Chevy Racing–Daytona Press Conference

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
DAYTONA 500
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
FEBRUARY 20, 2013
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed making his 400th Sprint Cup Series start, what winning the Daytona 500 means to him and other topics.  FULL TRANSCRIPT:
 
JIMMIE WILL BE MAKING HIS 400TH  START DURING THE 55TH RUNNING OF THE DAYTONA 500 AND LOWE’S HAS BEEN HIS SPONSOR FOR ALL 400.  JIMMIE AND JEFF GORDON ARE THE ONLY TWO DRIVERS TO HAVE THE SAME SPONSOR FOR ALL 400 STARTS:
“That’s awesome.  Time flies by it’s hard to imagine 400 starts already.  So proud of the fact that every one of those starts has been with Lowe’s on the side of the race car.  They are an amazing sponsor and look forward to many more great years together.”
 
HOW DID YOU APPROACH IT WHEN YOU WERE ON THE POLE AS A ROOKIE?  HOW DO YOU THINK THEY SHOULD APPROACH IT?  IS IT OKAY FOR THEM TO JUST PARK AND NOT RISK WRECKING THE CAR AND LOSING THAT STARTING POSITION OR DO YOU TRY TO TAKE AS MUCH OF AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN?
“Well, it’s really up to them.  They are not the only team facing that decision.  I think all the cars that are secured a spot are trying to balance that right now.  It just isn’t worth it.  We all know everybody is low on car count.  If you are fortunate enough to be on that front row do you really want to push it?  There is no need to.  It’s going to be a fine balance and there is going to be a lot of internal struggles and arguments with drivers, teams, crew chiefs especially trying to give their driver the direction they want to go.  Whatever she decides to do it’s to her best interest and we’ve got our own stuff to worry about on the No. 48 car.  We are wrestling with the same notion.  In 2002, my situation was a bit different.  If I didn’t win the pole I wouldn’t have been in the (Daytona) 500.  I had an incident on the back straightaway where I was forced below the yellow line and had to serve a penalty for him.  I wouldn’t have made the race.  If we qualified third I wouldn’t have been in the show.  It was very nice to have locked in and had that in my back pocket.  Or we would have been here at 399 starts instead.”
 
DID YOU TREAT THAT RACE AS JUST I’M GOING TO RACE ALL OUT REGARDLESS?
“At that point in time we really didn’t have a concern about car count.  We raced and I was trying to learn it was real important for me to get every lap that I could.  Sure we didn’t want to crash the car, but we were in that old style car for a long period of time. Cars would come from the fall Talladega race if you made it and you would carry them into Daytona and kind of update them a little bit as the rules changed.  We had a much deeper inventory of cars to pull from.”
 
YOUR 400TH START, RICHARD PETTY FINISHED WITH 1100 OR SOME STARTS, THREE TIMES WHAT YOU HAVE.  COULD YOU IMAGINE MAKING THAT MANY STARTS?  ALSO, I DON’T THINK YOU HAVE HAD A RELEVANT FINISH HERE IN SEVERAL YEARS IS THAT SOMETHING YOU THINK ABOUT AT ALL?  DO YOU EVER GO BACK AND THINK MAYBE I’M NOT APPROACHING THIS RIGHT OR SOMETHING?
“First of all for the ‘King’, one I think he had more opportunities to race than we do today so that helps.  I don’t know how many years of service he put in, but it’s 20, 30, I still might be wrong.  Definitely over 20 I would assume.  It is just amazing.  All of the years that he put in helped build the sport to what it is today.  I thank him for all 1100 starts that he put in and the growth that he kind of spurred along within the sport.  I doubt that any current driver will get to that number.  Mark Martin is trying and I’m not sure where he is at.  I assume he is pretty short still in that number count.
 
“The 500 has been tough I have won Duels, I’ve won the Shootout and we have been here in July and have been very competitive and have finished in the top three.  But, the 500 it has been a trophy and I think I might have a 10th or something, but my memory says a lot of DNF’s (Did not finish).  Last year’s was about as bad as it gets.  Leaving the first lap crashing that wasn’t a good one. We will hopefully make 2.7 miles this year before anything happens.”
 
WHAT DID THAT 2006 DAYTONA 500 CHAMPIONSHIP MEAN TO YOU?  IT DID TRIGGER YOUR FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON.  WHAT DOES WINNING THIS RACE MEAN?  WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT THE MEDIA TOUR THAT FOLLOWS IT?
“For me I wanted to be in elite company.  My dreams were to try to be the best in this sport.  The way you do that is by winning big events and championships.  That was prior to a championship.  First realistic goal on my list was a (Daytona) 500 win or a Brickyard win.  I think we were able to get both that year.  It was a big year in a lot of ways.  We all know the history of the sport, the history of this track and dream and wish and hope that you can come in here and win.  The way the race turned out I drove a very smart race, stuck to a certain mindset.  Was able to get some help on the last lap to maintain the lead and defend my position to the finish line.  I was so excited and had a big night with my crew guys.  Then I think at 7:00 a.m. things kicked off over here at the speedway.  As much as I love that day that was one of the most painful days in Jimmie Johnson’s history.”
 
WHY IS THAT?
“I may have celebrated a bit too much the night before.  Then dealing with that, being asked the same question over and over and trying to look awake, alert and happy.  Man, I was having a lot of pain, but it was worth it.”
 
WHAT ABOUT THE NEXT FEW DAYS?  WHERE DID THEY WISK YOU OFF TO?
“I had no idea what that media tour was like.  I can’t remember exactly, but I assume New York.  I don’t know if we went to the (ESPN) car wash or not after that one.  I had heard about and watched I think not long before Ward Burton won and I remember seeing Ward Burton everywhere the following two days.  I thought ‘man that is so cool I want to do that’.  Halfway through I’m like ‘I just want to go home’.  Is this thing over yet?  That’s amazing that one race packs such a punch and can do so much for a team, driver, sponsor and it means so much within the sport.”
 
FROM WHAT YOU HAVE SEEN OF THIS CAR HOW DO YOU IMAGINE THE PLANNING, THE STRATEGY OVER THE LAST FIVE OR 10 LAPS SUNDAY IS GOING TO CHANGE?
“The cars look a lot like the ’05, ’06 car to me.  I feel like track position is going to be important.  You are going to have to race for it.  I was surprised to see the middle lane work so well in the Unlimited.  Defending your position is going to be important.  Before you could fight your way up and just kind of sit in the first couple of rows and let the race kind of evolve from there.  It seems to me that the outside lane does carry a bit more momentum.  They can stop the inside lane.  If you work your way to the front you can’t just be content sitting in the bottom lane or really even the middle lane.  You might have to move around from the head of the line.  Even if you are a row or two back and there is an opening stay open minded, keep your eyes open and move around it to help stay up front.  Track position is going to be key on that last, I assume, last restart.  You are going to need to be in the first couple of rows to have a shot at it.”
 
IS THERE ANY ADVANTAGE TO A DRIVER TO START RACING SOONER AND HAVE A SHORTER RAIN DELAY? SECONDLY, DO DRIVERS THINK DANICA (PATRICK) HAS ANY SORT OF WEIGHT ADVANTAGE BECAUSE SHE IS LIGHTER?
“It doesn’t hurt to have things turned around quicker.  I think sure it helps the driver some, it helps the teams.  Hopefully, we are at the track for a shorter period of time.  It’s just good for everyone, especially, getting into the next work week.  More importantly for the fans, the viewing audience at the track and at home I think it’s key to get the tracks dried faster. I’m very happy with that.  The way the weight works I think they adjust it and they put weight on cars where you have lighter drivers so it all balances out.”
 
CONSIDERING HOW MANY DRIVER’S IN NASCAR HAVE RACED FORMULA AND WITH THIS NEW CAR WITH THE ADJUSTMENT OF THE SUSPENSIONS IN THE BACK AND THE WEIGHT THAT THEY HAVE CHANGED AND THE AERO PACKAGE THAT THE FORMER FORMULA DRIVERS PERHAPS HAVE AN ADVANTAGE WOULD YOU AGREE WITH THAT?
“Well, I think the aero balance is helpful for the Formula drivers just because the vehicles they raced in had so much downforce.  The sensation that comes with downforce the car is very secure and stable and you can drive the car hard.  I think the Gen-6 car will help the open wheel guys some.  I’m not sure it will overcome the advantage that a NASCAR driver has that always been in a sedan or in a stock car, but it is directionally helpful for the open wheel drivers definitely.”
 
YOU SHOWED US A PHOTO THAT DIDN’T MAKE IT IN YOUR BOOK WHEN YOU WERE LEAVING TALLADEGA I GUESS IT WAS LAST YEAR IS THAT SUM UP HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT PLATE RACING RIGHT NOW?  I THINK YOU TWEETED AFTER THE RACE THE OTHER NIGHT YOU ARE TRYING TO LIKE IT, BUT YOUR JUST NOT SURE.
“It is.  It’s such a balance too because one win and you are in Victory Lane and it’s the coolest rush because you are gambling the whole race.  When it hits, it’s a lot like hitting it in the casino.  The rush is amazing, but it’s a different kind of racing.  Especially for the No. 48 team we have had a lot of torn up race cars lately.  It’s starting to get a little old, but we will keep racing.  We will keep building cars and be out there trying to get all the points we can.”
 
GOING INTO THIS RACE THERE SEEMS TO BE SOME CURIOSITY WEATHER OR NOT SOME OF THE VETERANS WILL DRAFT WITH DANICA (PATRICK).  WILL YOU DRAFT WITH DANICA?
“When I was a rookie coming in Jeff (Gordon) told me quickly.  There may be some of that going on where guys won’t work with rookies, but the biggest reason that Jeff (Gordon) said that he wouldn’t work with a rookie was that they make the wrong moves.  He says to me ‘make the right moves.  Give people a reason to follow you and it won’t matter.’ Once the race progresses and gets going, you really forget about paint jobs and who is in what car.  It is who is making the right moves.  Who is going to help me, because you can’t do it on your own out there. It gets real selfish and greedy and if somebody is making the right decision and the right move you are going to go with them.  It doesn’t matter how much experience they have.  That is really the key.  I’m sure at times even with Jeff (Gordon) telling me that I felt like nobody worked with me, they would much rather go with a veteran, no the veteran was making the right decision that is why they went with the veteran.”
 
IN TERMS OF MAKING THE RIGHT MOVES WHAT TYPES OF THINGS ARE YOU GOING TO BE WATCHING HER DO? 
“She has shown through the Nationwide Series that she is competitive and she can get in there and mix it up.  Kind of hold a straight wheel in the important situations and has led laps and has been up front.  I think through a large degree she is great.  She is there, she’s fine.  It’s really about when you get close to the front and if you make a move and the wrong move you lose 15 spots.  You don’t want to make those decisions.  You don’t want to be back in the eye of the storm.  If she is making the good offensive moves to move forward you stay with that person, you stay with her.  If it’s a move that you know hasn’t worked over your own experience and past history.  ‘Nope, go ahead’ and back they go and start all over again.  You just don’t want to be in that position.  Because once you get some track position you finally relax a little bit and know that you are up there with guys that are playing the game right and being mindful that it’s a long race.  When you get in the eye of the storm everybody is so eager to get out of there that it gets a little bit chaotic.”
 

NASCAR Veteran Bags $5,000 and Short Track Dirt Racing’s Most Unique Trophy

NASCAR Veteran Bags $5,000 and Short Track Dirt Racing’s Most Unique Trophy
BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 18, 2013 – Ken Schrader charged from 10th to victory in the Gator Championship, denying Austin Dillon by a nose at the checkered flag Monday night during the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment at Volusia Speedway Park.

Schrader swept into the lead midway through the 30-lap, $5,000-to-win showcase for DIRTcar UMP Modifieds, but had his hands full with Dillon charging off the final corner to the finish.

“Austin was right there at the end and I kind of started babying it the last three or four laps there because I didn’t want to pop the front end on the cushion,” said Schrader, of Concord, N.C. “He (Dillon) said his motor went sour and that allowed him to run the bottom a little better, but yeah we’ll take it.”

Justin Allgaier, who grew up racing on dirt before moving into the NASCAR Nationwide Series, led the first 12 laps of the main event, relinquishing the lead to Dale Mathison of Clearwater, Minn., on lap 13 and 14. Allgaier reclaimed the lead on the 15th circuit before Schrader made his move one lap later and held on over the remaining 14 laps for the victory.

“I was pretty concerned there when we drew a 10 to start, especially with that quality field of cars out there,” said Schrader, who finished second in his qualifying race on Sunday night. “The pass (Sunday) night was only going to be worth so much and the win tonight was going to be worth quite a bit more!”

Schrader was challenged throughout those final 14 laps. Dillon charged from his 14-place starting spot to pull even with Schrader exiting turn four on the final lap, prompting fans in the packed grandstand to rise, only to see Dillon fall just shy of the wily NASCAR veteran at the line.

“We started off a little rough out here,” said Dillon, who competes in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. “So many cars, the invert, it makes it tough. The guys have been working all week to get us the speed we needed and we knew we had the fastest car, just needed to get up front and have that starting position. The track was great tonight, it was really racy. We love to be out here doing this but man that was close! If I had to lose to anybody I’d want it to be Kenny Schrader because he’s one of my heroes out here. I just hope next year we can come back and get that gator.”

Dillon and Allgaier, who will both compete at Daytona International Speedway later in the week claimed podium spots with Schrader.

“Anytime you can come to Volusia and see the amount of cars that come here, all the competition, just to be able to make the feature was our goal here this week,” Allgaier said. “All my guys we had one goal in mind and that was to finish every race and do the best we could. This was only my sixth time in a modified so I guess that’s pretty good. We’ve had a blast all week and this was a good way for me to come down here and get re-focused. I knew early we had a good car but we needed a little more drive. I can’t thank Bob Pierce enough though because we had a great race car, we just missed it a little bit and when you have 80 great race cars and the best in the country you better be right on.”

Defending Gator Champion Nick Hoffman of Mooresville, N.C., started on the pole and fell to as low as seventh before rebounding to finish fourth. Sunday night winner Matt Westfall of Pleasant Hill, Ohio, started seventh and rounded out the top five.

David Mielke of Gladwin, Mich., Dave Wietholder of Liberty, Ill., and Kelly Shryock of Fertile, Iowa claimed Last Chance Showdown victories. Jonathon Taylor of Saltsburg, Penn., claimed the Bulrush Dash victory.

Tuesday night’s racing program will feature the second night of DIRTcar Late Model action as well as Triple 20-lap DIRTcar UMP Modified features allowing each of the participants in the DIRTcar UMP Modified division the opportunity to run a feature event.

Newly-crowned Gator Champion Schrader currently leads UNOH DIRTcar Nationals by Summit points entering the final night of competiton. Home state driver Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., is 13 markers behind Schrader in the overall standings.

Schrader First Gator and Points Champion Winner at UNOH DIRTcar Nationals

Schrader First Gator and Points Champion Winner at UNOH DIRTcar Nationals

Fan vote winner Wallace takes Six-Pack; Zimmer, Poel, Dillon capture Triple 20s
BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 19, 2013 – Ken Schrader made another bit of history Tuesday night during the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment at Volusia Speedway Park.

Schrader, who won the Gator Championship on Monday night, returned to Volusia to finish fifth in the final DIRTcar UMP Modified Triple 20 and become the first driver to win the overall UNOH DIRTcar Nationals points championship and the Gator Championship in the same year.

“Yeah, it feels pretty good and it’s the second time we’ve won the championship down here,” said Schrader, of Concord, N.C. “I feel like I’ve worked pretty hard at it. It feels awesome because I was going to be happy leaving with a little Gator trophy. I don’t know which one feels the best the Championship or the Gator Championship. The Gator Championship paid a little better!”

Ty Dillon of Welcome, N.C., won the final Triple 20 race of the evening by besting Kenny Wallace of Fenton, Mo., and Brian Ruhlman of Clark Lake, Mich. Dillon made a mid-race charge on Ruhlman to take over the lead before distancing himself from Wallace over the final 10 laps. Wallace got by Ruhlman with three laps remaining to finish second. With the win Dillon helped Team Dillon Racing avoid a winless UNOH DIRTcar Nationals.

“It feels really good, especially for Team Dillon Racing,” Dillon said. “We were a little off all week but we worked, and worked, and finally hit it the last couple nights. Austin got a good finish in the Gator Championship and I was going to have a good finish too until I ended up getting into the wall, but I’m glad we could end up good and get finally get one of these Gator trophies.

“I’m happy for all the hard work everyone has put in. That’s what we come down here for is to win these Gators so to get a win it was a good note to end on.”

The win also gave the younger Ty family bragging rights for the year.

“I love beating Austin, especially since I got a win this year and he didn’t. Now I’ll get to talk junk until next year!”

Wallace wouldn’t leave empty handed on the night as he claimed the Six-Pack Challenge Dash. Wallace had earned a starting spot in the event based on a fan vote which he also won three weeks prior to the start of the event.

“It was good to run second in the big A-Main tonight but I look at it as the whole three weeks. The whole time we’ve been here we’ve made every A-Main,” Wallace said. “It’s a humbling sport and just because I won 3 of 7 A-Main’s last year didn’t mean I would come down here and do that again. I took the Six Pack Challenge very seriously because the fans put a lot of effort into it and I have to thank the Fans because they put me in it.”

Jacob Poel of Spring Lake, Mich., claimed his second feature win of the DIRTcar Nationals in second Triple 20. Poel was the only driver of the 92 DIRTcar UMP Modifieds that participated to win more than one feature event over the course of the eight days they were in competition.

“I think the momentum is going to be awesome,” said Poel. “I really feel like we got to work all the bugs out of the car early in the year. We get to go back to Michigan with two wins before we normally start racing.”

Former DIRTcar UMP Stock Car National Champion turned DIRTcar UMP Modified pilot Nate Zimmer won the evening’s first Triple 20 event. The win was Zimmer’s first main event win since moving into the modified division.

“Yeah, we were just talking about how different it was but I think I might finally have this figured out, said Zimmer. “I just didn’t lift going into turn 3 and I just snuck in there. I just want to thank everyone who’s helped me out this week. There are just so many people that helped get me here.”

Wednesday night’s racing program will feature the DIRTcar Late Models in their final night of competition as well as the beginning of the Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds four day stint at the Volusia county half mile.

John Force Racing–Pomona Winternationals

TEAM JFR RACE REPORT
1st of 24 races in the NHRA Mello Yello Series

Photo credits Ron Lewis Photography (for rl46403) and Gary Nastase Photography for media use only
 
53nd annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals
Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
Pomona, Calif.
Feb. 14-17, 2013
 
* * * *
 
Final round results from Sunday’s 53rd annual O’Reilly Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, first race in the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:
 
FUNNY CAR – Courtney Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Traxxas Ford Mustang, 4.025, 317.12 mph def. Ron Capps, Carlsbad, Calif., NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger, 6.090, 116.32 mph.

TOP FUEL – Shawn Langdon, Brownsburg, Ind., Al-Anabi dragster, 3.721, 322.27 mph def. Tony Schumacher, Long Grove, Ill., US Army dragster, 3.747, 324.12 mph.

PRO STOCK – Vincent Nobile, Dix Hills, NY, Mountain View Tires Dodge Avenger, 6.584, 210.05 mph def. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Delaware, Ohio, JEGS.com Dodge Avenger, red-light DQ
 
* * * *
 
COURTNEY FORCE WINS WINTERNATIONALS
 
POMONA, CA —- After grabbing her third No. 1 qualifier of her career, Courtney Force wrapped up the weekend today with her second career win and first at the season-opening 53nd annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway. She defeated Ron Capps in the final round of eliminations and ran the quickest pass of the weekend a 4.025 second run.
 
“It was definitely pretty unbelievable. My team, Ron Douglas and Dan Hood, thanks to them. They’ve given me a great race car all weekend long; a consistent one, running 4.0s. I just try to keep it straight down the center. They really made my job easy. I really owe it to those guys,” said the 24-year-old from Yorba Linda, Calif.
 
Force is the fourth person to qualify No. 1 and win the Winternationals in the last 25 years. She took on the No. 16 qualifier at the start of race day and never looked back. Today was the first time Force and Phil Burkart Jr. have faced each other in eliminations and the daughter of 15-time world champion John Force came out on top with a 4.066 ET at over 316 mph.
 
“It is always tough racing someone in the other lane no matter who they are, whether they are the No. 16 qualifier or the No. 2 qualifier.
 
Force went on to race No. 9 qualifier Matt Hagan in the second round and claimed victory when Hagan slowed and Force posted a 4.070 ET. She is now 4-2 to the 2011 Funny Car World Champion.
 
The 2012 Rookie of the Year and Nationals spokesperson for Ford Motor Company’s Driving Skills for Life also ousted fellow Ford racer Bob Tasca III in the semifinals after he fouled out and sent Force on to the final round of eliminations against Ron Capps.
 
“I saw the red light. I knew I was good but it was definitely pure luck. I got on the radio and I said, ‘guys, we just won that by pure luck. God wanted us to win that round.’ But you know what, Bob Tasca III, we both get fired up against each other. He’s always good on the lights so he’s always a tough competitor, but the main thing is we both bleed Ford blue and we knew one of the Fords were going to the final so we were excited about that. You know, things happen. We both just wanted to get that win and we got lucky,” said Force.
 
The Traxxas Ford Mustang driver next pulled off the win in an exciting matchup against Capps in the final round. Force had lost the luxury of lane choice, but posted the quickest time of the weekend, a 4.025 ET and cruised into the winner’s circle.
 
“Going against Capps I was honestly terrified. I knew the last time I ran him it was out here in the finals and I knew he wanted revenge. He was running well all weekend. He got lane choice over me and it definitely made me nervous. He’s a tough competitor.”
 
