Chevy Racing–Barber Qualifying

Ryan Hunter-Reay Wins the Pole at Barber Motorsports Park
 
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.  (April 6, 2013) – Defending IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay will start the No. 1 DHL Andretti Autosport Chevrolet from the pole of tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park (Barber). With a lap of 1 minute, 07.0871 seconds at 123.422 miles per hour (m.p.h.), Hunter-Reay went to the top of the Firestone Fast Six leader board with less than a minute remaining in the 10-minute final session.
 
Today’s Verizon P1 Award is Hunter-Reay’s third-career pole, and his first at Barber as well as his first of the 2013 season.
 
Making it an all-Chevrolet IndyCar V6 front row is two-time Barber race winner, Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, who will start alongside Hunter-Reay for tomorrow’s 90-lap race on the challenging 2.38-mile, 17-turn, purpose-built road course.
 
“Congratulations to Ryan Hunter-Reay and the entire No. 1 DHL Andretti Autosport team on winning the pole for the Grand Prix of Alabama,” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, IZOD IndyCar Series. “As always with this exciting method of qualifying, it was tense down to the last seconds of the Firestone Fast Six, but Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power were focused and managed to deliver at the end to secure the top two spots. We are very proud to have Chevrolet IndyCar twin turbo V6 engines on the front row to lead the field to the green flag at Barber Motorsports Park for the second consecutive year.”
 
Helio Castroneves, No. 3 AAA Insurance Turbo Team Penske Chevrolet, will start sixth tomorrow giving Team Chevy three of the top-six starters in Round Two of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
 
The 90-lap Grand Prix of Alabama will be televised live at 3 p.m. (ET) by the NBC Sports Network (Verizon FiOS 90/590, DirecTV 220, DISH 159 and AT&T UVerse 640) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, including on Sirius and XM Channels 211 and www.indycar.com. Race timing and scoring can also be found on

Chevy Racing–Barber Qualifying

Ryan Hunter-Reay Wins the Pole at Barber Motorsports Park
 
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.  (April 6, 2013) – Defending IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay will start the No. 1 DHL Andretti Autosport Chevrolet from the pole of tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park (Barber). With a lap of 1 minute, 07.0871 seconds at 123.422 miles per hour (m.p.h.), Hunter-Reay went to the top of the Firestone Fast Six leader board with less than a minute remaining in the 10-minute final session.
 
Today’s Verizon P1 Award is Hunter-Reay’s third-career pole, and his first at Barber as well as his first of the 2013 season.
 
Making it an all-Chevrolet IndyCar V6 front row is two-time Barber race winner, Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, who will start alongside Hunter-Reay for tomorrow’s 90-lap race on the challenging 2.38-mile, 17-turn, purpose-built road course.
 
“Congratulations to Ryan Hunter-Reay and the entire No. 1 DHL Andretti Autosport team on winning the pole for the Grand Prix of Alabama,” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, IZOD IndyCar Series. “As always with this exciting method of qualifying, it was tense down to the last seconds of the Firestone Fast Six, but Ryan Hunter-Reay and Will Power were focused and managed to deliver at the end to secure the top two spots. We are very proud to have Chevrolet IndyCar twin turbo V6 engines on the front row to lead the field to the green flag at Barber Motorsports Park for the second consecutive year.”
 
Helio Castroneves, No. 3 AAA Insurance Turbo Team Penske Chevrolet, will start sixth tomorrow giving Team Chevy three of the top-six starters in Round Two of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
 
The 90-lap Grand Prix of Alabama will be televised live at 3 p.m. (ET) by the NBC Sports Network (Verizon FiOS 90/590, DirecTV 220, DISH 159 and AT&T UVerse 640) and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network, including on Sirius and XM Channels 211 and www.indycar.com. Race timing and scoring can also be found on

Chevy Racing–Helio Castroneves Tops Speed Charts in Practice for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Alabama

Helio Castroneves Tops Speed Charts in Practice for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Alabama
 
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.  (April 5, 2013) – Today, at the conclusion of the first day of practice for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Alabama, Helio Castroneves, No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet, was at the top of the speed charts. His teammate, Will Power, No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, was fifth in the final combined practice run-down.  Castroneves and Power are the only two drivers to have won races, as well as pole positions in the three previous races held at Barber Motorsports Park.  Castroneves has one pole and one win at the 2.38-mile, 17-turn track, while Power has two poles and two wins, including the 2012 debut of the Chevrolet  IndyCar V6 Direct Injected, Twin Turbocharged engine.
 
Other Team Chevy drivers turning in times that landed them in the top-10 were: E.J. Viso, No. 5 Team Venezuela PDVSA Citgo Andretti Autosport HVM Chevrolet – seventh and A.J. Allmendinger, No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet – eighth.
 
The IZOD IndyCar Series will return to the track for a 30-minute practice session at 8:00 a.m. CT Saturday morning in preparation for qualifying that is slated to start at 10:25 a.m. CT.
 
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER QUOTES:
 
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 AAA INSURANCE TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET FASTEST IN PRACTICE: HOW MUCH MOMENTUM DOES BEING FASTEST TODAY GIVE YOU GOING INTO TOMORROW? “First it is great to have AAA. I don’t know if you guys know it, but AAA and Turbo (the movie) are teaming up together. Which I have to say will probably help a little bit out there. It is great to talk about it so people, when they go out there, even that we go fast with Turbo, to not text and drive and don’t talk on the phone. Don’t forget to watch it July 17. That is the premier of the movie. I want to make sure you watch it because it is going to be a lot of fun. Be safe when you drive. I think it is better to be lucky than good. Obviously with the yellow at the end, a lot of guys probably didn’t put on tires. But the car felt pretty good. The AAA machine felt very strong this morning. Unfortunately, it was a little bit difficult because it seemed that the track has a lot of grip, and when you have an extra set of tire, certainly it helps a little bit. But, at the end of the day, with A.J. (Allmendinger) and Will (Power), we’ve been actually throwing a lot of different stuff out there, and it seemed to be working. Again, it is just the first day. There were a lot of weepers, if you guys noticed. If you didn’t, it feels like that even if it is warmer right now, the weepers are coming out a little bit more, and sometimes when you hit just the line, the car kind of does some weird things. But, I am happy that Chevy is working together. Hopefully we continue the good momentum.”
 
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, 5TH IN PRACTICE:  “We definitely have a bit of work to do with the Verizon car because we’re just off the pace a bit. We were running top five all day, but we really had to push to get there. We’ll get together tonight and work to figure out how to improve for qualifying tomorrow.”
 
E.J. VISO, NO. 5 TEAM VENEZUELA PDVSA CITGO ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT HVM CHEVROLET, 7TH IN PRACTICE: “Well it’s been a pretty good day. We’ve gone through different car setups, and at the end we believe we found a good scenario to keep working with the car for tomorrow morning’s practice before qualifying. The team has done a good job here. I believe we have a good baseline and fundamental setup shared between the four cars. Tomorrow is going to be very interesting, and we can already tell that this race, and this weekend, is going to be based all around tires. Tires is the key word – for good or for bad. We will need to be working very closely with them (tires).”
 
A.J. ALLMENDINGER, NO. 2 IZOD TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, 8TH IN PRACTICE:
HOW MUCH HAS THE TRACK CHANGED CONDITION-WISE FROM THE OPEN TEST IN MARCH TO NOW? “When we got here at the test, for me, I was trying to learn the race track, and it was so cold, there was just a ton of grip out there. I felt like the first session was real slick compared from the test with the GRAND-AM cars here, and the Continental cars here, then obviously with just the rain, and no rubber really being down on the race track.  For me, it is just a process. It’s just trying to learn how these weekends go. Trying to keep up with the race track as it changes. It’s so funny…on the (NASCAR) Cup side of it; you have a set day of it. Friday you work on qualifying. Saturday you work on race set-up. And, Sunday you go race. Here obviously you are working on speed, but there isn’t a lot of time to work on race set-up. So I think it is just the process of going through the weekend; figuring out how the weekend goes and how we use our tires; what we are working on. So far, I felt like the first day was good. I think we were ninth and eighth.  I think there is still a lot out there in me. The cars are going to be fast. That is the good thing about the Penske organization, especially around this place. Then winning all the races. I know the car is going to be fast. I know the setup is going to be fairly close. It is just about me trying to go out there and figure it out. Figure out what I need in the race car. How I get the speed out of it. I still left a lot out there on that lap that I did. I think tomorrow, the biggest and toughest thing for me is that qualifying lap. Putting those reds (tires) on for the first time, and not having had any practice on them, and just have to go get that lap. It was a solid day so far.”
 
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO 1 DHL ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 12TH IN PRACTICE: “I think it was a good solid day for the No. 1 DHL Chevy. I think that we made some good progress this morning. We were very disciplined with the tires this afternoon, not taking a second set, which is why we’re down in the charts right now – we never took the second set like most of the rest of the field. I’m feeling pretty good about tomorrow; we need to make a few changes to stay ahead of the track development but other than that… we’ll see in the morning. I think we’re a top five car right now so I’m happy about that.”
ORIOL SERVIA, NO. 22 CHARTER PANTHER DRYER & REINBOLD RACING CHEVROLET, 13th IN PRACTICE:  “I’m actually very pleased.  We woke up the car – it’s a lot more alive. I’m much happier than after the first session. We did our best lap on old tires. When we put on the sticker tires, the red flag came out so we didn’t get a lap in. It’s always a question mark how much we would improve on new tires, but everyone improved quite a bit. The pace we had on old tires was encouraging.  I think we’re on a good path, we just need to fine-tune it a little bit and the Charter car should be in good shape.”
 
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY.COM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 15TH IN PRACTICE:  “Today did not go as planned, but you get these days in racing. We had a couple of things go wrong in the first session, and the way the yellow fell in the second (session) we didn’t really get a proper run all day. I think we can get the Go Daddy car up there tomorrow when it counts. I think it’ll be a challenge, but that’s what they pay us the big bucks for.”
 
TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 HYDROXYCUT KV RACING TECHNOLOGY SH RACING CHEVROLET, 16th IN PRACTICE: “The track is much slicker now than it was during our open test about a month ago, which made our work cut out during these two sessions. We did some changes to car and got it going our way by the second session, but there is still a lot of work to do for tomorrow before we get to qualifying.”

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO, NO. 78 NUCLEAR ENTERGY AREVA KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, 17th IN PRACTICE:   “The day was alright. I think we need to tweak a couple of things a bit. It’s definitely a little different from the open test, but I think we should
be alright. We haven’t gotten a lap in this afternoon so we have to work on that to get the gap tomorrow and get it in. I really think we should be alright. Hopefully we’ll qualify up front and have a good race from there.”
 
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 25 RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, 19TH IN PRACTICE: “Not the greatest end of day result for the RC Cola car. Right now we have some room for improvement, but I feel that we will be in good shape by Sunday. We didn’t get a chance to do a run on new tires so we still have some unanswered questions. We’ve had positive results here in the past so I’m confident that we can get where we need to be.”
 
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 7 MCAFEE DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, 20TH IN PRACTICE: “It was a very interesting day, we tried something completely different than we tried in the test a few weeks ago and got the same read. Coming out of the second practice we were not able to use new tires due to a red flag, but if we had we should have seen the results we are looking for. We still have some work to do, but we should see better results in the #7 McAfee car tomorrow.”
 
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET, 23RD IN PRACTICE: “The fact we didn’t throw a new set of tires on the National Guard Chevy at the end of the session today obviously has a significant effect on where we were at (on the speed chart). Another piece of that is that the track gets better as it cools off here and we were one of the first cars to go out when we did our fastest lap. That all aside, the track is significantly different from when we tested here, and we’re still trying to get everything dialed in. Between myself and Oriol (Servia) we both made some changes that we’ll all end up going to when we roll out in the morning.”
 
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO.  6 TRUECAR DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET, 24th IN PRACTICE: “It’s been a tough day for the whole Dragon Racing team, we were expecting so much more after finding a strong pace in St. Pete. We know what we need to work on and we know what we need to bring tomorrow. It’s a matter of confidence and we have it, it’s just a matter of small things we need to fix. We need to keep focused and bring that #6 True Car tomorrow in a positive way as we did in St. Pete.”
 
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S PREMIUM VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, 25TH IN PRACTICE: “Both sessions were a little weird today.  The track had some weepers and, actually, the weepers were worse in the second practice.  That is a little strange.  The track has changed from the test last week.  We did learn some good things this afternoon.  We closed the gap a little on the leaders.  We need to get more.  We had a mistake on the new tire run, so I think we’ll be faster with the new setup.  I think we can do better on Saturday.  We were moving in a better direction with the car now.   This place is a hard track, and you tell it with everybody.  Someone will get a good lap and then fall off the next one.”
 
POST PRACTICE PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT: HELIO CASTRONEVES AND A.J. ALLMENDINGER:
 
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 AAA INSURANCE TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET FASTEST IN PRACTICE: HOW MUCH MOMENTUM DOES BEING FASTEST TODAY GIVE YOU GOING INTO TOMORROW? “First it is great to have AAA. I don’t know if you guys know it, but AAA and Turbo (the movie) are teaming up together. Which I have to say will probably help a little bit out there. It is great to talk about it so people, when they go out there, even that we go fast with Turbo, to not text and drive and don’t talk on the phone. Don’t forget to watch it July 17. That is the premier of the movie. I want to make sure you watch it because it is going to be a lot of fun. Be safe when you drive. I think it is better to be lucky than good. Obviously with the yellow at the end, a lot of guys probably didn’t put on tires. But the car felt pretty good. The AAA machine felt very strong this morning. Unfortunately, it was a little bit difficult because it seemed that the track has a lot of grip, and when you have an extra set of tire, certainly it helps a little bit. But, at the end of the day, with A.J. (Allmendinger) and Will (Power), we’ve been actually throwing a lot of different stuff out there, and it seemed to be working. Again, it is just the first day. There were a lot of weepers, if you guys noticed. If you didn’t, it feels like that even if it is warmer right now, the weepers are coming out a little bit more, and sometimes when you hit just the line, the car kind of does some weird things. But, I am happy that Chevy is working together. Hopefully we continue the good momentum.”
 
HOW IS YOUR FEEL FROM PRACTICE TODAY GOING INTO QUALIFYING TOMORROW? “I feel good. I feel like we have a great car; a great team. We’ve showed that in the last three years.  We just have to go out there realistic. I do feel like a lot of guys out there did not have the opportunity to put tires on. I feel like tomorrow will go fast, the track is going to get fast, especially with the red tires. Plus the way the track is going. I feel good. I feel definitely pumped for tomorrow. So hopefully we can put AAA in same spot we put it today.”
 
HAS ANYTHING A.J. HAS ASKED YOU SURPRISED YOU? “Absolutely not. You know, like I said before. If we put everybody in this chair, I guarantee you he is going to be the fastest guy out there, because he can jump in every kind of cars, and do really well. Right now. I have to give him credit, because to go there and only have a few tests in the car, and already start running there in the top-10, in this competitive series, that just shows he is here for a reason. For us, in fact the first session, he was able to, we were discussing a lot of things, and I was able to make some adjust in the car related to what he felt, because I didn’t have the opportunity to have two sets of tires in the morning. So, yes, he does help. And every time somebody out there especially with his caliber, it is always good to have more information.”
 
