Chevy Racing–Homestead Driver Press Conferences

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed what last week’s win at Phoenix does for him and his team, how he feels the evolution of safety has come with the Car of Tomorrow, what it is like to run multiple races in a weekend and much more. Full transcript.
 
GETTING THAT WIN, WHAT DOES THAT DO FOR THE TEAM MORAL WISE?
“Well I think everybody knows we are going to go out and try to be competitive and win races. For us as a whole it shows that we can still go out and make it happen. It’s great to have that momentum at the end of the year. It will do a lot for the off season.”
 
THIS IS THE LAST RACE FOR THE CAR OF TOMORROW, IT’S NEVER REALLY BEEN BELOVED, WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHAT IT DID IN TERMS OF SAFETY DID IT KIND OF DO ITS JOB?
“I think so. I think the safety evolution has been pretty remarkably fast as far as how fast it has taken place over the years. The evolution of whether it be cars, or seats, or rules, or whatever the case may be it’s not something that NASCAR has let their guard down on. I think that part of it has been great. It’s definitely started the path and accomplished a lot of things that they wanted to accomplish from that standpoint.”
 
WHEN YOU ARE IN THE COCKPIT OF THE CAR, IS IT DIFFERENT THAN WHAT IT WAS LIKE IN THE PREVIOUS CAR?
“Oh yeah, absolutely. The roll bars are not sitting next to your head. In speedway races the roll bar would actually be touching the left side of your head because you couldn’t get the seat down low enough with where the truck arms were. So, just from a driver’s standpoint as far as room in the car is a remarkable difference.”
 
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO RUN MULTIPLE SERIES IN A WEEKEND?
“It just depends on a lot of things. It depends on how they are running. A lot of it depends on where you are at in a season as far as how you feel and things like that. When you know you are going to run every race and you know you’re going to have to go through the dead of summer, that’s really the hardest part is going through the dead of summer and run both of those races and keep yourself hydrated. You have to be in tune with how you are physically with your body. It’s a challenge for sure. When we first did that back in 2001 everybody thought we were crazy and now it’s just kind of normal to run a lot of races.”
 
IN REGARDS TO THE 2001 SEASON AND FILLING IN, HOW DIFFICULT IS IT COMING IN AND RUNNING THE CUP SERIES WHEN YOU WEREN’T EXPECTING TO RUN IT?
“I always tell people that my career started backwards. You start out with a lot of attention and fans, just in a very unique situation. Then you go through the years trying to figure out and learn how to whether its manage your time, or manage your money, or manage your team, whatever the case may be, there’s just a lot of challenges that come with this level of races. It becomes a lot harder than you think it should be after the first year and you learn as you go. I think as we did that, it was definitely different starting the way that we do.”
 
THIS IS SAM HORNISH’S SECOND GO AROUND IN CUP, WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN IF ANYTHING A DIFFERENCE IN HIM AS HE’S RACING ON THE TRACK?
“He just crashes a lot less. I think that’s the biggest difference. I think the first time that he came around he didn’t have a great feel for the cars and had a lot of pressure put on him to go out and perform. The cars weren’t running near as good as they run now. As he’s had the opportunity this time to come around, he’s got a much better feel for the cars. You’ve got to have experience to be successful at Nationwide or Cup. To have that feel for the cars and know where it’s going to spin out and know when to let people go, and he takes care of his equipment really well now. You can race door to door with him and not have to worry about who you are racing. So, he’s made a pretty tremendous turn around since he started.”
 
WHEN THE CHASE DEVELOPED, DID YOU EVER THINK THAT SOMEBODY WOULD EVER BE ABLE TO GO OUT AND WIN FIVE CHAMPIONSHIPS IN A ROW?
“No, I think the Chase was developed so it would be more competitive. But, I think that goes to show you just how competitive that those No. 48 guys have been. Jimmie (Johnson) is obviously a great driver and got a great team. It’s been pretty remarkable to watch.”
 
BACK IN 2010 YOU FINISHED THIRD BUT YOU HAD A BETTER AVERAGE FINISH THAN THE TWO GUYS IN FRONT OF YOU. KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW NOW BACK THEN, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENT?
“Win more races. That’s what it boils down to is wins.”

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed making his 500th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start, the high and low points of the season and other topics.  Full Transcript:  
 
500TH START THIS WEEKEND CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT MILESTONE?
“It means I’m getting old (laughs).  I’m pretty proud of that.  It’s a cool accomplishment.  I remember when I came in the series watching guys get recognized for their 500th start.  That is pretty neat.”
 
LAST RACE WITH OFFICE DEPOT TALK ABOUT WHAT THEY HAVE MEANT TO YOU AND YOUR ORGANIZATION:
“They have been awesome.  They were the first company that came and wanted to be a part of this program when it started.  Even before I actually signed my deal with Gene (Haas) was when they came and say ‘hey we don’t know if what we are hearing you are doing you are going to do, but if you are we want to be a part of it.’  That was nice to have that kind of vote of confidence from somebody like Office Depot.”
 
IN YOUR MIND WHAT ARE THE HIGH POINTS AND LOW POINTS OF THIS SEASON?
“I think the high point is probably winning at Las Vegas, winning at a track we hadn’t won at before was definitely a high point.  A lot of places that we were so good at last year in the Chase, not being good this time and this year around was a little disappointing.”
 
DO YOU FEEL DISCOURAGED GOING INTO NEXT YEAR GIVING THAT YOU RECENTLY HAVEN’T BEEN RUNNING WELL AT THE SAME PLACES YOU RAN WELL AT LAST YEAR?
“We’ve got such a different car and different package next year, everybody just kind of starts over.  I am discouraged that we are finishing this way, but not because of what it’s going to lead to next year.  Everybody is going to start with stuff that is totally different package wise than what we have.  A totally new body that is obvious to everybody, but things underneath the car that the guys are doing to the cars this year that we are not going to be allowed to do next year. There are a lot of changes and it’s going to be a whole new learning process starting over in Daytona.”
 
WHAT TYPE OF RACE DO YOU THINK WE ARE GOING TO SEE ON SUNDAY?
“You always ask that after practice when nobody has ran around each other.  I honestly have no idea.  When we went on the race track there was rubber all the way across from the bottom to the top so they are obviously using the whole race track before we even started.  That is a good sign that the race track still moves around.”
 
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT JEFF (GORDON) DID LAST WEEK?
“I’m not going to get involved in that.”
 
THE ELDORA RUMOR HEATED UP AGAIN CAN YOU SAY ANYTHING ON THAT?
“When we have something to say we will tell you guys. It’s starting to get annoying every week it’s like we don’t even know answers and you guys want answers that we don’t even have answers to.  When we have answers we will come to you guys I promise we will not let you be left out of this.”
 
LAST YEAR GOING INTO THE FINAL WEEKEND YOU AND CARL (EDWARDS) KIND OF TOOK SOME JABS AT EACH OTHER IN YOUR ESTIMATION WHAT IMPACT CAN THAT HAVE SAY BETWEEN BRAD (KESELOWSKI) AND JIMMIE (JOHNSON)?
“I don’t know I haven’t been p
aying attention to what they are doing.  It affects different guys different ways.”
 
DOES THE CHASE GET MORE DIFFICULT OR EASIER WHEN YOU HAVE SOME WHAT OF A CUSHION OR IS IT BETTER IF YOU DON’T HAVE A CUSHION AND JUST RACE KNOWING YOU NEED TO PUSH IT EVERYTHING AS HARD AS POSSIBLE THE WHOLE WAY?
“I don’t know.  We’ve been in both situations.  The whole day is evenly as tough no matter where you are at it’s a tough day.  There is nothing easy about it.”

 

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT 20-YEAR CELEBRATORY CHEVROLET, AND RICK HENDRICK, OWNER OF HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed the 20-year relationship with DUPONT, the incident at Phoenix International Raceway and other topics.  Full transcript:
An Interview With:
JEFF GORDON
RICK HENDRICK
            KERRY THARP:  We have a special availability in here this afternoon at Homestead Miami Speedway.  We have Jeff Gordon.  He’s driving the No. 24 DUPONT 20‑year Celebratory Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, and we’re pleased to be joined by Jeff and his team owner Rick Hendrick.  This is 20 years for Jeff Gordon in the DUPONT Chevrolet with Hendrick Motorsports, a terrific accomplishment in any walk of life to be together for 20 years.
            Jeff, congratulations.  Four‑time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, also getting ready to start your 689th straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday.  That’s third all‑time, and Rick Hendrick will be going for his 11th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship as an owner on Sunday afternoon with the 48 car of Jimmie Johnson.
            Jeff, let me ask you first, 20 years with DUPONT, a terrific organization.  We have many of those folks today in the back row.  Thank you for being here today.  Just talk about the relationship you’ve had with DUPONT and the relationship you’ve had with Hendrick Motorsports.
            JEFF GORDON:  Yeah, it’s obviously been a phenomenal relationship and really a partnership.  We saw them in the Nationwide Series getting involved with NASCAR racing.  Rick can tell you more about the meetings that they had from the beginning that were interesting and what eventually led to the sponsorship.  And once they came on board and took a chance on a rookie driver and a new team, kind of the rest is history.  But those early days and our excitement of getting out there into the Cup Series and their excitement about what they could do for their customers and their business, and seeing those two come together, I think they’ve entertained more than 250,000 people at races over the years and really kind of set the benchmark for how sponsors go about entertaining their clients, their customers at track and how valuable that is from a business standpoint.
            It’s been really amazing all the great success.  A lot of great memories and championships and wins, but this weekend that car really means a lot to me.  It’s a very cool‑looking car.  To have 20 years with one company and to be with Rick for 20 years is something that I’m very proud of, and we look forward to a great weekend.
            KERRY THARP:  Rick, certainly you’ve won a lot of championships, four of them with the gentleman sitting to your right, but talk about the relationship not only with Jeff Gordon but also with DUPONT.
            RICK HENDRICK:  Well, I think everyone has heard the story of me seeing Jeff in Atlanta, and I have to thank Andy Graves, his roommate, for ‑‑ I just happened to say in front of Jimmy Johnson, who was the Jimmy Johnson that ran Hendrick Motorsports that it was a shame that this kid that I saw driving that Nationwide or Busch Car back then had a contract with Ford, and Andy Graves said he doesn’t have a contract.  So we went to work and we designed a deal without a sponsor.
            I was talking to the folks at DUPONT because I was using their products in the dealerships, and I was asking them about an associate sponsorship and had no idea they’d go for ‑‑ they said, well, how about us sponsoring a whole car.  And you look back at them taking a chance on Jeff and what they ‑‑ like Jeff said, the way they have entertained at the track and the paints that they’ve brought to the track, from the day glows to all the wild colors, then we’ve rolled that into SEMA shows.  So it’s been an unbelievable journey.
            And I think 20 years has gone by in a hurry.  But we really appreciate them because they have been there from the very beginning and they took a chance, and they deserve to have the success that they’ve had over the years.  We’re just proud to carry them on board, and you’re right, to have a sponsor that sticks with you for 20 years, that’s an awful long time.
            Q.  Is there something that Rick doesn’t know about you after 20 years?
            JEFF GORDON:  There might be a couple things but not many (laughing).  We’ve gotten pretty close.  If you guys had a chance to see “Beyond 200,” which I’ve got to say thank you to SPEED Channel for bringing all that together, Rick did a great job hosting it.  But I was so impressed with that show.  A lot of laughs, a lot of tears, but I think even those quick little bytes there in that show, I think it showed how Rick and I have bonded over the years through a lot of ups and downs.
            I don’t know, can you ‑‑ I can’t think of anything that I’m willing to admit right here that he doesn’t know.  There’s quite a bit.
            Rick usually knows more than most of us think that he knows.  I think he’s got a pretty good idea about it.
            Q.  After Sunday and before the penalties were announced Monday, were you ever concerned that you wouldn’t be here this week or this event?
            JEFF GORDON:  You know, I tried not to think about that.  I know the folks at DUPONT were worried about it.  They put a lot into this paint scheme and planning.  This has been out ‑‑ really we’ve been talking about this for about 10 weeks, commemorating this moment with this car.  Until I heard that they were worried about it, I wasn’t too concerned about it.  I knew there would be fines and penalties, but I felt like I’d be in the seat of that DUPONT Chevrolet this weekend.
            Q.  How do you feel after last week?  And what lessons have you learned from Rick about ‑‑ he hasn’t really had to work with you on anger or something over the 20 years you’ve been together.
            JEFF GORDON:  Not that you know of.
            Q.  Yeah, really.  Behind closed doors maybe, huh?  How do you feel after last weekend, and what have you learned from Rick about dealing with that sort of thing?
            JEFF GORDON:  Well, you know, I mean, the one thing that I’ll say ‑ it probably wo
n’t be the one thing because I have a feeling that we are going there now ‑ is that last week, the thing that I regret and the thing that I messed up on is that I allowed my anger and my emotions to put me in a position to make a bad choice.  I felt like that Clint needed to be dealt with, but that wasn’t the right way to go about it, certainly not the right time.  And what I hate most about it is that other guys were involved with it and it affected their day.
            I certainly look back on it and wish I had done things different, and all I can do now is look ahead and look forward and try to come in here and do the best that I can to close out the season on a positive note and put this 20th anniversary DUPONT Chevrolet into victory lane.
            Q.  What did you tell him?  How did you deal with it with him as the owner?
            RICK HENDRICK:  Let me try to frame this up for you the best I can:  Here sits a guy that’s done more for the sport than anybody I know.  He’s opened the doors for all the young guys, the open‑wheel guys.  He’s done things like Saturday Night Live, he’s done the cover of Fortune.  Never seen him have a problem ‑‑ not a major problem in 20 years, and mentored a lot of young guys along the way.  You know, I think he just said it:  His emotions got control on Sunday.
            But I think you’ve got to go back, and I don’t expect anybody in here to really understand this as much as maybe Jeff and I do, but at Martinsville this year, we was going for our 200th win.  It was the first time I had my brother’s wife there and the first time Jan Jackson, the representative of DUPONT, was there since the crash.  We had a photo session before the race, and we were all wanting to win more than anything, more than any championship.  The 200th win at Martinsville meant so much to all of us because we lost so much there.
            And that was taken away from us.  Both of our cars were wrecked on the last lap and next‑to‑last lap and it was by the 15 car.  You didn’t see our guys go down there and fight in the pits; we didn’t do any of that.  I have never hurt as bad in my life leaving the racetrack as I did that day.  It took me a week or so to get over it just because we had it in our grasp.  And that’s just emotions that we carry and nobody else.
            So I think that situation along with some other things that happened along the way, you know, you don’t forget it.  What happened happened, and I agree with Jeff, I like Michael Waltrip, I like Rob Kauffman, I like Richard Petty, I like Clint Bowyer, I like all those guys.  If we had to do it all over again, could it have been handled a different way?  I don’t think Jeff intended to wreck him that bad or wreck him at all; move him, let him know he didn’t like it, sure didn’t want to get the other cars involved.  But you’ve got to go with the emotions that happened at that time, and there’s a lot of things that happened along the way, and this guy has as much right to race for fifth or sixth in the points as somebody has to race for second.
            So I stand behind him no different than my son got in trouble at school for a bully beating on him and he stuck up for himself.  So that’s the way I feel about it.
            Q.  Jeff, seems like one thing that might make this situation kind of unique is that Bowyer was racing for a championship, and you kind of ended his championship hopes.  Was there any consideration in the car, were you aware that that was going to do him in for the championship, and do you have any regrets over ‑‑ it wasn’t just another driver but it was a guy that was contending?
            JEFF GORDON:  You know, I’ve always said this as it relates to the Chase, the championship, that if you’re contending for the championship, you’ve got to be as smart about the things you do on the racetrack as the guys that you’re racing that might be outside the championship.  And there was absolutely no reason to run into me.  That’s the thing is you’ve got to understand each guy you’re racing along the way, and you’ve got to understand if they’re a guy that needs a ride next year, you’ve got to understand if they’re a guy that is trying to finish 10th or 12th in the points or whether they’re a guy that’s racing for the championship.  And it goes both ways.  It’s not just a one‑way street.  We were racing for fourth in points in that race, and so there was a lot on the line for us as well as for them, and so I think that it just wasn’t very smart of Clint to run into me coming off of Turn 2 on the straightaway, almost cut my left rear tire down, and know that we had past history this year.
            And so afterwards, did it sit well with me knowing that that took his hopes out?  No.  He’s also a guy I would consider a friend.  There’s a lot of things that didn’t sit well with me after the fact.  But at the moment, it’s hard to kind of bring all that into your mind when you’re upset about a situation.  And that’s why I said, what I regret the most is that the situation got escalated because I lost control of my emotions and let that put me into a decision that obviously wasn’t a good one.
            I think everybody thinks I just intentionally went down there and wrecked him, and that’s not the case.  I wanted to make his life really miserable, and I wanted to make my car really, really wide, but I wasn’t expecting him to go diving down the inside on the apron, and when he did, it caused us to hook and caused what ended up being a terrible accident.
            Q.  Rick just addressed that the niche in the history of NASCAR is preserved well, four championships, five championships or more, and nobody questions the competitiveness, but could you have imagined going this many years without a championship after you got your fourth?  And what kind of an impact on you is that?
            JEFF GORDON:  Yeah, it’s definitely been tough.  Gosh, I look at the ‑‑ and a lot of people go through some incredible runs in the sport, and we went through one of the most amazing ones from ’95 through 2001.  I look back at the wins and the championships and the way things were going, and there was no stopping us.
            We’ve been close a couple of times.  The Chase has changed things a little bit for us, and there’s been a few changes here and there that we’ve had ‑‑ I’ve had to personally adapt to as a race car driver that have made it a little more challenging, but I think that’s what happens when you’re in the sport for a long period of time.
            I thought that we had a shot at winning one or two more over the years that would have been nice to have.  But hey, four is still pretty good.  I love how competitive this team is every year, going out there and battling for race wins and being in the Chase and battling for championships, no different than like what we did to make it into this year’s Chase.
            Q.  Jeff, after the race and the incident, Joey had some comme
nts I guess on Twitter and other places and Clint, and some of the themes were that it wasn’t very champion‑like and they’d lost a lot of respect for you.  Sort of a two‑part question.  Do you think your reputation has taken a hit either in the general public or amongst your peers, and now as the father of two young children I assume maybe Ella is old enough to have seen it or maybe have an understanding.  Have you had to have any conversation with her?  I know she saw the incident with Burton at Texas last year and you had to have a conversation with her.  Is this something as a father you’ve had to talk about?
            JEFF GORDON:  Yeah, they didn’t get a chance to see this one, so I haven’t had to have that conversation with her.  She knew that I was in a wreck, and like I have any conversations with her after I’ve had a wreck, explain to her how I’m fine and others were fine, but we didn’t have to get into all the details.
            Yeah, you know, I’ve been through a lot of moments throughout my career, some that I was more proud of than others.  This is definitely not one of my proudest moments, but I also understand what kind of led up to it and I stand by that.
            Will it take away from ‑‑ yeah, guys are going to ‑‑ if they get into incidents with you you’re going to tarnish your respect among guys.  I don’t think they’re going to be messing with me for a little while.  I think they realize that that message was sent pretty clear.  And I think that’s something, too.  It’s been a real up‑and‑down year for us, and I go on Twitter, too, and I interact with my fans.
            Throughout the last couple years I feel like one thing that maybe I haven’t done enough of is show the fire inside me that I have to want to win and want to win championships.  And I think that while I would have liked to have gone about it differently on Sunday, I think it did show that that fire and passion is inside of me in a big way.
            I would have liked the caution to be thrown, gotten our tires and gone back out and raced for a top‑15 spot in the race and tried to come in here and get as high up in the points as we possibly could and dealt with it with Clint at another time.  I feel like I race guys the way they race me, and nobody likes to get wrecked.  And so I think that for me there were some things that I had been taking advantage of, and so obviously enough was enough.  I usually like to make a mental note of them and hold onto those things and be patient with it and try to just outrace guys and move them out of the way and do things and wear them down that way and remind them of those things over a long period of time instead of taking them out right there at the moment.
            Q.  Rick, I apologize for going back to something that you said a few minutes ago, but I just had to ask about it.  Realizing, understanding the sad legacy of Martinsville, but when you said that winning the 200th race at Martinsville was more important than any championship, did you mean that across the big picture or just that day?
            RICK HENDRICK:  Well, I meant ‑‑ maybe I didn’t say it exactly right.  The disappointment of being that close to having ‑‑ let me rephrase it.  The low that I felt leaving that day was worse, it deeper down hurt more than the joy in some of the championships.  That’s what I meant.  I can’t explain how ‑‑ the disappointment that day, in all of the times that I have gone away from the track feeling bad and taken a long time to get over it.  That’s a personal thing, and all I’m saying to you folks is that that was a day that he and I had time together, he’s an emotional guy, he’s like a son, and we don’t carry it on our sleeves, but those people were there for the first time.  And so that’s what made it kind of double tough.
            Q.  Jeff, I’m just curious, have you had a chance or have you spoken to Clint or Joey?  Has there been any communication between the three of y’all?
            JEFF GORDON:  I have not spoken to Clint other than at the track on Sunday after the event in the NASCAR hauler.  And with Joey, you know, I’m not one that calls right away.  I like things to kind of settle down.  I’d really rather do face to face, but he called me and so I called him back, and I can’t say it went exactly very well.  I reached out to him again to try to get together with him here at the track, and I have not been able to speak with him.
            Q.  Are you happy the season is coming to an end?  Would you like to see it go on?  Do you need a recharge for the next couple of months?
            JEFF GORDON:  Well, I feel like this has been one of those seasons where I think we’re going to get momentum and things are going to start happening positively and we start to put some races together to find our way up further in the points, something just kind of reaches out and gets a hold of us and kind of knocks us back a little bit again.
            You know, our team has worked so hard this year, and I’m so proud of them.  We’ve had great race cars this year.  But yeah, we kind of do need a reset, and I’m looking forward to the 2013 car.  I tested it a couple weeks ago.  I thought it went really well.  I think we’ve got some great things in store for that.
            I think Hendrick Motorsports in general has shown how well they prepare when a new challenge is thrown at us like this new car.  So I think we’ve got some great things in store for us for next year.  This is a good track for us.  I look forward to this weekend.
            But I always ‑ it doesn’t matter how the season has gone ‑ look forward to taking a little time off.  Our season is long, but when you’ve had a season like I’ve had, then yeah, you’re definitely looking forward to taking a little break, spending some time with family.  But it’s also a very busy time.  It’s just not a busy time at the racetrack preparing for a race.
            Q.  How disappointing would it be if you weren’t in the top 10?
            JEFF GORDON:  Well, at this point, being 10th or 11th is ‑‑ to me that’s not what it’s all about.  I’m more disappointed that we don’t have a shot at being fifth because I felt like we had a legitimate shot at being in the top 5, and I think that would have been one incredible accomplishment for us the way our season has gone, even the way our Chase has gone, to be able to say that we finished in the top 5 this year.  At this point the difference between 10th and 11th or 12th is kind of insignificant.
            Q.  My question is about your being a champion.  As far as championships in general, that’s what this week is all about.  What would you think a contender must do to rise above or a few things a contender must do to rise above and become a champion?
            JEFF GORDON:  In t
his particular weekend or just in general?
            Q.  Yeah, in general, any champion.
            JEFF GORDON:  It’s the same ingredients I feel like that the champion has that comes out on top every year, and that’s teamwork, commitment, great leadership, and just a lot of hard work and effort that goes into building that team up to be ready to go do what you have to do for those 10 weeks in the Chase.  And I always believe that the best overall team wins the championship.  We’ll see what happens on Sunday, who that is, but I think that the best two are definitely up there.
            It’s not surprising to me that Brad is where he’s at.  Last year I thought that he showed a lot of maturity, I think that team showed a lot of strength, and they’re up against, what more can you say about the 48 team and what they’ve gone out and shown and do every year.
            Q.  When you said that you don’t think anybody would be messing with you, do you feel like this is over as far as between you and Clint, and then also, when you said it wasn’t kind of the right place or right time, do you feel like these things need to be handled on the track or off the track?
            JEFF GORDON:  Oh, there’s the million‑dollar question.  Well, obviously with the way the penalties are put out there, you can’t handle them on the racetrack.  But I think that you’ve got to handle it through how you race.  I mean, that’s ‑‑ I guess I’m a little old school when it comes to this.  Talking about 20 years, I’ve been wrecked, I’ve been caught up in other people’s wrecks, I’ve been on both sides of it, all sides of it throughout all these years, and I didn’t expect a phone call, I didn’t expect somebody to come and spend an hour with me explaining things, and usually the ones that did were the ones that did it just because they didn’t want you to wreck them back.
            So to me, you’ve got to understand the situation, and to me, like Joey getting caught up in it, I’m definitely sorry about that, and I take responsibility for that.  I want to try to make it up to him best I can.
            Another example I can give you is I wrecked Martin Truex a couple years ago at Sonoma, and I was racing Juan Pablo behind me, got in the corner two deep and ran into him, completely my fault, and I reached out to him because I did, I felt bad about it.  It had nothing to do with him, it wasn’t a racing ‑‑ like us racing hard or me having any animosity towards him at all.
            You know what, he and I never spoke.  I left him a voicemail, but we never spoke, never spoke at a racetrack, nothing, and we raced hard for, shoot, a year and a half of me racing him for position, sliding inside, doing everything I could not to wreck him to show him that this is how I’m going to treat you, and he raced me as hard as you can possibly race me knowing that he had that against me.
            And so, you know, that’s kind of the way that I like to go about things.  Somebody does something to me, I’m either going to ‑‑ if it’s a racing incident, I’m going to try to race them back in the same way they raced me.  If something happened by accident, then I’m going to understand that ‑‑ I’m going to make them kind of pay the price for making a dumb move, but at the same time, I’m going to be as respectful as I can over the situation.
            You know, every situation is unique, and I can’t control what’s going to happen out there or what other guys are going to do against me this weekend.  I’m going to focus on what I can do, and if ‑‑ I’m pretty sure if they’re having a good day, they’re not going to mess with me.  If they’re having a really bad day and feel like they have nothing to lose, then maybe they will.  We’ll see.  I prefer it to be handled on the racetrack, though.  I’m not the biggest guy in the world, and kind of one of the reasons I got into racing.  We’re all the same out there.
            Q.  It’s a little hypothetical here, but take yourself out, and if you were an outsider looking at what happened last week and somebody else was in your role, how do you think you would react to the whole situation and everything?
            JEFF GORDON:  I would tune in the following Sunday and see what happens.
            Q.  Given that, you think it is good for the ‑‑ has some validity to being good for the sport?
            JEFF GORDON:  They wouldn’t be advertising for the race using all those clips if it weren’t, I guess.  Nobody intends to go out and do that for that reason, but I mean, I’ve gained a lot of Twitter followers this week, and there’s certainly been a lot of talk, a lot of buzz, and I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of buzz around this race on Sunday for a lot of different reasons, not just that.
          
