Summit Racing–Line, Last Season’s Runner-Up, Wants Redemption In Seattle

Line, Last Season’s Runner-Up, Wants Redemption In Seattle
Mooresville, N.C., July 30, 2013 – Last season, Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro driver Jason Line was a hundredth of a second away from scoring his third victory at Seattle’s Pacific Raceways. This year, the 30-time Pro Stock national event victor is seeking redemption as NHRA’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series pulls into town for the NHRA Northwest Nationals, the 16th of 24 races on the 2013 tour.

Minnesota-native Line was particularly challenged by the racetrack in Seattle in the early days of his career as the pilot of a 200+ mph factory hot rod. In 2008, however, the Mooresville, N.C.-transplant turned over a new leaf as he raced to the money round flying the colors of Summit Racing and closed the deal with the defeat of tough customer Allen Johnson.

The very next season, Line made his way to the final round again but was stopped just short of victory, and after KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson nabbed the win in 2010, Line returned to the winner’s circle in 2011 by putting his Summit Racing partner on the trailer. Line’s runner-up finish to Erica Enders-Stevens last summer marked the fifth consecutive season that a Summit Racing car had shown up to run for the trophy in Seattle.

“We’ve had some success in Seattle for the past few years,” admitted Line. “But you never go to a racetrack assuming you’re going to be handed any kind of luck or success. You have to work for it, and that’s something Team Summit is good at – these guys work hard, and if we can see the fruits of our labor in Seattle this weekend, we’ll all be very, very happy.”

Line already has a victory on his scorecard this year – he took home the trophy at the SpringNationals earlier this season in Houston – and is eager to add another to his collection as the Countdown to the Championship playoffs come into view. Line and the rest of the field are vying for all of the points they can accumulate towards earning one of 10 positions in the Countdown. Currently sixth in the series standings, Line’s approach is very simple.

“All I’m worried about right now is making sure our Summit Racing Chevy Camaros are as fast as they can possibly be,” said the two-time season titlist. “That’s where it all starts. Greg and I both need to be on our game as drivers, but we have to have the horsepower to get it done. Hopefully, this weekend in Seattle will be a replay of the all-Summit final we had in 2011. That would definitely make up for last year.”  

Summit Racing–Anderson Looking to Capitalize on Gains in Seattle

Anderson Looking to Capitalize on Gains in Seattle
Mooresville, N.C., July 30, 2013 – Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro pilot Greg Anderson has been extremely focused this year on overcoming the obstacles before him and putting together a winning package, and as NHRA’s 2013 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series travels to the Seattle area for the Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways, the four-time Pro Stock world champion is extremely close to sealing the deal.

Anderson, of Mooresville, N.C., is in the midst of a unique season that has yet to produce a victory, and the driver with 74 national event wins on his resume is eager to return to his winning ways. Seattle seems the ideal setting to make his way back to the winner’s circle as the Summit Racing Pro Stock entries are particularly receptive to the conditions present at the highly oxygenated facility nestled in the forested Pacific Northwest.

“What we like about Seattle is that it’s close to sea level, and it has very good atmospheric conditions,” said Anderson. “Just like Sonoma last week, there is very good air in Seattle and that means that our Summit Racing Chevy Camaros can generate good power. The track itself is a little more tricky to negotiate, but the atmospheric conditions always seems to fall more into our wheelhouse than the hot, sticky and muggy conditions found elsewhere on the tour.

“The fact that the racetrack has a few bumps and is a little more of a challenge when the sun comes out may be an opportunity that we need to capitalize on. Hopefully, we can perform similar to how we did in Sonoma – or maybe even better. We have a lot of experience in Seattle and seem to do well in conditions typical to that racetrack.”

Just a few days ago at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals, Anderson continued down a path of resurgence, qualifying in the No. 4 position and driving his white Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro to the semifinals. Throughout the weekend, Anderson exhibited strong numbers at the early timers on the racetrack and was well ahead of his competitors for the first 60 feet.

“Last weekend in Sonoma we continued to improve,” said three-time Seattle winner Anderson. “We’re looking to build on that and to race error free; that’s the goal. We’re glad we get to race this week without too much of a break because when you’re learning, you don’t want to stop. You want to keep digging and making progress. That’s what the Summit Racing team plans to do in Seattle.”

World of Outlaws–Schatz Dominates World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars at Ohsweken

Schatz Dominates World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars at Ohsweken
Defending champ continues hot streak, earns his 13th victory of the season
OHSWEKEN, Ontario – July 30, 2013 – Donny Schatz started on the outside pole for the main event on Tuesday night at Ohsweken Speedway, sized up the lead for 11 laps then swept in front and never looked back, crushing the competition for his 13th World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series victory of the season.

For the second consecutive race, Jason Sides started on the pole. He charged out to an early lead until he was slowed by lapped traffic on lap 11, allowing Schatz around him. Schatz then faced traffic himself, coming up on several pairs of cars racing the top and bottom for position, forcing the five-time series champ to navigate three-car battles several times.

Once in front, though, Schatz was nearly untouchable in his STP/Armor All J&J, taking the checkered flag nearly 7 seconds ahead of runner-up Chad Kemenah.

“We just had to figure out where the racetrack was going to be, move around a little bit,” said Schatz, of Fargo, N.D. “We started moving around and found a different line and got rolling and that was really fun. There were lapped cars racing each other and we were able to stick our nose in there and get past them.”

Kemenah made a strong showing, starting third and passing Sides late in the race to pick up second position in his Hampshire Engines Maxim. Kemenah was noticeably quicker than much of the competition, but was never able to mount a challenge against Schatz for the lead.

“We went out late in qualifying and had a good run,” said Kemenah, of Elvada, Ohio. “We had a pretty strong heat race, and missed it a bit in the dash and Donny got around us. But overall to come out here second I can’t complain, we’re really happy with it. Jason and I were racing really hard for a couple of laps, but Jason will race you really clean, so you’ve got to race those guys clean. This is a morale boost headed into Pevely, which is a really fun race, then of course the Knoxville Nationals.”

Championship leader Daryn Pittman started seventh. Early in the race he picked up several positions before it seemed as if he would settle for a top-five finish. Then a late-race surge lifted him to third as the race wound down.

“I would have liked to have had some yellows, but they said Schatz won by six seconds so I think anyone would be fooling themselves to say they just needed a yellow to beat him,” said Pittman, a native of Owasso, Okla. “We were moving forward the first few laps, but then we really stalled out. With about five to go we found out where we needed to be and got really quick. We ran Sides, McMahan and Tony down really quickly. We definitely made big improvements from our heat race to the dash and then again for the A-main. We ran third, and sometimes that’s just all we got.”

The third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place drivers of Pittman, Sides, Tony Stewart and Paul McMahan came to the stripe separated by just over one-second. Sides held on for fourth while Stewart finished fifth.

Shane Stewart was ninth after starting 15th to pick up the KSE Hard Charger award.

Schatz’s victory closes the gap at the top of the championship point standings another by six points. Pittman still sits at the top while Schatz is now only 79 points back. McMahan is third in points and another strong run helps him continue to hold pace with the top two.

Mopar Racing–Mopar Doubles-Up with Wins by Nobile and Capps at Sonoma Nationals

Mopar Doubles-Up with Wins by Nobile and Capps at Sonoma Nationals
·         Mopar earns two national titles with wins by Nobile and Capps at 26th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals
·         Nobile wins second national title of the season and moves to fifth in the Pro Stock championship standings
·         Capps scores his second win of the year on a hole shot to earn his 40th career Funny Car national title
·         Coughlin runs his 90th career final round appearance to finish runner-up
·         Hagan remains in the Funny Car championship points lead with Capps jumping into second spot
·         Johnson and Coughlin are second and third in Pro Stock standings


Sonoma, Calif. (Sunday, July 28, 2013) – Mopar added two more trophies to its mantle at the 26th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals with title wins by HEMI-powered Dodge Avenger driver Vincent Nobile and Ron Capps in his Don Schumacher Racing Dodge Charger R/T, marking the fifth national event this season in which Mopar has won titles in both Pro Stock and Funny Car categories.


“It was great to see Vincent Nobile and Ron Capps add another pair of wins for Mopar at Sonoma Raceway,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “This is the fifth time Mopar has earned victories in both classes this year and that is a true testament to the hard work and quality teamwork that the Mopar HEMI-powered teams and drivers are putting in at every national event in pursuit of championships.”


In a repeat of a final elimination battle at the season opening event in Pomona, Calif., Nobile faced off against Jeg Coughlin Jr. for the fourth all-Mopar Pro Stock final of the year. Nobile emerged the victor for the second time this season, despite the knowledge that his engine was nearing the end of its ability to function.


“It was a great day and a long overdue win,” said Nobile who now has seven career victories to his credit. “I saw that Jeg [Coughlin] had a .005 reaction time in both his runs so I knew I had to be on my game in the final. Unfortunately our motor was broken in the water box and I really thought I was a sitting duck. It actually held off and blew right at the stripe but until then I was pushing my foot through the radiator until I saw the win light turned on.”


Nobile defeated Jason Line, No.1 qualifier and Pro Stock points leader Mike Edwards, and Greg Anderson to reach the final against his Mopar teammate and jump to fifth place in the points battle with the title win.


Coughlin, for his part, made his way to an admirable 90th career final elimination round appearance by posting two holeshot wins against Shane Gray and his Mopar teammate Allen Johnson. With the runner-up finish, the driver of the Mopar Dodge Avenger remains third in the points.


“For J&J Racing, Allen [Johnson], Roy [Johnson] and the entire team did one heck of a job,” Coughlin said. “We had three cars in the final four, and that’s pretty stout. We wanted to get the win for Team JEGS, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Now we’ll move to Seattle. Maybe it’ll be Allen at Denver, Vincent in Sonoma and Jeg in Seattle.”

Johnson echoed Coughlin’s sentiments about the team’s performance heading into the third and final race on the NHRA’s western swing.


“Anytime we can have three out of the four Mopar cars in the semis, it’s a good weekend,” Johnson said. “I’m a little disappointed I won’t get a shot at the [three race] western sweep but we’re going for a different kind of sweep. This year our team is going for the HEMI sweep.”


On his way to earning his fourth Funny Car national title at Sonoma Raceway, Capps defeated Del Worsham, Jeff Arend, and Courtney Force to face 15-time world champion John Force. The driver of the DSR Dodge Charger R/T won his final elimination battle on a holeshot against Force by taking the lead and posting a 4.085-second run (307.79 mph) to beat his opponent’s quicker run of 4.072-second (311.13 mph).


“A holeshot-win only comes with a great car,” Capps said. “That 4.04 we ran to beat Courtney [Force in the semifinals] was stout. I wanted to dedicate a win to John Cardinale [Sonoma Raceway PR director who lost his battle against cancer], his kids and his wife. He was just a great guy who was instrumental in a lot of things that happen around here at Sonoma Raceway. We’re just so used to seeing his smiling face around here so being able to do that for them was probably the best part of that win.”


The drive to the winner’s circle by Capps was his second of the season and the fortieth of his career, moving him up two spots in the championship standings into second place behind his Mopar teammate Matt Hagan.


The upset of the day came in the first round of Funny Car action as No.1 qualifier Hagan, who set the second quickest run in NHRA history on Friday night with a 3.986-second pass, saw his race day end prematurely against no.16 qualifier Alexis DeJoria. While the driver of the “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” Dodge Charger R/T had a clean start, a loss of grip resulted in the hazing of the tires and loss of momentum against his competitor. The good news is that despite first round losses in the last two events, Hagan still maintains the lead in the Funny Car championship standings.


Also upset in the elimination rounds was Jack Beckman who, after also running a sub-four second run in his DSR Dodge Charger R/T to qualify second, was beaten on a holeshot by Courtney Force who posted an elapsed time of 4.089 seconds (315.34 mph) to Beckman’s quicker 4.067 second (313.51 mph) pass.


Johnny Gray, who has a category-leading four wins this season in his DSR Mopar machine, saw his day come to an unfortunate end in the second round when the car’s blower exploded. He emerged unscathed and of his own accord after a few tense moments when the energy of the blast was contained within the body that remained attached to the chassis with the new tethering system mandated by the sanctioning body in Denver last week. Gray drops to fifth in the closely contested points battle in the Funny Car standings.


Summit Racing–Anderson Advances to Semifinals in Sonoma

Anderson Advances to Semifinals in Sonoma
SONOMA, Calif., July 28, 2013 – Following a string of improving qualifying runs at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals this weekend, Summit Racing Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson, a four-time Sonoma winner, advanced to the semifinals to protect his position in NHRA’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock top 10 as the Countdown to the Championship inches ever closer. Anderson, of Mooresville, N.C., is currently holding in the No. 7 spot in the Pro Stock points with three races to go before the Countdown players are decided.

Starting strongly from the No. 4 position with a qualifying-best time of 6.545 at 210.57 mph, Anderson drew JR Carr as a first-round opponent on Sunday. Anderson, a 74-time national event winner with 327 races under his belt, cut an experienced .010-second light and left his opponent well behind, clearing the finish line with a 6.571 at 211.36 mph blast. In the second round, Anderson was consistent with another .010 reaction time and ousted veteran driver V. Gaines on a holeshot, 6.559, 211.30 to 6.541, 212.06.

Revved up and with the familiar winner’s circle coming into view, Anderson came to the starting line for a semifinals meeting with young Vincent Nobile. Although Nobile and Anderson recorded identical elapsed times in the round prior to their match, Anderson came to their meeting with lane choice based on a faster speed. All was going according to plan, except this time Anderson left the starting line .071-second too soon and was eliminated from competition by way of a foul start.

“I don’t know if I saw a flash of some sort or what, but something told me to let the clutch out, and I let it go,” said Anderson. “I tried to stop half way out, and it was too late, she was going. It slipped the clutch real bad because I tried to catch it, I double clutched it, basically. I just thought it was time to go, and it wasn’t.”

A red-light start is a rare occurrence for four-time Pro Stock series champion Anderson, who is eager to leave the occurrence in California and move on to the next race, the Pacific NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle, next weekend.

“The good news is that the Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro is better,” said Anderson. “We can focus on the positive because we were basically within a couple-hundredths of the fast guys. That’s the closest we’ve been for quite a while, and obviously we still need to continue working on it, but we ran close enough this weekend that we had a chance to win. Unfortunately, I made a mistake. But we’ll try to build on the positives that we uncovered this weekend and try to race error free. You can’t lay back up there, you have to go for it every time, but I have no excuses. I want that one back, but I can’t have it back. We’ll just do better next weekend.”

Wood Brothers Racing– Bayne Hangs On For A 28th-Place Finish At The Brickyard

Bayne Hangs On For A 28th-Place Finish At The Brickyard
July 28, 2013

Trevor Bayne got some good TV exposure for the special paint scheme on his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion during the ESPN broadcast of Sunday’s Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard.  The type of coverage; however, wasn’t exactly what Bayne had in mind when he strapped in for the 400-miler at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Bayne made the broadcast – and post-race highlights – with a couple of spectacular saves when his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion, carrying a special paint scheme commemorating Henry Ford’s 150th birthday, broke loose in traffic.

A loose condition plagued Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew throughout the race. It led to him losing a lap early on, kept him mired in traffic and left him with a 28th-place finish, the same place he started.

Team co-owner Len Wood said the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew made adjustments to their black-and-white Ford  Fusion throughout the race, but the way the race played out kept them pinned a lap down and unable to recover.

With just three caution periods, the opportunities to rejoin the lead lap through the free pass or wave-around were very limited.

“We never got to use the wave-around rule to get our lap back, because every time we were planning to use it, one of the leaders stayed on the track, and that kept us a lap down,” Wood said.

By NASCAR rules, if any of the leaders choose not to pit during a caution, there is no wave-around.

Still, Bayne and the team kept working to improve the handling of their car.

“We made adjustments on every pit stop, but we never really got it right,” Wood said. “It was better at the end, and it was really good in clean air, but unfortunately there wasn’t much clean air where we were running.”