“Going down there my car was flying. It got over to the centerline and I just held onto it because I didn’t know, I thought maybe he was right out my window. I wasn’t looking over in his lane, I was just paying attention to my own, trying to keep it straight and get past the finish line to get that win and was able to get the job done. I’m excited it was definitely a tough round not knowing where he was on the track, but we were able to do it,” said Force.
 
By winning the first event of the season, Force also now occupies a spot on the board reserved for the first driver entered into the Traxxas Nitro Shootout that will be held in Indy at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. Last year, Force won the fan vote and was entered into the bonus race.
 
“Making it into the Traxxas Shootout, I think that’s the coolest thing here at my home track, being the first one on that list, you know my dad won the Winternationals last year and it’s pretty cool. It was kind of a bittersweet finish here in the final not getting that win and coming back and picking up where we left off and finishing our job. We got the win, got in the winner’s circle and I’m Just proud of my team.”
 
“That right lane for some reason has been tough for me this weekend. We spun the tires down there. We found a little bump in the road. But getting it down there and running a 4.02 in what was considered the bad lane, for me that was unbelievable. Ron Douglas just knows how to tune this car and I think we have a pretty bad hot rod going into Phoenix. I’m excited to see what we’re capable of doing.”
 
“It’s pretty surreal and crazy that we went to the top spot and I’m leaving here in the points lead. That just crazy to me and it’s exciting to be out here at my home track. My friends are all out here so I get to celebrate in the winner’s circle with them. I was starting to think the only race I could win was Seattle so it was kinda cool to come out here and prove myself wrong. We had a good hot rod and we had a good day,” said Force.
John Force picked a tough opponent to have one of his better runs of the weekend against. There were three winners in front of Force that advanced to the second round with runs slower than five seconds. Cruz Pedregon (5.165 sec), Todd Lesenko (5.013 sec) and Gary Densham (5.023 sec) all took out their respective opponents while Force was sent back to his Castrol GTX trailer after running 4.119 seconds at 313.07 mph. 
 
Unfortunately for Force his opponent Ron Capps ran 4.108 seconds and took out the six-time Winternationals champion. Force was relegated to cheerleader for daughter Courtney the rest of the day. Force was able to see her get revenge on Capps with the final round win.
 
“I know the emotions she is going to have. I won the season opener here last year. A young kid like that doesn’t understand how it all works yet but she drover against a great champion in Ron Capps. They gave the fans a show,” said John Force.
 
“They were both going for it. He was trying to run one of those low 4.0s and she did it. I am really proud of her. For Traxxas and Mike Jenkins the president to have him here is key. He wasn’t in Seattle for the first win. We had a great weekend for John Force Racing. Robert Hight and I we both struggled but at the end of the day I had a neck and neck with Capps. My daughter took him out so it is all balanced to me.”
 
“Our dragster, I am still amazed with the job Brittany did putting that thing in the quickest Top Fuel field. Brandon Bernstein is the best. I lost to his dad in my first final and to see the next generation out here. To see the crowd at Auto Club Raceway was big. For all our sponsors from Mac Tools to BrandSource to Freightliner plus all our new sponsors like System 51, Champion, Gates Belts and Stingray Systems. To give them a win right out of the box at the first race of the season is amazing. I have had a lot of wins in my career and this one is big. We are a big family. I want to thank the media for giving my girl a chance when she made mistakes. It is a job bu
t she loves her job.”
 
Robert Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang lost a pedalfest with Cruz Pedregon in the opening session. Both Funny Cars launched hard and Pedregon lost traction and then Hight’s Auto Club Mustang Goodyear’s came loose. Both drivers battled to get their 8,000 hp Funny Cars under control and it was Pedregon who crossed the finish line just in front of Hight.
 
It was a disappointing finish for Hight at his home track but he was philosophical about the outcome after just one race in the 2013 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
 
“You always want to win the first race of the season but they don’t hand you the championship trophy until the end of the season. Jimmy has been looking at a number of different issues on the Auto Club Mustang and we are getting some answers with every pass. I am glad we are going to Phoenix in four days,” said Hight. “My team and I will keep working and we will figure this Mustang out. We are creating a lot of power and honestly we are trying to get it harnessed so we can run like some of these guys that are running 4.0s all the time. We will get there and when we do you’ll see a big smile on my face.” 
 
Brittany Force’s first day of eliminations may have been shorter than she would have liked but that did not dampen her enthusiasm for the overall experience. In the first round she lost a close race to veteran Brandon Bernstein as her Castrol EDGE Top Fueler stepped up with a weekend best 3.822 second run against Bernstein’s 3.785 second run.
 
“Even though we went out in the first round I am still excited and so glad to be out here racing. We got the Castrol EDGE dragster qualified. We came out in the first run going against Brandon and we actually improved. I am really happy about that. We also ran our fastest speed. It is still a good day,” said Brittany Force.
 
For a rookie driver it is all about the process and learning from every experience. Force took a number of positives away from her four days at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
 
“I have always been that type of person. I always try and find the positive spin on things. Even though we went out first round we did get qualified. I am so happy to be qualified and that we got a chance to race. I got to run against Brandon Bernstein. I grew up watching him and his dad. That was pretty awesome to have him in the lane next to me,” said Force, the quickest rookie in Top Fuel.
 
“I thought I was going to be really nervous about it but I surprised myself about it. I came out here and every one told me to think about it like testing in West Palm and that is pretty much what I did. I was a lot more relaxed than I thought I would be. I put everything out of my mind and I went up there and did my thing. We had a good car and we made a good run.”
 
 
 

Courtney Force– Pomona Winternationals

COURTNEY FORCE’S WINTERNATIONALS WIN LANDS TV IN FANS HANDS AT POMONA
POMONA, CA (February 17, 2013) — In an epic final pitting a wily veteran versus the one of the fastest rising stars on the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Courtney Force and her Traxxas Mustang defeated Ron Capps at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals today.  At the season opening race Force outran a tire smoking Capps with an event best 4.025 second run at 311.12 mph. This was her second career win and a 55” flat screen TV went to Steve Divine of Barstow, California compliments of BrandSource and the “Win with Force” promotion.
“I never thought when I came to the races today I would be leaving with a big screen TV. I have been a John Force fan all my life. We were here yesterday and today. I can definitely use a new TV and I want to thank BrandSource and John Force Racing,” said Divine from Force’s winner’s circle celebration.
On Sunday Force out ran Phil Burkhart Jr. in the first round then beat Matt Hagan in the second round. Her only hiccup of the day came in the semi-finals when her Traxxas Ford Mustang smoked the tires but luck was on her side as Bob Tasca III red-lit handing her the win light. In the final it was all Courtney all the time as her Traxxas team gave her the quickest and fastest race car of the weekend.
“This is amazing. Being the first Mello Yello event champ is amazing. To win here at my home track makes it that much better. I am so excited but I owe this one to my team. My guys worked so hard trying to get that Traxxas Fird Mustang back up to the starting line for the final. They didn’t have a lot of time but they did a great job,” said Force. “They gave me a great car that ran a 4.02. Every single one of those guys in those Traxxas uniforms earned this. I have to thank my crew chiefs Ron Douglas and Dan Hood. They gave me a quick and fast race car. I love driving it.”
At each NHRA national event when a JFR team qualifies No. 1 a lucky fan that has signed up at the JFR Win with Force display located in Nitro Alley will be eligible to win the BrandSource No. 1 Qualifier Award, a front loading washer and dryer set.  If a JFR driver wins the event a different fan will win the 55” flat screen TV Winner’s Circle Award from BrandSource.  
Fans can sign up to win at the John Force Racing interactive midway display. This 53-foot trailer will be in the Nitro Alley area of every NHRA Full Throttle Series national event in 2013. The “Win with Force” promotion now includes JFR team partners Castrol, BrandSource, Ford, AAA Auto Club of Southern California, Mac Tools, and Pleasant Holidays all joining together to create an incredible promotion for the fans.

COURTNEY FORCE GRABS FIRST SPOT IN TRAXXAS SHOOTOUT $100,000 SPECIALTY RACE
POMONA, CA (February 17, 2013) — Last year it was John Force grabbing the first spot in the inaugural Traxxas Shootout, the $100,000 specialty race, with a win at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals. This year at the season opening Winternationals it was sophomore driver and 2012 Traxxas Shootout fan vote winner Courtney Force who grabbed the first spot winning for the second time in her career. Force took out veteran driver and Traxxas Shootout finalist Ron Capps to secure her spot in the $100,000 race within a race at the Mac Tools US Nationals Labor Day weekend.
“I am so glad Mike Jenkins the president of Traxxas was here today to share in this win with my team. I have to thank him for giving me this chance to live out my dream. I am so excited but I owe this win to my team. My guys worked so hard trying to get that Traxxas Ford Mustang back up to the starting line for the final. They didn’t have a lot of time but they did a great job. They gave me a great car that ran a 4.02. Every single one of those guys in those Traxxas uniforms earned this. I have to thank Ron Douglas and Dan Hood they gave me a quick and fast race car. I love driving it,” said Force, the 2012 Automobile Club Road to the Future winner.
The first seven winners in Top Fuel and Funny Car by the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota are guaranteed a spot in the Traxxas Shootouts. If there are not seven winners then the remaining slots will go to the highest drivers in the point standings. The eighth and final spot will be decided by a fan vote and then a lottery style drawing the Wednesday before the Mac Tools US Nationals.

Westfall Motors to UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Gator Qualifier Triumph

Westfall Motors to UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Gator Qualifier Triumph

Ohio driver locks into Monday night’s $5,000-to-win Gator Championship Redraw at Volusia
BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 17, 2013 – Matt Westfall blazed a fast path to victory lane and earned the $700 winner’s check Sunday night during the second Gator Championship qualifier in the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment at Volusia Speedway Park.

“We had a good evening, I qualified good enough to put it on the front row,” said Westfall, of Pleasant Hill, Ohio. “The track was fast tonight and difficult to pass. Reminded me of Eldora Speedway where we usually run.”

Westfall started outside of the front row and held off NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader of Concord, N.C., who made several valiant attempts to pass Westfall during the 20-lap main event. Schrader settled for second, which locks both drivers into the redraw for Monday night’s Gator Championship.

“This week we’ve had brand new cars so we’ve struggled a little bit,” Westfall said. “Tonight we finally found something. It feels real good just to win!”

Dale Mathison of Clearwater, Minn., NASCAR Nationwide driver Justin Allgaier of Springfield, Ill., and DIRTcar Summit Modified Nationals Champion Kenny Wallace of Fenton, Mo., rounded out the top five and also secured a spot in the redraw for Monday night ensuring they’ll start no worse than 10th.

Brian Shaw of Robinson, Ill., Camping World Truck Series Champion Austin Dillon of Welcome, N.C., Bart Hartman of Zanesville, Ohio, home-state driver Wayne Hammond of Riverview, Fla., and Richard Michael Jr. of Ischua, N.Y., locked into outside rows 6 through 10 for Monday night by finishing in the top 10.

Kelly Shryock of Fertile, Iowa, and Todd Neiheiser of Panama City, Fla., claimed Last Chance Showdown victories.

There were 37 DIRTcar UMP Modifieds on hand for the second of two Gator Qualifying nights of competition. Monday night’s racing program will feature the first night of DIRTcar Late Model action as well as the $5,000-to-win DIRTcar UMP Modified Gator Championship.

Lasoski Logs Record 20th Victory at Volusia Speedway Park

Lasoski Logs Record 20th Victory at Volusia Speedway Park
Pittman earns overall title at UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit
 
BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 17, 2013 – There was at least one happy dude parked in the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Victory Lane on a frigid Sunday night.
It was the winningest dude in Volusia Speedway Park history, ‘The Dude’ – Danny Lasoski – who picked up his first win of the season and 20th career at the half mile to conclude the sprint car week at the 42nd annual UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment.

“I really like this place,” he said wearing a big grin.

Lasoski shared the spotlight with Daryn Pittman, who was crowned the overall champion of the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit and received a unique three-foot, bronzed gator trophy. His win, runner-up and fifth-place finish during the three-day event – which combined qualifying, heat races and feature points – earned enough points to edge Paul McMahan by 18.

“We had a conversation on our way down here between me and the whole crew on what our goals were for the year and the No. 1 goal was to come here and win that gator,” Pittman said. “I’m just having a lot of fun. Just a great way to start the year off accomplishing one of our goals that we had set out.”

As impressive as Pittman’s weekend was, including a late rally from ninth to fifth in the final three laps on Sunday, Lasoski stole the show to win a wild feature. With the temperature at 35 degrees when the cars were pushed onto the track for the main event, it sure heated up quickly.

Lasoski, who started on the pole of the 30-lap feature, was three wide with Chad Kemenah and Cody Darrah exiting turn two on the opening lap. Lasoski was able to secure the lead as the cars slid through turn four and he remained the leader for the first five laps before Kemenah drove under him entering turn one on lap six.

Kemenah got into traffic on the ensuing lap and Darrah passed Lasoski for the runner-up position in turn two on the eighth lap. The trio battled within a handful of car lengths amid traffic for several laps before Brooke Tatnell brought out the first caution of the race when he stopped in turn three on lap 13.

Kemenah, Darrah and Lasoski continued to put on a show after the restart and after reaching traffic on lap 17, Darrah made his best bid for the lead and pulled next to Kemenah around lap 20. However, Kemenah maintained the lead and pulled to a sizeable advantage until Craig Dollansky, who was running fifth, broke in turn two with three laps remaining for another caution.

Darrah appeared to get into the inside wall entering turn one on the restart and he got sideways, corrected himself and continued on in the top five. However, Terry McCarl – Saturday night’s winner – came to a stop in turn two for a caution. The field reverted to the previous restarting order, but Darrah’s left front tire was damaged.

He tried to nurse it on the next restart and would have caught a huge break as Kemenah drove beneath the cone on the frontstretch, bringing out another caution and penalizing him two positions.

“I thought I was out of tear offs and the tear offs ear was broke off and it’s just like being out of tear offs,” Kemenah said. “I couldn’t see. I come by there and I thought, ‘Well, why didn’t they put the cone out?’ But they did and I was completely underneath of it they said. It was just a mistake on my behalf.”

Darrah would have inherited the lead, but was forced to pit with the tire starting to come off the wheel. That moved Lasoski back to the front with Kemenah in tow.

The duo were neck and neck on the restart, but fifth-place running Steve Kinser spun in turn one. Brad Sweet, who was in ninth, flipped after making contact and Jac Haudenschild also slid into Kinser.

Since contact caused a caution on a restart, the race went back to green with the drivers running in single file. Lasoski committed to the bottom groove and Kemenah rode the cushion. The shorter distance around the inside allowed Lasoski to come up just in front of Kemenah on every straightaway and Lasoski edged Kemenah by a car length at the finish line.

“You had to keep your nose clean; everything was happening so fast,” Lasoski said. “The race track actually widened out where you can run top, bottom and middle, and that’s all we can ask for.”

A dejected Kemenah blamed himself for not ending in Victory Lane.

“I’m just really mad,” Kemenah said. “I thought we were going to drive back around him on that last lap going into (turns) three and four, but it just wasn’t there and I came home second.”

Meanwhile, Justin Henderson was thrilled after earning his first podium of the season by surviving the attrition.

“We had a really good car,” he said. “I was watching them battle and nobody was really pressuring me.”

Donny Schatz drove from 14th to fourth and Pittman rounded out the top five.

Sammy Swindell was sixth, McMahan placed seventh and Kerry Madsen earned the KSE Hard Charger Award after driving from 22nd to eighth. Darrah finished ninth and Jason Sides ended 10th.

Mike Edwards Racing– Pomona Winternationals

 Pomona Post-race Notes
 
Mike Edwards and the Interstate Batteries/I Am Second/K&N Chevy team weekend came to an early end on Sunday in the first round of eliminations against Chris McGaha.
 
At the hit of the throttle, the Camaro had parts failure in the clutch, leaving Edwards only to watch McGaha advance.
 
“Though we didn’t have the results we hoped for today, in the big picture we are excited about the 2013 season,” Edwards said. “We were on the pole of the first race of the season, which is a great way to start the season. This Chevy Camaro has some great potential and we know if we didn’t have parts failure this weekend could have been much different.
 
“I am glad we only have a few days between races, because we feel great heading into Phoenix next weekend.”
 

Mopar Launches 2013 Season with Win at POMONA

Mopar Launches 2013 Season with Win at POMONA

 
Mopar starts 2013 NHRA season with crazy final elimination win by Nobile over teammate Coughlin
Capps appearance in Funny Car final brings total of three Mopar entries to make it to final elimination showdowns in season opener
 

Pomona, Calif. (Sunday, Feb. 17) – Three Mopar entries advanced to the final elimination rounds, with one of them earning the first title win of the year at the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season opening event. Vincent Nobile earned his sixth career victory in an all-Mopar Pro Stock final showdown against teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr., while in Funny Car, Dodge Charger R/T driver Ron Capps finished runner-up to Courtney Force at Auto Club Raceway.

“Congratulations to Vincent (Nobile) for earning the Pro Stock title win at the NHRA Winternationals at Pomona to start the season off right for Mopar ,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “We look forward to seeing our HEMI®-powered Dodge Avengers contending for many more wins this season in defense of the Pro Stock Championship amid such tough competition this year.”

The Pro Stock class elimination rounds at the Winternationals started and even finished in peculiar fashion. First round action began with plenty of upsets as five of the eight winners of the first round were qualifiers from the bottom half of the field, including Mopar’s Allen Johnson who had qualified tenth after a rough start to the weekend. The remaining three winners to advance to the next round were the three Dodge Avengers of V.Gaines, Nobile and Coughlin.

While Johnson had a strong second round run as his faced-off against fellow HEMI-powered driver Gaines, he unable to continue his quest to defend his Pomona title as Gaines beat him to the finish.

Three Mopars moved on to semi-final match ups with Nobile winning his race against Greg Stanfield, and Coughlin emerging the victor in his head to head battle versus Gaines. That set up an all-Mopar final between Nobile and Coughlin that took a strange turn.

First, Nobile had trouble backing up from the burnout, which for the sake of sportsmanship had led Coughlin to turn off his ignition. That proved costly as several tense moments passed before the crew scrambled to get the JEGS.com entry re-fired as his teammate and competitor had gotten his own Mountain View Racing car restarted and back in place. With both cars finally in the beams, Coughlin red-lights by -.014-second making his 6.571-second and 211.03-mph pass obsolete, giving Nobile the victory with a 6.584 at 210.05 mph.

“Without a doubt this is pretty awesome to leave here with the points lead and now we just want to stay there and stay consistent and keep the wins coming,” said Nobile who has made three consecutive trips to the finals in his Dodge Avenger going back to last season. “This is my third year and sixth win with this team because I learned early on what a great group of crew, sponsors and car I have that creates the perfect platform for being successful.”

For Coughlin, it was the second year in a row starting with a runner-up finish.

“The difference this time is that last year we were hoping that result was going to become commonplace, whereas this year we already have a really good idea that we can run with anyone in the class,” said Coughlin. “Things couldn’t have started much better for us with this new team configuration with Allen Johnson and J&J Racing. We’re very excited about the season.”

In Funny Car competition, top qualified Mopar driver Jack Beckman didn’t make it out of first round while Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan fell in the second.  Fellow DSR Dodge Charger R/T drivers Johnny Gray and Ron Capps faced off in semi-finals, with Capps matching low E.T. of the weekend, 4.036, to make his way to the final. He unfortunately smoked his tires to finish runner-up to winner Courtney Force.

The second of 24 events on the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule will take place at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix, Ariz., this coming weekend. The Arizona Nationals will be broadcast on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD with 90 minutes of qualifying coverage airing on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 1 a.m. (ET) and again at 8 a.m. (ET). Three hours and 30 minutes of final elimination coverage will be presented Sunday evening starting at 8 p.m. (ET).

Chevy Racing– Daytona 500 Qualifying History

Danica Patrick Makes History at Daytona as the First Female Driver to Win A NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pole; Jeff Gordon Makes it an All Chevrolet SS Front Row for the 55th Running of Daytona 500
 
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla (February 17, 2013) – Danica Patrick made history today behind the wheel of the No. 10 GODADDY Chevrolet SS by winning the pole for the 55th running of the Daytona 500. Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion Jeff Gordon powered the No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS to second in the final order giving the all-new Chevrolet SS the front row for the Great American Race set for Sunday, February 24, 2013.
“We are so proud of Danica Patrick, Tony Gibson and the entire Stewart-Haas team on putting the No. 10 Chevrolet SS on the pole for the 2013 Daytona
500,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Danica was focused and drove a great line to secure the pole. She gave tremendous credit to her entire #10 team for this accomplishment. She is a determined racer, a team player and we’re proud to have her on Team Chevy.

“It is also great that three-time Daytona 500 champion, Jeff Gordon, will be on the outside front row with his No. 24 Chevrolet SS. It was a proud moment for us yesterday when Jeff drove the all new Chevrolet SS production car into the Daytona Fan Zone for its first public reveal. And, today he qualified on the front row of the Daytona 500 for the fourth time in his career.

“In addition, we are honored to that the new Chevrolet SS production car will pace the Daytona 500, and that it will lead an all Chevrolet front row to the green flag.”
 
Patrick’s accomplishment marks the first time in the 64 year-history of the NSCS that a woman will lead the field to the start of the Great American Race. Patrick, who led the first two practice sessions leading up to today’s all-important qualifying, was eighth in the order of the 45 cars making qualifying attempts today. Her lap of 45.817 seconds – 196.434 m.p.h. proved to have staying power as one-by-one the remainder of the cars made their runs.
 