A.J. ALLMENDINGER, NO. 2 IZOD TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, 8TH IN PRACTICE:
HOW MUCH HAS THE TRACK CHANGED CONDITION-WISE FROM THE OPEN TEST IN MARCH TO NOW? “When we got here at the test, for me, I was trying to learn the race track, and it was so cold, there was just a ton of grip out there. I felt like the first session was real slick compared from the test with the GRAND-AM cars here, and the Continental cars here, then obviously with just the rain, and no rubber really being down on the race track.  For me, it is just a process. It’s just trying to learn how these weekends go. Trying to keep up with the race track as it changes. It’s so funny…on the (NASCAR) Cup side of it; you have a set day of it. Friday you work on qualifying. Saturday you work on race set-up. And, Sunday you go race. Here obviously you are working on speed, but there isn’t a lot of time to work on race set-up. So I think it is just the process of going through the weekend; figuring out how the weekend goes and how we use our tires; what we are working on. So far, I felt like the first day was good. I think we were ninth and eighth.  I think there is still a lot out there in me. The cars are going to be fast. That is the good thing about the Penske organization, especially around this place. Then winning all the races. I know the car is going to be fast. I know the setup is going to be fairly close. It is just about me trying to go out there and figure it out. Figure out what I need in the race car. How I get the speed out of it. I still left a lot out there on that lap that I did. I think tomorrow, the biggest and toughest thing for me is that qualifying lap. Putting those reds (tires) on for the first time, and not having had any practice on them, and just have to go get that lap. It was a solid day so far.”
 
WHAT IS THE CONTRAST IN MINDSET FROM WHEN YOU WERE IN TESTING TO NOW WHEN YOU ARE HERE TO COMPETE?

Golobic Realizes Dream as World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Winner

Golobic Realizes Dream as World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Winner
He leads the final 21 laps and outlasts childhood hero Saldana at Antioch Speedway
 
ANTIOCH, Calif. – April 5, 2013 – The offseason, weekdays, every night before falling asleep. There is a lot of time spent dreaming and for a young sprint car driver, dreams are the gateway for perseverance.
On Friday at Antioch Speedway, Shane Golobic’s dreams were nothing like reality.

Golobic passed polesitter Jonathan Allard in thick traffic on lap 10 and held off Joey Saldana – Golobic’s favorite World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series driver – to capture his first career victory, which left him talking almost as fast as he drove after an emotional celebration on the frontstretch.

“It doesn’t compare,” Golobic said as a smile engulfed his face. “I always knew it’d be pretty awesome to win one. I didn’t know if I was ever going to get the chance. There’s some guys who win a lot of races and don’t ever get to win an Outlaws race, so to be able to do it is awesome.

“I couldn’t be happier right now. We beat the best. The Outlaws are the best and we beat them. It’s just surreal to even think that we did it.”

Allard took the early advantage at the start of the 30-lap feature with Golobic in tow. Golobic twice pulled side by side with Allard in turns one and two only to see Allard’s momentum help him maintain the lead.

The duo reached traffic on Lap 7 and Golobic nearly made it three wide exiting turn two as he and Allard lapped Chad Kemenah, who had to start at the back of the field after going to the work area to change an MSD box before the green flag.

However, Golobic thought better and backed off. Three laps later, Golobic powered around Allard in turns three and four to gain the lead amidst a handful of cars in traffic.

“In traffic it’s almost better to be running second,” Golobic said. “He just kinda got hung up behind a lapped car and I kinda saw that and went to the top and got him. We got out front and started working traffic.”

Allard dropped to fifth in two laps with Saldana picking up the pressure on Golobic. With about 10 laps remaining, Golobic struggled to lap Dominic Scelzi, who started the feature as the alternate when Kerry Madsen was unable to take the green flag because of a broken roll pin in the magneto.

“I knew Saldana was coming pretty hard toward the end,” Golobic said. “He’s been my favorite Outlaw for a lot of years, so for him to run second to me, it’s crazy.”

Saldana closed to within two car lengths, but Golobic was effective enough at picking his way through traffic and after clearing Scelzi with a handful of laps remaining, Golobic pulled away.

“I thought we had a shot there, but lapped traffic was tough,” Saldana said. “I screwed up on one of them lapped cars and it cost me a shot at winning.

“(Golobic’s) been running extremely strong. This is the style of racing that he likes and he did a great job tonight. He stayed focused with his car the whole night and ran a great race.”

Cody Darrah passed Californian Tim Kaeding, who won the last World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series event at Antioch Speedway, for third place with three laps remaining.

“We were a little free when we were out in the open, but in lapped traffic I felt like we really had an advantage,” Darrah said. “I love this race track. It’s aggressive, especially tonight. It’s one of those race tracks where you do the opposite that you do at every other place.”

Kaeding finished fourth and NASCAR sensation Kyle Larson ended fifth.

Sammy Swindell was sixth, Allard seventh, Donny Schatz eighth, Kyle Hirst ninth and championship points leader Daryn Pittman rounded out the top 10.

Scelzi earned the KSE Hard Charger Award after maneuvering from 24th to 18th.

Summit Racing–Line Eager to Bring More to the Table on Day Two in Vegas

Line Eager to Bring More to the Table on Day Two in Vegas 
 
Event:  14th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals
Location: The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, Nev.
Day/Date: Friday, April 5, 2013
 
The first day of qualifying at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals fueled Summit-backed Pro Stock drivers Jason Line and teammate Greg Anderson with a deep desire to rest up and return on Saturday fully prepared to reach deep into their arsenal at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for day two of their sponsor’s title event. 
 
In the first qualifying session and with Las Vegas-based team owner Ken Black supporting Team Summit in person, Anderson was the quicker of the KB Racing cars with a 6.697-second pass at 207.27 mph, less than a mph off the fastest Pro Stock time of the day. Line was only a bit behind with a 6.704 at 206.42.
 
Line went on to improve in the second session in the blue Summit Racing Chevy Camaro and cleared the finish line with a stronger 6.689, 207.78 mph, to finish the day in the No. 6 position. His teammate’s progress in the silver Summit Racing Chevy, however, was halted by a spark plug that broke on the burnout. Anderson was eighth in the qualifying order at the conclusion of the first day of qualifying.
 
“We left a lot out there,” said Line. “We certainly wanted to do better on the first day at the SummitRacing.com Nationals, so it’s frustrating, but we know we can run with anybody. We have the right pieces, the right folks, and the right resources, and we know we can get it done. Hopefully, that’s exactly what will happen tomorrow.”
 
On Saturday, Line and Anderson will take advantage of the final two qualifying sessions before Sunday eliminations, and those two sessions will come with the added incentive of exceeding the performances of their opponents in the K&N Horsepower Challenge, the once-yearly specialty race for eight of the top factory hot rod drivers.
 
Line and Anderson are on opposite sides of the ladder for the three-round bonus competition, with Line squaring off with V. Gaines and Anderson going to battle with Mike Edwards in the first round that will also act as the third round of qualifying.
 
“The K&N Horsepower Challenge is a really neat deal for the Pro Stock guys, and we really want to do well,” said Line. “Tomorrow is a very big day for us with an important trophy up for grabs as we try to get both of the Summit Racing Camaros up closer to the top in the qualifying order before Sunday. You can bet we’ll be digging deep.”

Mopar Ready to Bet on Fast Runs at NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas

Mopar Ready to Bet on Fast Runs at NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas

Mopar takes on the Summit.com NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas after earning four title wins in first three events of the season
Mopar’s ‘Express Lane’ makes debut on Johnson’s Dodge Avenger at NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas
Allen Johnson is the defending Pro Stock winner at Las Vegas
All four Mopar entries among eight Pro Stock drivers qualified for K&N Horsepower Challenge race within a race
Mopar leads Funny Car standings with a tie between Ron Capps and Johnny Gray each with a win
Mopar is 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in Pro Stock Championship standings with Coughlin, Johnson & Nobile
 
Las Vegas (Friday, April 5) – Plenty of action on the docket for Mopar teams and drivers at this weekend’s SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the fourth of 24 events in the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. Mopar is riding high and fast after earning four title wins, two in Pro Stock as well as Funny Car, in first three events of the year, all of which had a Mopar versus Mopar final elimination (2 PS and 2 FC).

Defending Pro Stock winner of the fall event, Allen Johnson not only brings a new car to the track after testing it this past week at Rockingham, N.C. but is also sporting a fresh new look with Mopar’s “Express Lane Fast Oil Changes & More” message. Currently more than 800 Chrysler Group dealerships provide a dedicated Express Lane to provide fast service and convenient light maintenance without the need of an appointment.

Heading into this event, Mopar drivers Jeg Coughlin Jr., Johnson & Vincent Nobile are second, third, and forth in Pro Stock Championship standings. Coughlin is hoping to press his Dodge Avenger and his luck in Las Vegas  in order to join his teammates in earning a Wally after he finished runner-up to each one in Pomona (Nobile) and Gainesville (Johnson).

So far so good in Friday’s qualifying rounds as Coughlin posted an elapsed time of 6.655 second (207.34 mph) to place second to the low e.t of 6.651 set by rival Mike Edwards (207.98mph). Johnson put his Dodge Avenger third with a run of 6.672 (207.21 mph) with teammate Nobile is in ninth spot (6.697 / 206.54) while HEMI-power had V.Gaines (6.702/206.64) rounding out the top-10.

All four Mopar drivers are among the eight Pro Stock entries that will also be racing for a lucrative payday in the K&N Horsepower Challenge, race-within-a-race bonus event, on Saturday. The eight-racer field features the seven drivers who have accumulated the most points in qualifying since this same event in 2012, along with a final spot for the driver who collects the most fan votes.

For the first time in his career, Johnson will lead the K&N Horsepower Challenge field as No.1 seed while HEMI-powered Vincent Nobile, seeded sixth, is the defending winner of last year’s race. V. Gaines qualifying points gave him the seventh place entry while Jeg Coughlin Jr is the eighth driver thanks to being voted in by NHRA fans. The winner of the event will earn $50,000, and the runner-up will take home $10,000. As the top seed of the event, Johnson will face off against Coughlin in the opening round.

In Funny Car qualifying action, Johnny Gray was the best of the Don Schumacher Racing Mopar entries with a third place effort of 4.107 seconds (309.42 mph) while teammate Matt Hagan put his ‘Magneti Marelli offered by Mopar’ Dodge Charger R/T in fourth spot with a pass of 4.115 sec / 306.53 mph. Fellow DSR driver Ron Capps is currently qualified in fifth place (4.133 /302.55) just ahead of teammate Jack Beckman (4.158 /297.16). Competitor Robert Height paced the field with a low e.t. of 4.053 seconds at 315.19 mph.

Mopar leads the Funny Car Championship standings with a tie between Capps and Gray, who each have a win. Hagan has been off to a strong start with a final-round appearance at Gatornationals and currently sits fourth in standings while 2012 NHRA Champ Beckman is in ninth place.

Television coverage of the NHRA Nationals from Las Vegas will be broadcast on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD with two hours of qualifying highlights airing Saturday, April 6, at 8 p.m. (ET) while on Sunday, April 7, three hours of eliminations action will be featured starting at 11 p.m. (ET).

John Force Racing–HIGHT, C. FORCE RUN AWAY FROM FIELD AT LAS VEGAS

HIGHT, C. FORCE RUN AWAY FROM FIELD AT LAS VEGAS

 

LAS VEGAS, NV (April 5, 2013) – It is too early to say Robert Hight’s Auto Club Ford Mustang has turned its season around but Friday night’s performance was another strong step in the right direction. Under the lights at the 14th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals Hight blasted to the provisional No. 1 spot with a 4.053 second run and grabbed his first provisional top spot of 2013. It has been eighteen races since Hight was the No. 1 qualifier.

 

Hight was asked if he thought that time was quick enough to stay No. 1 and he gave a nod to one of his toughest competitors.

 

“I’ll be honest, you never know about Cruz Pedregon.  That car, he’s liable to go out there tomorrow, in that heat, it has that potential (to run low ET).  I’m never gonna say never, but I think it’s pretty safe looking at the weather forecast,” said Hight.

 

The past two years Hight has won the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals and last year he took the title as the No. 1 qualifier, a first for this event. The driver from Yorba Linda, California loves racing here at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

 

“I want to race in Vegas more.  It’s been a long time (since we’ve been on top of the qualifying).  We kinda went back to basics and, in Gainesville, I kinda thought we turned the corner and we were on our way. Then we had to wait two off weekends and that’s just no fun,” said Hight.

 

“When you think you’re turning this thing around, you want to get right back out here and prove it.  John Force has made some unbelievable calls on my team.  He said, we weren’t going to wait until the end of the year or until the Countdown to fix this thing.  Mike Neff (crew chief on John Force’s Ford) and Courtney Force, those two teams in our own camp are doing well.  So it’s pretty exciting to see these cars responding.  I believe we’re back as a team.  This is a great equalizer out here right now.  Its 20-30 degrees hotter than what we’ve been racing in, so the competition, everything is changed from the first three races.”

 

“I knew it was a decent run.  I was on the radio saying, “what’d it run, what’d it run?” but I guess the radio button was stuck.  They could hear me and they could hear the car coasting down.  The rear end makes all kind of noise in the shutdown area.  Then, one of the NHRA guys, told me what it ran and I said, I hope this guy knows what he’s talking about.”

 

Courtney Force ended Friday’s qualifying attempts in the No. 2 spot, right behind teammate and brother-in-law, Robert Hight.

 

The 2012 Auto Club Rookie of the Year put a 4.55 on the board during the first qualifying pass. Force had to lift off the throttle after her Traxxas Ford Mustang started moving around at about 600 feet off the starting line. She came back in session two and posted an impressive 4.06 ET and jumped to the No. 2 position.

 

“After only having two sessions completed, we have a 4.06 to work with going into Saturday, and we can build on that. We’re excited to be running well right off the bat here in Vegas. It’s great for our Traxxas Ford Mustang team and John Force Racing to have two cars in the top two spots just at the day’s end on Friday. I’m excited that Robert has his Auto Club Mustang running good and I hope that we can continue through tomorrow,” said Force.

 

The 24-year-old picked up two bonus points for the second-quickest pass on session two, and is looking forward to qualifying on Saturday.

 

“Being in that No. 2 spot gave us two bonus points, which we’ve all seen add up and at the end of the year, you’re wishing you had accumulated more in qualifying. It’s comforting to know we’re No. 3 in the Funny Car point standings, and we’re also racking up those little bonus points along the way,” said Force. “We’re hoping to just continue tomorrow and progress and make some more consistent runs so we can be ready for Sunday.”

 

John Force and the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang came out of the trailer with a great run on Friday posting the fourth quickest run of the first session, a 4.203 second pass. In the second session Force’s Mustang made a solid run but it moved out of the groove and shaved elapsed time off the 15-time Funny Car champion’s run. Force’s first run was solid enough to hold up as the provisional 12th quickest run.

 

Tonight under the lights the quickest Force ever, Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, made her best runs of the young season posting a 3.855 second pass at 325.37 mph. At the time of the run it was the third quickest Top Fuel run of the event and eventually settled in as the No. 8 elapsed time by far her best provisional qualifying spot.

 

“My first run out we were really excited about. I ran a 3.94 and we were really happy with that. It was a good run. We got down the track our first pass of the weekend, and did so in hot weather conditions,” said Force, the only rookie Top Fuel driver entered at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals.

 

“We ran a 3.85 on our second pass and were super excited about that. We ended up No. 8. My team I know is happy with that because these last few races we wouldn’t get our Castrol Edge dragster qualified until our last qualifying shot on Saturday. That put a lot of stress on my crew chiefs and my team and me as a driver, so it’s nice to know that I’m in the top half of the field going into Saturday and we still get two more qualifying sessions before race day.”