Richard Childress Racing–Brickyard 400

Brickyard 400
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Indianapolis Motor Speedway       
July 28, 2013  
Race Highlights:  
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished 12th (Paul Menard), 19th (Kevin Harvick), 26th (Austin Dillon) and 43rd (Jeff Burton) in the Brickyard 400.
Following the event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Harvick remains fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, trailing leader Jimmie Johnson by 92 markers, while Paul Menard sits 19th, 39 points outside of the top 10, and Burton ranks 20th, 241 points back from the leader.
The No. 29 Chevrolet SS team ranks fourth in the Sprint Cup Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 27 team 20th in the standings and the No. 31 team 21st.
According to NASCAR’s Post-Race Loop Data Statistics, Menard ranked third in Green Flag Passes making 119 throughout the course of the 160-lap event, and was credited with one of the Fastest Laps Run.
Harvick made 99 Green-Flag Passes, ranking him fifth in the loop-data category, 29 of those passes came while running in the top 15 (Quality Passes).
Burton completed 53 Green-Flag Passes during 160-lap event and was credited with two of the Fastest Laps Run.
Dillon made 74 Green-Flap Passes during the Brickyard 400.
Ryan Newman earned his first victory of the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season and was followed to the finish line by Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth.
The next Sprint Cup Series race is the 400 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, August 4. The 21st race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at Noon Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Satellite Radio channel 90.
Menard Finishes 12th at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Brickyard 400
Paul Menard started the No. 27 Duracell/Menards Chevrolet from the 23rd position and persevered through handling issues to finish 12th at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday. In the early stages of the Brickyard 400, Menard relayed to the crew that he was fighting a loose-handling condition. Crew chief “Slugger” Labbe elected to make a variety of chassis adjustments during the ensuing pit stops to help remedy the handling issues. Restarting 19th after a lap 83 pit stop, Menard quickly picked up three positions and was running in 14th when he communicated to the crew his car was the best it had been all day. On a different pit strategy than the majority of the 43-car field, Menard was able to stay out and lead lap 146 before bringing his No. 27 machine down pit road one final time on lap 147. Pitting for right-side tires and fuel only, the Richard Childress Racing driver restarted 17th with just 12 laps remaining. Determined to make his way back toward the front of the field, Menard gained five spots in the final laps to finish 12th at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Menard sits in the 19th spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings heading into Pocono Raceway next weekend.
Start – 23         Finish – 12         Laps Led – 1         Points – 19th
“We battled handling issues throughout the majority of the race, but the guys never gave up. The No. 27 Duracell/Menards crew worked hard all day and we made a bunch of different adjustments. ‘Slugger’ (Labbe, crew chief) did a great job on the box with pit strategy; it wasn’t an easy race to call. The whole team fought hard all day and we were able to come home with a 12th-place finish.”
Harvick and the No. 29 Jimmy John’s Team
Settle for a 19th-Place Finish in the Brickyard 400
Following a string of nine-consecutive top-10 finishes, Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Jimmy John’s team settled for a 19th-place result in the Brickyard 400 Sunday afternoon. The California native started the 160-lap race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway from the 24th spot and maintained a position within the top 20 for the majority of the event, while battling handling issues. Crew chief Gil Martin utilized pit strategy by coming down pit road on lap 115 under caution for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment while other teams opted to stay out. The decision allowed Harvick to take over the lead on lap 144, while those who opted not to visit pit road under caution did so during green-flag conditions. Despite moving to the front and leading laps, the Jimmy John’s team wasn’t able to make it to the end without stopping again for fuel. Harvick relinquished the lead on lap 146 for the team’s final two-tire and fuel pit stop. The Richard Childress Racing driver returned to the track in the 19th position, where he ultimately finished the race. Following the event, Harvick remains fourth in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start – 24         Finish – 19         Laps Led – 2         Points – 4th
“This definitely wasn’t the finish the Jimmy John’s team was going for today. We just couldn’t get the handling of the car where it needed to be. We’ll continue to take this season one race at a time, put this one behind us and start focusing on Pocono (Raceway).”
Mechanical Issue Ruins Burton’s Afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
After running in the top 20 for most of the afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jeff Burton’s No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet suffered severe mechanical issues that relegated the Richard Childress Racing driver to a 43rd-place finish in the 2013 Brickyard 400. Starting from the 16th position, the South Boston, Va., native maintained a top-20 running position for the majority of the 20th annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at the historic 2.5-mile track. Working with interim crew chief Matt McCall, who was subbing for the ill Luke Lambert, the No. 31 Chevrolet pit crew improved the handling of the car during multiple four-tire pit stops early in the race. On lap 82, the 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner radioed to the team there was a problem with the transmission of the RCR machine. Burton tried to bring the car to pit road for service, but wasn’t able to make it back and the caution flag was displayed. Burton went to the garage where the Caterpillar crew replaced multiple parts underneath the car and returned to the track on lap 128 in the 43rd position, 49 laps down to the leader. Burton spent the final 40 laps running consistent top-15 lap times, but the 46-year-old driver was unable to gain any positions in the process and scored a 43rd-place result. Burton now sits 20th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
Start – 16          Finish – 43          Laps Led – 0          Points – 20th
“It was a tough day for the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team. We were hanging around the top 20 when something in the transmission broke and sent us to the garage area for repairs. I’m not sure what happened, but I’m proud of the team for getting the car back out there. This team never gives up. We just need to stay positive and know our Chase (for the NASCAR Sprint Cup) hopes are still very much alive.”
Dillon Earns a 26th-Place Finish in First-Career Brickyard 400 Start
Driving the No. 33 Chevrolet for Mycogen Seeds, an Indianapolis-based D
ow AgroSciences brand, Austin Dillon earned a 26th-place finish in his first-career Brickyard 400 race. The Welcome, N.C., driver started the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway from the 20th position and cited a tight-handling condition at the start of the 160-lap event. A green-flag pit stop on lap 27 for four Goodyear tires, Sunoco Green E15 fuel and a right-side track bar adjustment designed to improve Dillon’s handling challenges provided no relief to the driver in subsequent laps, and he fell one lap down to the race leader during the next green flag run. Dillon spent the remainder of the race battling for the “Lucky Dog” position so he could rejoin the lead lap cars, but caution flags did not fall in his favor. When the caution was displayed on lap 59, the leader opted not to pit preventing the No. 33 team from taking the “wave around” to rejoin the lead lap. Instead, Dillon pitted for fuel and right-side tires, restarting in the 26th position on lap 64. The tight-handling condition remained problematic for the current NASCAR Nationwide Series points leader, even after making his final pit stop for four tires and adjustments under green-flag conditions on lap 145. He ultimately posted a 26th-place finish, one lap down.
Start – 20          Finish – 26          Laps Led – 0          Points – N/A
“It was a long day in the Mycogen Seeds Chevrolet, but I learned a ton that I can use next year in this race. I was really tight all day and we never really got the track position we needed here, which is what it’s all about at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”




SONOMA, CA —- John Force was racing for his 8th win at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals today against veteran Ron Capps. It was Force’s fourth final round in the last six races this season and even though he came up on the wrong side of the ET slip the 15-time Funny Car champion was not hanging his head.


“I have no complaints. (Crew chief) Jimmy Prock brought this Prock Rocket back. I wasn’t where I should have been today on the tree. I thought I could get there. We’ll go to Seattle. I’ll work that gym harder and get up again. Ron Capps is a good driver but I had the best race car,” said Force after the final round.


Force has seven wins at Sonoma Raceway and this was his twelfth final round at the Northern California race track. His career record versus Capps stands at 44-26 and his final round record is 8-7 now.


The most amazing stat for the winningest driver in HRA history came to fruition when Force reached his 220th final round at today’s NHRA Sonoma Nationals which was the 800th NHRA national event. It is even more incredible when you consider that Funny Car has only been contested at about 60% of those 800 races.


Force started the day beating former teammate Tony Pedregon in the opening round then he took out Johnny Gray with a 4.057 second run in the second round. The semi-finals Force had a tough match-up against Alexis DeJoria and the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang stepped up posting a 4.086 second pass to DeJoria’s equally strong 4.095 seconds.


Courtney Force and her Traxxas Ford Mustang team came out swinging today at the 26th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals.


The 25-year-old qualified in the No. 7 spot with a time of 4.057 seconds. She took lane choice over No. 10 qualifier Cruz Pedregon in the opening round on Sunday. Force was quickest of the pair off the line and the Traxxas team posted a 4.088 ET at the 1,000 ft mark to get the win.


“Having Cruz is always really nerve-wracking. I get pretty hopped up against him because he’s a tough competitor.  It’s hard. You have to be good on your lights and have a good race car because you never know what to expect. Cruz’s team can make a killer run out of nowhere. They have had a consistent car all season long. I was nervous going up there, but Ron Douglas gave me a great race car. We went down there and ran a 4.08. We made a great pass,” said Force.


Force lost lane choice to Jack Beckman in the second round of eliminations, but won the race right off the starting line. She ran a 4.089 to his 4.067, but had a .056 light over his .094 attempt.


“Unfortunately, we lost lane choice to Beckman in the semis. That’s another one of those top notch cars that’s really tough to beat. I knew I had to be on my game. I’ve been struggling a little bit with my lights. I’ve been really hard on myself and practicing a lot. I went after it, was able to leave on him and get my first holeshot win. I’m very proud of our team today. It was pretty close down at the other end,” said Force.


Force lost in the semi-finals to Ron Capps after an issue with the Traxxas Ford Mustang’s fuel system.


“We went up against Capps in the semis and we really wanted to get to the win so we could have an all Force final. We had a malfunction in the fuel system which caused the motor to go lean and it popped off the burst panel. It obviously slowed our car down quite a bit. When the burst panel blows, in order to save the body, it shuts the whole car down and shuts the fuel off and deploys the parachutes automatically. Tough, but it’s part of it.”


“I’m just proud of my guys. They have been working really hard all weekend long. We’ve had some tough first round match-ups lately and it was good to keep working at it to go further this weekend. It’s exciting to get to race at Sonoma. I love this race track. Sonoma Raceway holds a special place in my heart because for Eric Medlen and we all had fun this weekend” said Force.


Robert Hight achieved one of their main goals today leaving the event in the Mello Yello Top Ten. While it is a slim lead over the No. 11 driver it is a lead the Auto Club team can build on. They earned qualifying bonus points in two sessions this weekend and their opening round victory over Bob Tasca III with a jaw-dropping 4.01 second pass turned heads at Sonoma Raceway.


“We had a great chance to do some damage today once we won the first round. We moved into the Top Ten which is big. The most important thing is we have three more races to lock into the Countdown. This Auto Club Ford Mustang has been running great. That 4.01 in the first round was such a smooth run. It was about a perfect run,” said an enthused Hight. “We are going to build on the positives from this weekend and not worry about anyone else. We are barely over one round out of eighth place in the Mello Yello point standings. Mike Neff and I are really working well together. I am excited to see Jimmy and John running so well. We almost got three JFR Mustangs to the semi-finals. That is a pretty good weekend if you ask me.”


Hight and crew chief Mike Neff will continue to fine tune their working relationship as the Western Swing wraps up in Seattle next weekend. The first round win today was also the 300th round win for Mike Neff as a crew chief. Neff has made the tuning calls for five different drivers starting with Scotty Cannon, Gary Scelzi, John Force, himself and now Robert Hight.


“I am glad we will be back on a race track in a couple of days. Seattle will have great air with all the trees and this Auto Club Ford Mustang will be ready. We can get some qualifying bonus points and start from the top half of the field. That will be a great way to end the Western Swing.”


The Castrol EDGE Top Fuel dragster continued to develop a consistent qualifying and race day routine. They rolled into the final qualifying session yesterday needed to break into the Top 16. They were able to post a an elapsed time quick enough to race today but they wound up No. 14 and had to race veteran Doug Kalitta in the first round.


“We struggled a little in qualifying but we wound up No. 14. We would have liked to have been in the top half of the field. This was still a positive weekend for the Castrol EDGE team. We made some solid runs and everyone was safe at the end of the day. We are going to head to Seattle and go after that first win. We’ll want to get in the top half of the field and go some rounds on Sunday,” said Force.


For the rookie driver Brittany Force facing off with the most dominant Top Fuel driver at Sonoma Raceway was a tall order even though in her young career she was already 2-0 against the five-time Sonoma Nationals champion. Unfortunately for the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award hopeful she could not make it 3-0.


In the first round her Castrol EDGE dragster lost traction and the rookie driver attempted to pedal the 8,000 horsepower dragster to no avail.


“Every run I learn something new. I am getting more experience with every run. I learned something on that first round run against Doug Kalitta. I tried to pedal it a little too quickly. My dragster wasn’t lined up perfectly straight when I got back on the throttle and it went over towards the center line. I have never been that close to the center line so I lifted,” added Force.


“I am going to get with the crew chiefs and review the video that really helps so you can talk about what you think is happening and then see the video. It is really helpful. When I pedaled it the dragster just smoked the tires again and didn’t hook up.”


“Kalitta is an awesome dri
ver. We talked before the run and I congratulated him at the top end. All the drivers in Top Fuel have been really supportive and helpful.”