 
 

                                            
 
 

EARLY START FOR HPD’s 2013 SPORTS PROTOTYPE PROGRAM

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (November 16, 2012) – The first 2013-spec Honda Performance
Development, (HPD) ARX-03c LMP1 car – incorporating larger front tires as well as other
significant performance upgrades – will test for the first time at the Motorland Aragon Circuit in Spain, November 18-20.

British team Strakka Racing will conduct this inaugural test. Strakka’s ARX-03a, which achieved considerable success in this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship, has been subjected to an exciting upgrade package taking it to ‘03c’ (2013) specification. This upgrade includes wider Michelin front tires, plus new front-suspension geometry, steering configuration and bodywork.

As with its multiple race and championship-winning HPD ARX predecessors, the latest ARX-03c has been designed and developed with Wirth Research, taking full advantage of the company’s renowned all-digital aerodynamic and chassis development processes. Power comes from HPD’s efficient normally-aspirated 3.4-liter, V8 gasoline engine.
Strakka’s regular drivers, Jonny Kane and Nick Leventis, as well as Klaus Graf – who won the ALMS LMP1 crown in a Muscle Milk Pickett Racing-run HPD ARX-03a – will be behind the wheel at the test. Graf will fill the seat vacated by Danny Watts, who will be away in Asia on Macau Grand Prix duties during the Aragon test.

The test will almost certainly be viewed with great interest by privateer teams currently
competing at LMP1 level, as well as others looking to graduate to the premier class of sports
prototype racing.HPD Vice President Steve Eriksen commented: “In 2009, HPD showed the future direction ofLMP1 car design by pioneering the use of large rear tires on all four wheels of its radical, championship-winning LMP1 Acura ARX-02a prototype.
“Since then, all rival LMP1 manufacturers have adopted this concept, and the 2013 HPD ARX-03c will feature this large front-tire format, along with a raft of aerodynamic and mechanical updates, boosting all-around performance.”

Located in Santa Clarita, California, Honda Performance Development (HPD) is the Honda
racing company within North America. In 2012, HPD teams and drivers swept both the LMP1 and LMP2 sports prototype championships in the American Le Mans Series, and won the FIA World Endurance Championship in LMP2 – along with the LMP2 class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans – in partnership with Starworks Motorsport.

Chevy Racing–Homestead

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – BREAKOUT PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPTS:
 
Q. I know there’s so many people trying to downplay the mind games, but are you just trying to plant a seed in Brad’s (Keselowski)  mind?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, you definitely want to plant a seed, but the thing that I know is regardless of the prodding or poking I can do, that moment is coming.  The aha moment comes for everybody that’s in that championship battle.  It’s easy right now to focus on just the drivers because we’re here with the mics and doing this whole press conference.  But every guy that goes over the wall to perform the pit stops can have that moment and will have that moment.  Every guy turning a screw, a nut, putting fuel in the car, crew chiefing the race, engineering the race, everybody has the same thing on their mind.  You’re protecting something.  It is something we have all worked for our whole lives to get to this point.  It is a huge, huge moment.
            So regardless of what I say or needling I can do, those moments are going to show up, and if I can plant that seed and help spur that moment along, then cool.  But I’m not ‑‑ I didn’t come in here with a huge agenda today thinking that I was going to make a difference in that because I know those moments are going to come.  I’ve been there.
 
            Q.  So what is your mindset coming into this weekend?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  For whatever reason, I’m at peace with my situation.  I mean, I don’t want to be in this situation, but I am strangely optimistic, and I can’t explain why.  There’s just feelings that people have, and I’ll see if this feeling comes true Sunday evening.
 
            Q.  Does it work in your favor to be a five‑time champion?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  I don’t feel forgotten by any means, but the truth of it is there’s 20 points, 20 positions on the track.  If it was tighter there would probably be more concern, but the best part, and it came to me during the press conference, to help spur along any thoughts and to help distract the 2 team and especially Brad and his mindset, the questions that come and the focus, that helps the magnitude of this situation come along and brings that to the forefront of his mind quicker and quicker.
            I was smiling to hear family questions asked, and what this might mean and all that, because it’s very easy in your controlled environment to ignore all of those thoughts.  But when you’re in these situations you want to know, the fans want to know, those questions come out, and it makes you think about things that you don’t want to think about or talk about and maybe haven’t yet because why would you.  As a racer you don’t want to assume things.
            I was enjoying the questions and I enjoy the fact the spotlight is over there.  In fact, what the hell are you all doing over here?  Get over there and ask some questions.
 
            Q.  Everybody talks about Brad Keselowski being discovered in 2007.  A lot of young drivers don’t get a break.  Is it just a question of being in the right place at the right time for guys that gets them to where they are now?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, it is so tough to get noticed.  I mean, I have two younger brothers that would love to be in this sport and are talented, and you’d think I could pull strings, and I’ve tried.  It’s just weird what spurs it along, and in today’s world if you don’t have a sponsor, you’re not going to race.  And the era I came through, it was like that for sure, but team owners still had some flexibility for whatever reason and sponsors were kind of around, and if a team owner believed in you, they could sell you, and I had that with Stan and Randy Herzog.
            In today’s world, even Childress, you see the Nationwide sponsors change and drivers change and on and on, even on the Cup side.  Just because an owner believes in a driver, it doesn’t impact the sponsors like it did years ago, and you have to stand out so well or bring money.
            In this era, I don’t know how I would have stood out.  I mean, I barely made it through the system as I did, and very fortunate to have made it.  But I had the manufacturers carrying me.  I had Chevy carrying me along.
            I’m not sure people ‑‑ I’m not sure the manufacturers have the impact that they did at that point in time to even help me get here.
 
            Q.  Can you think of any examples during the years you won the championships of questions that got asked that may have affected you?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Out of my Cup experience, today starts it.  Today really does, because when you leave the race in Phoenix typically, you answer some questions, you go through some media stuff, and then you go to your bubble.  You go to your place where you can control the elements.  Family typically lays back, friends, you have all this encouragement.  You go to the shop, there’s a vibe you pick up on and all of that, but you come to the press conference and it changes that dynamic.
            And this is just the start of it because we’re available to everybody multiple times through the weekend.  Every camera in Florida will be on us in every practice session.  Every time I walk to and from the transporter, what are their moves, what are they thinking, how’s it going, I heard this on the radio.  All of that just ramps up.  Sunday of Phoenix until today it’s easy to create the environment you want, but from here moving forward it’s tough, and you have to do some things that make you uncomfortable, and that’s when that moment can kick in.
 
            Q.  (No microphone.)
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  I remember in qualifying for the year with Mark, so was that 2009, we didn’t have a very good practice session.  I was setting my car up to run the bottom of the racetrack, wasn’t all that fast.  Mark ran a blistering lap to be on the pole at the time, and I ran the top of the racetrack, which was kind of new down here for qualifying, and leading up to that, the pressure was on me to qualify well because qualifying is so important.  And then we go out there, never ran a lap around the top in qualifying trim, had no clue how the balance of the race car would be and sat it on the pole.  That was really from one extreme to the other, from being concerned and worried about how we were going to qualify and feeling the pressure to complete and utter relief that we pulled off a heck of a lap.
 
            Q.  Last week Brad was pretty outspoken.  I’m sure even if you tried to stay in your bubble I’m sure you heard it, about the competition on the track.  Do you expect some more of that this week?  It was kind of a crazy week last week even if you took w
hat happened to you out.
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, the last 10 laps or five laps, whatever that was, pretty wild.  You know, I still haven’t seen the clip.  I understand if you watch it on television there’s going to be a lot of beeps because you can’t hear it all.  But he has a point, and he wanted to make a point, and he did.  So the thing that ‑‑ that’s all relative to Phoenix.  The thing I didn’t understand was maybe some of the criticism he took for racing me at Texas.  I guess I was in my bubble and didn’t really see any of that.
            But I mean, it was just hard racing there.  I was shocked to hear that he was hazed for some of that.
 
            Q.  Do you think that this week they’ll worry about the other people around?  You guys are in your control when you’re that good at racing, it’s really pretty much what happens around you guys unless you two are racing each other.
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Well, if we’re racing each other I’m in trouble.  We need a big gap between where I am and where he is.  That’s really the bottom line.  You know, this is a different championship battle for me, and I have no problem doing things that I typically wouldn’t do.  I mean, if I was coming down here as the points leader I would want to limit these moments, and since I’m not, I’ll do anything you guys want and need.  It’s different.  I’ve got to play the hand that’s dealt to me, and anything I can do to be effective, I’m going to take that opportunity to do it.
 
            Q.  Just to follow up on earlier, you said you’re coming into this weekend optimistic.  Do you believe you can still win this thing?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  I do believe.  I do believe we can win our sixth title.  The IndyCar championship is the best example of that this isn’t over until the checkered flag falls.  A lot can happen.  So we just need to make sure we’re buttoned up and do the best job we can and see where the chips fall.
 
            Q.  You noted earlier how the unexpected (inaudible) what was the unexpected or variable that stood out to you?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  For me it was answering questions that I wasn’t ready for.  When you’re asked questions specific about the race and your setup and your mindset, you’ve been geared up for that knowing this press conference is coming, and you’re ready for that.  But the left field questions about your family and what that means to you and what it might mean to your community, your neighborhood where you’re born and raised, those are things you just never think of.  And it didn’t dawn on me until we were in there and the questions were asked that I’m like, these are those moments, this is when it becomes real and the magnitude of this race starts to set in.
 
