quite a bit.
            Rick usually knows more than most of us think that he knows.  I think he’s got a pretty good idea about it.
            Q.  After Sunday and before the penalties were announced Monday, were you ever concerned that you wouldn’t be here this week or this event?
            JEFF GORDON:  You know, I tried not to think about that.  I know the folks at DUPONT were worried about it.  They put a lot into this paint scheme and planning.  This has been out ‑‑ really we’ve been talking about this for about 10 weeks, commemorating this moment with this car.  Until I heard that they were worried about it, I wasn’t too concerned about it.  I knew there would be fines and penalties, but I felt like I’d be in the seat of that DUPONT Chevrolet this weekend.
            Q.  How do you feel after last week?  And what lessons have you learned from Rick about ‑‑ he hasn’t really had to work with you on anger or something over the 20 years you’ve been together.
            JEFF GORDON:  Not that you know of.
            Q.  Yeah, really.  Behind closed doors maybe, huh?  How do you feel after last weekend, and what have you learned from Rick about dealing with that sort of thing?
            JEFF GORDON:  Well, you know, I mean, the one thing that I’ll say ‑ it probably wo
n’t be the one thing because I have a feeling that we are going there now ‑ is that last week, the thing that I regret and the thing that I messed up on is that I allowed my anger and my emotions to put me in a position to make a bad choice.  I felt like that Clint needed to be dealt with, but that wasn’t the right way to go about it, certainly not the right time.  And what I hate most about it is that other guys were involved with it and it affected their day.
            I certainly look back on it and wish I had done things different, and all I can do now is look ahead and look forward and try to come in here and do the best that I can to close out the season on a positive note and put this 20th anniversary DUPONT Chevrolet into victory lane.
            Q.  What did you tell him?  How did you deal with it with him as the owner?
            RICK HENDRICK:  Let me try to frame this up for you the best I can:  Here sits a guy that’s done more for the sport than anybody I know.  He’s opened the doors for all the young guys, the open‑wheel guys.  He’s done things like Saturday Night Live, he’s done the cover of Fortune.  Never seen him have a problem ‑‑ not a major problem in 20 years, and mentored a lot of young guys along the way.  You know, I think he just said it:  His emotions got control on Sunday.
            But I think you’ve got to go back, and I don’t expect anybody in here to really understand this as much as maybe Jeff and I do, but at Martinsville this year, we was going for our 200th win.  It was the first time I had my brother’s wife there and the first time Jan Jackson, the representative of DUPONT, was there since the crash.  We had a photo session before the race, and we were all wanting to win more than anything, more than any championship.  The 200th win at Martinsville meant so much to all of us because we lost so much there.
            And that was taken away from us.  Both of our cars were wrecked on the last lap and next‑to‑last lap and it was by the 15 car.  You didn’t see our guys go down there and fight in the pits; we didn’t do any of that.  I have never hurt as bad in my life leaving the racetrack as I did that day.  It took me a week or so to get over it just because we had it in our grasp.  And that’s just emotions that we carry and nobody else.
            So I think that situation along with some other things that happened along the way, you know, you don’t forget it.  What happened happened, and I agree with Jeff, I like Michael Waltrip, I like Rob Kauffman, I like Richard Petty, I like Clint Bowyer, I like all those guys.  If we had to do it all over again, could it have been handled a different way?  I don’t think Jeff intended to wreck him that bad or wreck him at all; move him, let him know he didn’t like it, sure didn’t want to get the other cars involved.  But you’ve got to go with the emotions that happened at that time, and there’s a lot of things that happened along the way, and this guy has as much right to race for fifth or sixth in the points as somebody has to race for second.
            So I stand behind him no different than my son got in trouble at school for a bully beating on him and he stuck up for himself.  So that’s the way I feel about it.
            Q.  Jeff, seems like one thing that might make this situation kind of unique is that Bowyer was racing for a championship, and you kind of ended his championship hopes.  Was there any consideration in the car, were you aware that that was going to do him in for the championship, and do you have any regrets over ‑‑ it wasn’t just another driver but it was a guy that was contending?
            JEFF GORDON:  You know, I’ve always said this as it relates to the Chase, the championship, that if you’re contending for the championship, you’ve got to be as smart about the things you do on the racetrack as the guys that you’re racing that might be outside the championship.  And there was absolutely no reason to run into me.  That’s the thing is you’ve got to understand each guy you’re racing along the way, and you’ve got to understand if they’re a guy that needs a ride next year, you’ve got to understand if they’re a guy that is trying to finish 10th or 12th in the points or whether they’re a guy that’s racing for the championship.  And it goes both ways.  It’s not just a one‑way street.  We were racing for fourth in points in that race, and so there was a lot on the line for us as well as for them, and so I think that it just wasn’t very smart of Clint to run into me coming off of Turn 2 on the straightaway, almost cut my left rear tire down, and know that we had past history this year.
            And so afterwards, did it sit well with me knowing that that took his hopes out?  No.  He’s also a guy I would consider a friend.  There’s a lot of things that didn’t sit well with me after the fact.  But at the moment, it’s hard to kind of bring all that into your mind when you’re upset about a situation.  And that’s why I said, what I regret the most is that the situation got escalated because I lost control of my emotions and let that put me into a decision that obviously wasn’t a good one.