Team Chevy drivers captured five of the top-six qualifying positions giving Ryan Newman, No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS (fourth), Tony Stewart, No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS (fifth) and Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS (sixth) excellent starting positions for Thursday’s Budweiser Duel at Daytona Qualifying Races.
 
Other Chevrolet SS drivers in the top-20 qualifiers were: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS – 11th; Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS – 13th; Paul Menard, No. 27 Menards/Peak Chevrolet SS – 14th; Austin Dillon, No. 33 Honey Nut Cheerios Chevrolet SS – 16th and Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS – 20th.
 
The first of the two ‘Budweiser Duel at Daytona Qualifying Races’, which will determine order for the Daytona 500, is scheduled to start on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. ET. Live coverage will be provided SPEED TV, MRN Radio and NASCAR Sirius Satellite Radio Channel 90.
POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPTS:
An interview with:
DANICA PATRICK
TONY GIBSON
 
KERRY THARP:  We have our Coors Light pole winner for the 55th running of the Daytona 500, Danica Patrick.  She’s joined by her crew chief Tony Gibson.  Danica, congratulations on just a superior effort out there today.  I know the team worked extremely hard.  Certainly history in the making.  You’ve also qualified for the 2014 Sprint Unlimited.
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  That’s right.
 
            TONY GIBSON:  One more car I have to build (laughter).
 
            KERRY THARP:  What does it mean to be the polesitter, know that you’re going to be leading the pack a week from today for the most famous race in stockcar?
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  Thanks a lot.  You just made me feel nervous right there.  I’m supposed to be excited and relieved today.  I feel like a broken record.  I probably will feel even more so by the end of the day after all my interviews.
 
            But I appreciate the recognition, but it really falls, as I think I said before I went out on the track, 90% on Tony and his guys, everybody that gives me the car to go out there and be fast, and maybe 10% on me.
 
            All I have to do is think about going out there, being smooth, not letting the car bind up, running on that yellow line.  Outside of that, I think it shows how well‑prepared Tony and everybody was, how strong the Hendrick engines are, how good the new Chevy SS is.  We’ve been fast since practice in January.
 
            Last year I was pretty decent in practice and came for the race and it wasn’t the same situation.  This year it continued.  I think that just shows how well‑prepared they all have been, how hard they’ve worked over the winter.
 
            It’s really amazing how much effort is put into a qualifying car for Daytona, for the 500, and really only the front row is what sticks for Sunday.  It’s nice that all that hard work can pay off and that we can give ourselves that opportunity to lead the pack down into the tri‑oval for the green flag of the Daytona 500.
 
            KERRY THARP:  Tony Gibson, congratulations.  Certainly a big day for this race team and the entire Stewart‑Haasorganization.  Just talk a little bit about the performance of the No. 10 team, the significance of getting this pole here today.
 
           TONY GIBSON:  It’s a team effort.  Like I told Danica, it’s more than 10% driver.  I was talking to David Green on the line, about five cars away.  He’s just like, Remind her hit her shifter.  I’ve messed up and overshifted and messed the lap up.  It’s more than 10% because you can put a good product out there, but if you don’t have the person to drive it, put everything else together, it canreally damage your day.
 
            We just gave her a product that was really good and she took it the rest of the way.  It’s more than 10%, I promise you.  It’s 50/50.
 
            I’m proud of her.  I know there was a lot of pressure on her to come here and qualify well, in the top six, to lock us in.  I’m proud of her to carry that weight on her shoulders.  She didn’t falter.  She did everything right.  She hit her marks, hit her marks on theshifts, and here we are.
 
            It’s a big deal for me, for sure, personally.  I’ve been knocked off these front rows several times by just a little bit.  It’s really nice to come here and get it done, especially for the Daytona 500, my hometown.  It’s a big deal.
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  This is your hometown?
 
            TONY GIBSON:  I was born in the hospital right across the street.
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  Your mom making us dinner tonight?
 
       &
nbsp;    TONY GIBSON:  Mom and dad went to the tractor show (laughter).  My wife took my grandmother shopping, so she’s worn out.
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  I’ll make dinner if she’ll make the monkey bread.  Deal?
 
            TONY GIBSON:  Deal (laughter).
 
            Q.  Danica, Jeff Gordon was just in here saying that even for a guy that’s been in the sport for 20 years, it’s hard sometimes not to go into protect mode when you’re on the front row.  How do you maintain the aggressive attitude that you need to get through the Duels and practice and get to the 500?
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  I have no idea.  Tony, what am I supposed to do?
 
            TONY GIBSON:  Don’t put yourself in any bad positions.
 
            For her, it is new.  You don’t want to take the chance of wrecking the car, nobody does.  Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it.
 
            She’s going to have to put herself three‑wide, four‑wide, there’s no way around it.  If we tear it up, we tear it up.  We have another one on the truck.
 
            You can’t run scared all the time.  She’s going to have to get out there and race.  Definitely we’re not going to put ourselves in very bad positions.  If it looks like it’s getting hairy, she can get out, go to the back and ride.  We’re in a position to do that.
 
            She needs to get out there just like every driver here.  The Gen‑6 car is new.  The Chevy SS is really fast, won last night.  Even the guys that ran last night still don’t have the answers.  There’s still a lot of things that are not answered.  She’s going to have to get out there and let us know what we got to do to make the car comfortable for her, two‑wide, three‑wide, whatever it takes.
 
            Q.  Danica, another of your moments at the brink of history, May of 2005, quickest at practice, everybody is anticipating you win the pole.  You catch a gust of wind at one, end up qualifying fourth.  People were talking about gusts of wind today.  Were you okay with that or did you have to battle some puffs out there?
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  Everything seemed pretty smooth.  I didn’t notice anything that threw me offline or made me move.  The car moves around through the corner a little bit.  It’s hard to keep a perfect arc so you don’t hit the apron.
 
            Coming off of two, I felt like the car felt bound up.  I let it out a little bit more than I would have.  If that was wind, I don’t know.  But that was something that felt a little bit different compared to yesterday.
 
            But I think ultimately at the end of the day, too, everything happens for a reason.  In fact, I thought about Indy ’05, thought about how I was the favorite to win the pole going in.  I thought, you know what, maybe I wasn’t ready.  Maybe my life would have changed and been different because of that happening or whatever.  I just feel like I’m comfortable, I’m cool.  I’ve been around for a long time now.  Maybe now was the time.
 
            Q.  Launched off of that Indy of ’05, with the Ricky stuff this past week, and this.
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  There’s a lot going on.
 
            Q.  Because of all you’ve been through, the stage you’ve had, is the limelight really your comfort zone?  Are you maybe at your greatest comfort zone when there’s a whole bunch of stuff like this going on around you?
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  You’ve been writing about me for a long time.  I think that’s a perceptive observation.  I think when pressure’s on, when the spotlight is on, I do feel like it ultimately ends up becoming some of my better moments, better races, better results.
 
            I don’t know why that is.  I’m grateful for it because the opposite of that would be I’m guessing I probably wouldn’t be here today, and I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in.
 
            I guess thanks Mom and Dad for the genetics, thank you for all that.  I just understand if you put the hard work in before you go out there that you can have a little bit of peace of mind knowing you’ve done everything you can, and just let it happen.
 
            Q.  You’ve had so many significant historical things.  You’ve come through every time.
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  Makes me sound kind of old.
 
            Q.  In your short career, how about that, you’ve had all these different things.  You’re about to embark on a week where you’re going to get a ton of attention.
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  What am I going to have to do?  Go places?  I told them, I get Monday and Tuesday off.  I need to recoup.
 
            Q.  Do you really think you’re going to get Monday and Tuesday off now?
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  I better (laughter).  Don’t be scheming over there.  I feel a scheme coming on over there.  I’ll be the young rookie, it’s okay.
 
            Q.  Can you speak about all these various things you’ve been able to accomplish.
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  Thank you and I’m grateful for all those things.  I feel like, first and foremost, I grew up with good values and good goals.  I was brought up to be the fastest driver, not the fastest girl.  That was instilled in me from very young, from the beginning.
 
            Then I feel like thriving in those moments where the pressure’s on has also been a help for me.  I also feel like I’ve been lucky in my career to be with good teams and have good people around me.  I don’t think any of it would have been possible without that.
 
            For those reasons, I’ve been lucky enough to make history, be the first woman to do many things.  I really just hope that I don’t stop doing that.  We have a lot more history to make.  We are excited to do it.
 
            Q.  You talked a little bit about fate earlier, what’s meant to be.  A lot of times you’re
not in control of what happens, particularly at Daytona.  What is your game plan?
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  Jesus, take the wheel.  Serious.  Go ahead, sorry.  It is Sunday and I didn’t go to church today, so…
 
            Q.  What is the game plan then since sometimes you really don’t control your destiny here?
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  And I think that’s part of the lure of the Daytona 500 and races like this.  There’s a lot of people that get a little taste of success or potentially getting to Victory Lane.  That’s what keeps us coming back for more.  I always feel that was what was special about Indy.  There’s so many pit stops, so much that could happen, so many ways that it could play out, there’s a lot of drivers that taste victory but don’t get there.  You just have a love for it.  Not to mention that it’s the biggest race of the year.
 
            Q.  (No microphone.)
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  It got a little crazy.  I mean, I think I expected it to be even more crazy.  Didn’t seem like the cars got unhooked easy.  That was a good save by Tony.  That’s what I remember about last night.  Unfortunately there was a little accordion effect.
 
            We’re going to do everything we can.  I understand my position.  I have a good car.  Tony has given me a good car.  I’m going to do my best to keep it clean, keep it out of trouble, get a feel for the traffic throughout the day, and hopefully put myself in a position, position‑wise and knowledge‑wise, to do a good job and bring it home where it started at the end of Sunday.
 
            But I have a lot to learn, too.  I understand that.  I mean, I have Jeff Gordon starting next to me.  I have, oh, my God, a herd of them behind me.  I’m a rookie and I am going to be learning as much as I can for 499 or maybe till the last 10 laps.  When you implement your plan, it depends where you are.  Hopefully at the end of 500 we’re rolling and we have a chance.
 
            Q.  Has the significance of what you did, which is make history, has that really sunk in yet?  What kind of message would you like that to be to young racers, female racers, coming up?  As a follow‑up, what are you fixing for dinner?
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  I’m not fixing anything tonight.  In fact, I’m probably going to have some beers.  I think somebody is making me a sandwich.  I went to Cracker Barrel and I’m glad I ate the bacon because it’s probably what is keeping me alive right now.  And the pole position, too.  I need a sandwich really bad.  I’m getting close to dinner anyway.  Pole position was like a free diet.
 
            What was the first part of your question?  That one was much more fun to answer.
 
            Q.  Has the significance of what you’ve done sunk in?
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  I mean, I’ve had the experience with mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, listening to them say the reason why they’re here as a family today is because of me out there, whether it brings the girls out, the guys out, whatever it is, I don’t care.  That’s nice to hear.
 
            It’s also nice to hear families talk about the fact that a little girl might say, But, mommy, daddy, that’s a girl out there.  Then they can have the conversation with their kid about you can do anything you want and being different doesn’t by any means not allow you to follow your dreams.  I love to think that conversation happens in households because of something I’m doing.
 
            Q.  Where does this rank among your career accomplishments?
 
            TONY GIBSON:  Pretty high up.  My wife asked me that same question.  I’ve been fortunate enough to win a lot of races, the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, some championships and stuff.  But this is really, really high for mebecause I feel for some reason we’re the underdogs.  When we won a championship with Kulwicki, we went into that race with nobody giving us a shot.
 
            When we left testing down here, I knew we had a shot.  You still never know.  I told Danica, bring back the same car.  I could tell she was a little nervous when I told her that.  I was nervous, too.  But to come back here and pick up where we left off testing, to run good yesterday, you still have that little bit of nervousness of can you repeat what you ran yesterday in practice after you go through the room of doom and all that.
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  I love that, room and doom.
 
            TONY GIBSON:  To get all that accomplished, come down here, it means a lot to me.  It’s a tremendous feeling right now.  I’m just happy for my team.  I’m happy for Danica.  Like we talked after all this, I told her, we know there’s going to be low points, but the key to success for us is to enjoy the highs and pat each other on the back and enjoy it.  When we hit our lows, pick each other up and get to the next one.
 
            Right now we’re enjoying this and it’s real big for me.  I’ve accomplished a lot of things, but this ranks up there in the top two or three.
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  Big accomplishment to be a part of for me.  So much that goes into it than just the driver.
 
            As I told Tony, I said, I’m going to keep pounding this one home, I said, You built a fast car and I’m just lucky I got to drive it.  So we’re going to enjoy this pole and we’re going to get to enjoy it for a week.  But it definitely ranks very high.
 
            Q.  You’re such a cool customer under pressure, yet you admittedly had some nerves.  Where did they stem from today? You blazed so many trails in motorsports, how does this compare to your other accomplishments?
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  I was literally listening to you going, Nerves, nerves.
 
            You know, nerves today were really just about I feel more nervous when I know that there’s more on the line, and I knew that we had a good enough car to qualify very well around the pole today.  So for me it was just don’t make a stupid little mistake, don’t hit the apron, don’t use too much road, all the way up against the wall around the outside.  Little things like that.
 
            If we weren’t in contention, you do
n’t think about it that much.  Knowing it can come down to a hundredth, a driver can make that difference.  That’s where you hope you’ve done everything right.  That was my nerves.
 
            Q.  Comparison to leading a lap at Indy and winning Motegi?
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  This is a pretty big stage.  There’s a lot of people that benefit from this and a lot of people see it.  I feel like there’s a lot of people win more so than ever with this one as far as the team, Tony, Go Daddy, Hendrick, Chevy. There’s a lot of people that benefit from this because of the big platform that it is.  It’s not just like the high point of my name or what I’ve done.  There’s going to be a whole story here.
 
            It’s a cool day.  I’ve been lucky enough and very blessed in my career to have had a lot of really, really cool days, a lot of things that in 20 years ‑ got to be careful here ‑ in a really long time I can reflect on and be very grateful.  I was going to say when I’m old and decrepit.
 
            My dad said he was going to show up with a lot more gray hairs when qualifying is over with.  My hairstylist the other day said he saw one.  I cried a little (laughter).
 
            Q.  You’ve seen a lot in your career, so this might be hard to answer.  This was obviously a big deal with the way it was received after you were on the pole.  You had Mike Helton come up and congratulate you.  You tend to downplay the significance, racer first, woman second.  Was there a moment that felt surreal to you, Wow, this is happening?
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  I think some of the coolest feeling was just being able to go into qualifying.
 
            I love it when people put me on the radar, I do.  I think it’s good.  It’s a confidence boost when people are saying, I heard Mr. Childress say he thought I was the one to lose the pole.  When people put you on the radar, that feels good to me.
 
            I like that after practice in January and yesterday after practice that people were saying I was the one that could go out there and get the pole.  That to me was some of the coolest feelings.
 
            Today was about executing and doing everything right, just having a clean run.  So, I don’t know, that’s kind of what feels best to me.  It was a little too nervous to sit on the pole throughout the whole thing.  Watching all those cars, that’s nerve‑wracking, especially on an empty stomach.  What did I decide to do?  I decided to go workout.  I mean, really?  I’m old enough to know better (smiling).
 
 
            Q.  After three days of the romance, romance talk, is it refreshing or does it matter at all to you now the reset button gets hit and everybody is now going to be talking about you, the racer, the driver?
 
            DANICA PATRICK:  I definitely think it’s good for the team and it’s good for Go Daddy, it’s good for NASCAR.  It’s good for the race itself.  When they mention who is on the pole, they’re going to mention when the race is.  That’s good for the whole sport.
 
            I don’t mind answering questions about the other stuff.  But I get that it’s not about racing.  It’s nice to change the tone of the questions because of what’s going on on the track.  That is a really good sign and I like that.
 
            KERRY THARP:  Congratulations, Danica Patrick and Tony Gibson.  Thank you.
 
An interview with:
TONY STEWART
 
            KERRY THARP:  Tony Stewart, whose teams performed exceptionally well during qualifying.  Stewart‑Haas Racing qualifying first, will be on the pole for the Daytona 500, with Danica Patrick.  The fourth fastest time today was turned in by Ryan Newman.  The fifth fastest time was turned in by team owner Tony Stewart.
 
            All three of your cars in the top five as far as speed, Tony.  Got to be just a testament to the hard work, the commitment to excellence put in by this race team.
 
            TONY STEWART:  Yeah, it really is.  Just really proud today more than anything.  Very appreciative of everybody at Stewart‑Haas Racing, the Hendrick engine and chassis department for all the work that they have put forth to get ready for Daytona.
 
            This was, not only for our organization, but for all the organizations and teams, this was probably one of the most difficult winters that I can remember from my 15 years of going through off‑seasons here for teams to actually get prepared to come down here to Daytona.
 
            And to have three cars in the top five like that, just really, really appreciative and excited that we were able to bring three consistent cars down like this.
 
            So appreciative to the people at Mobil 1.  I honestly believe that’s what made the difference today.  We’ve been working with those guys for two years now.  To come down here to Daytona, they work just as hard to help us on the lubricant side as we do on building the cars.  I think we make a great team.  I think today showed that.  It’s their commitment, too, that has helped us get here.
 
            Like I say, I’m proud of my teams, my drivers, all of our crews.  Greg Zipadelli has worked his guts out all winter with the crew chiefs, Matt Borland, Tony Gibson, Steve (Addington), have had a rough winter trying to get everything ready.
 
            Real appreciative and excited of their hard work.
 
            KERRY THARP:  We’ll take questions from Tony.
 
            Q.  With these three immaculately prepared cars, you’re accustomed to winning poles; Ryan is as well.  Can you talk about the fact you had three great cars out there, but Danica is still the one that had to drive it to the pole.
 
            TONY STEWART:  Yeah, it’s been fun to watch the telecast today because they’re showing the Dartfish.  We can watch each other’s laps. Her car, she just did a really good job of carrying speed off of turn two, where she made all of her time up was down the backstretch.  Carrying that speed off of two is a big key to that.
 
            I think all three of us ran great laps.  But I don’t know if she did something a little different or if it was Tony Gibson and her guys, but as a package they did a great job.
 
            It’s easy to come down here in your first or second year as a driver and clip the apron trying to run too tight a line or do something and scrub speed off.  That’s something she did an awesome job.  Watching her lap, she runs so smooth.
 
            We talked about it two years ago when we ran the Nationwide race together, I said she was probably one of the easiest people to push around the racetrack, she runs such a smooth line.  That’s what you have to do here.
 
            She did her job behind the wheel, for sure.  She did a good job.
 
            Q.  Tony, no secret you get your engines from Hendrick.  They build your chassis.  You guys were all faster than the Hendrick cars.  What was the difference?
 
            TONY STEWART:  Like I mentioned a minute ago, I honestly believe it was the preparation at our shop.  I don’t think we’re doing a bunch of stuff different than the Hendrick guys are.  But our guys did as good a job obviously, if not better.
 
            But I really truly believe it’s the Mobil 1 products.  We’ve been working really hard the last year trying to find stuff specifically for restrictor plate tracks.  The technology that we get from those guys, it is so cool to have a partner that not only is painted on the hood of the car but can actually help our racecars go faster.  That’s what we’ve got with those guys.
 
            The Mobil 1 people have done an awesome job.  I told them last night they should be proud, the way we drove from the back to the front.  Everybody can have the same car.  Nobody drove from the back to the front last night like we did.  I think that’s what made the difference.
 
            Q.  Tony, with no disrespect to the intensity you said has occurred throughout the off‑season, was today’s effort the easiest part of Speedweeks from a driver standpoint?  Is Thursday’s Duels maybe the most stressful of what we see from a driver?
 
            TONY STEWART:  I think it progresses.  Today definitely is the easiest day, no doubt.  Thursday is intense just because you’re trying to win the race, you’re trying to get the best finish you can, but at the same time you’re trying to make sure you take care of your racecar.
 
            The 500 is still the most stress that the driver goes through.  It’s definitely no secret.
 
            The thing is, we say we don’t make a difference today, but we all do as drivers.  The stuff we have to do compared to what we have to do any other week is fractional as drivers.  We have to hit three shifts and be smooth for two laps.  It’s stuff that we’re used to having to do for 500 laps at racetracks.
 
            It really is more about what the teams and their preparation does, that is what shows up today.  Thursday and Sunday, it’s their preparation, but it’s us making sure we’re doing the right things.  That brings more of us back into the equation Thursday and Sunday.
 
           Q.  Can you balance the pride in ownership of pole winning, three out of the top five cars, against your own envy and desire to win the pole and the race?
 
            TONY STEWART:  I’ll be honest.  The pole didn’t matter to me personally.  It was more as an owner, wanting Danica to be in the top two today.  That way she’s locked in, we don’t have to worry about what happens on Thursday.
 
            To me, my eye is still on next Sunday.  Ownership side this Sunday, next Sunday I want it from the driver’s side.
 
            Q.  Tony, this is going to be a very big story nationally for the next week because of the historical significance and allthat.  This is good for your team as well.  Can you talk about the attention and how big this is really going to be here for the next few days.
 
            TONY STEWART:  You guys know the significance more than we do.  But just the history books in itself, you know, it’s something also as an owner that we’re proud to be a part of.
 
            We’re proud for her, too.  That’s a huge accomplishment.  It’s not like it’s been 15 or 20 years she’s been trying to do this.  It’s her second trip to Daytona here in a Cup car.  She’s made history in the sport.  That’s stuff that we’re proud of being a part of with her.  It’s something she should have a huge amount of pride in.
 
            It’s never been done.  There’s only one person that can be the first to do anything.  Doesn’t matter how many do it after you do, accomplish that same goal.  The first one that does always has that little bit more significance to it because you were the first.
 