 

The rookie driver has qualified for the first three races of the season, Pomona1 (15th), Phoenix (13th) and Gainesville (13th) and her quickest elapsed time of the season was Phoenix’s pass at 3.831 seconds.

 

The rookie of the year contender was thrilled with the performance of the Castrol EDGE Top Fuel dragster. Going into Saturday’s final day of qualifying the Dean Antonelli and Eric Lane tuned Top Fuel dragster will be the solid position to tuning for Sunday as opposed to tuning to get into the field.

 

Honda Racing–Tagliani, Vautier Pace Fast Friday for Honda

Veteran Alex Tagliani and rookie Tristan Vautier led a strong Honda-powered field in opening IZOD IndyCar Series practice Friday at Barber Motorsports Park, in preparation for Sunday’s Honda Grand Prix of Alabama, the second round of the 19-race 2013 championship.

Tagliani took his Barracuda Racing/Bryan Herta Autosport Honda Dallara to a best lap of 1:08.6288 around the scenic 2.3-mile road course located just outside of Birmingham, heading the time sheets in the second of two IZOD IndyCar Series practice sessions, until he was edged out of the top spot by Helio Castroneves. 

Driving for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, Vautier led the morning session and finished third overall, just ahead of his teammate, Simon Pagenaud, as Honda-powered drivers claimed four of the top six positions on the speed chart.

Action at Barber Motorsports Park continues Saturday with a final practice, followed by “Fast Six” knockout qualifying.  Sunday’s 90-lap Honda Grand Prix of Alabama starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

Alex Tagliani (Driver, #98 Barracuda Racing/Bryan Herta Autosport Honda Dallara) second-fastest in practice Friday for the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama:  “I’m pretty proud of what the team has accomplished here so far this weekend.  We struggled with the new [compound for 2013] tires at the Open Test here last month and at the [season-opening] St. Petersburg [race].  But now, we’re back where we belong.  Honda has done a fantastic job as well; there are a lot of Honda-powered teams at the front today.  Once we switched to Honda last year, we became a regular top-six qualifier, and that’s our goal for tomorrow:  qualify and start the race up front.”

Chevy Racing– Martinsville Release

 
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER JIMMIE JOHNSON SETS RECORD QUALIFYING MARK AT MARTINSVILLE
Four Chevrolet Drivers Will Start Sunday’s Race in the Top-10
 
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 5, 2013) – Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, set a new track record with a time of 19.244 seconds and average speed of 98.400 mph in the first race at the 0.526-mile Martinsville Speedway short track for the Gen-6 Chevrolet SS race car.   This was the Hendrick Motorsports driver’s first pole of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season, and 30th of his career through 405 races.  It is his third pole at Martinsville.  Johnson also holds a track record at Kentucky Speedway.
 
Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS, and Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS, will start fifth and sixth respectively.   Stewart-Haas Racing driver Ryan Newman, No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, will start Sunday’s STP Gas Booster 500 from the 10th position.
 
Other Chevrolet drivers who qualified in the top-20 for Sunday’s event were: Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Novo Nordisk Chevrolet SS, qualified 13th; Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS will start 14th; Paul Menard, No. 27 Menards/Pittsburgh Paints Chevrolet SS was 16th fastest; Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS, will start 17th; Regan Smith, No. 51 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet SS qualified 18th; and Kurt Busch, No. 78 Furniture Row/Serta Chevrolet SS will roll off 19th.
 
Marcos Ambrose (Ford) qualified second, Brian Vickers (Toyota) was third, and Joey Logano (Ford) was fourth to round out the top-five.   
 
Sunday’s STP Gas Booster 500 from Martinsville Speedway is on Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 1:00 PM EDT on FOX and Sirius XM Channel 90.
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – POLE WINNER
 
YOU POSTED A NEW TRACK RECORD. TALK ABOUT YOUR LAP:
“I just heard that. That’s the icing on the cake. That makes the day even better yet. Track records are hard to come by, so I’m very proud of that and happy to have that. My first run out, we were in q-trim and we made two or three laps and we just knew right away that we would have a great shot at it today. At that point, I just needed to do my job and not mess up. So I’m very proud of that. It’s very easy to do at this race track, especially once practice ends. You’ll sit and have lunch and relax for a couple of hours and then have to do it all over again. It was a great day across the board for the team, driver, the engine, the car, and everything. We got the car dialed-in.”
 
HOW DID YOU FEEL DRIVING IN THE CAR TODAY WITH SETTING THE RECORD? DID YOU HAVE THAT IN THE BACK OF YOUR MIND WHILE MAKING YOUR LAP?
“I didn’t know what the record was and honestly didn’t know that we were below it in practice either. We ran a .21 in practice so I was unaware of that altogether. I just heard about it as we were taking photos with the Coors Light backdrop and everything. Great news. It was something again, I didn’t know about but am very happy to have.”
 
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST ADVANTAGE TO BEING ON THE POLE HERE IN MARTINSVILLE?
“That pit stall. If you get behind or if you’re off-strategy or if you have any reason that leads you to lose track position, that pit stall is worth three to five positions on the race track. It’s a big, big advantage from that perspective.”
 
DURING PRACTICE, DID YOU DO ANY LONG RUNS? DID YOU GET ANY SENSE OF TIRE HEAT AND BEAD HEAT AND DO YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WHERE YOU ARE CONSIDERING THE PROBLEMS YOU’VE HAD EARLIER THIS YEAR?
“I didn’t do any race runs at all. And I know the No. 88 (Earnhardt Jr.) did. I think our teammates all started in race trim but we were just strictly in qualifying trim. I know that they saw some high wear, which is very common to have here. Until we get into the Cup practice tomorrow, the track just doesn’t take rubber for some reason. It usually stays pretty green an abrasive.
 
“But I don’t feel like we’ll have a lot of beading issues here based on conversations I’ve had with the team and understanding the Bristol tire and what tire they bring here. You can eventually get them too hot and have it be a problem, but the problem I had at Bristol was not a bead problem. The bead might have blown out, but it wasn’t from heat around where the tire and bead meet. If you have a good-driving race car, I don’t think you’ll see any melted beads from brake temps.”
 
DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR SEVEN GRANDFATHER TROPHIES ARE?
“Yeah. Six are at my man cave, my warehouse, and then one is in my office.”
 
DO YOU HAVE A PLACE FOR NUMBER 8 IF YOU WIN IT?
“Oh, I’ve got a big warehouse. I’ve got a lot of room. I call it the warehouse, but it’s really my man cave. I’ve got everything from when I was a kid on dirt bikes that I’ve saved, that my mom has saved, all the way to stuff now. So, I have a pretty good collection.”
 
DO YOU KNOW WHAT OTHER TRACK RECORDS YOU HOLD?
“I think I have one in California? No? Okay. Um, this could be a fun game (laughter). Kansas? No. I’m terrible with stats. There are a lot of stats given to me whenever I’m in here (Media Center). I’m always playing dumb. I’m not really playing dumb, I’m just dumb. I just don’t know. Kentucky? I was on the pole in Kentucky? Awesome. Heck, that was recent, too, and I don’t even remember that (laughs). Those were the only two? Now I know the stat.”
 
INAUDIBLE
“Yeah, I feel like when the track is resurfaced, that brings in an opportunity. I feel like this car will give us a better chance at a lot of tracks that might have an older surface on it, because of all the extra downforce we have with it. Again, I think it’s a moving target because of the age of the surface on every track.”
 
ON SETTING A NEW QUALIFYING RECORD:
“I didn’t know I was on a new tire until after practice. My car felt awesome. Since we unloaded, I knew I was going fast. I’m just trying to understand. We have a little bit lighter car here. The weight is in different position, basically. I knew my stuff was fast. I didn’t know where the mark was. I’m surprised with it being this sunny. I remember when Ryan (Newman) set the pole, it was a very cool day with a lot of fast times and he blasted off a quick one. So, the track record today was not in my mindset at all. I just didn’t think it was there. But I knew I had a great driving car.
 
YESTERDAY, WE HAD EVERYTHING FROM RAIN AND SLEET AND SNOW. TODAY WE HAVE SUNSHINE AND A SOMEWHAT GREEN TRACK. IS THERE A POINT DURING THE RACE WEEKEND WHEN A GREEN TRACK CAN BE A DISADVANTAGE? IS THERE A PARTICULAR TRACK WHERE IT CAN BE MORE OF A DISADVANTAGE?
“Yeah, green tracks are tough to manage. I’d say concrete tracks, in my opinion, are more difficult ones to sort out. The tire wear is really high on green tracks. For here, in the Cup race, a third of the way or the halfway point, the track changes and you’ll see where we lay down right-side rubber. In the set-up you worked on Friday and Saturday is now kind of out the window and the car drives totally different because of the right-side rubber laying down. That’s the biggest challenge here that we fight. In my opinion you have a green race track until the race starts, so you’re guessing what the balance needs to be in the car and you’re hoping that the rear tire wear you see is because of the green track. Experience does help teams here to realize that hey, the track is just not there yet. Let’s stay the course. We had a successful race with whatever set-up, and fall back on your experience because a green track here, and even Dover and Bristol, can play some games with you because the balance changes pretty dramatically.”

Chevy Racing–Martinsville Qualifying Notes

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
STP GAS BOOSTER 500
MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY QUALIFYING NOTES AND QUOTES
APRIL 5, 2013
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – POLE WINNER
YOU WERE FASTEST IN PRACTICE AND NOW FASTEST IN QUALIFYING.  WHEN YOU ARRIVED HERE THIS MORNING, WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU HAD SUCH A GOOD RACE CAR?
“Probably my second or third lap on the race track.   We always go to the race track hoping we will have speed and be the guy to beat, but you just don’t know until you get out there and do it.  I think Phoenix proves that, because it was one of our better race tracks and we just didn’t have what we needed to there.  That hasn’t been the case here this weekend.   The car has been very fast and I am happy to back it up and I wish I would have made it on the second lap because I feel a car that can go two laps will be faster in the second lap.   Our car was a little too loose and I got all I could on the first lap and tried for a little more on the second and it didn’t happen.”
 
SO A HANDFUL ON THAT SECOND LAP? WHAT WAS IT LIKE OUT THERE?
“In order to be fast here, you have to be uncomfortable.  It sounds odd at such a small race track but it’s true and I had plenty of uncomfortable on that lap.  (laughs).”
 
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED FIFTH
HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING LAP?
“It felt really good.  I was a little bit loose off the corner so I didn’t get back to the throttle near as hard as I wanted to.  I just had to kind of ease the throttle down and that was where we gave it up.”
 
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 10th
DO YOU THINK HAVING AN EARLY DRAW IN QUALIFYING MAKES A DIFFERENCE HERE AT MARTINSVILLE?
“I think it doesn’t matter a whole lot here.  The only thing you are really going to have is the first couple of cars got a little dust on the race track.  I think you get brake dust and everything else from the next cars on.  I think it’s pretty fair no matter where you draw here for qualifying.”
 
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 14th
YOU WERE TALKING TO YOUR TEAM WHAT DID THE CAR DO ON YOUR LAP?
“It just stepped out in turn four.  I think our Target Chevy is pretty good.  We are supporting Racing with Insulin this weekend.  It’s a pretty good cause.  I don’t know it’s a bit of frustration, but we got great speed this week again.  Just have to get a good finish.”
 
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 RUSH TRUCK CENTERS/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 26th
HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING LAP?
“It wasn’t very good.  It’s not advantageous at most places to be the first guy out, but we will take what it gives us here and we will work hard to see if we can get this car better for Sunday.”
 
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 32nd
HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING RUN?
“We were very much just like everybody else.  It was pretty much backing up the time from practice.  Some people went a little bit quicker and some people went just a little bit slower.  We were kind of right in the middle of that.  It wasn’t anything terrible, we are in a position where we need to keep picking up.  I think we were looking good getting into (turn) three but got loose on the brakes and lost all of our time there.  Other than that the rest of the track was fine.  If we can get the rear more comfortable on entry I think we will be pretty good.”

Chevy Racing–Martinsville– Jeff Burton

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
STP GAS BOOSTER 500
MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
APRIL 5, 2013
 
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CHILDRESS INSTITUTE FOR PEDIATRIC TRAUMA CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Martinsville Speedway and discussed racing at Martinsville, blocking and other topics.  Full Transcript:
 
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO COME BACK TO RACE AT A PLACE LIKE MARTINSVILLE?  I’M SURE IT HAS SOME FOND MEMORIES FOR YOU:
“I think this is one of the hardest race tracks we go to all year long.  It’s a place that a lot of drivers hate.  It’s a place a lot of drivers really like.  You have to embrace it for what it is, for how hard it is.  For me coming back here I remember when they made the announcement that they were going to run a late model stock car race here.  I couldn’t believe that I would have a chance to race at this race track.  To go from running late models here to winning my first Nationwide race here and winning a Cup race here this is certainly for me a pretty special place.  It’s a difficult place too.  I’ve had a lot of heartaches here too there are races that I look back on and really feel like we had a chance to win and stuff would happen.  I think we need more short tracks on the circuit.  I think coming here twice a year is good for our series because it is good racing, it’s competitive racing, it’s action and I think that is what our sport is all about.  Coming to a short track to me this time of year is a really good thing for us to be doing.”
 
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO RUN A FAST QUALIFYING LAP AT CHARLOTTE?  IN THE RACE WHAT CAN YOU DO FROM INSIDE THE RACE CAR IF ANYTHING TO ADJUST TO THE CHANGING TRACK CONDITIONS?
“Well, as far as qualifying at Charlotte it’s just aggression.  You just have to be real aggressive.  You’ve got to have a car that you can lean on and know that you just have to trust it.  You’ve got to be in the gas a lot.  It’s one of those laps you just kind of hold your breath and just get it around the race track.  As far as making adjustments I’ve won the (Coca-Cola) 600 a couple of times and I will tell you that I feel like you’ve got to have a good car period.  We have won that thing by running well in the day and running well at night.  We won it once when our car wasn’t very good during the day as it cooled down we got better and better.  It wasn’t so much that we got better, but other people got worse. You’ve got to go into the race understanding there is a grip level change coming, the pace is going to pick up. When the pace picks up now the car travels more. A lot of things happen and you need to understand that. But, as competitive as it is today, I don’t think you can give up a whole lot at the start of the race. You still have to be able to go. From a driver’s standpoint it’s more about what you do in practice. Understanding how the track is going to change. Once the race starts, honestly there is a lot a driver can do, but there’s only so much he can do at the same time. You can’t find your way around three tenths. You’ve got to be close anyway, and then from there the driver can make adjustments.”
 
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO WATCH JEB (BURTON) RACE HERE?
“It’s fun. I haven’t seen Jeb race a lot because obviously I race almost every weekend. So, I never really got a chance to watch Jeb race until last year. Honestly, sitting here in the grandstands off turn four was the first race I ever saw Jeb run from start to finish. It’s fun to see him race. He really wants it.  He’s very committed to it and wants to find a way to make a living doing it. I think he’s talented and gifted too. It’s going to be neat to watch him this year. He’s got a good team to work with. It’s a big step for him to go from what he was doing to what he’s doing now. It’s fun to watch. It’s cool to see that enthusiasm. From a guy that’s been doing a touring series for probably 25 years, to see a guy doing it his first year, to see that enthusiasm and excitement, it’s pretty cool.”
 