            I think everybody thinks I just intentionally went down there and wrecked him, and that’s not the case.  I wanted to make his life really miserable, and I wanted to make my car really, really wide, but I wasn’t expecting him to go diving down the inside on the apron, and when he did, it caused us to hook and caused what ended up being a terrible accident.
            Q.  Rick just addressed that the niche in the history of NASCAR is preserved well, four championships, five championships or more, and nobody questions the competitiveness, but could you have imagined going this many years without a championship after you got your fourth?  And what kind of an impact on you is that?
            JEFF GORDON:  Yeah, it’s definitely been tough.  Gosh, I look at the ‑‑ and a lot of people go through some incredible runs in the sport, and we went through one of the most amazing ones from ’95 through 2001.  I look back at the wins and the championships and the way things were going, and there was no stopping us.
            We’ve been close a couple of times.  The Chase has changed things a little bit for us, and there’s been a few changes here and there that we’ve had ‑‑ I’ve had to personally adapt to as a race car driver that have made it a little more challenging, but I think that’s what happens when you’re in the sport for a long period of time.
            I thought that we had a shot at winning one or two more over the years that would have been nice to have.  But hey, four is still pretty good.  I love how competitive this team is every year, going out there and battling for race wins and being in the Chase and battling for championships, no different than like what we did to make it into this year’s Chase.
            Q.  Jeff, after the race and the incident, Joey had some comme
nts I guess on Twitter and other places and Clint, and some of the themes were that it wasn’t very champion‑like and they’d lost a lot of respect for you.  Sort of a two‑part question.  Do you think your reputation has taken a hit either in the general public or amongst your peers, and now as the father of two young children I assume maybe Ella is old enough to have seen it or maybe have an understanding.  Have you had to have any conversation with her?  I know she saw the incident with Burton at Texas last year and you had to have a conversation with her.  Is this something as a father you’ve had to talk about?
            JEFF GORDON:  Yeah, they didn’t get a chance to see this one, so I haven’t had to have that conversation with her.  She knew that I was in a wreck, and like I have any conversations with her after I’ve had a wreck, explain to her how I’m fine and others were fine, but we didn’t have to get into all the details.
            Yeah, you know, I’ve been through a lot of moments throughout my career, some that I was more proud of than others.  This is definitely not one of my proudest moments, but I also understand what kind of led up to it and I stand by that.
            Will it take away from ‑‑ yeah, guys are going to ‑‑ if they get into incidents with you you’re going to tarnish your respect among guys.  I don’t think they’re going to be messing with me for a little while.  I think they realize that that message was sent pretty clear.  And I think that’s something, too.  It’s been a real up‑and‑down year for us, and I go on Twitter, too, and I interact with my fans.
            Throughout the last couple years I feel like one thing that maybe I haven’t done enough of is show the fire inside me that I have to want to win and want to win championships.  And I think that while I would have liked to have gone about it differently on Sunday, I think it did show that that fire and passion is inside of me in a big way.
            I would have liked the caution to be thrown, gotten our tires and gone back out and raced for a top‑15 spot in the race and tried to come in here and get as high up in the points as we possibly could and dealt with it with Clint at another time.  I feel like I race guys the way they race me, and nobody likes to get wrecked.  And so I think that for me there were some things that I had been taking advantage of, and so obviously enough was enough.  I usually like to make a mental note of them and hold onto those things and be patient with it and try to just outrace guys and move them out of the way and do things and wear them down that way and remind them of those things over a long period of time instead of taking them out right there at the moment.
            Q.  Rick, I apologize for going back to something that you said a few minutes ago, but I just had to ask about it.  Realizing, understanding the sad legacy of Martinsville, but when you said that winning the 200th race at Martinsville was more important than any championship, did you mean that across the big picture or just that day?
            RICK HENDRICK:  Well, I meant ‑‑ maybe I didn’t say it exactly right.  The disappointment of being that close to having ‑‑ let me rephrase it.  The low that I felt leaving that day was worse, it deeper down hurt more than the joy in some of the championships.  That’s what I meant.  I can’t explain how ‑‑ the disappointment that day, in all of the times that I have gone away from the track feeling bad and taken a long time to get over it.  That’s a personal thing, and all I’m saying to you folks is that that was a day that he and I had time together, he’s an emotional guy, he’s like a son, and we don’t carry it on our sleeves, but those people were there for the first time.  And so that’s what made it kind of double tough.
            Q.  Jeff, I’m just curious, have you had a chance or have you spoken to Clint or Joey?  Has there been any communication between the three of y’all?
            JEFF GORDON:  I have not spoken to Clint other than at the track on Sunday after the event in the NASCAR hauler.  And with Joey, you know, I’m not one that calls right away.  I like things to kind of settle down.  I’d really rather do face to face, but he called me and so I called him back, and I can’t say it went exactly very well.  I reached out to him again to try to get together with him here at the track, and I have not been able to speak with him.
            Q.  Are you happy the season is coming to an end?  Would you like to see it go on?  Do you need a recharge for the next couple of months?
            JEFF GORDON:  Well, I feel like this has been one of those seasons where I think we’re going to get momentum and things are going to start happening positively and we start to put some races together to find our way up further in the points, something just kind of reaches out and gets a hold of us and kind of knocks us back a little bit again.