Chevy Racing–Brickyard 400 Wrapup

INDIANAPOLIS – July 28, 2013- It was a dream come true today for Ryan Newman when he powered his No. 39 Quicken Loans/The Smurfs Chevrolet SS across the storied finish line at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) and captured his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Brickyard 400.  For Newman, who grew up in Indiana, this marked his 17th NASCAR Sprint Cup career victory and first of the 2013 season.  He became the third driver to win from the pole position at IMS, joining Kevin Harvick (’03) and Jimmie Johnson (’08).
”Congratulations to Ryan Newman, Matt Borland and the No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet SS team on winning the 20th running of the Brickyard 400,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “It was great to see Ryan clinch the pole with a track record run, and then go on to win the race.  Great driving, race strategy, pit-stop execution and overall teamwork made the winning difference. As a native of Indiana, today’s victory has a special meaning to Ryan and his family. He joins his team owner Tony Stewart as a winner at their home track, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
Johnson had a very strong run in his No. 48 Lowe’s/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet SS by leading 73 of the 160-laps. However, a slow, late-race pit stop by Johnson’s crew enabled Newman to subsequently move back into the lead and maintain it until the end. The two were the class of the field, leading a combined 118 laps.
Johnson finished second in the crash-free 20th Annual Crown Royal Presents The Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard. He continues to lead the point standings and now holds a 75-point lead over second-place. Kasey Kahne, Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate was third in his No. 5 Great Clips Chevy SS, and two-time Brickyard 400 winner, Tony Stewart, No. 14 Mobil/Bass Pro Shops (’05 & ’08) was fourth giving Team Chevy a top four sweep.  
“It was great to have seven Chevrolet SS drivers finish within the top-10 in Brickyard 400,” added Campbell.
Matt Kenseth (Toyota) was fifth to found out the top five finishers.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was sixth in his No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS and teammate Jeff Gordon was seventh in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevy SS.  Juan Pablo Montoya finished ninth in his No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS.
With Newman’s victory, Chevrolet has now won 11 consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“Winning the 2013 Brickyard 400 with Ryan Newman, and the 2013 Indianapolis 500 with Tony Kanaan is very special,” noted Campbell. “It is the first time that Chevrolet has won both races at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the same year.”
The next stop on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tour will be Sunday, August 4 in Pocono, PA.
KERRY THARP:  Let’s hear from our 2013 Brickyard 400 winner, that is Ryan Newman.  He claims his first Brickyard 400.  It’s his 17th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win.  It gets him into the 2014 NASCAR Sprint All Star Race with this victory here today.  It also now positions him as a contender for a position in the 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.  With his win, he’s 16th in points, and has that all important win.
Congratulations, Ryan.  You’re the third Brickyard winner to win from the pole, to join Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson.  You’re joined by crew chief Matt Borland.  What does it feel like to win the Brickyard 400?
RYAN NEWMAN:  I’m not sure at this point.  I know it’s an amazing feeling.  I was more emotional yesterday after winning the pole than I was two laps after doing my donuts and everything else today.  I’m not sure why.
I took an emotional hit yesterday.  Just an awesome day.  Matt and all these guys did a great job.  Probably the best racecar I have ever driven in my entire life.
I watched Jimmie, kept quiet.  I wanted to see who I was placing.  Played the old Pearson role.  I knew I had a good car.  I didn’t want to have a good car and not win the race.  Matt’s call gave me the track position I needed, taking the two tires.  I was just counting down the laps from that point on.
I knew a lot of guys needed to pit.  I didn’t know how far back Jimmie was.  He said four seconds at that point.  I knew I had to manage my racecar and my tires.  I knew it was so difficult to pass.  His car was looking looser and looser as I ran behind him.  Just an exciting day.
Thank Quicken Loans, Chevrolet, Sprint, all the sponsors we have.  Tony Stewart, Stewart Haas Racing, they gave us all the tools we needed all weekend and all year.
KERRY THARP:  Matt Borland, talk about winning the race here today.
MATT BORLAND:  It’s a great feeling, for sure.  I think I’m the happiest for Ryan and his family, also for Lawrence, our car chief.  Indianapolis is such a big deal.  To win a big race in your hometown is huge.
It’s great.  It’s been a long time since we’ve been in Victory Lane, so it’s a good feeling for myself just from the standpoint of winning a race again.
But just a tremendous job by all the guys in the shop getting that car ready.  Perfect execution by all the guys this weekend getting the car ready.  Great pit stop there at the end.
KERRY THARP:  Questions now for Ryan or Matt.
Q.  Ryan, I was going to ask you about your lack of emotion.  You addressed that.
RYAN NEWMAN:  (Indiscernible) don’t have emotions, you know that.
Q.  The Daytona 500 was also a big win.  As an Indiana guy, is this one bigger?  Are they the same?
RYAN NEWMAN:  I mean, I don’t show a lot of emotion.  I think everybody knows me as that.  I had the same emotion, the same thankfulness I did when I won the Daytona 500 because I feel everybody that has been a part of my racing career, from people that bought my racing uniform, bought me a right rear tire, given us a credit card to get to some racetrack at some point in my career, those are the people that helped me get to where I am today.
Matt Borland, Don Miller who put Matt and I together for the first time back in 2000, people that have been instrumental in my career, it could be the littlest thing I’m thankful for.  That’s what I’m thinking about.
To me, it’s awesome to be here at Indy.  It’s awesome because it’s my home state.  I grew up racing around here, Winchester, Salem, IRP, little tracks like Anderson.  That makes it special.  Most people don’t know, I lived out in a shop in Jeff Gordon’s old shop before I ever made it in NASCAR.  I slept with the racecars.  That was my summer job, working racecars, sleeping in the shop with them.  I’ve raced go karts at pretty much every go kart track around here, been kicked out of half of them.  Those are the things that make it special.  I think about those things more than I carry the emotion on my cheeks.
Q.  Ryan, can you talk about the last two weeks, the range of emotions, finding out you’re losing your ride.
RYAN NEWMAN:  I did (laughter)?
Q.  Breaking news.  And then getting the win here today.  I guess the range of emotions, and does this help you for 2014?
RYAN NEWMAN:  I think obviously it helps.  The emotions have been an absolute rollercoaster.  Loudon was a disaster.  We got crashed out, everything that was said.  We got through all that stuff.  Talked about it.
That weekend off I think was good timing, to be able to hit control, alt, delete.  Matt did an amazin
g job to come here with a fast racecar, give me what I needed.  We all did it together.  Not the guys just here, but the guys at the shop, the pit crew.  You all know it’s a huge team sport.  It makes it better looking for something for 2014, also for Matt.  There’s a lot of questions to be answered.  We’ll get through all that.  But today we’re celebrating a victory.
Q.  Ryan, despite everything you’ve been through, not just this year, but last year, you were kind of in a similar predicament, having Matt Borland, one of your dearest friends in the world, to guide you through this, has it made the bad times easier?
RYAN NEWMAN:  No, it’s hard to be mad when you’re friends with somebody.
Q.  Having him there, reunited as your crew chief.
RYAN NEWMAN:  We are here for a reason.  It’s because of our relationship, our mentality, our analytical way of looking at things, our engineering background.  All those things help.
No different than Tony Stewart and I talked about at Loudon.  It’s difficult at times.  He’s the one that’s responsible for my racecar.  We’re friends.  There’s times when he wants to slap me around, there’s times I want to slap him around.  But we can’t do that.  It doesn’t make the racecar go faster.
We dealt with different emotions in Loudon.  We zeroed.  We came here, proved that we can come back and fight back.  We’re not out of this Chase, we’re not out of this chance for a championship.  This wild card helps us, but it doesn’t guarantee anything.  We’re still outside the points margin.
We just got to keep our nose to the grindstone.  There’s still a ton of racing left.  Another three wins before the Chase starts would be great (laughter).
Q.  I spoke with your father out there.  He said he came to his first Indy 500 when he was eight years old, used to bring you a couple of times.  How much of a feeling of pride do you have being only the second Indiana born driver, your team owner being the other, to have won this race?
RYAN NEWMAN:  That’s cool.  I think it’s coincidence that I’m born in Indiana.  I would have an appreciation for this racetrack if I was born in Hawaii.  I mean, to me I think it helps being born here, it helps growing up close to it, growing up around it and in it, no doubt.
But I just am a big fan of cars.  I’m a big fan of tires.  I’m a big fan of making ’em go fast.  That’s happened here since 1909.  I appreciate that.
My dad, I was counting down from 10 to go, so I started at 12.  I was trying to trick myself into getting there quicker (laughter).
I remember my dad always telling me, he was here when Parnelli broke with four to go.  With three to go, We made the past where Parnelli made it.  Those are the things that are going through my mind at the same time, trying not to hit the splitter on the rumble strips, hitting the right side of the wall.  It’s challenging here.
Q.  Ryan, do you feel your team has rallied at all behind you after the news came out that you wouldn’t be back?
RYAN NEWMAN:  No, we’re just a bunch of quitters.  Yeah, they rallied behind me.  Look what happened yesterday and day after Loudon.
Q.  You were trying all the other weeks, too.
RYAN NEWMAN:  I told you yesterday, we were making for a special time to make all this stuff happen.  Like the perfect storm.  I got fired a couple weeks ago, come back here, win the pole, win the race.  It’s all because of hard effort.  It’s all because they haven’t given up.  They want to win just as bad as I do.
I did a good job of not hitting the fence, hitting the pit stall box, and they did their job.  We always rally behind each other.  That’s why it’s a team sport and it makes it so tough.  I’m only a percentage of what gets us to Victory Lane.  It’s not a free throw.  It’s not a slow pitch.  There’s tough stuff going on out there.  These guys are behind me and I’m behind them.
Q.  For Matt, Stewart Haas Racing has a history.  Did these guys having seen in the shop about Ryan, does that help keep people together?
MATT BORLAND:  No, not really.  Like Ryan said, the guys bust their butts every day.  They’re working hard.  They want to win every race.  They want to win the championship.  They’re digging.
We brought our best car here that we’ve ever built.  We’re hoping by next week or two weeks from now to have an even better car.  Every week we didn’t win, we went back to the shop knowing we needed to get better.  It wasn’t bad luck.  We weren’t giving Ryan a good enough car.
There’s not one person on that team that doesn’t try to win every week and make that car better every week.  You know, it’s a good group of people.  Just like Ryan said, it’s a team sport.  No one expects him to quit, no one expects me to quit, no one expects anyone on the team to quit.  They all do a fantastic job.
Q.  Matt, was it just a no brainer you would get the two tires on that stop?  Did you see that Jimmie had actually had a slow stop even with the four tires?  What went through your mind?
MATT BORLAND:  We talked about it a little bit before the race started.  We made our decision the second to the last stop, what we were going to do, got ourselves set up for that position.
What happened with Jimmie didn’t really play into our hands much.  We knew we had to do something to win the race, put ourselves in the best tire position.  We looked at what the guys did earlier on in the race, taking two tires, taking no tires, and we looked at how many laps we needed to run before we pitted to put ourselves in that good spot.
It really didn’t have a lot to do with what was going on with the 48 at that time.  It had more to do with what happened 140 laps before that.
Q.  (No microphone.)
RYAN NEWMAN:  No, no idea (laughter).  I was thinking, including the Daytona 500 in 2008, every win I’ve had since then has been on the two tire strategy on the last pit stop.  Phoenix, Martinsville, and here, Loudon.  Track position is so huge.
Q.  Ryan, you won on two tires at California Speedway once with Matt.  Now that you’re with Matt, you’re talking more geek to us.
RYAN NEWMAN:  Are you a Mac guy or what (laughter)?
Q.  Ryan, from Thursday Night Thunder to winning the Brickyard, you came up through the open wheel ranks.  Is that still a viable route to get to the professional upper echelon, before it be IndyCar or stockcar racing?
RYAN NEWMAN:  It is, but it’s not the same as it used to be.  The USAC series doesn’t have the national exposure that it had through television before.  They raced Silver Crown and midgets last night at IRP.  I think they had 17 Silver Crown cars and 14 midgets.  We used to have 60 Silver Crown cars and 35 or 40 midgets.  TV used to be there and it used to be a big deal.  Now it’s a little line on the bottom of the TV as to who won.
My dad told me, You were lucky you did that when you did.  We caught it at the tail end when it was as good as it was.
You don’t see a lot of racing on a short track level any more on TV.  You would catch an ASA race every once in a while.  It’s not there like it used to be.  It makes a difference for the younger drivers coming up.  It’s job security for me.  But you have guys like Kyle Larson that are coming up and doing it.  There are kids winning Sprint car races that are really, really good
.  They may never get seen or get that opportunity.
Q.  20 years ago I used to get press releases from your mother about your beginning racing career.  Talk about how much your family helped you and your decision to go to Purdue where other drivers were already getting into the 500 and stuff at 20.
RYAN NEWMAN:  My family is huge.  That support, I would not be here today without their support, without their drive, dedication, without my dad’s guidance.  My dad never pushed me, he just guided me.  I think that’s important for any parent out there, provide the tools they need, but don’t grab their hand and make them swing the hammer.
I’m very thankful for my mom, dad, sister, all the members of my family, because they’ve been a part of making it happen, whether it’s flipping burgers, polishing, cleaning the car.  Bo Kerrihard, who is no longer with us, a good old midget racing fan, he used to do those press releases you’re talking about.  He did it for free.  I’d go over to his place.  We’d race trucks on the NASCAR simulator, he’d do up a press release.
I said I don’t show my emotions on my cheeks, it’s because I’m so thankful, I’m thinking about the people that have given me the opportunity.  You see Matt sitting next to me, but there’s a thousand other people that have given me things to get me where I am today.  It’s the same thing for Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, but it’s between my ears right now.
Purdue, for me it was an opportunity.  My parents literally pushed me out of the door and said, Go to college.  I didn’t want to.  I will say it in front of everybody, I was tired of school, I wanted to go racing.  I was winning races, having fun.  They said, No, go get your engineering degree.  Fortunately the pattern was there from people like Alan Kulwicki and Mark Donohoe and Matt.  He loved racing, but also loved working on cars, making them go faster, tricking them out.  No bending the rules.  That makes a difference.
We’ve got a common language now because of my engineering degree.  He happened to go to GMI.  I went to Purdue.  They still talk about physics and equations and things like that.  Math is a big part of what we do, a big part of what makes the racecar go faster.
Q.  Ryan, Tony Stewart used to talk about how he used to rush home from school to watch the Indy 500.  Do you have any childhood memories or stories like that about Indy?
RYAN NEWMAN:  I came here once for the Indy 500.  I believe it was ’86.  I was talking to somebody a couple weeks ago.  They got rained out till Tuesday.  Was that Sullivan or Rahal’s win.  I sat in the middle of one and two.  I watched the 32 yellow car, watching it out in the rain, thinking that was the neatest thing, watching something that was making more smoke than noise.  That was one of my first history moments with the speedway here.  I never got a chance to come back and actually watch the race.  I had something called school the next Tuesday.
It was special for me then.  I came down here whenever they first tested, ’92 or ’93, I was actually with my mom.  We were going over to pick up tires for my midget racecar.  We heard some noise at the speedway.  We drove in, walked to the garage.  That was the day I talked to Jeff Gordon, asked him if he had the opportunity to go to college and get an engineering degree, would he do it if he had the chance to do it all over again.  He said absolutely.
I also talked to Kenny Schrader, that gave me partially the goal of doing that.  My parents pushed me, but I wanted to make sure it was the right thing to do.  Why not go to the horse’s mouth and make sure it was the right thing to do.  Those are the two memories.
Q.  You won on a two tire strategy.  It felt reminiscent of 2003.  At that time you were the Johnson and Knaus of Sprint Cup.  Do you ever reflect back on that?  Do you feel you’ve recaptured the magic you had 10 years ago?
RYAN NEWMAN:  We’ve worked on it.  It’s not easy.  There’s a lot of things that have changed.  That’s our goal.  Those guys are and have been the benchmark for a long time.
They’ve been beat before by other teams, but we were the last duo to give them a good run for their money on a regular basis.
I’m not saying just because we won today we’re going to do it again next week.  But that’s our goal.  We’re there to beat everybody, but it just so happens that they’re usually the team you have to beat to do that.
MATT BORLAND:  It’s hard to recapture that magic.  But for me it’s probably been 2005, eight years, since I’ve been to Victory Lane.  You question all the things that you’re doing.  You think you’re doing things the way you used to do them, it doesn’t work, doesn’t work, doesn’t work, doesn’t work.  This weekend it worked.
It was all those same things that we’ve been doing all year and that we did eight, ten years ago.  You have to keep believing you’re doing the right things for the right reason and eventually it’s going to work.
Like Ryan said, Chad and Jimmie, I mean, they’ve dominated this sport for the last 10 years.  If you’re going to win races and win championships, you have to go toe to toe with them.
Today was a great day, but we got a lot of work to do in the next six races and a lot of work to do in the next 16.
Q.  There were a lot of people who probably thought at the beginning of the year that since you had spent so much time working together, perhaps it would be easier to just kind of put the pieces back together and pick up where you left off.  Could each of you talk about how your relationship is maybe different than it was before.
Was it more difficult trying to work together when you had been apart for so long?
RYAN NEWMAN:  We worked on building or rekindling our relationship as a driver/crew chief in the off season.  Matt took the responsibility on his shoulders once we decided what we were going to do and put together a group of guys.  Some had tremendous experience, some had no experience at all.  That’s been something that’s kind of been tough for me to work through because of where I am in my career.  I want the best guys.
Matt took the weight on his shoulders to take those guys and make them the best guys.  Today they were.  It hasn’t been like that the entire season.  We’ve gone through some growing pains.  Captain Obvious would have raised the flag instantly.  That’s learning.  I know it’s been tough for me and him.  Those are the people he believes in.  Those are the people we believe in.
I have kind of sat back and let him do that part.  As a crew chief, that’s his job.  My job is to go out there, give him the feedback, be responsible with what we do so we can have something at the end of the race.
All that is a big challenge.  It’s a big challenge for every team.  I think a lot of people didn’t see that or know that as to how our team came together for 2013.
MATT BORLAND:  Along those same lines, we got four races at the end of the season to try to get things rolling again.  Things went really well.  I think we finished like 11th, 12th, third and fifth.  This is easy, right back to where we were.
But, you know, starting this season, I realized all the things that I hadn’t realized over the past several years of not being a crew chief.  Like he said, we had to build a whole team of people, get people in place, figure out where people do their best work, where they don’t do their best work, how to make all those people fit together the b
est we can.
That’s definitely been a challenge all year.  But I know for me, I wish I was more prepared starting the season than what I was to help Ryan with this season.  Like he said, there’s been a lot of mistakes along the way this year.  I know I’ve learned from each and every one of them.  You get better and better each week in realizing the things you’re doing right and the things you’re doing wrong.
When you have a weekend like this, it’s great.  Everything went perfect.  This is the kind of weekend you shoot for every weekend.  Reality is that doesn’t happen very often.
You enjoy it this weekend.  You learn what things you did right, what you did wrong.  When you sit back and think about it, you really didn’t do anything different, things just worked out.  Hopefully we can keep this cycle going.
But the cycle always changes.  You always have those down weeks.  You always have those down months.  You always have those times where you’re not sure if it’s going to cycle back up.  But it always does and goes back the other way.
We’re enjoying today and we’ll hopefully keep doing this for a while.
Q.  Matt, with Ryan’s engineering degree and his understanding of engineering, throughout your time together, how valuable has that been for you as a crew chief?
MATT BORLAND:  I think it’s huge for half the reasons.  You know, like I said, we have a common language.  We can talk about problems that are going on with the car.  I can tell him what we’re thinking about doing.  He understands.  He can pitch to me some different ideas looking at things differently.  Gets me thinking about things in a different manner.
RYAN NEWMAN:  We have some hellacious arguments, too.
MATT BORLAND:  That’s what I was going to say earlier.  You typically get in the biggest fights with the people you like the best.  I know I do.  You get in huge fights with your wife, with your friends.  Like he said, between Daniel, one of our racing engineers, Ryan and myself, we all have very strong opinions, we think we’re right in what we’re thinking, and that’s the reason we’re thinking that.  We tend to get in arguments because we think we’re right.  What that ends up doing is getting you to look at things a little bit differently.  That’s huge.
To your point, the other part that makes Ryan as good as he is, has nothing to do with the engineering side, but he can feel everything that’s going on with that racecar.  As much as you hate it, 99 times out of the 100, he’s right about what he’s feeling.  He’s pointing you down a road, if you look there, you’re going to find the light at the end of the tunnel.