            Q.  Do people treat you differently this time of year than they do at the beginning of the Chase?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  I think my personal life, family, home situation has evolved, and some of it is due to the fact that I personally have been able to relax a lot more in the space.  In 2006 we still laugh, my wife and I do, my friends, my attorney Allen Miller, Kristine (Curley), how tense it was in ’06 trying to get the first one.  Really ’04 and ’05 leading up to it, and then it had all the pressure on us in ’06.  We know what to expect on most levels, and this year going into the Chase we talked about things, and I just ‑‑ it’s unlike me to be selfish, so I shared with my wife, I said, look, there are going to be aspects of this where I’m going to need some me time and do this, this and this and spend time training, spend time at the shop, spend time here and there, and of course she’s 100 percent supportive and understanding of it all.
            But as we all know, communication is everything.  Just to kind of lay that out there and say I might be a little different for 10 weeks, you know why, and she certainly knows why and is extremely supportive.  It’s been great, and I had that moment and talk, and we communicated about how I thought these next 10 weeks would be very intense and blinders on.  But we’ve been performing so well that I’ve been far more relaxed than any other championship.
            And then with a two year old in the house, I mean, it lightens any mood, and it’s been ‑‑ sure, there’s work and it’s very important, but home is so much fun.  I mean, we are having a total blast, and it’s been a great kind of tension breaker through the course of the week.
 
            Q.  The first time I ever heard your name you had gone (inaudible) and climbed out.  Would you mind giving me chapter and verse your memory of that moment?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Well, I was convinced it was the end of me when I was flying through the air and saw the white wall.  I thought it was concrete.  Fortunately it was two layers of styrofoam and some other soft stuff behind it.  The car caught on fire.  My neck muscles were not working.  I couldn’t hold my neck up to kind of look out the windshield and see where I was.  My chin was on my sternum.  I could feel the heat, I could see kind of a fire and I knew I needed to get out, and as I got out of the car my neck started to work again, and when I got up and out of the car, the fans were jumping up and down and happy to see me climb out of the race car, and that led to my excitement to climb on the roof and jump up and down like I did.
 
            Q.  Did that have an impact on the way people recognize you or the way you were moving through the ranks at the time?  Was there a recognition factor?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  You might ask (Jeff) Gordon more in depth, but I think that was a moment where Jeff like put a face with a name for me.  Then later on there were other things that helped put together the relationship with Hendrick Motorsports and Chevrolet being a part of that and then Rick’s son Ricky.  But Jeff told me a story a long time ago that that really helped me, oh, that’s Jimmie Johnson.  He knew there was a name, knew there was a car out there but didn’t know much about me, and that kind of framed that in.
 
            Q.  First time you saw it on film what did you think?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Same thing I think about now when I see it on film, I can’t believe I made it through that.
 
            Q.  (No microphone.)
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  I’m just not that smart, so I can only focus on a couple things at a time, so it helps.  I’m curious.
 
            Q.  (No microphone.)
            JIMMIE JOHNSON
:  I’m still lost on the conspiracy theory.  To take out third place?  I haven’t seen the video.  I don’t know.  NASCAR has it fixed; I’m supposed to win anyways, which always confuses me.  If they have it fixed and want me to win so badly, why the hell do they bust Chad like they do?  Their conspiracy idea just makes no sense.
 
            Q.  Is there any discussion that you’ll have with Jeff or Kasey?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  No, no.  There is ‑‑ I mean, sure, they probably won’t make it easy.  I wouldn’t expect Sam to make it easy on me.  The thing about racing is, sure, there isn’t a race next weekend, so I might feel like you can get away with something more, but there’s just some unwritten rules, and the integrity and the type of place that Hendrick Motorsports is, that game is not going to be played.  I don’t think it really ever has, even with some pretty rough‑and‑tumble organizations.  You don’t commission someone to go out and torpedo your competition.  It just doesn’t happen.
            You know, I hope my teammates race him hard.  I hope everybody on the racetrack races him hard.  But typically when you get to Homestead and if the championship contenders put pressure on someone, nine times out of ten they point them by, and that’s something I had in years past when we had something to protect.  I knew if I put pressure on someone they’d let me go.  There were a couple that wouldn’t but most would let you go.  That’s one thing that isn’t working in my favor for this weekend.
 
            Q.  It’s interesting when you look at a lot of the champions, they were raised by fathers whose attention that they seek really bad.  I was interested to hear Brad talking about he doesn’t hear compliments about himself unless behind the scenes.  Earnhardt was like that to Dale Jr.  A lot of the driven drivers in our sport have fathers like that.  But your dad is such a wonderful, hugging, genteel kind of guy as you see him walk down pit road.  I’m wondering if you sense any kind of a feeling that you had that, kind of striving to prove yourself to your own dad that you see from a lot of the competitors at the elite level.
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  No, I had all the support, and even if I wasn’t feeling up for a race that weekend ‑‑ there’s a point when I was in grade school, middle school where we had raced so many times, and I watched all my friends develop and be good at baseball, basketball, football, have a social life, and I got to a point where I said, look, I want to be a kid, and the last thing my parents ever wanted to do was pressure me, so we stopped.  We stopped.  And that was really the end of my motocross racing at that point.
            The thing that got me was it took ‑‑ usually takes me a while to figure something out, and once I have it, I have it.  I would watch my other friends that I would grow up with out‑race me on a dirt bike, and it would just motivate me to try harder.  Then I got into the off‑road ranks and I was really young racing against 30‑somethings all the time, and here I am at 15, 16, 18, all that kind of stuff, and I just really internalized it all and found my own drive inside to do it.  It wasn’t to prove a point to anyone but myself that I could do it.  That’s really what it’s all been about.
 
            Q.  (No microphone.)
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Not specifically.  I mean, at one point he was the leader of the race, and we had never talked about the 2 all day long on the radio.  You know, when I got to seventh eighth and couldn’t go any further and sold out in my mind, all I wanted was a shot down here, and if we came in tied one up, one down, whatever we did, that’s fine by me.  I just didn’t want to be in this position and be 20 down.
            They didn’t force our hand.  The run before that on the racetrack we made up three seconds on the leader.  That run the car was a lot tighter with that set of tires we put on, and I was just driving hard.  Goodyear claimed that it was the bead, which it could be, but the damage to the tire was so severe it’s hard for us to really pinpoint what it was.  We had some high wear on sets that came off earlier, so it could have been a combination of things.  We saw the 31 Cup car, 31 truck, the 88 had a tire issue and came to pit road just before my crash.  So I’m not saying it was a bad tire, but I think that if you were abusing a tire you could have hurt it, and that’s certainly what we did, and we hurt the tire and hit the fence.
            It wasn’t Brad related, it was just trying to run hard and get a good finish because I wanted to come in here close.
 
            Q.  While you were up on stage with Brad, you both displayed a lot of class.  What do you think a contender needs to be able to have to become a champion?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Well, I don’t think ‑‑ there’s no prerequisite.  There’s no requirements for anybody.  You know, I think people ‑‑ as you progress as a driver and become a champion, you start to assume the role, you start to better understand the role.  But somebody could be very disliked and not be the ‑‑ people might look at them and say there’s no way that champion’s material and they’ll still be the champion.  That’s what I’m getting at.
            I’m sure people looked at me in ’06 and said he’s not going to be a good champion for our sport.  But you learn that role when you’re in the middle of it, and some people get aggressive with it and are strong‑minded with it, and others kind of take their time with it.  Which over five championships I finally felt like I had a voice.  I feel like from my standpoint I’ve always had to earn that right.  Others are much quicker to it.
 
            Q.  Do you see any of that in Brad?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Just a little.  (Laughter.)
 
            Q.  Does this championship feel like such a different scenario for you?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, I mean, there was ‑‑ in ’05 we came down here behind Tony, and I think Tony had to finish 25th or better and we were running near the front, had a tire blow going into Turn 3 and crashed, and I think Tony finished like 23rd or 24th in the race and did not have a good race.  I think he got lapped at some point.  So when I look back on ’05, I hate that we had that problem.  I felt like I had a tire going down and an issue and didn’t come to pit road.  So there is a lesson in that, that again, it isn’t over until the checkered falls.  If we would have stayed in the race, even if we went down a lap from pitting ‑‑ I don’t think there were lucky dogs then, but maybe we could have got a lap back, or whatever it was, but keep the pressure on is the bottom line.  That’s my goal all weekend long, keep the pressure on and see what happens.
  I mean, it isn’t over until the checkered falls.
 
ADDITIONAL JIMMIE JOHNSON QUOTES FROM EARLIER BREAKOUT SESSION MONITORED BY KRISTA VODA AND KERRY THARP:
 
Q.  Jimmie, a somewhat strange position for you this weekend because in four out of five years you’ve won the championship you’ve come into Homestead leading the points.  Now similar to 2010, you come in as the chaser.  I know the answer to this question, but I’m going to ask it anyway:  Can you pull off another late‑race comeback?
 
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, I definitely think it’s possible.  You look at our bad luck last weekend, there’s still a race here, and there’s still tires on these race cars, and something can happen there.  There’s still a lot of very tough competition on the track.  This just isn’t any other race; this is the championship race, and there’s a lot that comes with that.
            I’m very optimistic.  I think that we’ll have a very fast race car, and we’ll go out onto the racetrack and do all that we can each and every lap of every practice session qualifying and race, and see how things play out.
            I find another point of motivation and optimism; we look at the IndyCar championship and how it unfolded at Fontana.  It seemed like it was a lay‑up race, and things can happen.  This is racing.  I think either way we’ll be in good shape.  We’ll have a fast race car and go out and race hard, and then if some luck comes our way, we’ll hopefully be ready to capitalize on that, as well.
 
Q.  Jimmie, given the deficit, do you feel like you have to root for something bad to happen to Brad Keselowski, or would you consider roughing him up in order to put him back somewhere in the back of the field?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Well, I think that to think that a top‑15 finish is a lay‑up is tough.  This garage area is tough, the weight of this race, I don’t care who you are, it’ll show up at some point in time and thoughts will run through your head, and with all that being said, a 15th place finish is not a lay‑up for these guys.  So I have a little bit of stock in that, and we’ll see how they respond.  Their trends this year have been strong, but this is a different race.
            Then as far as the luck category, we were unlucky as anybody can be.  There’s that element that exists out there, and we’ll just see where it all unfolds.  There’s a line of racing hard, to answer your final part of your question, and we both have proven we’re willing to race hard, and I certainly am willing to race hard down here.  It’s not my style to go drive through somebody and create the opportunity; that’s not me.  So I’m going to race as hard as I possibly can and see where things fall.
 
Q.  Will you have your teams let you know how you stand, or is that too much to think about during the race?  Do you want to know where the other guy is, how many positions you’ve got to get, or do you kind of wait until you get down to the last 50 laps to start thinking about stuff like that?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, if we get to the end of the race and they’re not having the day that they would hope to have, that information could ‑‑ it’s really probably not going to change anything that I do.  I still need every spot I can get on the track.  But I’m sure information will come in, and even if it isn’t specific, I can tell ‑‑ I will be able to tell by the tone in Chad’s voice if we’re in the good or the bad.  (Laughter.)
 
Q.  As the psych major or the pretend psych major of the group, Jimmie, I can’t help but notice you brought up the IndyCar championship and what happened there.  You said a top 15 finish is no lay‑up.  It seems you’re kind of tweaking it a little bit, maybe intentional, maybe not, and we know from the past, I guess, two championships you guys messed with Denny Hamlin a little bit up there, Carl Edwards got a little rattled from Tony Stewart.  Maybe you’re doing it on purpose, maybe you’re not.  Is that the intent, to put the weight on Brad Keselowski?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  You know, of course I’m going to find points that give myself motivation and my team, and if there’s anything I can do, and Brad, if you’d like me to call later and remind you of any other examples, I certainly can, of guys that didn’t pull off the season finale as they would hope.
            But one thing I’ve learned is that regardless of how experienced anyone is in this championship battle, at some point the magnitude of it hits you.  At some point, he may be very comfortable and calm now, it may not happen until he’s in the car, but at some point that magnitude hits, and I’ve lived through it five times.  That’s a turning moment, and we’ll see how he responds.  It also carries over to guys changing tires.  There’s some point where every member on that race team goes, this is it, this is what I’ve worked so hard far.  I’ll be glad to point out those moments as needed.
 
Q.  Jimmie, you said that at some point the magnitude hits you for everybody, and it affects the contenders in some way.  A few weeks ago Dale Earnhardt Jr. said about Brad Keselowski that he’s so mentally tough he didn’t think he was going to crack.  Is there something you see from Brad that makes you think otherwise, and what happens in that moment when the magnitude does hit you?  How do you respond to it?  What makes that championship mettle that you need to win a championship?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Well, me trying to explain what it’s like and how I’ve handled it would probably be kind of stupid of me right now, so I’m going to not answer the second part of your question.
            The first part is the magnitude sets in at some point.  I mean, he just answered a question about family, and I’ve been there, and I’ve been the guy leading the points, and people are so curious to know all these what‑ifs, what if it happens, and you’re forced to answer questions that you’re not used to answering, that you don’t want to answer, and it builds through the course of the week.
            Again, it hits everybody differently, and there’s no guarantees how it’ll hit him.  But I know from my own experience that there have been those moments.  Fortunately I responded well to them.  We’ll see how the weekend goes.
 

Race Winners Week Ending 11/11/12

NASCAR
Sprint Cup-Advocare 500- Kevin Harvick
Nationwide Series- Great Clips 200- Joey Logano
Camping World Truck Series- Lucas Oil 150- Brian Scott
KN West- Casino Arizona 150- Michael Self
NHRA
Top Fuel — Brandon Bernstein
Funny Car — Cruz Pedregon
Pro Stock — Allen Johnson
Pro Stock Motorcycle — Andrew Hines
Top Alcohol Dragster — Chris Demke
Top Alcohol Funny Car — John Lombardo Jr.
Competition Eliminator — Doug Lambeck
Super Stock — Abe Loewen
Stock Eliminator — Eric Waldo
Super Comp — Cameron Ferre
Super Gas — Ryan Herem

Chevy Racing–Post Race Phoenix

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET – WINNER: THAT FINAL RESTART YOU HAD A SLICK RACE TRACK LOTS OF OIL DRY YOU ARE ALMOST OUT OF GAS AND A FIRED UP KYLE BUSCH BESIDE YOU.  WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT?
“Well, I thought as crazy as this year has been for our Budweiser Chevy, I’m just thinking about not over driving the first corner, whether we were going to run out of gas or not, how far the No. 18 was going to drive it in.  Then they were really quick to throw the caution and then just let us race through oil.  I don’t know I guess it’s hard for them to be right.  I’ve got to thank all the fans and Sprint, Budweiser, Rheem, Jimmy Johns, Chevrolet, Okuma, Realtree, Bad Boy Buggies, Hunt Brothers, everybody who helps us and thank you to all who have served this country we wouldn’t be able to do what we do today without that.”
 
THE WEEKEND BEGAN WITH EVERYONE TALKING ABOUT WHERE YOU ARE GOING TO BE IN 2014, BUT LET’S TALK ABOUT WHAT THIS MEANS TO END THE RCR DROUGHT AND A DROUGHT FOR YOU IN VICTORY LANE THAT HAS BEEN OVER A YEAR: “Well, it has been a struggle for the year.  It has been an interesting weekend to say the least, but I know that these guys all want to win.  I know Richard (Childress) wants to win and regardless of what happens in 2014 we have the end of this year and we’ve got all of next year.  We want to win races and we want to be competitive and that is what we are here to do.”
 
ON HIS RACE: “What a great day.  The car was really tight to start with and these guys did a great job on pit road.  Gil (Martin, crew chief) did a great job with strategy and just gave us a chance.  From there we raced and were able to put ourselves in position to race for the win.  On the restarts we were able to get going pretty good and that last one was a little tense regardless and then we had to dirt track it through the oil there off of turn four.  Regardless, it’s a great day for our Budweiser Chevy and just glad to be in Victory Lane.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET – FINISHED 5TH:  HE BRINGS HOME A BEATEN UP RACE CAR WITH A TOP-FIVE TODAY WHAT ABOUT THOSE LAST LAPS? “Well my race car is junk.  That was a good run for our Quicken Loans Chevrolet, Veterans Day a special paint scheme really proud of everything there, but really disappointed in the way NASCAR handled that last lap there.  That was not fair to the drivers at all.”
 
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/FARM AMERICAN CHEVROLET – FINISHED 8TH: ON HIS RACE: “That was a wild ending, not sure at the time what was happening. I just stayed on the gas to get to the finish line. Everything was going smoothly and it was looking like a sixth-place finish for the Furniture Row car. But then all of a sudden all heck broke loose. I saw the door of the No. 16 car (Greg Biffle) come across my left front, and from there I went on to smack the wall. I kept on going and was able to nudge (Paul) Menard for eighth.  We had a great run going today until a loose lug nut put us a lap down. We definitely had a car that was capable of winning, but you can’t afford those kinds of mistakes. However, we did battle back to notch our second straight top-10 finish. We keep on making progress. I like everything I see about this Furniture Row team.”
 
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – FINISHED 12TH: ON HIS RACE: “The Target Chevy was good all weekend. We struggled a little bit on the long runs. The car would start to get really tight but otherwise it wasn’t a bad day for us. We managed to stay out of trouble and stay on the lead lap all day. We’re making gains every weekend.”
 
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – FINISHED 17th: WHAT HAPPENED IN TURNS THREE AND FOUR? “We had a green-white-checkered it was a nice exciting finish for the fans.  Got around (turns) one and two and came off had decent distance on the No. 31 and he went down and took the apron got down into (turn) three and I did not think he was near close enough to be on me going into (turn) three.  I left a little bit of room, not a ton of room for sure, but I think, Tony Gibson (crew chief) said he went down and talked to him and he said he just went in too deep.  Clipped my left-rear, spun me around and I just tried to limp back to the line.  I didn’t know exactly how much damage I had or what it was, but just trying to limp to the line and get the finish on the lead lap, whatever that was.  Still our best finish, but you always want more. I was 13th I think or something right around there and that would have been a really good finish.  Shoot, some days I would take that in a Nationwide car.”
 
