Chevy Racing–Richmond–Jeff Gordon

APRIL 26, 2013
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Richmond International Raceway and discussed being fastest in the final practice session, the penalties levied this week against Joe Gibbs Racing, the new qualifying format NASCAR announced this week for Sonoma and Watkins Glen and other topics.  Full Transcript:
“The last qualifying run went really well.  It makes you nervous when you are practicing during the day and you are going to qualify at night and you are fastest in your qualifying run.  Because you know the track is going to change.  We are going to try to do our best using previous experience and notes to make sure that we adjust it right for when the sun goes down.  We drew a really late number as well so we have been good here qualifying in the past.  I think we could have a shot at it today.  That is certainly good.  We have seen here as well where qualifying doesn’t really mean that much if you don’t get that car working really well in race trim.  So we really are working hard on that aspect of it.”
“It’s cool.  I’m a big fan of Formula 1 and I love knock out qualifying.  I kind of was hoping that we would go more towards the knock out qualifying session because I think in road racing that gives you that opportunity to do that.  But we have 45/50 cars that we have to get qualified in so it’s a little bit more challenging to do that.  You are obviously going to have that clock and the ability to kind of make a second lap if you need to.  Which at Sonoma I think that is the biggest thing is trying to get heat in the tires and make that lap the way we do it on single lap qualifying is very challenging.  I think what I’m looking forward to most guys are is being able to go out there and really plan your lap and get heat in the tires as you cross that line and then lay down that lap.  It will be very interesting to see how that goes.  I’m certainly anxious to try a new format.”
“We have always known that engine related incidences get very severe penalties.  It just seems to me like in that instance it’s not worth not only what intentions could be, but also not double checking and making sure that you do all your checks and balances.  To make sure that those parts and pieces, even if it’s a mistake, doesn’t get in that engine, which is something that I know Hendrick Motorsports works extremely hard on, because we know how severe those types of penalties can be.  It’s unfortunate they are having a great year and when you look at who is responsible for it I don’t know if they are getting penalized as much as the team is. But we also know ultimately the crew chief and the car owner on that team is who NASCAR holds responsible.  Somebody has got to be responsible for it.”
“I’m certainly very anxious to see because bigger wider race track compared to Daytona.  In Daytona I feel like we learned a lot about being very patient and picking and choosing your moments to try to make passes.  I certainly tried to make some that didn’t work out and cost us a lot of positions.  We saw single file through the middle section of the race, but yet still be extremely exciting in the closing laps.  I think that you are going to see certainly that at the end.  The unknown is with this bigger, wider track are we going to be able to complete those passes that we weren’t able to at Daytona.  We did see handling be a bigger issue at Daytona when you were around other cars on the longer runs.  That doesn’t normally seem to be the case at Talladega, so we won’t know until we get there, get in practice, start drafting and run our race.”
“Kasey (Kahne) and Kenny (Francis, crew chief) were going through a lot of changes.  That whole shop was last year being new to Hendrick.  I think that is tough for anybody to come into a new environment and just get into the rhythm and flow and get started off by being very competitive, winning races and not having issues.  We saw how strong they were this second half of the season and it looks like this year they have been able to kind of pick up where they left off and get off to a much better start this season.  So that is great.”
“I’m impressed with Kyle Larson for a lot of reason and a lot of different series.  I raced sprint cars.  I raced midgets and of course the last 20 plus years been racing in NASCAR.  To me non-winged sprint car on dirt is probably one of the hardest race cars there is to drive.  He makes it look pretty easy.  He can jump back and forth and be competitive in just about everything that he gets into.  I think he has impressed a lot of people.”