I think between feeling those things and being able to describe those things in a common language really helps.
Q.  Matt, since he is a friend of years, you guys have a relationship off the track as well as on, is it tough watching what he’s had to go through this year, the fact he is losing his job?  My husband who is upstairs said to ask you if you intend on staying at Stewart Haas Racing after your friend leaves.
MATT BORLAND:  Yeah, it’s very tough for a couple reasons.  One, obviously Ryan is a great friend.  We’ve had tons of history together.  I don’t want to see him go.  It’s a shame.  Like I said earlier, I feel like if I was better prepared to start this season, maybe things would have changed, been different.
So from that end, it is hard.  Every weekend you go home and things don’t go right, you beat yourself up about what things you could have done better or more.  That part is very frustrating.
At this point I’m not sure what next year is going to bring.  Right now, 100% of my focus and our whole team’s focus is on doing as best we can in these next six races and the next 16.
RYAN NEWMAN:  Going to open up a fruit stand in Statesville if anybody is interested.
MATT BORLAND:  Do I get to drive the tractor?
RYAN NEWMAN:  You get to drive the tractor.  You also get to change the oil in the tractor (laughter).
Q.  Matt, the new Gen 6 car, there’s some things that are different that you didn’t have before.  How much fun have you and the other slide rule guys that are on your team had working within the new boundaries to make the car faster?
MATT BORLAND:  It’s always fun.  Any new car is fun because it’s a challenge, it’s something different.  It’s why you do testing, why you go to the tunnel, why you do simulation work.  Any time they change the rules and go to something different, it’s fantastic.
As far as if I think this car is better than the old car, that’s a different question.  But anytime there’s rule changes, gets your blood pumping as far as things you can do to make the best piece possible.
Q.  Ryan, how long did it take you to complete your degree at Purdue?  How did you strike a balance in your schedule with traveling to race and trying to complete a degree?
RYAN NEWMAN:  I graduated high school in ’96 from LaSalle in South Bend, went to Purdue the fall of ’96, went there for four years straight.  After the fourth year, I basically took I think it was two semesters off and graduated the summer of 2001 via two online courses.  I had two electives I needed to finish.  It wasn’t easy for me to finish because I was working at the time with Penske.  I got my diploma in 2001 in vehicle structural engineering.
Striking a balance with school?  It was really tough.  It was tough because, like anything in life, you find the people that care, you find the people that really don’t care.  There were professors that cared about who I was and what I did because they liked racing, and there were people that didn’t have a clue what racing was and didn’t care.
It helped in the later years when I got to some of the 400 level courses, in my vehicle structural engineering group, that those people were more likely the ones because they were in classes of 20 instead of 400 that really cared.  They were understanding and helped me to be able to turn my homework in at certain times, get the things done that I needed to.
I graduated with a 2.01.  I needed a 2.0 to graduate.  Fortunately on that diploma, it doesn’t have a GPA (laughter).  I got that.  At the same time I listened really good in school, most kids that got 4.0s had a hard time getting jobs because they were too good.  I wanted to be the average guy (laughter).
KERRY THARP:  Congratulations, guys.  Thank you for your time today.
KERRY THARP:  Let’s roll into our post‑race press conference here at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Our third‑place finisher is Kasey Kahne. Kasey comes out of this race now ninth in points.
Certainly as you look back at this race, your car, obviously was a contender.  But just talk about how this race unfolded and how you thought things played out today for the No. 5 team.
KASEY KAHNE:  Yeah, I felt really good about the speed we had, especially the last 50 laps.  I struggled early some in traffic, got tight behind cars real easily.  Made it tough.  Got passed from behind a few times trying to pass the guy in front of me.  We lost some track position there.
Kenny Francis did a really nice job making the car better throughout the race.  The last two runs, I thought we were as good as anyone, maybe the best car.  It was a good day.  Our Great Clips Chevys with goo
d.  Hendrick horsepower was key.  Felt really good to have that.  We came close.  We caught the guys at the end.  We just never got to the lead, never got to the front.
We were kind of close throughout the race, but then we’d lose it, have to come back.  I was glad to be able to see Jimmie at the end and Ryan, but we never got up there.
KERRY THARP:  We’re now joined by our race runner‑up, Jimmie Johnson.  Jimmie continues to be our point’s leader in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Jimmie, talk about this race out there today.  Certainly one your car was extremely strong, led throughout most of the day until that final pit stop. Talk about the race out there today and how you thought things played out.
JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Obviously we had a great racecar and great performance.  Track position was really important, especially the way my car was driving.  Although it had plenty of speed, it wasn’t the easiest thing to drive.
My times that I caught lap traffic or had to pass someone for position; it took a lot of risk to get that done.  Was able to manage all that well.  We maintained great track position through really the bulk of the race.  Then there at the end we had a little mistake on pit road, the 39 took two where we took four.  Once I got back to the track, I had a lot of distance to make up.
I got within probably three seconds, beat myself up pretty bad.  I think Ryan was being smart, too.  Once I got to a certain distance, I believe he decided to go 100%.  He had plenty of speed today.
Throughout the race I saw him at the beginning and the middle part, didn’t see a lot of him.  When I saw him again at the end I knew I was going to have my hands full with him.  His car had a lot of pace.  He did an amazing job.
Came up short, definitely not what we wanted, but a solid performance.
KERRY THARP:  Questions for Jimmie or Kasey.
Q.  Jimmie, tough circumstances for you.  I’ve heard you say on several occasions that no matter what happens, you and Chad have an agreement that by noon Monday you’re onto the next week.  Are you going to be able to let go of it that easily?
JIMMIE JOHNSON:  We’ll try.  What’s on my mind, we win as a team, lose as a team.  There have been some late‑race mistakes on my behalf that have taken race wins away from us.  Granted not a major event like this.  But we win as a team, lose as a team.  We still ended up second.  We have a lot to be proud of over the course of the weekend.  We’ll do the best to let it roll off our shoulders by tomorrow afternoon.
Q.  Jimmie, a lot of buildup about you possibly becoming a five‑time winner of the Brickyard.  A bit of a letdown?
JIMMIE JOHNSON:  I can go home with a smile on my face.  These things are hard to win, having a race winning car like we did.
Today we were awfully close.  These things are so hard to win.  Having a race‑winning car like we did, I hate to let this opportunity slip by, but it’s gone, not a lot we can do about it, but we’ll come back next year and try to do it again.
Q.  When you say the late‑race pit mistake, do you mean the stop was slow or you preferred two tires?  If stop hadn’t been as slow…
JIMMIE JOHNSON:  I think we had like a 17‑second stop.  I don’t know what the distance was at the end.  I would have been a lot closer to him. Catching them and them passing them is different.  I’m not sure what the delta was when I entered the track, how big of a gap I had from the 39 to us.
But we definitely had a mistake on our stop.  Could have been four seconds closer leaving pit road.  Not sure where that would be, like I said.
Stuff happens.  Everybody scans us.  When you’re the dominant car, they’re going to do the opposite of what you do.  I think I pitted before them, so it was an easy call for them to do the opposite.  The 2 gave them the track position they needed.  With the mistake, they had good track position.
Q.  You and Ryan go back to when you were rookies in ’02.  Does he get enough credit as a driver?  Are you surprised he doesn’t have a secure future for 2014 yet?
JIMMIE JOHNSON:  When I look at things, we talk about it a lot; there are certain examples that pop up.  Maybe those examples are overlooked. The relationships that exist between driver and crew chief are key.  You look at Ryan’s success with Matt, Matt’s departure, not a lot of good was going on, then they’re back together, have a lot of speed, now arguably winning the biggest race of the year.  I put a lot of stock in that.
Amongst the seven Hendrick cars that are out there, we all have the same stuff.  It’s a relationship between the driver and the crew chief and the engineers and what happens in that little hub inside that transporter, that puts speed in these racecars.
There’s a great pairing there with Matt and Ryan, for sure.
Q.  Is there anything that NASCAR or the IMS can do to create more passing, especially up front, maybe make for a better show for fans here at Indy?
KASEY KAHNE:  I know in ’04, my first year here, it was pretty easy to pass, ’04 and ’05.  Since then, it’s been difficult.  It was after they did some work to the track.
I know the tires have changed, the cars have changed.  ’04 and ’05, however the track was then, you could run the outside, kind of diamond and get runs down the straightaway.  Right now a lot of the race you’re equal.  It’s hard to be behind a car and carry that speed off the corner running in their tracks.
Right now we can’t move around enough.  So how do you move around?  If they can make the surface or the tire so we can move around, probably going to be the only way you’re going to make that happen.
JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, I definitely agree. This year’s 500 I think was kind of unusual with so many passes for the lead.  But in general, on a flat racetrack, it’s just tough to pass.  You need a second lane with some kind of banking.  These corners, they aren’t really that long.  You have four 90‑degree turns.  That puts a lot against this racetrack for side‑by‑side racing, but we still love this place.
Q.  Kasey, you didn’t win, but getting up to third, is that still satisfying that you were able to reach that late in the race and be able to hang on to it?
KASEY KAHNE:  Yeah, it is.  I came up here and wanted to win.  That was something that our team, we really shot for this weekend.  We were really fast throughout the whole weekend, did a nice job. The first 80 or 100 laps, we gave away too many spots, whether it was on the track or in the pits.
The last two runs we did a lot of passing, made up a lot‑of‑ground, but we never got to the front.  We were too far back the whole race.
After running a race like that, having everything that went on with our deal throughout the race, I feel really good about running third.
Q.  Kasey, there were a few weeks there where everything that could go wrong for you guys did.  Do you feel this and maybe the last couple weeks, Daytona aside, you guys are turning it around, heading the right direction?
KASEY KAHNE:  Yeah, I feel good about where we’re at.  You know, New Hampshire we were 11th.  Now today.  There have been races we’ve been fast and things happen the last month, month and a half, like you’re saying.  Racing, those things happen.
But, yeah, I feel good about the last two races, where we’re at, where we’re headed.  We have a good team, strong group.  Looking forward to it. We’re still in that top 10 and have a lot to shoot for
to make that Chase.
Q.  It was noticeable when guys had to pit off sequence for whatever reason, when they got back on the track, they were significantly faster with newer tires. Did the tires really fall off that much or was it a matter of they were back in with slower cars?
JIMMIE JOHNSON:  I think it was a little of both.  Traffic was tough to deal with.  Tires made a big difference.  The biggest example to me, I was on two next to the last stop, and Ryan was on four.  He was mired in traffic.  He worked his way through, started to track me down.
I think that led Chad to his decision for four on our last stop.  With us pitting before the 39, it was easy for them to go two at that point. 39 was coming hard on us.
KASEY KAHNE:  I never heard a lap time throughout the race for our guys, for myself.  To me it seemed like you would lose a lot of speed, spin your tires easier the longer the run went.  When you put on tires, you could be way more aggressive with the throttle, which had to be a second at least or maybe more.
Q.  Much is made about how this race is a title barometer, the teams that do well here are Chase contenders.  Hendrick had seven of the top eight.  Did it seem like on track you were that much better?
JIMMIE JOHNSON:  I know myself was running good.
KASEY KAHNE:  I felt good all day.
JIMMIE JOHNSON:  I didn’t know that stat until you just mentioned it. It takes the whole package.  The engines, a lot of those engines also had Hendrick chassis under them, too.  We have a great company and a lot of tools to go win races with them.
KERRY THARP:  Guys, thank you.  Congratulations on an outstanding performance.  Good luck next week at Pocono.
KERRY THARP:  Tony Stewart has joined us.  Tony drove to a fourth‑place finish. It’s been quite a week for you.  I know this has to be a good feeling to have one of your race teams win the Brickyard, an event that you have won several times and you know the importance of it, and for a guy like Ryan Newman, a native Hoosiers, has to be a big deal.
TONY STEWART:  I don’t know how you could ask for a better week on our side.  The first half of the week was great.  Yesterday, Ryan going out, last car out, getting the pole, then being in the race today, watching the battle him and Jimmie had all day, just was impressive to watch.
We were fortunate enough we were pretty much a top‑five car all day, just weren’t good enough to be up there with Jimmie and Ryan.
Man, I think midway through the race there, we were in a scenario where Jimmie was leading, and we were second.  When Ryan got to third, like two laps, he caught us.  At that point I knew it was down to him and Jimmie.
Just was fun to watch, nerve‑wracking as a co‑owner.  The other car owner is out kissing the bricks, I’m proud for Gene Haas, everybody with Stewart‑Haas Racing, Mobil 1, Quicken Loans, Bass Pro Shops, everybody involved.  For Ryan, a huge day.
When we were little, this was the place.  This is where we wanted to be.  We knew what Daytona was, but this was the place for us as Hoosiers here.  To see him get one, I’m glad our last trip to the Brickyard together as teammates, you know, we’re sitting here watching him kiss the bricks today.
KERRY THARP:  We’ll take questions now for Tony Stewart.
Q.  You said earlier this week winning as an owner would be as good as winning as a driver.  Is it?
Q.  And where do you go this week?
TONY STEWART:  I have a test Wednesday, I race Thursday.  Where do we go next week?
TONY STEWART:  Pocono Friday, a race Friday night.  Pocono Saturday, racing Saturday night, and then racing Sunday.  I think I race every day next week except for Wednesday, and that’s a test. So a lot of those days are doubled‑up days.  We have a busy week.  Can’t think of a better week to celebrate.
Q.  Can you talk about how it feels different as an owner?
TONY STEWART:  It doesn’t feel different.  I’m ecstatic.  Right there is a big reason why, too.  Ryan is such a good friend.  I didn’t think it would feel this good as an owner.  Because it’s Ryan and a good friend of mine, that’s the gratifying part.  Seeing Greg, Ryan’s mom, Krissie and the kids out there, just knowing we’re a part of it with him, that’s something that’s pretty special to us.
Q.  When did you first meet Ryan?  Did you meet him out here when he was viewing the track or anything like that?
TONY STEWART:  We met at a midget race.  I don’t even remember where it was.  He was a lot smaller then, but he was still bigger than me.  A midget race somewhere many, many moons ago.
 Q.  Anything NASCAR or IMS can do to increase passing in these races?
TONY STEWART:  Look up ‘racing’ in the dictionary and tell me what it says in the dictionary, then look up ‘passing’. We’re racing here.  That’s all I’m going to say.  This is racing.
If you want to see passing, we can go out on 465 and pass all you want.  If you can tell me that’s more exciting than what you see at IMS, the great racecar drivers that have competed here.  This is about racing.  This is about cars being fast.  It doesn’t have to be two‑ and three‑wide racing all day long to be good racing.
Racing is about figuring out how to take the package you’re allowed and make it better than what everybody else has and do a better job with it.
I’ve seen races that were won over a lap; I’ve seen 20‑second leads here.  For some reason in the last 10 years, everybody is on this kick that you have to be passing all the time.  It’s racing, not passing.  We’re racing.
It’s taking machines that are pretty even package‑wise and let the drivers and teams figure out how to make the difference.  I don’t understand where this big kick has come from.  We need your guys’ help as much as anybody to remind people this is racing.  When somebody does a good job, does a great job, everybody hates that.  I don’t understand that.  It baffles me as a racecar driver.
For the record, it wasn’t the worst question (laughter).  That was a hell of a lot worse.  It’s going to be hard to top that.
Q.  We’ll keep trying.
TONY STEWART:  I have no doubt.
Q.  At New Hampshire when you made the announcement about Ryan’s future, that obviously wore on you.  Talk about the emotions.  Does today’s win help him get a ride?
TONY STEWART:  Absolutely.  I’m part of the equation.  There’s a whole group at Stewart‑Haas Racing.  It was hard.  Like we mentioned at Loudon, it was hard because when you run a business, you got to make decisions that you think are best for the company.  The hard thing is you have to take emotion out of the equation.  Any good business person will tell you that.  That’s also the hard part about every business that I’m a part of, I’m emotionally invested in it, as well.
Even before Ryan came and drove for us, we were friends.  So that made that decision and that made that phone call of telling him that much harder.  It’s not just winning with a driver that drives for us; it’s my friend out there that won the race today, too.  That’s what makes this more gratifying at the same time.
I guess it’s extreme to extreme.  I mean, it’s on the good end of the extreme this week.
Q.  You’ve won this race twice.  I wonder if you ever had any conversations with Ryan
where he shared with you that dream, Man, I want this because…
TONY STEWART:  We’ve kind of swapped stories.  I mean, I want to know what it was like to win a Daytona 500.  The one that I lost, he went motoring by about five miles an hour faster than me with a push.  He’s wanted the same thing.
Now I got questions for him about the differences between the two.  I want to know what he feels like.  I can’t wait until tonight for that conversation.
Q.  We’ve talked some about the impact for Ryan.  What do you think the impact of this win is for the guys that work on that team?  This is a new group that was put together.  He said it’s taken them a while to gel and figure out all their places.
TONY STEWART:  If you look in the shop where each of these guys came from, a lot came from different areas.  A lot of them are engineers that got put on the road.
It’s awesome ’cause those guys struggled a lot at the beginning.  It’s just good for our whole organization.  It’s not just good for the 39 guys, it’s good for everybody.
The great thing is seeing everybody from the 10 team excited, from the 14 team excited.  When we win, we all win.  That’s the great thing, is no matter where those guys came from in the organization, we still win this as a team.  That’s what I’m proud of.
It’s days like this that make up for the rough start we got to the year.  For those guys to be able to go from sitting behind laptops a lot in the shop, being in aero rooms, seven‑post rigs, now being on the road and to be kissing the brick today, that’s a pretty strong statement.
Q.  Could you elaborate a little bit more about that?  It seems like a distant memory, the start to the season you had.  You’ve done a lot in the last couple of months.
TONY STEWART:  Yeah.  I mean, we’ve talked about the slow start a million times.  It seems like everywhere we tested at we made really big gains.  We tested at Dover.  We tested at Pocono.  Ryan and I both ran great there.  Just seems like everywhere we’ve had a test so far, we’ve been able to make gains. It shows how much having those tests, how important that is.  I don’t want NASCAR to add any more of them because I don’t have any more time.
It has been a slow start.  It’s been frustrating.  It’s frustrating knowing there’s teams we outperform week in and week out that we were getting beat by.
But, you know, to come here, when you come here, the guys that run up front here; there isn’t anybody that has backed into a win here at Indy.  It’s the guys that have the fastest car.  For Ryan to get the pole yesterday, for us to win today, for us to qualify fifth and run fourth today, that’s a big deal. That’s a big deal for our organization.
Our other teammate just keeps knocking on the door.  She’s gaining confidence and experience each week.  That’s a fun part to watch, too.
For all three of us, I think we’re gaining on that and we’re proud of that.
Q.  Tony, obviously this is Ryan’s day.  We talked mostly about that.  You’re running so much better now.  Do you feel like you’re in position to make another championship run?
TONY STEWART:  Definitely today was a big step, obviously.  Our teammates are running really good, too, obviously.  I think we still have some work to do.  It’s proof that we can do it.  Ryan is proof that our organization can do it.  We just got to hit on it.  Even though we ran fourth today, it’s a confidence boost for us on the 14 team, as well, to know we have the tools in place of accomplishing the goal; it’s just a matter of getting there.
Q.  Six of the top seven finishers were Hendrick engines.  Was it that evident that the horsepower of the Hendrick Chevrolets were better than everybody else?  Did it seem that way?
TONY STEWART:  We had pretty good power all day long.  I mean, there were a lot of scenarios where I noticed how good it was.  And that’s what you expect out of the Hendrick engine department.  That’s the standard that they set.
It was good to know at a place like this where it’s so key, you’ve got to get down the straightaways.  You’re not going to pass somebody on the outside in the corners here.  You have to get off the corner and get down the straightaway.  That’s a big asset having that Hendrick power under the hood.
Q.  We’ve mentioned you and Ryan are here from Indiana.  How does that week this weekend so special for you and Ryan?
TONY STEWART:  He can tell you that when he comes in, too.  When we were kid, every day school got over about the 25th of May for us every year.  Used to be the whole month of May.  You’d get done with school at 3:30.  You got on your bike and rode as fast as you could to get home and turn on your TV to watch.
It’s a dream.  It’s a dream to be where he’s standing right now at the end of the race.  We know the history of this place.  Ryan can tell you more stats about here than I can, but we know, we understand, we appreciate the history of this sport, the great drivers and teams that have raced and won here.
That’s a big deal to us being from here.
Q.  You ran down your schedule for the week.  Where all are you going?
TONY STEWART:  I’d love to tell you that, but then I’d have to kill you.  The day after I run each event, I’ll tell you.
Q.  Do you use a phony name?
TONY STEWART:  I’m going to Ohsweken, Canada, the next two days to race.  My night of rest just got shorter.
Q.  Do you have any more Mobil 1 commercials in the works?
TONY STEWART:  We did a whole series.  I don’t know how many they’ve actually ran so far.  We got more coming, so patience, Grasshopper.
KERRY THARP:  Tony, congratulations.
TONY STEWART:  Thank you.

