RRDC VOTES IN 42 NEW MEMBERS FOR 2012HILLIARD, Ohio (Oct. 24, 2012) – Thirty race-car drivers have been voted into the Road Racing Drivers Club as Regular members for 2012. The group has won a collective 66 season championships and more than 700 races, including an incredible 32overall victories at Le Mans. Also, 12 Associate and Honorary members were voted in, six in each category, raising the membership of the RRDC to 407. Voting was held among all current RRDC members.“This is truly a stellar group of talented race-car drivers and contributors to the sport,” said RRDC president Bobby Rahal. “We are honored that each of them has enthusiastically accepted membership in the RRDC. We look forward to working with them as the RRDC continues to pursue its goals of lending its expertise to up-and-coming drivers through a variety of programs.”While Regular RRDC members are race-car drivers who have competed at the championship level, the criteria for Associate membership includes drivers who have participated successfully in major professional events or in lesser and/or historic events, as well as drivers who have significant ties to racing, such as corporate, sponsorship, mentoring, patronage and promotion.Honorary members are distinguished senior international motorsports champions, team owners and others who have demonstrated a life-long commitment in support of racing through active volunteerism, officiating and/or promotion of the sport generally.For additional information and driver head shots, go to www.rrdc.org.In alphabetical order, here are the 30 new Regular members:MARCOS AMBROSE: Won four Tasmanian junior karting titles, plus the Australian championship in ’95. European FF champion in ’99. Australian Supercar Series Rookie of the Year in ’01, champion in ’03 and ’04. Gambled all on NASCAR, running in the Craftsman Truck and Nationwide Series, before landing a Sprint Cup seat in ’08. Has four road course victories – two Cup, one Nationwide at Watkins Glen, plus a Nationwide win at Montreal.PETER ARGETSINGER: ’74 German FF Rookie of the Year, ’78 British Driver of the Year, British FF and European FF Champion in ’80. Moved to sports cars in ’85 with much success. Lead instructor for Brands Hatch, BMW, Audi and Skip Barber schools; private coach to Damon Hill, Juan Pablo Montoya and other noted pro drivers.FRANK BIELA: Touring Car champ ’91. French Touring Car champ in ‘93. British Touring Car champ and Autosport National Racing Driver of the Year in ’96. Drove for Audi at 24 Hours of Le Mans every year from ’99 to ’08, winning in ’00, ’01, ’02, ’06 and ’07 (with Kristensen, Pirro and Werner).RINALDO “DINDO” CAPELLO: Veteran Audi team driver. ’85 thru ‘88 Italian F3 champ. ’90, ’92, ’93, ’96 Italian Touring Car champ, Group A. ‘96 Italian Super Touring Car champ. ’00, ’02, ’06, ’07, ‘08 Petit Le Mans winner. ’01, ’02, ’06, 07, ’09, ‘12 Sebring winner (record, tied with Kristensen). ’03, ’04, ‘08 Le Mans 24 winner. ’00, ’06, ‘07 ALMS LMP champ.EDDIE CHEEVER, JR.: Started in karts in Italy and raced for almost 30 years in F1, sports cars,CART and IRL. Won the Italian and European karting championships at age 15.Raced in both F3 and F2. Started 132 F1 races, more than any other American(’78-’89). Scored nine podiums and 70 championship points. Was CART Rookie of the Year at Indy in ’90. Formed his own IRL team in ’97, and won the ’98 Indy 500 as both owner and driver.RYAN DALZIEL: Top rookie and Ecurie Ecosse Trophy winner in ’99 British Formula Vauxhall Championship. 2nd overall and top rookie in ’00 Formula Renault. British F3 in ’01, followed by 2nd in U.S. Formula Atlantic in both ’03 and ’04. ChampCar, GRAND-AM and ALMS since. Six top-10 ChampCar finishes in ’07. Rolex 24 at Daytona overall winner, ’10.ANDREW DAVIS: SCCA South Atlantic Champion in ’97, ’98 and ’99. Multiple top-five finishes in Formula Ford in ’00. ALMS competitor in ’01 thru ’03, and GRAND-AM Rolex Series in ’03 to present in GT class, overall champion in ’11. AARWBA All-America Team, SPEED TV Top-Ten GRAND-AM Driver and Porsche Sport Driving School.ADRIAN FERNANDEZ: Began in motocross at age 8. Ran 24 Hours of Mexico at age 18. Mexican F3 Champion ’91. Indy Lights Rookie of the Year ’92. 194 career starts in CART, IndyCar and ChampCar ’93-’04 with 11 wins and 25 podiums. 2nd in points in ’00. ALMS LMP2 champion ’09.OLIVER GAVIN: Started as British club racer. McLaren BRDC Award in ’91. Autosport BritishClub Driver of the Year in ’92. British F3 champion in ’95. Later became Corvette factory team driver. Ran at Le Mans every year from ’01 (Saleen) and ‘02 to ’12 (Corvette). Four-time class winner and 4th overall in ’06. 2012 ALMS GT Champion.DICK GULDSTRAND: A career Corvette specialist, drove to consecutive Pacific Coast titles, ’63-’65, plus Daytona 24 GT Class win in ’66. Set GT track record at Le Mans in ’67.Developed, raced and won with Camaros in the Trans-Am Series and with Lola in Can-Am for James Garner. First inductee into Corvette Hall of Fame. Engineers and produces performance equipment and special-edition Corvettes.JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: Started in karting, then finished 3rd in the Bridgestone Academy F2000 Series in ’02. Rookie of the Year in Formula BMW USA with four poles and three wins. Moved to Star Mazda then Firestone Indy Lights, finishing second with threewins in ’10. Rookie of the Year in IZOD IndyCar Series with Newman-Haas Racing in ’11.JACKY ICKX: At one time led all drivers in Le Mans 24 overall victories with six. Won numerous other premier sports car races including Monza 1000, Nurburgring 1000 and Kayalami 9-Hour. Scored eight victories and 17 other podiums in 116 Formula 1 starts over 13 seasons – ’67-’79. Co-drove over the years with RRDC members Brian Redman and Derek Bell with whom he shared three of his Le Mans victories. Ickx was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in ‘02.MICHEL JOURDAIN, JR.: Raced from age 12 in Mexican Formula Junior, Formula 2 and Sports Prototypes from ’88-‘95, then transitioned to IRL and CART beginning in ’96. Drove for Team Scandia/Simon, Herdez/Bettenhausen and Team Rahal, among others, including Indy 500. Finished 3rd in CART Championship in ’03. Many starts in NASCAR Nationwide Series in ’05-’08.LEHMAN “LEH” KEEN: GRAND-AM Rolex GT Champion in ’09 with Farnbacher Loles and ’11 with Brumos Racing. Winner ’10 Sebring 12-Hour GT3 class with Alex Job Racing. In ’10, was second in GT2 (12th o/a) at Le Mans, then won Nurburgring in a Farnbacher Loles Ferrari 430. 2012 ALMS GTC class runner-up.TOM KRISTENSEN: Winningest driver in Le Mans 24-Hour history with eight victories, including six in a row – ‘2000-’05. Also has claimed (with Capello) a record six Sebring 12-Hour victories – ’99, ’00, ’05, ’06, ’09, ’12. ALMS champion, ’02. The most successful endurance racer ever, he as been an Audi factory driver since 2000. Has raced the R8, R10 TDI, R15 TDI and now the R18 sports cars, as well as six versions of the A4 DTM.
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RCR Post Race Report
TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
TUMS Fast Relief 500
October 28, 2012
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 12th (Paul Menard), 22nd (Jeff Burton) and 32nd (Kevin Harvick).
Menard gained seven positions in the final 10 percent (50 laps) of the TUMS Fast Relief 500, ranking him third in the NASCAR Loop Data category of Closers, while Burton gained four positions ranking him fourth.
Menard ranked 14th-Fastest on Restarts with an average speed of 90.388 mph, made 81 Green Flag Passes and 23 Quality Passes according to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics.
Burton made 75 Green Flag Passes during the 500-lap race.
Burton was the 14th-Fastest Driver Late in a Run with an average speed of 90.423 mph.
Harvick posted eight of the Fastest Laps Run in the 33rd points-paying event of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and Menard turned five.
Harvick spent 250 laps running in the Top 15 during the TUMS Fast Relief 500, made 82 Green Flag Passes and 34 Quality Passes.
Jimmie Johnson captured his fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of the 2012 season and was followed to the finish line by Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer.
The next scheduled Sprint Cup Series race is the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Nov. 4. The race is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
TUMS FAST RELIEF 500
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER POST RACE NOTES AND QUOTES
OCTOBER 28, 2012
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – WINNER
THIS IS YOUR FIRST RACE IN THE CHASE THIS SEASON. YOU TOLD US THIS WAS GOING TO BE THE DAY YOU WOULD WALK OUT OF HERE IN CHAMPIONSHIP FORM. YOU ARE NOW THE POINT LEADER BY TWO POINTS. WHAT GOT IT DONE TODAY?
“We just had a great race car. And I think we’ve also learned our lesson here in the past in not pitting late and that certainly came into play and we made the right decision there. I’m so torn with emotion right now with winning here; and I’m so happy to be in the point lead. But I can’t help but think of all the people in 501RH a few years back. Also you can see on my car, Rick (Hendrick) wrote here in here Todd Rose passed away recently and I certainly want to mention him as well. I’m ecstatic about the win today and ecstatic about the point lead, but this is no cake-walk. These guys are bringing their best each and every week and we’ve got to keep working hard to keep this Lowe’s Chevy up front; and we’re in good shape.”
KNOWING HOW FAR BACK BRAD KESELOWSKI STARTED AND TO KNOW HE WAS AHEAD OF YOU ON THAT LAST RESTART HE WAS AHEAD OF YOU AND OPTED TO STAY OUT. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?
“I felt like it was going to be a problem for him. I mean, we’ve been there before and have stayed out and gotten beaten. I expected him to drop a little further back, so with only a 2-point margin, he must have stayed up in the top five somewhere. You just can’t count out good race teams. When you’re in the playoffs, it doesn’t matter what sport it is, teams step up to show what they’re made of. We’ve seen a lot of teams do it this Chase. Out team came out on top today, and a few more racing doing that, we should be in good shape.”
NORMALLY YOUR WIFE WATCHES BACK IN THE BUS, BUT THE BABY WASN’T HERE TODAY. SHE WAS ON THE BOX. WAS SHE THE LUCKY CHARM?
“I think so. She was at a wedding yesterday with some great friends and got here right before the race started without our daughter. I know Evie is watching at home and I can’t wait to get home and see her. This is a great day. I with my daughter was here, but Chani made it and we’re going to have a nice drive home tonight.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET – FINISHED THIRD
YOU GUYS HAD TO WORK ON YOUR RACE CAR THROUGHOUT THE DAY. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?
“Yeah, we had to battle pretty hard. But luckily all the Hendrick Motorsports cars were pretty good today and congrats to the No. 48 team. Those guys did a great job. We were right there. We just, man, I think my window to race in is really small at this track. I make it hard on (crew chief) Kenny Francis and the guys. But Jimmie Johnson’s window is I guess big, and mine’s (not); it’s hard, like I’ll be loose, and then the next round I’ll be tight and it’s just so hard to find that fine line. But we ended up third, which is my best run in a long time here and I felt pretty good all day.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 PEPSI MAX CHEVROLET – FINISHED SEVENTH
THOSE FINAL LAPS TYPICAL MARTINSVILLE?
“Yeah we were on the outside and I mean we were sitting ducks on the outside. I was just trying to get down. I felt like I got down in front of him (Clint Bowyer) but maybe I didn’t I don’t know I haven’t seen the video. Pretty typical Martinsville with Clint Bowyer and the No. 24 car here it’s not the first time. I like Clint (Bowyer) a lot we race really hard together and we were just racing hard right there.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR YOUR TEAM TO HAVE A GREAT RUN TODAY BECAUSE THE CAR WAS STOUT?
“It was really strong especially the first half. That meant a lot to me and this team and our sponsors Pepsi Max, Drive To End Hunger, DuPont and Quaker State everybody that makes such a great effort. This team made an amazing effort the pit stops were great, the car was dialed in. I don’t know I think we wore the left-rear tire out or something on that real long run and it started getting extremely loose. We made a nice come back from there and the last thing we wanted was to be on the outside on those last two restarts and we were and it costs us.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING/FARM AMERICAN CHEVROLET – FINISHED 15TH
“As was the case in Kansas last week our performance today was better than the finish. We were running in the top five when I got hit and spun out. That knocked us back in track position and we were fighting to get back on the lead lap. This is our third race together and I am happy with the progress. The potential is there and we’re getting closer each week. The pit stops were phenomenal and they played a big role in getting us to the front. The spin was obviously a major blow to us today, but we also had a vibration in the Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet for the majority of the race and that affected the car’s handling.”
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 DIET MOUNTAIN DEW/NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET – FINISHED 21ST
HOW DO YOU FEEL AND WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THAT RUN OVERALL?
“I don’t know it was alright. We didn’t have a really good car and fought some issues all day long. Just made some poor choices at the end that got us run over.”
CARL (EDWARDS) CAME OVER HERE AND TALKED TO YOU WHAT DID HE SAY?
“That it was just a tough deal. Somebody had run over somebody from way back.”
HOW DID IT FEEL TO BE BACK IN THE CAR?
“It felt pretty good. I was just really pissed off about how we finished that race. That was really ridiculous. I mean you’ve got to use a little common sense that was not a good move.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 RHEEM CHASING THE CURE CHEVROLET – FINISHED 32nd
SIDELINED ON LAP 474 WITH ENGINE ISSUES:
“The motor wouldn’t run all day. Couldn’t restart in second gear. Just hasn’t been a great year. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. At least we got the car handling pretty good and we were up inside the top-10. Motor blew-up.”
Chevrolet Clinches NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers’ Championship; 2012 Title is the 10th Consecutive and 36th Overall for the Bowtie Brand
DETROIT (October 28, 2012) – Jimmie Johnson’s victory in the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway clinched the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers’ Championship for Chevrolet. It is the 10th consecutive year, and the 36th time overall that the Bowtie Brand has captured the prestigious title in NASCAR’s top series.
“Chevrolet is truly honored to win the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers’ Championship for the 10th consecutive year and the 36th time overall,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “This award is the result of a relentless effort by the Chevrolet team owners, drivers, crew chiefs, crews and technical partners. Many laps remain to be run in the balance of 2012. Chevrolet and the teams remain committed to a strong finish.”
In the 33 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races run to-date in 2012, Chevrolet drivers have captured 12 victories. Chevrolet won its first Manufacturers’ Cup in 1958, and now with the 2012 Cup secured, Chevrolet has reached an unprecedented 36th title.