AS ONE OF THE VETERAN SPOKESPERSONS OF THIS SPORT, WHY DO YOU THINK OTHER VETERAN DRIVERS SEEM TO HAVE AN ISSUE DRIVING WITH AND AGAINST JOEY LOGANO? “Well, that’s an easy question. I don’t that there is a lot of drivers that have issues racing with Joey Logano, there are a few. I think it would be an over characterization saying that a lot of the older drivers have issues with Joey, because I don’t think that is fair to Joey. I do think that Joey has been in a position where people have been pushing him, have their foot on his back pushing him into being a tough guy. Stand up for yourself. They even say it on T.V.; he needs to stand up for himself. I think that has put Joey in an uncomfortable position for him. I think he just needs to not worry about all that and just race and be himself. Then when a couple of issues happen, it’s easy to say he did this so that’s how he is going to be. But, some of it is piling on in my opinion. At the same time, when he does get confronted with issues I don’t think he handles it very well. He doesn’t just step back and say you know what, okay let me listen to what you’re saying. I may disagree with you but let me listen. He tends to resist, as if I’m right, I’m right, I’m right. I know I had an issue with him a few years ago and I encouraged him to go look at the tape. I had already looked at it so I knew what it showed. I didn’t tell him that. The next week I asked him if he had looked at it and he said no, I don’t need to. That kind of attitude is not welcomed. At the same time, I think Joey is a good person. I think he is a good race car driver. I think he is a young person that is growing up in front of everybody. He’s had a lot of pressure put on him. He’s gone to a team where they didn’t have as much success as his teammates did at Gibbs. That puts a lot of pressure on you. Trust me, I know that. He’s growing up in front of all of us. Like I’ve said many times, I think the way I came up was easier because I was running for teams that weren’t supposed to win. I was told finish 20th and try to win rookie of the year award and we’re all good. That’s a lot easier than this is a really good team with a championship crew chief and lets go win this race. That’s a different deal. So, I think a lot of it is he’s grown up in front of us. We all make mistakes as we grow up. All in all, Joey is not a bad guy. He can be a little more receptive to listening rather than arguing. Joey is not a dirty driver. He’s not. Some of it is piling on and some of it he brings on himself. By any means, I have no problem driving into turn three at Daytona side by side, or turn two with him here. I’d race with him anywhere, any time. I’m not uncomfortable racing with him at all.”
 
CAN YOU GIVE US YOUR VIEWS ON BLOCKING AND WHETHER YOU FEEL IT’S ACCEPTABLE? ALSO, DO THINGS CHANGE FOR A DRIVER WHEN THEY FIND THEMSELVES RUNNING UP FRONT MORE OFTEN THAN THEY HAD BEEN IN THE PAST?
“Listen, I think that is a valid point. I remember Rusty Wallace in Michigan in practice was madder than hell at me because I had passed him and he didn’t think I had given him enough room. I think really it was because it was the first time he had seen me. I mean, he was used to me not running and now here I passed him. I think there is some of that. When you race a guy and he’s been kind of easy to beat and now he’s not, you expect to be able to beat him. There’s a transition. I think that’s a valid point.
 
“We don’t have a rule against blocking. Drivers have the right to make their own rules. Every driver feels differently about blocking. Obviously Tony (Stewart) has been very clear about his opinion on blocking. As crystal clear as anyone can be. There comes a time and a place on some of these restarts at some of these places where sometimes you don’t
have a choice. If you just say okay I’m just going to hold my line, you are going to get passed like at Daytona and Talladega. There are times in a race where if you don’t you will get yourself in trouble. Some drivers have more tolerance for it than others. So, it’s hard to say what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s really hard to say. I got blocked late in the race last week and literally I was on the apron on the back straightaway. I was pissed because it’s okay to try to slow you down, but to block that far I thought that was excessive. On the other hand, had I been him I might not have thought it was excessive. You’ve got to do what you think is best. I think at the end of the day you have to remember what you do to somebody, you have to expect it’s going to be done back to you. If you feel like what you are doing is okay and it would be okay if it was being done to you then you do it. But, don’t complain when it happens the other way. So really, there are no rules so it’s up to the drivers to police it. It just boils down to what your values are and what you feel is right. The problem we have in our sport is we have a lot of drivers that will complain when it happens to them, but when they do it to you they look at you like what’s wrong. Because this is a self-serving sport and we tend to become selfish people in these race cars. You’ve got to be open-minded and understand what’s good for you has to be good for the next guy.”
 
YOUR FIRST NATIONWIDE RACE HERE IN THE LATE 80’S, DID YOU THINK YOU WOULD STILL BE RACING HERE IN 2013 AND HOW HAVE YOU CHANGED OVER THOSE YEARS?
“My goal was to become a Nationwide driver. I know people don’t believe this, but even when I started Cup racing, the only reason I started Cup racing was because that was my opportunity. I wanted to be Jack Ingram. I wanted to be Sonny Hutchens. That’s the people I wanted to be. I watched Cale Yarborough and he was the guy I pulled for, but I wanted to be a Nationwide driver. So, when I got a chance to run Nationwide I was the man. So, I never thought about being here for this long. Never thought about it. That first race here was something I will never forget. We qualified really well. We blew an engine in practice. We did not have a spare engine and we were in trouble. We got bailed out after people lent us an engine. We were able to run and then we blew that one up in the race. I remember it very well. It was Jeff Hensley and his dad. His dad took us over to his shop. We had to change motor mounts in the car and had to change everything. They lent us an engine and didn’t even know us. I’ll never forget that.”
 
TALK ABOUT THE IMPROVEMENT YOU’VE SEEN AT RCR (RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING) WITH YOUR TEAM AND THE ORGANIZATION AS A WHOLE AS YOU’VE TRANSFERRED TO THE NEW CAR. “It hasn’t shown up on paper yet. It hasn’t shown up in results but I feel strongly that we’ve made steps in the right direction. I feel strongly that we are doing the things we need to do to get back where we need to be. We had a really good car at Phoenix and didn’t get as good as a run as we deserved. We had a really, really good car at Bristol and didn’t get what we deserved. We had a good car at Daytona and didn’t get what we deserved. So those three races were our best races and we didn’t get what we deserved and we’re 24th in points. Last week we had times in the race where we were good. We drove up to right at the top 10 and then we had times in the race we weren’t. We are making strides on it. We’re not where we need to be but we are definitely headed in the right direction.”
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON WAS IN HERE EARLIER AND HE SAID THE EASIEST WAY TO SOLVE CONTROVERSY OR RIVALRY IS TO JUST GO FIND THE GUY AND DEAL WITH IT. HE SAID HE LEARNED THAT FROM YOU HERE. DO YOU SHARE THAT VIEW THAT WHEN YOU HAVE A DIFFERENCE YOU SHOULD JUST GO FIX IT IMMEDIATELY? “I hope I don’t do it a lot because I wrecked him and had to go apologize. He’s right. I did walk through his team and I was walking in there I was like I’m too small for this. At the end of the day, when you screw up, if you’re not going to man up and admit I screwed up then you’re never going to improve as a person, a race car driver, as anything you do. We learn by messing up. People that are hard headed and the people that are difficult to deal with are the people that won’t look in the mirror and say I messed up, because they never do anything wrong. You can’t talk to somebody like that. There are times when relationships become so strained that you can’t have a logical conversation. At that point, it may be best not to have the conversation. What I said about Joey a little while ago, I feel like somebody has their foot in his back pushing him to be a tough guy, I think that showed up at the end of the race when he made the comment that he made. I think that spurred a lot of this on. You can’t blame Denny from being upset. I’ve crushed my vertebrae years ago and it hurts. He’s not here. He’s not able to race. There’s some strained relationships there without a doubt. You need to reach out and try to make it happen. If you can’t have a logical conversation, then its best to pull back. We live together. We’ve got to race together. We’ve got to somewhat get along. Even if you don’t like the guy you still have to have some sort of professional respect for the guy. They’ll find a way through it but it’s probably going to take a little time. I’m sure Denny, in the position he’s in, is bitter about it. I think Joey has his feet dug in the sand too. I do think over time it will get better. But when you screw up, you’ve just got to address it. You just do.”
 

Chevy Racing–Martinsville Speedway–Jeff Gordon

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
STP GAS BOOSTER 500
MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
APRIL 5, 2013
 
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS, met with media and discussed racing at Martinsville, aggressive driving, Grandfather clock trophies, driver feuds, and more. FULL TRANSCRIPT:
 
TALK ABOUT RACING AT MARTINSVILLE THIS WEEKEND:
“It’s all about the clock this weekend. I feel like we have a really good car to be able to learn the different nuisances with this car. Goodyear brought a little bit different tire, so we’re going to work through all that in practice. We did today and will tomorrow. But I feel good about it. You know, thus is just one of those tracks, and I know I’ve said it over and over again in here (media center) that things have just changed the least and the way you drive the track, even though the cars have gotten faster, it’s just the way you drive the track and how you use the brakes and how you roll through the center and how you apply the throttle, have just not changed tremendously here, versus what we’ve gone through at other tracks, aerodynamically and (with) mechanical grip and some of the faster tracks. It’s always a track I come to looking forward to, and I hope the same with this car. And so today, things went pretty well; so I’m pleased and excited about the weekend.”
 
YOU HAD A LOT OF SUCCESS EARLY IN YOUR CAREER AS A YOUNG DRIVER. HOW MUCH HAVE YOU CHANGED OVER THE YEARS? DO YOU THINK THIS IS A YOUNG MAN’S SPORT, AN OLD MAN’S SPORT, OR THAT ANYBODY CAN DO IT?
“Talented race car drivers, when they get with the right team, are going to have success. And I think even young, well it depends on what kind of young personality they have. If they are super aggressive, there are a lot of times where if you don’t manage the patience along with that, then you are going to find yourself going really fast, but hitting a lot of things and tearing-up equipment and taking some time to learn what it’s like to run a 500-lap or 500-mile race. But I’ve always said you’re better off having someone you’ve got to pull the reins than you are cracking the whip.
 
“And so, when you see a guy that has speed and talent and pushes, you hope that over time that patience and using their head in situations can come along with it. So, I feel like I was pretty aggressive when I first came into the sport and made a lot of mistakes, but was able to take that and progress with it and gain experience and patience to be more consistent and to make a championship contender.”
 
YOU DROVE IN A TIME BEFORE THE COT AND SOFT WALLS AND THE HANS DEVICE. WERE DRIVERS MORE COGNOSCENTE OF THE DANGERS THEN WHEN YOU WEREN’T AS PROTECTED? HAS IT CHANGED NOW WHERE DRIVERS FEEL A BIT OF INVULNERABILITY AND ARE MAYBE MORE AGGRESSIVE?
“No, I don’t notice anything different. The way you drive and the aggressiveness that you have has always been there. I feel like the emotions have always been there. When somebody gets you upset and your emotions get the best of you, you make decisions.
 
“Those things happen today no differently than they did when I first got in the sport. We’re running more 1.5-mile tracks and bigger tracks now than we did when I first got in the sport. And the cars are more equal now than they used to be. So, I personally just think you’re seeing a lot tighter racing in the closing laps when there’s a caution and people are aggressive and people are going for it. I think it’s what makes those moments exciting, but I think it also is what makes for some of those instances to happen. Bristol, gosh; people have been getting spun-out at Bristol forever. That certainly hasn’t changed. The bigger tracks, I don’t think any of us are sitting there making a decision based on whether this is going to hurt or injure me or the other guy. You’re making decisions based on trying to win the race. And then you’re also making decisions based on the heat of the moment if something really gets a hold of you and puts you in that position to make an irrational bad decision. But those are the things that are going through your mind, not the dangers. We all get complacent on how fast we’re going and how tight we’re racing until those moments injure somebody.”
 
THE MEDIA HAS BEEN TALKING A LOT ABOUT JOEY LOGANO TODAY. THAT’S A GUY WHO CAME INTO THE SPORT WITH A LOT OF HYPE, EVEN BEFORE HE GOT TO THE CUP SERIES. YOU HAD A LOT OF THE SPOTLIGHT THROWN ON YOU VERY EARLY IN YOUR CAREER. HOW MUCH MORE DIFFICULT OR EASY IS IT TO HAVE NOT JUST THE PRESSURE TO PERFORM, BUT ALSO THAT ADDITIONAL SPOTLIGHT ON EVERYTHING YOU DO?
“I feel like my rookie year was the toughest just because there was hype on all the rookies that year (like) Bobby Labonte, Kenny Wallace, and myself coming from the Nationwide Series. And I think that there were a lot of people looking for those younger guys coming up to make a dent in the sport. I was fortunate that (by) my third year in the sport, we were battling for a championship. So, when you go to that, the pressure changes from whether you’ve got what it takes or whether you belong there or working on job security to the pressure of winning every race you go to and trying to win the championship.
 
“I think in Joey’s case, he has had a lot of hype and he’s had a lot of success. But in the Cup Series, he has struggled. And I think there is a lot of question behind that and I think it’s been pretty tough on him to have all that success and hype along the way, and come into the Cup Series and not be able to live up to it; whether it’s the team or him or whatever it is. Just the combination hasn’t been there. I think that now with this move to Penske, that there’s certainly a lot of pressure on him to live up to those expectations.”
 
WITH ALL THESE FEUDS GOING ON, ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT GETTING ON THE TRACK THIS WEEKEND AND GETTING IN THE MIDDLE OF ALL THAT?
“All those feuds have now taken it all off of me. So that’s a good thing. No, it’s going to be business as usual this weekend. I always evaluate every situation as it comes. So, you’re out there in the race, and two guys are racing hard. If they have history and start rubbing up on one another, then yeah, you’re going to be cautious of it and probably give them a little extra room. If you’re racing along and two guys are just racing hard, and they get into one another, then you’re going to react similarly or at least pay attention to is. And those are just normal things you go through most weekends, but especially here at Martinsville.”
 
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR SPONSOR FOR SUNDAY’S RACE?
“Yeah.  AARP Drive to End Hunger has been a tremendous sponsor for us. We have a lot of fun getting a chance to interact with the fans and the people that want to volunteer to be a part of helping the more than nine million older Americans that are dealing with hunger issues. So, to know that you’re supporting a great cause and making a difference in people’s lives is very exciting for me to represent that on Sunday’s.”
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON, LIKE YOU, IS A SEVEN-TIME MARTINSVILLE WINNER. HE SAYS ALL OF HIS GRANDFATHER CLOCKS (TROPHIES) ARE ACCOUNTED FOR AND HE KNOWS EXACTLY WHERE THEY ALL ARE. CAN YOU SAY THE SAME ABOUT YOURS?
“I couldn’t go through and tell you which rooms they’re in. I know that they’re accounted for, but I have a pretty bad memory. I think there’s one still in a box. And I think that there are several spread out between Rick Hendrick and Ray Evernham and maybe even Brian Whitesell and myself. But they’re out there. Our decorating at home doesn’t really lend itself to Grandfather clocks (laughter), so it’s just not one of those trophies you’d typically display at home, but usually at the race shop or waiting for that place to put it one day. If you have all of them lined-up, that’s pretty cool also. I don’t have as big a house as he has.”
 
BUT HE
KNOWS WHAT TIME IT IS, RIGHT?
“The thing is, I tried that! I put it up there and I found out I had to wind that thing like once a week. That’s a lot of maintenance!”
 
DID WHAT HAPPENED HERE LAST YEAR WITH CLINT BOWYER SET THE STAGE FOR YOU GUYS THE REST OF THE YEAR AND THE LITTLE FEUD YOU HAD GOING ON?
“Well, yeah you know, he wrecked us. So, whether it was intentional or not, it’s still something that was in the back of my mind. You could say it set the stage. But for me, it’s an accumulation of things; sort of like a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ deal. And we just made contact too many times last year. But listen, he was racing hard. The thing that bothered me so much about it last year is that I really don’t know if we were going to win that race because we were sitting ducks on old tires. He had it won, really, I think, pretty easily. But to try and make that move going into Turn 1 was very impatient and it really cost him as much as it cost me.
All he had to do was wait until we got off of Turn 2 and he probably would have driven by all of us down the back straightaway. So, certainly that’s not forgotten. But it’s nice to know that some of that attention is off of us. We’ll just go race hard like we have every other weekend.”
 