            You know, our team has worked so hard this year, and I’m so proud of them.  We’ve had great race cars this year.  But yeah, we kind of do need a reset, and I’m looking forward to the 2013 car.  I tested it a couple weeks ago.  I thought it went really well.  I think we’ve got some great things in store for that.
            I think Hendrick Motorsports in general has shown how well they prepare when a new challenge is thrown at us like this new car.  So I think we’ve got some great things in store for us for next year.  This is a good track for us.  I look forward to this weekend.
            But I always ‑ it doesn’t matter how the season has gone ‑ look forward to taking a little time off.  Our season is long, but when you’ve had a season like I’ve had, then yeah, you’re definitely looking forward to taking a little break, spending some time with family.  But it’s also a very busy time.  It’s just not a busy time at the racetrack preparing for a race.
            Q.  How disappointing would it be if you weren’t in the top 10?
            JEFF GORDON:  Well, at this point, being 10th or 11th is ‑‑ to me that’s not what it’s all about.  I’m more disappointed that we don’t have a shot at being fifth because I felt like we had a legitimate shot at being in the top 5, and I think that would have been one incredible accomplishment for us the way our season has gone, even the way our Chase has gone, to be able to say that we finished in the top 5 this year.  At this point the difference between 10th and 11th or 12th is kind of insignificant.
            Q.  My question is about your being a champion.  As far as championships in general, that’s what this week is all about.  What would you think a contender must do to rise above or a few things a contender must do to rise above and become a champion?
            JEFF GORDON:  In t
his particular weekend or just in general?
            Q.  Yeah, in general, any champion.
            JEFF GORDON:  It’s the same ingredients I feel like that the champion has that comes out on top every year, and that’s teamwork, commitment, great leadership, and just a lot of hard work and effort that goes into building that team up to be ready to go do what you have to do for those 10 weeks in the Chase.  And I always believe that the best overall team wins the championship.  We’ll see what happens on Sunday, who that is, but I think that the best two are definitely up there.
            It’s not surprising to me that Brad is where he’s at.  Last year I thought that he showed a lot of maturity, I think that team showed a lot of strength, and they’re up against, what more can you say about the 48 team and what they’ve gone out and shown and do every year.
            Q.  When you said that you don’t think anybody would be messing with you, do you feel like this is over as far as between you and Clint, and then also, when you said it wasn’t kind of the right place or right time, do you feel like these things need to be handled on the track or off the track?
            JEFF GORDON:  Oh, there’s the million‑dollar question.  Well, obviously with the way the penalties are put out there, you can’t handle them on the racetrack.  But I think that you’ve got to handle it through how you race.  I mean, that’s ‑‑ I guess I’m a little old school when it comes to this.  Talking about 20 years, I’ve been wrecked, I’ve been caught up in other people’s wrecks, I’ve been on both sides of it, all sides of it throughout all these years, and I didn’t expect a phone call, I didn’t expect somebody to come and spend an hour with me explaining things, and usually the ones that did were the ones that did it just because they didn’t want you to wreck them back.
            So to me, you’ve got to understand the situation, and to me, like Joey getting caught up in it, I’m definitely sorry about that, and I take responsibility for that.  I want to try to make it up to him best I can.
            Another example I can give you is I wrecked Martin Truex a couple years ago at Sonoma, and I was racing Juan Pablo behind me, got in the corner two deep and ran into him, completely my fault, and I reached out to him because I did, I felt bad about it.  It had nothing to do with him, it wasn’t a racing ‑‑ like us racing hard or me having any animosity towards him at all.
            You know what, he and I never spoke.  I left him a voicemail, but we never spoke, never spoke at a racetrack, nothing, and we raced hard for, shoot, a year and a half of me racing him for position, sliding inside, doing everything I could not to wreck him to show him that this is how I’m going to treat you, and he raced me as hard as you can possibly race me knowing that he had that against me.
            And so, you know, that’s kind of the way that I like to go about things.  Somebody does something to me, I’m either going to ‑‑ if it’s a racing incident, I’m going to try to race them back in the same way they raced me.  If something happened by accident, then I’m going to understand that ‑‑ I’m going to make them kind of pay the price for making a dumb move, but at the same time, I’m going to be as respectful as I can over the situation.
            You know, every situation is unique, and I can’t control what’s going to happen out there or what other guys are going to do against me this weekend.  I’m going to focus on what I can do, and if ‑‑ I’m pretty sure if they’re having a good day, they’re not going to mess with me.  If they’re having a really bad day and feel like they have nothing to lose, then maybe they will.  We’ll see.  I prefer it to be handled on the racetrack, though.  I’m not the biggest guy in the world, and kind of one of the reasons I got into racing.  We’re all the same out there.
            Q.  It’s a little hypothetical here, but take yourself out, and if you were an outsider looking at what happened last week and somebody else was in your role, how do you think you would react to the whole situation and everything?
            JEFF GORDON:  I would tune in the following Sunday and see what happens.
            Q.  Given that, you think it is good for the ‑‑ has some validity to being good for the sport?
            JEFF GORDON:  They wouldn’t be advertising for the race using all those clips if it weren’t, I guess.  Nobody intends to go out and do that for that reason, but I mean, I’ve gained a lot of Twitter followers this week, and there’s certainly been a lot of talk, a lot of buzz, and I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of buzz around this race on Sunday for a lot of different reasons, not just that.
          