“Winning Chevrolet’s 36th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers’ Championship has been a dedicated effort of focus and cooperation by our teams, technical partners and Chevrolet’s engineers,” added Pat Suhy, Chevrolet Racing NASCAR Group Manager. “Everyone associated with Team Chevy in the Sprint Cup Series has worked tirelessly throughout the season to meet the challenges, and to give our drivers race cars that are competitive and reliable. Thank you to everyone whose passion has brought this award to Chevrolet.”
The Team Chevy drivers that have contributed manufacturers’ points that resulted in the title for Chevrolet are: Jimmie Johnson (four wins); Tony Stewart (three wins); Kasey Kahne (two wins); Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (one win); Jeff Gordon (one win); Ryan Newman (one win); Kevin Harvick; Paul Menard and Jamie McMurray.
“I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to our teams, drivers and technical partners on winning the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers’ Championship for Chevrolet for the 36th time,” said Alba Colon, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. “The spirit of cooperation among all of our teams is extraordinary, and has allowed us to give them the right tools to be competitors on the track, as well as partners for the benefit of Chevrolet. To achieve this accomplishment 10 consecutive years is a remarkable feat with the level of competition in the Sprint Cup Series.”
With three races remaining in the 2012 season, Jimmie Johnson is the current points leader and Kasey Kahne sits fourth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings. Other Team Chevy Chase drivers current ranking in the top-12 point standings: Jeff Gordon – sixth; Tony Stewart – 10th; Kevin Harvick – 11th and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – 12th.
HPD Racing Report
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Six Hours of Shanghai Race Report
Circuit: Shanghai International Speedway (3.387-mile road course) Shanghai, China
Weather: Hazy, mild, 73 degrees F
HPD Concludes World Championship Season With Podium Finishes in Shanghai
After clinching its first FIA World Championship title two weeks ago in Japan, Honda Performance Development wrapped up its inaugural season of World Endurance Championship competition with class podium finishes in both the P1 privateer and P2 categories Sunday at the season-ending Six Hours of Shanghai in China.
For the second consecutive race, the British JRM team led the way for HPD, finishing second in the privateer class and fifth overall to equal its best result of the season, scored two weeks ago at the Six Hours of Fuji.
The JRM trio of David Brabham, Karun Chandhok and Peter Dumbreck started its Honda-powered HPD ARX-03a from the privateer category pole and fourth overall, their best qualifying result of 2012. The team fought both fellow HPD team Strakka Racing and a pair of Lola Toyotas from the Swiss Rebellion Racing organization for the opening two hours.
The Strakka HRX-02a was delayed first by a puncture, then contact from a factory Audi P1 entry required a second unscheduled pit stop to replace the rear bodywork, dropping the team several laps off the pace and putting drivers Jonny Kane, Nick Leventis and Danny Watts into recovery mode for the remainder of the race.
In the final hour, a series of dramatic events determined the result. Following contact while passing a GTcategory Corvette, JRM had to pit to replace damaged bodywork, resulting in a long final pit stop, while mechanical failure ended the day for the Rebellion entry of Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost with just minutes left in the race. Brabham chased down the second Rebellion Lola in the closing laps, but took the final checkered flag of the season in second, just 8.7 seconds short of the class win, with Strakka rounding out the privateer podium, third.
Running the final two WEC races of 2012 with Honda power, the French OAK Racing team of Bertrand Baguette, Dominik Kraihamer and IZOD IndyCar Series regular Takuma Sato were delayed by brake issues, but completed 131 laps for an seventh-place finish.
In P2, the Florida-based Starworks team followed their world championship-clinching finish at Fuji with another second-place run for drivers Ryan Dalziel, Enzo Potolicchio and Stephane Sarrazin. The trio crossed the finish line in its HPD ARX-03b Honda just 36 seconds behind the class winning ADR-Delta team, after six hours of trouble-free racing.
In 2012, the first year for both HPD and Starworks on the world championship stage brought P2 class victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Six Hours of Sao Paulo in the eight-race series. It is the first world championship for engine and chassis supplier HPD of Santa Clarita, California, and the first FIA world championship for an American-based organization since1968, when Ford won the FIA International Championship for Manufacturers.
Today’s race in China concluded the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship. The 2013 season opens on April 14 with the Six Hours of Silverstone in England and will once again include eight races in Europe, North and South America, and Asia
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
TUMS FAST RELIEF 500
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
OCTOBER 26, 2012
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET, met with members of the media and discussed his success at Martinsville, earning points during the Chase, the stress among championship contenders, his teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr. returning to race after two weeks on the sidelines, and more. Full Transcript:
TALK ABOUT COMING TO MARTINSVILLE
“You drive in here and you still get a sense of a previous era unlike a lot of race tracks. I really enjoy coming here and Darlington. You got to have a view back into what NASCAR was years ago. I still think that environment exists here and it’s fun to come to the track and race. Then from a fan prospective you get a great action packed race. You’re up and close and right near the cars. I enjoy watching cars myself here on the race track. It’s just a fun place and I’m excited to be here.”
HAVE YOU REALLY GOT WITH CHAD (KNAUS, CREW CHIEF) AND RON (MALEC, CAR CHIEF) AND GONE THROUGH EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED IN KANSAS? ARE YOU STILL KIND OF BLOWN AWAY BY WHAT TOOK PLACE AND THE CAR YOU HAD ONCE THEY WERE FINISHED REPAIRING IT?
“Yeah, after the race we looked around and did some serious bench racing about the car. On Tuesday through our team debrief and walking through the shop and seeing the guys just impressed with what they did.
“Also during the crash we were fortunate that the way in which the rear bumper hit the wall, the tubing in the back of the car the direction it went, one piece of tubing was down which everybody could see dragging, but there was another piece back there that stayed intact and went up and added support for the deck lid, spoiler and all that. That was key. If that piece of tubing fell out or hit in a different way or pushed in a different direction, we wouldn’t have been able to support the decklid like we did.”
WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT YOU GUYS MOVING FORWARD? THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF COMPARES BETWEEN YOUR TEAM AND THE NO. 2 TEAM IN CERTAIN RACES. DO YOU THINK IT MADE A BIG STATEMENT FOR YOUR GUYS TO BE ABLE TO SHOW THIS IS WHAT WE CAN DO?
“It did and we will have to wait until Homestead to see where that fits into the story. On one light, I look at it and think I made a mistake and gave up points. I really felt like we could have won the race. It was a day that Brad (Keselowski) wasn’t leading and running in the top two or three and we could have closed the points up if not got ahead. I hope it’s a story that we preserved the championship, minimized the damage, and minimized the loss. At the same time, I still regret that I didn’t take advantage of that opportunity.”
BETWEEN YOU, BRAD (KESELOWSKI) AND DENNY (HAMLIN), WHO DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE PRESSURE IS REALLY ON IN THE CHASE?
“It’s on all of us, but the points leader I think has the most pressure. I like being in that position because you are still in control. When you’re leading the points, it’s in your hands but with that control comes pressure especially later in the season and in the Chase too. During different parts of the season it’s an honor to lead the points. That honor is still there right now but that light at the end of the tunnel is becoming much more vivid. There’s a picture there at the end of that tunnel and that pressure starts to set in.”
A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT STRUGGLING AT BRISTOL AND THEN SUDDENLY THINGS KIND OF CLICKED FOR YOU AND YOU STARTED TO FEEL COMFORTABLE THER EAND GET IT. WAS THERE A SIMILAR MOMENT LIKE THAT FOR YOU HERE (MARTINSVILLE)?
“Yeah, I was pretty lost my first few trips here. We tested for both races. Maybe my second time back or sometime early at the time I was disappointed but the leader Tony Stewart caught me and lapped me. Following him just turned the light switch on in my head as what to do around here. I was able to keep pace with him and get a lap back and have a decent finish that day. That really set things in motion for me.”
LAST WEEK WAS AN EXAMPLE OF HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS RESOURCEFULNESS. DO YOU THINK THERE IS A MYSTIQUE AROUND HENDRICK AND ITS ABILITY? IS IT AN ADVANTAGE FOR YOU?
“I really think so but to be honest when you get to the end of the year and the teams that are fighting for the championship are there for a reason. It is a team sport; it’s not just the driver getting the job done in the car. It’s the people preparing the race cars. It’s the pit stops. It’s crisis management which we had last weekend. I would expect that out of the top team and I certainly expect it out of my team. They exceeded expectation with how well the car performed after the wreck, but I would assume other teams are capable of doing that too at this stage of the game.”
IS THERE ANYTHING SPECIAL THAT HENDRICK DOES?
“Within the No. 48 team we’ve been together for a long time and we have all the tools and resources we need to go compete for a championship. Rick (Hendrick) is an amazing man, a great guy to work for, and knows how to lead people. I think the amount of time the No. 48 team has been together, the low turnover rate, and how consistent the personnel has been gives us a big advantage.”
WITH THINGS SO CLOSE IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP RACE, DOES WHAT HAPPENED AT KANSAS LAST WEEK CHANGE YOUR THINKING AT ALL ON WHERE THE EDGE IS AND HOW CLOSE YOU CAN RACE ON THAT EDGE WITHOUT GETTING IN AN ACCIDENT AND CAUSING A BIG DROP IN POINTS?
“I want to learn from my mistakes, but it’s such a fine line we walk and it’s hard to look at yourself in the middle of a race and say alright am I at 100 percent or 101, 99, the line is getting ever smaller. With what we had and going down a lap after leading the race and the caution coming out when it did, my eagerness to get through traffic, the No. 56 bobbled in front of me and I was more eager to jump in the gas and try to get position on him and went through his dirty air, being hard on the throttle shook my car loose.
“There’s just little tiny things that add up and it’s hard in the moment to recognize that. But, that’s something that we’re all faced with and something I’ve done a very nice job with in years past. Everybody makes mistakes and I would rather side on the aggressive side because I know what my competition is. I know the No. 2 car is certainly racing that way and Denny (Hamlin) is as well. You’ve got to stay aggressive. You can’t protect and you can’t conserve at this stage. It’s all about living on that ragged edge.”
MARK MARTIN RECENTLY SAID I’M OLD SCHOOL AND WHEN IT COMES TO DECIDING WHETHER I’M INJURED TOO MUCH TO BE IN A RACE CAR, I WANT THAT DECISION TO BE MINE AND NOT A DOCTOR. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT?
“I’m not familiar with the new protocol that could potentially be coming or Mark’s comments, but in all sports and just your general medical exams, we all go in and get a physical every year, I’m sure we’re all squinting extra hard to read the eye chart and you leave there thinking I made it, good! That’s just a bad example of what it’s like in the doctor’s office. I feel like in our sports, like others, especially relative to concussions, we need to be sure we’re not putting a driver back in harm’s way. We know that a series of concussions within a short period of time is very dangerous and we need to keep our sport safe. Change is coming. I know if somebody is living through it, it’s probably going to be tough and might be on the slow side of returning to the track. With safety in mind I think it’s important.”
WITH THE WAY THE POINT SYSTEM IS NOW, WOULD YOU FIND IT TO BE REALLY HARD TO BACK OUT WITH TWO OR THREE RACES LEFT IN THE YEAR IF YOU WERE STILL IN THE HUNT FOR THE TITLE?
“Yeah, that’s tough. Knock on wood; I’m so fortunate to not have that in my auto racing career. Now racing dirt bikes, the very first championship I won I blew my knee
apart and had reconstructive knee surgery, missed two weekends but still had the points lead. I figured out that if I started the last two races, I would get a starting point and I would tie my competitor and I would win the tie-breaker due to wins. So at eight years old, I rode around that dirt bike track with my leg in a cast and rode my one lap to tie points so I could get the big trophy at the end of the year. So, it’s just wired in competitors. It’s what you do. It’s crazy and this is what we do.”
YOU AND DENNY HAMLIN HAVE REALLY GOOD RECORDS HERE. EVEN BRAD KESELOWSKI9 HAS HAD A PRETTY SOLID RECORD. WHEN YOU LOOK THESE GUYS YOU’RE RACING FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP, IS IT MORE PRESSURE, MORE DIFFICULT, AND HARDER TO PREPARE FOR WHEN YOU KNOW THE GUYS THAT YOU’RE COMPETING AGAINST ARE ALSO GOOD AT MARTINSVILLE? OR, DO YOU TRY NOT TO WORRY ABOUT THE COMPETITION’S RECORD AND FOCUS ON YOUR OWN?
“I try to stay focused on my record and my team. But there is a part of my mind that thinks of strengths and weaknesses of the other drivers. In general, I feel like the way everybody is running, you might get a point or two; if you’re fortunate enough to win, you’ll get three (points) on a guy and that’s what we’ve seen. And that’s where my disappointment of last week (Kansas Speedway) comes into play because I feel like I could have gotten a good chunk on the No. 2 (Keselowski) and the No. 11 (Hamlin). But coming here, the way we’re sitting in points, I would hope to get a handful of points on the No. 2 car. And at the same time, Denny, I got a few points on him last week so if I gave up a few it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. And I really think going down the stretch, it’s going to be a game of a few points at a time. That’s just the way my mindset is. Where in years past, there were bigger chunks between the guys. I guess some of it might have just been the point system at the time. You’d be 35 points out and feel pretty good about it; but you’re only now I guess, five cars away from someone (laughs). So that probably plays into it a little bit. But I’m focused on it this week a little bit and if I lose a little to the No. 11, it’s not what I want but I got a few last week; and if I’m able to get some on the No. 2, then we did what we should here.”
ON THE STRESS FOR (CREW CHIEF) CHAD KNAUS AND THAT HE SAID HE JUST LIVES FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR, AND IS SLEEPING LIKE A BABY. HOW DO YOU FEEL THE STRESS AND HOW DO YOU SEE THAT IN CHAD?
“I think that when you have fast race cars and the team is well-rounded and performing on all fronts, it’s easy to sleep. And that’s where we are right now. That’s where Chad is. I’ve been more calm and relaxed in this Chase than I can remember in quite some time. If I look back to last year, and the frustration of putting in all the time and working as hard as we do as team No. 48 and not having the speed and watching guys pull away from you and outrun you, that’s tough. That’s when the frustration sets in. But right now, we’re competitive and we’ve put a lot of stock in that and we feel good about it.”
YOU HAVEN’T MISSED A RACE PROBABLY IN MORE THAN A DECADE, BUT IF YOU WERE TO HAVE SOMETHING THAT TOOK YOU OUT FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS, WHAT KIND OF A CHALLENGE WOULD THAT BE? IS THERE ANYTHING MORE DIFFICULT ABOUT THIS TRACK IN PARTICULAR IF THAT WERE THE CASE?