Chevy Racing–Richmond– Danica Patrick

APRIL 26, 2013
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Richmond International Raceway and discussed racing at Richmond, frustration with another driver at Kansas, being on The Colbert Report and other topics.  Full transcript:
TALK ABOUT RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY AND YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE WEEKEND: “I’ve always enjoyed coming to Richmond. I was just talking about that…had fun racing Indy cars here. I liked driving the Nationwide car here. We didn’t have the greatest result, but it was still fun. Even in the Nationwide car, Ricky (Stenhouse) and I were talking about it; we struggle with getting the power down off the corner after 20 or 30 laps. So, I can’t imagine how much fun this is going to be in a Cup car. We’ll have to see. There seems to be some similarities between Martinsville and here. We’re hoping that that translates.”
AFTER THE RACE LAST WEEK, WERE YOU REALLY MAD AT (DAVID) GILLILAND, OR WAS THAT JUST VENTING ON THE RADIO? “Yes, I was mad. I’ve felt like he drives very aggressively against me from Darlington last year on. There was just a lot more of it last weekend, and I was frustrated. But, I think in general it was a frustrating race, and that was just one of the elements.”
HOW MUCH OF A CHANCE DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE OF WINNING AT TALLADEGA CONSIDERING HOW WELL YOU RAN AT DAYTONA? “I feel like I’ve learned some lessons from Daytona about the draft, and that unfolds at the end if you are in the right place at the right time. I think that when we talk speedway racing, there’s a lot of luck involved. Like I said, right place at the right time…there are a lot of people that have a good chance of winning Talladega I think. Hopefully we are one of them at the end of the race. But, we won’t know that until end of the race.”
HOW MUCH WAS THE COLBERT REPORT EXPERIENCE? WHAT’S IT LIKE CARRYING HIS LIKENESS ON YOUR CAR THIS WEEKEND? “I have always liked The Colbert Report. I think it is a great show. It is really funny. I love his (Stephen Colbert) sense of humor. That was the first time I have been on his show. I was excited. He’s a cool guy. Obviously he plays a character. He said before I went out there.  So my character is incredibly ignorant and stupid. Just bear with me; have fun with it. It was cool. When we got done, he came back and said good job; that was fun; sorry I went a little bit long, but I was having a good time. So that’s a very nice thing for him to say. I had a good time. I felt like he went kind of easy on me. I’m glad I’ve watched the show because I was prepared for anything. I feel like I watch his show and I see some people that go on and I don’t think they have any idea what that show is all about, and what he does on it. I’m glad I had some knowledge. It was a lot of fun. It’s always fun to do those kinds of things that are a little different and outside the box.
“I’ll take the Colbert bump, sure. He has a big following. I guess, really, I’m one of them. It was nice of GoDaddy to let that go on the car. I didn’t make the joke on TV, but we would have gone about it, I would have said I will try and keep his face off the wall. We’ll have to see.”