 
 

                                            
 
 

EARLY START FOR HPD’s 2013 SPORTS PROTOTYPE PROGRAM

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (November 16, 2012) – The first 2013-spec Honda Performance
Development, (HPD) ARX-03c LMP1 car – incorporating larger front tires as well as other
significant performance upgrades – will test for the first time at the Motorland Aragon Circuit in Spain, November 18-20.

British team Strakka Racing will conduct this inaugural test. Strakka’s ARX-03a, which achieved considerable success in this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship, has been subjected to an exciting upgrade package taking it to ‘03c’ (2013) specification. This upgrade includes wider Michelin front tires, plus new front-suspension geometry, steering configuration and bodywork.

As with its multiple race and championship-winning HPD ARX predecessors, the latest ARX-03c has been designed and developed with Wirth Research, taking full advantage of the company’s renowned all-digital aerodynamic and chassis development processes. Power comes from HPD’s efficient normally-aspirated 3.4-liter, V8 gasoline engine.
Strakka’s regular drivers, Jonny Kane and Nick Leventis, as well as Klaus Graf – who won the ALMS LMP1 crown in a Muscle Milk Pickett Racing-run HPD ARX-03a – will be behind the wheel at the test. Graf will fill the seat vacated by Danny Watts, who will be away in Asia on Macau Grand Prix duties during the Aragon test.

The test will almost certainly be viewed with great interest by privateer teams currently
competing at LMP1 level, as well as others looking to graduate to the premier class of sports
prototype racing.HPD Vice President Steve Eriksen commented: “In 2009, HPD showed the future direction ofLMP1 car design by pioneering the use of large rear tires on all four wheels of its radical, championship-winning LMP1 Acura ARX-02a prototype.
“Since then, all rival LMP1 manufacturers have adopted this concept, and the 2013 HPD ARX-03c will feature this large front-tire format, along with a raft of aerodynamic and mechanical updates, boosting all-around performance.”

Located in Santa Clarita, California, Honda Performance Development (HPD) is the Honda
racing company within North America. In 2012, HPD teams and drivers swept both the LMP1 and LMP2 sports prototype championships in the American Le Mans Series, and won the FIA World Endurance Championship in LMP2 – along with the LMP2 class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans – in partnership with Starworks Motorsport.

Chevy Racing–Homestead

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – BREAKOUT PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPTS:
 
Q. I know there’s so many people trying to downplay the mind games, but are you just trying to plant a seed in Brad’s (Keselowski)  mind?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, you definitely want to plant a seed, but the thing that I know is regardless of the prodding or poking I can do, that moment is coming.  The aha moment comes for everybody that’s in that championship battle.  It’s easy right now to focus on just the drivers because we’re here with the mics and doing this whole press conference.  But every guy that goes over the wall to perform the pit stops can have that moment and will have that moment.  Every guy turning a screw, a nut, putting fuel in the car, crew chiefing the race, engineering the race, everybody has the same thing on their mind.  You’re protecting something.  It is something we have all worked for our whole lives to get to this point.  It is a huge, huge moment.
            So regardless of what I say or needling I can do, those moments are going to show up, and if I can plant that seed and help spur that moment along, then cool.  But I’m not ‑‑ I didn’t come in here with a huge agenda today thinking that I was going to make a difference in that because I know those moments are going to come.  I’ve been there.
 
            Q.  So what is your mindset coming into this weekend?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  For whatever reason, I’m at peace with my situation.  I mean, I don’t want to be in this situation, but I am strangely optimistic, and I can’t explain why.  There’s just feelings that people have, and I’ll see if this feeling comes true Sunday evening.
 