“I think this track would be really good for most injuries in coming back. I would assume a road course or Bristol or Darlington would be on the tougher side. At Bristol, the repetition is so much that from a head injury I could imagine it would be tough and hard to keep your head straight there to start with, let alone a head injury. And then the physical demands, if you had a broken bone or something, would be tough. That also speaks to road courses from a physical standpoint. And then the hand/eye coordination of braking points and turning points and all that would be really tough.
“But here, it is a small track and there is a bit of repetition to it, but I think it’s about as good as you get for a track to return to after an injury. I can also speak to the Gresham track (referring to half-mile Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, GA where Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran 123 laps during a test session monitored by Charlotte neurosurgeon Dr. Jerry Petty). I’ve tested there. That’s a fast, fast little race track. So if you come out of Gresham feeling good and don’t hit anything over there, I think you’ll come to Martinsville and things will fall in line pretty quick.”
AT THIS POINT, BOTH BRAD KESELOWSKI AND DENNY HAMLIN BOTH HAVE FIVE WINS. YOU HAVE THREE. DO YOU REALLY FEEL LIKE YOU NEED TO WIN TWO OF THE NEXT FOUR RACES?
“I do. I feel like we’ve been close and I hate that a few have slipped away this year, especially in the Chase. But that stuff is behind me. I’m looking forward. We’re at a great track. I feel like at all four tracks remaining, we’re one of the favorites to win. I feel like you have to win (laughs) and you have to win during the Chase to be the champion. It certainly can be won without, but my mindset right now is win, win, win.”
YOU HEAR DRIVERS TALK ALL THE TIME ABOUT THE THING THAT WORRIES THEM DURING THE CHASE IS WHAT HAPPENS WITH OTHER DRIVERS ON THE TRACK THAT IMPACTS THEM. WHEN YOU KNOW THAT KYLE BUSCH AND RYAN NEWMAN WERE TICKED-OFF AT EACH OTHER AFTER LAST WEEK’S RACE AND THERE COULD BE SOME RETRIBUTION HERE AT A SHORT TRACK. IF THEY ARE RACING AROUND EACH OTHER AND YOU GET IN THAT AREA, DOES THAT GO THROUGH YOUR MIND? DO YOU WORRY ABOUT IT? DO YOU STRESS ABOUT TRYING TO GET AROUND THEM?
“Yeah, it does; and there’s far more on the line now for the championship contenders. But, when we come back to short tracks, everybody is aware of what risks exist out there and when we see those guys get around one another to give them some space, and just try to be heads-up and avoid something. But yeah, we pay attention. I feel like sometimes the 1.5-miles are a bit more dangerous when there’s a riff going on and guys are racing real hard. Here, you can hit things within reason and not destroy your race car. But on the faster tracks or Phoenix even, it’s hard to get away from anybody at Phoenix if there are paybacks going on there and the speed is so much higher. If you hit the fence, you’re behind the wall working on something.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 DIET MOUNTAIN DEW/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET AND CREW CHIEF STEVE LETARTE, met with members of the media at Martinsville Speedway and discussed returning to competition this weekend and the process Dale has gone through in healing his concussion. Full transcript:
TALK ABOUT HOW THINGS HAVE BEEN GOING SINCE WE LAST SAW YOU AT CHARLOTTE: “It’s been just a lot of time off. A lot of time on my hands. Just exercising, and doing what the doctors told me to do. Feeling better every day. Just going through the process. You just have got to be patient and let thing happen. I’ve learned a ton, just about what I’ve went through. Feel like I’m a lot smarter. A lot more prepared, and understand the situation a lot better now than I did beforehand. So, that’s really good. It’s been a good experience. It’s something I’d rather not have went through; I learned a lot from it. It’s been good for me. I’m just excited to be back to work. Get back in the car, and get back to normal. Get back to the life that I’m used to.”
STEVE – WE KNOW DALE RAN SOME LAPS EARLIER THIS WEEK AT GRESHAM MOTORSPORTS PARK AND YOU WERE PLEASED WITH HOW IT WENT: “Yes. Part of the sequence of events that the doctor laid out was that Dale and him had things they had to work through. But then from a team standpoint, they expected us to take the car to the race track and just run some laps. We went down to Gresham; it’s a nice little short track that we were able to run. I think we ran 125 laps. I thought the laps were great; the times were great. His (Dale, Jr.) feedback was as good
as it always it. So, that was really encouraging. Excited to have him back here at Martinsville.”
DALE, WHAT SORT OF SUPPORT DID YOU GET FROM OTHER DRIVERS, FROM YOUR FANS DURING THE TIME YOU WERE OUT OF THE CAR? “I was really kind of shutoff from everything. I got some text messages from people that it was nice to know people are thinking about you. Most of the guys that I got contacted by were just wishing I was at the race track. Wishing I was racing with them. That it just didn’t seem normal not to be racing with me. And, I felt the same way. It wasn’t normal for me to be sitting at home. I had great support from the fans, and my family and everybody.”
A LOT OF SPECULATION THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE TAKEN THE REST OF THE YEAR OFF. DID YOU EVER CONSIDER SITTING OUT THE REST OF THE YEAR? “I left the table of options really kind of open. Like the decision to get out of the car in the first place; I wanted the doctors to make that decision instead of me. If I could race, I wanted to be at the race track. It’s what I love to do. If the doctors felt that I was healthy enough to do that, I wanted to be doing it. I’ve really kind of left all that up to them throughout the whole process. And, I’ve been honest and upfront about how I felt every day and when we go through exercises – how those are affecting me. I’ve been pretty honest, and so far they’ve been real pleased with what they’ve seen, and feel like I can get back in the car. That is what I want to do. I felt like I could have raced in Kansas for sure, and probably ran at Charlotte with no problem. I feel foolish…you know…I feel kind of foolish sitting at home feeling okay, and not being in the car. It feels really un-natural. I feel good, and the doctors say it’s okay, I want to be in the car.”
WHAT HAVE THE LAST TWO AND HALF WEEKS BEEN LIKE FOR YOU? HAVE YOU BEEN SCARED? HAVE YOU BEEN FRUSTRATED OR DO YOU KIND OF GO WITH THE FLOW? “Just probably more going with the flow. There have been times when it’s frustrating because you want your brain to clear up, and the fogginess to go away, and all those symptoms to go away. Every concussion is different. They’re kind of like snowflakes. Everyone is different and you react differently to each one. Like I said, I’ve learned a whole lot about it. I feel good knowing what I know now about it; know what I’ve learned about it. It’s just been really frustrating at times. Regan (Smith) did a really good job for the team. I told him that I was worried about the momentum we’d built as a team, and he maintained that. I feel like we didn’t miss a beat and I can get back in the car as if nothing has really been changed. That couldn’t have went better. It was really hard to see your car out there running around turning laps without you in it. That was difficult. I just know we had a really good test up until the tire blew at Kansas, and I was really expecting to go there and run really well; so it was frustrating knowing how good of a car we had, and not being able to enjoy that with the team. But, you just kind of have to be patient and stay in regular contact with the doctors. Once I got to know the guys at Pittsburgh (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Center for Sports Medicine Concussion Program -UPMC), I was on the phone with Micky (Dr. Michael Collins) twice a day, just talking about everything that I was doing and everything I was feeling, because I just wanted to do it right. I didn’t want to take any chances, and I wanted to get back in the car as soon as I could. But, I wanted to make sure it was not too quick.”
WITH ALL THAT YOU HAVE LEARNED THE LAST SEVERAL WEEKS, WILL YOUR APPROACH GOING FORWARD CHANGE WHEN IT COMES TO ISSUES LIKE THIS AS FAR AS YOU LOOK AT ANOTHER INCIDENT IN THE FUTURE? “Yes, absolutely. It changes the way I feel about it to where if I know I’ve suffered another concussion, or if I have symptoms after an accident, I’m definitely going to be a lot more responsible about it. I can understand people’s opinions that they would try to push through it, or they would ignore it to stay in the car because I did the same thing in the past. Some concussions are kind of light, and the symptoms are real light. If you don’t have another incident, you feel like you can get through it. Some concussions are really bad, and I don’t care how tough you think you are, and your mind is not working the way it is supposed to, it scares the shit out of you. You are not going to think about race cars. You aren’t going to think about trophies. You are not going to think about your job. You’re going to be thinking about what do I got to do to get my brain working the way it was before. That’s going to jump right to the top of the priority list, I promise you. I definitely take it more seriously now after everything I’ve learned. I’m glad I did what I did. I hate the attention that it got, and hate kind of being in front of you guys talking about it. But, I’m glad it did what I did. I’m glad I took the time off and made the choices that I made. They were hard to make, but I had to do it. I had to do it. I didn’t have a choice. I knew something wasn’t right. You can’t ignore concussions. It’s really dangerous doing that. You read about it in the papers, and I was going through it. I was living it. So, I had to make a choice, and I feel like I made the right one.”
HOW DO YOU APPROACH THIS WEEKEND? DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CAN GET IN THE CAR AND BE THE OLD DALE? OR DO YOU KIND OF HAVE TO EASE INTO THE FIRST PART AND KIND OF GET YOUR BALANCE? “I feel like I’ve been out of the car for a year. It doesn’t feel like a couple of weeks. But, I think we can go right to it. I felt good at the test. I like this race track, and I feel like we can run good here, and I want to do a good job over the next four weeks. I want to run hard, and I want us to go into every weekend trying to do what we’ve been doing all year long.”
YOU MENTIONED BEING SHUT OFF FROM EVERYTHING, JUST WONDERING IF YOU COULD TALK ABOUT THE LAST TWO WEEKS WHAT YOU WERE LIMITED TO AS FAR AS TELEVISION, AS FAR AS CONTACT WITH THE TEAM. WHAT DID YOU DO DURING THE LAST TWO WEEKS?
“The first 48 hours they told me not to do anything so I just kind of didn’t do anything. I slept a lot. No TV, just basically just standing walking around the house doing nothing. It was really weird. So I went back to the doctor and I told him that I couldn’t do that anymore that I need to watch TV or play video games or something. I needed some kind of entertainment. I went to Pittsburgh and they put me on a physical and mental exercise program that I did every day. That really made the biggest difference it was really crazy because I went to Pittsburgh a mess. I was just really mentally a mess. The doctors up there we talked for the whole day and went through these exercises and did a lot of stuff and in 12 hours I felt really good. I felt completely different, I couldn’t believe it. It’s been pretty normal the last 15 days or so have felt a lot better and everything about my life is back to normal except for the driving part. I just haven’t been able to do my job so I’m glad to be doing this.”
YOU KNOW BRAD KESELOWSKI, HE DROVE FOR YOU, HOW IS HE GOING TO HOLD UP IN THIS SITUATION? A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY HE MIGHT CRACK UNDER THE PRESSURE:
“I don’t think he’s going to crack. I think he’s going to be hard to beat. I think he will be a tough competitor all the way through. Brad has been waiting on this opportunity all his life so I don’t expect him to crack under the pressure. I think he will be tough.”
YOU SAID YOU WENT TO PITTSBURGH FEELING LIKE A MESS AND I KNOW THAT THE TEAM RELEASE SAID YOU HADN’T HAD ANY HEADACHE SYMPTOMS FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS, BUT WERE THERE MOMENTS HERE LIKE UP UNTIL YOU GOT IN THE CAR AT GRESHAM AND UP UNTIL YOU ACTUALLY GOT CLEARE
D TUESDAY WERE THERE MOMENTS YOU THOUGHT MAYBE YOU WOULDN’T MAKE IT BACK, MAYBE THIS ISN’T GOING TO WORK OUT?
“The part of the two concussions, I’m trying not to get long winded, but the two concussions were completely different as far as where my brain was injured. As far as I can understand what the doctors have told me. The first one at Kansas was your typical concussion where the frontal lobe and the headaches and the fogginess that you typically feel. The one that I had at Talladega was a vestibular is what they call it. It’s more in the back or the base of the brain where the brain and your spine sort of connect. It sort of mixed up a lot of anxiety and emotional stuff so they symptoms were more like anxiety driven. If I would get into sort of a busy situation I would just get a lot of anxiety. I was already that way anyways I’ve never really been much on being around crowds and a lot of people. So the two concussions were completely different. I was dealing with different symptoms. When I went up there to Pittsburgh I was just really frustrated, when I say I was a mess, I was just really frustrated and having a lot of anxiety about, man how long is this last, is this ever going to be right again. I had no answers, didn’t know anything. These guys up there are the professionals and I just asked them everything I wanted to know. Then we went through all these drills and exercises, they ran me ragged. It was a fun day. By the end of the day I felt like I understood what I was dealing with, understood what the process was and I felt a whole lot better. If I ever got any doubts I would just call Mick up and we would talk about it for an hour. Really that was the best therapy for me just kind of understanding what was going on. The typical symptoms of being foggy and having headaches those were really prevalent in the first concussion, not so much in this one.”
IN RACING YOU CAN TAKE SOME FEARSOME HITS, BUT WHEN YOU COMPARE IT TO SAY FOOTBALL OR HOCKEY A PERSON MIGHT TAKE FIVE FEARSOME HITS IN ONE GAME. I JUST WONDERED WHAT YOU HAD LEARNED OR IF YOU HAD THOUGHT ABOUT THAT AND THE FACT THAT YOU DO HAVE RECOVERY TIME? DOES THAT MAKE IT A LITTLE BIT LESS TROUBLE YOU MIGHT GET IN THIS SPORT THAN IN OTHERS?
“I guess you could say that. I don’t have any statistical facts or anything, but I was surprised to hear how much more often the guys in the NFL have issues than we do. We were talking about how many concussions I thought I’d had in a year and it was somewhere between four… or how many I had in my career and it was somewhere between four and six. They were saying that most of the guys in the NFL have that many a season. I just can’t imagine. That would be a scary situation to be in. The symptoms alone are frustrating trying to just go through your everyday life. I would compare it to like a computer that has too many processes running in the back ground that slows it down and it just doesn’t work as fast. Programs don’t start up as quick and things sort of hang up in the middle. That is kind of what it’s like. The G-forces are way different for the different sports and everything sort of happens differently in the event itself as far as a race car versus a guy having a helmet to helmet hit. The even itself is quite different in the way the brain handles the traumas different. I felt like that our sport I do have an opportunity to get back in the car probably sooner than you would on the football field because on the football field you are going to go out there and you are going to run into somebody head on the first opportunity you get. You better make sure you have your melon in good shape if you are going to do that.”
DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL AT ALL LIKE YOUR CAREER COULD BE FLEETING AT THIS POINT WITH LAYERING? DO YOU WORRY THAT ONE MORE BAD ONE AND YOU WOULD HAVE TO STOP?