Chevy Racing–Brickyard 400 Postrace

JULY 28, 2013
“Just stay green that was the biggest thing was I knew we had a good car.  Quicken Loans Chevrolet was good all day.  First of all I have to thank Quicken, Outback, Wix Filters, Aspen Dental, Code 3, State Water Heaters, Haas Automation, Sprint for giving us this opportunity, an ice cold Coca-Cola and Chevrolet.  Starting on the pole and winning the race just an awesome day for us.  I’ve got to thank all the fans for coming out.  Matt Borland (crew chief) made an awesome call. I’ve won more races with him on old tires and out of gas than I have with four tires and the best car.  Hendrick horsepower was the main thing today.  Thank Tony Stewart and everybody at Stewart-Haas this is a dream come true for me I can’t wait to get over and push my lips against those bricks.”
“I don’t realize it yet, it’s a dream come true.  I don’t think that if it hits you all at once it’s not good enough.  It will take a week or so for this to set in.  Just thank everybody for this opportunity, everybody in my racing career.  This is just like when I won the Daytona 500.  Everybody that helped me get to that day same thing again, thank you.  Just so appreciative for all these guys.  They work so hard.  We struggled on and off this year, but just a great run today.  I’m happy it stayed green we needed that, but that’s racing, Jimmie (Johnson) did a good job he had a good car.  I stayed in the back there and kind of watched him a little bit then he would check out there on the restarts and I had to come back.  A great long run car with our Quicken Loans Chevrolet and man what an ending to a day.”
“The biggest thing is confidence.  Confidence for me, confidence in the team, confidence with me in the team.  We still have a championship to go after.  We still have the Chase to chase and there is still plenty of racing left.  This is a great day for us in points.  That doesn’t mean anything.  Tomorrow is a new day. Come Pocono this will be the past.”
“This is awesome.  I’ve only had so many opportunities.  It’s not like we come here twice a year.  Quicken Loans Chevrolet was amazing today the best car I have probably ever driven in my career.  It takes that here at Indy you have to have a good car.  Matt (Borland, crew chief) did an awesome job calling the shots and taking the two tires and getting us the track position.  We needed that. Just thankful, my family everybody is here and all the people that have helped me get to this day it’s just as special as it was in Daytona.  You get guys like Rick Hendrick coming up and congratulating you after winning this one.  It’s a dream come true.  I won’t hit you in five minutes, it won’t hit you in five hours, but maybe in five days come back to me.”
“You have seen the Victory Lane in both of them this is pretty cool here.  No need to compare it this is pretty damn cool.”
“I was tricking myself.  I’ve got a messed up mind and I knew it was 10 to go and I said 12 to go to myself.  I started at 12 and I was hoping it would go faster.  My daughter is two and a half years old and I’m thinking this to myself while I’m out there.  My daughter is two and a half years old and I’m teaching her how to count.  That is the longest it takes to countdown from 10 in my entire life because the laps are so long here.  Just an awesome ending for our day, Quicken Loans, the Smurfs 2, Sprint, all the things that they do just so many people that make a big difference.   I’ve got so many primary sponsors, Wix Filters, Aspen, Code 3, Outback, everybody makes a part in what we do today.”
“There is definitely disappointment there, but this is racing that stuff happens.  I have given away a couple late in the race myself this year.  We win as a team we lose as a team, it’s just how it is.  I wouldn’t take another race team out there.  I’m very proud of this KOBALT Tools Chevrolet team and everything that goes into it.  Great day, Ryan (Newman) was fast all day long.  I can’t take anything away from him.  At the beginning of the race he paced everything for a long time.  I think he got mired back in traffic for a while there. Towards the end of the race he worked his way back to the front and he was plenty fast.  A big hats off to Ryan and everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing.”
“It wasn’t the easiest one to drive.  I was real tight in and then loose off.  If I had clean air and the track to myself I could get my line right and run the laps I needed to, but in traffic it was a little tougher than what I wanted.  It still was an awesome race car.  Just came up a little short today, but we will load up and go to the next one and try to win next week.”
“Second is never fun especially at the Brickyard.  Bummed out with that, but stuff happens.  We had a problem on the last pit stop and I believe the No. 39 took two (tires) as well where we took four (tires).  He was coming really strong on four the run before.  I don’t fault the call by any means.  To be honest I have squandered away a few wins late in the race myself here in the last month or two.  All in all a very strong weekend, of course we want to be in Victory Lane, but hats off to Stewart-Haas Racing our teammates over there and to Ryan it’s going to be a special day for him to win here.”
“Yeah I think we did the whole race at times.  We just really got going at the end of the race.  We had a really fast Great Clips Chevrolet.  We kept falling back too far.  Just things happen and we got back and then you have to pass.  You get so far behind with track position here.  It takes a while to get back to the front.  The guys did a nice job, had a really fast car.  Great Hendrick horsepower was key and congrats to Ryan (Newman) he had a big weekend.  He deserved it and needed it.”
“Well I think we would start with the car just a little bit different.  I really struggled behind cars early in the race and got really tight off the corners.  Once we fixed that we were really competitive with everybody and at times were the best car.”
“I have just always liked this place.  It’s a pretty neat track to race on and enjoyed the race today.  We got back there a few times and we were able to work our way back through.  It’s awesome Great Clips Chevrolet and tons of Hendrick horsepower
so it was enjoyable to drive this car.  We just never got to the lead, but at times I think we were the fastest car we just never got up there.”
“I can’t wait to give him a hug and congratulate him.  He has just done an awesome job all weekend getting on the pole and he was in the hunt all day.  He led early obviously and it was down to him and the No. 48 car that was easy to see.  I didn’t know what the strategy was going to be at the end.  I just kept looking up at the board and watching.
“I was scared to ask where he was at and how big of a lead he had.  Finally with three (laps) to go I couldn’t wait any longer, I finally asked and wanted to know what was going on.  I just didn’t want to jink him.  Just kept watching the jumbo trons every time we would come off of (turn) four and was watching to see where he was at.  Just really proud of him.  He’s a great teammate he’s an even better friend.  Just couldn’t be happy for him, this is awesome, this is our home race.  Couldn’t be any better than this.”
“Oh my God, what a dream.  I have been waiting for the day we could get Ryan (Newman) in Victory Lane like this at a big one.  Man, it is just awesome.  What an awesome week, he did an awesome job getting on the pole and an awesome job today all day.  Him and Matt Borland (crew chief) and everyone on the Quicken Loans team they just did an awesome job.  I’m proud of our guys we had a solid day too.  Proud for Mobil 1 and Bass Pro and everybody.  What a great job by Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) and great Hendrick horsepower.  You’ve got to look at the board there and see six cars in the top seven that are Hendrick engines.  That pretty much tells you where the power is at.”
ON HIS RUN: “I thought it was good. We had good speed. I thought the strategy was good. We had a loose wheel on the start of the race; that was weird to have a loose wheel then. We changed our strategy and made it work. The car had good speed.  Right at the end, we were either running out of gas, or had a little bit of an engine problem the last two or three laps. I almost lost another spot. But the car just quit running at the end. I don’t know if it was out of fuel or what. But the fuel pressure was good.”
WAS IT A TOUGH DECISION TO COME IN THAT EARLY, OR WAS IT THAT BAD? “Yes, yes. I’ll tell you, you can’t have a wheel come off here. You’re running that thing at 200 m.p.h. at the end of the straightaway, you don’t want to take any chances. We came in. Steve said it was loose and it was a good job and a good save.”
IS THAT A RARE THING TO HAVE A LOOSE FIELD AT THE START OF A RACE. “Yes. As you can imagine, it’s rare.”
“I knew it was loose. The car was shaking real bad, and wandering in the back-end on the straightaway. You have a wheel falling off; you have something serious happening. Come in, it’s dangerous staying out there. You can hit the wall, or wreck something, or wreck some other people. I don’t want to do that. It is a long race. We had an early chance to fix that, and that is fine. It gave us an opportunity to try some different strategies, and it worked out for us.”
“Yes, a little bit. But it is still a long race, and Steve is a good strategist, and we ended up all right. The car had good speed; we finished about where we should.
“It was really tough. He helped me through a lot of challenges when I was trying to become a race car driver. He was there when I started driving late models. I went through the whole process of racing with Tony (Eury, Sr.) and all of them through the Bud car. Randy was always there. I hurt for Mamaw and Randy’s brother and sister, Danny, Kaye and Cathy.
“It is just very, very sad, but I am glad his suffering is over with. He is going to be missed. He was awesome, such an awesome guy. He kept things together (at DEI). He was in charge of a lot of different things. Mainly in charge of where every nut and bolt was. He was accountable for everything. After the racing after I left and everything kind of went away, he stuck around. He was loyal to Dad, and really looked after everything that was there and that was my Father’s and what would have been important to him as far as material things. Randy really looked after that. It is tough. It is part of life, and it is hard to get used to. I am just glad his suffering is over with; he was having a real hard time. I loved him dearly, and will miss him a lot.”
“It is just very, very sad, but I am glad his suffering is over with. He is going to be missed. He was awesome, such an awesome guy. He kept things together (at DEI). He was in charge of a lot of different things. Mainly in charge of where every nut and bolt was. He was accountable for everything. After the racing after I left and everything kind of went away, he stuck around. He was loyal to Dad, and really looked after everything that was there and that was my Father’s and what would have been important to him as far as material things. Randy really looked after that. It is tough. It is part of life, and it is hard to get used to. I am just glad his suffering is over with; he was having a real hard time. I loved him dearly, and will miss him a lot.”
“You had to fight extremely hard today.  It was just pit strategy and speed in the car and traffic it was not easy I can tell you that.”
A SOLID TOP-10 FINISH, BUT THE STRATEGIES WERE KIND OF WEIRD, TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY: “Yes, the strategies were kind of weird. It kind of hurt us in track position. Our car wasn’t that good that good on the straight today; I don’t know why. We will have to look at it. Even when I got a good run, it kind of bogged down. Just really struggled with the balance. We had a pretty competitive car at the beginning of the race, but it just couldn’t seem to be able to keep up with the race track. Everything I did, it still wouldn’t turn at all, we all the entry stability.”
“The 14th-place finish is unacceptable,” said Busch. “We were strong in practice but had trouble in the race running in traffic. The car was loose and didn’t have the traction that was needed on this track. We’ve accomplished a lot thus far this season, but one area we need to improve upon is finishing strong. No question we have to run better than we did today if we want to get into the top-10. We are definitely capable of making it happen, but we need to have strong finishes in the next six races.”   
“You know it just wasn’t anything special. I just kind of kept with it and hoped to catch a break somewhere or that the car would get a lot better and it just kind of stayed real steady. We took two tires on one of the stops and we got track position out of it, but unfortunately it just didn’t run very well. So, we tried something; it just didn’t work and that’s that. It just was what it was. When we came into this weekend, I said okay, I’m not going to try to take anything from the car that it doe
sn’t really have and unfortunately that’s what we had today; or that’s what I had today.”
“I think just more laps in practice would have been good. I know this track very well, but I didn’t feel like I knew it in this car. So, I didn’t feel like I was extremely comfortable as in I knew where to take the car to the limit. More time would have probably helped. That’s where experience comes in and it’s not like Indy. We don’t have a whole week. So, we’ve got to get it done in a couple of hours.”
“I said it all week that this is a special place and always will be. It would have been nice to have a better day than this and be able to march forward. We just didn’t. And that’s just all there is to it. Sometimes these are just the days you have. So, that’s all right; we’ll roll on to Pocono and hope for better.”
“Yeah, yeah. Ryan, he is an Indiana boy. He got the pole so I’m really happy for him. I’m happy for Stewart-Haas. We’ve had a trying year for sure and so, the high point of Tony winning at Dover and Ryan winning here is pretty cool. This is a special place and I’m sure he’s very happy in Victory Lane.”
“I think I just got more familiar with the track and realize how important restarts were here, a lot. They are very, very important. You know just being able to keep the car free enough to get around the track. You use a lot of throttle here and if you’re tight on throttle or if you’re tight in general, it’s kind of a killer with these long corners. So, we’ll be better next year.”

Richard Childress Racing–Brickyard 400

Indiana 250
Indianapolis Motor Speedway 
NASCAR Nationwide Series
Indiana 250
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
July 27, 2013
Race Highlights:
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished second (Brian Scott), fifth (Kevin Harvick), sixth (Paul Menard) and 12th (Austin Dillon)
Dillon lakes over the lead of the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings by six points over Regan Smith; while Scott is eighth in the standings 46 points behind the leader.
The No. 3 Chevrolet team ranks third in the Nationwide Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 2 team 10th in the standings and the No. 33 team 13th.
According to NASCAR’s Post Race Loop Data Statistics, Scott was the second-Fastest Driver Late in a Run (168.692 mph), earned a Driver Rating of 110.4, ranking him third, and ranked fifth in Average Running Position (5.940).
Harvick ranked fifth in Green Flag Speed (169.094 mph) and Speed in Traffic (167.877 mph)
Menard ranked fourth in the Closers category, moving up three positions in the final 10 percent of the race.
Dillon ranked third in Green Flag Passes with 53.
RCR drivers Scott, Harvick and Menard spent 100 percent of the laps running in the top 15, while Dillon spent 97 percent of the laps in the top 15.
RCR drivers Harvick, Dillon, and Menard ranked 1-2-3 in the Quality Passes Category with 31, 29 and 27 passes, respectively.
Kyle Busch earned his eighth victory of the 2013 Nationwide Series season and was followed to the finish line by Scott, Joey Logano, Brian Vickers and Harvick.
The next Nationwide Series race is the US Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, August 3. The 20th race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN2 beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Network and Sirius XM NASCAR Satellite Radio Channel 90.

Brian Scott Earns Career-Best NASCAR Nationwide Series Finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Brian Scott and Richard Childress Racing’s No. 2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet team took the checkered flag in the runner-up spot Saturday afternoon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, securing their best finish of the 2013 season and Scott’s career-best finish in his 128th NASCAR Nationwide Series start. After starting the 250-mile event from the 11th spot, a lengthy green-flag run allowed Scott to climb to sixth before making his first pit stop of the day on lap 29. Just 21 laps later, the first caution flag was displayed and crew chief Phil Gould played pit strategy and called for Scott to stay out on the track. Green-flag racing resumed on lap 56 with Scott in the third position. Gould called Scott to pit road on lap 65 for four tires, fuel and adjustments. With 10 laps remaining, the caution flag again flew and Scott lined up fourth for a shootout to the finish. As the field dove into turn one, the leaders bunched together allowing the No. 2 to take the lead. Scott maintained the point position for three laps holding off a hard charging No. 54, but with three laps remaining Scott slipped to second. The Idaho native kept the reminder of the field at bay for the closing laps to finish second, scoring his career-best NASCAR Nationwide Series finish.
Start – 11         Finish – 2         Laps Led – 3         Points – 8th
“We were so close to kissing the bricks at Indy. Phil (Gould Crew Chief) and the guys brought a great car and called a smart race. I was hoping the No. 54 and No. 22 would battle each other allowing us to pull away. This will give us momentum heading into Iowa Speedway next weekend, where we can hopefully finish one spot better.”