HARD HIT ON THE FRONT STRETCH ARE YOU OKAY? “Yes, everything is fine.  Obviously, there was the glance in (turn) three and four, but I definitely got airborne down the front straight.  What is unfortunate is I’m pretty sure that the No. 39 was one of them.  I hope I didn’t cause a problem, but I think we have different cars for Homestead hopefully.  We don’t run our short-track cars on the big track right?  And we get new ones next year.  This will make for good charity crash damage body work.”
 
ON INCIDENT: “Green-white-checkered at the end. It was an exciting race at the end. Man, we save it all at the end in these Cup races. Came out of two on the back-straight, and with the No. 31 (Jeff Burton), and he took the apron. I already had a good distance coming out of two. The apron was not quicker all day long to make a pass, unless you had a big run going. So, got into three, and I think Tony Gibson (Crew Chief) went down and talked to him, and he (Burton) said ‘I’m sorry, I just bonzaied. I just went in too deep.” The No. 31 clipped me, I spun around, got it going again. Was on fire I think, and I was trying to get across the line. I was literally trying to drive into the wall then drive along it because I couldn’t see. I don’t know exactly what happened. I heard there might have been oil from me, or something. If so, I definitely wasn’t intending to make a mess. But 17th…we were 13th, that’s pretty good. Short tracks are not my strong suit.”
 
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE CAUTION NOT BEING CALLED? “Hmmmm. I’d have to see it. I think NASCAR does a good job of doing what’s safe and what’s right. We are all human though, and you also can’t control the intangibles; anything can happen how there. That’s why we watch right.”
 
TONY GIBSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 10 GODADDY RACING CHEVROLET: ON DANICA’S RACE: “Another great day. Everybody did a really good job today. She raced hard. She had some great runs today. She raced herself to the Lucky Dog there, and got a lap back. Then she was solid, man. She had a top-10, 12 car all day long. She deserved to finish 12th at least. But, she got wrecked by (Jeff) Burton. But, it’s our best finish. 17th. We’ll take that. But we know we were better than that. She’s getting better, and better, and better. It just makes up pumped for next year.  She said herself, I wish we were going to Homestead. It is just pumping everybody up. It’s exciting. I’m glad we got these two races in, because it just shows her she can drive and run with these guys. It puts confidence in our guys, that yes, she can do it. Around the whole table it is awesome.”
 
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/ALLSTATE CHEVROLET – FINISHED 23RD
ON HIS RACE: “We fought with the balance of the Bass Pro Shops/Allstate Chevy all day. The guys did a great job in pits, but the long, green flag runs didn’t play into our strategy. We’ll continue working hard as we head to final race of the season in Miami next weekend.”
 
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 30TH – INVOLVED IN ON-TRACK INCIDENT WITH CLINT BOWYER: ON THE INCIDENT: “Things have gotten escalated over the year and I have just had it.  Clint (Bowyer) has run into me numerous times, wrecked me and h
e got into me on the back straightaway, pretty much ruined our day.  I have had it, was fed up with it and got him back.”
 
IN THE MELEE IN THE GARAGE DID YOU GET HIT? “No.”
 
ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT ANY PENALTIES? “They’ve got to do what they’ve got to do.  Just like I had to do what I had to do.”
 
ON INCIDENT: “Clint (Bowyer) has run into me numerous times, wrecked me. He got into me on the back straightaway, and pretty much ruined our day. I had it. That was it, and got him back.”
 
WHAT DID YOU TELL THEM IN THE NASCAR HAULER? “I told them what I just told you.”
 
ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT WHAT COMES NEXT? “They’ve got to do what they’ve got to do, and I guess I had to do what I had to do.”
 
ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 30TH:– COMMENTS FOLLOWING THE ON-TRACK INCIDENT INVOLVING JEFF GORDON AND CLINT BOWYER:
WHY DID JEFF GORDON GET SO UPSET BY THAT MOVE (MADE BY CLINT BOWYER) THEY WERE NOT RACING FOR THE LEAD: “Well I mean it’s about the fifth time that he (Clint Bowyer) has run us over.  After a while you get really frustrated.  We all work really hard on these cars and Jeff (Gordon) races everybody with a lot of respect.  Evidently he had enough.  If you are going to play that way, if you are going to race that way then you shouldn’t be upset when you get it back.”
 
YOU ARE THE ONE THAT HAS TO FIX THIS RACE CAR NOW.  WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND IMPRESSIONS ON JEFF (GORDON) WRECKING THIS CAR?
“I love Jeff Gordon.  I stand by him 100 percent and that is what we had to do.  We will fix them all day long.  He is a great race car driver and he knows, everybody out here will tell you he is as good a race car driver and a competitor as there is.  If he is tired of it, it means it’s time.”
 
HAVE YOU EVER SEEN HIM THAT FIRED UP? “That was pretty fired up.”
 
ON THE CRASH BETWEEN JEFF GORDON AND CLINT BOWYER “We had a pretty good car. It was a good race. And we were having a good top five run and just got used up by the No. 15 (Clint Bowyer) and obviously we take offense to that and it’s not the first time it’s happened. After a while, that adds up and adds up and it’s time to put a stop to it.”
 
CREWS GOT INVOLVED; JEFF GORDON GOT INVOLVED, EVERYBODY GOT INVOLVED “The crew thing is it’s between Jeff and Clint and not those team members. My instructions to the guys was just don’t let anybody get to Jeff. And that’s what that’s about.  We’re going to protect him and stand behind him at all costs. Those guys obviously have tempers running high as are ours, and that’s what happens.”
 
WHY WOULD JEFF GORDON GET SO UPSET BY THAT MOVE? THEY WEREN’T RACING FOR THE WIN?
“Well, it’s about the fifth time that he’s run us over and after a while you get really frustrated with that. We all work really hard on these cars and Jeff races everybody with a lot of respect and evidentially he had enough. If you’re going to play that way, if you’re going to race that way, then you shouldn’t be upset when you get it back.”
 
YOU’RE THE ONE THAT HAS TO FIX THIS RACE CAR NOW. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND IMPRESSIONS ON JEFF WRECKING THIS CAR? “I love Jeff Gordon and I stand by him 100 percent, and that’s what we have to do. We’ll fix them all day long and he’s a great race car driver and everybody out here will tell you he’s as good a race car driver and a competitor as there is and if he’s tired of it, that means he’s tired of it. He was pretty fired up.”
 
MICHAEL WALTRIP SAID THIS WAS CHICKEN-BLANK. HE’S VERY UPSET. “I don’t care.”
 
WHERE DID YOU FEEL LIKE CLINT BOWYER HAS DONE THINGS AGAINST YOU THIS YEAR?
“I can’t sit here and name them all. There are a couple of instances where we got into some difficult situations and both Martinsvilles come to mind right away.  He cost us a win there.”
 
YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY SHAKING MAD NOW. WE CAN TELL BECAUSE YOU ARE USUALLY COOL, CALM, AND COLLECTED. WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF ALL THIS?
“It’s racing man; that’s what happens.”
 
RICK HENDRICK, TEAM OWNER, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS:
COMMENTS ON THE INCIDENT INVOLVING JEFF GORDON AND CLINT BOWYER:
“I think the best thing for me to do is not say anything right now because you know everybody’s emotions are pretty raw.  I like Clint (Bowyer) a lot he is a good guy.  I like all those guys.”
 
WHAT DID YOU THINK WHEN YOU SAW JIMMIE’S (JOHNSON) CAR HIT THE WALL? HOW DEVASTATING IS THAT?
“It’s a tough deal.  You hate that because you hate to have a problem like that.  But that is just… you cut a tire and that happens and you just part of it.  I hate it, but we will go on to Homestead.”
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET – FINISHED 32nd DUE TO ACCIDENT DUE TO A BLOWN RIGHT FRONT TIRE WITH 77 LAPS TO GO; MADE REPAIRS IN GARAGE, AND RETURNED TO RACE 33 LAPS DOWN
“We still have to go to Homestead and race and anything can happen down there. But this is not the position we want to be in late in Phoenix. I feel terrible for my team and how hard these guys work; everybody at Hendrick Motorsports and Lowe’s and Kobalt Tools and Chevrolet. Across the board there has been a huge effort put in to try to get us a championship and I just hate for our day to turn out as it did today. But, that’s racing and we’ll go to Homestead and do all we can down there and see how things pan out.”
 
WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH THE RACE CAR AND WHAT WERE YOU TRYING TO DO WITH IT WHEN THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED?
“We were cruising along and I think we would have had a top five day or a top 10 day if things worked out at the end. And I had a slight vibration starting in the right front. I didn’t really know where it was coming from but clearly now it was the right front. And as I was coming off of Turn 4, it went down and I went straight in the wall. If I were another 30 or 40 feet around the corner, I probably would just have had a flat and not hit the wall. But, where it let go, I had a direct line to the wall and knocked it down.”
 
FATE USUALLY SMILES ON YOU, BUT IT DIDN’T SEEM TO THAT TIME
“No, that’s the way it goes. Anything can happen in racing. I’m very proud of the year. I’m very proud of the effort my entire Lowe’s team has put in. I hate to see it potentially end this way, but again, that’s racing. I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve won a few championships and I’ve lost a lot. Losing isn’t any fun; but we’ll be back next weekend and next year and do the best job we can.”
 
WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE ON THE RACE TRACK?
“We blew a tire coming off Turn 4 and I hit the wall real hard and damaged the race car. I think we would have been in the top five maybe at best; maybe 7th or 8th the way the race was unfolding. It’s unfortunate to have the day end like this and potentially end our season and hopes for a championship this way.”
 
DESCRIBE NOW THE EMOTIONS AND WHAT YOU GUYS HAVE TO DO TO REGROUP TO RALLY BACK WHEN YOU GET TO MIAMI? “Well, that’s what this team is made of. We’ll always rally and regroup and do all we can. Unfortunately we lost a lot of control or all control in the championship. We can go down there and win the race and do everything on our behalf and it still won’t net us a championship. So, we’ll go down and do our part and just see how things unfold. Today was proof that anything can happen in this sport and we’ll see how things shake out in Miami.”
 
YOU DISCUSSED LOSING CONTROL. HOW DOES THIS IMPACT THE WAY YOU APPROACH IT NEXT WEEKEND? “Well, it takes a lot of pressure off. I would much rather have the pressure of trying to win the championship and hang on to the points lead, but the position we’re in now, it really is a go for broke mentality from driving the car and al
l those types of things to try and catch the No. 2 car in this situation. If they have some bad luck it changes our game plan. But right now they have a ton of control going to Homestead.”
 
WITH HOW GOOD BRAD KESELOWSKI WAS, DO YOU THINK HE WAS PUSHING YOU A LITTLE BIT HARDER THAN YOU WOULD HAVE LIKED AT THAT POINT IN TIME? “It wasn’t necessarily on Brad’s behalf. It was just the No. 2.  He was one of six or seven cars in front that had his feet on speed. The run prior to our tire going down, we were really, really fast. And I didn’t see this coming. I knew my car was tight that run the tire exploded, but I didn’t think we were going to have an issue with the tire going down. So, just running hard. It wasn’t driven by the No. 2. We’ve always raced out own race to see where the chips may fall and that was really all we were doing today.”
 
ON HIS CAR “We were just decent all weekend long. Qualifying didn’t go all that well but from there on, we made some improvements on the car and we were a top 10 maybe a top five car in a lot of different situations, but I think Brad started off as like a top 10 car and worked himself into a top five and was racing for the win; and I was content coming out of here within a few points up or down. I thought that was how our day was going to turn out and we would go to Homestead and race like crazy. But that tire going down changed that a lot.”
 
ON CHAMPIONSHIP: “It’s way, way out of our control obviously with the problem we had today.  We still have to go to Homestead and race.  Anything can happen down there, but not the position we want to be in leaving Phoenix.  I feel terrible for my team and how hard these guys work.  Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports, Lowe’s, KOBALT Tools, Chevrolet, across the board this has been a huge effort put into this to try to get us a championship.  I just hate for our day to turn out as it did today, but that’s racing.  We will go to Homestead and do all we can down there and see how things pan out.”
 
WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH THE RACE CAR?  WHAT WERE YOU TRYING TO DO WITH IT WHEN THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED? “We were cruising along and I think going to have a top-10 day maybe a top-five day if things worked out at the end.  I had a slight vibration starting in the right-front, I didn’t know where it was really coming from, but clearly now it was the right front.  Then as I was coming off of turn four it went down and straight in the wall I went.  Another 30, 40 feet around the corner I probably would have just had a flat and not hit the wall.  Where it let go I had a direct line into the wall and knocked it down.”
 
FATE USUALLY SMILES ON YOU IT DIDN’T SEEM TO THAT TIME: “No, it’s the way it goes.  Anything can happen in racing.  I’m very proud of the year and very proud of the effort my entire Lowe’s team has put in.  I hate to see it potentially end this way, but again that’s racing.  I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve won a few championships and I’ve lost a lot.  Loosing isn’t any fun, but we will be back next weekend and next year hungrier than ever and do the best job we can.”
 
DESCRIBE NOW WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO GOING TO HOMESTEAD:
“Well that is what this team is made of we will always rally, regroup and do all we can.  Unfortunately, we lost a lot of control or all control in the championship.  We go down there and win the race and do everything on our behalf and it still won’t net us a championship. We will go down and do our part and just see how things unfold. Today was proof that anything can happen in this sport and we will see how things shake out in Miami.”
 

Harvick wins Phoenix, Johnson Takes Hit in Championship Battle
 
AVONDALE, ARIZ. (NOV. 11, 2012) – When the dust settled from the wild race at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR), Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet, emerged as the winner of the AdvoCare 500.  It is Harvick’s first win of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season, and the 19th of his career.
 
Harvick, who won at PIR on two previous occasions, led once for 15 laps in the 319-lap race, seven laps longer than the originally advertised distance.
 
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet, came into the 35th race of the season leading the points by seven when the green flag dropped.  Working his way through the field from his 24th place starting position, the five-time NSCS champion had skillfully maneuvered to the top-10.  But, with 77 laps to go Johnson’s right front tire blew, sending him into the wall, and then to the garage for repairs. He returned to the race 38 laps down to the leaders.  He was scored in the 32nd finishing position, and heads to the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a 20-point deficit to leader Brad Keselowski (Dodge).
 
The race ended in a green-white-checkered finish when the race was extended following an on-track altercation involving Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer (Toyota) in the closing laps.  Gordon was unable to finish the final laps, and was scored with a disappointing 30th place finish.
 
The melee continued with a multi-car accident as the field thundered toward the checkered flag. Harvick held off Denny Hamlin (Toyota) and Kyle Busch (Toyota), who finished second and third respectively, as well as Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet in fourth.  Despite being one of the severely damaged cars in the final wreck, Ryan Newman brought his No. 39 Quicken Loans/U.S. Army Chevrolet home in fifth place.
 
Other Team Chevy drivers in the top-10 were: Kurt Busch, No. 78 Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet – 8th and Paul Menard, No. 27 Rheem/Menards Chevrolet – 9th. Both Busch and Menard sustained damage to their race cars in the front straightaway wreck.
 
Danica Patrick, No. 10 GoDaddy Racing Chevrolet, was running 13th when the final wreck ensued, and limped to the checkered flag in 17th place in front of her hometown crowd.
 
The remainder of the Team Chevy contenders in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup finished as follows: Tony Stewart, No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet – 19th, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet -21st.
 
The season will conclude on Sunday, November 18th at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
 
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET, GIL MARTIN, CREW CHIEF, AND RICHARD CHILDRESS, OWNER OF RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING – RACE WINNERS
POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
 
THE MODERATOR:  We are now joined by our race winner, Kevin Harvick driver of the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet.  Obviously a big win for you guys, one that you’ve been searching for this season for a long time, so talk a little bit about finally getting to victory lane.
            KEVIN HARVICK:  Yeah, you know, it was an interesting day to say the least, but Gil did a great job of keeping us in the track position game and made our car better all day, and the further we got towards the front, the better the car handled.  They made good adjustments, and there at the end we had a couple restarts and Kyle chose the bottom and we were able to drive around the topside of him and then get control of the race really.
            Obviously we didn’t want to see the red flag.  We were about ‑‑ best I’ve heard is about five feet.  Someone can tell me where the caution came out.  But when I came by, I saw the caution light come on, and I saw the flag before we had gotten to the start‑finish line.  At that point you think about, man, it’s 2012, what’s going to go wrong, where are we going to run out of gas.
       &nbs
p;    Once I got those thoughts out of my head, I just wanted to get a good restart and be able to get into Turn 1 and not have any mistakes and knew if we could get through there without any mistakes that we could at least have a fighting chance of taking control of the bottom of the racetrack in Turn 3 and 4.
 
            Q.  Brad came in here and said he was basically ashamed of the sport, said it was effing bullshit what happened out there at the end on a lot of front between the wrecks and the retaliation.  What are your thoughts on that?
            KEVIN HARVICK:  Well, you can’t throw the caution flag as fast as you can throw it one time and then just let everybody run through a whole straightaway full of oil.  Those are the guys that are going to have to look themselves in the mirror, the guy who’s calling the races, and decide if they’re doing a good job.
 
            Q.  What about the fights?
            KEVIN HARVICK:  The sport was made on fights.  We should have more fights.  I like fights.  (Laughter.)  They’re not always fun to be in.  Sometimes you’re on the wrong end.  But fights are what made NASCAR what it is.
            I can tell you guys because I know the question is going to come, you guys are all going to ask the question, so we’re going to say it in front of each other.
            We can all talk about what’s going to happen in 2014.  We have 2012, we have 2013, and regardless of what happens on a business side of things, Richard Childress and myself will always be friends, good or bad, and may disagree to disagree, but we still have a lot of racing left to do and we owe it to our sponsors and our company to go out and do exactly what we did today and be men and do the best we can for everybody.
            RICHARD CHILDRESS:  Well said.
            THE MODERATOR:  We are now joined by race‑winning crew chief Gil Martin and team owner Richard Childress, so we’ll continue with questioning for any of the three of these gentlemen.
 