            Q.  From your experience here, when you have a car good enough to win the Daytona 500, when do you know it?  Do you know it already?  Does it take Thursday?
 
            TONY STEWART:  I think it’s more next Thursday.  It gives you an idea.  But even at that, you still only see half of the equation.  You have the second qualifying race.  I think the bigger the packs are, the more things change.  Like I say, we’ll see half the field on each race Thursday, then Sunday you’re going to see 43 cars.  I think you learn early in the 500 what you got, then it’s a matter of positioning yourself at the end of the race, middle parts of the race to be in the right spot at the end.  I think you do find out, but as much as we’d like to think it’s Thursday with these cars, I don’t think it’s going to be Thursday like it has been the last couple years.  I think it’s going to betransferred to Sunday before you really know.
 
            Q.  You hear on great teams about the chemistry you have.  A lot of people in your organization talk about the chemistry you have.  How would you describe it?  Almost fraternity like, you’re so close.  Talk about that, how that’s been able to develop so quickly.
 
            TONY STEWART:  This will probably be a sound byte for you guys.  I think Danica has two boyfriends, she has Ricky and she has Tony Gibson. They are all but holding hands in the shop when they’re there every day together.
 
            It’s good for me to see as an owner.  I like to see that chemistry that you’re talking about.
 
            Ryan is happy being back with Matt.  Tony and Danica are happy.  I’m happy with Ste
ve.  That’s something that having three teams that the drivers and crew chiefs are getting along, happy to be paired up where they’re at, that’s something that goes a long way.
 
            It’s not this early that we’ll really see that, but you’ll see that in the first 8, 10, 12 weeks of the season, of how powerful those pairings really are.
 
            Q.  (No microphone.)
 
            TONY STEWART:  My personality, whether it’s good or bad, transfers everywhere we go (laughter).
 
            But I think we’ve always had the mindset.  I learned a lot from Joe Gibbs.  I said that every year I’ve been a car owner.  I learned a lot from him.  We said it as a two‑car team, we said it as a three‑car team.  We’re three separate racecar teams, but we’re all working together for a common cause and goal.
 
            That’s what makes days like today so special, when you have all three teams that run that well together.  We’re all sharing in the success.  Our team is sharing with Danica.  Ryan’s team is sharing with Danica.  She’s sharing our success.  We’ve got a lot to be proud of, and those pairings are a part of that.
 
            Q.  One of your fellow team owners this morning said the media and the general public underestimate how good she’s going to be this year.  She may not be top five every weekend, but she’ll be a solid top 15 runner everywhere.  Is that how you have it figured?  Do you know more about it than we do?
 
            TONY STEWART:  Oh, no, I’ve listened to you guys.  You guys definitely know more than we do (smiling).
 
            Honestly, I honestly don’t look at it as a number.  I’m not going to say top 15 or top 12.  That to me is a number.
 
            More so than the finishing position I think is looking through the course of the race.  There’s so many things that can happen.  Something happens at the end of the race that can throw that number off.  I think it’s just watching the course of the race.
 
            I think she’s got potential.  I think she’s got a lot to look forward to.  I think she’s going to turn some heads this summer.  Whether it’s consistent or whether it’s one or two races at a time, none of us really know.
 
            It’s as much my guess as your guess at this point.  But I believe in her.  The team believes in her.  Our organization believes in her.  We’re going to do everything we can to make her as consistent and fast every week.  The thing that I caution everybody is, everybody puts high expectations.  Since she’s got here, everybody has put her under such a strong microscope.
 
            Nobody said, Tony Stewart is going to be a top-15 car every week the first or second year.  Nobody cared.  But everybody is so focused on what she’s going to do.  You just strictly have to wait and see.  It’s still a rookie year for her.  That makes it hard to predict where she’s going to be.
 
            We feel like she’s got the tools and mindset to go out and do a good job each week.
 
            Q.  Tony, given how she performed yesterday in the practices, limited time, when you walked out of here did you get an inkling that this was possible?
 
            TONY STEWART:  All you had to do was look at the time.  She ran the fastest lap of the day.
 
            We knew it was possible.  The thing that we didn’t know is was anybody not showing their hand until today.  After watching everybody’s runs today, I think everybody pretty muchshowed their hand yesterday either in the first session or somewhere in thesecond session, showed what they had, knew what they could run.
 
            If I’d have known today was going to be like it shook out, I would have rested a lot easier last night.  We felt confident that even if she didn’t get the pole, she was going to be able to stay in the top six I thought at that point.
 
            Q.  She said she was nervous.  Did you detect any nervousness from her today when you saw her?
 
            TONY STEWART:  No.  Like I said, the talent that she has, she had to use a fraction of it to run her two laps.  If she was nervous, it was more for the guys than her ability what she had to go out and do.
 
            I didn’t really detect it.  She texted me after the Unlimited last night, talking about the race.  Seemed like her normal joking, having fun self.
 
            Q.  Undoubtedly there will be naysayers who point to the fact that the car at Daytona is more important than the driver.  Why is that not totally accurate?  Does it matter on a day like this?
 
            TONY STEWART:  I think I touched on that earlier.  All of us can pretty much do the same thing here.  We’re using a fraction of the talent we all have at this level to go out and do two laps of qualifying.  That percentage changes later in the week.
 
            You can have the fastest car, but if you don’t know where to be and when to be there, you can be at the back, or you can have a car that may not be the fastest and running up front because youknow where to be to win.
 
            Naysayers are naysayers.  They’re people that are unhappy with their life and are trying to bring somebody else’s life down to their level.
 
            Q.  As far as your team goes with all the changes and everything, with the testing as it went along, did you get a feeling that your team was maybe a little bit ahead of everybody else?
 
            TONY STEWART:  No.  You just honestly don’t know who is showing their hand.  We used to come down here to testing, when we just had a minimum spoiler angle, guys would run two or three degrees extraspoiler angle, it made it look like they didn’t have speed.  When we would come back, they would lay it down for qualifying where it was legal, at the best.
 
            You just never know what people are doing.  You never know what they’re doing at test sessions.  A lot of testing is A, B things, not trying to run the fastest lap, just trying to see what works,what doesn’t work.  When you go back home, you look through all that data and put the package together for w
hat you’re going to bring down for the race.
 
            You can look at what the testing results are, but they’re never 100% of what could happen when you come down for a race weekend.
 
            Q.  Tony, Kevin Harvick was asked about Danica’s run today.  He said he was able to talk about the racing, that was great.  Is it nice for you to know for the majority of the next week the headlines are going to say Daytona 500 pole winner Danica Patrick or does that not matter?
 
            TONY STEWART:  You guys are in charge of what are going to be the headlines each day.
 
            I’m excited about this week.  I thought last night was a fun race to run.  I’m glad we’re not actually pushing each other.  The cars still get a little nervous when guys are pushing.  It doesn’t seem as effective.  It actually seemed to be the opposite of what you would think, versus when we used to push, we gained speed.  It seems when we physically are pushing each other, the cars slow down.
 
            You’d have to get Newman in here for that.  It’s way over myhead.  I don’t understand why they slow down when we push, but they do.  We had two cases last night when we had somebody pushing us, it actually slowed the speed of the car down.  It was pretty consistent across the board from manufacturer to manufacturer.
 
            I saw Jim Campbell (U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports) sneak in over there.  He should be proud over there.  Chevy has done an awesome job.  It’s easy today to talk about the engine builder, talk about the chassis builders, the people at the shop.  Today we actually get to thank ourmanufacturers again for building us a car that is a fast racecar again, it’s not just a car with stickers on it.  We actually have an SS, a production car, that’s fast.  That was proven today, too.
 
            KERRY THARP:  Tony Stewart, congratulations.  Strong effort today from Stewart‑Haas.  Thank you.
 
An interview with:
JEFF GORDON
 
KERRY THARP:  Starting second, the outside pole position, will be Jeff Gordon.  This is the fourth time that Jeff will be starting on the front row for the Daytona 500.  He won the pole in 1999 and started second in 2006 and 2011.
 
            Jeff, congratulations.  Got to feel really good about the performance coming out of the gates that quick and being up front for next Sunday’s race.
 
            JEFF GORDON:  Absolutely.  This is big, to be on the front row at Daytona.  It’s an accomplishment in itself just because of how many people put so much hard work into it, not just from our team but all the teams that are out here.
 
            When you have all winter long to prepare, you have the biggest race of the year as your first race, there’s a lot of effort that goes into those two laps.
 
            I’m very proud of my team.  Very proud of Hendrick engines, to see how well the new Chevy SS and Hendrick engines performed today was fantastic.
 
            We’re here to win the Daytona 500.  Sitting on the front row is a great step towards accomplishing that goal.
 
            It’s great to be a part of history with Danica being on the pole.  I think we all know how popular she is, what this will do for our sport.  Congratulations to her.  Proud to be on there with her.
 
            KERRY THARP:  We’ll take questions.
 
            Q.  Jeff, do you come away feeling a bit surprised with that lap, thinking, I could have gotten the pole, or do you come away pleasantly surprised?
 
            JEFF GORDON:  When it’s Daytona qualifying, I should never question Alan Gustafson and this team.  With the way testing went, we were so‑so.  The way yesterday went, I didn’t feel like we had a shot at the pole.  So my expectations were kind of low.
 
            When I started the lap, the car definitely carried good momentum and rpms.  I thought this is going to be certainly better than where we were yesterday.  I thought the wind was in our favor.  The gusts were huge today.  If you got a big gust, it could really affect your lap.  I really think that’s what happened to Tony.  When he came around to the back straightaway, he had a pretty big headwind.
 
            So, yeah, I’m surprised.  I didn’t expect to be that close.  I told Alan, if I had known we might havebeen that close, I might have driven across the apron to win the pole (laughter).
 
            Listen, I’m thrilled.  This team is thrilled.  It’s a great accomplishment just being on the front row.
 
            Q.  Some of the TV commentators indicated they thought that you might have caught some kind of a puff or gust of headwind yourself somewhere that maybe left you alittle bit short.  You’re saying the wind was totally in your favor.
 
            JEFF GORDON:  Until we go back and look at all the stats, we can look at what I call Dartfish, the TV calls it ghost imaging, we’ll be able to run our lap and see exactly what the wind did during that lap, see if it did affect us.  But, yeah, then you’d be a little disappointed.
 
           But, hey, that’s the luck of the draw.  That’s just kind of the way it goes qualifying here at Daytona and Talladega, that you always understand.
 
            Like I said, I didn’t have high expectations going into it ’cause I just didn’t think, based on practice times, we had a shot at the front row. I’m sitting here happy regardless of what any of those stats may show.
 
            Q.  You’ve been around the sport a while.  Danica is a rookie.  Can you rank what this means to our sport to see the first female ever in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series score a pole, especially at the Daytona 500?
 
            JEFF GORDON:  Yeah, as popular as she is, too.  She comes into this with racing background, with a tremendous amount of exposure, momentum, just popularity that we’ve never seen before, especially from a female driver.
 
            For her to then follow that up or start the season off with a pole, it’s huge.  It’s big.  Surprised you’re even talking to me right now, right (laughter)?  I’m glad I didn’t win the pole, we would have messed that story all up (smilin
g).
 
            I’ve always been a big believer in what’s good for the sport is good for all of us.  So this is great for the sport.  The rest of us will benefit from that, as well.  I’m proud to be on the front row this year side‑by‑side with Danica.
 
            Q.  Jeff, you jokingly referred to yourself as the fastest guy today.  Do you allow yourself to step back and savor the moment, the historic magnitude of this feat, allow her to have her moment in the spotlight?  When you came away yesterday, having seen the way she performed, did you get a sense she was going to be a strong contender for the pole?
 
            JEFF GORDON:  I didn’t think anybody else had a shot.  I was surprised we got as close as we did.  They were fast yesterday, put down a very good lap today.  When she made her lap, I was pretty sure that no one was going to beat that.
 
            Yeah, you know, I always think that you never really quite grasp history in the making at the moment.  Everybody maybe understands it and captures it in different ways.  For me, it’s easy to recognize looking at the media surrounding her, the hype that’s been built into the Daytona 500 as well as the last day of her being so fast in practice, then all day today.
 
            To back that up and for her to pull it off, I think we won’t really know until you guys write all your stories and we see what’s on the front page, the headlines in the news, on the Internet, everything else.  But I think it’s obviously a big moment in history and, like I said, a great boost for the sport.  It’s awesome.
 
            Q.  You mentioned drama earlier this morning.  Talking about going through inspection.
 
            JEFF GORDON:  Our car fell off the jack onto the jack stand and completely tore our rocker panel off as we were getting ready to pull the car out of the garage.  I came in with my kids this morning just keeping them busy.  My car was the only one in the garage area of all the other cars that were going through inspection.  I went over and Alan was covered in dust.  He was like, You don’t want to come over here right now.  We had that to start our day.
 
            Then they got all that fixed, then we had to go through inspection.  I don’t even know, I didn’t even talk to him, but I don’t know what kind of issues we had, but I knew the car was late getting out to pit road.
 
            Q.  As the years wind down, what is going to be a good year for Jeff Gordon with everything you’ve accomplished in this sport?  What do you still have left to accomplish?
 
            JEFF GORDON:  I’ve never won a Sprint Cup ever since they’ve gone to this format.  I’ve come close in ’07, but we got beat.  Obviously to me there’s only one thing left, and that’s to win the Sprint Cup championship.
 
            What I’ve realized as I get older, the things that matter to me, I like to make other people proud, people that put a lot of effort into our race team, my parents along the way, crew chiefs like Ray Evernham, my wife, my kids.  Those are the things that motivate me, drive me to work harder and accomplish goals that I haven’t been able to accomplish.
 
            So I think Alan is one of the best if not the best crew chiefs out there right now.  I think he deserves to be a championship‑caliber crew chief or recognized crew chief.  I love taking my kids and family to Victory Lane and experience the spoils ofgreat accomplishments like that.
 
            Q.  Jeff, it’s probably likely that Danica is going to be a little nervous come next Sunday at the green flag.  As someone who has started up front, when you were really young, will you say anything to her about it?  I know there’s no gamesmanship, but are you okay with how that could go?
 
            JEFF GORDON:  There’s a lot of things that are going to happen prior to next Sunday.  We’ve already seen what can happen in 15 laps of the race last night, testing.
 
            First you have to get through the Duels.  For me, we’re locked in the front row.  I’m not going to be able to breathe until we’re looking at the green flag waving, sitting on the front row.
 
            The good thing about being on the front row is that you’re locked into the Daytona 500.  The downside is you don’t want to put your mind into protection mode that I don’t want to mess this car up because I want this car to be our car for the Daytona 500.  If you want to win the Daytona 500, you have to practice like you’regoing to win the Daytona 500, race in the Duels like you’re going to win the Daytona 500, do everything to prepare yourself and your team to win the Daytona 500.  Sometimes being in the front row can be a hindrance to that mindset.
 
            We’re going to put a lot of effort in, Alan, me, the team, Rick, myself, are going to put a lot of effort into how we approach the Duels.  Once you get through that, we’ll start thinking about how we’re going to approach the Daytona 500.
 
            If I were going to talk to Danica about anything, I’d say what I just said.  A lot left to do and how you want to approach the Duels.
 
            Q.  I wanted to ask you about the man of the hour, which would be Tony Stewart.  He drove well last night in the race.
 
            JEFF GORDON:  I don’t even get to be the man of the hour.  Shoot.  I thought I at least had that part accomplished (smiling).
 
            Q.  We’ll give you the fastest guy.
 
            JEFF GORDON:  I’ll take that, but that’s not always a good thing (laughter).  I couldn’t resist.  What were you saying (smiling)?
 
            Q.  Tony Stewart, man of the hour.  Three of the top five cars in qualifying.  Showed again last night how good he can be in the draft.  Seems like there’s an Earnhardt quality here.  He’s never won the race.  Do you look at him and wonder how he hasn’t won it?
 
            JEFF GORDON:  Just like Earnhardt, give him time.  The greats of motorsports, of this sport, find a way to win the big races.  He’s so good on the restrictor plates.
 
            To me, I thought they were shining last night, the 14 team.  I thought he looked to me like he had the car to beat.  Yeah, you know, he went to the inside lane and pr
obably should have stayed on the outside lane.  But odds are more in favor that he’s going to make the right moves and be in position to win the Daytona 500 before his career is over if not this coming up week.  I look for him to be very, very strong.
 
            Q.  If this wasn’t a brand‑new car, if you could just park on Thursday, would it even be considered to make sure you made it to Sunday?  Also, how important is the next practice going to be in everything you do?
 
            JEFF GORDON:  I mean, every moment you can get on the track and learn something is important.  I don’t think you’re going to see us getting ourselves into a large pack of cars on Wednesday practice.
 
            But Thursday, you know, it’s a race.  When you go into a race, you’re racing to win.  I think on Thursday ‑ and this is what we have to talk about ‑ it is a very good opportunity to learn what we need to do to win the Daytona 500.  But it’s also very risky to put yourself in some of those positions.
 
            You have to go in approaching it to learn all that you can, build momentum and confidence.  You do that by winning that race.  You’re not just sitting on the front row, but you go and win that race.  That’s the best thing you can do.
 
            But you got to be smart about it, too.  You get shuffled back, find yourself in a bad situation, you try to fight through it, stick your nose somewhere it probably doesn’t belong, tear the racecar up, that just wasn’t very smart.  It’s a fine line between those.
 
            Honestly, if we didn’t have to go out onto the racetrack other than practice, go out there and sit on the front row on Sunday, I’d be fine with that.  Like any other race, I would be totally fine with that.  But that’s not the way Daytona works.
 
            Q.  You mentioned about the uncertainty of the Daytona 500.  Does starting up front take away any of the worries at all?
 
            JEFF GORDON:  Starting up front in the Duels as well as the Daytona 500 is a great thing.  When you look at how the race unfolded last night, I think the way that the drafting and races are going to unfold on restrictor plates just in general this year, Ithink being up front is a premium.  I think it always is, but I think possibly even more so this year with this aero package.
 
            Q.  Janet Guthrie wrote about the icy reception she received from drivers when she tried to break in in the ’70s.  What do you think has led to some of the changes in attitude toward having a female driver, minority drivers?  What’s led to this change over the last 20 years?
 
            JEFF GORDON:  I mean, I think that question can be answered throughout sports and throughout history, our culture, what’s accepted, unexpected over the years.  Not just unexpected, but accepted.
 
            I think for me it’s not about the color of your skin or your gender, it’s about your abilities.  You have to prove that.  I think Danica’s a talented racecar driver.  She proved that by getting herself into IndyCar, doing what she did in IndyCar.  She has taken on quite a task to take on stockcars that are completely foreign to her.  I kind of admire somebody that’s willing to take that leap.
 
            No different than the way I look at Sam Hornish, Juan Pablo Montoya, any of the guys that have been driving open‑wheel cars most of their career and then get in a stockcar.  It’s completely different.  But I love people that are willing to take chances and challenge themselves.
 
            That’s more of the way that I look at Danica, not just accepting a female.
 
            KERRY THARP:  Thank you, Jeff Gordon.  Congratulations on a great showing today.  Look forward to seeing you the remainder of Speedweeks.
 

Chevy Racing–Daytona 500 Qualifying– Danica Patrick

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
DAYTONA 500 QUALIFYING
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER NOTES & QUOTES
FEBRUARY 17, 2013
 
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED ON THE POLE
THAT WAS A FAST LAP, HOW WAS IT?
“Everything went smooth. This is very much a moment to talk about being proud of the guys who prepare the car. For us drivers, it’s very important for us to hit your shifts, and be smooth, and all that out there. But, there is a certain amount of speed that the car has as potential, and that is what you are getting to. As far the GoDaddy crew, Hendrick for the power and Chevy with the car, those are the elements that are really important. The driver plays a part, but a small part.”
 
WERE YOU JUST TRYING TO BE SMOOTH OUT THERE?
“You are just trying not to scrub off any speed. You go all the way around the top and give yourself as much time and space to build the momentum up, and get the car really rolling. You are just trying to run as little distance as you can without scrubbing too much speed off in the corners. That is what I did and hopefully it’s enough. I think either way there is a lot to be proud of for the GoDaddy guys.  They obviously prepared a car that has been fairly fast and sweet since we got here in January.”
 
HOW DO YOU SPEND THE REST OF THE TIME WAITING FOR EVERYONE ELSE TO QUALIFY?
“No matter where I am, Daytona, or qualifying anywhere, I absolutely despise waiting for qualifying to be over. Especially when it is going pretty well, because there is only down to go. So I know of course I am going to pay attention and be watching. But I’ll probably find something to keep my time busy.  Outside of doing media. I think of relaxing and waiting to see what happens in the end I think is what I am going to do.”
 
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE, IF THIS HOLDS UP, OF BEING THE FIRST WOMAN TO WIN A POLE HERE?
“Those are nice things. That’s nice. I think more than anything, I heard a stat yesterday, that getting the pole at Daytona is like winning the fourth biggest race. For publicity wise it’s the Daytona 500, I think the Coke 600, the All Star Race, and then I think it is the Daytona 500 pole. For someone like GoDaddy who has been really patient waiting for me to get to full-time to Sprint Cup, it’s very important for someone like that. All the people that have been supportive along the way. For me that’s who it really pays off for.”
 
THOUGHTS, PLANS, STRATEGIES FOR THE DUELS:
“I think we saw a pretty good showing from Tony last night as far as a teammate goes with the car, the feel that he had. Now, I am not Tony Stewart. But, I think that it is always good to see when your teammates are running well. I talked to him last night and he thinks we are all going to have really strong race cars. I trust him. He’s been doing this for a long time. Let’s hope that happens. I haven’t done any drafting yet, so the drafting that happens Wednesday will be the first of them. Hopefully it goes well.”
 