“I guess I don’t really think about that too much. The one thing that I can tell you is that I’m definitely going to be honest with myself and honest with the doctors. I’m going to do whatever they tell me to do. I want to be able to live a full life and not have any issues down the road, but I feel pretty fortunate to have recovered from this concussion rather quickly. I feel lucky that I made the choices that I did to give myself that opportunity. I think that had I tried to push through this second one I would have really put myself in a lot of danger. I think we can just hope that I don’t have any more big hits for a while and race another five, 10 years and have some fun.”
WHAT WAS THE SINGLE THING YOU MISSED MOST ABOUT BEING IN THE CAR?
“The team, just working with the team, working with the guys, we’ve got a pretty good relationship and I really enjoy working with them and being at the track. Just going through practice, making a change, it working and everybody getting excited about that just that small improvement that we made. It’s hard to put your finger on one detail, but when you are sitting there watching the race go on I miss hearing Steve (Letarte) and T.J. (Majors) voices and just being in the car and going through the process. Begin out there and competing watching all my peers compete and just wishing I was in the mix being out there doing it. Just being around the guys, every one of my guys we’ve gotten a great relationship built over the last couple of years. It’s fun to race with them, it’s fun to go to work with them.”
GROWING UP DID YOU SEE YOUR DAD HAVING THE SAME SYMPTOMS AS YOU HAD AFTER HE TOOK HE TOOK SOME HARD HITS?
“No, it’s really hard to tell when somebody has a concussion unless they speak up and say something. Concussions are pretty easy to hide. I’ve never known anyone that had one or been around anybody that had a concussion and wasn’t being honest about it.”
ON WEARING A NEW HELMET THIS WEEKEND:
“I am going to wear a new helmet this week. I know that is going to draw a lot of attention it might not. It’s a Stilo helmet and I had worn one before. I like the helmet back then a couple of years ago when I decided to wear it back then, but there was a particular part about the helmet that I didn’t like that they weren’t able to make an adjustment for at the time so I went away from the helmet. I’m going back to it. This was all sort of in the process prior to all this concussion stuff. I didn’t want anybody to really put two and two together thinking that I’m changing away from my Impact helmets because of the concussions. That is not the case at all. I have just wanted to try to the Stilo helmet since they made some modifications to it. It’s definitely not a final decision I’m just checking it out because I liked it before. It’s a nice helmet, but I’ve enjoyed my Impacts too but I’m going to try this one out and see how it works. I’ve enjoyed working with Impact and I do like their helmets and I just didn’t want anybody to get the wrong idea there.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Martinsville Speedway and discussed practice, racing at Martinsville and other topics. Full transcript:
HOW DID PRACTICE GO? “I think we gained on it. At the beginning of the session we struggled a little bit, but I think the longer the session went, the better we got.”
IS THERE A SECRET TO RACING HERE AT MARTINSVILLE? “I don’t know there is a secret to it. At least, if there is, I haven’t found it yet. It’s just one that you have to get in a rhythm here. Getting in a rhythm is a really big deal at this race track.”
MORE SO THAN BRISTOL OR ANOTHER SHORT TRACK? “Yes, I think so, I definitely think
WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT MATT BORLAND WANTED TO GET BACK TO BEING A CREW CHIEF? “No. He’s pretty much a company guy. He wants to do whatever is best for the company. That’s what Ryan wanted, so that’s what we made happen.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT A TIME WHEN YOU DROVE A RACE CAR WHEN YOU WERE REALLY BEAT UP? “If you can go down through this garage and can find one driver that hasn’t raced while they were hurt, I’d be surprised. Everybody has done it. This isn’t something new. I can recall thousands of them. There is a lot of times that it’s happened. It’s part of what we do.”
TALK ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU TO HAVE YOUR USAC AND WOO GUYS DOING SO WELL THIS SEASON. “I’m proud of Bobby East We fell a little short on the car owners side, but Bobby won the (2012 USAC) Silver Crown (Series) Championship. I think all Donny (Schatz) has to do is just qualify on Thursday for the (World of Outlaws) Finals at Charlotte and he wins the championship. We still have a (USAC) sprint car championship we are trying to win too. I’m really proud of our guys there. They have all fought really hard this year, just like everybody does. That’s one thing about all of our teams; there aren’t any of them that quit. Levi (Jones) had to end his year a little early because of a neck injury that he had to have surgery on. Steve’s (Kinser) been fighting through. Everybody has done a great job. I’m really proud of our guys.”
IS THE RACE HERE AT MARTINSVILLE AS LONG AS IT SEEMS? “It’s a long race here for sure. Especially if your car isn’t right, it seems like it takes forever. It is one that being a little bit off can cause a bad day just because of where you end up in the pack. This is a place, especially on starts and restarts, guys drive like idiots trying to get to the bottom, and it creates a lot of havoc. Guys are going to constantly do stupid stuff on restarts, and it’s going to cause problems because of that.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 PEPSI MAX CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Martinsville Speedway and discussed the first practice session, changing track conditions and other topics. Full Transcript:
HOW DID PRACTICE GO FOR YOU GUYS?
“That practice went really well. You will always know track conditions are a little bit different here on Friday than they are even on Saturday and especially on Sunday. So I think we took that into account. I felt like we had some really good notes and baseline to start with from the last race where we ran so well. We were able to actually kind of use today as more of a test session than anything else. I thought it went really well.”
YOU TALK ABOUT TRACK CONDITIONS. SUNDAY LOOKS LIKE IT COULD BE OVERCAST LIKE TODAY, BUT MUCH COLDER. HOW MUCH DOES IT BEING OVERCAST TODAY GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF WHAT YOU WILL FACE ON SUNDAY?
“The difference is that it doesn’t matter if the weather is changing a whole lot or consistent and the same. The track just changes when you get 43 cars out there putting rubber down. The groove changes and a lot of things change. We know what the weather is predicted to be on Sunday and on Saturday night we will take those things into consideration on what we think they may or may not do with the balance of the car.”
THE WAY THINGS ENDED HERE IN THE SPRING WOULD YOU CHANGE ANYTHING NOW HAVING GONE THROUGH IT THE WAY IT WAS?
“Oh yeah, if you know everybody behind you is coming in then you come in too, but you don’t know that. If you come in somebody is going to stay out. Obviously, when you have 100 plus laps on your tires we were sitting ducks. We were in a position to kind of force those guys to knock us out of the way and they did. It cost them, well at least (Clint) Bowyer as well. The best way would have been to come in and probably at least got two tires. I don’t know in that position that is the worst position to be in because they are going to do the exact opposite of what you do. You are kind of in a pretty deep hole right there. You hate to give up that track position because you feel like somebody is probably going to win the race by staying out, but looking back on it; it’s pretty easy to say we probably should have come in.”
OF THE TOP THREE PEOPLE THAT ARE IN THE CHASE WHO DO YOU THINK HAS THE MOST PRESSURE ON THEM?
“Well this weekend I would say it’s Brad Keselowski and that is because this is not his best track. It’s a track that he is up against two guys that are very good here. So that puts a little bit more pressure on him. He’s leading the points and been doing a great job. I think this will be a real test for Brad. I feel like he handles pressure well. Leaving here I think he is in pretty good shape so this is a big test of how they survive this weekend.”
IS IT THEM YOU PUT YOUR MONEY ON OR ARE YOU GOING TO PUT IT ON YOUR TEAMMATE?
“It’s hard to go against the No. 48 they are pretty stout. They know how to step up. I’m not putting my money on anybody, but I think that they are going to be very difficult to beat. When they are in contention they rarely ever give it up.”
YOU SEE ALL THE TIME WHERE DRIVERS SAY THE THING THAT WORRIES THEM ARE THE DRIVERS THAT AREN’T IN THE CHASE, TO GET CAUGHT UP IN THEIR WRECKS AND THAT KIND OF THING. WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE NO. 10 CAR (DURING THE SPRING RACE) KIND OF SCREWED YOU GUYS. IN A SITUATION LIKE WHAT HAPPENED WITH KYLE (BUSCH) AND RYAN (NEWMAN) LAST WEEK WITH GUYS THREATENING REVENGE AND ALL THAT, IF YOU ARE AROUND THOSE GUYS ON THE TRACK ARE YOU AWARE OF THAT? DO YOU WORRY ABOUT THAT?
“First of all I’m not one of those drivers that ever say those things that you are talking about. What happened with the No. 10 car was a totally different situation and would have been uncalled for, for any moment in the season. I think that when I’m out there in the Chase and I’m racing for a championship I try to recognize the situation that I’m in and I hope that my competitors recognize the same situation. This is a perfect example here at Martinsville. You’ve got a championship battle on the line, three guys up front that could be up here battling for the win. You could have somebody who is further back in points very hungry for a win and has a really good car that day that is going to be really aggressive. If you are in the points battle do you race that guy and say well he should know that I’m racing for a championship so give me a little more leeway or should he you go wait a minute I’m racing for a championship this guy is being really aggressive maybe I just need to get out of his way. I think that is what makes it so unique and challenging and exciting the format that we have because those different mind sets are happening all the time. As long guys are out there on the race track then they deserve the respect to try to go win the race and get their position. Even guys that are a lap down, they are racing for a position as well. They are not just moving out of your way. Those are the challenges that come your way trying to win a championship that are not just an easy matter to deal with and understand.”
CAN YOU RECALL TIMES WHERE YOU HAD TO PLAY HURT SOMETIMES MAYBE YOU QUESTIONED WHETHER YOU SHOULD HAVE GONE OUT BUT YOU HAD TO BECAUSE IT WAS YOUR JOB?
“Yeah, when I had that bad wreck at (Las) Vegas several years ago I was hurting. I had to test that week. I could have very easily sat that test out and probably should have. I had a lot of minor internal injuries. I don’t know I probably didn’t need to be out there. I don’t know if I had a head injury or not, but the only other times I had some bruised ribs from the Texas wreck. Luckily I had a weekend off the next week because I remember going on vacati
on and not being able to do much on vacation. Thinking there is no way I could have driven a race car this weekend. Then the next race was Bristol and I was hurting, but had I taken another hit I would have been in really bad shape, but I made it through the race okay. Again it wasn’t a head injury I think it was a little bit different. You know people play and compete hurt all the time in sports, but when you are dealing with a head injury it’s a lot different.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Martinsville Speedway and discussed the first practice session, being a championship contender and other topics. Full Transcript:
TELL US HOW THE CAR WAS AND HOW IT WAS IN PRACTICE OUT THERE TODAY:
“We just tried some things so we would have a lot of practice tomorrow so we just tried some stuff compared to where we raced in the spring to see if we could make any gains for tomorrow. And in qualifying we were off and weren’t quite as fast as we would have liked to have been. But it feels pretty close and the engine feels good and it’s the same car we raced and I think we ran pretty well when we were here in the spring so I think we will get it going good for tomorrow.”
YOU ARE 30 POINTS BACK FROM THE CHAMPIONSHIP, HOW DO YOU RATE YOUR CHANCES?
“I still think we are in it, and still think we have a shot. We are still running strong and have made up a couple points the last couple weeks, not many, but we have made up a little bit. So, anything can happen at Martinsville and hopefully we can put together a good race Sunday and gain a few more points and just keep doing that till the end and I don’t know if that will be enough because the guys we are racing against are pretty darn good. So it’s going to be tough to beat them but we are going to try.”
SEVERAL DRIVERS HAVE TALKED ABOUT RACING HURT. HAS THERE BEEN ANYTIME YOU CAN REMEMBER WHEN YOU GOT REALLY BEAT UP AND JUST KIND OF BIT DOWN ON IT?
“I think over the years I have had lots of sore days where you go race and you are pretty sore. I would say back to Sprint Cars to where I would have been hurt the most and felt the worst getting into the car and it’s a struggle getting in and getting buckled in, but you get on the racetrack and you don’t even feel it. So I had days like that, but it’s the way that things are these days with the seats and the walls, helmets, HANS Device, and all the things we have; I haven’t had near as many in my last 5 years as I have for my last 10 or 15.”
HAVE YOU EVER RACED WHEN YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE?
“I don’t think I ever have. I have been pretty fortunate to get beat up but not to get too beat up to race. So I feel like I have been in a good spot and I have haven’t raced when I shouldn’t have. I feel like when I’ve raced – I should be out there.”
IS THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALIFYING MAGNIFIED HERE BECAUSE YOU DON’T WANT TO BE IN THE BACK?
“Yeah, it helps a lot. I was only in about half of the first race here and we started first and had the best pit stall and that is how I gained three or four spots every pit stop. Just because you just maintain. You can have a long stop, and you can do some extra things and you can still maintain where you are at. So that one stall is really good and for the rest of them there is probably not a huge advantage but for that first stall, it’s by far the best stall here.”
DO YOU PAY ATTENTION TO WHERE OTHER GUYS ARE DURING THE RACE OR DO YOU FOCUS ON WHAT YOU GUYS ARE DOING?
“Yeah, I have been pretty focused on just what we have been doing lately and you know who you are racing with and if it’s somewhat the same guys each week but I saw Jimmie (Johnson) spin last week….well, I didn’t see him spin, I saw his car was damaged. I saw Kyle Busch do that, and throughout I saw a few guys wreck or something but I didn’t actually keep track of where the guys were that I am racing for the points are. Until I saw (Greg) Biffle hit the wall and I knew that wasn’t good for his day as far as our points were going you know, since we were pretty close in points….myself and Greg. I don’t know, I think it’s just hard enough to win and get up front than to worry about where guys are that you are racing for 4th or 5th, or 1st or 2nd in points. You just have to focus on your race and whatever you get out of that and then you will find out after it’s over.”
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO SERIOUSLY BE IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP HUNT FOR THE FIRST TIME WITH FOUR RACES TO GO?
“It feels good, but I wish I was closer. You know, I wish we hadn’t given up some of the points that we have but we have also had a pretty decent Chase and we have some really good tracks to go so I like being in that top-5 and kind of in that mix. You know, we are on the outside but we definitely still have a shot.”
ARE YOU FEELING ANY PRESSURE? WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE FOR YOU?
“Oh no, I don’t feel any pressure. I am going to run 5th, 6th, 4th…not a lot of pressure to that. I would like to have a lot of pressure and be battling with Jimmie and Brad but as of right now we are just out there racing as hard as we can.”
IS THERE SOME PROGRESS BEING MADE BY OTHER DRIVERS HERE AT MARTINSVILLE ON JIMMIE JOHNSON?