Austin Dillon Assumes NASCAR Nationwide Series Points Lead with 12th-Place Finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Austin Dillon left the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the NASCAR Nationwide Series points leader after posting a 12th-place finish at the “Yard of Bricks” in Richard Childress Racing’s No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet on Saturday afternoon. The Welcome, N.C. driver started the 100-lap event from the seventh spot and immediately noted handling issues to the Danny Stockman-led team, citing a tight condition exiting the corners and a lack of side force around the 2.5-mile track. Dillon was scored in the 13th position when the caution flag was displayed to the 40-car field as the race reached the halfway point, providing an opportunity for the RCR team to pit for four tires, fuel and adjustments. Dillon restarted 13th on lap 55 and was scored in the 10th spot when the caution flag was displayed on lap 83 as he continued to battle a tight-handling condition. With nothing to lose, Stockman guided his driver down pit road for another round of adjustments and outfitted the No. 3 Chevrolet with four Goodyear tires for the final 12 laps of the race. Dillon restarted in the 12th position, fell as far back as 16th in the final laps as the field was shuffled during late-race restarts and drove forward to post a 12th-place finish.
Start – 7           Finish – 12       Laps Led – 0             Points – 1st               
“Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a very special place and it’s awesome to take the points lead here. We got behind a little bit early during the race. Our AdvoCare Chevrolet was just a little bit too tight. We made some adjustments to get the car running better. We decided to take four tires at the end of the race so we would have four fresh tires for the last few laps. We only lost two spots on pit road taking four tires, so I thought we were going to be pretty good, but we got hung out on the outside line. Then, a big wreck happened off of turn two and we lost four or five spots when that happened. We restarted on the outside again and pretty much the same thing happened. We were able to battle back and gain the points lead with our finish.”
Harvick and the No. 21 Hunt Brothers Pizza Team Finish Fifth at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Kevin Harvick and the No. 21 Hunt Brothers Pizza team earned a fifth-place finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The two-time series champion started the 100-lap race from the 15th position and worked his way into the top 10 by lap eight while fighting a loose-handling Chevrolet. Harvick visited pit road on lap 30 for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments and settled into the sixth spot as green-flag pit stops cycled through the field. As the race progressed, the green and white machine transitioned from a loose to tight-handling condition as the California native continued to work his way toward the front of the field, moving into third on lap 89. Harvick lined up third for the final restart on lap 95, but was shuffled back to fifth where he ultimately crossed the finish line.
Start – 15         Finish – 5         Laps Led – 0         Points – N/A
“This was a solid run by the Hunt Brother Pizza team today. I kind of put us in a hole at the beginning with qualifying, and we never really go into the right position to move out front until the final restart. We never had a chance to play offense today and had to play defense just to finish fifth.”

Menard Brings Home Top-10 Finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
In his third NASCAR Nationwide Series start of the season, Paul Menard maintained a top-10 running position for the majority of the 250-mile race finishing sixth at Indianapo
lis Motor Speedway on Saturday. Qualifying 10th earlier in the day, Menard slipped back several positions during the early laps as he battled with a tight-handling car on entry and a loose condition through the center and exit. Although his No. 33 Rheem/Menards Chevrolet wasn’t quite handling to his liking, Menard was able to work his way back inside the top 10 at lap 22. Crew chief Ernie Cope called for several chassis adjustments on the two ensuing pit stops to remedy the car’s handling condition. The adjustments provided relief to the Eau Claire, Wis., native and on lap 58, Menard relayed to the crew that the car was the best it had been all day. Running in eighth when the caution flag flew on lap 85, Menard brought the No. 27 machine onto pit road for fuel and tires, giving him four fresh Goodyear’s for the remaining 12 laps of the 100-lap event. Restarting in 10th, Menard never gave up and gained four positions in the final circuits to finish sixth at the historic 2.5-mile speedway.
Start – 10             Finish – 6                    Laps Led – 0            Owners Points – 13th
“I love racing at Indy (Indianapolis Motor Speedway). It’s one of my favorite race tracks on the circuit. We had a pretty fast Rheem/Menards Chevrolet Camaro, but just ran out of laps at the end preventing us from gaining more positions. Ernie (Cope, crew chief) and the guys did a great job today and I had a lot of fun. Things got a little hairy there at the end on the restart, but we managed to gain some spots. I’ve still got another race with the No. 33 team in Kansas later in the year and hopefully we can improve on this weekend’s sixth-place finish and contend for a win.”

Summit Racing–Anderson Looks Forward to Tight Races on Sunday in SonomaAnderson Looks Forward to Tight Races on Sunday in Sonoma

Anderson Looks Forward to Tight Races on Sunday in Sonoma
SONOMA, Calif., July 27, 2013 – Greg Anderson made four consistently improving runs this weekend during qualifying for the NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway in the picturesque California Napa Valley, and the four-time Sonoma winner is preparing to start from the No. 4 spot at one of his favorite tracks on NHRA’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour. On Sunday in Sonoma, Anderson will race against JR Carr in the first round of eliminations, a driver he has yet to meet on raceday.

In the first session of qualifying, Anderson put a respectable 6.612 at 210.14 mph on the scoreboard to jump into the No. 7 spot, but he and Team Summit were not satisfied and returned for the cooler second session with an even better set-up. Anderson reeled off a markedly improved 6.545 at 210.57 mph to grab hold of the No. 4 position, which he was able to protect on Saturday with a set of 6.56 passes, each at over 210 mph.

“We were trying a few things this weekend, and thankfully we were able to do that without losing any ground,” said Anderson. “We made some big changes, and to be honest, I’m surprised to see that we ran the same. We expected it to be better or worse, but thankfully we were able to try those things and didn’t lose our way.”

For Anderson, the valuable information gained during qualifying will come into play on Sunday as he challenges for his first victory of the season at a racetrack where he is currently recognized as the class-leader in terms of victories.

“The challenge right now is that the track is so good that nearly every car is making good runs,” said Anderson. “Sonoma Raceway is a great equalizer for all of the Pro Stock cars, and I think you’ll see a lot of very, very close, side-by-side racing on Sunday. We’ll need to find a way to win; it’s as simple as that. There won’t be any huge margins of victory, so it’s going to be exciting out there. We sure love this racetrack.

“We have a very competitive car, and with two more runs today under our belt, we should be able to take what we learned with our Summit Racing Camaros, apply them, and move forward tomorrow. Because it’s such a great racetrack out there, you’re able to make really nice runs – and that means it’s going to be a good raceday tomorrow. I’m going to have to drive really well, but I certainly feel like I have a chance tomorrow. Maybe we can close the gap a little bit more, have a little fortune, and maybe we’ll be able to put a Summit Racing Camaro in the winner’s circle at the end of the day.”

Summit Racing–Line Continues to Note Improvement as Raceday Nears in Sonoma

Line Continues to Note Improvement as Raceday Nears in Sonoma
SONOMA, Calif., July 27, 2013 – Summit Racing Pro Stock driver Jason Line made his quickest run of the weekend in the final qualifying round at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway, the 15th race of 24 on NHRA’s 2013 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour. Starting from the No. 9 position on Sunday at the racetrack situated in California’s Napa Valley, Line will race Vincent Nobile in the first round of eliminations.

The Mooresville, N.C.-based driver clicked off a 6.635 at 209.72 mph in the first session on Friday, and he came back in the later session with a significantly improved 6.571 at 210.64. The third round of qualifying, which took place early Saturday afternoon, did not reflect a quicker trip down the quarter-mile in terms of e.t.; however, Line displayed a bit more of his available horsepower and cleared the finish line with a greater speed of 211.30 mph.

Entering the final qualifying session, Line was positioned in the No. 10 spot – on the opposite side of the ladder from Summit Racing teammate Greg Anderson. Line gave it all he had in the final session and came up with a 6.568 at 211.10 mph. The time was a bit of a double-edged sword as it meant a move up in the line-up to the No. 9 spot, but also signified a move to the same side of the ladder as Anderson and eliminated the possibility of an all-Summit Racing final round on raceday.

“You know, to be honest I really wasn’t thinking about the ladder before the last qualifying session,” said Line. “I don’t think you can really think about those things. You have to try to think about how to make the car go faster each run, and then you have to make the best of what you’ve got. We would rather have the Summit Racing Camaros on opposite sides of the ladder, but it is what it is and now we have to focus on getting one of our cars to the winner’s circle.”

Line and his KB Racing counterpart Anderson are familiar with the winner’s circle at the facility; they collectively possess six Sonoma Raceway wins, with Line contributing two victories (2006 and 2009).

“I will say this, my Summit Racing Chevy Camaro got better with each run during qualifying,” said Line, who last faced Nobile in the first round at Bristol, where he eliminated his opponent and advanced to the semifinals. “That’s encouraging, and heading into tomorrow, hopefully we can continue to improve. It’ll be tough because we’ll be the first pair out, but maybe luck will be on our side.

“Our biggest challenge is going to be getting past the first round. After that, we’ll just take it one round at a time and see if we can get back to the winner’s circle. This racetrack here in Sonoma has been good to Team Summit in the past, and if history has anything to do with how tomorrow goes, it could be a very good day for us.”

Mopar Racing–Record Setting Qualifying Run Puts Hagan No.1 at Sonoma NHRA Nationals

Record Setting Qualifying Run Puts Hagan No.1 at Sonoma NHRA Nationals
·         Mopar is competing at 26th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals this weekend, the 13th of 24 national events
·         Hagan is No.1 qualifier by posting second quickest run in NHRA Funny Car history and tying national elapsed time record on Friday night
·         Hagan, Beckman and Capps top Funny Car qualifying
·         Johnson is top Mopar qualifier in Pro Stock with a third place effort
·         Pro Stock driver Johnson and Johnny Gray are defending winners at Sonoma
·         Hagan leads Funny Car Championship points; Johnson and Coughlin are 2nd and 3rd in Pro Stock


Sonoma, Calif. (Saturday, July 27, 2013) – Following four rounds of qualifying at the 26th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals, Matt Hagan earned the No.1 qualifier position in the “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” Dodge Charger R/T based on his best effort during cool Friday evening conditions at Sonoma Raceway to set the second quickest run in NHRA Funny Car history and tie a national elapsed time record. Hagan’s track record run of 3.986 seconds at 320.51 mph tied his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman’s NHRA national e.t. record set at Reading, Penn., in 2012 and was second to his other Mopar teammate Ron Capps’ 3.964-sec pass set at Englishtown in last year. Beckman and Capps also rounded out the top three spots at Sonoma Raceway in anticipation of Sunday’s Funny Car elimination rounds.


“Awesome,” said Hagan to describe his career best run. “We have such a great crew, such a great group of guys working on this car. [Crew Chief Dickie Venables] said ‘Hey kid, hold on.’ Dickie was swinging for the fence and it stuck. It was just a phenomenal run. I wish everyone could feel how it feels to go that fast. It’s one of the coolest things on Earth.”


While Hagan’s provisional pole time and speed withstood warmer track conditions on Saturday to earn his third No.1 qualifier position of the year and the 13th of his career, he also posted the second quickest time of the fourth qualifying session to add a little more confidence.


“We were pressing pretty hard in the first session today, and it felt good to back it up and lay down a 4.07 for the second-quickest run of the last session,” said Hagan who leads the championship points with four events remaining before the playoffs. “Those bonus points all add up, so we’ll take every one of them that we can get. It’s great to be up here in Sonoma and get a No. 1 qualifier under our belt. This team has a lot of confidence after starting the year being thrown together at the last-minute. I knew Dickie was good, but I had no idea that he was this good.”


Hagan finished runner-up last year at Sonoma and heads into Sunday’s first round against Alexis DeJoria.


While Hagan was the first to run below the four second threshold in the ideal conditions Friday evening presented, Beckman soon followed suit posting a 3.994-second pass (319 mph). It was the fourth time the 2012 NHRA Funny Car World Champion has be able to secure a run in the three second zone in his career. Beckman will line up against Todd Lesenko for his first round match-up.


Capps drove his Dodge Charger R/T to a third place spot on the eliminations ladder with his Friday night 4.012-second (312.50 mph) run to match up against Del Worsham.


Mopar teammate and defending winner at Sonoma, Johnny Gray, made the 16-car field on his final qualifying session with a time of 4.112 (306-46) for put him in 12th place on the ladder to match-up against Tim Wilkerson.


In his 399th career NHRA event, Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson qualified his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Avenger in third spot by posting his best run on Friday night with an elapsed time of 6.536-Seconds (210.21 mph). Johnson was quickest in the third qualifying session on Saturday afternoon and is hoping to defend his 2012 win on Sunday. After earning his fifth career win at Mopar Mile-High Nationals last weekend, Johnson is hoping to repeat at Sonoma in order to put himself in a position to sweep the three race western swing with Seattle next on the schedule, something he fell just short of doing last year. Johnson will face Chris McGaha in the first round of eliminations.


His teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr. had his best qualifying run in the third session with a 6.557 second e.t. (211.30 mph) to move his / Mopar Dodge Avenger into seventh spot where he’ll face Rodger Brogdon in the first round of eliminations. HEMI-powered teammates V. Gaines and Vincent Nobile both qualified fifth and eighth respectively.


The no.1 qualifier position went to Mike Edwards, current Pro Stock points leader, for an 11th time this season.





SONOMA, CA – It was a strong showing by John Force Racing today at Sonoma Raceway. Team leader and seven-time NHRA Sonoma Nationals winner John Force led the team as the No. 4 qualifier and showed that he will be a force to be reckoned with on race day. His Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car was the quickest Funny Car of both sessions today earning six valuable qualifying bonus points.

 “We got a good ole hot rod, The Prock Rocket! Sometimes change is good. Mike Neff is doing great, ran 4.07 and Courtney ran 4.07, but they had a problem there in the final run. I’m going to go find out what happened. I ran for a couple of sessions, but tomorrow’s race day. I ran 4.06 today and an 4.02 last night. My biggest highlight is my daughter Brittany (Force) in that dragster. Pulling it out right there at the end in the Castrol EDGE dragster and making the show. I’m so excited about that,” said Force.

Force will race former teammate and protégé Tony Pedregon in the first round. Force has a career record of 59-26 against the two-time Mello Yello Funny Car champion and has never lost to him, 4-0, in the first round at Sonoma Raceway.

Force’s elapsed times today 4.078 and 4.062 seconds positioned the winningest Funny Car driver in NHRA history for success on race day.

“That’s what these kids do. Jimmy Prock swings for the fence, he doesn’t mess around,” said Force. “Him and Mike (Neff) are both great crew chiefs as well is Ron Douglas in the Funny Car. It was just time to me to mix them up and make some changes. Everything is good.”

The biggest race of the day for John Force Racing will be the match-up between No. 8 Robert Hight and No. 9 Bob Tasca III. Hight and Tasca are battling for a spot in the Top Ten. There is less than a round between to two Ford backed Funny Car teams. Hight trailered Tasca in first round here last year but so far in 2013 Tasca has had the upper hand. This will be the third race in a row for them to meet and Tasca has come out on top in the previous two meetings the first round in Norwalk and semi-finals last week in Denver.

“I’m still learning how Mike Neff operates. He had it loaded up this morning and we were really trying. We put some good numbers down, but it spun down track. I think he does that to kind of see where he is for tomorrow and what his limitations are. It was really close to making an awesome run this morning. It went this afternoon though,” said Hight.

“I actually like controlling my own destiny. That’s who we race is Bob Tasca III and if we can take him out, and go on and win this race, at least go some rounds, we’ve done our job and we’ll be back up there in the points. I don’t like relying on other people. I want to be able to do it ourselves, so I’m excited about tomorrow,” said Hight

Earlier this season they met in the second round in Topeka where Hight outran Tasca on the way to his first final round of the season. Hight was the third quickest of the first and last qualifying session at the Sonoma Nationals which offered the Auto Club Ford Mustang Funny Car team the best race day conditions.

After the last qualifying session was completed today, Courtney Force and her Traxxas Ford Mustang hung on to the No. 7 spot and will line up beside No. 10 qualifier Cruz Pedregon in the opening round of eliminations on Sunday.

Force ran a 4.05 on Friday night to qualify in the top half of the field and her time held through both of Saturday’s qualifying sessions.

In the first shot of improving her 4.05 today, Force’s Traxxas Ford Mustang smoked the tires and posted a 5.178 second elapsed time at 143.76 mph in the heat. Unfortunately, Force’s hot rod had an issue on the starting line that cost them their second run.

“Got our car qualified in the top half of the field. We tried some new stuff today. It didn’t really work in our favor; we had something lodged in the fuel system. (Crew chief) Ron (Douglas) told me to hit the emergency switch and shut it off, so I did. Obviously that’s why the chutes were deployed on the line.”

“You have to shut the car down as quickly as possible in a situation like that. We got back and figured out what went wrong. It’s a good thing that it happened to us today in qualifying and not on race day. We were able to fix it and make a change and get it back to normal for our first round match-up against Cruz,” said Force.

This will be the fourth time Force has faced Pedregon on race day. She is 1-3 versus Pedregon but her only round win was her only first round match-up with Cruz in Seattle on the way to her first win. She was the No. 12 qualifier that day.

“I’m excited that we have lane choice tomorrow and happy that we have a good car. It ran a 4.05 during qualifying last night and a 4.11 in the heat, so we know our car is capable of running in both types of conditions. We’re hoping we got most of our bad luck out of the way today and we’re looking forward to tomorrow,” said Force.

Force and her sister, Brittany, will also be taking part in the all-female track walk on Sunday at 9:30am. They will meet on stage and participate in a Q&A before walking down the Sonoma drag strip surrounded by fans before pre-race ceremonies.

“I’m looking forward to the first all-female track walk that I’ve done. It’s going to be exciting to take part in that with my sister Brittany and our good friend Alexis DeJoria. I’m definitely looking forward to it and being that close with the fans. It’s always cool to get the chance to do that on the track you’re getting ready to compete on. I’m excited,” said Force.

Castrol EDGE Top Fuel pilot Brittany Force had quite the two days of qualifying at Sonoma Raceway for the NHRA Sonoma Nationals. The first two rounds of qualifying were tough on the team as both times the dragster smoked the tires. Going in to Saturday’s qualifying sessions, Force and company were on the outside looking in.