HAVE YOU LOOKED BACK AT WHAT HAPPENED AT CALIFORNIA AT THE BLOCK THAT JOEY LOGANO PUT ON TONY STEWART AND THEN THE RACE BETWEEN DENNY HAMLIN AND LOGANO? WHAT IS YOUR OPINION? WAS IT ACCEPTABLE OR NOT ACCEPTABLE; HARD OR NOT TOO HARD?
“There’s a mirror and a spotter in these cars for a reason. To me, blocking has always been sort of wide-open and accepted. But you’ve got to make the block soon enough. If the guy is there and you start turning down on him, you’re basically giving the guy behind you an excuse to turn you. We see it a lot more at Daytona and Talladega.
 
“To me, that was two guys racing hard; and I can understand why Tony was mad because he had I guess a hole in front and faded. Had he gone down in Turn 1 and raced side-by-side with him and finished in the top five, he probably would have shaken it off as ‘I wasn’t happy about it, but we’ll deal with that later’; and not reacted quite as aggressively as he did. But to me, everywhere we go, you’ve got to use that mirror and you’ve got to figure out, especially in a green-white-checkered situation, you’ve got to go for it and you’ve got to do everything you can to win on both sides.”
 
WHAT IS THE KEY TO THE PERFECT QUALIFYING LAP AT CHARLOTTE? IN THE 600, WHAT CAN YOU DO INSIDE THE CAR TO ADJUST TO THE CHANGING TRACK CONDITIONS THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
“Well, qualifying there is so fast (with) so much grip and it’s at night and the track just picks up so much speed that you’re just super aggressive; I mean it’s just basically hold your breath and drive-in as deep as you can and get back on the gas hard and as quickly as you can and hope it sticks. (You) hope it turns and hope the back sticks. It’s a pretty white-knuckling experience because it (the track) just picks-up so much from practice. I couldn’t tell you what the key is to having a perfect lap there because I haven’t had one recently. I love qualifying there but we just haven’t had all the things go right for us.
 
“In the race, there’s not many tools other than just moving your line around at that race track. You can make a wider arc into the corner, turn in later, try to get down to the white line to get the car turning if you’re tight, and drive up to the top if you’re freer and that usually tightens the car up. That’s about all you can do inside the car.”
 
AT LAS VEGAS YOU STRUGGLED A LOT. AT FONTANA, IT LOOKED LIKE JIMMIE JOHNSON WAS STRUGGLING A LOT. KNOWING THIS IS A TRACK WHERE YOU GUYS DO SO WELL, WHY DOES IT SEEM THAT YOU ARE STILL GETTING THINGS FIGURED OUT AT THE BIGGER SPEEDWAYS? IS IT IMPORTANT THAT YOU GUYS DO WELL HERE BECAUSE THIS IS MAYBE MORE A CONSTANT THAN THE INTERMEDIATES AND 2-MILE OVALS? DO YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS AS TO WHY YOU AND JIMMIE ARE STRUGGLING?
“It’s hard to say. Those guys are all good at Vegas and we struggled. We went into California with some concerns. I felt like we actually ran better at California than we did at Vegas, but we still have some things that we’re working on for Texas to make improvements. You’re always learning from your experiences as well as from your competitor’s. I think there are some things that we learned in California that will make us better. I can’t tell you why Jimmie struggled at California. That’s not a track where he typically struggles. I think when you take the rear bar away from us, and the bushing, some teams are going to figure that out sooner, and the big spoiler and downforce this car has, than others. And speaking for the No. 24 team, we have not figured it out yet, but I’m very confident that we will catch-up.
 
“Coming here, we don’t have to think about those things. I feel confident this weekend, being on a short track and being Martinsville, that we’ll be competitive. Urgency? Yeah, we want to win. We want to move up in the points. We did not anticipate being this far behind again at this point of the year like we were last year. Urgency never does you any favors. So I think it’s really more of just staying focused on each race and working on our intermediate program.”
 
IN REFERENCE TO DENNY HAMLIN, WHAT IS IT LIKE TO NOT HAVE ONE OF THE TOP COMPETITORS AT THIS TRACK NOT RACING THIS WEEKEND? DOES THAT CHANGE YOUR MINDSET OR DOES THAT GIVE YOU AN OPPORTUNITY WITH ONE LESS GUY TO CONTEND FOR THE WIN WHO HAS HISTORICALLY DONE WELL HERE?
“I don’t think there’s one less guy when you put Mark Martin behind the wheel of that car. I mean I think it’s a strong team and a strong car. The key is going to be adapting to his (Hamlin’s) set-up because he likes his car to have a certain balance that’s worked very well for his driving style and this track. Is that going to suit Mark Martin’s driving style? How long does it take them to get it figured out? But I think Mark Martin is equally as competitive as Denny when you put him in quality equipment. So, I don’t think we’ve taken one out of the mix. But, Denny is certainly always a guy that you focus on here, as being one of the guys you have to beat. We’ll see what happens on Sunday with the No. 11 team.”
 

Chevy Racing–Martinsville–Jeff Gordon

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
STP GAS BOOSTER 500
MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
APRIL 5, 2013
 
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS, met with media and discussed racing at Martinsville, aggressive driving, Grandfather clock trophies, driver feuds, and more. FULL TRANSCRIPT:
 
TALK ABOUT RACING AT MARTINSVILLE THIS WEEKEND:
“It’s all about the clock this weekend. I feel like we have a really good car to be able to learn the different nuisances with this car. Goodyear brought a little bit different tire, so we’re going to work through all that in practice. We did today and will tomorrow. But I feel good about it. You know, thus is just one of those tracks, and I know I’ve said it over and over again in here (media center) that things have just changed the least and the way you drive the track, even though the cars have gotten faster, it’s just the way you drive the track and how you use the brakes and how you roll through the center and how you apply the throttle, have just not changed tremendously here, versus what we’ve gone through at other tracks, aerodynamically and (with) mechanical grip and some of the faster tracks. It’s always a track I come to looking forward to, and I hope the same with this car. And so today, things went pretty well; so I’m pleased and excited about the weekend.”
 
YOU HAD A LOT OF SUCCESS EARLY IN YOUR CAREER AS A YOUNG DRIVER. HOW MUCH HAVE YOU CHANGED OVER THE YEARS? DO YOU THINK THIS IS A YOUNG MAN’S SPORT, AN OLD MAN’S SPORT, OR THAT ANYBODY CAN DO IT?
“Talented race car drivers, when they get with the right team, are going to have success. And I think even young, well it depends on what kind of young personality they have. If they are super aggressive, there are a lot of times where if you don’t manage the patience along with that, then you are going to find yourself going really fast, but hitting a lot of things and tearing-up equipment and taking some time to learn what it’s like to run a 500-lap or 500-mile race. But I’ve always said you’re better off having someone you’ve got to pull the reins than you are cracking the whip.
 
“And so, when you see a guy that has speed and talent and pushes, you hope that over time that patience and using their head in situations can come along with it. So, I feel like I was pretty aggressive when I first came into the sport and made a lot of mistakes, but was able to take that and progress with it and gain experience and patience to be more consistent and to make a championship contender.”
 
YOU DROVE IN A TIME BEFORE THE COT AND SOFT WALLS AND THE HANS DEVICE. WERE DRIVERS MORE COGNOSCENTE OF THE DANGERS THEN WHEN YOU WEREN’T AS PROTECTED? HAS IT CHANGED NOW WHERE DRIVERS FEEL A BIT OF INVULNERABILITY AND ARE MAYBE MORE AGGRESSIVE?
“No, I don’t notice anything different. The way you drive and the aggressiveness that you have has always been there. I feel like the emotions have always been there. When somebody gets you upset and your emotions get the best of you, you make decisions.
 
“Those things happen today no differently than they did when I first got in the sport. We’re running more 1.5-mile tracks and bigger tracks now than we did when I first got in the sport. And the cars are more equal now than they used to be. So, I personally just think you’re seeing a lot tighter racing in the closing laps when there’s a caution and people are aggressive and people are going for it. I think it’s what makes those moments exciting, but I think it also is what makes for some of those instances to happen. Bristol, gosh; people have been getting spun-out at Bristol forever. That certainly hasn’t changed. The bigger tracks, I don’t think any of us are sitting there making a decision based on whether this is going to hurt or injure me or the other guy. You’re making decisions based on trying to win the race. And then you’re also making decisions based on the heat of the moment if something really gets a hold of you and puts you in that position to make an irrational bad decision. But those are the things that are going through your mind, not the dangers. We all get complacent on how fast we’re going and how tight we’re racing until those moments injure somebody.”
 
THE MEDIA HAS BEEN TALKING A LOT ABOUT JOEY LOGANO TODAY. THAT’S A GUY WHO CAME INTO THE SPORT WITH A LOT OF HYPE, EVEN BEFORE HE GOT TO THE CUP SERIES. YOU HAD A LOT OF THE SPOTLIGHT THROWN ON YOU VERY EARLY IN YOUR CAREER. HOW MUCH MORE DIFFICULT OR EASY IS IT TO HAVE NOT JUST THE PRESSURE TO PERFORM, BUT ALSO THAT ADDITIONAL SPOTLIGHT ON EVERYTHING YOU DO?
“I feel like my rookie year was the toughest just because there was hype on all the rookies that year (like) Bobby Labonte, Kenny Wallace, and myself coming from the Nationwide Series. And I think that there were a lot of people looking for those younger guys coming up to make a dent in the sport. I was fortunate that (by) my third year in the sport, we were battling for a championship. So, when you go to that, the pressure changes from whether you’ve got what it takes or whether you belong there or working on job security to the pressure of winning every race you go to and trying to win the championship.
 
“I think in Joey’s case, he has had a lot of hype and he’s had a lot of success. But in the Cup Series, he has struggled. And I think there is a lot of question behind that and I think it’s been pretty tough on him to have all that success and hype along the way, and come into the Cup Series and not be able to live up to it; whether it’s the team or him or whatever it is. Just the combination hasn’t been there. I think that now with this move to Penske, that there’s certainly a lot of pressure on him to live up to those expectations.”
 
WITH ALL THESE FEUDS GOING ON, ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT GETTING ON THE TRACK THIS WEEKEND AND GETTING IN THE MIDDLE OF ALL THAT?
“All those feuds have now taken it all off of me. So that’s a good thing. No, it’s going to be business as usual this weekend. I always evaluate every situation as it comes. So, you’re out there in the race, and two guys are racing hard. If they have history and start rubbing up on one another, then yeah, you’re going to be cautious of it and probably give them a little extra room. If you’re racing along and two guys are just racing hard, and they get into one another, then you’re going to react similarly or at least pay attention to is. And those are just normal things you go through most weekends, but especially here at Martinsville.”
 
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR SPONSOR FOR SUNDAY’S RACE?
“Yeah.  AARP Drive to End Hunger has been a tremendous sponsor for us. We have a lot of fun getting a chance to interact with the fans and the people that want to volunteer to be a part of helping the more than nine million older Americans that are dealing with hunger issues. So, to know that you’re supporting a great cause and making a difference in people’s lives is very exciting for me to represent that on Sunday’s.”
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON, LIKE YOU, IS A SEVEN-TIME MARTINSVILLE WINNER. HE SAYS ALL OF HIS GRANDFATHER CLOCKS (TROPHIES) ARE ACCOUNTED FOR AND HE KNOWS EXACTLY WHERE THEY ALL ARE. CAN YOU SAY THE SAME ABOUT YOURS?
“I couldn’t go through and tell you which rooms they’re in. I know that they’re accounted for, but I have a pretty bad memory. I think there’s one still in a box. And I think that there are several spread out between Rick Hendrick and Ray Evernham and maybe even Brian Whitesell and myself. But they’re out there. Our decorating at home doesn’t really lend itself to Grandfather clocks (laughter), so it’s just not one of those trophies you’d typically display at home, but usually at the race shop or waiting for that place to put it one day. If you have all of them lined-up, that’s pretty cool also. I don’t have as big a house as he has.”
 
BUT HE
KNOWS WHAT TIME IT IS, RIGHT?
“The thing is, I tried that! I put it up there and I found out I had to wind that thing like once a week. That’s a lot of maintenance!”
 
DID WHAT HAPPENED HERE LAST YEAR WITH CLINT BOWYER SET THE STAGE FOR YOU GUYS THE REST OF THE YEAR AND THE LITTLE FEUD YOU HAD GOING ON?
“Well, yeah you know, he wrecked us. So, whether it was intentional or not, it’s still something that was in the back of my mind. You could say it set the stage. But for me, it’s an accumulation of things; sort of like a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ deal. And we just made contact too many times last year. But listen, he was racing hard. The thing that bothered me so much about it last year is that I really don’t know if we were going to win that race because we were sitting ducks on old tires. He had it won, really, I think, pretty easily. But to try and make that move going into Turn 1 was very impatient and it really cost him as much as it cost me.
All he had to do was wait until we got off of Turn 2 and he probably would have driven by all of us down the back straightaway. So, certainly that’s not forgotten. But it’s nice to know that some of that attention is off of us. We’ll just go race hard like we have every other weekend.”
 
HAVE YOU LOOKED BACK AT WHAT HAPPENED AT CALIFORNIA AT THE BLOCK THAT JOEY LOGANO PUT ON TONY STEWART AND THEN THE RACE BETWEEN DENNY HAMLIN AND LOGANO? WHAT IS YOUR OPINION? WAS IT ACCEPTABLE OR NOT ACCEPTABLE; HARD OR NOT TOO HARD?
“There’s a mirror and a spotter in these cars for a reason. To me, blocking has always been sort of wide-open and accepted. But you’ve got to make the block soon enough. If the guy is there and you start turning down on him, you’re basically giving the guy behind you an excuse to turn you. We see it a lot more at Daytona and Talladega.
 
“To me, that was two guys racing hard; and I can understand why Tony was mad because he had I guess a hole in front and faded. Had he gone down in Turn 1 and raced side-by-side with him and finished in the top five, he probably would have shaken it off as ‘I wasn’t happy about it, but we’ll deal with that later’; and not reacted quite as aggressively as he did. But to me, everywhere we go, you’ve got to use that mirror and you’ve got to figure out, especially in a green-white-checkered situation, you’ve got to go for it and you’ve got to do everything you can to win on both sides.”
 
WHAT IS THE KEY TO THE PERFECT QUALIFYING LAP AT CHARLOTTE? IN THE 600, WHAT CAN YOU DO INSIDE THE CAR TO ADJUST TO THE CHANGING TRACK CONDITIONS THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
“Well, qualifying there is so fast (with) so much grip and it’s at night and the track just picks up so much speed that you’re just super aggressive; I mean it’s just basically hold your breath and drive-in as deep as you can and get back on the gas hard and as quickly as you can and hope it sticks. (You) hope it turns and hope the back sticks. It’s a pretty white-knuckling experience because it (the track) just picks-up so much from practice. I couldn’t tell you what the key is to having a perfect lap there because I haven’t had one recently. I love qualifying there but we just haven’t had all the things go right for us.
 