ARE YOU RELIEVED AFTER THAT RUN?
“The relief will come if I’m on the pole at the end. That is where the relief comes.”
 
WHAT ABOUT IF YOU JUST GET IN THE RACE AND YOU HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT?
“If I’m in the race and there is nothing to worry about I think that is always a nice little… even if I was eighth and you just have to be smooth and keep it in the race and there are only a couple of cars that won’t make it.  It could be you.  I have been there before.  I have been at Indy when it could be you and you could miss it because of rain.  You could miss it because it didn’t go well, I’ve been there.  I understand that anything is possible.  It would be nice to know going into this week and next weekend especially for the crew and for the sponsors that there is nothing to worry about.”
 
I NOTICED WHEN YOU GOT OUT OF THE CAR YOU WERE PRETTY BUSINESS LIKE HAVE YOU ALLOWED YOURSELF TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT THIS YET OR DO YOU NEED TO WAIT UNTIL QUALIFYING IS OVER?
“You see these microphones in my face there has really been a lot of time to do anything.  No, I appreciate it.  I appreciate it, GoDaddy appreciates it, the team appreciates it, so I don’t mind.  It is work.  I am at work and I am doing my job and I am also aware enough to know that anything can happen and I miss the pole.  I might miss the top-six and that would be disappointing.  The time to relax and be happy or be sad or mad comes after it is all over with.”
 
KEVIN HARVICK WAS KIND OF HAVING FUN JOKING ABOUT YOU LAST NIGHT AT THE START OF HIS PRESS CONFERENCE TRYING TO GET YOU AND RICKY (STENHOUSE, JR.) ON THE FRONT PAGE AFTER HE WON A RACE.  HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW KEVIN?  
“I know Kevin (Harvick) really well and so does Ricky (Stenhouse, Jr.).  We both are friends with Kevin.  I am imagining it’s like a big brother role where the kind of joking around.  I think also at times I think people we are closer friends with or I’m closer friends with also try and protect us, protect me and say leave them alone and things like that.  I think that the people that I’ve heard make jokes are the ones that are my closest friends here in NASCAR.  I definitely feel like it’s more of a fun sort of perspective of fun being able to make a joke and a little protective.”
 
DO YOU LIKE HIS BRAND OF HUMOR?
“I like everything about Kevin (Harvick).  I have been friends with him since the first year.  I really like him; I really like DeLana (Harvick).  If I didn’t like his sense of humor we wouldn’t be friends.”
 
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 2ND
GREAT LAP.  WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON TODAY’S QUALIFYING SESSION?
“I’m excited about seeing all of those Chevys up front there, certainly those Hendrick engines as well.  This is a bit of a surprise we have not been as good as I was hoping in practice.  Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and our team they work so hard and they know how to qualify here at Daytona and on these restrictor plate tracks and they proved it again today.”
 
I KNOW YOU DIDN’T HAVE AS MANY LAPS LAST NIGHT AS YOU WANTED TO, BUT DID YOU LEARN ENOUGH TO SEE HOW YOU THINK THURSDAY IS GOING TO SHAKE OUT IN THE DUELS?
“I don’t really feel like we learned much.  There was a couple laps where I was back in traffic and feeling the car move around and seeing some things that were happening handling wise.  I think that the conditions are going to be so much different.  There is not going to be a night race and it’s going to be warmer.  I think the handling is going to be a bit more of a factor for Thursday and for Sunday.”
 
HOW WOULD YOU JUDGE THIS AS A START?
“Anytime you come down here and you put down a good lap, everybody puts in an extreme amount of work for Daytona, but not everybody gets the rewards.  That is a great lap.  It would be awesome to be on the front row.  We will see what happens, the No. 5 car is going to be tough and a couple of others there too.  No matter what that is a lot better than I was anticipating after testing and practice yesterday.  Great job to the team, the just continue to do impressive things that build confidence with me and with themselves and make for a great combination.”
 
HOW MUCH OF A BOOST IS WINNING THE LAST RACE OF LAST SEASON? DOES IT KIND OF INSPIRE THE GUYS BACK AT THE SHOP AND YOURSELF TO GET OFF THE GROUND RUNNING?
“It’s been a long time since I’ve done that.  I can honestly tell you it’s been big.  The guys are just fired up all winter long.  It’s the little perks sometimes.  When you call into Hendrick Motorsports there is a hold radio communication and broadcast from whoever won whatever last race they won. Every time I called into talk to somebody at Hendrick Motorsports or my d
ad or somebody I was listening to the final five laps of Homestead all winter long.  That was pretty cool.  The team I think with this new car all the hard work that is going into getting them built we needed as much energy boost as we possibly could to get us through the winter.  It’s been great.”
 
HOW BIG A DEAL WOULD IT BE IF DANICA (PATRICK) IS ON THE POLE?
“I think it would be huge.  I think between (Dale Earnhardt) Junior and Danica that is about as much exposure as this sport could possibly get.  In this case being history making I think this is about as big of a deal exposure wise as you could possibly get.  I’m not surprised they have been fast in testing, fast in practice and that is a heck of a lap.”
 
SHE HAS LIMITED CUP EXPERIENCE WOULD EVERYBODY BE COMFORTABLE WITH HER LEADING THE FIELD TO THE GREEN FLAG?
“Yeah, I think that everybody exploits inexperience and disadvantages in this race as it progresses.  It might happen on lap one, it might happen in turn one, and it might happen on lap 170.  It’s just to me you’ve got to take advantage of any opportunity that you have.  If somebody has a lack of experience then they leave that door open somebody is going to exploit it and take advantage of it.”
 
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 4TH
WAS IT WINDY? HOW WERE THE CONDITIONS?
“The guys did a lot of hard work last night and gave me the confidence to hold it wide-open today. I just went for it.”
 
DO YOU TAKE ANY PLEASURE IN THAT BOTH YOU AND DANICA PATRICK BOTH BEAT YOUR BOSS (TONY STEWART) IN QUALIFYING, NO MATTER WHERE YOU END UP?
“There is no real pleasure in that today because today is about the crew chiefs and what they can do and get through and learn from all the testing and practice that we’ve had. From my standpoint, my job was to not screw-up. Everything else was pretty easy.”
 
FROM THE BIG-PICTURE PERSPECTIVE, IF DANICA’S TIME HOLDS-UP, WHAT WOULD IT MEAN FOR THE SPORT AND YOUR ORGANIZATION TO HAVE THE FIRST WOMAN WIN THE DAYTONA 500 POLE?
“It’s a matter of opinion in how you look at it. I look at everybody out here as a driver; not necessarily as a man or a woman. Yes, she is a woman. I’m aware of that. But when I’m strapped in that race car, we’re all drivers. So, from my standpoint, it’s different than the average fan.”
 
ANY THOUGHTS OR PLANS OR STRATEGIES FOR THE DUELS ON THURSDAY?
“I haven’t done any drafting yet with our Quicken Loans Chevrolet, so my biggest thing is to learn. I sat on the No. 14 (Tony Stewart) pit box last night and tried to learn a few things and listen and watch as to what he was doing and experiencing and debriefed with him probably about 30 minutes after the race. So, that was my homework, the only homework I could get in because we haven’t done any drafting to figure out what we need for Wednesday and probably more importantly, for Thursday.”
 
WAS THAT BY DESIGN NOT TO DO ANY DRAFTING?
“Yeah, our goal on our side was to build the fastest race car up until the 500 qualifying and then we’re going to work on the car driving well. So, you can get all the speed you can and then the drafting isn’t so big of a deal.”
 
WOULD YOU PREFER TO BE IN THE FIRST OR SECOND DUEL?
“It doesn’t matter. With a new car or a new tire or a new pavement, it doesn’t matter.”
 
DO YOU HAVE BETTER STUFF THAN OTHERS BY RUNNING MOBIL 1?
“I think the stuff that Mobil 1 does definitely shows up more at a place like this where you’re working on drag and driveline drag and things like that, that can pay off when you’re really taking the drive out of it from the qualifying standpoint and just holding it wide open and keeping the shortest distance possible.”
 
YOU HAVE BEEN SOLIDLY IN THE TOP 10 IN PRACTICE AND TESTING. DO YOU THINK YOU HAD A SHOT AT THE POLE TODAY?
“No, I thought we were going to be a Top 10. I think the No. 33 (Austin Dillon) is going to give the No. 10 (Danick Patrick) a run for her money. But in my opinion, the guys have been a top-10 competing car with our No. 29 Quicken Loans car in the tests as well as here. We didn’t put much effort in the first practice session to go back out. We did one run and that was it. And that was our goal.”
 
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 BASS PRO SHOPS/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 5TH
YOU WERE THE FIRST CAR OUT. HOW WAS IT?
“I guess it was okay. I don’t know. We’ll see. But so far, so good. I can’t complain. We ran faster than we did yesterday and that was the main thing. But it’s literally just a waiting-game right now and watching the board up there and seeing how we stack up. So it will be a long day of waiting.
 
DID YOU WANT TO GO OUT EARLY?  IS THERE ANY DIFFERENCE IN WHEN YOU GO OUT?
“It just depends on what the weather does. I don’t know. It can change here every half hour. So, I don’t think anybody wants anything unless they know exactly what the weather is doing to do and I don’t watch weather channels.”
 
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERENCE DUEL RACES? WOULD YOU RATHER WATCH THE FIRST ONE AND BE IN THE SECOND ONE ON THURSDAY?
“It doesn’t matter which one we’re in. You’ve still got to just run your own race. We learned enough stuff last night so hopefully we’ll be ready to go no matter which race we’re in.”
 
DID YOU HAVE A GOOD BREAKDOWN AFTER THE RACE LAST NIGHT AND SPEND SOME TIME HANGING OUT WITH YOUR TEAM?
“We talked about everything that we learned. Ryan (Newman) was there and we talked about how the race went and stuff that he’ll want to know getting ready for Thursday. It’s just the stuff that you do when you have multi-car teams like that. We only had one car in the Unlimited last night, so it was important to communicate the information we learned with our teammates.”
 
ALL YOUR CARS HAVE BEEN FAST. DO YOU FEEL LIKE USING MOBIL 1 HAS GIVEN YOU AN ADVANTAGE?
“I think so. The best thing is we have a sponsor on the car that actually contributes to making it go faster, too. They work as hard with our team as our guys do. So, this is a day that showcases what their products are about. We ran a decent speed there I think. So, I think last night and today just showcases what Mobil 1 does.”
 
YOU MUST HAVE A LOT OF PRIDE IN SEEING THE PRACTICE SHEET AND HAVING DANICA PATRICK BE GOING SO FAST.
“To have three cars in the top eight was awesome. It looks really good to see two Chevys sitting there in the top two spots. Hopefully. We’re the only Chevy up there right now but it’s in the spot that matters.”
 
HOW DO YOU SPEND THE REST OF THIS TIME? IT’S SUCH A LONG WAIT FOR QUALIFYING TO BE FINISHED, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU GO OUT FIRST
“I’m going to go change my uniform first because I got wrestling with one of my crew guys and it blew the zipper out of my uniform (laughs); so that’s why I’m wearing a jacket. Honestly, I’m going fishing with Johnny Morris with Bass Pro Shops Monday and Tuesday and I’ve got three reels that need line put on them. So I’ll go back and just watch qualifying on TV and I’ll get my gear ready to go fishing tomorrow.”
 
WHAT ARE YOU FISHING FOR?
“Bass.”
 
FOR TODAY, HOW WERE THE CONDITIONS? WERE THEY IDEAL FOR WHAT YOU WOULD WANT?
“As long as it stays the same for everybody, it doesn’t really matter. The biggest thing is being consistent. If the conditions get better as the day goes, it’s not going to be ideal for us by any means. If it gets worse, it will be ideal for us. So, you just have to wait. We didn’t have any gust of wind or anything so we’ll just go do our deal.”
 
AFTER THE SPRINT UNLIMITED, KEVIN HARVICK MENTIONED THE SIDE-VIEW MIRROR BEING IN A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT SPOT AND NEW WINDOW NETS MAY HAVE CHANGED DRIVER JUDGMENTS WHEN LOOKING TO THE LEFT.
“I didn’t notice any of that.”
 
MARK MARTIN SAID
SOMETHING ABOUT THE WINDOW NET, TOO. HE SAID IT WAS MORE DIFFICULT TO SEE.
“I didn’t notice it. It doesn’t mean that other guys don’t. We’ve all had different window news until now. I think it’s just personal preference in what you’re used to.”
 
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 6TH:
ON HIS LAP
“The Farmers Insurance Chevrolet was fast. We were close. We were right in the hunt. Hendrick engines are very strong; we’re all right there in the top five and the Chevy SS is obviously very good. I feel good about where we’re at. We’re right there. It’s all really close.
 
HOW WAS YOUR HALF-MARATHON TODAY?
“It was awesome. I enjoyed it. I’m glad I did some training to be somewhat prepared for it and not lose it the last couple of miles (laughs). I made it home, so it was good. I had a blast. And running down the beach was probably the best part. The sun was coming up and it was cold and just running down the beach was really neat.”
 
HOW WAS THE SECOND TRIP OVER THE BRIDGE?
“It was definitely tougher than the first trip over the bridge. We were getting further and further along there. The bridge was tough. And then for me, the last two miles my legs were burning and I was going as hard as I could to make it back.”
 
HOW WERE THE WEATHER CONDITIONS DURING YOUR QUALIFYING RUN?  DID THE WIND DIE DOWN?
“It was either the same or it had died down, one or the other. It seems like it died down a little bit. I think we had a great draw and we were right there; we just barely missed the pole. But it was certainly a good run.”
 
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS FOR THE DUEL RACES ON THURSDAY?
“I want to get a little more practice in on Wednesday and try to figure this drafting thing out a little bit more. I learned a lot last night, but I felt like I made some bad decisions at times and I need to work on that and just kind of get my end of the deal together a little better. I just want to learn more and be prepared for Sunday.”
 
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU LEARNED LAST NIGHT AS FAR AS WHAT THESE CARS WILL DO?
“I think, to me, you need race cars out there. The more cars you have on the track, the bigger runs you can get and the better you can just move around and pass cars. The less cars out there, the more difficult it made it to pass the car in front of you or two cars in front of you, and that showed. I think with the big field, the big pack, it’s going to be an exciting Daytona 500 when everybody wants to go.”
 
DO YOU THINK WE’LL SEE A LOT OF SHUFFLING FROM FRONT TO BACK?
“If the guys want to race, depending on who wants to race at what time, there will be a ton of shuffling and a ton of movement front to back. It is a 500-mile race and you want to be there at the end. But the way the car is, and things, it could definitely make for a lot of shuffling.”
 
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 11TH
HOW WAS YOUR LAP?
“Oh, it was all right. We just held it on the mat, pretty much. That’s all you can do. I wish it would have been a little bit faster, obviously, but we still surely have some things to learn about the car to get some speed in the car.
 
“We’ll work on that in the next couple of days. I’m sue we’ll have a good car for the 500. It’s got a lot of speed in it.”
 
IF DANICA PATRICK WOULD TO WIN THE POLE AND MAKE HISTORY HERE AT DAYTONA, WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WOULD MEAN?
“Well, it would be a big deal for her and her team. It would be a good confidence-builder going into the season. It just gives you good confidence going into the 500. She’s got a fast car. She’s got great teammates.
 
“So if she gets the pole position she can feel really good about her chances in the race to have a good run.”
 
WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS TO THE SPORT IF A WOMAN IS ON THE POLE FOR THE BIGGEST RACE OF THE YEAR?
“I think it just shows a lot about her abilities and her team’s abilities. She’s got a great team. She’s got a good engine package ‘cause I know all about that. We have the same one. You’ve got to give her credit for how far she’s come in her career to where she is today. Today it’s all about the race car and the ability to get around the track so you’ve got to give the team and the guys that build the cars and the bodies and the engines a lot of credit, too.”
 
YOU HAVE A FEW DAYS TO WORK ON THESE CARS BEFORE THURSDAY DUELS. WHAT IS YOUR MINDSET AS WE GET CLOSER TO THURSDAY’S DUELS?
“You just want to find a little more speed and take advantage of practice and maybe do a lot of single car runs too, to see if you can find some things to improve the speed on the car. To gain another tenth or two would be awesome on the car’s speed alone. That carries over in the drafting when you can improve on the speed of the car by itself. Obviously it’s going to be a better car in the race pack. So, we’ll just try to work on some of those things and see what we can gain. We just need a little bit more to feel real happy. We’re pretty good.”
 
WHAT KIND OF SENSE DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE CARS IN THE DRAFT AND HOW THEY WORK?  HAVE YOU SEEN OR FELT THAT BEFORE?
“Yeah, we really didn’t have a big enough pack to learn everything we want to learn or get a good sense of what the race is going to be like in the 500. It’s always kind of different just depending on what side of the bed everybody wakes up on.  But, I think the racing will be good. It’s the kind of racing where you can work with a lot of different and different people in drafting, but you’re really looking out for yourself and trying to get yourself moved forward instead of having to team-up with a guy and then work in tandem, which is never really much fun. It’s a good style of racing that will provide a good race. I think that’s what’s important, to provide a good product.”
 
IS IT A THROW BACK TO WHAT WE’VE HAD BEFORE? DO YOU THINK THEY’VE GOTTEN IT PRETTY CLOSE TO WHAT WE HAD PRIOR TO TANDEM?
‘Well, it’s similar to that. But you always want to be better. You always want to do things better than you’ve done it. So I don’t think you want to get satisfied with something. If you could just snap your fingers and go back to 2006 and be happy.
 
“I think you want to be better than that. I think you always want to be striving to be more and be a better product. But this is similar. The racing is definitely the style of racing is similar to that.”
 
EVEN THOUGH SHE HAS LIMITED EXPERIENCE, WOULD YOU BE COMFORTABLE WITH DANICA PATRICK LEADING THE FIELD?
“Absolutely; yeah, absolutely. She’s raced enough cars. Everybody in the field has got enough respect to get the pole and lead the field at the Daytona 500, I think.”
 
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS OR PLANS FOR THE DUELS ON THURSDAY?  DO YOU HAVE A PREFERENCE AS TO WHICH RACE YOU’RE IN?
“No, not really; just to get out there and have a good car and you want to see things out of your car that get you excited about the rest of the weekend, really.”
 
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 13TH
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR LAP: 
“It was okay.  Here there is only so much you can do.  We had our engine change yesterday.  Our main engine blew.
 
“For having a back-up motor I think it is pretty good.  We ran a little better than the No. 1 car.  We are not far from the Hendrick (Motorsport) cars so we are pretty happy.  I think it is a good starting spot for the duels.  Just got to go there and see what it does.”
 
TALKING ABOUT THE DUELS WOULD YOU RATHER BE IN THE FIRST OR THE SECOND RACE?
“I have no idea.  Either, you have to be in it and run and see where you finish.  You’ve got to remember if you have a really good car the duels don’t pay anything.  Unless you have a strong car to win and be there
to win you don’t want to risk the nice race car on Thursday.  At the same time you say that, but if you have a shot at it you are going to go for it.  So, we will see.”
 
THE WEATHER IS GOING TO BE MUCH DIFFERENT NEXT SUNDAY.  HOW WILL THAT AFFECT YOU?
“It’s going to make it harder to handle.  Like last night in the race we had a problem with when I went below the race track with that much splitter in the air I hurt it a lot of speed of the car.  Before that we were actually pretty good so we will see.”
 
DID YOU LEARN SOMETHING LAST NIGHT THAT WILL HELP YOU?
“Absolutely, I think we have an upper hand on anybody that didn’t race.  Understanding how these cars run, how these cars race, what these cars want.  I think that is a plus.  At the same time you’ve got to be smart about how we execute the race.”
 
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 MENARDS CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 14TH
HOW WAS YOUR LAP?
“We picked up like a tenth from practice.  Which is hard to do, in practice everything gets heat soaked, everything gets hot.  I’m glad we picked up a tenth.  A lot of guys are picking up more than that though.  This is all about the guys.  It’s almost like an off weekend for us drivers.  We are just out here making laps.  These guys put all the work in at the shop.  We have a really good piece.  Just looking forward to Wednesday and seeing how the cars are going to drive in the draft.”
 
DID YOU LIKE YOUR QUALIFYING POSITION? WERE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT THE WEATHER OR THE WIND?
“I thought that our draw was…historically our draw would be really good, but it’s been windy all day long.  I’m not sure if it’s getting better or worse.  Historically, as the qualifying goes on it gets windier which is not a good thing.  I think it’s staying pretty consistent today though so it doesn’t really matter.”
 
IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE REALLY HOT NEXT SUNDAY.  DOES THAT MAKE YOU HAPPY?
“I don’t like hot.  I haven’t seen the weather, but I’ll take your word for it.  If it’s hot it’s going to be a long race.”
 
THOUGHTS, PLANS, STRATEGIES FOR THE DUELS ON THURSDAY:
“Nobody is really locked in so you’ve got to go race.  After watching the shootout last night even though it was really cold last night the cars were driving pretty good it seemed like.  We are going to be racing Thursday in the daylight.  I’m not sure what the temperature is going to be, but nonetheless it’s going to be a little more of a handful.  Obviously keep your nose clean, but you’ve got to race hard.”
 
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERENCE LIKE MAYBE WATCHING THE FIRST DUEL AND BEING IN THE SECOND?  
“It really doesn’t matter.  It’s whatever it is.”
 