            Q.  Does it work in your favor to be a five‑time champion?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  I don’t feel forgotten by any means, but the truth of it is there’s 20 points, 20 positions on the track.  If it was tighter there would probably be more concern, but the best part, and it came to me during the press conference, to help spur along any thoughts and to help distract the 2 team and especially Brad and his mindset, the questions that come and the focus, that helps the magnitude of this situation come along and brings that to the forefront of his mind quicker and quicker.
            I was smiling to hear family questions asked, and what this might mean and all that, because it’s very easy in your controlled environment to ignore all of those thoughts.  But when you’re in these situations you want to know, the fans want to know, those questions come out, and it makes you think about things that you don’t want to think about or talk about and maybe haven’t yet because why would you.  As a racer you don’t want to assume things.
            I was enjoying the questions and I enjoy the fact the spotlight is over there.  In fact, what the hell are you all doing over here?  Get over there and ask some questions.
 
            Q.  Everybody talks about Brad Keselowski being discovered in 2007.  A lot of young drivers don’t get a break.  Is it just a question of being in the right place at the right time for guys that gets them to where they are now?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, it is so tough to get noticed.  I mean, I have two younger brothers that would love to be in this sport and are talented, and you’d think I could pull strings, and I’ve tried.  It’s just weird what spurs it along, and in today’s world if you don’t have a sponsor, you’re not going to race.  And the era I came through, it was like that for sure, but team owners still had some flexibility for whatever reason and sponsors were kind of around, and if a team owner believed in you, they could sell you, and I had that with Stan and Randy Herzog.
            In today’s world, even Childress, you see the Nationwide sponsors change and drivers change and on and on, even on the Cup side.  Just because an owner believes in a driver, it doesn’t impact the sponsors like it did years ago, and you have to stand out so well or bring money.
            In this era, I don’t know how I would have stood out.  I mean, I barely made it through the system as I did, and very fortunate to have made it.  But I had the manufacturers carrying me.  I had Chevy carrying me along.
            I’m not sure people ‑‑ I’m not sure the manufacturers have the impact that they did at that point in time to even help me get here.
 
            Q.  Can you think of any examples during the years you won the championships of questions that got asked that may have affected you?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Out of my Cup experience, today starts it.  Today really does, because when you leave the race in Phoenix typically, you answer some questions, you go through some media stuff, and then you go to your bubble.  You go to your place where you can control the elements.  Family typically lays back, friends, you have all this encouragement.  You go to the shop, there’s a vibe you pick up on and all of that, but you come to the press conference and it changes that dynamic.
            And this is just the start of it because we’re available to everybody multiple times through the weekend.  Every camera in Florida will be on us in every practice session.  Every time I walk to and from the transporter, what are their moves, what are they thinking, how’s it going, I heard this on the radio.  All of that just ramps up.  Sunday of Phoenix until today it’s easy to create the environment you want, but from here moving forward it’s tough, and you have to do some things that make you uncomfortable, and that’s when that moment can kick in.
 
            Q.  (No microphone.)
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  I remember in qualifying for the year with Mark, so was that 2009, we didn’t have a very good practice session.  I was setting my car up to run the bottom of the racetrack, wasn’t all that fast.  Mark ran a blistering lap to be on the pole at the time, and I ran the top of the racetrack, which was kind of new down here for qualifying, and leading up to that, the pressure was on me to qualify well because qualifying is so important.  And then we go out there, never ran a lap around the top in qualifying trim, had no clue how the balance of the race car would be and sat it on the pole.  That was really from one extreme to the other, from being concerned and worried about how we were going to qualify and feeling the pressure to complete and utter relief that we pulled off a heck of a lap.
 
            Q.  Last week Brad was pretty outspoken.  I’m sure even if you tried to stay in your bubble I’m sure you heard it, about the competition on the track.  Do you expect some more of that this week?  It was kind of a crazy week last week even if you took w
hat happened to you out.
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, the last 10 laps or five laps, whatever that was, pretty wild.  You know, I still haven’t seen the clip.  I understand if you watch it on television there’s going to be a lot of beeps because you can’t hear it all.  But he has a point, and he wanted to make a point, and he did.  So the thing that ‑‑ that’s all relative to Phoenix.  The thing I didn’t understand was maybe some of the criticism he took for racing me at Texas.  I guess I was in my bubble and didn’t really see any of that.
            But I mean, it was just hard racing there.  I was shocked to hear that he was hazed for some of that.
 
            Q.  Do you think that this week they’ll worry about the other people around?  You guys are in your control when you’re that good at racing, it’s really pretty much what happens around you guys unless you two are racing each other.
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Well, if we’re racing each other I’m in trouble.  We need a big gap between where I am and where he is.  That’s really the bottom line.  You know, this is a different championship battle for me, and I have no problem doing things that I typically wouldn’t do.  I mean, if I was coming down here as the points leader I would want to limit these moments, and since I’m not, I’ll do anything you guys want and need.  It’s different.  I’ve got to play the hand that’s dealt to me, and anything I can do to be effective, I’m going to take that opportunity to do it.
 