“In the race, there’s not many tools other than just moving your line around at that race track. You can make a wider arc into the corner, turn in later, try to get down to the white line to get the car turning if you’re tight, and drive up to the top if you’re freer and that usually tightens the car up. That’s about all you can do inside the car.”
 
AT LAS VEGAS YOU STRUGGLED A LOT. AT FONTANA, IT LOOKED LIKE JIMMIE JOHNSON WAS STRUGGLING A LOT. KNOWING THIS IS A TRACK WHERE YOU GUYS DO SO WELL, WHY DOES IT SEEM THAT YOU ARE STILL GETTING THINGS FIGURED OUT AT THE BIGGER SPEEDWAYS? IS IT IMPORTANT THAT YOU GUYS DO WELL HERE BECAUSE THIS IS MAYBE MORE A CONSTANT THAN THE INTERMEDIATES AND 2-MILE OVALS? DO YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS AS TO WHY YOU AND JIMMIE ARE STRUGGLING?
“It’s hard to say. Those guys are all good at Vegas and we struggled. We went into California with some concerns. I felt like we actually ran better at California than we did at Vegas, but we still have some things that we’re working on for Texas to make improvements. You’re always learning from your experiences as well as from your competitor’s. I think there are some things that we learned in California that will make us better. I can’t tell you why Jimmie struggled at California. That’s not a track where he typically struggles. I think when you take the rear bar away from us, and the bushing, some teams are going to figure that out sooner, and the big spoiler and downforce this car has, than others. And speaking for the No. 24 team, we have not figured it out yet, but I’m very confident that we will catch-up.
 
“Coming here, we don’t have to think about those things. I feel confident this weekend, being on a short track and being Martinsville, that we’ll be competitive. Urgency? Yeah, we want to win. We want to move up in the points. We did not anticipate being this far behind again at this point of the year like we were last year. Urgency never does you any favors. So I think it’s really more of just staying focused on each race and working on our intermediate program.”
 
IN REFERENCE TO DENNY HAMLIN, WHAT IS IT LIKE TO NOT HAVE ONE OF THE TOP COMPETITORS AT THIS TRACK NOT RACING THIS WEEKEND? DOES THAT CHANGE YOUR MINDSET OR DOES THAT GIVE YOU AN OPPORTUNITY WITH ONE LESS GUY TO CONTEND FOR THE WIN WHO HAS HISTORICALLY DONE WELL HERE?
“I don’t think there’s one less guy when you put Mark Martin behind the wheel of that car. I mean I think it’s a strong team and a strong car. The key is going to be adapting to his (Hamlin’s) set-up because he likes his car to have a certain balance that’s worked very well for his driving style and this track. Is that going to suit Mark Martin’s driving style? How long does it take them to get it figured out? But I think Mark Martin is equally as competitive as Denny when you put him in quality equipment. So, I don’t think we’ve taken one out of the mix. But, Denny is certainly always a guy that you focus on here, as being one of the guys you have to beat. We’ll see what happens on Sunday with the No. 11 team.”
 

Chevy Racing–Martinsville Speedway–Tony Stewart

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
STP GAS BOOSTER 500
MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
APRIL 5, 2013
 
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 RUSH TRUCK CENTERS/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Martinsville Speedway and discussed the first practice session, blocking and other topics.  Full Transcript:
 
HOW WAS YOUR PRACTICE?
“Not very good so far.  We are just struggling to make the car do what we want it to do.”
 
IS THE PLAN STILL TO TEACH JOEY LOGANO A LESSON OR HAVE THINGS CALMED DOWN?
“That is two weeks ago.  I’m on Martinsville this weekend.  We are trying to figure out what we have to do to make our race cars go fast this week.”
 
DO YOU STILL FEEL THE SAME WAY YOU DO ABOUT BLOCKING?
“Yeah, my stance has never changed about blocking.  Everybody has got a different opinion.  I know the last two weeks everybody has tried to make a comparison to the Talladega deal.  Talladega is a little different deal than the rest of it.  I don’t like it at Daytona and Talladega either, but it’s the position we are put in there.  What happened at California is a different deal.  The people that are trying to compare the two are people that honestly I’ve read who has written it.  It’s disappointing that they don’t understand the sport any better than that, but there is a huge difference between the two.  I don’t like blocking.  I never have, I never will.  It’s our jobs as drivers to go out there and try to pass people.  That is what racing is about.  We didn’t have blocking 10 years ago.  I don’t know where all of a sudden it became a common deal or some people think it’s alright to do now and think it’s common practice.  I don’t believe in it.  I don’t believe it should be common practice.”
 
AT RESTRICTOR PLATE TRACKS IT’S A NECESSARY EVIL?
“We don’t have a choice.  We can’t even get away from each other there.  It’s not so much that you are trying to block as much as you are trying to make that guy that you are trying to get in front of push you. We don’t have the luxury of running on our own there.  You have to have somebody pushing you.  So if there is a line coming you want that faster line to pick you up and push you.  The last half of a lap at Talladega is different than a restart with 15 to go at California.”
 
WHY DO YOU THINK BLOCKING HAS INCREASED?
“I don’t know.  I hope you guys can tell me.  I don’t understand it either.  I have never agreed with it.  I don’t like it.  For some reason it’s getting increasingly worse.  I don’t know why that is, but it is.”
 
HAVE YOU AND JOEY (LOGANO) TALKED AT ALL OR IS HE NOT EVEN A BLIP ON YOUR RADAR AT THIS POINT?
“No, he’s not.  I’ve got three race cars and we are in Martinsville, Virginia this week.  I’ve got a lot of stuff to do other than worry about something that happened two weeks ago.  I can’t change it.  I can’t do anything about what happened two weeks ago.  All I can do is worry about our Rush Truck Centers Chevrolet, our GoDaddy Chevrolet and our Quicken Loans Chevrolet.  That is the three things that I can control right now.  That is what I have to focus on.  I can’t waste time worrying about what happened two weeks ago.  I gave everybody more than ample time to ask me all the questions they wanted two weeks ago about what happened two weeks ago.  It’s time to move on from here.”
 
WHAT LESSON DO YOU THINK THAT JOEY (LOGANO) LEARNED FROM THE MESSAGE THAT YOU SENT HIM TWO WEEKS AGO?
“We won’t know that until we see how he reacts in that same situation the next time.”
 
IS IT MORE THAN ONE PERSON BLOCKING THAT HAS BROUGHT THIS TO THE FOREFRONT?
“Yeah and it’s not one person each week that is consistently doing it, but it’s different scenarios here and there. It started at Sonoma, people were blocking into turn 11.  Then it was turn 11 and turn 7, now it’s Martinsville.  People will sit there and block down the straightaway to get to the bottom so they don’t get hung out.  It’s just something that is getting worse.  Somebody has got to tell us ‘yeah that is what we are supposed to do or no we are not supposed to do it.’  People are kind of split on it.  Joey (Logano) thinks that is alright.  That is his opinion on it.  I don’t think it’s right.  Obviously, there are drivers that are divided.  At some point it would be nice to kind of know what the etiquette is.  The drivers have always set the etiquette, but when we are all divided on it, it’s kind of confusing to know what we should be doing and what we shouldn’t be doing.”
 
DO YOU THINK NASCAR SHOULD SET THE ETIQUETTE?
“I don’t know.  NASCAR’s position has always been let the drivers handle it.  I don’t think NASCAR should have to be put in that position.  It’s like they tell us in the drivers meeting each week we are the best drivers in the world, in the country driving these things.  We should be able to handle it on our own.  As drivers get younger and younger and come in they come in with their own set of ideas.  I just know how it would have been 12 or 14 years ago if I would have tried to do that on a restart I know what would have happened.  The opinions are divided now.”
 
MARK MARTIN SAID OVER TIME NASCAR HAS BECOME A SELF POLICING SPORT FOR THAT VERY REASON BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO TEACH THE YOUNGER DRIVERS WHAT ETIQUETTE IS:
“I agree and that is the way it was when I came in.  If you did something wrong around a veteran driver they taught you quickly how you made a mistake and what you did wrong and that is not acceptable.  I don’t know if it’s the pressure of the sport now.  I don’t know what it is that has made it get to why we are in this scenario.  NASCAR has got enough stuff that they have to worry about.  They shouldn’t have to be put in that position of having to make that call.  It’s bad enough that they have to make that call at Daytona and Talladega and it shouldn’t have to be their responsibility there either.  Unfortunately it is and it’s frustrating as a driver because you want to do the right thing.  I fessed up and I owned up to what I did at Talladega.  It’s the last lap of the race.  I could have just sat there and just stayed in my line and watched 20 cars go blowing by me or I could sit there and try to pick up the faster line and make that line push me.  I made a mistake in doing that, but I think it’s ridiculous to compare Talladega last fall to what happened 15 laps to go at the end of the race on a restart.
 
“If that is the case and that is acceptable why wouldn’t drivers just do it the whole race and protect their spot the whole race?  Track position is important why would you ever give up the spot whether it’s 15 laps to go or 150 laps to go.  That is where we as drivers have to figure out what is acceptable and what is not.  We kind of all have to get on the same page on it or you are going to have more scenarios and more situations where drivers are disagreeing.  There are a lot of guys disagreeing about a lot of things lately.  Nothing gets sorted out because there is no way of sorting it out. Everybody wants to call each other on the phone and it’s his words versus their words and nothing ever gets sorted out.  They just go onto the next week and they agree to disagree and nothing seems to make it any different.”
 
PEOPLE KIND OF LISTEN TO YOU, AND YOU KIND OF MADE A POINT LAST WEEK:
“I don’t know, I heard what Kyle Petty said last week and I wonder if what I am saying is even right anymore.  It’s just there are so many people who have so many di
fferent opinions about it.  Some people who said I was wrong and some people said I was right.   You don’t even know what to believe anymore.  It’s hard to know.”
 
WERE YOU EVER SELF-POLICED?  DID ANYONE TRY AND TEACH YOU A LESSON WHEN YOU WERE A YOUNG BUCK?
“Yeah, I learned from Rusty Wallace and Dale Sr., Mark Martin, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Burton, and drivers raced each other with respect.   Your job was to go out and do a better job than anybody and none of those guys ever blocked 15 years ago.  I never was in a scenario where I blocked any of those guys 15 years ago when we were doing this.”
 
DO YOU EVER NEED TO DEFEND YOURSELF IN THOSE SITUATIONS?
“No, not at all.  Why should I?  Everybody is saying well, this is their opinion and this is their opinion.   This is my opinion and I don’t think I would have won three championships by making bad decisions for 15 years.  
 
I don’t have a ton of enemies in the garage area.  There are bigger feuds going on than what happened two weeks ago.  And it’s not even a feud.  I disagreed with him and what he did and he has a different side to it and he is entitled to that.  So I don’t think I made it this far by making that many bad decisions and I don’t just race NASCAR, I race in different series all across the country in over 100 races this year and there is stuff that goes on here that doesn’t go on at any race track across the country.  And if you tried that, you would be wrecked so fast.   It’s just amazing about how some of its happening here and it seems like it’s just jump on the train one way or another with people.”
 
DID YOU EXPECT TO GET A CALL FROM HIM THIS WEEK?
“No, I went on vacation.   I went on vacation there in Georgia and it was actually very nice because where I went, I didn’t even have satellite for TV.  I didn’t have TV, I didn’t have cell phone, and I wasn’t looking for it because I didn’t care.   I was ready to go on my vacation and when California was over, California was over and phone calls don’t mean anything to me anymore.   If a guy is calling to say he is sorry for something, then that is one thing, but I am not going to sit there and argue with somebody on the phone if their opinion is different than mine.”
 
JOEY (LOGANO) CAME IN WITH A LOT OF HYPE AND 15 YEARS AGO YOU WERE PRECEDED WITH A BIG REPUTATION FOR RACING.  IS THERE A LOT MORE PRESSURE TO SOMEONE THAT COMES IN LIKE THAT THAN SOMEONE WHO COMES IN THE BACK DOOR?
“I don’t know.  I think it’s a hard scenario for him this year because of switching teams and a lot of things that are going on.   So I think there is a little extra pressure on him right now and he has to understand he is in a position where he can run good and he is messing with guys that run up front all the time and there are common denominators in some of these equations here and you don’t have to be a genius to figure out what it is.”
 
HAVE YOU TALKED TO DENNY HAMLIN AT ALL SINCE THE ACCIDENT AND YOU GUYS SEEM TO BE ON THE SAME PAGE TOGETHER AS FAR AS REALLY…
“I don’t know, we haven’t talked about that and you know…..that didn’t matter.  What matters is getting him healthy and getting him back to the track.  It’s a miserable position to be in because I can tell you he is in a lot of pain and most of all, no driver wants to sit out and watch someone else drive your race car and you don’t like sitting on the side and watching – period.  When you know you should be out there and it could directly affect your whole season and everything you are trying to work for your whole season can be ruined in an incident like that.  And I look at that and I don’t blame Joey for that.  They were racing and that is why they call accidents, accidents.   What happened to Denny, the accident itself was just part of racing.
 
Nobody would do that to anybody intentionally whether you like them, dislike them, hate them…..it doesn’t matter.   No driver would intentionally put another driver in that scenario.  So it’s tough being on the sideline.  I had it in ’96 when I got hurt in an IndyCar crash and it’s a miserable position to be in.”
 
YOU TALKED ABOUT IN OTHER FORMS OF RACING THAT THE SELF-POLICING IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT BECAUSE YOU ARE RELYING ON EACH OTHER TO SET THE TONE.  WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS?
“In other forms of racing they just go down and slug it out and then they normally end up eating dinner with each other at a fast food joint. You know a sit down deal later in the evening.  That is the way racing is across the country and it gets settled but the problem here is that NASCAR has to keep some law and order here.
 
“They don’t want us doing that, and we understand why, and we don’t disagree with why they don’t want us to.   At the same time, it creates another set of problems where you are relying on a phone call and two guys sitting down to settle something and their opinions don’t change.  A lot of times the emotion just sits there and keeps building and there is no way…a phone call kind of makes you madder than you were to start with.
 
“So it just makes it a tough situation but it’s hard for NASCAR and it’s a tough position to be in and I think for a long time they have done a good job of handling feuds and disagreements and for the most part it’s been a happy little world here.   So I don’t think it’s terrible by any means but the drivers just need to get on the same page.”
 
HAVE YOU TALKED TO NASCAR AND TOLD THEM THAT THEY NEED TO REGULATE IT MORE?
“It’s not my job to.  They know what is going on out there. They see it.   If they wanted to know, they would have come and asked us.  If they want to know, we would be glad to talk to them about it.”
 
ARE YOU GOING TO CHANGE YOUR VIEW AT ALL, YOU ARE ONE OF THE VETERANS
“I said that a minute ago.  I am not going to change and I have never wavered in all the years that we have talked about blocking, I have never wavered from it and it has never changed.  So I don’t like it and I never have and never will.   If you do a better job of getting off the corner or on a restart than anybody then you did your job.  And for somebody, who didn’t do their job to just sit there and block you and run you down the racetrack because they didn’t do their job right is not acceptable.  That is not what racing is about.”
 

Chevy Racing–Barber Motorsports Park

Jon Fogarty and John Edwards Put Chevrolet on Pole for Rolex Daytona Prototype and Grand Touring at Barber Motorsports Park
Team Chevy Drivers Capture Top-Three Starting Spots in DP and Front Row in GT
 
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (April 5, 2013) – Jon Fogarty extended his record as the all-time pole winner in GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series competition today with a track-record lap of 104.878 mph/1 minute, 18.949 seconds in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype (DP).  It was Fogarty’s 25th career pole; his third pole at Barber Motorsports Park and the fourth for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing at the 2.3-mile circuit. Co-driver Alex Gurney won his first career pole at Barber in 2005.
 