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 33 HONEY NUT CHEERIOS CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 16TH
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING RUN AND HOW YOU ARE FEELING FOR THE DUELS:
“We have fast car, felt like we were going to be faster than that in qualifying.  I’m happy with that I think that will have us solidly hopefully the top-15.  It’s a tight field right there just so close.  I don’t know if wind or what could get you.  It’s really good though that we have ECR engines out here.  They are in the top-10 right now so hopefully we can keep it that way.”
 
WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY GOING INTO THE DUEL RACE ON THURSDAY?
“Do whatever it takes to get in the show because we don’t have points.  Whatever it takes to get in the show and after that have some fun.”
 
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 20TH
TALK TO ME ABOUT QUALIFYING:
“We were really disappointed with that.  We were quick in practice here, we were quick yesterday.  We thought we had a lot more than that.  We just didn’t pick up from where we ran in practice for some reason.  It is what it is.
 
“We thought we had a solid shot at a top-10 and didn’t get very close to that.  We were really disappointed with it, but it’s just part of the Daytona 500 and we still have the 150’s to get where we need to be.  That is where the focus will turn to.”
 
WAS KEVIN’S (HARVICK) WIN LAST BIG FOR THE ORGANIZATION?
“We felt really good about last night.  But, we are really disappointed about today.  At our test down here and in practice yesterday we thought we had much more speed than what we have shown today.  That is just disappointing.  Everybody put a lot of effort into coming down here and laying down a good lap time and just didn’t get it with any of us.  We are all disappointed with that, but as far as SpeedWeeks hardly anybody goes through SpeedWeeks happy with everything.  We will just turn our focus to the 150’s.”
 
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE 150’S DO YOU REALLY KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT?
“I go into the 150’s all the time kind of with the same strategy that is just go run the best you can.  I think it is the only race all year long we get to practice for the race.  That is how I view it. I view it as a great opportunity to go practice.
 
“I will say with the points structure the way it is this year you still have to finish.  You have to run well enough to get in the race.  A big wreck could really have a huge complexion change on who makes this race.  That is going to be on everybody’s minds.  It is a great opportunity to learn.”
 
IF THE NO. 10 STAYS ON TOP OF THAT SCORING TOWER THAT IS GOING TO RESONATE WELL BEYOND HERE ISN’T IT?
“Well it will be a big story for sure.  Who know I’m sure there are a lot of people that would love to see that.  It would be a huge story.  Having a female sit on the pole for the Daytona 500 would be big.”
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 21ST
HOW WOULD YOU ASSESS YOUR LAP?
“It is what it is.  We didn’t think we were going to have a shot at the pole.  We thought we would be a little quicker than that.  With the qualifying race, then the (Daytona) 500 being such a long race it’s important for handling.  We knew coming down here we weren’t going to be racing for the pole.  We were more concerned about the race itself.  It looks like we will start 20th, 25th, something like that and go from there.”
 
IT LOOKS LIKE THERE IS A GOOD CHANCE THIS COULD BE A HISTORIC DAY FOR NASCAR IF DANICA (PATRICK) DOES WIN THE DAYTONA 500 POLE.  WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT WOULD MEAN FROM A MILESTONE PERSPECTIVE?
“It would be a great milestone for the sport.  For her to come in and hopefully…I want to see it happen.  It’s Hendrick (Motorsports) equipment, Stewart-Haas Racing I think it would be great for our sport, great for her, great kick start to the year for everybody within NASCAR.”
 
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 22ND
HOW WAS YOUR QUALIFYING LAP?
“It was okay a little slower than we ran in practice, but just pretty simple here.”
 
ANY THOUGHTS, PLANS, STRATEGIES FOR THE DUEL RACES ON THURSDAY?
“I am going to have to think about it a little bit.  I watched the shootout race from the spotters stand last night which is a lot different perspective.  We didn’t really have enough cars last night.  Even when they had the full field I don’t think that is comparable to what you are going to see in the 150’s and definitely not what you are going to have in the (Daytona) 500.  I don’t know that anyone really knows just yet.”
 
WOULD YOU LIKE TO WATCH THE FIRST DUEL AND BE IN THE SECOND ONE?  DO YOU HAVE PREFERENCE THERE?
“No, I would like to be in the first one and watch the second one.  I was in the second race last year and it’s dreadful to have to watch the first one
and then go do it.”
 
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 25TH
HOW WAS YOUR LAP?
“We knew that our lap wasn’t going to be great today.  We felt like our car for whatever reason the speed was a little off in single car runs.  All in all it’s really about putting ourselves in position on Thursday to get a decent spot for the (Daytona 500) hopefully be around at the end to have a chance to win the race.”
 
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE DUEL RACE? DO YOU PREFER TO BE IN THE FIRST OR SECOND RACE?
“It doesn’t matter to me whichever race is fine.  I think that for us it’s really just about getting out there and getting some more laps in and hopefully with a few more cars than what we had in the Unlimited so we can get a little better idea.  I don’t think anybody is really going to have a 100 percent idea until we get all 43 cars out there because it just takes a lot of cars to keep the lines even and moving and get the runs that you need.
 
“It’s really going to be a little bit trial and error until you get to Sunday.  It’s going to be a lot of trial and error at that point because the moves and things are going to happen a little bit quicker than what they happened last night.”
 
DANICA (PATRICK) WILL BE ON THE FRONT PAGE IT LOOKS LIKE TOMORROW.  HOW BIG A DEAL IS THAT?
“I think it’s a huge deal.  I think it’s good for everybody to shift the focus to what they are doing as a team and on the race track with performance.  It’s a huge deal for our sport to have her on the front row of the Daytona 500.  Definitely sets a new milestone in our sport and I think that is pretty neat.  I’m just glad it’s for all the right reasons.”
 
SHE HAS TAKEN WHAT YOU SAID LAST NIGHT AS JOKING DO YOU GUYS HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP?  DO YOU TREAT HER LIKE ONE OF THE GUYS OUT THERE?
“Yeah, you can joke around with her.  She knows when you are joking and poking fun.  I get along great with her and Ricky.  I was giving you guys (the media) more grief than I was her.”
 
IT’S FUNNY TONY (STEWART) IS THAT WAY IN A LOT OF WAYS.  I’M NOT ASKING YOU TO COMMENT ON NEXT YEAR, BUT IT’S ALMOST LIKE A FRATERNITY OVER THERE ISN’T IT?
“Well, Tony (Stewart) and I are good friends.  We always joke.  Sometimes people can take it the wrong way and I’m just glad she didn’t take it the wrong way.  It’s fun.”
 
SHE HAS SO FEW CUP RACES IS THERE ANY WORRIES OR CONCERN ABOUT HER LEADING THE FIELD DOWN FOR THE START OF THE DAYTONA 500?
“I don’t think so.  I think as you’ve gone through the past couple of years she has got enough experience now and takes enough of the knowledge in to be able to understand what she needs to do and not going to make any erratic moves, anything like that.  I don’t think she would do anything silly.”
 
AS FAR AS THE DAYTONA 500 IS CONCERNED DOES LAST NIGHT GIVE YOU ANY CONFIDENCE OR BELIEF OR ANYTHING?
“Well, for us we came down with the intentions of having a pretty big handling race and I think some of the speed in our car is not there because of the weather and I think as the week heats up hopefully that will kind of come to us a little bit more from a handling aspect of it.  I still don’t think you are going to get the full effect of how the draft is going to work until you get all those cars out there.
 
“Just like last night the side draft is so effective to slow those cars down.  When they don’t have a line of cars behind them you can just stop them.  It’s going to be much different when you get all the cars out there.”
 
YOU’VE WON THIS RACE BEFORE IS THERE A POINT DURING THOSE SPEEDWEEKS WHERE YOU KNEW THAT YOU HAD ENOUGH TO WIN THIS RACE?
“The great thing about these races is you can have the fastest car and not even come close to winning. You can have the slowest car and win the race.  We just feel like anytime we come here or Talladega that you can put yourself in a position to have a chance to win.”
 
WHY DOES HAVING DANICA PATRICK ON THE POLE MEAN SO MUCH FOR THE SPORT?
“I think the impact that she brings to our sport just when she started I think from a demographic stand point as far as whether it’s age groups.  When you look at that female fan base we have a good female fan base and for the fan base in general whether it’s male or female I think that she definitely brings a lot to the table that we will all benefit from.”
 
WILL THIS SILENCE THE CRITICS OR DOES SHE HAVE TO WIN A RACE FIRST?
“She is going to have a lot of pressure on her regardless because of all of the following that she has.  You guys have seen it.  It’s hard to ruffle her.  It’s hard to get her off track of saying the right thing and doing the right thing because she is just really good at that part of it because she has had so much put on her from the beginning.
 
“I don’t think that the pressure is going to bother her.  She is going to go out and do her own thing.  I’m sure a lot of people are going to write good things and a lot of people are going to write things that aren’t so good but all in all she is very open minded to listening to what you have to say and will go out and do better.
 
“You saw the performance get better as she went through the year.  I think having the people around her that she does, Tony (Stewart) is going to help her a lot to be able to lean on that experience there is a lot there.”
 
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 33RD:
“We’ve had our share of bad breaks this weekend, but the good news is that we have a fast car in race trim,” said Busch.  “We expected more in today’s qualifying laps, but we’re excited about the way our Furniture Row Chevrolet SS has performed in the draft. We’ve been fast, but haven’t been able to really show our hand due to being collected in a pair of accidents (in Friday’s practice and Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited race). We need our luck to change.”
 
Busch added, “We aren’t losing sight of our main goal and that’s the Daytona 500, it’s the biggest race of the year and that will be our only focus when we return to the track on Wednesday. What happened this weekend is history.”
 
REGAN SMITH, NO. 51 GUY ROOFING CHEVROLET SS – QUALIFIED 37TH
TALK ABOUT QUALIFYING OUT THERE AND WHAT YOUR EXPECTATIONS ARE FOR THURSDAY?
“I think our expectation is that we are going to have to race good because we don’t have much speed in the car.  We will work on handling and try to get the Guy Roofing Chevy to handle as good as we can.  It’s been a case where there have been times we have had speed since we’ve been here and there were times that is what the car has had in it.  I think we know what the car has in it now, so we’ve got to make sure it handles good.  We know that is going to be a factor.”
 
A LOT OF GUYS WERE SAYING LAST NIGHT THAT THIS CAR DOESN’T REALLY LIKE THE CLEAN AIR AS MUCH AS LAST YEAR’S CAR; DO YOU FIND THAT TO BE THE CASE?
“Well, I can’t speak to that because I have only got five laps of drafting and it was in the test and we kind of got caught up in that melee on the backstretch.  I don’t really know what it’s going to want.  I know my car was really loose testing.  I heard a lot of guys were loose last night that is why I think handling is going to play a pretty big factor in it.  We will just keep working on it and see if we can’t find speed in the next five days.”
 

Poel Powers to UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Gator Qualifier Victory

 
Poel Powers to UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Gator Qualifier Victory

Michigan racer locks into Monday night’s $5,000-to-win Gator Championship
BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 16, 2013 – Jacob Poel made his first visit to the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment a memorable one by capturing the Gator Championship qualifier Saturday night at Volusia Speedway Park.

“We just swapped a motor out yesterday, after having one problem after another,” said Poel, of Spring Lake, Mich. “I ran third in the heat and I don’t know where we started in that feature but the car was just absolutely perfect. I don’t know really what else to say. It was an amazing feeling. I’m just glad to be able to come down here with all the people that have supported me and got me here.”

Poel and Matt Cooper, of McKenzie, Tenn., split leader Bryce Jewell of Madisonville, Ky., on lap 9 before trading the top spot the following two laps. Poel distanced himself after taking the lead from Cooper on lap 11 of the 20-lap main event. The win earned Poel a nice $700 paycheck and a spot in the redraw for Monday night’s Gator Championship, where he can start no worse than 10th.

“I’ve got my confidence and that’s all I need,” Poel said. “I didn’t need to win tonight, but I wanted to. I just needed something to give me confidence after the week we’ve had down here and I definitely got that tonight.”

Cooper finished second and was one of four other drivers who also earn a spot in Monday night’s redraw by finishing in the top five. Dirt late model standout Wendell Wallace of Batesville, Ark., was third. Friday night’s winner and defending Gator Champion Nick Hoffman of Mooresville, N.C., finished fourth. Rodney Sanders of Happy, Texas who won the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals opener in his first visit to Volusia Speedway Park on Tuesday night rounded out the top five.

Jewell, UNOH DIRTcar Nationals point leader Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., Jake Griffin of Quincy, Ill., Ty Dillon of Welcome, N.C., and Danny Schwartz of Ashmore, Ill., locked into inside rows six through ten for Monday night by finishing in the top 10 Saturday.

J.E. Stadler of Martins Ferry, Ohio, and Donovan Lodge of Moline, Ill., claimed Last Chance Showdown victories.

There were 42 DIRTcar UMP Modifieds on hand for the first of two Gator Qualifying nights of competition. Sunday night’s racing program will feature the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series as well as the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds Gator Championship Qualifying Night Two.

C. FORCE No.1 QUAL AT WINTERNATIONALS

C. FORCE No.1 QUAL AT WINTERNATIONALS
 
POMONA, CA — Courtney Force blazed a new path to start her sophomore season on the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, posting the quickest time in qualifying and leading the Funny Car field for just the third time in her young career. Force covered the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona track in 4.036 seconds at 318.24 mph in the first session on Saturday taking the No. 1 position from 2012 Funny Car champ Jack Beckman.
 
“It’s really exciting, especially because it’s my home track. I love coming out here and doing well in Pomona. My dad won it in the opening last year. This Traxxas Ford Mustang has been running pretty good thanks to all of our sponsors; Traxxas, Castrol, Ford, Auto Club, BrandSource and Mac Tools. We got Stingray on board this year, so it’s definitely an exciting season and we’re just hoping that tomorrow we can continue to do the same and maybe even a little better.”

Force, the 2012 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner, had to run beside Beckman in the final qualifying session with the top qualifying spot on the line.

“I got a little nervous next to Beckman. I saw him out ahead of me and I was like, ‘Don’t take the No. 1 spot away from me!’ I was getting nervous. That right lane is really tough. There’s a bump down there so we tried to move our car a little more over to the inside and just tried to drive it all the way down there and it went fine. We were able to run a 4.07 so we were happy with that. Being able to run good down both lanes is always good going into race day. We feel good and we’re excited so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

Today’s qualifying efforts by Courtney Force and her Traxxas Ford Mustang team brought a well-deserved No. 1 qualifier recognition to the John Force Racing stable. With that came the delight of putting a front loading washer and dryer set in the hands of a lucky fan, compliments of BrandSource and the “Win With Force” promotion. (additional information attached)
 
All week Force has been getting advice from her father and 15-time Funny Car champion John Force. The second year driver continues to take it all in but she was hoping for a break in the constant coaching with the emergence of her sister Brittany Force in Top Fuel.
 
“My dad has been twice as bad as normal because there are two of us; me and Brittany. He’s definitely got his hands full. We came back after mine and dad’s run and we’re in the pit area, he’s in a full fire suit drinking a cup of coffee, which I have no idea how because I was sweating, but I was like, ‘we gotta run up because Brittany’s about to run,’ and he just drops everything and starts running. He’s not used to being in Funny Car as well as Top Fuel. He’s a little confused and we gotta get a routine down, but he was running up there so he could give Brittany her last few things of advice,” said the youngest Force.

“I love being out here with her, if Dad can just kind of take a few steps back, I think if she qualifies good then I think he’ll be OK tomorrow. Hopefully,” added Force. “The funny thing is, when we were little he wasn’t really around because he was always out here. The second we turned eighteen, Dad shows up and all of the rules are applied. He’s trying to figure out the boss/father situation.”

The second year driver is not taking her No. 1 qualifier for granted. The Funny Car category has never been more competitive and the driver of the Traxxas Ford Mustang is not looking past any driver.
 
“Sometimes you go out first round so I don’t ever let that (No. 1 spot) change my outlook on things. We’ve got a good race car, but there are guys who are right behind me. I really gotta watch out for them. We just gotta go out there and try to run consistently,” said Force. “I don’t want to make any mistakes as a driver. I’m still learning. I’m still new to all of this. I’m pretty excited that we got the no. 1 spot, but I still gotta focus, keep it going and just really not get distracted by anything and do my same old routine.”

A new era at John Force Racing also began with Brittany Force and the Castrol EDGE Top Fuel dragster qualifying for the 53rd annual O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals. The rookie driver sits No. 15 in the quickest Top Fuel field in NHRA history. Her qualifying time of 8.845 seconds at 293.22 mph will set her up for a first round match-up with Brandon Bernstein.
 
“One of my goals for this year was to qualify for every race. We came out to Pomona and did it with this Castrol EDGE Top Fuel dragster. I am definitely excited about racing tomorrow. We are going to have some fun,” said Force. “I am excited to be running Brandon. I have known him forever and I have been watching him forever. I am a rookie driver but I am going against one of these guys that has been out here forever.”
 
When Brittany was asked if she thought her legendary dad, John Force, would place a side bet with Brandon’s legendary dad, Kenny Bernstein, she laughed and said, “I am not sure but I bet my dad might call Kenny.”
 
While the daughters of John Force were busy focusing on their success on the track behind the wheel as a team owner and father Force was focused on the big picture.
 
“Shirley Muldowney proved that women can do this. I am excited to see (Top Fuel rookie) Leah Pruett make the show. Glad to see (Larry) Dixon back. At the end of the day to put all four cars in with the changes that we made over the winter; it is all working,” said John Force, the winningest driver at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
 
“Robert (Hight) and the Auto Club team struggled some and (crew chief Mike) Neff and I struggled with the Castrol GTX Funny Car but we are in the show. Courtney was low ET with the Traxxas Funny Car. She is learning the trade with (crew chief) Ron Douglas. At the end of the day after the long winter and a year of testing that Top Fuel dragster to get all four in at the first race, god it just took the load off me. It is great to see that my kids can perform. They are very important to my sponsors like Ford, BrandSource, Mac Tools, Champion, Stingray Systems, System 51, and PPG who are all are pumping millions into this operation. I am excited because we did our job. We made Pomona. That is the key.”
 
Force will race veteran Ron Capps in the first round tomorrow. His Castrol GTX Ford Mustang covered the historic race track at Pomona in 4.108 second to place him 11th quickest in the sixteen car field.
 
“Bring him on. We are going to have something for him,” said a fired up Force.
 
Force is 3-1 against Capps at the O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals with their last meeting taking place in 2012 where Force won on a hole-shot.
 
Robert Hight and the Auto Club team will also have their hands full with the most recent winner at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, the Auto Club Finals winner Cruz Pedregon, in the first round. Hight made one solid run down the track a 4.111 second run at 311.20 mph in the first session today to set him up against the No. 5 qualifier Pedregon.
 
This will be the 25th meeting between these two world champions. Hight holds a 14-10 edge in the win column. Hight has only faced two other drivers more than Pedregon, Ron Capps (21-14) and John Force (14-12) in his nine year career.
 
 
* * * *
THE DRIVERS
 
JOHN FORCE, 63, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Qualifying: 11th at 4.108 seconds, 306.05 mph
First Round Opponent (W-L): Ron Capps (42-24)
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
 
ROBERT HIGHT, 43, Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang
Qualifying: 12th at 4.111 at 311.20 mph
First Round Opponent (W-L): Cruz Pedregon (14-10)
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
 
COURTNEY FORCE, 24, Traxxas Ford Mustang
Qualifying: 1st at 4.036 seconds, 318.24 mph
First Round (W-L): Phil Burkhart Jr. (0-0)
Bonus Qual
ifying Points: +6 (second quickest of Q1, quickest of Q3 and third quickest of Q4)
 
BRITTANY FORCE, 26, Castrol EDGE Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying: 15th at 3.845 seconds at 293.22 mph
First Round Opponent (W-L): Brandon Bernstein (0-0)
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
 

McCarl Celebrates World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Win in Style

McCarl Celebrates World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Win in Style
Pittman charges to second place at UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit
 
BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 16, 2013 – Terry McCarl sure loves to celebrate.
Heck, he’d probably run down the frontstretch in his underwear like Ricky Bobby if given the time. The weather might have had something to do with it on Saturday night, when McCarl did his best in Victory Lane to pump up the nearly sold out crowd amid 25 mile per hour wind gusts and temperatures dipping into the 40s at Volusia Speedway Park.

McCarl even managed to plant one on World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series announcer Johnny Gibson to conclude the postrace interview after McCarl’s win at the 42nd annual UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment.

“Anyone who knows me knows when I win, I’m happy,” McCarl said. “The day I win and I’m not happy is the day I’m going to quit.

“When you win any feature it’s great. When you win an Outlaws show it’s even better and to win an event like this, there’s so many tough competitors, it’s even better.”

It snapped a winless streak dating back to July 17, 2009, for McCarl, whose last World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series victory came at Eldora Speedway during the Knight Before the Kings Royal.

Battling broken bones and building his own team since then, McCarl had only recorded four top-five finishes since that last win. On Saturday, it all went to plan.

McCarl won his heat race from the pole and fast qualifier Craig Dollansky pulled the No. 8 during the dash draw, putting McCarl on the pole for the six-lap dash that determines the starting lineup for the first five rows of the feature.

Steve Kinser, who started on the outside of the front row, got the jump and outlasted McCarl to win the dash. However, that gave Kinser the bottom line for the start of the feature and McCarl the top groove.

“Actually that was a Godsend,” McCarl said. “I think the top was a little better run on the start.”

McCarl cleared Kinser for the lead on the backstretch of the feature’s first lap, but he never held a comfortable lead. Once the leaders entered traffic on lap five, Kinser was within a couple of car lengths of the lead.