“I would imagine that everybody is working on beating those guys. I know I have and Jeff (Gordon) has always been really good here. And it was Jeff or Jimmie’s race the first race and it wasn’t even close. Those two were, by far, better than the rest of the field and they got wiped out so it was one of them that would have won the first race here for sure and other guy’s got lucky with their results because of that. But I would say that they are still the favorite. Jeff, Jimmie, and Denny; they just always run good here.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – POLE WINNER
IS THIS THE PLACE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO SCORE THOSE POINTS?
“You know, on paper it kind of looks that way. But you just never know. When the playoffs hit, it doesn’t matter what sport it is, crazy things happen. And with that being said, yeah, we come here thinking that we should be able to get some points on the 2 (Brad Keselowski), but you never know. It’s going to be a long race. We’ve helped ourselves out dramatically today by qualifying on the pole, we’ve got the safest pit stall, and starting with track position is very important. So, stats show one thing, but you’ve still got to go run the race and I feel really good about my Lowe’s Chevrolet and I think we’ll be in strong, championship-form leaving here.”
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 ODYSSEY BATTERY / ENERSYS CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED FOURTH
ON HIS LAP
“We were tighter than we wanted to be. But in practice we struggled; on one run we were tight and the next one we were too loose and we actually went a little quicker when we were tight. So we actually tightened it up more than I wanted to. That isn’t going to be a pole or anything, but it’s better than we were in practice. Making a gain is real important and that was about a tenth-and-a-half gain from practice. So that was a good pick-up.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED SIXTH
HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING RUN?
“We’ll have to see. I think it’s supposed to get cooler the rest of the weekend. But we had a decent practice. I think we made gains right at the end of our race runs before we switched over to qualifying. So we’ll see. I think we’ll definitely get a lot of use out of the two practices tomorrow.”
ON HOW IMPORTANT QUALIFYING IS HERE:
“It really is. We’ll just take what we’ve got, which is somewhat decent. Hopefully we can stay ahead of the melee.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 PEPSI MAX CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 11TH< br>ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN:
“It was pretty disappointing. We were really good in practice and it was just a little bit too free there.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 15TH
ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN:
“It was pretty good actually. The car was pretty good I was just a little bit tight, just didn’t turn the center of the corner quite as strong as I would have liked. The car still felt really good.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 17TH
YOUR FIRST WEEK BACK WITH MATT BORLAND AS YOUR CREW CHIEF HOW HAS YOUR WEEKEND BEEN THUS FAR AND HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING LAP?
“The Quicken Loans Chevrolet, our first change we got off on the race car and we played catch up all the way through qualifying. We’ve got a better race car than we showed today and we will prove that tomorrow and Sunday.”
AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 51 PHOENIX CONSTRUCTION CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 26th
ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN:
“We struggled today a little bit. The whole day has been kind of messed up. We have really been struggling with some brake trouble. The guys are working hard. I think in race trim, it’s not as bad as the outright speed in qualifying trim. We’ll just keep working hard. We’ve got two practices tomorrow. I started 29th here in the first race here and finished second so we will be alright and good to go.”
MATT BORLAND, CREW CHIEF, NO. 39 QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Martinsville Speedway and discussed his reunion as crew chief with driver Ryan Newman, the progress of the 2013 car and other topics. Full Transcript:
WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO BE BACK AT THE TRACK?
“It’s nice. It’s good to be back with Ryan (Newman) and we’ve got a great group of people at Stewart-Haas. Everybody has just jumped on board and hopefully make a good run at these last four and get things rolling for next year.”
HAVE YOU AND RYAN (NEWMAN) STARTED OFF LIKE RIGHT WHERE YOU LEFT OFF ON THE SAME PAGE?
“We are getting there. It’s going to take a little while. He’s obviously been doing this every weekend for the last 15 years and I’ve been not doing it for the last six or so. It’s getting me back on the same page, but things are going pretty good.”
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO WANT TO COME BACK AS A CREW CHIEF?
“It’s just a situation with our company it made sense right now. We needed to get a good strong team under Danica (Patrick) for next year with her coming on board full time. Tony Gibson and that No. 39 team have done an awesome job the last four years so it’s a good solid group to work with her and make that program solid.”
WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING BACK?
“It’s nice it’s good to see everybody. It’s good to be back in kind of a familiar job setting.”
HOW HAVE YOU CHANGED AND HOW HAS RYAN (NEWMAN) CHANGED?
“I’m not sure yet we will find out when things get really bad (laughs).”
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOB AND HOW YOUR DAY HAS CHANGED NOW TRANSITIONING FROM WHAT YOU WERE DOING:
“The biggest thing is just being at the track more and being a lot more hands on with the set-up side. The last four years I’ve been spending a lot more time working on parts for the car, working on more R&D (research and development) type stuff whereas now it’s more about tuning the car whatever we’ve got making the most of it on that day.”
WHAT DOES THIS TEAM NEED TO STAND UP AND GET BACK TO WHERE IT WAS A YEAR OR SO AGO?
“I think the biggest thing we have just been lacking a little bit of speed. Obviously, other teams have caught up they have done some things to get faster. We are just that little step off each week that I think we are just still searching for.”
FUEL MILEAGE RACES HAVE BEEN A KEY FOREVER IT SEEMS LIKE, BUT WHAT HAS CHANGED OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS THAT IT SEEMS LIKE WE ARE FACING THIS SCENARIO WEEK TO WEEK FROM A CREW CHIEF’S PERSPECTIVE?
“I think the biggest thing I think is it’s always been there it’s just now every teams taking advantage of it whereas I think before you had 10 percent of the teams were really looking at it. Now you’ve got 80-90 percent of the teams really looking at it.”
THE 2013 CAR COMING IN NEXT YEAR AND IT BEING ALL NEW DO YOU FEEL LIKE THIS PUTS YOU BACK ON A MORE LEVEL PLAYING FIELD WITH EVERYBODY ELSE NOW?
“Yeah maybe; I think it’s still going to be the teams that are the strongest in being able to figure out things quickly. Definitely, everybody is going to go back kind of to ground zero and then it’s just going to be a race to see who can find that package that works.”
WHAT MADE YOU AND RYAN (NEWMAN) SO SUCCESSFUL BEFORE?
“I think just attitude probably and work ethic. Everything was about racing, everything was about winning and everything was about that particular moment in time being the best you can be. I think having everybody on that team that was in that mindset the program was able to run very strongly. I think that was the big piece.”
CAN YOU RECAPTURE THAT YOU THINK?
“You never know. Obviously that is the goal. We are going to do everything we can to get back to that, but a lot of the teams that is what they are after so it’s a challenge.”
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU GUYS, YOU WERE THE BEST MAN IN RYAN’S WEDDING, THAT RELATIONSHIP THAT YOU HAVE WHY IS THAT IMPORTANT? DOES THAT ESTABLISH A GOOD WORKING RELATIONSHIP AS WELL?
“I think the biggest reason is in (the) Cup (Series) you don’t have data acquisitions on the car. You’ve got to be able to trust what that driver is saying. You’ve got to be able to know that what that driver is saying is right. So you’ve got to spend a lot of time talking about what is going on with the car, what he’s feeling. Sometimes you might not get that answer in the first 30 seconds of a conversation. It might be four hours down the road and you’re talking and you’re like ‘wait a minute you just said something here, I remember you said something over here that matches that.’ If that relationship is not good you don’t have those two, three, four hour conversations you end up with those 30 second conversations. So then when you are making decisions you don’t really have all the information that you need.”
YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE 2013 CAR WHERE ARE YOU GUYS AT WITH THAT? WITH YOU MOVING OVER HERE NOW, I KNOW YOU WERE BEHIND THAT HOW IS THAT GOING TO IMPACT THE 2013 PROGRAM?
“We have got a couple of cars built. We just tested Phoenix last week. We are testing Charlotte with Ryan (Newman) in a week and a half. So the program is going along pretty good. Obviously, it’s a tough situation for all of the teams, everybody is trying to get sheet metal, trying to get cars built, trying to go testing at the same time. That part is tough. Hopefully, in this roll maybe I can help with getting us to packages faster that we can do well with. Like I said it’s going to be a race between all these teams trying to figure out how to make that car fast and if you can get to that answer three to four weeks before everyone else that three to four weeks you could get race wins and poles and all those good things.”
2012 hill-climb season is finished in Poland. It has been a story of achievement for 4Turbo Team , Tomasz Nagórski and the Subaru Impreza race car. We have begun the season starting from round 3 with plans for only 2 race weekends and driver hoping to have some fun. Neither resources were gather nor preparations were made for whole season title contending run. After first of the two race weekends in Jahodna in Slovakia we had course record (for touring cars), and healthy Championship lead. The story repeated in Limanowa, so the decision was made to continue. Over the next race weekends Subaru driven by Tomasz was each time the fastest car ever on each route. Even though we missed another two rounds Tomasz secured the title for himself with healthy lead. Situation was comfortable enough to resign from running in the last round, which let our customer team beat the course record for the last round in Załuż. During the course of this season Tomasz and the team not only secured overall championship title in Poland, but taking advantage of combined rounds also won several class titles in Slovakian and FIA CEZ series. We would like to thank all our partners, especially those that helped with technology and resources for the car. We also thank to all those that tracked our progress through the season. We look forward to future even bigger challenges and successes.
We have received some excellent entries into our photo contest this year. Now, we’d like YOUR help in choosing a winner. Check them out and vote for your favorite.
RCR Post Race Report
Kansas 400 at Kansas Speedway
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
October 21, 2012
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished third (Paul Menard), 11th (Kevin Harvick) and 28th (Jeff Burton).
Menard ranked second in the Loop Data Statistics category Quality Passes (44), was the third-Fastest Driver Late in a Run and third-Fastest on Restarts.
Menard maintained the fourth-best Average Running Position (8.333), logged the fourth-most Laps in the Top 15 (230) and scored a Driver Rating of 109.5, ranking him fifth according to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics.
Running as high as fourth-place during the 267-lap event, Harvick spent 163 laps in the top 15 (61 percent).
Harvick completed 61 Green Flag Passes, tying him for ninth in the Post-Race Loop Data category.
Burton gained two positions over the final 27 laps, ranking him fifth in the NASCAR Loop Data statistic category of Closers
Matt Kenseth captured his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of the 2012 season and was followed to the finish line by Martin Truex Jr., Menard, Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart.
The next scheduled Sprint Cup Series race is the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, Oct. 28. The race is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
ALMS-Muscle Milk Pickett Racing, Level 5 Motorsports, Rebellion Racing
ARCA- Alex Bowman
World of Outlaws- Jason Sides
Whelan- Bobby Santos
KN, Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150- Dylan Kwasniewski
Nationwide Series- Kansas Lottery 300- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Sprint Cup- Hollywood Casino 400- Matt Kenseth
AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 51 PHOENIX CONSTRUCTION CHEVROLET – Sidelined due to a blown right-front tire on lap 71
YOU SAID YOU FELT IT COMING, WHAT HAPPENED?
“It was getting tight the last couple of laps, but I just thought that was how the race track was going. I had that for the first run. Then I went in turn one, and felt it get really tight. I actually radioed in and said ‘I’m pitting this lap’. I tried to checkup down the back straightaway and try to save it and make sure it didn’t blow. Unfortunately it did. I just feel bad for everybody at Phoenix Racing. James Finch; Hendrick horsepower. The car was really fast. We were running so well. I thought we could have an easy top-10, if not a top-five. Just so disappointed. These guys work so hard. This small group of guys, they’ve been through so much this year. They work their butts off. I really enjoyed it. I hope I’m in the car next week. I don’t know, but if not, James Finch, everybody at Chevy, Hendrick giving me this opportunity. It has meant the world to get back in this sport. I love this sport, and I hope I’m back next week. But if not, I thank James, Steve Barkdol and everybody for what they’ve done.”
MR. RICK HENDRICK, OWNER OF HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS (HMS), SPOKE BRIEFLY WITH MEDIA DURING THE HOLLYWOOD CASINO 400 ABOUT THE MEDICAL STATUS OF DALE EARNHARDT JR., DRIVER OF THE NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/DIET MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET
“I want to apologize to all you guys (the media). I gave you a little bad information out on pit road today. I’ve been out here at the dealerships and I did talk to the doctor (Dr. Jerry Petty, neurosurgeon) with Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) and he said everything looked good and everything was fine. However, I didn’t know until (HMS PR director) Jesse (Essex) informed me that I had gotten ahead of myself and that there is a closed test Monday that Dr. Petty will attend. Dale will be back in the car (for that test) and he’ll make the decision with a final test on Tuesday. So, we don’t foresee any problems but I didn’t read my emails this morning and I kind of got ahead of myself. I talked to the doctor myself and everything went good in Pittsburg (PA, tested Tuesday Oct. 16th)) and Dr. Petty felt real good about it. And I did know that they were going to shake down a car, but I didn’t know that the doctor was going, and that he would actually be evaluating him Tuesday (two separate tests/evaluations). I apologize for that. The test (next) Tuesday is in his (Dr. Petty’s) office. The test Monday is in the (race) car.”
ARE YOU STILL FEELING VERY POSITIVE THAT HE’LL BE BACK IN THE CAR AT MARTINSVILLE?
“I will be shocked if he’s not in the car. Everything looks good. His attitude and the way he feels; he’s had no headaches since Thursday or Friday of Charlotte; and the tests have gone real well. I think Dr. Petty is just being super-cautious and I applaud him for that. I think the sequence is that he (Dr. Petty) will be with him at the test Monday; they will evaluate him in his office Tuesday, and then he will notify NASCAR if he’s okay. Maybe I just heard what I wanted to hear when I talked to (Dr.) Petty because everything in Pittsburg was good.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – Sidelined with an on-track incident on lap 155
“I have just been really frustrated with the No. 83 (Landon Cassill). He slammed into me on the front straight for no other reason than his radio communication ‘She was in the way’. I’ve always played fair. If it’s one time, I can imagine frustration. But it’s been pretty consistent with him getting in to me. So at some point in time, I have to stand up for myself, or everybody’s going to do it. So, the bummer is that this is my Texas car. We were having a good run, we were making the car better. And, I’m out of the race and he’s not.”
YOU TALKED TO YOUR CREW CHIEF GREG ZIPADELLI, DID HE GIVE YOU ANY WORDS OF WISDOM?