Team Chevy drivers captured the top-three starting positions for Saturday’s 2-hour race, the third of the 12-event 2013 season. Ricky Taylor in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Corvette DP co-driven by Richard Westbrook, was second with a lap of 104.623 mph/1:19.141. Jordan Taylor took third in the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette DP he shares with Max Angelelli, with a lap of 104.552 mph/1:19.195.
 
It will also be an all-Chevrolet front row in the Rolex Series Grand Touring (GT) class as John Edwards captured his sixth career pole. Edwards also put together a track-record setting effort by running a lap of 95.60 mph/1:26.610 in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R. Boris Said qualified second in the No. 31 Marsh Racing Corvette, running a lap of 95.527 mph/1:26.677
 
“It was a good Chevrolet day in GRAND-AM qualifying at Barber Motorsports Park,” said Jim Lutz, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, GRAND-AM Road Racing. “Congratulations to Jon Fogarty and the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP team as well as John Edwards and the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R team on their track-record setting efforts  today.   I am looking forward to solid performances by all of our  teams in tomorrow’s races.”
 
In the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series, Eric Curran qualified the No. 01 CKS Autosport Camaro GS.R in fourth place on the grid; and Matt Bell put the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GS.R in the seventh starting position.
 
The Porsche 250 for the Rolex Sports Car Series is scheduled to start at 12:45 p.m. CT on Saturday, April 6, 2013.  The 2-hour race will be broadcast live on MRN Radio with live timing and scoring on grand-am.com, and will be televised tape-delayed on SPEED  Channel on Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. ET.  The 2.5-hour Barber 200 for the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge will start at 4:00 p.m. CT, and can be seen on SPEED Channel on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Chevy Racing–James Hinchcliffe, Barber Motorsports Park

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY.COM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Barber Motorsports Park and discussed celebrating his first win at St. Pete, his emotions after his first win, his outlook for Barber this weekend, and much more. Full transcript.
 
HOW DID YOU CELEBRATE YOUR FIRST WIN? “I had to be a bit reserved since my wonderful PR booked 8 o’clock phone interviews for Monday morning. (LAUGHED) There was a bit of a get-together on Sunday night. Sebastien Bourdais had planned a place and a lot of drivers showed up and lot of the crews actually got their flights cancelled because of snow in Indy so it was nice. A lot more people than originally planned got to be around Sunday night and got to catch up with some people. It was good. It was low-key, but it was good.”
 
TALK ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND HERE AT BARBER. “We’re looking forward to a good weekend. Obviously, the test went well for the Go Daddy car. We were P2 and had a strong car last year as well. The race didn’t go the way that we wanted but we had certainly had the pace in qualifying. We can expect more of the same here this weekend. It’s going to be a little bit different. We have a new red (alternate) compound tire that we haven’t tried before, again, kind of a similar situation to St. Pete. It’s a bunch of question marks in some respect with the diamond grinding that they’ve done to the track as well. From the test and from last year, history would say that we should be competitive, and hopefully, I can put it all together in qualifying because that’s going to be key this weekend.”
 
ABOUT THE ADDED PRESSURE TO REPEAT. “I think some respects, yes, (there is added pressure). If anything, the external pressure has come down a little bit, but now my internal expectations have gone up because it’s easy for people on the outside to say, ‘When are you going to win? When are you going to get that first one.’ Whereas I know how hard it is to win at this level and how competitive the field is. Now that I’ve won a race, that question isn’t being asked externally anymore and I think to myself, ‘I’ve done it. I still know how hard it is and it’s just as hard as it was before, but now I know I can do it, I want to do it again.’ Luckily I’m, obviously, with a great team and I think we’re going to find ourselves in a position to battle for more wins this season. At the end of the day, it took my 32 tries to get the first one. Hopefully it won’t take 32 to get the next one. But you never know. It’s a very competitive series.”
 
ABOUT THE TEAM REACTION, ARE TEAMMATES RUNNING TO YOU FOR ADVICE? “We’re only one race into the season. It’s not quite there yet. We’ve all worked so well together. Marco (Andretti), Ryan (Hunter-Reay) and I last year and adding E.J. (Viso) this year has been a seamless transition this year. Everybody had a competitive car at St. Pete until Ryan had his troubles and E.J. bouncing back from his mishap on Saturday. It’s so very much a team effort. Everybody is taking elements from each other’s setups and that’s why everyone is running so competitively.”
 
WHERE DO YOU HAVE TO BE GOOD AT BARBER? “It’s a tough thing to nail down. This track requires such a compromise in setup. Obviously, anywhere, you want to secure a rear on entry, but with the long duration corners here, that can bring in a tremendous amount of understeer, which a lot of drivers hate. You have to find this balance in the setup between having a car you’re comfortable with at turn in but you’re not mowing the walls down on exit with understeer. Some guys can deal with one or the other better than others. Obviously it’s a fast, flowing track. You need subtle, smooth inputs guys that are more aggressive in their inputs struggle here more so than a street circuit. I can’t say what it is that Ryan likes or dislikes about this place. He’s the champion and he’ll figure it out and hopefully we’ll all be up front.”
 
WHERE DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CAN FIND TIME? “I’m still looking for time in Turn 2 and 3 and a little bit in Turn 8 as well. That’s never been a corner in Lights or anything here that I’ve loved. I’m trying really hard to fix that. We made some gains in the test, but looking at where Mr. (Will) Power is quick, there’s definitely time in (Turns) 2 and 3.”
 
WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO UNSEAT PENSKE HERE? “Well the Penske guys have done a tremendous job in the offseason and got a handle on the new tires very well. If you look at St. Pete, there’s no doubt that they were the quickest car and we put together a better Sunday. I think we aren’t going to lie to ourselves and say we were the best in every category last race. We know there are still areas where we can improve. If you look at the test, both Penske cars were incredibly quick. We need to buckle down and I think having that win under our belts does give us a little bit more confidence that if we’re in that position near the end of the race that we know how to seal the deal and bring it home. Hopefully, we find ourselves in that position and see if that confidence does help.”
 
WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO BEAT WILL POWER? “I was asked that question before St. Pete and my answer was, “I think I might have to pee in his gas tank.” Luckily, I didn’t have to do that and it worked in our favor. It’s going to be incredibly difficult. He’s been incredibly quick here every year. Even when he had bad luck and started mid-field, he still managed to find his way to the front. We just need to the best job that we can do and at the end of the day, minimize mistakes just because that’s where this team has been strong. If you look at last year, some of Ryan’s victory didn’t come with the quickest car. They came with the best Sunday by running mistake-free races. That’s setup. That’s driving. That’s strategy calls. That’s pit stops and that’s where this team really excels. If we keep making the car better and closing that gap to Penske, topped off with the way we run on Sundays, we’re going to be strong by the end of the year.”
 
WHAT WERE THE EMOTIONS OF YOUR FIRST WIN? “Tough to describe. When I came off the last corner and was coming to the line, and first the first accepted it was going to happen, I had the same feeling you get where you’re winning a race. It’s that thrill of the moment adrenaline rush and screaming in the helmet. And then when I crossed the line, I was overwhelmed with emotions and spent a good chunk of the cool-down lap bawling my eyes out. It’s tough to admit, but it’s the truth. It was the culmination of a very long journey that me and my family and the people who supported me have been on for the last 17 years. To do it the way we did it and where we did it. There were a lot of things that added up to being a very emotional and special day.”

Chevy Racing–Martinsville Speedway–Jimmie Johnson

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
STP GAS BOOSTER 500
MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
APRIL 5, 2013
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Martinsville Speedway and discussed his seven victories at Martinsville Speedway, how he handles disagreements on the race track and other topics.  Full Transcript:
 
THIS IS A TRACK WHERE YOU HAVE HAD IMMENSE SUCCESS WITH SEVEN WINS AND YOU WILL BE GOING FOR NUMBER EIGHT THIS WEEKEND:
“Definitely looking forward to competing for number eight.  We had a great race here in the fall and I’m expecting good things to happen once again.  Regardless of car, rules package, aero implications, there is something about this track that.  It might change a small percentage of what goes on in the car, but the majority of why you are successful here sticks with you.  That is a nice thing to have in your back pocket each time you come here once you figure out the track.”
 
GIVEN SOME OF THE FEUDS THAT ARE BEING TALKED ABOUT AS WE ENTER THIS WEEKEND HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK WE MIGHT SEE A LITTLE BIT MORE OF THAT ACTIVITY THIS WEEKEND? HOW CONCERNED ARE YOU THAT A BEEF BETWEEN OTHER DRIVERS MIGHT IMPACT YOU?
“Honestly, it’s an element of our sport that we deal with often.  I can’t recall all the beefs that are out there.  There is obviously one or two that have been in the spotlight.  One of those situations can’t take place because Denny’s (Hamlin) is not in the car.  Tony (Stewart) and Joey (Logano) something could happen.  I think we will all be aware just as somebody watching on television if you are in the car and you see those two near one another just watch for a lap or two and see what is going on.  And make evasive moves if you need to at that point.  Short tracks are where things kind of settle out and find a home.  There might be some other issues kind of lingering that aren’t so notable might flare up.  It’s just something you deal with.  Inside the car we have the best seat in the house you can see when someone is impatient.  You can see when someone isn’t willing to work with another guy and start understanding things early in the race where there might be an issue.”
 
YOU OWN A ’68 CAMARO AND A ’49 CHEVY I BELIEVE?
“I can never get the year of the Camaro correct.  It’s either a ’67 or ’68, but yes.”
 
WERE THEY GIFTS OR DID YOU BUY THEM?  DO YOU HAVE AN INTEREST IN THOSE TYPES OF CARS?
“Yes, bought them both.  The Camaro I built around the Randy Dorton engine that was sold in Randy’s memory following the plane crash that happened here in ’04.  I built that car around that engine.  For those that might think it would be fun to have a Sprint Cup engine in your everyday driver, it’s not fun, the car did not drive very well.  Had to pull the engine out and put a different engine in it.  Then the truck Mr. Hendrick helped me find the truck.  It’s a ’49 still original cab.  It has the five windows, step-side pickup truck that I drive most days.  I love that truck.”
 
INAUDIBLE:
“Work on it, come on, are you crazy?  I put gas in it (laughs), put air in the tires.  No, Mr. Hendrick helped me find it and then from there I just drive it.”
 
SEVEN GRANDFATHER CLOCKS. HOW MANY DO YOU STILL HAVE AND WHERE ARE THEY?
“I have them all.  My friends and even family keep threatening to take one or the next one I win in theirs.  Six of them are in my warehouse, my man space that I have.  One is at the office.  They don’t work.  They don’t all cling and clang at the same time.”
 
ARE THERE OTHER WAYS THAT ONE DRIVER CAN MAKE ANOTHER DRIVER’S LIFE DIFFICULT HERE THAN JUST SIMPLY SPINNING THEM OUT?  IS IT NOT JUST YOU SPIN A GUY IN RETALIATION YOU CAN ALSO DO OTHER THINGS ON THE RACE TRACK OUT THERE TO MAKE THEIR LIVES MISERABLE?
“Yeah, the give and take thing that takes place on the race track goes out the window.  Especially on a 1.5-mile you can really hold somebody tight and prevent them from passing you lap after lap after lap and create a lot of anxiety and send a message through something like that.  Even how you pass someone if you drive in there and just get position and turn under someone sometimes you might get a guy loose or you could attack and sit off their bumper by an inch or so and really give them a fun ride through the corner.  There are other things besides just dumping someone that you can do.
 
“The flip side to it as well is, pick up the phone and call a guy.  Go find them.  You don’t have to do it in front of the cameras, go find a guy and tell him how you feel.  I think at the end of the day that is the route that I have chosen.  I think you can be far more effective by engaging with someone.  A phone call is barely personal enough, texting is not personal enough.  Tweeting is definitely not personal enough, but engage.  If you are that mad at someone go do something about it.  Instead of having a microphone and just saying you are mad.  Go engage.  I think there certainly has been engagement in the limelight in front of the cameras which the fans love.  But there are other ways.  Like right now I guess the two transporters are parked next to one another.  It would be real easy to slide next door and be like ‘hey look we’ve got to bury the hatchet on this deal.’ Or drive to somebody’s house. We all live within 30 miles of one another.  Or go sit at the bar and wait for him at the bar and punch him in the face there are a lot of options.”
 
INAUDIBLE:
“For me and I’ve watched Jeff Burton handle things this way and I’ve watched other drivers comment about how I have handled situations right or wrong.  I always believe you have to talk to the person.  It’s a hard phone call to make or a hard face-to-face conversation when you have taken somebody out of the race.  But, Jeff Burton handled things that way with me here in ‘04/’05.  I had so much respect for him that he walked through my transporter, past my guys, didn’t lie to me he said ‘man I just used you up.  I did.’  I was like man I don’t know how to really react at this point, but I appreciate you coming in here and telling me this.  It kind of explained to me or showed me how I would like to handle things and then I have kind of taken that route.”
 
REGARDING BLOCKING, WHEN IS IT APPROPRIATE, WHEN IS IT NOT APPROPRIATE AND WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON BLOCKING?
“I feel like with plate racing, that is how you maintain your position.  It’s how you race there and you spend 90% of your time in the mirror and 10% of it looking out the windshield.  In road course racing, blocking is the most frustrating and most visible.  In those situations even in open-wheel, they give you one move to defend and then you have to sit still.  I guess with the open-wheels, their cars they are more dangerous and you only get that one move and we don’t have that situation.   That gets really frustrating at Sonoma and Watkins Glen because you will have a run on somebody and they will just pull down to the inside of the corner in front.  And as a result of them blocking you, they slow you up quite a bit over the course of a lap and before you know it you have company behind and it gets real frustrating.   But blocking is part of what we do and sometimes it works in your favor and other times it doesn’t.  Sometimes a driver will understand it and other times they don’t.
 
“Those are decisions we all make on the track and when you are in the sport long enough, you realize what those decisions could lead to and honestly who you throw a block on.  They could come back and haunt you.  So as we
are trying to win a race, win for our team, win for our sponsors, there are these other elements that you may not consciously think of; but there is this quick snapshot that flashes through your mind when you throw a block.   And I assume when you see the 14, you probably expect something is going to happen.  He has made that known over the years, so there are guys that you probably don’t want to do that to.  But then again, at the end of the race I feel like things go to the next level and they change and to defend for a win, you have to take some extreme measures at times.  There is the simple block down low, and there is taking away someone’s line that doesn’t get talked about as much.  But you run the line that the guy was catching you in and technically that is blocking because you are taking the line away from where he was making time up on you.   So it’s just part of our sport, and I know it’s a hot topic right now but it’s been in our sport for a long time and it will still be here for a long time.”
 
CONSIDERING WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU IN THIS RACE LAST YEAR, CAN YOU DRIVE DEFENSIVELY AND LOOK IN THE MIRROR TO PREPARE FOR SOME OF THE STUFF THAT MIGHT BE COMING?
“Ideally you are driving away and not defending.  Because the defensive line here is slower and if you are worried about someone making a late-breaking move to the inside of you into a corner, then the way to defend that is to drive in straighter.   Your angle isn’t as good in the corner and you have a slower turn. When you have a clean race track and the lead, you want to run that huge arc but if someone is slowly chipping away at you and catching you, and then you have to defend more.   That is really your only defensive move at that point, and being aware of what is going on.  
 