            Q.  Just to follow up on earlier, you said you’re coming into this weekend optimistic.  Do you believe you can still win this thing?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  I do believe.  I do believe we can win our sixth title.  The IndyCar championship is the best example of that this isn’t over until the checkered flag falls.  A lot can happen.  So we just need to make sure we’re buttoned up and do the best job we can and see where the chips fall.
 
            Q.  You noted earlier how the unexpected (inaudible) what was the unexpected or variable that stood out to you?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  For me it was answering questions that I wasn’t ready for.  When you’re asked questions specific about the race and your setup and your mindset, you’ve been geared up for that knowing this press conference is coming, and you’re ready for that.  But the left field questions about your family and what that means to you and what it might mean to your community, your neighborhood where you’re born and raised, those are things you just never think of.  And it didn’t dawn on me until we were in there and the questions were asked that I’m like, these are those moments, this is when it becomes real and the magnitude of this race starts to set in.
 
            Q.  Do people treat you differently this time of year than they do at the beginning of the Chase?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  I think my personal life, family, home situation has evolved, and some of it is due to the fact that I personally have been able to relax a lot more in the space.  In 2006 we still laugh, my wife and I do, my friends, my attorney Allen Miller, Kristine (Curley), how tense it was in ’06 trying to get the first one.  Really ’04 and ’05 leading up to it, and then it had all the pressure on us in ’06.  We know what to expect on most levels, and this year going into the Chase we talked about things, and I just ‑‑ it’s unlike me to be selfish, so I shared with my wife, I said, look, there are going to be aspects of this where I’m going to need some me time and do this, this and this and spend time training, spend time at the shop, spend time here and there, and of course she’s 100 percent supportive and understanding of it all.
            But as we all know, communication is everything.  Just to kind of lay that out there and say I might be a little different for 10 weeks, you know why, and she certainly knows why and is extremely supportive.  It’s been great, and I had that moment and talk, and we communicated about how I thought these next 10 weeks would be very intense and blinders on.  But we’ve been performing so well that I’ve been far more relaxed than any other championship.
            And then with a two year old in the house, I mean, it lightens any mood, and it’s been ‑‑ sure, there’s work and it’s very important, but home is so much fun.  I mean, we are having a total blast, and it’s been a great kind of tension breaker through the course of the week.
 
            Q.  The first time I ever heard your name you had gone (inaudible) and climbed out.  Would you mind giving me chapter and verse your memory of that moment?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Well, I was convinced it was the end of me when I was flying through the air and saw the white wall.  I thought it was concrete.  Fortunately it was two layers of styrofoam and some other soft stuff behind it.  The car caught on fire.  My neck muscles were not working.  I couldn’t hold my neck up to kind of look out the windshield and see where I was.  My chin was on my sternum.  I could feel the heat, I could see kind of a fire and I knew I needed to get out, and as I got out of the car my neck started to work again, and when I got up and out of the car, the fans were jumping up and down and happy to see me climb out of the race car, and that led to my excitement to climb on the roof and jump up and down like I did.
 
            Q.  Did that have an impact on the way people recognize you or the way you were moving through the ranks at the time?  Was there a recognition factor?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  You might ask (Jeff) Gordon more in depth, but I think that was a moment where Jeff like put a face with a name for me.  Then later on there were other things that helped put together the relationship with Hendrick Motorsports and Chevrolet being a part of that and then Rick’s son Ricky.  But Jeff told me a story a long time ago that that really helped me, oh, that’s Jimmie Johnson.  He knew there was a name, knew there was a car out there but didn’t know much about me, and that kind of framed that in.
 
            Q.  First time you saw it on film what did you think?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Same thing I think about now when I see it on film, I can’t believe I made it through that.
 
            Q.  (No microphone.)
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  I’m just not that smart, so I can only focus on a couple things at a time, so it helps.  I’m curious.
 
            Q.  (No microphone.)
            JIMMIE JOHNSON
:  I’m still lost on the conspiracy theory.  To take out third place?  I haven’t seen the video.  I don’t know.  NASCAR has it fixed; I’m supposed to win anyways, which always confuses me.  If they have it fixed and want me to win so badly, why the hell do they bust Chad like they do?  Their conspiracy idea just makes no sense.
 
            Q.  Is there any discussion that you’ll have with Jeff or Kasey?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  No, no.  There is ‑‑ I mean, sure, they probably won’t make it easy.  I wouldn’t expect Sam to make it easy on me.  The thing about racing is, sure, there isn’t a race next weekend, so I might feel like you can get away with something more, but there’s just some unwritten rules, and the integrity and the type of place that Hendrick Motorsports is, that game is not going to be played.  I don’t think it really ever has, even with some pretty rough‑and‑tumble organizations.  You don’t commission someone to go out and torpedo your competition.  It just doesn’t happen.
            You know, I hope my teammates race him hard.  I hope everybody on the racetrack races him hard.  But typically when you get to Homestead and if the championship contenders put pressure on someone, nine times out of ten they point them by, and that’s something I had in years past when we had something to protect.  I knew if I put pressure on someone they’d let me go.  There were a couple that wouldn’t but most would let you go.  That’s one thing that isn’t working in my favor for this weekend.
 