ON THE ACCIDENT:
“I’m fine but the car’s not, unfortunately. The GoDaddy crew and Zippy gave me a really good car today. I know we struggled in practice, but we made a lot of progress here today and were making the car better. My situation with the No. 83 is really a product of frustration. He got into me on the front straight and said I was just in the way. That’s really no good reason to hit me. If it’s one time, I can imagine it’s frustration, but it’s been quite a few times with him. At some point I have to stand up for myself so this doesn’t happen with other people. I chose today. The bummer about it is that my car is out, and he’s still out there going, so I’ve got to work on how to do that.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 CERTAINTEED INSULATION/MENARDS CHEVROLET – FINISHED THIRD
ON HIS RACE:
“We had Slugger (Labbe, crew chief) back this weekend. He is well rested after six weeks off, and had some good ideas to try this weekend. Our Rheem Chevrolet in the Nationwide (Series) was probably the best car yesterday. And, our CertainTeed/Menards today was good too. It’s a game of track position, and we had a good car. It was just a matter of getting us up there and having good pit stops and gained track position. Once we got up there, we just couldn’t hang on.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET – FINISHED FOURTH
ON HIS RACE – DID THE CAR NOT RE-FIRE?
“Yes, it just wouldn’t re-fire. Disappointing. But we got through there. We had a good car; we got back to fourth. We passed a lot of cars there. The Farmers Insurance Chevrolet team did an awesome job. Great pit stops; great pit calls. A lot a tire and fuel strategy race throughout. Our guys did a really nice job. I had an awesome car. It was a little loose there taking off. It was coming to me and getting good there at the end. We just weren’t close enough at that point in time. But still, a solid day.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET – FINISHED FIFTH
ON HIS RACE:
“An eventful day. Happy to get a top-five out of it. We have a ways to go, but I’m really proud of our guys. We had stuff early on in the race and our guys never quit. They never gave up, but we’ve got some work to do still.
“Our guys led by (crew chief) Steve Addington, they never gave up today. Really proud of the effort they gave. That’s how we won a championship last year, by never giving up. We probably had to pass more cars than anybody today, but that seems to be our M.O. We seem to have to do that every week. We’ve got a little bit of work to do, but we’re gaining on it. Proud of my guys. We worked with a little different package this week. We still didn’t get it right, but we got pretty close.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – FINISHED NINTH
YOU ARE LOOKING AT THE BACK OF YOUR CAR AT THE DAMAGE WHEN YOU SPUN. WHAT HAPPENED? HOW DID YOU DRIVE IT BACK TO A TOP-10 FINISH?
“I had to get a look at it here. It is pretty tore up. I’m definitely proud of this team, and the fact that we never give up. We continue to fight to try to get every point that we can. I think that yesterday’s Nationwide race showed that this thing isn’t over until the checkered flag falls on any given Sunday. All that said, I’m very proud, but also disappointed. I crashed the car. I spun out trying to get inside the No. 56 (Martin Truex, Jr.). He bobbled a little in front of me and I thought that was an opportunity to jump in the gas real hard. When I did that, my car took off and I couldn’t catch it. All-in-all a good day, but it could have been a lot better. I think we could have been in Victory Lane, and stretched some points on these guys.”
MR. HENDRICK PRAISED THE NO. 48 LOWE’S TEAM OR IT’S QUICK REPAIR OF YOUR CAR. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
“I’m just now getting a chance to look at the damage on the car and it’s pretty severe. One, I’m impressed that
they fixed it as they did and got the spoiler and deck lid back in place. Two, I’m surprised that the car was as fast as it was. It drove fine through the turn. I could tell on the straightaway that I didn’t have the efficiency and I can see why with this left-rear quarter-panel. It’s blown out; a big parachute sticking in the wind. So, all things considered, without my mistake, I think we had a shot to win. And then even after that we had a great pit stop and came out up in the top five or six probably, but we had some issues with getting fuel in the car and I had to go to tail-end and still got back to ninth. So, I’m proud of myself for all but one corner. Everything else today and this weekend was really good except for one corner. And truthfully, I was just trying to get inside the No. 56 (Martin Truex Jr.). He was loose in front of me. I could see his car moving around and I was trying to put some pressure on him and his car bobbled. When his car bobbled, I jumped on the gas hopeful to get an opportunity and mine took off, just quick, just gone. So that was the crash.”
HOW CRAZY WAS THIS RACE?
“It was (crazy). It’s weird that all the cautions came back. Now we see this type of driving at all the race tracks, but we don’t get cautions out of is and today we got a lot of cautions out of it. And restarts were pretty wild. You had to run so hard that when something happened and you lost grip, the car just stood up on the tires and would take off and you couldn’t control it and the guys were sliding everywhere.”
WHEN YOU LISTENED TO (CREW CHIEF) CHAD KNAUS ON THE RADIO, YOU SEEMED SO CALM THROUGH THE WHOLE THING. HE WAS VERY SPECIFIC ABOUT ‘DO THIS, DO THAT’. WHAT’S THAT LIKE FOR YOU SITTING IN THE CAR AND THAT TONE HE WAS USING?
“It’s big. And that’s what truthfully we didn’t like about our attitude and execution at the end of last year. When things got a little trying for us, we didn’t communicate and work as we needed to. That’s all people; not just the guy calling the shots and what to fix on the car, but all of us. And today we executed like there really wasn’t anything that happened and did our best to get the car back on the track and get our best finish. It’s more mature racing here in 2012.”
HOW DID THE CAR FEEL AFTER THE CRASH?
“The deck lid and all that is so sensitive, I really thought I was in trouble when I hit the wall. It’s tough to get the support to hold that deck lid where it needs to be. And if there isn’t enough support back there, NASCAR will park you. So when I backed it in, I was pretty bummed out and assumed that we were going to be many laps down.”
YOU SEEM REALLY SHAKEN-UP. OR WAS IT JUST A REALLY LONG AND HARD RACE?
“I had a couple of hundred miles to think through the mistake I made. And I want to be happy because of this amazing comeback the team had, but one little mistake. We didn’t lose many points if any, at all today; maybe it’s a draw because I led a lap. I’m not sure if Brad (Keselowski) did. But it could have been so much more. You don’t want to leave points on the table.”
HOW LONG WILL YOU KICK YOURSELF FOR THAT?
“Humm, through the night. Tomorrow I’ll get back to normal.”
DOES KNOWING YOU ARE GOING TO MARTINSVILLE HELP?
“I really hate missing an opportunity to get points on Brad (Keselowsi) on a 1.5-mile track. That’s his strong suit and they’re just good on them. Today we had a fast enough car that I think we could have gotten some points on him. So I’m disappointed in that, but at the same time, what we went through to finish and have it be even still is pretty good. So, we’ll take it and we’ll go to Matinsville and hopefully things will go well.”
HOW DID YOU CONTINUE TO REFOCUS AS YOU WENT THROUGH THE RACE AFTER THE CRASH?
“Luckily the damage to the car was really cosmetic. The suspension was still true and straight and the car drove correctly. That helped me more than anything. If the car was wicked and evil to drive, it would have been
a long, long afternoon. Luckily nothing was all that bad and it was just cosmetics.”
YOU FINISHED ONE SPOT BEHIND BRAD KESELOWSKI. WAS THERE A MESSAGE THAT GOT SENT TODAY?
“The best way to send it is how you perform on the track and today we showed what our team is capable of. Outside of that, and the one mistake I made, everything else went pretty awesome. I’m proud of the team and I hope the other guys are paying attention.”
REGAN SMITH, NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/DIET MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET – FINISHED SEVENTH
TODAY WAS A REALLY SOLID DAY FOR YOU AND THE NO. 88 TEAM, BUT IT LOOKED PRETTY TREACHEROUS OUT THERE HOW WAS YOUR DAY?
“The track conditions were difficult. I think a lot of it was just over done by guys maybe not being smart on restarts from what I saw. Everybody was fighting for the bottom you didn’t want to lose positions on the top side, but then the top side would come in as runs would go on so that was kind of weird. All the guys on the National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevy did a hell of a job. These past two weeks we had arguably a better car last week had we had a chance to run the whole race. It’s been nice to be able to step in and have them treat me like their normal driver. I know Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) is excited to get back so that is going to good for him. Looking forward to whatever comes next for me.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET – FINISHED 10TH
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE TRACK CONDITIONS TODAY? A SOLID 10TH –PLACE FINISH FOR YOU TODAY:
“It wasn’t that bad. It was hard to pass you just couldn’t reach the edge of the grip level really easy. My car stuck pretty good so I had pretty decent grip on the restarts and we were able to make up some spots. We did pretty good strategy so all in all it was a decent day for us. I thought we could pull off a top five at one point, but we just didn’t.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/ARCTIC CAT CHEVROLET – FINISHED 15TH
ON HIS RACE:
“Our guys worked really hard today on this Bass Pro Shops team. We were forced to short pit early and got caught two laps down when the caution came out. Our guys thrashed and never gave up; we got position back on the lead lap and just battled through all the cautions to bring home a 15th-place finish.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TAYLOR SWIFT/TARGET CHEVROLET – FINISHED 16TH
ON HIS RACE:
“I’m proud of our Target team today. The guys did a great job and we went through a lot these last few days with a wrecked race car in practice and a flat tire during the race. Overall I was pretty happy with our car. What a crazy race that was. You never knew what to expect out there; everyone was wrecking. We just tried to run a safe race and thankfully we were able to stay out of everyone else’s mess.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING/FARM AMERICAN CHEVROLET – FINISHED 25TH
ON HIS RACE:
“Our overall performance was indeed much better than our finishing result. There was just too much to overcome. But on the bright side, we have a race team that proved today that we can run up front. There is no doubt in my mind that we had at least a top-five car. ”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 CODE 3 ASSOCIATES CHEVROLET – FINISHED 30TH
THE ACCIDENT THAT YOU HAD WITH KYLE (BUSCH) CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH IT?
“I’m not real sure other than the fact that he got loose and I ended up hitting him in the middle of (turns) three and four and spinning him around. Then we got clobbered by the No. 22. A chain of events, but he just got loose in front of me and it’s so fast here it’s hard to check up when he is getting sideways. Saw he already lost control of the car once earlier in the race it’s kind of treacherous on the tires.”
PAUL MENARD LEADS TEAM CHEVY AT KANSAS WITH A THIRD-PLACE FINISH
L SIX CHEVY CHASERS HAD STRONG RESULTS
KANSAS CITY, KS – October 21, 2012 – Paul Menard led the Team Chevy train across the finish line in third place at the close of a crash-infested Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race today at Kansas Speedway. This was the second top-10 finish in eight races at Kansas for Menard, driver of the No. 27 Menard’s/Certain Teed Insulation Chevrolet. There were 14 caution flags for 66 of the 267-lap race; most of which were brought out by accidents. Menard managed to steer clear of the melee, and led the field once for a total of six laps.
Behind Menard were Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet (4th), and Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy (5th). Regan Smith, who is temporarily substituting for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevy finished 7th.
Jimmie Johnson, five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion in the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, hit the wall in Turn 4 just after the half-way mark in the 400-mile race. Quick repairs by the team put him back on track; and Johnson managed to bring it home in the ninth position. Johnson remains in second place in the CHASE for the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings, just seven (7) points shy of the leader.
Teammate Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevy was 10th, and Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet finished 11th. All six Team Chevy contenders finished in the top 11 for the day.
Caught in accidents and sidelined early were Ryan Newman, No. 39 Code 3 Associates Chevy (30th), Danica Patrick, No. 10 GoDaddy Racing Chevy (32nd), and A.J. Allmendinger, temporary driver in the No. 51 Phoenix Construction Chevy (35th).
Rounding out the top five were race winner Matt Kenseth (Ford) and Martin Truex, Jr. (Toyota).
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 CERTAINTEED INSULATION/MENARDS CHEVROLET – FINISHED THIRD
THE MODERATOR: We’ll go ahead and get started with our post race availability. We welcome Paul Menard, who finished third in today’s race.
Paul, talk a little bit about your run out there today.
PAUL MENARD: Just a good weekend in general. We had a couple days of tests; work on a couple different packages. Slugger came back fresh off of a six‑week vacation. He had a lot of ideas. Luckily we had two days to work through them.
Kind of hit on something yesterday morning that we liked, thought was promising, stuck with it. Obviously running the Nationwide car on a new surface, we learned a lot about tire pressures, what grooves come in. The second groove came in a hell of a lot better than I think anybody thought. You could make lap time and pass cars.
Overall, just really happy with the weekend, the repave. The track came in real well and it’s just going to keep getting better. Real proud of my Menards guys.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll take questions.
Q. Paul, you sound happy with the repave. What led to all the mayhem out there?
PAUL MENARD: I was pleasantly surprised with it. Anytime you repave a track, you expect the worst, single groove, hard to pass. We’ve been breaking a lot of track records with all the repaves this year.
Going into the Nationwide race yesterday, I thought it was going to be a single file, right around the bottom, get out of line, be real treacherous. It wasn’t. The second groove burned in. The third groove came in today.
For a first race on a repaved track, I thought the track came in really well. Would I rather have the old surface? I would. But with the surface falling apart, they had to do something.
Q. Why all the cautions?
PAUL MENARD: I don’t know. People being impatient. A lot of restarts. Doesn’t matter what track you’re at, if there’s a restart, you have to get all you can. Carrying a lot of speed here, so it’s hard to pass. Very aero dependent. I’m sure everybody was going for it.
Q. Paul, you’re not necessarily someone particularly you see up front a lot, but you were dominant yesterday, you were up front most of the day today. Is it the racetrack? Did you hit on something? What was it?
PAUL MENARD: This year we’ve lacked speed overall week‑to‑week. Last year we qualified really well, had a lot of good speed, but very inconsistent results.
This year RCR as a whole has kind of lacked speed. We found some things in the last month or two that’s helped us pick up just overall speed.
Then our consistency this year we’ve had, even though we haven’t been as fast, we’ve been more consistent. This is just one of the weekends where we put it all together.
THE MODERATOR: Paul, we appreciate your time this afternoon. Congratulations on the run.
PAUL MENARD: Thank you.
Strong Petit Le Mans Close to Dyson Season
BRASELTON, GA October 20, 2012 – Dyson Racing ended the 2012 ten-race American Le Mans Series season as they started it by taking first place ALMS P1 points in the Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda. Chris Dyson, Guy Smith and Steven Kane got the maximum ALMS points in their #16 Mazda-powered ModSpace/Thetford entry at both the spring 12 Hours of Sebring and the fall endurance classic held here at Road Atlanta.
The #20 Dyson Racing entry of Tony Burgess, Mark Paterson and Chris McMurry were third in ALMS P1 points after the conclusion of the 394 lap race. They held down second place in P1 for over six hours of the nine-hour thirty-seven minute race until electrical problems retired their car an hour and a half from the end.
Chris McMurry summed up their race: “We ran a good strong race, with good lap times. Nobody put a wheel wrong and everybody was super smart and it was paying off. It was a shame we could not run to the end, but all three drivers said the exact same thing which is we all had a great time.” Tony Burgess echoed similar sentiments: “We were in very good position to have a good result but unfortunately our race ended with
Click for More Hi Res something beyond our control. But overall we had a very disciplined and good race.” Mark Paterson, who set the car’s fastest time, said “Tony and Chris drove fantastically. There was no ego and everyone was sharing. The three of us very much enjoyed driving with each other.”