            Q.  Can we have Richard also speak to that?
            RICHARD CHILDRESS:  Yeah, Kevin said it all, we’re going to go to Homestead, try to win.  We look to everybody in ’13 to go win a championship, and whatever happens, happens.  It’s a business decision.  This is a business sport.
 
            Q.  Can you guys just all three of you talk about today and kind of ‑‑ I guess a lot of people thought that might have been a distraction and today you just went about your business and did it.
            KEVIN HARVICK:  Well, I think it’s ‑‑ there can be distractions, there can be whatever happening around the race track, off the race track, but when you get in that garage and everybody is doing their jobs, I get in the car, he’s up on the trailers, I mean, we’re all just racers in the end.  We want to race cars and it comes with a lot of media, it comes with a lot of things outside of the racetrack.
            But when we actually get to get into our element we all do our jobs regardless, and we all don’t want to go out and embarrass ourselves and not run good.  We want to be exactly where we are, right here, talking to you guys after the race and in Victory Lane and doing the things that make us all happy.  It’s been a frustrating year, but two races to go, here we are.
            GIL MARTIN:  Only thing I can tell you is I’m really glad to be sitting here looking at you guys.
            RICHARD CHILDRESS:  Gil Martin, made a great call today, Kevin did a great job conserve fuel when we had to.  Gil told him to go and he could pick up a couple of tenths, and it was really a good race strategy call.  We lost the race we felt here the first one.  We finished second but we ran out of gas catching Denny there.
 
            Q.  I know that you were highly upset about the fact that the race was put into overtime because you felt the caution should have come out before the green‑white checkered was allowed.  Now, are you pleased that what was done was just, or are you only pleased because you won the race anyway?
            RICHARD CHILDRESS:  No, I’m really disappointed in the way the race was called, and I asked them ‑‑ Kevin almost wrecked coming off of 4.  We take the white flag, she’s coming across down here, everybody seen what was happening.  I just knew the caution was going to come out, and he races back around and almost wrecks and we lose a car and could have hurt a driver, so I’m just still a little upset about that last not being a caution.
            KEVIN HARVICK:  There was more oil than there was asphalt, I can guarantee you that, and it was very visible.
 
            Q.  Richard, after the weekend that you had here, is this some kind of redemption?  How do you kind of wrap your arms and put a bow on this weekend?
            KEVIN HARVICK:  I feel like it’s a Kentucky weekend.  Remember we went to Kentucky and used to test all the time and we won the first Kentucky race and wrecked 11 cars?  This one, what was it, eight?
            RICHARD CHILDRESS:  We wrecked eight cars.  My week got off in a bad start Tuesday night, and from that point on it hasn’t been really great.  But that’s life.
            KEVIN HARVICK:  This week has started off better.
 
            Q.  Just wondering, after the 44‑race drought, Richard, what do you think is the turnaround from where you have been because you guys really struggled and you can’t expect Eric Warren to come in and change things overnight, but what would you point to having three cars that possibly could have finished in the top 10 today before the 31 got taken out?
            RICHARD CHILDRESS:  You know, everybody has worked hard all year long and did a whole lot, and there’s no question about it, we got a little behind on some of this skew and all this stuff that people were doing.  It put us behind, and you know, we didn’t get the year we wanted, but to come out with a win, it was big, and I couldn’t be prouder of this whole team, Budweiser and Kevin and all of these guys.  It was really a good week.
 
            Q.  You’ve been around a while.  This is in reference to Brad came in here and he was very hurt and he said some people in the garage criticized him after a clean race, he raced Jimmie cleanly.  Did you hear anybody, you don’t have to mention names, but did you hear anybody in the garage criticizing Keselowski’s driving?< br>            KEVIN HARVICK:  No, no.  I mean, he races hard.  Why would you criticize a guy that races hard and is in contention to win a championship?  I think there’s maybe a lot of agendas to try to get in his head, but at this point he’s got a 20‑point lead and he’s the only one that controls his head at this point.  If the wheels don’t fall off, he’s going to win the championship.
 
            THE MODERATOR:  Let’s end on a positive note.  Keelan’s first trip to Victory Lane; how did he do?
            KEVIN HARVICK:  He was fine until everybody started screaming.  It made him cry.
            It was great to have everybody here.  We’ve had a great week or had a lot of great foundation events, and changed the lives of a lot of kids in Bakersfield hopefully to better their education and their direction of their lives.  It’s been a great week, and to cap it off like this is a great way.
 
            THE MODERATOR:  We thank you guys.  Congratulations.
 
            GIL MARTIN:  I just want to say one thing to touch on what Richard was saying where we’ve come a long way, but this victory is a big team deal from Paul Menard and Slugger.  We have started working together so hard here in the last month, and I want to put out a big thanks to those guys because they’ve done a great job as far as working teammates.  And try to win Homestead.
            KEVIN HARVICK:  Yeah, halfway through practice we decided to stop and put in everything out of the 27 car, and that’s really the way it’s supposed to work.  We put it in and adjusted it to my driving style, and that’s great to see.
 
            THE MODERATOR:  Congratulations.  We’ll see you guys at Homestead.

RCR Post Race Report NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway

RCR Post Race Report 
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway   
 
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
AdvoCare 500      
Phoenix International Raceway
November 11, 2012
 
Race Highlights:
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished first (Kevin Harvick), ninth (Paul Menard) and 13th (Jeff Burton).
Harvick ranks eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, 86 points shy of Brad Keselowski’s lead, while Menard sits 16th in the standings and Burton holds onto the 19th position.
Kevin Harvick led 15 laps, the third-most of seven different drivers, en-route to his first victory of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
According to NASCAR’s Post-Race Loop Data Statistics, Harvick was the Fastest Driver Late In a Run (131.746 mph) and was the fifth-Fastest on Restarts (127.493 mph).
Menard ranked second in the Closers category gaining seven positions in the final 10 percent of the race, maintained the fifth-best Average Running Position (7.379) and was awarded the sixth-best Driver Rating (106.8).
Menard spent 92.5 percent of the race running Laps in the Top 15, ranking him seventh amongst his competitors.
Burton made 76 Green Flag Passes during the 319-lap race, the most of any driver entered in the event.
Each of the RCR drivers turned Fastest Laps Run during the 319-lap race with Harvick contributing 14, and Burton and Menard each adding five.
Harvick broke a 44-race winless streak, crossing the finish line ahead of Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman.
The next scheduled Sprint Cup Series race is the Homestead 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, Nov. 18. The 36th and final race of the 2012 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on Motor Racing Network.

RCR Post Race Report NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 200 at Phoenix International Raceway

RCR Post Race Report 
NASCAR Nationwide Series
Great Clips 200 at Phoenix International Raceway   
 
NASCAR Nationwide Series
Great Clips 200      
Phoenix International Raceway
November 10, 2012
 
Race Highlights:
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished sixth (Austin Dillon), 22nd (Elliott Sadler) and 26th (Brendan Gaughan).
Sadler ranks second in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship point standings, 20 points shy of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s lead, while Dillon ranks third in the standings, 25 markers behind the leader.
The No. 2 team is third in the Nationwide Series owner championship point standings, trailing the No. 18 team by 53 points, with the No. 3 team fourth in the standings and the No. 33 team fifth. 
Dillon leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings over Cole Whitt.
According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Dillon ranked fourth in the Closers category, advancing six positions in the last 10 percent of the race, and ranked fourth in Quality Passes with 33.
Sadler ranked fifth in Green Flag Passes with 45.
Gaughan posted the Fastest Lap of the Race for five circuits and spent 83.3 percent of the race running in the top 15.
Joey Logano earned his ninth Nationwide Series victory of 2012, crossing the finish line ahead of Brian Vickers, Stenhouse, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne.
The next scheduled Nationwide Series race is the Nationwide Series 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, Nov. 17. The 33rd and final race of the 2012 season is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN2 beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on Motor Racing Network.

RCR Post Race Report NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway

RCR Post Race Report 
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway 
 
 
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Lucas Oil 150     
Phoenix International Raceway
November 9, 2012
 
Race Highlights:
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished third (Joey Coulter), 15th (Ty Dillon) and 23rd (Brendan Gaughan).
Dillon is third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver championship point battle, 12 markers behind the leader; while Coulter ranks fourth in the standings.
The No. 3 Chevrolet team is third in the Camping World Truck Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 22 team fourth in the standings and the No. 2 team 14th.
Dillon leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year point standings ahead of Cale Gale.
According to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics, Coulter scored a 101.1 Driver Rating, to rank him fifth best in the 36-truck field. 
Dillon ranked third in the Closers category, improving two positions in the last 10 percent (15 laps) of the event, while Coulter ranked fifth gaining one spot.
RCR drivers made a total of 67 Green Flag Passes during the 153-lap event with Coulter and Dillon each earning 23, the second-most of all drivers, and Gaughan making 21 passes, the ninth-best amongst all competitors.
Coulter ranked first in the Quality Passes category, making 19 while running in the top 15, with Gaughan ranking seventh (15) and Dillon ninth (14).
Coulter scored the eighth-highest Average Running Position of 9.680, while Dillon ranked 10th with a 10.451 and Gaughan ranked 14th with a 14.026.
Coulter was the fifth-Fastest Driver on Restarts, while Dillon ranked eighth-fastest and Gaughan ranked 10th in the Friday night affair.
Combined, RCR drivers ran the Fastest Laps for 12 laps. Coulter scored six of those circuits, with Dillon earning five, and Gaughan adding one lap.
Coulter maintained the fifth-fastest Speed in Traffic (127.244 mph).
Coulter spent 93.5 percent of the event (143 laps) in the top 15 ranking him fifth amongst the rest of the field, while Dillon ranked 12th (101 laps) and Gaughan was scored in the top 15 for 77 laps, ranking him 15th in the category.
Brian Scott won the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway followed to the line by Kyle Larson, Coulter, Timothy Peters and Ryan Blaney.
The final Camping World Truck Series race is the Miami 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday, Nov. 16. The season finale race is scheduled to be televised live on SPEED beginning at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on Motor Racing Network beginning at 7:45 p.m

Chevy Racing–Driver Interviews- Phoenix

DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY RACING CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway and discussed her relationship with COPD, finishing out her scheduled races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for 2012, racing at Phoenix International Raceway and much more. Full Transcript:
 
WE KNOW THAT NOVEMBER IS COPD (CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE) AWARENESS MONTH AND YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM.  TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHY IT’S SO SIGNIFICANT TO YOU:
“November is the month and orange is the color.  I have been working with COPD on raising awareness for that disease which is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, for a few years now.  My grandma had it and she passed away and it was an opportunity for me to do something really good and try and help other people.”
 
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO LET THE PUBLIC KNOW ABOUT COPD AND ITS AFFECTS?          
“It’s one of those diseases that is slow going, but once it takes hold the damage is done.  Early detection is really the most important thing with that disease.  Trying to bring people to be honest with themselves about how they are feeling and if they might have it is the most important thing so that they can have as normal of lives as possible because the disease is just progressive.”
 
ARE YOU HAPPY THE SEASON IS ENDING?  WOULD YOU LIKE IT TO GO PAST HOMESTEAD?  DO YOU NEED A BREAK?
“I definitely showed concern years ago about the length of the season.  That was kind of one of the things that really in my mind held me back from wanting to commit to NASCAR.  Now that I’m in it and I feel like I’ve had a nice transition into it, I don’t mind at all.  I like racing every weekend.  The season could keep going or not.  I never turn down off time and there is definitely a lot of stress for sure and it’s a lot of work, but it’s fun at the same time.  The season could keep going, which is surprising to me.  I thought I would be very tired by this point in time, but I feel like I’m just kind of figuring it out.”
 
WHEN YOU LOOK AT JR MOTORSPORTS AND THE OPPORTUNITY THAT TEAM GIVES DRIVERS WHO ARE MAKING THEIR START IN NASCAR, WHEN THE SPORTS MOST POPULAR DRIVER, DALE EARNHARDT JR., GIVES YOU HIS ENDORSEMENT HOW DOES THAT AFFECT YOU?
“Very positive, between Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. wanting me, giving me the chance to run for his team.  Then of course more recently Tony Stewart with Stewart-Haas, those endorsements are really big for me in the garage area.  I think it helps with drivers too, although I feel like you still need to go out there and you still have to earn their respect when you race against them.  But perhaps there is a little bit more established from the beginning.  It’s very important and I think it’s played a big role in being accepted in the sport like I have.”
 
AFTER A FULL SEASON OF NATIONWIDE AND NEXT YEAR A FULL SEASON IN SPRINT CUP, WHAT IS YOUR EXPECTATION FOR 2013?  IS THERE ANY EXPECTATION FROM YOURSELF OR MAYBE YOUR SPONSORS?
“I think it’s difficult to establish what my expectation will be right now for Sprint Cup next year.  I think that it is going to be a build from where we are right now.  I think Tony Gibson (crew chief) and I still… we should probably have a very specific conversation, I think it will happen over the winter about exactly what our expectation level should be at the beginning of the season.  It probably varies track to track a little bit, but overall where do we hope to qualify then where do we hope to race and what do we hope that happens with lap time in the race and competitiveness with that.  I think that will be something that we will sort of establish over the winter when we have time to reflect and think about it and look forward to next year.  Right now I feel like it is just about getting familiar with each other and getting these two races under our belt.”
 
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS ON RACING THE CUP CAR FOR THE FIRST TIME AT PHOENIX:
“I think it’s really good that I am doing this short-track race.  I think short-tracks are something that I need to get more comfortable with.  Although I think it’s really come a long this year, I think some of my better Nationwide races have actually come at places like Iowa and Loudon.  It will be a good experience for me.  It will be a good learning experience to end on for this year.  I feel like we have made a lot of progress on the 1.5-mile tracks and we obviously got a lot of really difficult ones out of the way like Bristol and Dover and Darlington.  I’ll look forward to next year and I think we’ve created a really good base of various different tracks to think about for next season.”
 
WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT YESTERDAY ON THE SUPERBOWL ADS WERE YOU EVER REALLY CONCERNED YOU WOULDN’T BE IN THEM?  IS THAT A BIG DEAL TO YOU?
“First and foremost it is a big deal.  I’m always really honored to be in those commercials.  I think it’s great for, and this is what I said yesterday, about feeling like I’m the lucky one in the partnership.  Even though Bob (Parson) said he feels like he benefits more.  I feel like I do and it’s because that is some amazing exposure for me as a brand.  Then to link that up with GoDaddy and really only continue to solidify our partnership and our value in each other is very important to me.  Was I surprised?  I heard from Bob a couple of weeks ago after some news came out about maybe not being in them.  He called and said ‘look I just want you to know that it’s my intention, it’s my plan that you will be in a Superbowl ad.’  So yesterday when we had our press conference to announce the Semper Fi Fund promotion to raise a million dollars that Bob will match and that I’m going to run the Semper Fi Fund logo on the front of both my No. 7 and No. 10 GoDaddy cars he announced that I was going to be in both of them.  That was definitely news to me yesterday.  Great news.”
 
THERE ARE TWO GENTLEMEN VYING FOR THE CUP CHAMPIONSHIP WITH DISTINCTIVELY DIFFERENT RESUME’S AS IT PERTAINS TO CHAMPIONSHIPS, WHAT IMPACT DO YOU THINK EACH OF THEM WOULD HAVE IF THEY DO GO ON TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP FOR THIS SPORT?
“Well you obviously have Jimmie (Johnson) who has done it a handful of times. It’s an incredible feat and he’s on his way to continue to break more records there probably. I think it’s definitely an interesting story with Brad (Keselowski) and how he’s only been in the series for a short amount of time and accomplishing great things early. We saw the success in Nationwide as well with him. Yeah, probably a little bit different approaches maybe. I mean Jimmie has the experience and Brad is young and it’s new and it’s not been obtained yet so I don’t know what that kind of brings up inside of him verses someone who’s done it so many times. Experience does tend to pay off, so I’m sure it’s going to be exciting. I look forward to watching it. I’m not going to be racing Cup next weekend so I’ll be sitting on pit lane watching it all go down, and watching the excitement like everyone else will. I think they are both good stories, I think everybody loves to see a legacy and a dynasty like Jimmie has. That’s just something really special in sports. Brad’s story is just new and exciting.”
 
WHO WOULD YOU RATHER SEE WIN AND WHY?
“I don’t really know. I don’t think I could answer that. I like Jimmie and I like Chad (Knaus, crew chief). I know them pretty well. I know Chad pretty well. So, I tend to cheer for the people that I know best, but I also love a new champion and I love a little bit of an underdog, and that’s probably impossible to describe Brad as that but with a guy like Jimmie that’s done it five times I guess you would almost have to put him as the underdog.
I don’t know. I cheer for both stories.”
 
LOOKING AHEAD TO DAYTONA NEXT YEAR, HOW DOES BEING IN THE CAR FOR 3 ½ HOURS AND 500 MILES AFFECT YOU? WHAT DO YOU LIKE, DON’T LIKE?
“Most of my races have been 500 miles this year and the 600. Gosh when those 400’s come up I’m like this is a walk in the park. I remember getting back into a Cup car for the first time for a couple of months at Darlington and I think the Nationwide race was 130 or 160 laps and it was way more than double that in the Cup car. That was an intimidating number. I think this year, I remember talking about it just this last week or two, that the Cup races are really just so long and they do kind of feel like that at times. It feels like the first 100 takes a while and then you think wow, we’ve got 200 left and all of the sudden it’s the last stint and it go time. Things definitely go by a lot quicker once you get in the groove. It’s just something to adjust to and something to get used to. No different than a schedule and getting use to traveling every week or something like that. I’m already kind of getting used to it a little bit.”
 