“On a restart, I can only recall one three-wide restart into turn one before and it didn’t turn out well. With that one, I had no clue what was going on and so much transpired in a short period of time and as the contact started I heard ‘three-wide’, and then I was already turned around.
 
“Those are tough, but you know something crazy is happening especially when you have new tires close by.  Tires are a big help here and there is usually going to be some hurt feelings when that is all done.”
 
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO SEE ONE OF YOUR MAIN COMPETITORS NOT HERE?  DENNY HAS WON SEVERAL TIMES AND YOU GUYS HAVE HAD BATTLES AND HE IS NOT HERE.  ALSO, ANY IDEA ON HOW YOU THINK MARK MARTIN WILL DO RACING THAT CAR?
“I haven’t thought about it from the perspective of Denny being here and for racing for the win, I have thought of it more of how tough it must be to sit out.   That is every driver’s worst fear, and every driver’s nightmare, is to watch your car on the track.   Especially being injured and sitting there watching.  So I have thought about that and what it might be like. The things that he is facing and the things he is thinking about.  So that part I have put a lot of thought into and certainly hope to never go through it.
 
“On the Mark side, as Mark pointed out to you guys when I was walking in, it’s not his favorite track but he had a couple runs here in the 5 (car) when we were teammates. He climbed out of there with a huge smile on his face and felt like he could win.  And that car will be fast, so I would expect Mark to be right there in the thick of things.”
 
WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE RACING AT THE END OF CALIFORNIA, THE WRECKING AND THE STYLE AND WHAT IS IT LIKE FOR DALE JUNIOR.  DOES HE LIKE THE POINTS LEAD BECAUSE NOBODY IS PAYING ATTENTION BECAUSE OF ALL THE OTHER STUFF GOING ON?
“I think there are plenty paying attention.  Especially his fans and we all know how big of a fan base he has. So I feel like he is enjoying things and he has earned the points lead and we saw this moment coming and him leading the points.   We have all seen it and I think it feels good to him and to his team to be there in the thick of it and to back it up and be there once again.   So I am proud of him and happy for him as well.
 
“As far as the racing, it was aggressive.   I was having a bad day across the board and I didn’t see a lot of racing because I was being passed by a lot of guys.  And with the tire strategy taking place and the draft that this car has, I couldn’t believe how tough it was to maintain your position and how easy someone could draft, how easy I could draft, and the four and five wide.  It was total chaos.  
 
“Up front, that was where the spotlight was with the injury and the race win.   Definitely aggressive there too, but I don’t know how we didn’t have a 20-car pileup in the middle of the pack.  It was out of control.”
 
HAVE YOU SEEN DALE’S (EARNHARDT JR) MOOD AND DEMEANOR CHANGE FROM LAST YEAR TO THIS IN THAT SIX MONTH STRETCH?
“Just a little more relaxed, confident and enjoying the moment. I guess two or three years ago there were some points throughout him being at HMS where it wasn’t as much fun and he wasn’t as competitive and that is tough on anyone.  So to see him and really the relationship that he and Steve (Letarte) have and what they have built together has brought a lot more confidence and certainly more fun.  Lot more smiles and a lot more relaxed Dale Jr. than I have seen in the past.”   

Mopar Racing–Pro Stock Driver Johnson to Sport Mopar’s ‘Express Lane’ for 2013 NHRA Season

Pro Stock Driver Johnson to Sport Mopar’s ‘Express Lane’ for 2013 NHRA Season

·         Mopar’s ‘Express Lane’ to debut on Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson’s Dodge Avenger this weekend at NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas
·         More than 800 Chrysler Group dealerships provide Mopar Express Lane service for light maintenance and world-class inspection for all make and model vehicles
·         Express Lane provides fast and convenient service with no appointment necessary

Auburn Hills, Mich. (Friday, April 5, 2013) – Defending 2012 Pro Stock Champion Allen Johnson will race his Dodge Avenger through the rest of the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season sporting a fresh new look with Mopar’s “Express Lane Fast Oil Changes & More” message.

It’s only fitting to have the new Mopar Express Lane paint scheme unveiled at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas this first weekend of April as it is designated National Car Care month and a way to remind drivers to get their vehicles inspected and properly maintained.

Currently more than 800 Chrysler Group dealerships provide dedicated Express Lane service for light maintenance like fast oil changes for all make and model cars, along with a world-class inspection, provided by highly trained Chrysler Group dealership technicians. Express Lane provides fast and convenient service without the need for making an appointment.

“I’m really excited to debut our new car with the Mopar Express Lane scheme at Las Vegas where I’m looking to defend our win there,” said Johnson whose decisive win at Las Vegas last fall during the Countdown helped secure his 2012 championship title. “I took part in Mopar’s promotion of Express Lane in 2010 and it’s great to be able to tell people about what a great service they offer. Just like my team, they have highly trained technicians ready to get to work and get you back on the road in no time. That’s the kind of service that gets you into the winner’s circle and that’s what I’m hoping to do quite often this year.”

“Allen Johnson and his team have been great ambassadors for the Mopar brand and we’re excited to now have him help increase awareness of our world-class Express Lane service,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “Allen and his dedicated Mopar team personify the kind of fast, professional service that our Express Lane provides everyday drivers to maintain their own Chrysler Group vehicles in top shape. It’s important to note that thanks to our relationship with Magneti Marelli and Shell Lubricants, Express Lane also permits our dealerships to service all makes and model vehicles.”

Available Express Lane services include oil and filter changes, multipoint vehicle checkup, tire rotation with brake inspection, air and cabin filter replacement, wiper blade replacement, headlight and light bulb replacement and battery testing. Mopar Express Lane Service isn’t limited to Chrysler Group vehicles — with the Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar program, fast service also is available for all other makes and models.

 

Chevy Racing–Martinsville Speedway–Danica Patrick

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
STP GAS BOOSTER 500
MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
APRIL 5, 2013
 
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Martinsville Speedway and discussed racing for the first time at Martinsville, what to expect from Sunday’s race, how she assesses her rookie year so far, and more. Full transcript.
 
YOUR FIRST TRIP HERE TO MARTINSVILLE, WHAT ARE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS AND WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING HERE THIS WEEKEND?
“Well, I don’t know. I haven’t been here. I have a feeling it’s going to be really challenging and probably a little overwhelming right at first with all the other cars out there up to speed so quickly. We tested at Little Rock a few weeks ago and I think that will probably serve well and gave me at least a feel for what it is like on these really tiny tracks with low pressures and how the car changes as they come up. I’m not really sure what to expect yet, but I’m going to go over and see Tony (Stewart) after this and see what he says and take some recommendations on what to do.”
 
DID YOU GUYS CONSIDER TESTING HERE AT ALL AND HAVE YOU BEEN ON A TRACK SIMILAR TO THIS BEFORE?
“We were going to test here around the Little Rock time but I think they changed the tire right before we came and everybody sort of aborted that mission. At least that’s my understanding. So, we were going to test here but that didn’t work out.”
 
CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR DAY IN WASHINGTON D.C. AND WHAT THAT WAS LIKE? ALSO REFLECTING ON THE JOEY LOGANO THING, COMING INTO ANY SERIES IS THERE KIND OF A CODE YOU HAVE AS FAR AS HOLDING YOUR OWN LINE AND HOLDING YOUR OWN GROUND? DRIVER ETHICS, WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE?
“First off, the White House is really cool. It was a cool experience. It was neat seeing all the kids playing around right in the White House’s front yard basically. You were right there. You could see the President’s office; you could see the back of his head working. I got a tour of the White House and some other places from the gentlemen from the White House that was taking me around and getting to where I needed to get to. It was just really cool. The kids were excited, they were super excited. It definitely worked out to wear my GoDaddy jacket because everybody recognized me very quickly. It was really fun. I’m really glad I did it. It was a nice day. I think it’s a cool experience to meet the President, his wife and kids, and their dog. It’s an event that they said was the most chaotic and loose event they do at the White House all year long any year. It had that feel of kids just come play and we were so close to the White House too.
 
“On the etiquette and unspoken rules, as drivers there is a time and a place for everything. I think later in the race things do happen. It depends on a little bit of history. If things have gone on in the past, then sometimes that can carry over and there’s an understanding for why someone gets a little bit extra aggressive. But, I don’t think it’s ever cool or anyone is happy when you try to take them out almost or make big, dramatic moves. I think towards the end if you make one move, I feel like that definitely happens. If somebody goes over the top with it, it makes you frustrated and makes you mad. I don’t feel like I’ve been in enough of those scenarios to be your official driver on what’s appropriate and what’s not appropriate out there. But, just in my experience that’s kind of a little bit why things happen small or big.”
 
TONY STEWART WAS QUOTED IN USA TODAY SAYING HE WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR FIRST TIME HERE AND IT MIGHT ALMOST BE SORT OF FUNNY TO WATCH BECAUSE OF HOW TRICKY THIS TRACK IS. DO YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS ON THAT AND ALSO ON BEING THE FIRST FEMALE DRIVER TO EVER RACE IN THE TOP SERIES OF NASCAR HERE AT MARTINSVILLE?
“That’s not really a big stat for me to be the first female to race here at this level, but I don’t know what to expect. Am I going to go out there and be just fine or am I going to go out there and be a total disaster? It might feel like those times when I drove a Nationwide car for the first time at tracks that I hadn’t been to and all I do is look in my mirror the whole time for what’s going on. But, it makes me happy that we went to Little Rock just because of the size and kind of get an appreciation for how quick the corners come up. You also get an appreciation for the line and how the tires come up to pressure and how the car changes through that. I’m not going out to far behind him (Tony Stewart) and he’s pretty good. I’ll be looking, trying to see where the line is and see where to go. Its bottom, bottom, so at least there’s that much going for me when I get out there.”
 
WHEN YOU GO TALK TO TONY (STEWART) FOR TIPS AND HE ALSO KIND OF CAUTIONS YOU THAT IT MIGHT BE THE WORST DAY OF YOUR LIFE TRYING TO HAVE FUN WITH IT, CAN YOU MAYBE NOT DREAD IT AND LOOK AT IT IN A POSITIVE LIGHT?
“I always feel like the more new a situation is, kind of the less expectations there are and in general the less pressure and less nerves go on. I’ve always felt like the more expectation level that exists and the longer you’ve been around, that’s when I get more nervous because its time. Definitely being here for the first time and understanding how challenging it is, I feel like it’s only up from here. I have no doubt that it will be a hard day, but I’m also of the belief that it can also be a really fun day. I mean a good car is a good car. If it’s good and its hooked up and its turning, and the practice day we did a few weeks ago translates to this track and the car performs as well as it did at practice that day, there’s no reason we can’t have a decent day. There’s also no way to know if it’s going to be different because I haven’t been here before. Being a rookie and kind of getting shown the ropes, I don’t know how that’s going to go. You just have to stand your ground. Nothing works better than driving away from people. We’re going to be working toward a car that will do what I want it to do and be comfortable. We’ll just see how it shakes out.”
 
NOW THAT WE’VE BEEN TO FIVE TRACKS AND A VARIETY OF THEM, HOW DO YOU ASSES YOUR PROGRESS IN YOUR ROOKIE YEAR SO FAR?
“I think that for a lot of the year I’ve learned how to drive a lose car, so I’ve got that going for me. It’s been not as good as what I had hoped for. Then again I also said I’m not going to set expectation levels at this point and time. I’m going to see how it goes. I think based on that, for me I would say that we just need to get a grasp as to what I need out of this new car. Tony (Gibson) and I need to come up with a baseline balance set up that works, and I’m not sure we have achieved that yet. I think that we are just taking a little bit of time to adjust to this new car and adjusting to what it takes to make me feel good in it. I don’t know how long that will go on for, but I was happy at least at Fontana. I really thought I was going to get lapped five or more times at least.
 
“That’s how bad I felt in practice. We did end up a lap down, but at least we were kind of respectable I felt like. Most importantly we made the car better throughout the whole race. That was something that hasn’t happened really all season. We haven’t been able to get the car to a decent spot and feel a lot better about it by the end of the race. So, that’s a positive I take from Fontana. When we make those positive changes and the car feels better it just kind of adds to the database of what works for me and what doesn’t work for me and more about what I need in the car so we can start the weekend off stronger and end even stronger which is what we need to do.”
 
WITH SO MANY PEOPLE TELLING YOU SO MANY THINGS, HOW DO YOU WEIGH OUT YOUR OWN SENSATIONS AND FEELINGS? WHAT ABOUT THE GRUELING, PHYSICAL SIDE OF IT? OTHER THAN TONY TELLING YOU, HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR
THIS?
“That was part of our pre-Martinsville testing. Short-track running, just sort of figuring out what brakes work for me best. If I could deal with a master that allowed me to use less pressure to get the same results. Those were the things that we worked through to see what was best to bring here to take care of that. I think there is a lot to be said for staying relaxed in the car and not getting too tense. I think that is a little bit of the challenge the first time here. You are a little bit more tense because it’s new. Those are the things I think about out there on the track, just to take a deep breath and shake your legs around, move around. That kind of stuff helps you strength wise and not to get fatigued. I’ll be thinking about those things. If the car is challenging, then it’s always a lot more work. Some of the races earlier this year that I’ve had to catch the car all day; my arms are tired by the end of that. I’m sure you’ve all seen video of me sawing at the wheel before, it happens frequently. This is going to be a little bit more of a leg workout, but we’ve worked towards making that more comfortable for me and we’ll see how it goes.”

World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Returns to the Wild West

World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Returns to the Wild West
The Outlaws only visit to Texas in 2013 features a new and unique track for the series
 
By Dan Beaver – EL PASO, Texas – April 4, 2013 – World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series drivers face a clean slate on Tuesday, April 16, as they head to El Paso for the first-ever race on that track and their only visit to Texas in 2013.
It has been two years since the Outlaws were last in Texas, but the most recent race was held on the other side of the state at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown. Sammy Swindell won the 40-lap feature that night, but he and the rest of the drivers face a new challenge at El Paso Speedway Park.

Sprint car fans in West Texas are hungry for big league competition because the track is not only new to the series, so is the venue-sort of. The last time the Outlaws were in this part of the country, they were not in the country at all but rather across the border in Mexico at Autopista Juarez in 1992.

Steve Kinser is the only driver with experience in the market and on this track. “I was a lot younger at the time, but I remember winning that race and it is always part of the conversation when we get back to this area.”

Kinser also raced at El Paso last November in a 360 sprint car. “I have had an opportunity to be on track but it was in daytime and it will change under the lights. Running there at all could be a little benefit, but I didn’t get a chance to run very long because of some mechanical difficulties.”

He knows the challenges faced by the new venue cannot be minimized. “We have a really tough group of cars and you have to come off the hauler fast.”

El Paso Speedway Park has some unique characteristics that not only make it challenging for the drivers, but enjoyable for the fans. This 0.375-mile D-shaped oval has an elevated backstretch, which means “there isn’t a bad seat in the house,” according to one of the track owners Royal Jones. “A lot of time, the track keeps its cushion very well, sometimes in the middle groove and sometimes high, so we should be able to keep the competition lively.”

“Anticipation is already high and reserve tickets are already moving,” Jones said. And all of the fans who purchase advanced reserved seating are eligible for a free fan pit pass as well.

That excitement is echoed by Chris Morgan of Motorsport Ventures, the event’s promoter. “It’s great to be back in this market and the fans have always been supportive of the Outlaws there, whether we were in Hollywood Hills over in Albuquerque or Southern New Mexico Speedway in Las Cruces. They show up in force for any event, weekend or week night.”

“This is going to be a big show, so even though this is the first time we have been to El Paso, it is almost certainly not going to be the last,” Morgan said.

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