This was the second race for the Flybrid KERS Hybrid system on the #16 car. “We made good strides with the system this week and will continue to work with it over the winter,” said Smith. “Its little bursts help when you are trying to work your way through the slower cars.” This was the first time Steven Kane has driven a car with a hybrid system. “My main focus this weekend was doing the best job I could for Chris and Guy and help them in their fight for the championship,” he said. “So my main battle was getting through traffic cleanly and the KERS helped make that a more confident exercise.”
The 2012 ALMS P1 championships came down to the last race of the year. The team came to Road Atlanta with a mathematical chance to repeat their 2011 titles, but Pickett Racing clinched the championship by virtue of completing seventy percent of the race distance. Chris Dyson and Guy Smith finished second in the Drivers Championship. Dyson drivers occupied the next five championship positions with Eric Lux third, Michael Marsal fourth, Steven Kane fifth, Tony Burgess sixth, Johnny Mowlem seventh and Mark Paterson and Chris McMurry ninth. The team took second in the Team Championship and Mazda took home second place in the Engine Manufactures Championship as did Dunlop in the Tire Manufacturer Championship.
Petit Le Mans, page two
“Our congratulations to Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr on their championships. And for Greg and Penny and the whole Pickett family and race team, this is a great accomplishment and is well-deserved. There is no one else in racing that we have more respect for and they are great friends and competitors,” said Chris Dyson. “Having won the championship last year, we know the week in and week out focus it takes and how much work it requitres and how very special it feels when you win it. We are very happy for them.
“We would not have been able to take the
fight to them as we did this year without
the support of our partners who share our passion for competition at the highest level. This is our fourth year with Mazda and they have been supportive throughout. Advanced Engine Research (AER) has been providing our winning horsepower for eight years and Dunlop has worked hard throughout the season.
“Our thanks and appreciation to all the drivers in the 20 car who contributed to our championship fight. Michael Marsal and Eric Lux showed they have what it takes to win races with their victory at Baltimore and our seasoned mix of Johnny Mowlem, Tony Burgess, Mark Patterson and Chris McMurry were a pleasure to work with and we welcome them to the Dyson family.”
In addition to taking home first place ALMS P1 points at the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 15th Annual Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda, the team was one-two in P1 at Baltimore and won at Road America. Guy Smith set a record with the closest ever overall finish in ALMS history at Road America with his 0.083 margin of victory over Lucas Luhr, while Chris Dyson celebrated his 100th ALMS start at the following race at Baltimore. The team had a total of sixteen podiums this year and won their 200th podium at Mid-Ohio in August.
“I am proud of this team. Michael White, Peter Weston, Vince Wood and everybody who makes this organization such a special group,” Team Principal Rob Dyson said. “They all put in long hours and worked tirelessly. With their effort, we were able to take the championship down to the last race of the season. I am very happy for Greg Pickett. It is competitors like him whose passion makes this sport possible. They are worthy victors and share our view that these cars produce the most exciting racing in the country. I am optimistic that we will be able to keep the brightness that makes our sport unique in the future. The 2013 season starts tonight.”
RCR Post Race Report
NASCAR Nationwide Series
Kansas Lottery 300
NASCAR Nationwide Series
Kansas Lottery 300
October 20, 2012
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished second (Austin Dillon), fourth (Elliott Sadler) and 16th (Paul Menard).
Sadler leads the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship point standings by six points over Ricky Stenhouse Jr., while Dillon ranks third in the standings, 26 markers behind his RCR teammate.
The No. 2 team ranks second in the Nationwide Series owner championship point standings, trailing the No. 18 team by 21 points, with the No. 3 team fourth in the standings and the No. 33 team fifth.
Dillon leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings over Cole Whitt.
According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Dillon was the only driver to spend 100 percent of the race running in the top 15, was Fastest on Restarts, had the Fastest Speed in Traffic and ranked second in Average Running Position (3.282).
With his second-place finish, Dillon helped Chevrolet clinch the Bill France Performance Cup (manufacturer’s championship) with three races remaining in the 2012 Nationwide Series.
Menard maintained the highest Average Running Position throughout the race (2.146), highest Driver Rating (133.1), was the Fastest Driver Early in a Run, led the field in Green Flag Speed and Laps Led (110).
Sadler had the fifth-best Average Running Position (7.937), made 39 Quality Passes and earned a Driver Rating of 103.1, ranking him eighth.
Stenhouse earned his sixth Nationwide Series win of 2012, crossing the finish line ahead of Dillon, Joey Logano, Sadler and Cole Whitt.
The next scheduled Nationwide Series race is the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, November 3. The 30th race of the 2012 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on Performance Racing Network.
HPD Sweeps American Le Mans Series Titles
Honda Performance Development wrapped up an outstanding season of American Le Mans Series competition Saturday at the season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, finishing first and third in LMP2; and claiming both the LMP1 and LMP2 class championships in the 1,000-mile endurance race.
Saturday’s LMP2 win, and second overall finish, for the Level 5 Motorsports trio of Christophe Bouchut, Luis Diaz and team owner/driver Scott Tucker was more than enough to secure the class driver, team, engine and chassis manufacturers championships for Level 5 and HPD.
In LMP1, Muscle Milk Pickett Racing drivers Klaus Graf, Lucas Luhr and Romain Dumas overcame an early-race collision with a GTC-category Porsche 911 to lay claim to their own set of American Le MansSeries championships.
Level 5’s triumph marked the 50th victory for HPD’s ARX family of sports-prototype chassis since the debut of the original ARX-01a – a class win combined with a second-place overall finish – at the 2007 12 Hours of Sebring. It also was the 17th win of the 2012 season for HPD’s ARX chassis in both the American Le Mans Series and the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Saturday’s twin American Le Mans Series manufacturer championships are the fifth and sixth for the ARX chassis line, and come one week after HPD won the WEC LMP2 title in Fuji, Japan, the first World Championship for the company since it was founded in 1993.
Previously, HPD won American Le Mans Series LMP1 and LMP2 manufacturer titles in 2009; and the combined LMP category in 2010. HPD also won LMP2 engine manufacturer championship honors in 2011.
In addition, the year-long Michelin Green X Challenge, for going the furthest while using the least fuel, was won by the Muscle Milk Pickett team, which collected four individual Green X challenge awards this year, at Long Beach, Laguna Seca, Mosport and Virginia International Raceway. Level 5 Motorsports made it a 1-2 result for HPD in the Green X Challenge by claiming the honor at three races this year: Sebring, Baltimore and today’s Petit Le Mans. HPD teams also won the Green X Challenge in both 2009 and 2010.
The 10th and final race of the 2012 American Le Mans Series season got off to an exciting start, as Luhr in his ARX-03a battled hard in the early laps with the pole-starting Lola Toyota of Rebellion Racing, driven by Neel Jani. The pair ran nose-to-tail for the first hour, rapidly pulling away from the rest of the 37-car starting field. But contact with a slower car while exiting Turn One sent Luhr’s ARX-03a hard into the barriers, delaying the car for nearly an hour while it was towed back to the paddock and extensive repairs were completed.
While the Rebellion Lola would go on to record its first LMP1 overall victory, the Muscle Milk team returned to battle for the final class podium positions with the two Lola Mazdas of Dyson Racing, both of which had been delayed by mechanical issues. As the race entered its final stages, it appeared as if the Muscle Milk team would hold on to second place in LMP1, but a late-race stop to replace a damaged rear suspension pushrod dropped Luhr, Graf and Dumas to third in LMP1, 34th overall – but still more than sufficient to sweep the LMP1 titles.
In LMP2, Level 5 covered its bets by setting the car of Dario and Marino Franchitti, along with Tucker, off to challenge for the class victory, while the team car of Bouchut, Tucker and Diaz ran a more conservative pace, as completing 70 percent of the overall race distance would earn them the class championships. Once that milestone was achieved, both Level 5 entries became class contenders.
A series of penalties for the Franchitti/Tucker entry, including avoidable contact and passing under caution, dropped it from the lead lap, but the second Level 5 team then came through for the victory, taking advantage to a late-race cut tire and pit-lane speeding penalty for Conquest Racing to finish second overall and first in LMP2. Meanwhile, Marino Franchitti thrilled the large crowd at Road Atlanta with a relentless charge in the final 30 minutes to claim third in LMP2 – and fourth overall – on the final lap.
Today’s Petit Le Mans concluded the 2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron season. Honda Performance Development and its partner teams will return to defend their sports prototype championships in 2013, starting with the 61st running of the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 16.
Greg Pickett (owner, #6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD ARX-03a) started 1st, finished 3rd in LMP1 to claim the class team and drivers’ championships, with HPD winning the LMP1 chassis and engine manufacturer titles; first title for team owner Greg Pickett since he won the SCCA Trans-Am championship in 1978: “This feels great. Winning the championship is a goal we set for the organization last year after this race. The team fought really hard today, the drivers have done a great job all year long and we couldn’t have done this without the help of our partners HPD and Michelin. Today, it was about perseverance. We were more than just a race team, we were a championship-winning race team because the guys did it like champions and I respect that a lot. I’m very proud of them. I’m already looking forward to Sebring and the start of the 2013 season. We don’t want this to be a one-time deal.”
Scott Tucker (owner/driver, #95 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b) 2nd overall and 1st in LMP2 with co-driver Christophe Bouchut and Luis Diaz, also credited with 3rd in LMP2 co-driving with Dario and Marino Franchitti; Level 5 also won the Michelin Green X Challenge for fast, clean and efficient performance for the 3rd time this year: “We knew it would be a tight, difficult race. Conquest [Racing] are great competitors, we knew [completing] 70 per cent [of the overall race distance to clinch the championship] would be no easy task. My hat’s off to my teammates here [Christophe Bouchut and Luis Diaz]. What a great day for us. I’ll let it soak in. I’m really proud of the effort of the team and the
drivers. I was just talking to Martin [Plowman, Conquest Racing driver] and we agreed – some of the best European teams came over for this event, and we proved we are as good or better.”
Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on Saturday’s Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta: “What a fantastic day, and one that caps our most successful season ever in sports-car racing on a world-wide stage: two more North American titles to go with our first world championship; repeat LMP2 victories at Sebring and Le Mans; and 17 wins this season to bring our victory total for the ARX chassis to 50. It’s just been an incredible year for HPD in sports-car racing. In the last week alone, we’ve clinched three manufacturer titles for the ARX to double our championship total! There’s no doubt that the ARX has proven to be an outstanding line of race cars. Congratulations to everyone at both Muscle Milk Pickett Racing and Level 5 Motorsports for a near-perfect season in 2012, culminating in well-earned championships for both. At HPD, we all realize the incredible level of hard work, with long hours of preparation, that are required to produce seasons like this one, so these championships are a great reward for the efforts of everyone at HPD, our technical partner Wirth Research, and all of our partner teams in both the American Le Mans Series and World Endurance Championship. In addition, Level 5 won the Michelin Green X Challenge for the third time this year, and it is the seventh Green X award for an HPD team in 2012, an accomplishment of which we all can be proud.”
Chevrolet Clinches Bill France Performance Cup for the 15th Time
Award Recognizes Manufacturers’ Championship in the NASCAR Nationwide Series
DETROIT (October 20, 2012) – With Austin Dillon’s second place finish in the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway, Chevrolet has clinched the Manufacturers’ Championship in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The 2012 achievement marks the 15th time the Bowtie Brand has captured the prestigious Bill France Performance Cup.
“Chevrolet is honored to win the 2012 Bill France Performance Cup, and capture the Manufacturers’ Championship in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for the 15th time,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Our success is the result of dedication and determination of our Nationwide Series team owners, crew chiefs and their crews as well as the drivers giving it their all on the track. We salute the efforts of everyone who worked tirelessly to bring this award to Chevrolet.”
On the way to securing the Bill France Performance Cup, Chevrolet drivers have won 11 races in the 30 Nationwide Series races held to-date. The quest for the coveted Manufacturers’ title began at the first race of the season when James Buescher took the win at Daytona International Speedway.
“Winning the Bill France Performance Cup is a tremendous accomplishment for everyone involved in the Chevrolet NASCAR Nationwide Series program,” added Pat Suhy, Chevrolet Racing NASCAR Group Manager. “Our technical partners, in conjunction with Chevrolet engineers and those on every one of our teams have put in a dedicated and focused effort throughout the season that resulted in this Manufacturers’ Championship. Thank you to everyone for their contributions to our success.”
In addition to Buescher, the following Team Chevy drivers that contributed to Chevrolet’s capturing the Manufacturers’ crown with manufacturers’ points-paying finishes are: Elliott Sader (four wins); Austin Dillon (two wins); Kevin Harvick (one win); Justin Allgaier (one win); Nelson Piquet, Jr. (one win); Kurt Busch (one win); Paul Menard, Cole Whitt, Ty Dillon and Ron Fellows.
“Congratulations to our teams, drivers and partners on winning the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series Bill France Performance Cup,” said Shane Martin, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, NASCAR Nationwide Series. “While the organizations are competitors on the track, we are all Team Chevy, and the cooperative effort has resulted in this exciting and important achievement. I am very proud of the contributions made by everyone involved in this program, and look forward to more success as the season winds down.”
With three races remaining on the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule, Dillon is in third place in the driver’s point standings and Sadler is the current points leader.
Reigning American Le Mans Series champions Dyson Racing qualified third and fourth for the season-ending 15th Annual Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda. The 1,000 mile/ten-hour race will decide the championship with Chris Dyson and Guy Smith thirteen points out of first. Dyson drivers occupy second through sixth in the championship tally.
Guy Smith qualified in third place in the #16 Mazda-powered ModSpace/Thetford entry, one second off pole. “We knew that we would not have the ultimate pace in qualifying but we have done enough ten-hour races to know that anything can happen,” said Smith. “All three of us, Chris Dyson, Steven Kane and myself, have been comfortably fast in the car and are confident of a good race tomorrow. We have a good race car and will focus on what is in our control, our own performance, and the results will come.”
Mark Patterson qualified the #20 Dyson Racing entry fourth. Sharing the car with veteran drivers Tony Burgess and Chris McMurry, he joked “that between us, we have 164 years of driving experience in this car! Seriously, it was a very satisfying qualifying session. Vince Wood, our race engineer, said we would break into the 12’s and we did. He deserves all the credit. He made simple little changes one at a time and he gave us a great car.”