YOU’RE GOING FROM A NATIONWIDE POINTS SYSTEM THAT HAS BEEN PRETTY EXCITING THIS YEAR TO THE CHASE FORMAT NEXT YEAR, DO YOU HAVE ANY PREFERENCE WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE WAY THESE THINGS PLAY OUT?
“It’s supposed to be realistic, the Chase is a pretty long shot for me coming next year so I don’t know if I’ve really put a lot of thought to it. You never know though. Anything can happen. I think that for me that will be something that will come up in the years to come as that becomes more realistic and something to shoot for. I am all for anything that makes this sport more entertaining, makes more news, and brings more sponsors in. I’m sure that being someone that leads the championship going into the Chase and then being basically even with 12th is definitely disappointing on some level. At the same time, if that’s what keeps the sponsors and the fans engaged, then that’s what we need to do.”
 
HANNAH NEWHOUSE IS A 15-YEAR-OLD DRIVER THAT IS ENTERING THE K&N SERIES, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT HER?
“They can race at 15 now? Well how old am I? (laughter).”
 
SHE SAID YOU PAINTED THE IDEAL PICTURE FOR WOMEN DRIVERS. ANY THOUGHTS ABOUT THAT AND WHERE SHE IS GOING?
“I painted the ideal picture. Wow, that’s very flattering. I always encourage young drivers coming up to not want to be like me, but be better than me. That’s what I thought when I was growing up. I just wanted to be better than everyone. I never really had an idol or somebody like that I wanted to be like. I didn’t know why then, but I think internally I always knew that I was maybe different. I didn’t let other people guide me on what I should be looking to achieve necessarily or a path to take. That’s very flattering and thank you but I think you just have to have the big goal in mind and then let it take its course. There’s not one certain way to get to the top of racing, that’s for sure. It’s a matter of taking the opportunities and being confident and knowing they will all teach you something.”
 
HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK BEING IN THE SUPERBOWL ADS INCREASES YOUR ABILITY TO GET THEM TO SPONSOR YOU TO RACE? GODADDY AND POSSIBLY OTHER COMPANIES IN THE FUTURE IF GODADDY EVER NOT WANTED TO SPONSOR YOU?
“I think what it does it establishes not necessarily just my brand and GoDaddy’s brand, but our brand together. That we each on some level need each other. That’s a great scenario for someone like me. I can only hope that works for the other person, this being GoDaddy. We’ve had tons of success together. They’ve become an incredibly big company and had a lot of success. I want to keep that going and be a part of it. I just think it solidifies our branding together as the important part.”
 
WHEN THE SEASON IS OVER AND YOU CAN SUMMARIZE IT, IS THERE ANY TRACK THAT YOU REALLY LIKED AND ONE TRACK YOU DIDN’T?
“This question kind of gets asked in various forms. To be honest, all that really matters is how you do at the track. So if it’s a track that you do well at, you’re going to like it. Sometimes that changes. Gosh, I remember being in Indy Car and going to Sonoma for the first time and just hating it. I remember I drove by one time and gave it the finger. I was not in favor of Sonoma. Then I go back in 2007 and I qualify on the front row and I’m like I love Sonoma. I think that it just depends on how you do and that changes from time to time, and year to year.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway along with special guest Paul Knowles, a Vietnam Veteran and discussed his special Veterans Day paint scheme, the Chase format, getting on the same page with crew chief Matt Borland and much more.  Full Transcript:   
 
YOU HAVE A UNIQUE VETERANS DAY PROMOTION WITH YOUR SPONSOR TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT:
RYAN NEWMAN: “We’ve got an awesome paint scheme with our Quicken Loans Chevrolet.  The digital camo (camouflage), it’s not just digital camo it’s kind of desert camo and on the bottom part of the race car there are over 250 black and white photographs of service men and women who have closed a mortgage at Quicken Loans.  A great tribute to the Veterans on Veterans Day weekend, very much appreciative of what Quicken Loans does for the Veterans with their mortgages and obviously just tributes like this on special occasions.  The TV panel on the bumper cover of the car says it best.  Home of the free because of the brave, that is why we are proud to represent Quicken Loans this weekend.”
 
IF YOU CAN TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR SERVICE AND THEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE ON RYAN’S CAR THIS WEEKEND:
PAUL KNOWLES: “Well first off the opportunity to be on Ryan’s car is really nice to have.  The car with Quicken Loans and backing up all the Veterans that is really a plus. Making a loan with Quicken Loans for that new house I just bought was just painless it was wonderful.  They have done a really great job on working with the Veterans.  I spent a year in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969.  I was lucky when I made it back.  So now I am just a Vietnam Veteran got out of the service and enjoyed the tour.”
 
YOU HAVE A SPECIAL PAINT SCHEME THIS WEEK ARE YOU INVOLVED IN PUTTING SOME IDEAS INTO THE PAINT SCHEME OF THE CAR?
RYAN NEWMAN: “No, that is one of the things at Stewart-Haas I’ve always been extremely proud of is they put together great paint schemes for great reasons.  Quicken Loans has been a big part of this like I said.  With the people at Stewart-Haas obviously have to do the final layout of the car and make sure everybody is happy sponsor wise and everybody is happy as far as their logo placement.  Just really happy with the way the car looks it’s an amazing looking car.  Hopefully, it adds maybe a half second a lap to it something like that so we can have it in Victory Lane and we can show everybody really what Veterans Day is all about.”
 
IS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU CAN DO IN THESE LAST TWO RACES TO HELP PREPARE FOR NEXT YEAR SINCE YOU ARE NOT IN THE CHASE?
RYAN NEWMAN: “Win.  Just win.  Just win everything, win the poles and win the races.  That is one of our goals these last two races is to get a pole just like every other race before that, but we are not in the Shootout as of right now.  It’s an important part of my career to keep that streak alive. Obviously, it’s a goal no matter what to be the fastest and be the best.  That starts today.  We will see how we can do.  We had a good car in the spring; I got crashed out about the middle of the race.  Look forward to this race track; it’s always been a good track for me both on Friday’s and on Sunday’s.”
 
LAST WEEK TONY (STEWART) MADE THE REFERENCE TO (BRAD) KESELOWSKI HAVING A D
EATH WISH I WONDER IF YOU COULD EXPAND ON WHAT YOU THINK THAT MEANS AND ALSO IT COMES UP EVERY YEAR WHAT IF THERE WASN’T A CHASE HOW WOULD THINGS BE.  WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS DO YOU LIKE THE CHASE OR NOT?
RYAN NEWMAN: “I’m not sure about the death wish.  I really can’t comment about that.  I don’t know what he was talking about.  If it was something he said or did or whatever.  That is not my place to say.  The Chase part of it I think a percentage of it adds hype.  As I said from the very beginning in the beginning it was 10 drivers that got the extra hype and the rest of them didn’t.  Now it’s 12 that get the extra hype and having missed it two of the last four, made it two of the last four, I can kind of speak on both sides of it.  It does change your outlook and your outcome for the next 10 races after Richmond as far as what you have to look forward to.  If you have an opportunity, if you don’t have an opportunity at a championship, but ultimately we are there to win each and every race so that part of it doesn’t change.  Sometimes it’s bitter sweet because of the situation you are in, but it is what it is.  There is still an opportunity for a champion each and every year.  In the end if you look at it from a point’s stand point it really doesn’t change who has that opportunity whether we have a Chase or not.  It’s still a group of four or five drivers at the end of 26 that are still in that group of four or five going into the last few.”
 
WERE YOU A LONG TIME NASCAR FAN ALL THESE YEARS OR WAS THIS A SURPRISE WEEKEND COMING TO YOU?
PAUL KNOWLES: “Truthfully hate to say it I haven’t been a NASCAR fan, but this adds some credibility for me to see what it’s all about first hand.  It’s a very good thing for me.”
 
YOU GET A LOT OF GUESTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR THAT YOU MEET AND GREET AND SPEND THE WEEKEND WITH.  WHAT IS IT LIKE WHEN YOU GET A GENTLEMAN LIKE MR. KNOWLES WHO WASN’T REALLY A NASCAR FAN?  IS THAT EQUALLY AS CHALLENGING, BUT YET AS FULFILLING AS ANY OTHER TYPE OF FAN?
RYAN NEWMAN: “Well just as I always said having the U.S. Army as a sponsor it’s a different kind of sponsorship when you meet people like that who represent your brand I guess you could say.  Meeting Paul (Knowles) it’s extra special this weekend because it’s Veterans Day and everybody needs to recognize that.  That is the point of it is to give thanks to all those who have served and given us the opportunity to do the things that we do and not have to worry about what kind of plane if flying over our head.  Just really proud like I said of Quicken Loans, this is their program, this is their race and obviously it ties in with the U.S. Army which is another sponsor.  I’m thankful and it’s an honor for me to drive a race car that pays so much tribute to so many special people.”
 
IS THIS ONE OF THOSE SEASONS THAT YOU WISH WOULD END OR ARE GLAD IT’S CLOSE TO AN END? RYAN NEWMAN: “People have asked me, friends, family, whoever if I’m looking forward to the off season and I answer yes and no.  Yes I am because my ultimate goal of winning the championship is not within grasp by any means.  I still have the opportunity to win two races so there are things to look forward to, but my ultimate goal I cannot achieve this year.  At that point, you want it to end and get started on next year.  I really enjoy the off season; I enjoy the 90-plus days or whatever it is of being able to spend time with family and the outdoors and hunting and a little bit of fishing.  Just getting a chance to vacation at home.  That’s what it’s all about.  It’s a ‘catch 22.”
 
DO YOU THINK JIMMIE JOHNSON WILL PULL AWAY FROM BRAD KESELOWSKI OR DO YOU THINK THIS WILL GO DOWN TO THE LAST LAP AT HOMESTEAD?
RYAN NEWMAN: “There’s a good chance of anything.  There was as good of a chance of Brad (Keselowski) winning that race last week as there was Jimmie (Johnson) in my opinion.  I believe, if I remember right, Brad was on two tires and Jimmie was on four.  There was strength there to that 2 car that was pretty dominant all race long.  Anything can happen here.  I especially say with the dog-leg in the backstretch that things can get exciting here that we don’t anticipate.  I think that’s kind of escalated over the last two races here so we’ll see how that goes.  This is a fun race track for me.  It’s fun for a lot of guys.  It’s challenging because it’s different on both ends.  Homestead itself is relatively simple when it comes to the racing part of it because it’s so wide and you can use the top to the bottom of the race track, both ends and we saw how well Tony Stewart was last year with being able to pass cars.  To me, this is more of a challenge from a racing standpoint in these next two races than Homestead is.”
 
WILL IT TAKE A LONG TIME FOR YOU TO GET BACK ON THE SAME PAGE WITH MATT BORLAND SINCE IT HAS BEEN A WHILE SINCE YOU BOTH WORKED TOGETHER?
RYAN NEWMAN: “I don’t think we ever had to worry about getting back on the same page, it was more a matter about catching the right paragraph.  We think so much alike, we understand the principles of the race car, but for him I think it’s more about just adapting the physics of the race car to my feels and the comments that I make, having not had my experience with that over the past five or seven years or whatever it’s been.  We’ve always been on the same page when it comes to understanding the race cars.  It’s just a matter of us creating that fine tuning of what we need to do to make them perfect.”
 
HOW DOES THE RESPECT FOR THE TITLE CONTENDERS CHANGE WITH TWO RACES REMAINING?  IS THERE MORE RESPECT THAT HAS TO BE GIVEN OR IS IT A MISCONCEPTION?
RYAN NEWMAN: “I guess the best way to describe it is to race them equally.  Like you said, there are two guys that are in the contention right now for the championships so if you’re in a position where you race the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) a certain way, race the No. 2 (Brad Keselowski) the same way.  They know me and they know my passion for not letting them go by.  That’s just the way I am.  Sometimes it helps me and sometimes it hurts me.  For the most part, race each other the way you would want to be raced.  If it was you racing for a championship, give and take the way you would want to be given and taken to.  That’s maybe the best way to describe it.  To me, there’s not more of an allowance.  There’s a level of respect in a situation.  If I’m racing for a lucky dog then it’s different than if I’m racing for the win.  That really doesn’t change much, maybe a little bit.  To answer your question, maybe a little bit, but not really.  I’m still here to win the race and my sponsors and my fans and everybody around me and my team especially expects me to not lay over and give them extra respect because of their situation.  My situation is that I’m still here to win a race.”
 
DID YOU SEE THE RESTARTS AT THE END OF THE TEXAS RACE AND IF YOU DID, WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS?
RYAN NEWMAN: “I quickly saw I think it was the last restart when Jimmie (Johnson) kind of pulled the air off the 2 (Brad Keselowksi) a little bit, which is fine, that’s racing.  If I remember right, Brad had the opportunity to pick the lane and he chose the inside.  He very easily could have picked the outside.  I don’t think there was anything wrong with any of it from what I saw.  I didn’t see all of it.”   

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway and discussed racing at Phoenix International Raceway, what it would mean to tie Dale Earnhardt Sr. on the all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win list and other
topics.  Full Transcript:
 
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT COMING TO PHOENIX:
“I’m excited to get on the track.  It looks like it is still pretty slick.  I watched the Trucks practice last night and there have been a couple of quick cautions this morning.  I’m hopeful the Nationwide cars really rubber the race track in and we can get the track to evolve short order and have a great practice session here in an hour or so.”
 
YOU HAVE BEEN HERE BEFORE MANY TIMES IN THIS SITUATION HOW DOES RIGHT NOW COMPARE TO YEARS PAST AND HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR CHANCES?
“At this point regardless of our points situation I still came here ready to race and we’ve won some races here and have been able to run in the top-five which is very important to lead into a comfortable Homestead.  I’ve been on the ropes here racing Denny (Hamlin) and things worked out from a fuel mileage stand point that closed the gap, went to Homestead and had to race for it.  I’ve been here before with (Jeff) Gordon dueling it out.  We won and he might have been second or third in the race and that is the year that reminds me the most of what I’m dealing with right now.  I expect for Brad (Keselowski) to be strong here.  He and I raced real hard for third or four positions in the closing laps of the spring race.  I would assume that we would be right there running nose to tail once again when the checkered flag falls on Sunday.”
 
WHAT DO OTHER DRIVERS SAY TO YOU IN PASSING OR WHAT NOT WHEN YOU SEE THEM IN THE MOTORHOME LOT OR WHAT NOT ABOUT BEATING BRAD?  WHAT ARE THEIR COMMENTS TO YOU ABOUT YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO WIN THIS CHAMPIONSHIP BECAUSE YOU ARE RACING HIM?
“I haven’t had anybody specifically point out the competition with Brad.  I’ve had guys talk about here you are in position again, give me some encouragement.  I just saw Clint Bowyer in the motorhome lot and he said a lot of things that I can’t say on TV (laughs).  Something about the rear end of anybody and I’m that part for winning last weekend.  Not the cheeks the other part in his words (laughs), highly entertaining whenever it comes to (Clint) Bowyer as we all know.  I feel like I have a lot of friends in the garage area and people are maybe they are not happy to see me in position to win a championship, but I think a lot of people respect the position we are in and what the team has done, what I have done.  I think that respect shows on the race track too.  There has been a lot of respectful driving around Brad and I on the race track and guys will let us race for this thing.  It’s been good.”
 
WITH 60 WINS YOU ARE EIGHTH IN ALL-TIME WINS (DALE) EARNHARDT (SR.) SEVENTH WITH 76 HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO YOU TO GET TO THAT LEVEL THROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS ASIDE BUT WINS?  ALSO, I SAW YOU RUNNING YESTERDAY ARE YOU ABLE TO DO THAT AND GET THE STRESS OUT WITHOUT GETTING RECOGNIZED BY A LOT OF PEOPLE?
“Kind of, I left the track and ran out through the motorhome lot and on my way out no one saw me.  On the way back people knew I was coming and signed a few autographs, took a few pictures.  Training, I have my event coming up in December, so I have to keep the miles in and keep going. It’s been a great way to make sure that I’m tired every night and go to sleep with a clear mind.  Just continuing to follow my routine and what I do.  As far as chasing (Dale) Earnhardt (Sr.) I didn’t know that he was the next one in line.  There is a good gap between 60 and 76 so I hope to get there.  It would be a huge honor for me to be able to tie ‘The Man’.  I hope to do that certainly.”  
 
IS THIS A WHOLE NEW LEARNING PROCESS OR IS THIS STILL THE PLACE WHERE YOU HAVE WON FOUR TIMES?
“I really think it’s a new place.  The old track was really abrasive and tire wear was important.  We did see a few things come down to fuel mileage at the end, but the mindset really was working on your race car, tire fall off and you would come in and pit and put four on.  That game has changed here now.  I would assume the track has evolved a little, but what we have seen with these new repaves whatever the mix is that they put down it takes a long time for it to evolve.  I look at the Charlotte track as the best example.  It maybe a little easier to drive on now, but it’s still the same tire wear as when they repaved it four or five years ago.  It hasn’t changed back to the old Charlotte yet.  This track is going to be very similar to the way it was in the spring.  I feel like we are on a new sheet of paper with the track as it is.  I feel like our fourth is representative of where we are now with the new track.  We had a great performance, a little room to improve, but not the track that it was before.”
 
YOU HAVE HAD TIMES IN YOUR CAREER WHERE YOU HAVE PULLED OFF CONSECUTIVE WINS, WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO BE IN THAT ZONE?
“Man, it’s crazy to experience it.  In years past when we have been on those runs there is plenty of challenging moments through the course of a race weekend.  To have things work out and to watch a team come together and work so hard to work through adversity and to not let adversity affect the execution, the temperament of the team, the moral of the team it’s something special to be a part of. We had some amazing years where we could string those together and I hope that, we have two going, we can keep that string going right now and rattle off two more.”
 