            Q.  It’s interesting when you look at a lot of the champions, they were raised by fathers whose attention that they seek really bad.  I was interested to hear Brad talking about he doesn’t hear compliments about himself unless behind the scenes.  Earnhardt was like that to Dale Jr.  A lot of the driven drivers in our sport have fathers like that.  But your dad is such a wonderful, hugging, genteel kind of guy as you see him walk down pit road.  I’m wondering if you sense any kind of a feeling that you had that, kind of striving to prove yourself to your own dad that you see from a lot of the competitors at the elite level.
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  No, I had all the support, and even if I wasn’t feeling up for a race that weekend ‑‑ there’s a point when I was in grade school, middle school where we had raced so many times, and I watched all my friends develop and be good at baseball, basketball, football, have a social life, and I got to a point where I said, look, I want to be a kid, and the last thing my parents ever wanted to do was pressure me, so we stopped.  We stopped.  And that was really the end of my motocross racing at that point.
            The thing that got me was it took ‑‑ usually takes me a while to figure something out, and once I have it, I have it.  I would watch my other friends that I would grow up with out‑race me on a dirt bike, and it would just motivate me to try harder.  Then I got into the off‑road ranks and I was really young racing against 30‑somethings all the time, and here I am at 15, 16, 18, all that kind of stuff, and I just really internalized it all and found my own drive inside to do it.  It wasn’t to prove a point to anyone but myself that I could do it.  That’s really what it’s all been about.
 
            Q.  (No microphone.)
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Not specifically.  I mean, at one point he was the leader of the race, and we had never talked about the 2 all day long on the radio.  You know, when I got to seventh eighth and couldn’t go any further and sold out in my mind, all I wanted was a shot down here, and if we came in tied one up, one down, whatever we did, that’s fine by me.  I just didn’t want to be in this position and be 20 down.
            They didn’t force our hand.  The run before that on the racetrack we made up three seconds on the leader.  That run the car was a lot tighter with that set of tires we put on, and I was just driving hard.  Goodyear claimed that it was the bead, which it could be, but the damage to the tire was so severe it’s hard for us to really pinpoint what it was.  We had some high wear on sets that came off earlier, so it could have been a combination of things.  We saw the 31 Cup car, 31 truck, the 88 had a tire issue and came to pit road just before my crash.  So I’m not saying it was a bad tire, but I think that if you were abusing a tire you could have hurt it, and that’s certainly what we did, and we hurt the tire and hit the fence.
            It wasn’t Brad related, it was just trying to run hard and get a good finish because I wanted to come in here close.
 
            Q.  While you were up on stage with Brad, you both displayed a lot of class.  What do you think a contender needs to be able to have to become a champion?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Well, I don’t think ‑‑ there’s no prerequisite.  There’s no requirements for anybody.  You know, I think people ‑‑ as you progress as a driver and become a champion, you start to assume the role, you start to better understand the role.  But somebody could be very disliked and not be the ‑‑ people might look at them and say there’s no way that champion’s material and they’ll still be the champion.  That’s what I’m getting at.
            I’m sure people looked at me in ’06 and said he’s not going to be a good champion for our sport.  But you learn that role when you’re in the middle of it, and some people get aggressive with it and are strong‑minded with it, and others kind of take their time with it.  Which over five championships I finally felt like I had a voice.  I feel like from my standpoint I’ve always had to earn that right.  Others are much quicker to it.
 
            Q.  Do you see any of that in Brad?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Just a little.  (Laughter.)
 
            Q.  Does this championship feel like such a different scenario for you?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, I mean, there was ‑‑ in ’05 we came down here behind Tony, and I think Tony had to finish 25th or better and we were running near the front, had a tire blow going into Turn 3 and crashed, and I think Tony finished like 23rd or 24th in the race and did not have a good race.  I think he got lapped at some point.  So when I look back on ’05, I hate that we had that problem.  I felt like I had a tire going down and an issue and didn’t come to pit road.  So there is a lesson in that, that again, it isn’t over until the checkered falls.  If we would have stayed in the race, even if we went down a lap from pitting ‑‑ I don’t think there were lucky dogs then, but maybe we could have got a lap back, or whatever it was, but keep the pressure on is the bottom line.  That’s my goal all weekend long, keep the pressure on and see what happens.
  I mean, it isn’t over until the checkered falls.
 