Meanwhile, defending World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series champion Donny Schatz drove from eighth to fifth in the first two laps and was up to third by lap nine. McCarl, Kinser and Schatz battled within a handful of car lengths through traffic for several laps before the only caution took out the two strongest contenders to McCarl.

On lap 15, Kinser jumped the cushion in turn two. When he drove back down into the groove, he collided with Schatz. Kinser spun down the track and Schatz ended up stopping in turn three with damage to the front. Neither car was able to restart with Kinser finishing 21st and Schatz 22nd.

Daryn Pittman, who won the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series season opener on Friday, rocketed around Kraig Kinser in turns one and two on the restart for the runner-up position. The momentum allowed Pittman to pull next to McCarl, who had the preferred line around the cushion entering turn three.

McCarl pushed his lead to several car lengths until Pittman began to close in the final five laps. With two laps remaining Pittman was within striking distance and he finished less than two car lengths behind McCarl at the finish line.

“Our car just seemed like it was getting a little better and I think he was getting a little tighter,” Pittman said. “I would have liked to have had a shot at trying to slide him. I don’t know if I could have pulled it off or not. It just was really tricky. The curb was big and treacherous.”

Kraig Kinser finished third to record his first podium of the season.

“Definitely I feel really positive with the way our team is going,” he said.

Tim Shaffer placed fourth and Brad Sweet charged from 12th to fifth.

Jason Sides finished sixth, Dollansky was seventh and David Gravel earned the KSE Hard Charger Award for driving from 22nd to eighth. Brian Paulus ended ninth and 18th-starter Jac Haudenschild rounded out the top 10.

The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series wraps up its three-day event at the UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented Summit on Sunday. The front gate opens at 5 p.m. with hot laps around 6 p.m. and Opening Ceremonies at 7:20 p.m.

Chevy Racing–Sprint Unlimited–Kevin Harvick

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
DAYTONA SPEEDWEEKS SPRINT UNLIMITED
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
FEBRUARY 16, 2013
 
Kevin Harvick Wins Third Sprint Unlimited Race
Exhibition Win is First for the Chevrolet SS Race Car
 
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 16, 2013) – Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, won his third career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited race in dominating fashion on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway. 
Harvick led 40 of the 75 laps en route to capturing the first win for the all-new Chevrolet SS race car.  It is the eighth trip to the Sprint Unlimited Victory Lane for team owner Richard Childress.
 
Harvick’s victory gives Chevrolet its 20th win in 35 Sprint Unlimited races, more than any other manufacturer.  Eight Team Chevy drivers started tonight’s event and six of those drivers had previously visited Victory Lane at least once in the Sprint Unlimited.  
 
Tony Stewart, No. 14 Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS, started 14th and won segment number one, of the three-segment event.   His Chevy SS was strong all night as he was able to come from the back to the front several times and finished fourth in the race. 
 
Hendrick Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS and teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS, finished the non-points race seventh and eighth respectively.   Their teammates Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Yellow Chevrolet SS, and Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS, were both involved in a multi-car incident on lap 15, in the first segment.   Johnson was relegated to a 14th-place finish while Gordon was scored 17th out of the 19 cars that earned starting spots in the race.
 
Other Chevrolet competitors in the field were Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS, 10th), and Kurt Busch (No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet SS, 13th) who was also taken out of contention in the early on-track incident in the race.
 
The 55th running of the Daytona 500 will be the first point-paying race of the 2013 season and will take place on Sunday, February, 24th at Daytona International Speedway. 
 
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET SS
GIL MARTIN, CREW CHIEF, AND RICHARD CHILDRESS, TEAM OWNER – RACE WINNER
 
KERRY THARP:  Joining us for the winner of our sprint Unlimited at Daytona, Kevin Harvick, Richard Childress Racing.  He’s joined by his crew chief Gil Martin.  Kevin has won three of the last five Sprint Unlimited events here at Daytona and won back to back 2009, 2010.  He joins Tony Stewart and Dale Jarrett as three‑time winners of the event, Dale Earnhardt all‑time winner of this event with six.
            New racecar, winning like that in fine fashion, how does that set you up for the rest of this week?
            KEVIN HARVICK:  Yeah, I think the biggest thing is how are we going to get Danica and Ricky on the front page tomorrow (laughter)?  I missed all you guys because you were all busy being TMZ the other day.  Saw now you all have to talk to me and I can be a complete prick (laughter).
            But, anyway, we knew that the racing was going to be different.  We just didn’t know because we hadn’t run in a big pack.  Honestly, we still haven’t because the pack got narrowed down as we got the race started there.
            The front bumpers, it’s very small contact patch as far as how you can push and how you can’t.  When things don’t line up correctly, you see what happens.  You just got to be patient.  Reminds me of how we raced 10, 11 years ago with that type of car and that type of package.
            Anytime you’re in Victory Lane here at Daytona, it’s a great day.
            KERRY THARP:  Crew chief Gil Martin, congratulations.  Looks like a strong team this year in the Sprint Cup Series.  Talk about tonight’s win and maybe just look ahead to the days ahead here at Daytona.
            GIL MARTIN:  It just shows that hard work pays off because these guys have worked long and hard, every team has, because of the things we’ve been up against.
            Tonight I couldn’t be prouder of the job Kevin did, our Chevrolet SS was strong.  The guys on pit road did a great job, coming in third, taking the lead going out, that set Kevin up.  Just looking forward for the rest of the week.
            Thursday is going to be another good race for us, but I think we’ll have enough time to get set up for Sunday and I think it’s going to be really good for us.
            KERRY THARP:  Richard, congratulations again.  Certainly Victory Lane here at Daytona is a very common place for you to visit.  I know it’s got to feel good right out of the gate winning this race.
            RICHARD CHILDRESS:  Yeah, to win the first race with the Chevy SS was a big deal for us all.  To win the Shootout like it was with the fans being involved, I thought that was really great.  I’m really proud of all the efforts at RCR.  Like I told Kevin before the race, You know how to do it.  I don’t have to tell you nothing.
            He did it right there at the end of the race, helluva job.  The pit crew, the whole team, couldn’t be prouder of the whole organization.
            Got a lot more to do.  This is just the start of a long, long 10 days here.  We’re going to be after it the rest of the week.
            KERRY THARP:  Questions now for this winning team.
 
            Q.  Kevin, you know Danica was fastest in practice today.
            KEVIN HARVICK:  Didn’t see her today, but she must not have won many poles and races in the past.
 
            Q.  Was the fact that there were 12 cars on track for most of the race limiting in how much you could learn about the drafting?  Junior and Joey Logano said the bottom didn’t get worked enough.
            KEVIN HARVICK:  I would definitely agree with that.
            I think obviously 19 cars, you knew it was going to be a smaller race than normal anyway.  But when you saw five, six, seven cars, whatever, got eliminated, you knew the moves, you were going to have to be pretty precise to make a good move.
            Everybody figured out you could really side draft and slow down that bottom lane.  The 20 definitely probably had the fastest car.  He couldn’t make it all the way by by himself through the corner and get on the straightaway because of the side draft.
            The side draft is pretty big.  We were able to run the top and kind of keep the bottom line at bay there because there weren’t enough cars
because everybody would stay up top except for three or four cars.  Didn’t have enough momentum.
            The cars are going to be able to move, things are going to move and shift a lot easier.
 
            Q.  It seems in years after what appears to be a crisis at RCR, you come back stronger.  Is there some kind of team marriage counseling you go through in the off‑season?  What did you do in the off‑season to come out of the box looking this strong?
            KEVIN HARVICK:  We went and hired these psychiatrists to tell us what we need to do.  Now we call them engineers (laughter).
            No.  I think with Eric and all the crew chiefs, the engineering staff, the amount of effort that Richard has poured in from a financial standpoint to a people standpoint, getting organized, there’s a lot of effort making sure the cars are prepared better.  Not that everybody wasn’t working just as hard.  There’s a lot more structure and engineering that goes into these cars nowadays than what there used to be.  He can tell you a lot more about that.
            Today when we were struggling with our car, there’s people with notebooks and iPads, computers.  They’re standing around talking about what everybody else has on their cars.  It’s pretty fun to see, see them all put everything together to try to fix a problem.
 
            Q.  Kevin, how did the cars react compared to what you expected?  The long range forecast for the 500 calls for highs in the low 80s.  How different do you think that’s going to be from tonight?
            KEVIN HARVICK:  Low 80s will be exactly what we were expecting because there was zero handling issues tonight.
            When we were here at the test, there were a lot of handling issues with the car sliding around.  I think that will fit more of what we were expecting when we went home from the test.  That will change the ballgame a lot if it’s not 40 degrees outside.
 
            Q.  Kevin and Gil, everyone has heard the talk about lame duck drivers, their situation.  I think you even referenced it on your radio when you won.  Why will you guys be different?
            KEVIN HARVICK:  I don’t think it’s been that big of a deal.  Kenseth did a great job with his situation.  For us, from his side of it, his guys, our guys, they don’t care.  They just want to win.
            For our side of it, it’s our jobs to control the atmosphere and the things that go around.  The atmosphere is great, honestly.  Everybody is just working towards the same goal.  That’s winning the races.  We have to be professional anyway, whether it’s lame duck or not.  You can call it whatever you want, we’re going to have a helluva lot of fun racing, having a good time, doing our jobs.
            That’s what we’re here to do.  His job is to put cars on the racetrack.  My job is to drive them.  His job is to make sure they run as fast as they can.  So as long as everybody does what they’re supposed to do, we’re all here to do a job and we have a responsibility to the people that are spending millions of dollars on the side of that car to do it as best we can.
            GIL MARTIN:  The same thing.  This is too hard to be miserable.  It’s too hard of work not to come out and try to win.  That’s not in his nature.  That’s not in our team’s nature to try not to win.
            Anybody that thinks just because of what the situation is that anybody’s going to lay down, they’re sadly mistaken because we’re going to try to win this championship.  We’re going to put forth the effort.  I know Richard is doing it, everybody at the shop is doing it.  We’re going to do whatever it takes to win it.  That’s pretty well the bottom line.
            KEVIN HARVICK:  Pride also comes in there pretty good, too.  It’s fun to prove people wrong (smiling).
 
            Q.  Kevin, when you first came in, you said it was like 10, 11 years ago.  Do you think it’s going to be the big pack when 43 cars get out there?  Is it correct that Keelan crawled for the first time today?
            KEVIN HARVICK:  He did crawl.  DeLana was actually sitting outside doing an interview.  He crawled forward.  He was good at going in reverse (laughter).  So he crawled forward for the first time.
            Actually steered the car before the race started, too.  Standing in the seat.  Left his shoe in there.  Maybe that’s a lucky shoe.
            What was the other question?
 
            Q.  When you have 43 cars out there, I heard drivers on the radio, some didn’t like being pushed.  What are we going to see?
            KEVIN HARVICK:  It’s going to be a pack, absolutely.  I think it’s going to be a pack.  I don’t think there’s going to be too many chances.  You’ll see some cars breakaway.  I think if you turn on a 2000 race, one of those races, it’s going to be very similar before we went to the wicker bill.
            You’re going to have a lot more advancing of positions when you get so many cars out there.  Tonight you’d have eight cars up top, four on the bottom.  Eight cars is always going to win over four.  It’s a difficult situation with fewer racecars.  But they were always in a pack.  Even though tonight they were somewhat in a pack.
 
            Q.  Kevin, could you talk a little bit about the block on Biffle on the last lap.  Did you have a sense of how close that was going to be?
            KEVIN HARVICK:  I knew I was going to have to block one way or the other.  I didn’t know which way it was going to be.  In the middle segment, I could tell Biffle was backing up, trying to time what his move was going to be as we got further into the segment.  I was working on my timing to back up and block that.
            With Tony, he was kind of starting to do the same thing.  As we went into the last corner, I wanted to make sure I backed up enough coming off of turn four where he couldn’t dive into turn one and block that move and make sure I backed up enough to do that.
            Those guys were coming on the outside.  I don’t know if the 14 and the 16 were side‑by‑side, but I just felt like I needed to move up and try to block that momentum.  We were able to block two of those moves.
        &nbsp
;   Everything was happening a little bit slower at that particular point then.  The cars we had in the past, you wouldn’t have been able to move up and make that happen.  Everything slowed down enough to where you could look and be able to block.  They’re just not coming 20 miles an hour faster than they used to.
 
            Q.  Talking about the block, when you’re making a move like that, how committed do you have to be?  If he made it an issue and stuck it in there, do you keep moving it up, eventually you collide?  Is it a game of chicken at that point?
            KEVIN HARVICK:  I flipped my go‑kart in my backyard on the last lap.  When you’re coming from white to checkered, it’s whatever you have to do to try to make it happen.
            I guess a game of chicken would be kind of the best way to put it.
 
            Q.  Can it be like the old days where a guy could make up dozens of positions in a lap and slice through the field like that?
            KEVIN HARVICK:  I think everybody who watched the race kind of saw how tentative everybody was in the middle at the beginning.  Then as the race went on, everybody realized that handling wasn’t as big an issue as they thought it was going to be.
            I thought I saw and heard after the race that some of those guys were making up several positions with runs through the middle.  If the cars are handling okay, you can make up those positions in the middle.
            The way it used to be, the middle was kind of the same way.  You could go through the middle, make up some time, but you had to find a way out when your momentum stopped.  You either had to go up or down.  If there’s not a hole in one of those lines to get up or down, you’re going to be stuck.  All that momentum you had going forward is soon to be stopped unless you have cars behind you, so…
            I think it’s possible, for sure.
 
            Q.  Was there something in the previous two days of practice that gave you great confidence that you had a good chance tonight to take the win?
            KEVIN HARVICK:  Yeah.  Nobody in the whole field had any clue what was going to happen, so we figured we had a good chance.
            As we walked out to driver intros, there was not one driver out there that said, Man, I feel like I can do this, do that, I feel like my car is fast.  Everybody was scared to death because they didn’t have enough cars at the test, then we came back to the Shootout.  We have provisions to have another car.  You’re just so short on cars, you didn’t want to take any chances.
            The first chances you had to take tonight were in the race because you had to because you finally got to the race.  You knew if you tore that car up, you didn’t need it anymore.  It was one of those deals where the time and the amount of cars that you had, you just didn’t want to risk putting the shop further behind for Phoenix and Vegas, all the places that are coming up, because you had to have stuff on the racetrack to be at the race.
            RICHARD CHILDRESS:  I think in the practice yesterday, whenever it was, they kept working on our car and kept making it a little better, a little better.  Like Kevin said, it’s a whole unknown for everyone.  The adjustments Gil and his guys made kept picking the car up a little.
            You got to have speed, for sure, to go out and win here.
            GIL MARTIN:  I agree.  We tried a couple of different setups actually last night because we were anticipating that the cars were going to move around a lot, were going to need a lot of grip.  As it turned out with the weather the way it is, the cars had plenty of grip, so we were having to basically race qualifying setups.  That’s kind of what we did tonight.
            I think that’s going to turn around on Thursday and Sunday with the temperature going up.  The cars are going to slip and slide a little more.  Hopefully we’re going to be prepared for that for what we have built in our car.
 
            Q.  Kevin, no one has really spoken much about the way the format all shook out.  How was that for you?  You were finding out in the cars.  Did it work out okay?  Was it a good thing?
            KEVIN HARVICK:  I think any format like this that you can involve the fans, I think it makes them appreciate that somebody’s paying attention to them and really appreciates them being a part of our sport.
            The only part, I think a lot of people look back and say, when they saw that wreck, you see the 12 cars, you see how hard it is to make moves with a limited amount of cars, eliminating cars would have been a bad deal because it just makes the racing that much harder and slows things down so much.  Because the runs are slower, there’s less people to make the bottom groove be as competitive as the top groove was.
            When you have more cars than one line, that line is going to run faster.
            All in all, I think it went pretty good.  The trophy’s really heavy (smiling).
 
            Q.  Richard, a little off topic.  Furniture Row has wrecked two cars in two days.  They’ve indicated they have something in place with you to maybe give them another car if they need one or fix them.  Can you tell us what the agreement is there?  How many do you actually have here?
            RICHARD CHILDRESS:  Well, each one of our teams, we got eight cars here, and we got three back at the shop ready to go.  We’re going to help them in any way we can.  We’ll probably have one of those cars back tomorrow, repaired.
            We got two or three more back at the shop.
            GIL MARTIN:  We have two more back at the shop.  Fortunately for them and us, this car will be sitting there.  Cleaned up, juiced up, ready to go in case it’s needed.  We got plenty of bullets in the chamber.
            RICHARD CHILDRESS:  As of now (laughter).
 
            Q.  Kevin, the wreck yesterday in practice was kind of a misjudgment of how fast one of the lanes was going.  The first wreck today was Tony somewhat misjudging where the bottom lane was.  How confident were you when you were trying to block near the end?  Do you really know yet how quick the draft can move if you get out of that lane?
     
       KEVIN HARVICK:  I think you’re exactly right.  I think everybody is trying to figure that out.  I think as the night went on, you kind of started to understand it.  I feel like things are a lot slower coming at you than what we had with the tandem stuff in the previous years.
            Just the way that things are in the car, whether it be something silly like your side mirror, mine is in a much different spot, much different shape than what it was.
            The first five or six times I looked for the mirror, it was in a different spot, and I didn’t see it because it wasn’t there.  It’s up here instead of down here, because that bar is straight.  The mirrors are in a different spot, the window nets are a little different.
            Silly stuff like that really matters because when you’ve been driving something week after week for four years, everything is in the same spot, and you move one simple thing six or seven inches, things become a lot different.
            You can anticipate where things are going to be.  But both wrecks, and I heard Matt talking about it today, both wrecks have happened because of that left side mirror, things being different compared to what they were in the past.  I’ve heard the same response from both of those guys.
            I know that sounds silly, but you know where all the keys are on your keyboard, right?
 
            Q.  Since you knew that guys could get such a run in the two‑car tandem, there wasn’t a lot of hope of blocking, are you maybe ‑‑
            KEVIN HARVICK:  ‑‑ cutting it a little closer?  For sure.  I saw the 16 coming tonight.  I looked in the mirror twice.  The spotter says I’m clear, I’m going to keep going.  I eased my way up there.  Luckily hit the bumper.  He kept saying, Clear up, clear up, clear up.  You just have to have the faith in that guy to hope he’s right.
 
            Q.  Richard, Austin was really quick this morning in the first practice.  If I’m not mistaken, he didn’t go out in the second practice.  What do you have going on with him and what are your expectations for him this week?
            RICHARD CHILDRESS:  Well, first thing, he’s got to make the race.  They got a little advantage right now.  All them guys have been doing is just tweaking, touching, rubbing, doing everything they can to that car, taking a few extra chances with the engine.  Let’s hope it makes it two laps tomorrow.
            While Kevin and everybody else has been out testing the downforce cars, they know they got to go fast to make the race.  That’s the first thing you got to do.  You got to be in the race to do anything else.
 
            Q.  Is he going to take a shot at the front row tomorrow?
            RICHARD CHILDRESS:  I don’t know.  He’ll be pretty good.  But who knows what will happen.  I think Danica right now has the star power.  She’s doing good.  I mean, she’s doing good.  They’re going to do good.  I think she’ll be the car to beat for the pole.  She’ll have a run.  We struggled today with the 29.  It was miserable as hell.
            Tomorrow will be better wherever we end up, right, Gil?
            GIL MARTIN:  That’s what I’m talking about.
            RICHARD CHILDRESS:  He ran from the back.
            KEVIN HARVICK:  If Danica sits on the pole, Dillon starts second, we might have some rumors.  Just saying.  It will be fun.  We’ll TMZ it all the way (laughter).
            RICHARD CHILDRESS:  It will be fun whatever.  I just wanted to make the race.
            KERRY THARP:  Thank you, guys.  Great show tonight.  Good luck the rest of Speedweeks.
                      

Chevy Racing–Kevin Harvick

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET SS – RACE WINNER:
THIS IS YOUR THIRD WIN IN YOUR LAST FIVE RACES HERE AT THE SPRINT UNLIMITED. YOU KNEW THE MOVE WAS GOING TO COME. YOU JUST DIDN’T KNOW WHEN AND WHERE. TELL US ABOUT THE LAST LAP COMING OFF TURN 2
“I could see those guys, the No. 16 (Greg Biffle) in the middle-half there, and then the No. 14 (Tony Stewart), they were kind of timing it as to how far they needed to get back to get that dive to the bottom, but with the top there, you could guard the bottom if they didn’t get all the way by you with the side draft and that’s really what you were looking for. So I just chose to stay on the top and I knew that the No. 14 was going to try to time it for getting down into (Turn) 1 and then the outside got a huge run and then we were able to block that run on the outside there. It was a great day for our Budweiser Chevy and I’m glad we got Speedweeks started off the right way.”
 
SO MANY UNKNOWNS; WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT THIS RACE CAR?
“I think you just have to be patient with it. Handling was a lot less of an issue for us than we had anticipated. So that kind of caught us a little off-guard with the practices. But we’ve just got to wait a week and see what the weather is like as the handling may, or may not, be more of an issue as we get into the (Daytona) 500. So, there is still a lot to be learned with a full pack of cars and we’ll kind of ease into that with the Duels and then onto the big race on Sunday.”
 
YOU ALSO SAID YOU WERE KIND OF GLAD THAT MATT KENSETH GOT SHUFFLED BACK. WAS HE THE OTHER STRONG CAR OUT THERE?
“Yeah, I felt like he had the strongest car and he could make a lot happen on the bottom by himself. So, I was glad to see him get shuffled back there.”
 