“It’s always stressful when you have to get in on your last qualifying pass,” Force said. “Today I felt good. I felt confident. I have a great team behind me, great crew chiefs (Dean Antonelli, Eric Lane and Richard Hogan) so I was confident that they put together a good car and that we were going to get down there.”

Session three of qualifying once again challenged the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future candidate, overpowering the car and smoking the tires at about half-track. However, Force’s crew chiefs Dean Antonelli and Eric Lane along with Richard Hogan and the rest of the Castrol EDGE team tuned the dragster just right for session four. After getting her first full pass of the weekend, Force ran a 3.86 ET, landing her 14th on the ladder and ultimately making the show.

“First run out today it smoked the tires,” Force said. “We didn’t get down there too far. It didn’t even pass 60 feet before it smoked the tires. Second run we made it down the track. It was quite a ride for me right there at the finish line. Right around probably 700 feet it was skating around, think it had a hole out, it was shaking and I just stayed in it. I knew we were right there at the finish line and we needed to get this Castrol EDGE dragster in the show and qualified. We ended up 14th at the end of the day, so I’m happy about that.”

The 27-year-old Yorba Linda, California native will face veteran Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.

“I’m ready go up against Doug Kalitta,” Force said. “He’s qualified way better than me, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t step it up and run better than him. That’s what we need and that’s what we’re going to plan to do tomorrow.”

Brittany Force is 2-0 versus Kalitta this season. She beat him in Las Vegas and Englishtown in the first rounds. In both rac
es she won from the bottom half of the field getting the victory in Las Vegas from the No. 11 spot and in Englishtown from the No. 13 qualifying position. Tomorrow she will start the race No. 14.

Wood Brothers Racing–Despite Tight Handling Condition, Bayne Qualifies 28th at Indy

Trevor Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew had the No. 21 Ford Fusion running strong in practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but when it came time to qualify for the Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard, they experienced a minor hiccup.

“The car was super tight in qualifying trim,” Bayne said. “We were on the splitter really hard which makes it even tighter.”

Still Bayne managed a lap at 183.906 miles per hour, which will put him in the 28th starting spot for Sunday’s 400-mile run.

Overall, Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew were pleased with their pre-race efforts. They were 15th fastest in the opening practice session on Friday, with a best lap at 181.459 mph. In Saturday morning’s second session, they improved to 184.057.

When it came time to prepare the No. 21 Ford Fusion for qualifying, the crew made some adjustments to allow for a tight handling condition, but they were careful to not go too far and put Bayne in the position of trying to qualify his way into the race with a car that was too loose.

“If you free the car up too much here at Indy, you just can’t drive it,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said, pointing out that even a minor slip on the qualifying run would have likely meant missing the race. “The important thing is that we made the race. That was important, especially since our car was chosen to commemorate Henry Ford’s 150th birthday.”

Bayne also was glad to have qualifying in his rear-view mirror.

“I’m glad to go back to race trim where our car was good,” he said. “It is hard to pass here, so qualifying is important.

“I think we can still make it up and go to the front…. We are in the show, and that is what we came here to do.”

“It is cool to represent Henry Ford, the Ford Oval, Motorcraft/Quick Lane and the Ford family,” he said. “Wood Brothers Racing has also been a huge part of Ford Racing’s history.”

“It is an awesome partnership, and we are glad to be celebrating Henry Ford’s 150th birthday.”

The Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400 is set to get the green flag just after 1 p.m. Eastern Time with TV coverage on ESPN.

Chevy Racing–Brickyard 400–Ryan Newman

JULY 27, 2013
“That is the benefit of going out last. You can see, and watch. You have the tracker up there, and you can see where guys are making the most time. I guess I did part of my  home work, and the guys definitely did their homework. The Quicken Loans Chevrolet was really good. I don’t know that we caught a cloud or anything. Just a great effort today for Chevrolet, and all the other things we’ve got going on here. Good day for Stewart-Haas Racing.”
“I’ll admit I was emotional. For me it special because it is the Brickyard, and I hadn’t won a pole her before even though I have won so many poles. It’s been so long since I won a pole, people ask me if I ran out of fuel for the rockets. That type of thing.  So this is special to me for a lot of reasons; being home here in Indiana; being at the Brickyard; being so long since I won a pole. Hopefully we can turn it into a good day tomorrow.”
“It is really big here. This pit road can lose you a race pretty quick. It is long, the boxes are long, but it is narrow. So that is to our advantage.”
WAS THIS SURPRISING TO YOU? “I knew we had a shot at it. I didn’t know what we were going to end up with. I felt like I had a shot at it after practice; we had a good run after practice. Had a little bit of practice. You just never know here if you are going to catch a cloud here or anything. But I don’t think we did.  Great run for our Quicken Loans Chevrolet. We have two Chevrolet’s on the front row. See if we can’t turn it into a good day tomorrow.”
“That was a good lap.  You always look back on things and wish you could have another shot at it, but very strong lap.  I backed up what I ran in practice and that seems to be the trend out there right now.  I would certainly like to hold on for the pole, but there is a group of really fast cars coming later in the session.”
“It is just indescribable.  In the company I am right now with Jeff Gordon and Rick Mears as a four-time winner is beyond my wildest dreams.  I have grown up watching many races here like all motorsports fans do.  Always dreamed about racing here and had a chance to come out here and be a part of it all.  I would be on cloud nine.  It’s hard to find words for it.  I haven’t really thought about it too much.  If I am in that moment I will probably have a better answer for you.  This is a very special race track and I’m very proud of the four wins I have here.”
ON HIS QUALIFYING “This was a pretty good lap for us. We didn’t know how much the track was going lose grip with the sun in the middle of day. We made adjustments between the Happy Hour session and qualifying, and I am really happy with it. I feel like we have a car we can race with tomorrow. So far, so good. I am really, really happy with the changes that Steve Addington (crew chief) and our guys made between Happy Hour and qualifying. It gives us a good idea what we need to do for the race because that is exactly what we working on during practice. I think we have a pretty good shot at this thing tomorrow. There’s about 10 really good cars right now in the field. I feel like we are right there in the hunt. We just have to put the whole day together tomorrow.”
“This is one of those tracks where track position is important, but it’s not absolutely everything. You have got to have a car you can race with. If you can get it to qualify well normally it will race well too. Just having a car that is balanced is the biggest thing.”
“Real slimy in (turns) one and two I didn’t hit it right.  Just disappointed I didn’t deliver for my guys.  Really I hate dropping speed from my run in practice to the actual run, which we knew we would drop a little bit we dropped way too much. I feel bad I left a lot on the table and didn’t deliver for my guys.”
“Well that is what we have to do right now is just close the qualifying book and move into the race and run a smart 400 miles.  Our pit selection should be okay, we won’t have the greatest and we will just work on it from there.  I just feel bad I didn’t deliver for these guys right now at this moment.”
“It was okay.  Our car didn’t drive as good as practice.  We kind of missed it there a little bit.  I think more the track changed.  When we finished practice we were pretty happy with the car.  We didn’t touch it for qualifying.  Our Target Chevy for some reason just changed a lot.  I think I have a good race pace, it’s just hoping a little better.”
“Well, we would have liked to run a little bit better than that. The guys did a good job They made a lot of changes during practice. It was a decent lap. It will probably be in the Top 20. We just struggled all day in qualifying trim and the guys made some good changes.”
“Yeah, we like the speed in race trim. We’ll have to go back to the hauler and talk a lot about the things we can do. It’s always good to be here in Indianapolis.”
“It was pretty good. Our Great Clips Chevrolet is fast. We should be in the hunt tomorrow. I would have liked to qualify a little better than that, but that’s all we had.”
“It’s definitely encouraging to be driving the No. 5 car and know you have a great engine and a great car. There is so much that goes into all that. The guys do an awesome job of that. I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow. I think we’ll hopefully stay in the hunt throughout the race and make the right decisions and be there in the end.”
“Well, it was consistent the whole lap. In our practice and qualifying runs it was pretty decent and then we’d get really tight off of Turn 4, which is a tough problem to fix because you’re looking for some odd issue that’s making it really tight on the last corner. So the positive side is that it was consistent the whole way around the track. It was just consistently tight. So, I just couldn’t really carry the speed I needed through the center, especially getting flat off.”
“I’m not as experienced and good as the other guys around here to know what that very small difference is, but it definitely feels a little bit warmer. It just felt tighter.  Unfortunately it’s not the 500. You don’t come here and have days and days and days of practice. You have a few hours. So, we’ll work on it and we’ll come back stronger next year.”
“We didn’t get the best of luck there on the clouds. We needed that to compete with Jimmie but it’s all about a good lap. We would have liked to back up what we ran in practice. We would be up there a little bit further, but the car felt great. So I’m real happy with the speed and balance of the car. I got a little greedy in Turn 4 and the car pushed and I lost some time. If any corner you don’t want to mess up, it’s one leading to these long straightaways. So, that was a little unfortunate, but still all-in-all, hopefully we end up in the Top 10.”
“Well, we worked on our race set-up a lot; all day yesterday and most of today. And I thought we’d made some really great gains there. I love racing here because it’s such a challenge. You have four corners to set people up to run different lines and to do different things to try to make passes. And track position is key. We know that.”
“No, a long way from there.  It’s all the grip in the world here and just fighting a little tight right there, but we just had to get in this race.  We didn’t have points and I think that (lap) should be good enough.   Little nervous that first lap because it’s always tough to come out and qualify for the first Brickyard.  I am happy with that so we will go and see what we can do in the race.”
“It is special so it’s going to be an honor to start the first one with Mycogen Seeds on the side of the car.”

Chevy Racing–Brickyard 400–Danica Patrick

JULY 27, 2013
DANICA PATRICK, NO. GODADDY CHEVROLET SS met with media and discussed the differences between IndyCar and stock car racing at Indianapolis, her expectations for Sunday’s race, her comfort level and rookie expectations, and more. Full Transcript:
“I always like coming here. As I’ve said before, many times, it’s a special place. It makes me happy to be here. I feel very comfortable, but at the same time I’m working on a new car and working on making it handle well and like I want it to and also building up the confidence to do what you can do in a Cup car here. So, it’s just a process. We changed the set-up a fair amount from yesterday and it was better. So we used the first couple of runs there in race trim and then went to qualifying (trim). I feel like we’re on to things, but we haven’t quite put it all together. But it’s challenging in a Cup car. It’s definitely now working towards flat. It’s braking, lifting, not lifting all the way; there’s a lot more going on. But I like being here in general. It’s fun for me as the city goes because my family all lives here. So, I’ve been here since Wednesday doing stuff. It feels like a lot less work when you’re doing fun things with your family.”
“I think they are equally challenging. When you get flat in an IndyCar, it’s generally fairly comfortable. But I think building up to that, is grab your gonads and go for it. And I think it’s similar in a stock car. I think (Ryan) Newman said, ‘Go flat ‘til you see God and then lift.’ That’s in a Cup car. So, I think both of them are challenging. The moments aren’t as easy to catch in an Open Wheel car but yet you’re pushing that limit. And especially with how we trim out for Qualifying, you’re really pushing the limits. I think that once you get to the limit of any car, I think it’s challenging, for sure. But there’s just something about an Open Wheel car going that much faster that it sometimes gets a little more hairy.”
“I feel comfortable with speed, for sure. That’s not even something I like about racing. Like it’s not like I say I like to go fast. That’s not something I’m concerned about or that feels uncomfortable for me. So, I don’t know if that’s any different between the drivers. But definitely, as far as feeling comfortable at Daytona, has to do with how straightforward the track is. It’s pretty straightforward and pretty simple to drive. But, I guess I feel comfortable here just because I’ve been here so many times and have familiarity with the track and just the visual of it is so familiar to me. So, I feel comfortable here. It’s just a matter of then making the car better, which allows me to go faster, too. The changes that we made all day today, and from yesterday, have allowed me to go in deeper and go in deeper and go in deeper, but it’s still a process. The only common theme there is a little bit of speed, I guess.”
“I was going to make some joke that was not appropriate, probably. But you know it’s just been some theme with my career that it seems like when the pressure is on, things tend to go better. I can’t explain it. I guess it’s just something inside. It’s some sort of Adrenalin or hormonal change that happens when you have the blood pumping and there is pressure on and you’re nervous, obviously it does all the right things chemistry-wise to make things go a little bit better. I don’t have a full explanation for it. But, I’m grateful for it.”
“I’m not going to lie. I barely remember those 38 laps. I really don’t remember much about it. I just remember getting frustrated and it ending my day. So, I would say not to specifically answer your question, but I think that’s been a theme this year too is when things aren’t going quite as well as you want them to, my nature or one’s nature is to try harder and try to get more out of it and push the limit that much further and there’s very little return on that. So, in fact, it causes more problems than anything by a lot. So I think that’s something that I feel like I’m really getting the message is that you have what you have and some of the best races I’ve had this year have been the ones where I just take what the car will give me and you’re patient and you work hard and if it comes to you, then it does. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I think that’s just something I feel like I need to do moving forward. If there is one thing I remember about the Nationwide race here is it’s just to not let frustration get to you and you hope for the best in the day and you work hard but, taking yourself out of the game by being frustrated is a complete end.”
WERE YOU HERE AT THE BRICKYARD 400 LAST YEAR, AND DID YOU FEEL ANY JEALOUSY THAT YOU WEREN’T IN IT COMPARED TO SOME OF THE OTHER CUP RACES YOU HAD WATCHED? WILL TOMORROW BE ANY MORE SPECIAL THAN OTHER CUP RACES? “Yes I was. No, I didn’t actually. I felt very satisfied with the progression that I have had through stock cars to get to this points, full-time Sprint Cup. So, no I didn’t actually. I felt…I know of felt bored sitting there actually on pit lane, because you can’t see anything. I am sure there was a better perspective to have than sitting on the pit box. That is why I always encourage everyone to get a headset; listen to drivers; get to a place where you can see things and…it helps a lot. That is kind of what I remember. I’m sure it will be far more exciting being in the car. But, too exciting is not good, so…just hopefully more exciting.”
“I’m a firm believer that what I did them is what has led me to where I am now, and they all needed to happen. I think that first Indy 500 probably ended with a little more fuel than we thought we had, so I feel like maybe there was something there that could have been had. But we didn’t really know the exact numbers. Later on I found out that we used different additional systems to know you were getting to the bottom of the fuel tank – fuel collectors that I don’t we had if we had my first year. Maybe we did; I don’t know. That’s just because it’s the Indy 500, they are so hard to get. But it could have turned my career in a whole different direction, and I might not be where I am now, and I’m really happy where I am. Everything happens for a reason; whew…but those Indy 500 wins are hard to come by.
“That yellow flag, you know it. That was probably the thing that made me the most mad about the first Indy 500 was that there was a wreck off of (turn) four, I think.  I can’t remember exactly who it was; one of the Japanese drivers – that’s about all I can remember. The pace car was going like 45 miles per hour. I mean, it was going so slow, excessively slower than any other yellow flag we had. I couldn’t even…like you couldn’t even go slow enough. It hurried up, and made it go green again, and if they had just run the normal speed, and done the normal thing, then there would have been probably at least another less lap of green-flag running.  So that’s the only thing that makes me mad about that race, is it seemed out of the norm of what we were doing
to hurry up to go back green, and that just didn’t seem right to me.”
DID YOU HAVE TO UNLEARN HABITS OR KNOWLEDGE OF DRIVING HERE (INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY) THAT YOU HAD TO UNLEARN FROM INDYCAR TO DRIVE A NATIONWIDE CAR, THEN FROM A NATIONWIDE CAR TO A CUP CAR? “Well they sure don’t come off the car quite as far as we did in IndyCar. I think my nature is to come off the wall a lot further. But that’s pretty simple. I can fix that. I think it is more about the visual of the line being different in stock car versus IndyCar. I’ve seen a lot of variation out there between a traditional or more early entry; really arcing it out entries, but definitely getting well below the line in every single corner is very important. That is something that can only happen in an Indy car when you are really hooked up and very comfortable. You see a lot of people hooking and spinning in an IndyCar that way too.
“I suppose there is that tiny little bit of concern that you are getting too low, and it might step out on you. Or you might catch a little bit of curb on the inside. But these are completely different cars, so I think that I have to get over. You have got to get below that white line every corner and arc it out a little bit more because the cars don’t want to turn. The more you can get done as early as possible, the straighter you can be off, and you carry speed.  That is especially probably important off of turns two and four.”
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR CONCENTRATION TO DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO FOR YOUR JOB WITH ALL THE INTEREST AND INQUIRIES ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL LIFE? “It doesn’t really make any difference because I am just continuing to live my life. It is not like I live it more or less because it is known about or talked about. It is just a little bit more talked about because there is a little bit more interest in who the other person is. There is a little more relevance to my situation, and to all of our situation here in NASCAR and reporting on it. I acknowledge and have before that it is unique and different.
As I have experience with being a girl in racing, unique and different tend to draw attention.”
HOW ARE YOUR GAUGING YOUR SUCCESS AS A ROOKIE IN NASCAR SPRINT CUP WITH THE SERIES LOADED WITH FAMOUS NAMES AND FACES? “I think it is important to look at how it is going overall with the team. I think that we’ve had some struggles this year, and we are trying to get to grips with the new car. There are times that I feel like here where my inexperience with the car is definitely hurting me more. I wish that I was better off than I am right now, but we are getting better. It’s just that everyone gets better throughout the weekend. I asked Tony after Loudon how I was doing, and what does he really expect out of me. To some degree that’s the real question is what are the expectations of me. Do you think I am supposed to be top-20 and top-15 all the time? Or am I not? He said ‘If I saw there being an issue, or something that stood out as a problem, or an area you needed to work on, I would have come to you already, but I don’t see it. And every time I am behind you, you are doing the right thing’. He said we have to work on the cars and make them better, and he thinks I am doing a good job. That’s the boss…so.”
“You are competing against a lot of experience and good relationships team wise, driver/crew chief wise and familiarity.  It’s just tough.  I think that hoping for top 10’s and wins all the time is fairly unrealistic.  It doesn’t mean it can’t happen.  Daytona was a top 10 to start the year off, but I think it’s far more realistic to hope for top 15’s and top 20’s right now.  If there is one thing I’ve learned it’s about baby steps and it’s about making realistic goals that you can achieve. Otherwise it’s just constantly frustrating because if you had set a goal of top 20 and you finish there then you have something to be happy about where if you don’t set that goal at all and your 20th then you are like ‘I suck I’m 20th’.  You have to set goals along the way and it’s a process.  That is why experience pays off.  For the most part in your whole career you don’t stop learning and you continue to get better it’s just a little bit more so at the beginning.”
“Probably the very first year I don’t know if it came from (Johnny) Rutherford or (Rick) Mears but it was just that it is a long race and never give up and you are never out of it.  Which was the case; I started up front and stalled it.  Went to the back came back through, got into the top 10 again, spun and tore the front wing off.  I pitted, started from the back and had a chance to win.  You are never out of it, it is a long race so a lot can happen here and especially being as big of a track as it is, as long as the races are here, strategy comes into it which always throws a huge question mark as to what the outcome will really be and what plays out.”
“I don’t know I haven’t done it yet.  You only really get to that point once you get to race day.  I think that whenever there is a lot of buildup and I always call it pomp and circumstance there are parades and bands and balloons and all kinds of stuff going on.  Special different introductions things like that it has a different feel. It feels different because it’s different.  I don’t think it will probably be quite as much here for the 400 because I’m not sure there is quite as much that goes on.  Although then again I’ve never done it so we will see.”
“Yes, probably to start with there are so many more cars that if I finished top 20 that meant that I was just in the field in IndyCar.  I mean as far as overall results are significantly different for goals.  Probably more so because you get this feeling like you are established and you know what you are doing on some level.  You should jump in and be able to do okay, but in IndyCar I really had no idea at all.  So, I feel like I have had to establish goals far more in NASCAR than in IndyCar.  Just as far as just having goals.  That is all.  I think in an IndyCar it felt like if you have a good day overall it’s a good day.  If you have a bad day you are in the back and you are 20th.  If you have a good day you are top five.  It’s much more straight-forward where in NASCAR there are so many cars and the competition level is so high.  There is so much money being spent on so many different things in NASCAR and so it just feels like you chip away a little more at it than in IndyCar.”    