HOW ARE YOU ADJUSTING TO THE GEN SIX CUP CAR? WHAT CHARACTERISTICS HAVE YOU NOTICED ON THIS TRACK THAN IT WAS LAST YEAR WITH THE PREVIOUS CAR? “We haven’t been out on the track yet, and I wasn’t on the track last year in the Cup Series to know what that would have even been like to tell you what the difference is. I feel later today you’ll probably have a better answer from someone who’s been here in a Cup car. The new Gen Six is fine. We are all just adapting. I feel like we are running okay on certain kinds of tracks as a team, but struggling at some others. We will work that out; sooner than later hopefully.”
DID GILLILAND’S “SHUT-UP AND DRIVE” COMMENT BOTHER YOU, OR DID YOU SORT OF FEEL LIKE HE IS TREATING YOU LIKE EVERYONE ELSE? “No, I don’t think he races me like everyone else. I watched him move over, and let someone by, so no, I don’t think he does. And, that is what makes me mad. He is just getting more attention for this than he deserves.  I think he was just driving in a way that I didn’t think was appropriate, and I haven’t thought was appropriate for a long time, but it was just too much that time.”
A LOT OF PENALTIES HAVE BEEN LEVIED BY NASCAR THIS YEAR.  DO YOU THINK NASCAR HAS BEEN PARTICULARLY TOUGH THIS YEAR?  HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE MOST RECENTLY MATT KENSETH? “It’s tough for me to know what the things that teams, cars, drivers, owners have been penalized for and to know how bad that is.  I think that penalties happen more in (Sprint) Cup than anywhere it seems like, and I haven’t been around that long, and I don’t know how much of these things are performance gains or oversights or blatant or something they just got caught for.  I just don’t know.  I don’t know if it has to do with the new car, I really don’t.  So I would say that NASCAR is definitely sending a message that if something is found that they don’t like, that there will be penalties for it.  That’s pretty clear.”
WITH THE NEW GENERATION 6 CAR IT SEEMS LIKE THEY ARE TURNING RECORD LAPS AT THESE TRACKS.  DOES THAT MAKE YOU NERVOUS AT ALL HAVING TO GO OUT AND RACE IN A NEW CAR THAT YOU HAVE NEVER USED ON A CERTAIN TRACK AND ITS GOING TO BE RUNNING AT RECORD SPEEDS? “We are talking tenths of a second or a mile-an-hour.  I mean we are not talking about going from 100 to 200 miles-an-hour, so no.   You are not nearly going to feel it.  There is probably a bigger difference going from qualifying trim to race trim, so we are talking small amounts here.  So I think it’s a talking point, but the car is similar, and I think that is what we can see….that it’s similar.  So, maybe it’s a little bit faster, maybe it could be a little bit slower.”
IN YOUR HISTORY OF RACING; INDYCAR, ETC, AND EVERYTHING – DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE DRIVER SHOULD ALWAYS BE RESPONSIBLE IN A PENALTY SITUATION WHETHER IT WAS THE ENGINE BUILDER, CHASSIS, OR WHATEVER, WHO BROKE THE RULE? “Oh gosh, I hope not because I have absolutely no idea what goes on other than when I am driving the car.  If you are asking if it’s just the driver that should be held responsible, then I don’t.   If you are asking if they should get a penalty then it’s the team that puts the car out there that gets that result so it all kind of goes hand-in-hand but I definitely don’t think it should be all the driver’s penalty.  But you are driving for a team where NASCAR found something they didn’t like so the biggest penalty is the car that is out there running for the championship points, so that is where they get them.  That is what hurts the most, you know?” 