THERE WAS SO MUCH UNKNOWN GOING INTO THE RACE TONIGHT. YOU KNEW TONY STEWART WAS GOING TO MAKE A MOVE. WAS THE MOVE THAT YOU EXPECTED HIM TO TRY? WHAT WAS IT LIKE JUST SITTING THERE WAITING?
“I was really kind of nervous about the No. 20 (Matt Kenseth) and the No. 14 (Tony Stewart). I thought their cars were a little bit better than what we had. But I want to thank Sprint and the race fans. This one was for everybody sitting in the stands and at home, Budweiser, Rheem, Jimmy John’s, Chevrolet and Bad Boy Buggies and Realtree, everybody that puts this team on the race track. It’s a good way to start off Speedweeks.”
 
WHAT KIND OF STATEMENT DOES THIS SEND TO PEOPLE UTTERING THE ‘LAME DUCK’ PHRASE FOR THIS YEAR?
“I think it’s just one of those deals where for us, it’s really not winning races; the politics and everything are one thing, but when we get to the race track it’s about sitting in this race car and making it as fast as it’ll go. Those guys, they don’t care about anything but winning and wanting to do good. So, we owe it to them and everybody at Budweiser and I guess we just had to take their name off the race to win it. So, it was an awesome say for us.”
 
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/BASS PRO SHOPS CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED FOURTH. TELL US ABOUT THE LAST LAP HOW IT PLAYED OUT IN YOUR MIND AND WHAT MOVES YOU COULD HAVE MADE/SHOULD HAVE MADE?
“That is why I haven’t won a Daytona 500 yet.  I’m not quite sure exactly which move to make.  I saw the No. 22 coming on the bottom. I thought they were going fast enough that I needed to move down, but I should have stayed where I was at.  We’ve got a good car anybody that questions whether Mobil 1 is the best lubricant brand in the world all they had to do was watch the first 20 laps of that race.  We proved it by going to the back, going to the front, going to the back, going to the front.  We’ve got really good race cars.  I’m really proud of the Hendrick engine department and everybody at Stewart-Haas.  To go through the winter these guys have gone through and trying to build cars at the last minute because of the shortage of parts and to bring two cars down here that are this fast.  I’m really proud of our organization right now.”

WHAT HAPPENED EARLY IN THE RACE WHEN THE BIG WRECK BROKE LOOSE?
“I got a big run on the No. 20 and I went to the bottom.  I thought I was clear.  The spotter did not clear me so I went on my own.  I thought I had enough of a run to be clear of the third-place guy.  I’m pretty sure I clipped whoever was in third.  I made a move for the lead and probably was a little anxious too early.  I was kind of stagnant where I was at and I was having fun moving forward and felt racy.”

WHAT DID YOU LEARN TONIGHT ABOUT THIS NEW GEN-6 RACE CAR?
“We learned a lot.  The good thing is we’ve got 500 miles to get it done this weekend.  We learned a lot that will help us going into Sunday.  Really proud of our team and organization that we were able to bring two really good cars like this down here.  This thing was fast today.”

LAP 15 YOU GOT TO USE SOME DIRT TRACK EXPERIENCE WHAT HAPPENED?
“I self-cleared myself I guess, I went down before the spotter cleared me.  I thought I had a big enough run that I cleared second, but I obviously hadn’t and I just barely nicked him. I just need about two more inches.”

WHAT ARE YOUR FIRST THOUGHTS ON THE WAY THE NEW CAR RACED TONIGHT?
“It is like nobody has missed a beat.  It’s almost like it’s not even a new car as far as how comfortable everybody got.  I think everybody was pretty solid right off the bat.  I think if it gets warm it could make this interesting and put it back in our hands again.  It’s still a chess match.  You’ve still got to play chess.”

YOU HAD A PRETTY EVENTFUL EVENING IF YOU COULD JUST TALK ABOUT THAT: 
“Self-cleared myself in (turn) one and wasn’t.  I don’t think I was clear obviously.  I clipped whoever was in third.  When Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. came down to the middle where he was at made me really tight.  I got up into him and then I got into him and couldn’t get off of him, bounced off of him about three times.  I made sure our spotter told him what happened, but I definitely was in enough interesting spots tonight for sure and most of them I put myself in.”

YET STILL ABLE TO RALLY FOR A GOOD FINISH SO THAT HAS GOT TO BE ENCOURAGING: 
“Tonight is the reason why I haven’t won the Daytona 500 yet.  I’m not sure where I’ve got to be on the last lap there and what to do.  We heard the Fords were ganging up and trying something.  Then saw the No. 22 car on the bottom all of a sudden, so I went where I thought was the right place to be and we lost two spots with it.  I would rather try something and it not work than stay and lose a bunch of spots and I would probably be more frustrated because I didn’t try something.”

WITH THE SIGNIFICANT CONTACT THAT YOU DID HAVE TONIGHT WERE YOU HAPPY WITH HOW THE CAR HANDLED AFTER THE FACT?
“Yeah, it really didn’t change it.  I honestly don’t know I haven’t even been to that side of the car to see what it did.  It really didn’t change my balance, so I don’t think it really changed anybody’s balance that made contact.  They are pretty solid race cars I’m pretty impressed.”

PRETTY GOOD DAY FOR YOUR TEAM YOU HAVE TO BE REALLY HAPPY: 
“I’m really proud of our organization to come in a clutch like this and have to build race cars at the last minute.  Because everybody was waiting on parts and to be able to bring three cars that today in practice were in the top eight and to have a car that we had tonight.  I couldn’t be more proud of the effort and the results that showed tonight because of it.”

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS, FINISHED 9TH:  HOW DID THE CARS HANDLE OUT THERE TONIGHT? “It was pretty good when we had more cars. I thought the racing was real good even with 12 cars in the second segment. At the end of the race, it was just few enough cars that w
hen about eight or 10 of them started controlling the top line, the basically controlled the fate of everybody else.  You really had to get more cars moving around, and going for the lead to get a little more racing, and a little more action. But, I thought what I saw the first segment and the second segment with just a few cars out there, it was pretty dicey.”
 
DID YOUR HANDLING GO AWAY QUICKLY? OTHER DRIVERS SAID THEIR’S DID: “Really?  My car drove real good. I never had any problems with the handling. I never had any problems with the handling.”
 
DID THE ADJUSTMENTS, OR WHATEVER THEY DID TO FIX THE CAR AFTER THE SECOND SEGMENT MAKE IT FINE? “I didn’t really have any problems with my car. I don’t think we changed anything. This is the car we tested and it didn’t really run that great when we tested it. I could get run and charge up into the top-five, but it didn’t like the clean air up there. It got real draggy, just real slow up front. The No. 20 (Matt Kenseth) had a great car, and the No. 14 (Tony Stewart) was real fast, but he’s real sharp at plate racing too. The No. 29 (Kevin Harvick) had a good car. I just didn’t make enough of the right moves or  have enough car to get it going there.”
 
YOU SAID IT SOUNDED SICK: “Well, I thought I had an issue with the engine, but it was just the draft was easy to lose. With this little spoiler on the back, it’s really easy  to lose the draft because the air gets to your nose pretty quick, and the distance of the draft isn’t as far back as it used to be off the car in front of you. So, you can lose it pretty easily. You have to be real careful.  Me and the No. 99 (Carl Edwards) both lost it right there at the end of the second segment.”
 
SO DRAFTING IS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT WITH THIS CAR? “It’s different than it was last year for sure from what I saw in that race. You could still push guys, which we always…we pushed guys for years and years and years and years. Even before the COT, we were pushing each other down the straightaways and stuff. I think you can still do that. Everybody’s just got to kind of learn how we have to do it differently now. Everybody’s just got to go through trial and error on how to it. What works and what doesn’t.”
 
THERE WAS A WRECK EARLY IN TESTING. THERE WAS A WRECK EARLY IN PRACTICE YESTERDAY. THERE WAS A WRECK EARLY IN THIS RACE. HAVE YOU GUYS HAD ENOUGH CHANCE TO LEARN WITH A LOT OF CARS OUT THERE? “No, not really. A lot of the guys that weren’t in this race haven’t been in real race conditions with this car yet. So, half the field still has a lot to learn; a crash course you know. I think. So I think you are going to see a little bit of the same in the (Daytona) 500. Maybe even in one or two of the qualifiers. The qualifiers have always kind of been that way anyway. You always had one that had a big crash in it, and then one that was caution free. The bumpers aren’t perfect. They are imperfect when they line up, and that is going to cause some action and some drama out there. That is the way it used to be, and I think everybody is okay with that. The drafting and the way you work the draft, I think everybody is still kind of learning that. I learned a lot tonight, but I still think there is tons to learn.”
 
WHAT DO YOU KNOW NOW THAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW BEFORE THIS RACE? “Just a lot of little nuances about the draft. I had a good run on the No. 16 (Greg Biffle) going into third in the second segment. My run was really strong, and I thought it would be enough to clear him, and it wasn’t. The car died out pretty quick when I got down to the bottom in the clean air. Technically I thought that would be an easy pass. Hopefully the 500 car has that kind of muscle, and maybe just this car didn’t. Passing is a bit of a challenge. You have to know what you are doing, and work the momentum and see what is happening around you. It is a good challenge. I think it is really challenging. Not just pushing the car as far as you can push it, and as hard as you can push it. You have got to really think about what you are doing up there and what decisions you make, and what lines you get in. We haven’t had to worry about what line you get in for year, so that is kind of neat wondering whether the top or the bottom is going to move. Lot of different things happening out there, and everybody is just going to have to learn what works and what doesn’t.”

Chevy Racing–Jimmie Johnson

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
DAYTONA SPEEDWEEKS SPRINT UNLIMITED
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER RACE NOTES & QUOTES
FEBRUARY 16, 2013
 
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – Sidelined in multi-car crash on lap 15:
WHAT DID YOU SEE FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE?
“I didn’t see much.  I was just kind of cruising along and I saw sparks in front of me.  I knew that wasn’t good.  Then before I knew it just the cars inside of me and around me everybody just slid up the race track and into me and around we went.  I still haven’t seen the video replay of exactly what triggered it, but it started in front of me and got a bunch of us.”
HOW DID THE CARS FEEL OUT THERE?
“Felt pretty good it seems to me that we are back to where we were with the old car ’06 era somewhere in there with how the cars drafted.  So it was fun, it was nice to see Tony (Stewart) and I working the outside lane like we did.  Some guys tried it and really didn’t get very far.  Tony and I started working together like the old days and really made up some ground.  I was encouraged by the speed of my car and by the way the cars raced on the track.  I’m looking forward to the (Daytona) 500.  Hopefully I go further.  My stats on restrictor plate tracks really aren’t looking very good right now.  I’ve got to pick that up.”
 
WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT HAPPENED SO SOON IN THE RACE?
“It’s hard to say.  Plate racing we are all running so close and again I don’t know what triggered it.  I am disappointed that it was that early in the race, but I’m not sure why it happened.”
 
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS – Sidelined in multi-car crash on lap 15:
“Half the battle and goal of this race is to learn something for next week’s Duel and the 500. The car was definitely, as far back as I was, they become a handful a couple laps before that. But handling wasn’t an issue. We had good handling. We need a little more speed, so we’ll work on that. But I can’t tell if guys are just getting out of control or if they’re getting hit or what’s going on. But several guys started shuffling back to the back and right there I saw somebody loose on the inside and the outside lane somehow was affected by it and it was a domino by the time it got back to me and we were in it.
 
CAN YOU TELL US YOUR VERSION OF THAT AND WHAT WERE YOU FEELING OUT THERE?
“I couldn’t see much.  We were in that bottom lane that just got shuffled back early and so we were just slowly working our way back up there.  I saw handling started to become an issue for quite a few guys, a little bit for myself, but not too bad.  I just saw somebody get sideways going down into (turn) one and then our lane checked up and they started getting turned and we started wrecking.”
 
TALK ABOUT THE HANDLING IS THAT A GOOD THING FOR NASCAR RACING?
“Yeah, but you as a driver have more responsibility now about how you are going to drive out there because the cars are going to move around a little bit more.  They are going to get turned around a lot easier, so you can’t be running into one another.  You can’t be turning across guys; you have to utilize that handling to your advantage after a longer run. I like that part of it.”
 
ANY SURPRISE IN YOUR MIND THAT IT HAPPENED THIS EARLY?
“Yes and no, I thought at the start of the race everybody was doing a pretty good job of watching.  Even when we were three-wide it wasn’t too bad. Then I started seeing some guys start to lose the handling on their car and start to get a little out of control.  I started paying a little bit more attention and was looking for cars to slide around.  They were, but no incidences until then.”
 
DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE 150’S ARE GOING TO BE LIKE NOW?
“Well, if it warms up during the daytime handling is going to be a big, big issue.  That is going to be important and so we will look at the weather.  We weren’t there long, but we learned a little bit and now we will watch what these guys are doing and try to learn some more for the duels.”
 
IT SEEMED LIKE THE INSIDE LANE WAS A BETTER LANE?
“It wasn’t for me at the beginning.  At the beginning the inside lane was no good at all.  Usually it’s not the lane it’s just how it’s formed.  If you get guys stacked up that lane will start moving, the outside seemed to move early, but then it looked like the outside also started having some handling issues as we started to get more heat in the tires.”
 
HANDLING DIDN’T CAUSE THAT WRECK RIGHT?
“I haven’t seen it, but from what I heard no.  I think handling at the end of this race when people started getting more aggressive it will probably contribute to some.  The handling is what can lose some speed.  It shouldn’t necessarily cause a wreck unless you are trying to be aggressive towards the end of a run and the handling is just not going to be as good.”
 
 

Chevy Racing– Danica Patrick

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
DAYTONA 500
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
FEBRUARY 16, 2013
 
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway after leading the final practice session for the 55th running of the Daytona 500.  During the session she discussed what it would mean to win the pole tomorrow, her speed in practice and other topics.  FULL TRANSCRIPT:
 
YOU WERE FAST IN BOTH PRACTICES HOW IS YOUR CONFIDENCE HEADING INTO QUALIFYING?
“I mean I suppose being the fastest going into qualifying is as good as you could hope for.  But, I also understand that it’s a whole different day.  We could go out there on the track and just for some reason not have as much speed as we had hoped for.  We could be in an unfortunate situation with wind or weather, temperatures, clouds, so I understand that.  We have done everything we can to prepare for it.  We all feel pretty confident, but tomorrow is a different day.”
 
YOU WERE FAST AT THE TEST HERE TOO SO IT’S NOT LIKE TODAY IS A SURPRISE:
“We came here this weekend for the race with another car than what we tested.  We weren’t sure if we were going to bring the same one back or not because it ran so well.  This other car was really good in the wind tunnel so we brought it.  You always hope that the numbers from the wind tunnel translate to speed on the track and it did.  I guess that is kind of the way that it has gone here at Daytona for us is that everything that we think is going to work a certain way works the way we expect it to.  What should be faster is and that is not always the case.  Everything just seems to be going really smoothly.”
 
ARE YOU HAPPY TO BE TALKING ABOUT RACING INSTEAD OF ALL THE OTHER STUFF THAT YOU HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT?
“Well, I have always felt in my career that when things go well on the track the media responds to it.  So, I appreciate you all showing up here and thank you.  Make sure that you write about how good the crew is that made this car and the last car that was really fast and how strong the Hendrick engine is.  I think that is really important here at Daytona.  We are going to spend plenty of time the rest of the year talking about if a driver does something at tracks that aren’t speedways. Here at Daytona and then at Talladega it is very much about the potential of the car and the engine.”
 
WHAT DOES 196.22 (MPH) FEEL LIKE ON THE RACE TRACK HERE IN THE NEW CAR?
“I’ve never been someone that is thrilled or drawn in to racing by speed so for me I just want to be a little faster than the rest of them.  It feels like we were a little faster than the rest of them.”
 
DOES THIS GIVE YOU A GLIMPSE OF WHAT TO EXPECT TOMORROW?  DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE A STRONG CONTENDER FOR THE POLE?
“Everything that we do is to make sure that we do whatever we can to be on the pole tomorrow.  That is what we all are shooting for.  As I said earlier tomorrow is a whole other day.  You’ve got to hope that the weather stays very consistent or perhaps better at the beginning when I’m going to go than at the end.  All those things play into it.”
 
YOU’VE DONE A LOT OF THINGS IN YOUR CAREER WHAT WOULD WINNING THE DAYTONA 500 POLE MEAN TO YOU?
“I think it would mean a lot of work for Joe (Crowley) and Haley (Moore) with the media (laughs).  It would be really nice.  It is a very big pole of all of them in the year for attention.  Especially for GoDaddy who is on the car, people like that, that is who that helps the most.  I mean there are other races throughout the year that as a driver you feel maybe more pleased or proud of yourself to get.  This one is a whole team effort.  I understand I know I don’t give much credit to myself about driving and turning left.  And that is true it’s very much about the car and the engine.  It is a team effort I understand that the driver can make tiny little differences out there, be smooth, and nail your shifts and being smooth with the wheel.  The pole at Daytona is very much a team pole.”
 
DO YOU THINK IT SENDS A MESSAGE IN THE GARAGE WHEN YOU ARE THE FASTEST ON THE CHART?
“I think being fastest on the chart, just being fast in general shows everyone else how dead serious Tony Gibson is with his guys and how he wants poles, he wants to give me the fastest car possible.  He is doing absolutely everything he can and is putting so much hard work into it.  I think that just shows his confidence in everyone including myself about what we can do.”
 
AFTER THE WRECK YESTERDAY DURING PRACTICE DID YOU GUYS HAVE A STRATEGY BEYOND SUNDAY AS FAR AS WHAT YOU WANT TO DO AS FAR AS LEARNING WHAT YOU NEED TO DO IN THE DRAFT WITH THE NEW CAR?
“Tonight will be very telling in the Sprint Unlimited race there is no doubt.  I saw Juan (Pablo Montoya) as I was walking back from my bus last night.  I asked him how it was and he was talking about how it felt.  He said there are five cars out there he said it is going to be completely different when we get 20 of us out together.  I have a feeling that it’s going to be what shows what you are going to see next weekend tonight.  I’m curious just like everyone else is.  I want to know how it feels and I will be listening on the radio and I will be paying very close attention to where the runs come, what the car feels like and the trouble zones.  You’ve got to get through all 500 miles to get to the end.  As I found out last year it’s not a lot of fun to fall out of the race after a few miles.”
 
HOW ENCOURAGING IS IT AS A DRIVER FOR YOUR FIRST FULL SEASON IN CUP TO COME RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX AND BE FAST WITH THIS NEW CAR?
“It feels good, it does.  There is a lot of year left and we are going to have a lot of challenging weekends.  I have no doubt about it.  But, we need to enjoy the good ones.  So far this has been a good one.  There is no better place to have a good race than the very first one of the year.  It sets the tone and gives the guys confidence and after we go away a good memory, which is nice to have too.  So far so good for us, however, all the stuff that counts is what’s next.  Hopefully, that keeps going in the way that it has already.”
 
HOW ABOUT THE VALUE OF GETTING LOCKED IN AND THEN HAVING ALL WEEK TO CONCENTRATE ON RACE PREPARATION?
“With the new qualifying scenario I think it would be really nice for all of us to know we were in the race for Sunday.  Obviously, there is not, there are only a couple of cars extra, but it’s still a nice thing.  It’s nice to know as a team, but it’s also nice to know for your partners like GoDaddy and all the other people that are involved in the car.  That is who really pays for you to be out there on the track and have their name.  Being on the front row would lock in a front row.  Being in the top-six would lock in a start which both of those would be very good.”
 

Chevy Racing–Juan Pablo Montoya

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – EXPERIENCED AN ENGINE FAILURE DURING PRACTICE
 
YOUR GUYS ARE GOING TO BE REALLY BUSY THIS SESSION WHAT HAPPENED?
“They are going to be really busy changing the motor.  Our Target Chevy has been pretty strong.  Jamie (McMurray) I think is second on the board right now.  We are pretty happy.  We will change the motor and give it a good go tomorrow in qualifying.  I think tonight is going to be a fun night and just looking forward to the (Daytona) 500.”
 
YOU ARE NOT LETTING THIS GET YOU DOWN AT ALL ARE YOU?
“It’s okay it’s part of racing.  It happens.  We will get it fixed and get out there.  We will be fine.”

Chevrolet Will Set the Pace at Daytona

Chevrolet Will Set the Pace at Daytona
 
For Release: February 16, 2013
 
DETROIT – The 2014 Chevrolet SS will be very busy during its Speedweeks debut, pacing all four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races – The Sprint Unlimited, both Budweiser Duels and the Daytona 500. And, it will be one of Chevrolet’s three newest models to pace NASCAR’s races at Daytona International Speedway next weekend:
 
·         2014 Chevrolet SS in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
·         2013 Camaro ZL1 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Drive4COPD 300
·         2014 Silverado 1500 Crew Cab in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy 250
 
“Chevrolet is extremely proud to be a part of NASCAR’s season-opener by pacing all of the events at Daytona International Speedway,” said Jeff Chew, Marketing Manager for Chevrolet Racing. “In 2013, Chevrolet will launch 13 all-new or significantly redesigned products in North America. Included in those models is the Chevrolet SS, which race fans will get a chance to see on track when it paces The Sprint Unlimited tonight, the Budweiser Duels next Thursday, and the Daytona 500 next Sunday.”
 
The 2014 Chevrolet SS is the first rear-wheel drive performance sedan for Chevrolet since 1996.
 
The 2013 Camaro ZL1 brings supercar levels of performance and technology to the sports-car segment, featuring a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 that produces 580 horsepower, and can go from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds.
 
The 2014 Silverado all-new EcoTec3 engines, designed specifically for trucks, provide power and torque when needed, then switches seamlessly to 4-cylinder mode to save fuel for light-load driving.
 
In 2013, Chevrolet is campaigning the Chevrolet SS in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Camaro in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

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