WHY DIDN’T BRAD (KESELOWSKI) GET MORE AGGRESSIVE WITH YOU LAST WEEK?  BACK IN THE DAY WHEN HE WAS REALLY AGGRESSIVE THAT IS SOMETHING HE MIGHT HAVE DONE.  WHEN YOU LOOK BACK ON THAT AND THE PROGRESSION HE HAS MADE DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?  WHAT HAS CHANGED ABOUT HIM AND WHY DO YOU THINK MAYBE HE DIDN’T GET REAL AGGRESSIVE THERE AND MAKE A MOVE LIKE THAT AND JUST GO FOR BROKE THERE?
“I really feel like he was extremely aggressive and had that mindset of going for broke.  But we all evolve as drivers and I think he was more in control of his vehicle Sunday night than he was when he was new to the sport.  Then the other thing is certain drivers and I’ve been a part of it too, you have a magnet for a certain car.  It was Carl (Edwards) and Brad that had that issue that was going and where a lot of that came from I don’t really recall him having big issue with other drivers. “
 
WITH DENNY HAMLIN…
“With Denny (Hamlin) he did?  I don’t even remember that one. I know our history between Brad and myself we haven’t had that.  I’ve always raced him with a clear mind and not worry.  Sure racing stuff happens and you make mistakes, everybody does.  I make plenty myself, but it never crossed my mind that he would make an intentional move to dump me.  There are only a few people out there wired like that.  I think in today’s world there is probably less like it or not it is just the way it is.  People race really, really hard and I think Brad did, but to just go in the corner and dump someone man that is tough to do.  Then you play into the Karma thing and then there is always next week.  There is a variety of things that come with that.  I just don’t think there are many guys out there that would haul off into the turn and just dump their competition for the championship.”   
 
CHAD (KNAUS) SAID EARLIER THIS WEEK THAT AT THIS TIME OF YEAR PEOPLE WHO ARE CHASING YOU HAVE TO RAISE THEIR GAME, BUT THE NO. 48 TEAM DOESN’T HAVE TO.  YOU SORT OF REMAIN ON AN EVEN PLANE.  IS THAT THE WAY YOU OPERATE AS A DRIVER?
“I think it’s really led by Chad’s direction.  He treats every race as if we are in the Chase and leans on us all.  There are parts of the year where myself, my team members look at him and are like ‘man its June why are you cracking the whip so hard?’ But that is the
way Chad operates.  I’m thankful that he does because he never sits back and relaxes on past performance and it’s all about the present and working as hard as you can each and every week.  He made the comment and a lot of that is due to his personality and the way he runs a race team.  Myself I’m usually a little more laid back.  It’s not that I’m trying any harder now, but I can let stuff fall off my shoulders a little easier middle of the year than he can.  Right now if you are going to be the champion you can’t shrug something off.  You have to focus on every single point and make sure you can get every point you can on the track.  I guess maybe I’m more like his mindset when the Chase starts and prior to that I’m a bit more relaxed.”
 
DO YOU HAVE A SENSE THAT THE NO. 2 IS NOT GOING TO CHOKE NOT GOING TO DISAPPEAR AND YOU ARE GOING TO NEED TWO TERRIFIC RACES TO WIN THIS THING?
“Yeah, that is the way I have to enter each race.  I have to expect the best out of them and I’ve said that through the whole Chase.  When there were 12 of us that had a shot I was focused on all 12 and then it’s worked its way down to really just one car.  We are here to race.  We need to get every point that we can and expect the most out of the No. 2.”
 
WHAT DO YOU THINK TONY STEWART MEANT BY BRAD KESELOWSKI HAVING A ‘DEATH WISH’?  DO YOU THINK WITH THE NATIONWIDE POINTS BEING SO CLOSE THAT IS AN ARGUMENT TO NOT HAVE A CHASE FORMAT ANYMORE?
“I didn’t see the comments after last weekend with what Tony (Stewart) said so I really don’t know what he’s referencing.  The Nationwide stuff, we saw it time and time again in the Cup Series that you would get a couple close years here and there, but really there was a runaway year.  I feel like from an odds standpoint, your chances of having a close championship battle are best with the Chase.  The Cup Series is proof of that.  We wouldn’t have changed if it wasn’t the situation.  I’m happy to see the Nationwide Series tied right now.  It’s great TV and it’s great to watch.  It’s very hungry guys out there trying to make their mark.”
 
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE GOALS AND WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOUR CAREER COMES TO A CONCLUSION?
“It’s hard to say and I still live my life and live each day just looking at what’s right in front of me.  I’ve been asked the question a lot about long term and where I want to be, the mark I want to leave on the sport and it’s something that I haven’t put a lot of thought into, but I feel like I’ve had lame answers for everybody over the years and I need to think about it for once and have a good answer.  I made this reference a few times, but a friend of mine said to me that limits begin where the vision ends.  I want to be considered the best driver to ever sit in a stock car.  The undisputed way to pull that off is to win eight championships.  That’s what I said a few months back and I know that I put that mark way, way out there in front of me and it’s a lofty goal.  I’ve accomplished every goal that I’ve set in front of myself, I’ve knocked down and I’m going to put one way out there and hope I get there.  If I don’t, I know that I’ve tried and given 100 percent and very proud of whatever the stats are at that point when I retire.  Putting one way out there and we’ll see if I get to it.”
 
DO YOU HAVE AN UPDATE ON THE ‘SUPERSTORM SANDY’ FUND?
“I’m not sure how it’s going.  I know we made our contribution and I’m hopeful that others have donated as well.  I had some news that where our apartments held, it could be three more months before we have power or be back on our own power system.  They have some auxiliary power that they are hopeful to get in within two weeks, but before the building is functioning like it was, it’s at least another three months.  Believe me, the apartment wasn’t cheap.  This is a nice place.  I can only imagine the devastation and destruction on many levels throughout Manhattan, Staten Island.  Our motor home is on the New York satellite and we were watching the local news from Staten Island, I can’t believe the devastation there.  Hopefully, others are inspired to donate as well and we can try to help out.”
 
ARE THERE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT YOU AND DOES THAT BOTHER YOU?
“I learned a long time ago that it’s hard to make everybody happy.  I have seen in the last three or four years and there are plenty of markers to show it in the fan base that has shifted heavily that there are a lot of very avid 48 fans that are out there.  With that said, I’m sure there are some that just don’t like us.  That’s fine, that’s cool.  It’s this sport.  It’s how it is.  Nothing has bothered me, I’ve heard it all and I guess also in my lesson a while back I learned that if I know someone and they have a problem with me then I should take heart.  From a fan’s perspective, in the way things happen within sports, if somebody says something ugly, they don’t know me so why am I going to take it to heart.  It’s just fandom.  People supporting their teams and who they want to support.”
 
HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL WHEN FANS ARE NOT SUPPORTIVE OF YOU BEING POISED TO WIN ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP?
“It makes me smile.  I really don’t care.  I’m doing my job.  I’ve worked my entire life to get to this point in my career.  I wasn’t around to see the (Richard) Petty era, but I know or I can only assume that a lot of people were tired of seeing the King win.  I know that a lot of people were tired of seeing (Dale) Earnhardt win.  I lived it firsthand in watching Jeff Gordon go through that very same thing after his fourth championship.  It’s not that I’m in this unique situation.  We go back through and pull the clips from previous champions and guys that have been on runs before and it’s the same stuff.  It’s absolutely the same stuff.  I’m not doing anything different than Gordon, Petty, Earnhardt — in fact I’m awfully damn proud to be in that lump of guys that had to go from cheers to boos and when they get back to cheering you again is when you stop winning.  I don’t want the cheers, I’ll keep the boo’s.  That’s fine.”
 
WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN YOURSELF AND BRAD KESELOWSKI AT ROAD ATLANTA AND DID THAT CHANGE YOUR PERCEPTION OF HIM?
“When I saw his reply, it took me a second or two to take it in.  I thought, ‘Wait a second, Road Atlanta?  He crashed.’  Then the few minutes following his crash ran through my mind and I think Chad (Knaus, crew chief) and I were in a Tahoe and ran down there.  We were some of the first people on the scene to help him get out of the car.  Helping him find his bearings.  Checked up with him when he was in the hospital.  It was a heck of a crash.  I don’t think, I was just concerned for him.  Maybe that was something different than what he had experienced with other racers.  That’s me.  I’m concerned for people and especially seeing a big impact like that firsthand.  It got my attention.  The next day and a half of testing, every time I went into turn one I could see his marks where he went off the road and hit down there.  I was like, ‘Man that was ugly.’  I’m glad that meant something to him.  It wasn’t my intentions.  He knows where I am with my morals and that I do care about others.  I don’t think the situations are identical by any means, but the fact that he is the only driver that came to victory lane to shake my hand after the race in Texas, I just thought that took a lot of class.  It’s tough in this moment, we’re both racing and trying to achieve our dreams of being a champion in this sport and for him to put
a smile on his face and come to victory lane to shake my hand I thought was a big move on his behalf.”

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 DIET MOUNTAIN DEW/AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET met with media and discussed who he thinks will win this year’s Chase, the tight Nationwide Series battle, the outlook for JR Motorsports in 2013 and other topics.  Full Transcript:
 
IT SEEMS LIKE YOU AND BRAD (KESELOWSKI) CAME TOGETHER AT THE PERFECT TIME YOU AS AN OWNER AND HIM AS A DRIVER.  IN YOUR OPINION WHO DO YOU THINK BENEFITED MORE IN THAT RELATIONSHIP BRAD AS THE DRIVER OR YOUR COMPANY JR MOTORSPORTS?
“Probably definitely Brad, which is fine, it seemed to give him the platform he needed to really showcase his potential and get people, owners like Roger Penske to consider him for Cup level.  That is what our company is all about.  That is what we enjoy to see happen so it was a success for us, but definitely think it was best for Brad.”
 
HOW DID IT HELP YOUR COMPANY?
“We pleased a lot of sponsors with the way Brad ran and the success we had with Brad.  It gave our company credibility amongst the competitors and just really raised the moral and got everybody in the shop really fired up with Brad’s ability.  When they went to the race track they were excited about their opportunities and changed the culture in the shop quite a bit.”
 
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE HIM?
“I liked his family’s history, good hard working racing people.  He had worked on all his stuff growing up so he knew how valuable the equipment was, knew how to take care of the equipment and he was quick.  He could do things; he was in some of the start and park race cars and qualifying well and racing well.  He was great at looking around on the race track for different grooves, different speed and finding speed in the car.  Just did a lot of good things.”
 
DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEAS ABOUT THE 2013 CAR? JEFF BURTON SAID HE THINKS IT’S GOING TO MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE IN PASSING AND MAKE THE 1.5-MILE RACES MORE LIKE SHORT TRACKS
“Yeah, I haven’t tested the car. So I’m not sure what Burton has in mind or what he thinks will help. But hopefully that reveals itself when we start working on the car and I start getting to drive the car.”
 
WHO DO YOU THINK WILL WIN THE CHASE FOR THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP?
“Well, it’s between Brad (Keselowski) and Jimmie (Johnson) and I think Jimmie is going to win it. Jimmie is going to be hard to beat. Jimmie is in great equipment. Jimmie has a great race team around him; smart people, and one of the best crew chiefs in the business, and Jimmie is one of the best drivers in the business. It’s going to be hard to beat those guys.”
 
ON JIMMIE JOHNSON GOING FOR A SIXTH TITLE AND BEING ONE OF THE BEST IN THE SPORT:
“I think he’s been in the conversations. Winning five in a row puts him in the conversation as being one of the guys that’s the best the sport has ever seen. And any success he has beyond that just further strengthens this argument and I think it’s fair to put him in that group and compare him to Richard (Petty) and Cale Yarborough and guys like that; my father, even.”
 
WHAT IS THE SENSE OF PRIDE WITH BRAD (KESELOWSKI), YOU’VE TALKED MANY TIMES ABOUT JR MOTORSPORTS BEING AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUNG DRIVERS?
“I’m competing against him so I’ve got to look at him really as a competitor, but we have a good friendship and a good amount of respect for each other. That really carries over on to the race track. I enjoy racing with him. He’s a real tough competitor; he races really, really hard. He’s so far removed from his years in the Nationwide Series already in this just short period of time. He’s already carved such a ditch in the Cup Series. Those seem just like memories racing as an owner and him as my driver. It just seems like so long ago already.”
 
YOU’RE A TWO-TIME NATIONWIDE CHAMPION, WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A CHAMPION?
“In the Nationwide Series?”
 
IN ANY SERIES.
“I can only say what it takes to be a champion in the Nationwide Series because I haven’t won a championship in the Cup Series yet. You’ve got to have a great team around you. You’ve got to have fast race cars and you’ve got to be smart with them. That’s really the basics of it.”
 
WITH THAT SERIES BEING TIED RIGHT NOW, LAST YEAR COMING HERE THERE WAS ONLY EIGHT POINTS DIFFERENCE, IS THAT A GOOD ARGUMENT THAT YOU REALLY DON’T NEED A CHASE IN CUP?
“I’m not sure. I think the Chase for the championship really wasn’t to change how the points looked or change how the points are tallied up. I think it was just to drive attention to the fan base and get the fans excited that there was some sort of playoff system in effect. I think the fans get excited about everybody reverting back to the no points and leveling the playing field with 10 (races) to go. I think that it excites them to have a group of guys competing throughout the last 10 races and having it simplified in that aspect. With the old system we’ve seen good championships and with the new system we’ve seen good championships. I don’t believe it really matters how you stack it up. It just comes down to the performance of the drivers. It’s a coincidental situation with the Nationwide Series that those two guys are tied. I wouldn’t read much into it.”
 
LAST WEEK TONY STEWART SAID THAT BRAD (KESELOWSKI) HAD A DEATH WISH AT THE END OF THE RACE WITH THE WAY HE WAS PUSHING IT TO THE LIMIT. IS THAT JUST BRAD’S NATURE?
“I was really impressed from what I saw from both drivers at the end of that race. I think you saw both of them dig down and produce results that you don’t see on an everyday basis. Some of the most incredible racing that I’ve seen in a long time between two guys in a situation like that. I was fortunate enough to be close enough to see it and it was quite something to see.”
 
WHAT MAKES JIMMIE (JOHNSON) SO GOOD?
“You could come up with a bunch of different reasons and not really be correct. You think about his history on dirt and in the truck, how that must have helped him understand incredible car control. He spent years and years on dirt and that’s the best way to go to school on car control. He has incredible car control. He understands exactly where the grip level is, where the slip angles are, and how to get right up against them and carry it through the whole corner. He’ll tell you also that he has a great team around him. He’s been with this team from the start. They’ve built a great group and been able to maintain that. They complement Jimmie just as well as he complements them.”
 
WHERE DO YOU THINK BRAD (KESELOWSKI) WOULD BE TODAY IF TED MUSGRAVE HADN’T GOTTEN SUSPENDED FOR THAT ONE RACE WHERE BRAD GOT IN THE TRUCK AND SHOWED WHAT HE COULD DO?
“I think he would probably have made it still but it might have just taken a little bit longer. It might have taken a while to get that opportunity. That was definitely the key moment. He was driving that No. 23 car in the Nationwide Series, and he qualified 10th at Bristol. Then I saw him race at Atlanta and move around on the race track to find speed in the car, was racing against guys that had better equipment than him. You just see people have glimpses of potential and then he got that opportunity there and made the most of it.  He would have won that race had he not been spun out. I felt like when I was calling him that I was probably not the only one at that moment. Whether I was or not I don’t know, but I felt like he brought a lot of awareness to himself and his opportunities and potential to a lot of people, not just myself.”
 
WHERE ARE YOU AT WITH NEXT YEAR AT JR MOTORSPORTS? WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR BEYOND REGAN SMITH RUNNING A FULL SEASON?
“I’d like to have two full-time cars with Regan and Cole (Whitt) driving. We’re working really hard to fill sponsorship on the second car. We’ve got a lo
t of great potential partners that we’ve been speaking to. Cole has done a great job especially since we’ve made the changes we’ve made over there. Cole has really been able to improve. The speed in the car has improved each week. He’s been able to realize what kind of opportunities and things we can do together if we can get everything right. I think we’re really close. Regan is going to come in and give us a veteran in leadership from a driver standpoint. I’d really love to have both those guys. We’ve got Regan ready to go in a full deal. We’re just trying to piece together enough partnerships and people that are excited about our opportunities in the future with Cole for next year and we’ll move forward. I’m going to run a handful of races.”
 
HOW MUCH DOES IT HELP TO HAVE REGAN AROUND THE TRACK HANGING OUT WITH THE TEAM NOW AND GOING OVER TO JR MOTORSPORTS?
“He brings a better presence. He understands what the job is, what he needs to do. He’s really confident. So, I think that’s good for the team to see. It gets the team excited.”
 
IS THIS THE KIND OF SEASON WHERE YOU’RE GOING TO BE KIND OF HAPPY THAT IT’S OVER?
“No. I wish we were going to race on. I’d just race on through to February and start back over again if it were up to me. I really enjoy being at the track and driving cars. It’s been a good year, but this should be par for the course. It’s been a good year, but we want to be a lot better than this. I’m not ready to stop trying to be better.”
 
CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE IN THE ZONE? YOU AND STEVE (LETARTE, CREW CHIEF) STARTED OUT SO STRONG AND WON MICHIGAN.
“There’s confidence between me and him that we’re going to show up and do well, and confidence is real important. We work really well together. When he’s on top of his game and I’m on top of my game we’re a really competitive team.”
 
HOW ARE YOU LOOKING AT PHOENIX HERE THIS WEEKEND?
“I really don’t know. I haven’t run well since they repaved it. We’ve got a completely different setup than we ran here earlier this year. So right now I’m just anxious to get in the car and see what we can do.”
 
DO YOU THINK JIMMIE (JOHNSON) IS GOING TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? IS THERE MAYBE ONE STRENGTH THAT THE NO. 2 TEAM HAS THAT MAYBE THE NO. 48 DOESN’T?
“Not knowing any better. Maybe that’s one. Not really knowing any better and being open-minded to anything. They’re pretty risky too. He’ll stay out on two tires, no tires; try to run himself out of gas, and all kinds of crazy stuff. They are willing to really gamble. That makes them kind of dangerous in that aspect.”
 
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE HERE UNDER THIS CONFIGURATION?
“I really haven’t been able to find good grip in the front of the car that creates speed. The front of the car is real harsh in the corners and just takes the grip out of the front tires. You blow through the front tires real easy.”
 
BRAD (KESELOWSKI) SAID THE OTHER DAY THAT YOU HAD HIM SIGN A CLAUSE IN HIS CONTRACT WHEN HE WORKED FOR YOU THAT SAID HE COULDN’T WRITE A BOOK ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES I GUESS, ANY EXPERIENCES YOU DON’T WANT HIM WRITING ABOUT?
“I don’t have anything that I would rather him not write about. I think he was telling a lie to be honest with you. We’ve had some fun times together, and he grew up a lot when he was around us. I’ll tell you that.”
 