ADDITIONAL JIMMIE JOHNSON QUOTES FROM EARLIER BREAKOUT SESSION MONITORED BY KRISTA VODA AND KERRY THARP:
 
Q.  Jimmie, a somewhat strange position for you this weekend because in four out of five years you’ve won the championship you’ve come into Homestead leading the points.  Now similar to 2010, you come in as the chaser.  I know the answer to this question, but I’m going to ask it anyway:  Can you pull off another late‑race comeback?
 
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, I definitely think it’s possible.  You look at our bad luck last weekend, there’s still a race here, and there’s still tires on these race cars, and something can happen there.  There’s still a lot of very tough competition on the track.  This just isn’t any other race; this is the championship race, and there’s a lot that comes with that.
            I’m very optimistic.  I think that we’ll have a very fast race car, and we’ll go out onto the racetrack and do all that we can each and every lap of every practice session qualifying and race, and see how things play out.
            I find another point of motivation and optimism; we look at the IndyCar championship and how it unfolded at Fontana.  It seemed like it was a lay‑up race, and things can happen.  This is racing.  I think either way we’ll be in good shape.  We’ll have a fast race car and go out and race hard, and then if some luck comes our way, we’ll hopefully be ready to capitalize on that, as well.
 
Q.  Jimmie, given the deficit, do you feel like you have to root for something bad to happen to Brad Keselowski, or would you consider roughing him up in order to put him back somewhere in the back of the field?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Well, I think that to think that a top‑15 finish is a lay‑up is tough.  This garage area is tough, the weight of this race, I don’t care who you are, it’ll show up at some point in time and thoughts will run through your head, and with all that being said, a 15th place finish is not a lay‑up for these guys.  So I have a little bit of stock in that, and we’ll see how they respond.  Their trends this year have been strong, but this is a different race.
            Then as far as the luck category, we were unlucky as anybody can be.  There’s that element that exists out there, and we’ll just see where it all unfolds.  There’s a line of racing hard, to answer your final part of your question, and we both have proven we’re willing to race hard, and I certainly am willing to race hard down here.  It’s not my style to go drive through somebody and create the opportunity; that’s not me.  So I’m going to race as hard as I possibly can and see where things fall.
 
Q.  Will you have your teams let you know how you stand, or is that too much to think about during the race?  Do you want to know where the other guy is, how many positions you’ve got to get, or do you kind of wait until you get down to the last 50 laps to start thinking about stuff like that?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, if we get to the end of the race and they’re not having the day that they would hope to have, that information could ‑‑ it’s really probably not going to change anything that I do.  I still need every spot I can get on the track.  But I’m sure information will come in, and even if it isn’t specific, I can tell ‑‑ I will be able to tell by the tone in Chad’s voice if we’re in the good or the bad.  (Laughter.)
 
Q.  As the psych major or the pretend psych major of the group, Jimmie, I can’t help but notice you brought up the IndyCar championship and what happened there.  You said a top 15 finish is no lay‑up.  It seems you’re kind of tweaking it a little bit, maybe intentional, maybe not, and we know from the past, I guess, two championships you guys messed with Denny Hamlin a little bit up there, Carl Edwards got a little rattled from Tony Stewart.  Maybe you’re doing it on purpose, maybe you’re not.  Is that the intent, to put the weight on Brad Keselowski?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  You know, of course I’m going to find points that give myself motivation and my team, and if there’s anything I can do, and Brad, if you’d like me to call later and remind you of any other examples, I certainly can, of guys that didn’t pull off the season finale as they would hope.
            But one thing I’ve learned is that regardless of how experienced anyone is in this championship battle, at some point the magnitude of it hits you.  At some point, he may be very comfortable and calm now, it may not happen until he’s in the car, but at some point that magnitude hits, and I’ve lived through it five times.  That’s a turning moment, and we’ll see how he responds.  It also carries over to guys changing tires.  There’s some point where every member on that race team goes, this is it, this is what I’ve worked so hard far.  I’ll be glad to point out those moments as needed.
 
Q.  Jimmie, you said that at some point the magnitude hits you for everybody, and it affects the contenders in some way.  A few weeks ago Dale Earnhardt Jr. said about Brad Keselowski that he’s so mentally tough he didn’t think he was going to crack.  Is there something you see from Brad that makes you think otherwise, and what happens in that moment when the magnitude does hit you?  How do you respond to it?  What makes that championship mettle that you need to win a championship?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Well, me trying to explain what it’s like and how I’ve handled it would probably be kind of stupid of me right now, so I’m going to not answer the second part of your question.
            The first part is the magnitude sets in at some point.  I mean, he just answered a question about family, and I’ve been there, and I’ve been the guy leading the points, and people are so curious to know all these what‑ifs, what if it happens, and you’re forced to answer questions that you’re not used to answering, that you don’t want to answer, and it builds through the course of the week.
            Again, it hits everybody differently, and there’s no guarantees how it’ll hit him.  But I know from my own experience that there have been those moments.  Fortunately I responded well to them.  We’ll see how the weekend goes.
 

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