Chevy Racing–Brickyard 400–Jimmie Johnson

JULY 27, 2013
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and discussed his success at Indy, what it would mean to win this weekend and other topics.  Full Transcript:
“Yesterday was… actually I really like the schedule the fact that we were able to get out on the track yesterday and learn a little bit and then have the evening to think about it and apply some changes to the car.  At the end of practice yesterday we got it in the ball park for sure.  I would like to be a little bit better, but today’s practice is going to be an important one.  I hope the clouds move out and the sun comes out and we get the conditions as close to what we will see for race day here pretty soon because we have such an early practice session this morning.  Things are going well.  We would like to be a little better, but we are definitely in the ball park.”
“Fifth would be incredible.  I can’t believe I have four of them right now.  This track for one took me awhile to sort out.  I was able to get a feel for things and start setting the car up for the proper line and driver inputs around here.  Then things just started clicking for us and to do anything Jeff Gordon has done is huge.  The guy is massive in our sport and had done so much.  Truthfully somebody I looked up to as a young kid racing and still do today.  He started off as a hero of mine and turned into a friend and a teammate.  It’s been an amazing ride all along, but to tie what Jeff has done here at the speedway is just absolutely amazing.  Also, to add Rick Mears to that as well, grew up in southern California, Rick Mears and the whole Mears gang grew up in Bakersfield.  Watching Rick’s career and knowing that he came from my background inspired me to actually pursue IndyCar racing when I was younger.  My opportunities led me to NASCAR and things turned out as they have.  Long story short to do anything that either of those two has done is pretty awesome.”
“Things are just so much different the tools we have to work with on the car that we had last year we don’t have this year.  We are working in different areas and honestly NASCAR has taken away so much that it’s really small adjustments that we are working on to make a difference with the car and you start stacking those small adjustments to find a tenth or a tenth and a half.  Where last year we got onto the skew thing and really were able to make it work here.  They’ve eliminated so many areas to work in now that it’s hard to find a chunk of speed.  When you have a few tenths on the field you know it’s not going to last long because the garage is smart they are paying attention.  Things just don’t last as long as they used to right now because there are so few areas to work in.”
“We get five sets of tires to work with to start the weekend and literally every lap you make it just tears the tire down more and more.  If you come off the truck, like yesterday we had two sets of tires, we came off the truck we weren’t totally satisfied.  Went to work on the car and we wanted to use one more set of tires and then leave three sets for today.  We get to a point where you are adjusting the car on pretty old tires.  As you wear the tires they develop a trend and it’s hard to adjust through that at times.  We put our second set on and try to rebaseline with 10 minutes of practice left, but it was good especially having the night to think about things.  We get one shot this morning to really work on what we thought through last night.  Long story short it’s just a long race track, a lot of tire wear, beats up the tire, builds kind of a tight or loose condition into the tires.  It’s hard to work around.  When you have limited tires and laps and you don’t know the line you want to run and you don’t know the track it just makes it that much tougher for a rookie or for someone that is still trying to sort out the race track.  That is truthfully why it took me so long.  Even with testing up here.  Unless you go sticker, sticker, sticker, sticker, every time you are on track it’s hard to know what adjustments worked and really to sort out your driver line.”
“It is different for sure.  We are still trying to get the exact feel that I’m looking for.  Again, last year we had so many tools to work with to help the car perform like we wanted to that we just don’t have that luxury this year.  I don’t know what the speeds are, but I feel like we are a little bit slower than what I anticipated from a driver’s effort stand point.  I don’t know what it says on the stop watch, but I thought we would be a little bit more on kill on a lap like we see on the mile and a half’s.  We are not the fastest car yet, so we will work to get there.”
“Well NASCAR has given us an advantage to hide our stuff so that we can work in private and not let anybody see what is going on, but they won’t allow any other team to do it. It’s just for the No. 48 (laughter). No, honestly you might have noticed it over the last few years we have wanted to kind of spruce up that area and knowing that all the F1 stalls are the exact same and the way F1 does such a beautiful job of building out like a garage area, Chad (Knaus, crew chief) was just inspired to do that a year or two ago.  Lowe’s and KOBALT provided all the stuff that they have in store that we can put right in our pit box.  Chad even went through all the steps to get it approved with NASCAR coming to the track and all that kind of stuff.  It’s really just to show off the great things that are sold in store.”
“Yeah you definitely need to bring your best stuff here and we are getting into the final few races before the Chase and you don’t want to start the Chase with unknowns.  For us Indy has been a good time to debut things.  Last year we felt like the skew in our hearts would be the direction to go.  We saw that before when it was allowed through some other means in the back of the car.  We developed that system to make it work under the current rules or the rules we had last year.  We struggled with it at some tracks, but we came here and scienced it out just right and the track is very forgiving for how that system worked.  You don’t have a lot of bumps or the big transitions in the corner and off.  From the first lap on the track I
mean it was like ‘whoa this is going to be good’.  So from there we were able to continue to work with it and make it better.  Also, this garage area is awfully smart and within weeks everybody else was working on a package very similar.  It didn’t last long for sure.”
“In my heart I feel like I need to come here and win.  Its pressure I put on myself.  I don’t know the outside pressure I haven’t paid too much attention to it.  With how we have been performing and the history we have had here over the last few years I feel like we definitely have a shot and we should put that pressure on ourselves as a team and I should put that on myself as a driver that I need to come here and win the race and hopefully can.  It’s an honor to have other teams and the media paying attention to what we are doing and say that we are the team to beat.  We put more pressure on ourselves than what is surrounding or outside stuff is.  With all that being said yesterday I didn’t think we had a winning car.  We got close at the end.  Today’s practice is really important and we need to get on top of things to try to get to Victory Lane.”
“I got up at 5:30 a.m. and it was raining. I was supposed to run ten and I said, okay, that’s good. Thanks, rain; I went back to bed (laughs). It’s wet out there and I’m like yeah, I don’t want it that bad today. Once I’m up, I’m up. But the rain was like well, I’ll sit around and have some coffee and chill out.
“As car owner, yeah. He definitely does. He sits in meetings with Rick (Hendrick) that I don’t attend, on the direction of where Hendrick Motorsports is going and what each team is doing and budgets and sponsorship things; just stuff I’m not a part of because I’m just a driver. But Jeff made it known to me early on that I’m his teammate. It’s not an owner/driver situation. The first couple of months of being employed I would joke around with him and call him ‘boss’ and he’d quickly correct me and say, ‘No, no, we’re teammates, man. Don’t call me ‘boss’. That’s Rick.’ So, Rick and Jeff have a great relationship and Jeff has always had a very smart and keen business sense. And he knows everything that goes on at HMS. So, he’s kind of a hybrid. He won’t let me approach him as a boss, but he definitely knows the inner workings of Hendrick Motorsports.”
“Oh, it is. I’ve have to say probably every victory we’ve had, he’s been there; including the first, when we had one heck of a celebration (laughs).”
“It’s a major for us. So it has that feel to it. And then for each driver, every driver respects this facility and respects what this victory does and can do and will do, and what it’s done for so many drivers. It doesn’t matter if it’s F1 or IndyCar. So we’re all very aware of that. And that rings a little different for Tony (Stewart) and a little different for Jeff (Gordon). You look at Dale Jarrett and just being a stock car guy when he won here and how special it was to him; even though he didn’t aspire to being an IndyCar driver, it still meant the world to him. It’s meant the world to me. I wanted to be an IndyCar driver growing up. My focus changed in my mid-teens and stock cars was the thing for me.
“One last aspect to add is at Daytona, you win the race basically on the decisions you make and the decisions others make around you to have the draft work in your favor. Here, it is solely the driver and team’s effort that gets it done. So, from winning both, there is a different feeling. You win a plate race, although skill and talent and all that from team and driver are very important and help win the race, it’s not all of it. So, it’s almost like a feeling in Vegas when you hit blackjack or something and you had four or five cards to get there. It took some skill and it took some luck, but you got it. Here, you know that you’ve earned it. It’s such a tough track to drive and compete on that there is a little different feeling. It’s hard to say which is more important. They are both huge races. In NASCAR’s history, it’s all about the Daytona 500, but winning here sits really deep in a driver.”
“Yeah, the rear suspension is a big one. We were able to use a rear sway bar in a couple of different manners. One, to create the skew in the car. Or two, if you didn’t want the skew because the skew was nice to have in certain areas of the corner, especially center-off, but on corner entry it wasn’t real fun to drive. You’d let off the gas and the way things would move, it gives you a really loose sensation. So if you didn’t like that sensation, you’d go to a standard combination with your sway bar and just have it work through the center of the corner and off. We also were able to use bushings in the trunk arms that would allow, we’d mainly use the left side to move forward and aft and you could use that as a tuning tool to help the car in various parts of the corner. Because we were using all of those things to help twist the back end, NASCAR has taken all that away. And within that, there’s at least three, if not four or five, once you pile-up some other small things that you can do, that we’re not allowed to use anymore. And they were all very helpful tools at different stages. The thing is, we figured out how to pile them all up and create a ton of skew and then NASCAR said we’re taking it all away from you guys.”
“Twenty years ago, I remember seeing some clips and reading about the guys being on track here; Earnhardt being the first one out if my memory serves me right. And then the race, I remember Jeff (Gordon) winning. But it’s pretty spotty. Twenty years ago, the coverage of our sport was so different in Southern California that I’d usually catch it mid-week or late in the week. It was just on the late side all the time. But, I remember being excited for the test session and the coverage that came with it and knowing that Jeff won.
“In qualifying, your balance will change in the one lap you make, or one and a half laps you make. And you need a much different driving race car in Turn 1 so that when you get back to Turn 4, you can put the lap together. You might remember seeing, and you’ll probably see it today, you’ll see someone with a great (Turns) 1 and 2 and then get to (Turn) 3 and lose a little; and get to (Turn) 4 and lose a little just because the balance is changing. I watched the IndyCar qualifying and those guys have a lot of stuff that they can adjust in the car. And it’s pretty noticeable each lap they make; they have to make a significant adjustment. We don’t have those tools. But for one lap, you’ve got to compromise Turn 1 to have a good Turn 4 to put up a (good) lap.”




SONOMA, CA – John Force and the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang team led the way for Team JFR posting the 4th quickest elapsed time at the 26th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals. Force piloted his Jimmy Prock tuned Funny Car to a blistering time of 4.025 seconds at 316.60 mph. Matt Hagan is the provisional No. 1 qualifier with a track record 3.986 second elapsed time.


This was the second race for Force to drive with his new crew chief and the 15-time Funny Car champion continues to be positive about his decision to shake up his teams. Prior to the Mile High Nationals in Denver last week Force announced he would be driving for world champion crew chief Jimmy Prock and teammate Robert Hight would switch to running a Mike Neff tuned Funny Car.


“Well our cars are up there in the top half. It’s too early to tell what it shows. The dragster was trying too hard, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow,” said Force.


“Probably going to be in the heat, run earlier, so that’ll probably leave Courtney, Robert and myself in the top half of the field. We want to run faster so we’ll see what happens. A 4.02 with Jimmy Prock was pretty impressive,” added Force.


Robert Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang were consistent all day running the third quickest elapsed time in the first session and in the evening session Hight stepped up his elapsed time and posted the 8th quickest time. Hight’s opening session 4.082 second run was two thousandths of a second from being the second quickest elapsed time.


“Both runs were good. At least it goes up and down the track. I’m sure Mike Neff wanted more obviously. You see those three-second runs out there and you want to push. Neff and I had a talk before the run. We looked at and we knew we couldn’t be bumped out of the top twelve and figured we’d stay in the top eight, so we were pressing. Early on it ran good numbers to do that, but in the middle it’s laying over and it’s just not running real good. I’ll be honest, it’s better than it going out and smoking the tires and then thinking ‘well, what do we have to do to fix it?’ We know what we have to do. Step it up. We’re not going to have conditions like this again,” said Hight.


In the second session the temperatures were dropping dramatically as the Funny Car session began. Hight and his Mike Neff tuned Ford Mustang Funny Car were in the past pair with Ron Capps and it was a tremendous side by side run with both drivers running 4.0s and Hight tripping the lights at 4.058 seconds at 311.41 mph.


“Right now we’re chasing the number ten guy and we’re qualified ahead of him. I feel good going into Saturday. We have to be a step ahead of him and the eighth and ninth guys, we have to be a step ahead of them tomorrow for both runs. We do that and it’s going to be successful. Right now we’re eighth and we’re going to have lane choice on Sunday, unless something changes tomorrow,” said Hight. “Every run right now is critical. We are counting points and what’s cool about Neff is he gives you so much confidence. He goes up there and says ‘You know what? I ain’t worried about making the top ten. I think we can make the top five if we do what we’re supposed to do.’ That makes it easy for me to go up there and do what I’m supposed to do.”


Courtney Force and her Traxxas Ford Mustang saw some improvement in their team today when they made two back-to-back quality runs to kick-off the weekend at Sonoma Raceway.

Force laid down a 4.117 elapsed time at 304.25 mph in the first session and sat solidly in the No. 6 qualifying spot by the end of the round.

“We made a few changes on our car for this weekend and ran a 4.11 to get us qualified in the top half of the field which is good for our car for the changes we made. It seems to be working so far. I’m comfortable in the car and I love racing here. It’s good to be back here in Sonoma.

In the second session, Force drove her Traxxas Ford Mustang straight down the track to a 4.057 second run at 314.46 mph and ended the day in the No. 7 position.

“Going up for Q2, everyone just had to get after it. It’s a really fast field and it’s always exciting coming out here and making a night run right after the sun goes down. It gets so cold here at night that it’s exciting. You know the cars are going to be fast and you have to be on the top of your game.”

“It was great to see our car run in the low 4.0’s. Our Traxxas Ford spit out a spark plug down there and it slowed our car to a 4.05, but we definitely can’t complain. It’s still a great run for our team and it gets us in the top half of the field for now. We’ll see if we can even improve tomorrow,” said Force.

Brittany Force and the Castrol EDGE Top Fuel dragster struggled in the opening sessions. This is the second race for the rookie team with the new Hadman chassis. Last weekend the team qualified No. 3 at the NHRA Mile-High Nationals but today they could just muster the 17th quickest time. In the second session the team shook the tires loose and had to end the day with their first session time of 5.147 seconds. The Castrol EDGE team will have two shots tomorrow to post a time quick enough to race on Sunday.

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