New to Dyson Racing this weekend is Chris McMurry. He noted that “to be perfectly honest, this is the easiest car I have driven. It is so responsive. Things that I have had to diligently think about in the past, such as doing turn twelve flat, is just a no brainer in this car. The Dyson team has done an amazing job with this car. I think the “geriatric trio” will do very well tomorrow. “This is my first time driving for Dyson Racing and it is different than what I thought. The difference is the hospitality, the character of the people and the friendliness. They embrace you with open arms and are supportive and encouraging and focused on helping everyone get the result we want. I have not experienced that with any team at this level.”
Commenting on the championship battle, Dyson said, “If this year has taught us anything, it is until the checkered flag drops, it is not over. We will execute as we have been doing all year. Both cars have been immaculately prepared and are ready for the second longest race of the year. Besides, we have Steven Kane with us, who drove with us for our first win of the year at the 12 Hours of Sebring. We think of him as our Irish good luck charm! It has been an amazing year with good competition the whole way with some great races. We will close out the season as we started by pushing the Muscle Milk guys and showing the fans what top-level prototype racing is all about.”
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
HOLLYWOOD CASINO 400
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
OCTOBER 19, 2012
KASEY KAHNE TAKES POLE POSITION FOR SUNDAY’S HOLLYWOOD CASINO 400
NEW TRACK RECORD AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY
KANSAS CITY, KS – October 19, 2012 – Kasey Kahne earned the pole position for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 by posting a new track record on the newly repaved and reconfigured Kansas Speedway with his No. 5 Farmer’s Insurance Chevrolet of 28.219 seconds, 191.360 mph. This marked Kahne’s 26th NASCAR Sprint Cup career pole and moved him into a tie for 26th on the all-time series poles list with Bobby Labonte. His lap around the 1.5-mile oval was Kahne’s fourth pole of the 2012 season and third in 11 races at Kansas Speedway.
All 46 drivers in today’s qualifying session turned a faster lap than the previous track record of 180.856 mph set by Matt Kenseth (Ford) in 2005.
Three other Team Chevy drivers will start the 400-mile race in the top ten. Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Code 3 Associates Chevy will start sixth, five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will roll off seventh in his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevy, and Kevin Harvick will start 10th in his No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet. All four Chevy drivers in the top-10 starting line-up are contenders in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevy who is also in the Chase, will start 19th, and Tony Stewart, defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and a Chase contender will start from the 33rd position in his No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet.
The field of 16 Chevy drivers includes Regan Smith, substitute driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 National Guard/Mountain Dew Chevrolet, qualified 39th; and Danica Patrick, competing in the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevy rolls off 40th.
The Hollywood Casino 400, Round 32 on the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tour, gets underway on Sunday, October 21st at 1:00 p.m. ET and will air live on ESPN-TV.
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET – POLE WINNER
POST-QUALIFYING DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING RUN OUT THERE TODAY: “It was a good lap. Our car felt really good. I came to the green as fast as I had throughout the practices. I got through (turns) one and two pretty good. In (turn) three I got in and then off of turn four I had to lift just a little bit, kind of lost the front tires, but still was able to run a quick lap there and get the pole. I was really happy. Our team has done a nice job this week. We have been here for a few days it’s been cold. The track is great I feel like the guys did a really nice job here at Kansas Speedway repaving making the track what it is. It is going to be tough this weekend, but from here out I think it is going to be one of the best tracks we go. I feel like you can look at it and tell the lines, the grooves that will come in as the track gets some wear into it and some age. I think it will be a lot of fun to race on. It’s smooth and all the transitions are really nice.”
EVERYBODY IS TALKING ABOUT THIS IS A NEW TRACK, BUT THIS IS YOUR THIRD POLE NOW HOW NEW IS IT TO YOU? WHAT IS YOUR SECRET HERE? “Well someone had to get it today (laughs) and it worked out for us. It was close. I didn’t see what Clint (Bowyer) ran but I know that myself and Mark (Martin) were really close together. It’s fast, it’s smooth, and it’s a great track. We have run pretty well here in the past so I’ve kind of always liked Kansas. I’ve liked how you have been able to move around and run a lot of different lines and things. I feel like this track will go there eventually. We will be able to move all over. It doesn’t really feel anything like the old track, but we just had a really good balance today and we were able to put down a good lap.”
YOU ARE STARTING FIRST, FIRST PIT STALL AND ALL THAT. BRAD (KESELOWSKI) IS STARTING 25TH CONSIDERING THAT THE SECOND GROOVE HASN’T WORKED IN YET HOW BIG OF AN OPPORTUNITY DO YOU THINK THIS IS TO MAKE UP SOME GROUND IN TERMS OF THE CHASE? “Well I think it could be a pretty big one. I think those guys will really figure out how to go fast in race trim. That is what they have done all season long. They haven’t qualified great really this whole year, but they know how to race. With strategy and however they will figure out how to get to the front if they are fast enough to stay up there. You know you will see the No. 2 car at some point. They have shown that all season long, but for ourselves we have a great starting spot, we have a great pit stall a lot of things from today will help us throughout the entire race not just the start of the race. I feel really good about where we are at and if we can capitalize and make the right decisions, get the right balance of the car hopefully we can gain some points.”
MARK MARTIN AND CLINT BOWYER TALKED ABOUT HOW TOMORROW’S RACE IS GOING TO BE EXTREMELY CRITICAL TO HOW WELL THE TRACK IS ON SUNDAY HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT SAME SITUATION? “I feel the exact same way. I think the rubber from tomorrows race, the rubber from our practices tomorrow we will have two hours of practices, all that will help the track. If it gets a little warmer around here, gets some sun out, I think all that will help the track also. To just get a better base to run on and hopefully move off that white line a little bit to where we can open up the entries and exits and have a better shot to pass if you are a good bit quicker than the car in front of you. Either way it’s going to be tough to pass regardless, but with all that rubber and the heat and things hopefully it will help some. That is really all we can ask for after a repave.”
COMING INTO A RACE TRACK WHERE NOBODY HAS ANY REAL EXPERIENCE RACING ON IT DO YOU SEE IT AS A REAL GOOD OPPORTUNITY TO MAYBE MAKE THE GAINS? WHAT DOES IT DO TO THE CHASE TO HAVE THIS KIND OF A THING THROWN INTO THE MIDDLE WITH ONLY FIVE RACES TO GO? “I think it’s a bit of a wild card. It’s not a Talladega wild card, but it’s a bit of a wild card because you have to pick up on the surface. The only thing to me is it is pretty similar to Michigan. The size of the track isn’t but the surface, the corners for whatever reason I think it feels really similar to Michigan. The guys that are running well right now ran pretty well at Michigan. I would say they will figure it out. We had a great run today but everybody will figure it out for Sunday. We just need to try to stay ahead of them if we can.”
YOU TALK ABOUT EVERYBODY UP FRONT WILL GET BETTER AND THAT MEANS YOU ARE GOING TO CATCH SOME OF THE CARS IN THE BACK WHO AREN’T AT THE SAME LEVEL AS THE REST OF THE TEAMS. HOW TOUGH IS PASSING GOING TO BE WHEN YOU GET UP TO A SLOWER CAR LIKE THAT? “Some of it you will be able to set up and you will be able to get by, but once you get to a car you can go back to Michigan for example. Mark Martin caught the No. 47 and No. 42 and they ran side-by-side and Mark just rode behind them. I caught them and I went to pass Mark next thing you know we are all crashing. It was just the No. 47 and No. 42 screwed up then we are all crashing. He (Mark Martin) didn’t go anywhere once he caught cars I think they were probably in 30th or 35th I don’t know how far back they were. Mark was at a dead stop. It makes it difficult for sure. This track is a little different than that track so hopefully we will have a better shot at passing and the longer those races went at Michigan the better the racing got and the more it opened up. The first race run there (Michig
an) it was tough. You could hardly pass a car that you’d just reeled in that you were running five tenths a lap faster you couldn’t pass them when you got to him.”
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
HOLLYWOOD CASINO 400
TEAM CHEVY POST QUALIFYING NOTES AND QUOTES
OCTOBER 19, 2012
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET, POLE WINNER:
ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP:
“Our Farmers Insurance Chevrolet was awesome right there. It was great. I tried to get a little…I went into (turn) three, and felt like I could go wide open. So I went back to wide open, and then I started just chattering a little bit. So, I eased off the throttle and back down. I definitely gave up a little time doing that. So far so good though.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 CODE 3 ASSOCIATES CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED SIXTH
ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP:
“It was a good lap for our Code 3 Associates Chevrolet. The guys did a good job making it better. I don’t think we made it good enough; that is the problem. I think a couple other guys are going to be really fast, probably pushing the 27 second bracket.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED SEVENTH
ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP: DID YOU SEE ELVIS ON THAT RUN?
“I did, I saw him again. There is an old saying, drive it in the corner and don’t hit the brakes until you see, and there’s a few names that come about, and Elvis is the one I grew up hearing about. So, I saw Elvis again, and went a little further yet. I had a great lap. The car is very fast. It’s awfully close up there at the top. It’s hard to look back at the lap and see where I could have been faster because you are just driving your guts out, and really doing all that you can all the way around the track. You know it is fast; you just don’t know if it is fast enough. We had a very solid lap with my Lowe’s Chevrolet. I think we are going to be strong on Sunday. We’ve been here so many days, I can’t figure out what day we are on, but we’re on Friday, so come Sunday we’ll be great.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 10TH
HOW MUCH OF YOUR NOTES CAN YOU USE GETTING AROUND RACE TRACKS LIKE THIS ONE THAT ARE NEWLY REPAVED?
“Well you never really know exactly what you need as far as travels and what the speeds are going to be. So you have to kind of get here. You have a basic plan and it’s like a lot of places we go to that are really smooth. We have had a lot of experience with repaves this year so we take that same kind of approach and go from there.”
WHEN IT COMES TO THE RACE ON SUNDAY WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU ANTICIPATE FACING UNDER GREEN FLAG CONDITIONS?
“I think the hardest thing is just going to be passing. Hopefully, in the Nationwide race and the ARCA race the groove gets spread out. The bottom lane is still the fastest right now and that is going to be the way around.”
AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 51 PHOENIX CONSTRUCTION CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 13TH
HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING LAP?
“It was pretty good. This place is really fast right now so when you kind of are in practice you get that rhythm of going out there. We have been fighting just a little bit tight in practice. I got down into (turns) one and two and got right along the (white) line and it just got me a little free so I had to pedal it just for a second. When the speeds are this high if you pedal it just a little bit you lose a little bit of time. I’m happy overall so far the whole week has been really good. As a driver you always want a little bit more, but that should I think keep us right inside the top-15 which will be good for us and we will try to get it good for 400 miles.”
HOW DO YOU THINK YOU CAR IS GOING TO BE FOR SUNDAY?
“I think it’s got out right speed so far the whole weekend. I think the speed is there, but the biggest thing is the fact that as you keep going out there on tires you keep getting quicker. Nobody has really gone out there on new tires and just run a ton. I think we will be alright. We definitely have good speed and track position is going to be everything so it’s the way that is going to play out. All of us have to be smart and not make any mistakes. I think if we can do that we can have a solid top 15 if not better on Sunday.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 7 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 41ST
HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING LAP?
“I feel like anytime I’m not last it just feels good (laughs). For me the big indicator of how comfortable I am is how I can qualify the car. I definitely feel like we were making a little bit of progress today. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do as many qualifying runs as I would have wanted to in practice because I came across the line after my second run and lifted, popped it out of gear, but when I popped it out of gear it ran into third gear. So, they had to change the engine and we weren’t able to do anymore qualifying runs. Shortchanged myself there, but I will definitely push the clutch in every time I take it out of gear from now on. We are steadily making progress and that is what this is for. I’m sure that the race will be even more as it seems to do every other time. I know it’s going to be tough to pass and I know we are not going to start in a great spot, but we will make the most of it and we will be better off next year that is what I keep saying. That is why we are doing this.”
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
HOLLYWOOD CASINO 400
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
OCTOBER 19, 2012
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET, met with media and discussed his time at Kansas, what he expects to see during Sunday’s race, his qualifying effort, and going to Martinsville next weekend. Full Transcript:
ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP:
“I was as brave as I could be. We ran a decent lap, but it’s real tight from where I am up to the top. Looking back on it, I don’t know what to really ask for because it was a very strong lap. The last two days have been good for our Lowe’s Chevy. Good speed in race trim and qualifying trim. I think that the conversation has been about the track and the resurface and I think they’ve done a nice job with the track and I’m hopeful, like everyone else, that we get some warmer temperatures so we start moving up the race track and widen out the lane. We know there’s more up grip up there with that extra banking. We just haven’t had a need to go there yet and I think a race plus a race under sunny conditions will allow us to do that.”
THE CONDITIONS ARE GOING TO BE MUCH DIFFERENT ON SUNDAY. HOW DO YOU THINK THAT WILL PLAY OUT WITH THE REPAVING AND RECONFIGURATION OF THE TRACK?
“It’s going to be a big guessing game. Tire wear isn’t all that high. When the track was green, we did see some tire wear so maybe as we’re starting to work in the top lane we’ll need to put four on for the first half of the race, but I would have to assume that two tires and good fuel mileage are going to be awfully important.”
YOU ARE GOING FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH SO MANY UNKNOWNS AT THIS TRACK, IS THIS KIND OF LIKE A LITTLE BIT OF A WILD CARD AS WELL? THERE ARE SO MANY UNKNOWNS PLUS THE WEATHER AND THINGS LIKE THAT
“Yeah, it is tough to work on a plan, but I think that the No. 48 has always adjusted well and I think our experience under pressure situations and at different race tracks helps us. So we welcome the change and the excitement. It’s been a fun couple of days and I’m looking forward to tomorrow and Sunday as well. I’m having a lot of fun in this championship battle. This has been a very competitive chase. I’m enjoying racing with the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) and the No. 2 (Brad Keselowski) week in and week out, and I’m looking forward to pouring the pressure on now.”
ON GOING TO MARTINSVILLE
“I feel good. I really do. The track in practice and qualifying; the track isn’t what we race. If anything, we get a little frustrated through practice and then our qualifying effort usually isn’t what we want. But when they drop the green flag, and we are racing, we usually go the right direction and I know it’s been a good track for us. It’s also good for the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) and the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin); the No. 29 (Kevin Harvick) should be strong there too, but he’s a bit back in points and I guess the No. 24 is too; but there’s maybe a chance to pick some (points) up on the No. 2 (Brad Keselowski). I’m not sure what his record is there but I don’t remember seeing him up front a lot so there might be a good opportunity, but at the same time I don’t want to count those guys out. They’ve shown up each and every weekend and shown a lot of speed in a lot of situations. I’m excited for it, but I know a couple of other guys are too.”