Currie Looks to Hit LOORS Jackpot in Las Vegas

CORONA, Calif. (April 23, 2013) — Like most who travel to Sin City, Casey Currie is heading to Las Vegas next weekend with one thing on his mind; winning. The Monster Energy/General Tire driver wants to stand on the top step of the podium for Rounds 3 and 4 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, April 26-28.

“I’ve had some success at Las Vegas Motor Speedway,” said Currie. “This race is always a good one for us.  Not only on the track, but off of it as well, we all like to have a good time and what better place for that than Las Vegas.”

Currie finished first and second last year at Las Vegas after setting the fastest qualifying time in practice. Unfortunately for Currie, two big inversions saw him starting near the back of the field in each race. With his past success at Las Vegas along with the momentum he is carrying from a strong performance at the season opener in Phoenix, Currie is hopeful for another great result.

“We had two good races last time out,” continued Currie. “We just had some bad luck that kept us from getting a win. We’ve been working hard and trying some new things on the truck to keep moving forward and we want to get our first win of the year this weekend.”

Anderson Relying on Total Team Effort to Produce Results in Houston

Mooresville, N.C., April 24, 2013 – Summit Racing Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson paid his dues as a crew member and crew chief before graduating to the role of driver and earning four series championships, and he learned early in his career that success in the incredibly competitive category requires more than skilled driving. An exceptional team is critical to rising to the top in a class where every ten-thousandth of a second counts. This weekend, at the O’Reilly Auto Part NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway near Houston, Anderson will be calling on a total team effort to summon success for the KB Racing group.
“What we’ve been able to achieve has been way beyond our wildest dreams,” said Anderson. “We didn’t set out thinking that we could dominate in this class for a number of years, and we exceeded our expectations. But when you get to that point and begin to go in the other direction and experience misfortune and what we perceive as failure, you take it really hard. You fall off of that mountain, and you take it hard.
“I told everyone when we were experiencing that high that it was the lows that would really distinguish the character of this KB Racing team, how we would be able to recover from adversity. Well, we did it – we recovered from a group of tough years and came back to win the championship in 2010 and 2011. That’s what a team does. If you can keep your head up and have faith in each other, you can dig out of that hole and find success again. We have to stay together, work together, win as a team, and lose as a team.”
Anderson made his first final round of the season last weekend at his home racetrack in Charlotte after starting a respectable 5th in the line-up. For the driver who has qualified on the pole 75 times in his career and participated in 112 national event final rounds, top-half qualifying isn’t enough, and the fact that it took four races to get to a final just doesn’t sit well. Anderson and his dedicated crew expect more – particularly on raceday.
“It comes down to adapting to racetrack conditions on Sunday,” said Anderson. “We had a pretty good test session after Charlotte, and we definitely gained some ground on what we think went wrong on Sunday last week. For us, it’s going to be a matter of avoiding mistakes like we made that day and managing the round-to-round changes with the racetrack that we haven’t been able to keep up with. It’s difficult to create those changes when you test, so it’s a work in progress, but we definitely have a lot of thoughts on combatting the problem. We don’t want to get over-anxious and say it’s fixed, but we will say that this Summit Racing team plans to do a better job in Houston.”
It is certainly no secret that the Summit Racing group has accomplished much in their history of racing together under team owner Ken Black, and the team has watched their combined total of Pro Stock victories rise to a remarkable 103. Anderson’s record in Houston includes two wins – one in 2004, when he was also the No. 1 qualifier – and then again in 2008, when he bested KB Racing teammate Jason Line in the final.
“You know, I look forward to this weekend in Houston. We have often had great atmospheric conditions there, and our Summit Racing cars have run fast at that racetrack,” said Anderson of the sea-level altitude facility that is particularly complementing to the naturally aspirated factory hot rods. “And the fans there are just wonderful – there always seems to be a good turnout in Houston, and they love Pro Stock. Their enthusiasm is contagious, and I’d like to think that if all of those things come together and we make the right decision on Sunday, we’ll get one of these Summit Racing Camaros to the winner’s circle.”

Line Recalls First Final Round in Return to Houston

Line Recalls First Final Round in Return to Houston
Mooresville, N.C., April 24, 2013 – A return to Houston for the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway this weekend should be just what Summit Racing Pro Stock driver Jason Line needs to kick his Mello Yello Drag Racing season into high gear. Now six races into the 24 race journey towards the championship trophy, Line has yet to advance to the final round for a chance at winning, but the Houston facility is special in that it holds a little magic that Line has nowhere else on the tour.
“Houston is where I went to my first final round,” said Line, now a 29-time Pro Stock victor and two-time series champion. “I remember it clearly, because up to that point in time I had been struggling, to say the least. It was the first time I’d ever actually felt comfortable, and probably the first good light I ever cut in a Pro Stock car. It was also the first time I’d ever raced Greg.”
Line had never raced his Summit Racing teammate Greg Anderson during eliminations prior to the final round in Houston in 2004, the Minnesota-bred driver’s first full season as a Pro Stock racer after a successful career in NHRA’s premier sportsman series, where he won a Lucas Oil Series championship in the Stock Eliminator category. Line edged his familiar opponent by a thousandth of a second at the start but the car quickly pointed left and Line had to lift. Anderson won the round, but the pair would meet again five more times that year, and in Chicago – just two races later – Line beat Anderson to score the first Pro Stock victory of his career.
“That was a good year,” recalled Line. “I was just happy to get there and then do a halfway decent job in the final. I don’t really think about it much because we’ve been back there so many times since then, but it really is a good memory. Even back then, I felt like this team was going to be together for a long time. We’ve had a lot of success since that day [100 wins for KB Racing, 21 all-Summit Racing final rounds, six shared championships]. We haven’t quite been performing up to our own standards lately, but we’re working hard to turn that around.
“Growing up in Minnesota, we used to come down to Houston with the Stockers in the winter time – the racetrack is a neat place, and we thought it was fun to get out of the snow. Hopefully this weekend we’ll get back to having fun with our Summit Racing Camaros.”