HOW SO?
“I don’t know. He hadn’t been exposed to a whole lot when we got a hold of him. All he had ever done was race cars and we took him to town and got him some clothes, dressed him up and showed him what was going on. I don’t know. It wasn’t too much. It wasn’t too crazy. He’s pretty outgoing now. I don’t know if you guys really remember just how shy and introverted he was when he first started racing for us, and he’s quite the comedian these days. He’s really outspoken, so he’s changed quite a bit.”
 
SO YOU’RE TAKING CREDIT FOR HIS DRESS STYLE AT THE MYERS BROTHER’S LUNCHEON LAST YEAR?
“No. He wasn’t working for me then.”
 
YOU TALK ABOUT YOU WANT TO KEEP RACING, HOW MANY YEARS DID YOU END THE YEAR THAT WAY? WHERE YOU WANTED TO KEEP GOING?
“Only a few. Not many. Probably about 30 percent of the years I’ve ran. I’m excited about next year. I’m excited about opportunities with the new car and working on the new car. I’m ready to go testing. I’m just not ready to sit down.”

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway and discussed future plans for SHR, racing at Phoenix, Chase contenders and other topics.  Full transcript:
 
DO YOU HAVE A RESPONSE TO THE STORY THAT KEVIN HARVICK WILL JOIN STEWART-HAAS RACING IN 2014? “Well, it’s actually Dale, Jr. (SMILES BROADLY). And Marty Smith (ESPN Television personality and website reporter) is actually going to be in the fourth car. Yes, that’s where we are at. (SMILES BROADLY) I will tell you this, when we have something to tell you guys, we’ll tell you. I’ve always said that. You guys can throw darts, but when we have something to tell you that’s different than what we’ve got going on, we’ll obviously tell you.”
 
HOW IS YOUR CAR? “Getting there. Working on it. It’s getting closer, but we still have a little ways to go in race trim. I think in qualifying trim, we are making gains on it. We probably need to make a couple more runs to get it really nice.”
 
WHAT IS IT LIKE AS A DRIVER WHEN YOU HAVE A STRETCH OF TIME WHERE YOU ALMOST CAN DO NO WRONG; WHEN YOU ARE IN THE ZONE? HOW DOES THAT FEEL? “It’s awesome. It is what every driver wants no matter what form of racing you’re in. When you’re on top of your game, and you have got things going right, it’s just the confidence you’ve got when you come in the pit gate at the beginning of the weekend. It’s nice because it literally is a really balance. That’s normally when you are probably in-tune with your car the best of any time throughout the year is when you are in those modes. You would trade unborn children for that feeling a lot of times.”
 
WHO WOULD YOU PICK OF THE TOP-TWO GUYS (JIMMIE JOHNSON AND BRAD KESELOWSKI) FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP? “I’m still worried about getting myself as far up in the championship as I can. I’m not worried about those two guys. They’ve got their own deal going on, just like we had our deal going on last year. I think we proved last year, it is hard to pick. It’s way too close to try to pick anybody. I mean, you still have a 300 lap race here; a 500-mile race next weekend (at Homestead-Miami Speedway), and there are 41 other guys on the race track that can make or break their weekend. And they can do it to themselves; or their pit crews. There are so many things that can happen. It’s not like trying to pick a winning team in a football, basketball or baseball game. It’s not that easy.”
 
DO YOU LOOK BACK AT LAST SEASON AND COMPARE IT TO THIS SEASON AND MARVEL AT WHAT THESE TWO ARE DOING? “I haven’t even looked back at it.  I don’t know how much I can talk about last year. I think I talked about it…I’m not sitting here watching those two guys. I’m trying to drive my race car, and worry about what our race weekend is doing. I’m not focused on what they are doing, and I’m not watching what they are doing. I know where they are at in the point standings. We haven’t quit. We are still trying to get every point we can, and still trying to figure out where we can finish. We can finish fifth through 10th right now, so that’s what our focus is. It’s not focusing on what those two guys are doing.”
 
DO YOU THINK THIS TRACK IS GOING TO BE MORE RACEY THAN IT HAS BEEN? “I think so. I think it is getting a little bit wider. Again, the track and facility here did a good job of dragging the tires around like they did last year and I think that helped a bunch.
We did the (Goodyear) tire test a couple of weeks, and it was an ice skating rink for that. It definitely helps get the weekend started off and right. Having more cars on it helps too. Definitely dragging that tire machine around it helped it a bunch.”
 
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE ON THE TRACK HERE? “The biggest thing, at least from what I’ve seen, guys are fighting loose on entry, then they fight being tight in the center of the corner. You want to tighten your car up to get it into the corner, but then you are too tight in the center. It seems like everybody’s exit is ok after it’s got some rubber down. It’s just a matter of trying to balance the entry and the center of the corner.”
 
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A NASCAR CHAMPION? “Getting more points than everybody else.”
 
WHAT DID YOU MEAN LAST WEEK THAT KESELOWSKI HAD A DEATH WISH? “I talked about it last week. I’m not going to talk about it again this week. I’ve got other stuff to worry about, I’m not going to talk about something I said about somebody last week. That’s done and over with.”
 
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway and discussed the groove at Phoenix International Raceway, the possibility of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series racing on dirt, what it takes to be a champion and other topics.  Full Transcript:
 
HOW HAS THE TRACK AGED IN THE ONE YEAR?  IS IT MUCH DIFFERENT THAN IT WAS A YEAR AGO?
“It’s a little bit different.  It’s nice to see a nice wide groove.  There is a lot of rubber laid down which compared to the first race we had here that was pretty rare we didn’t see that until maybe half way through the race. So to show up and practice and see a nice wide groove they have had a lot of cars on the track to really get it cleaned off.  I think it is a big improvement.  Really anxious to see how qualifying goes today.  Sometimes we get some false sense of security in practice, tires are heated up through the brakes and everything else and you go out there and the car has got good grip.  When everything is cool and you take off to go make that qualifying run and it sticks then I will be happy.  I have a feeling we are probably going to be sliding around a little bit for the first half, three-quarters of the lap.  So getting ahold of the track qualifying is going to be tough, but I’m optimistic about multiple grooves in the race right now.”
 
THE RACE TRACK IN FORT ERIE, CANADA HAS RECEIVED FINAL APPROVAL FROM THE MUNICIPAL BOARD IT LOOKS LIKE IT’S A GO AHEAD IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN SAY ABOUT THAT DEAL?
“Well there is still a lot of things, it’s a long process.  I’ve been saying this for a while it’s been a great experience for me to be a part of it from the beginning design stages with Paxton Waters who worked with Rusty (Wallace) on Iowa.  I think we have a great track design and it takes a long time to get all the approvals.  That is a great step for us.  Now the next step is to put all the funding in place, which has been in the works for a long time and start to make it a reality and see race cars out there one day.  Of course you hope that you can get the NASCAR series there, but you can’t guarantee that nobody can and so I think it’s a great market.  I think there is tremendous support of fans and companies there.  I think it can be a win for everybody if we can get it done.”
 
WHAT IS ONE PERSONALITY TRAIT OF MR. HENDRICK THAT CREATES THE LEVEL OF SUCCESS FOR HIS ORGANIZATION?
“He is just such a quality person.  You spend enough time with him and you realize everything he does he does it right, he does it first class, he treats people with tremendous respect.  He is very competitive so he doesn’t like to lose which is great in business as well as in racing.  He is just so well balanced, his family, friends, working.  He works hard, yet he enjoys life as well.  Just that balance of everything he puts together is impressive to see and makes people look up to him and want to make him proud and want to be like him.”
 
WHY WILL JIMMIE JOHNSON WIN THE CHASE? ALSO, CAN YOU GIVE US ONE REASON WHY BRAD KESELOWSKI WILL WIN THE CHASE?
“Oh my goodness, well when somebody has won five straight championships like the No. 48 has that is no fluke. Even though they didn’t win it last year, they are just a really strong team.  They have been through so much and they just know how to grind and battle and win at the right time and put the pressure on you at the right time with two straight poles and two straight wins.  So certainly the pressure is on the No. 2.  I think the No. 2 has done an excellent job, Brad has been a great driver and that team has really stepped up and hung in there and kept it interesting.  But, you’ve got to think they are a little bit beat down from what that No. 48 team has been able to do to them throughout the Chase, especially the last couple of weeks.  But, hey every race changes things up so you really can’t predict, you don’t know what is going to happen.  I love that the other day I was watching all the elections and things.  I was tweeting about this and I just got such a kick out of it and the fans response to the things I was saying made me really think about things.  I was saying ‘hey wait a minute CNN just came on with breaking news about 30 percent of the votes are in, but yet (Mitt) Romney wins this state or (Barack) Obama wins this state.’  It’s a projection poll.  I don’t get this how can they say they won it and then everybody kept saying to me now you know what it’s like when you are watching a race and they are saying ‘oh’ this guys is leading the points right now and we are only 50 laps into the race.  So, these races have got to be run, they have got to be run out to the checkered flag and then we will be talking about it all again after this weekend and see what happens when the checkered flag flies in Homestead.  It’s great to see those two guys battling for the championship and for a race win like they were last weekend.”
 
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A CHAMPION?
“It’s been so long I’ve forgotten (laughs).  It’s a lot different than what it takes today versus what it used to take because of the Chase format.  I’m probably not the best guy to talk to, but usually the same thing holds true.  You have to work hard, you have to be a great team and you’ve got to be willing to risk just about anything to put yourself out there to make the difference up whether it be a win, one position or just to keep yourself in the game.”
 
YOU’VE BEEN IN A SITUATION WHERE YOU STRUNG TOGETHER A BUNCH OF WINS AND NOTHING IS GOING WRONG ON THE TEAM YOU ARE IN THE ZONE.  WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE IN THAT ZONE?
“It’s awesome.  You feel like you just can’t do any wrong.  It makes you just have so much confidence in yourself, in your team, them and you.  You just go to the race track thinking ‘okay what little things do we have to do to win this race.’ You’re not thinking about wow we are a half a second off we are missing something.  You do not doubt anything.  You are just on this incredible boost of confidence and going into it thinking ‘yeah we can win this race’.  Why can’t we?  That is a great thing to have.”
 
DO YOU FIND THAT TO BE MORE STRESSFUL OR MORE RELAXING?  
“No, it’s never less stressful.  It doesn’t matter how good things are going for you.  There is still the competition is still fierce.  Anything can go wrong at any time.  You don’t want to be the one to make the mistake to cost you what ultimately could and should be your year.  To me the stress level is equally as high even when things are going great for you.”
 
WHAT WAS YOUR CON
VERSATION LIKE WITH KASEY (KAHNE) AFTER LAST WEEK’S RACE?
“I went to him immediately.  I got out of my car and his car pulled up right next to me.  I went over to him and I just apologized to him for getting into him.  I think he recognized the situation we were racing hard.  At the time I wasn’t sure if the No. 16 got into me or not so he asked me if he did.  I said ‘I think he did, but I’m not really sure.’ After looking at the video he did.  I did everything I could to make the pass as well as not get into Kasey (Kahne).  When you are racing hard in the closing laps sometimes it happens.  I hate it for him; I hate it for us as well.  We were having a great run and a great day.  It’s just one of those things that sometimes you have to go through as teammates and I felt like we had a good conversation about it.”
 
WHAT HAS KASEY (KAHNE) BROUGHT TO HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS?
“Well I feel like it’s kind of a team package with he and Kenny (Francis, crew chief).  When you take two guys that have confidence in one another and work well together they can come in and just build the team, build the cars around them that they need to go out and be competitive.  That is the whole thing is when cars are out there, when we have four cars out there that are all competitive that are fine tuning on their cars for qualifying, for the race we are giving much better information to our group.  You are able to take more valuable information which turns into results from that group.  So I feel like we have four teams obviously by making all four into the Chase, we have four teams that really have a lot to add and are very competitive week in and week out.”
 
DO YOU THINK WITH THE UNKNOWNS OF THIS TRACK AND THE DIFFICULTIES IT PROVIDES DO YOU THINK THIS TRACK COULD DECIDE THE TITLE?
“I mean I feel like every track we go to can decide the title.  If something big happens, one big swing happens this is a tricky track.  I mean it’s hard to get ahold of because of the new surface.  There are multiple grooves so we are going to see some side-by-side racing, I think we are going to see some cautions and it’s going to be intense.  Track position is very important here.  That increases the intensity and anytime you increase the intensity and the aggressiveness you increase the chances of some game changer for the championship and for the race.”
 
YOU WERE AT THE TEST IN AT CHARLOTTE THIS WEEK?
“I was.”
 
DID YOU TAKE PART IN ANY OF THE STUFF THEY DID WHERE THEY REDUCED HORSEPOWER?
“I did not.”
 
DO YOU HAVE ANY IMPRESSIONS ON HOW THAT WENT?  IS THAT A GOOD DIRECTION DO YOU THINK?
“I think that they have a long check list of things that they want to go through and test and try.  That was one of them.  We were doing tire testing primarily with our car.  I haven’t talked to any of the guys that drove the cars.  I will be surprised if it was good.  I personally don’t think that is the direction that we need to be going in to make our racing better.  It never slows the cars down through the corners.  I would like to see us get the cars slowed down through the corner that is going to make better racing.  I applaud them they are trying a lot of unique things and different things some inside the box, some way outside the box.  I think that the testing that they are doing is very valuable.”
 
HAVE YOU TRIED LIKE THE HIGH DOWNFORCE STUFF THAT THEY ARE STARTING TO GO TO?
“Well when they pulled power away I know one of the times they added downforce at the same time probably a little bit more like a Nationwide package.  But our stuff I would say that the stuff that we had was probably similar to the downforce we currently have with the cars.”
 
ARE YOU ENCOURAGED OVERALL?
“I thought the car drove really good.  I thought the test went well.  The cars are really… you look around the garage area I’m excited about we are going to be driving some very cool cars next year.  I think that my car drove really well.  I think there are still a lot of things left to do before February of next year, but I was very encouraged.”
 
EARLIER THIS MORNING ROBIN PEMBERTON WAS SAYING THAT ONE OF THE ISSUES IS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THE FANS WANT AND IT’S KIND OF A MOVING TARGET.  WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY NEEDS TO DO WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FANS WANT TO SEE IS IT JUST PASSING ON 1.5-MILE TRACKS?
“Yeah, I think that we need to have four quarters and half-time and mandatory cautions for TV timeouts.  I mean Texas to me; everybody is like ‘wow that Texas race was awesome.’  Well it was awesome because we had cautions and some weeks we have cautions and other weeks we don’t have cautions.  The weeks we don’t have cautions everybody is like ‘wow that was a boring race’.  We don’t necessarily need to go back to the mid ‘90’s to make great racing because even back then we had races I remember a race where there was not one caution in the race.  I guarantee you that type of racing we had back then the fans really wouldn’t like today.  It’s just far more demanding of what makes an entertaining race, but we all know cautions fix all of that.  To me let’s get the cars driving well.  There is a different package for every track because you have some repaves and you have some hard tires that Goodyear has to build for the repaves like this one.  It’s going to take time to build that multi groove race track.  So cautions are what is going to make it exciting, but yet you go to Texas, Atlanta and Chicago and you have this track that is worn out, you have multiple grooves, the cars are sliding all over the place is what I think is great racing.  Even Bristol, I like the racing at Bristol, but unless we have cautions to stack us all up and bump and bang a little bit more I don’t think that anybody is really going to be satisfied with the racing.”
 
YOU ARE NOT IN FAVOR OF BRUTON SMITH’S LET’S HAVE SIX MANDATORY CAUTIONS EVERY RACE?
“I’m leaning more towards it I will be honest with you.  If that’s what, just don’t do it when I’m on pit road with a tire issue (laughs).  Let me get un-lapped, trust me one thing is going to lead to another.  Right now we have lucky dogs and wave around’s and all that stuff.  If we start throwing more mandatory cautions we might have to change some of those rules.”
 
THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT THE TRUCKS RACING ON DIRT AT ELDORA.  WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT NASCAR ON DIRT?
“Wow!  Really?  Well you know I have always found it amazing to see the ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) cars at DuQuoin.  I think that is very cool that series does that.  I don’t think it’s an easy task for them to do.  You have to change the cars around a lot the set-up’s and heating and cooling systems and all that, brakes.  So, but I’m all for it.  I think it would be cool to see.  I would love to see that.”
 
HOW MUCH OF AN ADJUSTMENT WOULD IT BE FOR EVERYBODY?
“Oh my gosh, huge adjustment.  There are a lot of guys out there that aren’t used to driving on dirt.  The trucks aren’t really built to run on dirt, so I don’t know how much they would have to change the trucks.  It would be entertaining that is for sure.  I would like to see it.  I think there will be some guys that will really excel at

KAHNE IS TOP TEAM CHEVY QUALIFIER
FIVE CHEVROLETS IN TOP 10 STARTING SPOTS
 
AVONDALE, AZ – (November 9, 2012) – Kasey Kahne led the way for Team Chevy in qualifying his No. 5 Farmer’s Insurance Chevrolet in the fourth place starting spot for Sunday’s Advocare 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, Round 35 of 36 on the 2012 season tour.
 
Five Chevy drivers
will start the 312-mile race in the top 10:  Kurt Busch will start sixth in his No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, Paul Menard, No. 27 Rheem/Menard’s Chevy will roll-off seventh, Regan Smith, No. 51 Phoenix Construction Chevy will start eighth, while Tony Stewart, No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet starts ninth.
 
Other Chevrolets in Sunday’s 43-car line-up include Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet who qualified 11th, Ryan Newman, No. 39 Quicken Loans/U.S. Army Chevy will start 12th, Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Budweiser Chevy qualified 19th, Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet qualified 23rd, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevy qualified 24th, and Danica Patrick earned a 37th place starting position in her No. 10 GoDaddy Racing Chevrolet.
 
Kyle Busch (Toyota) won the pole position, Martin Truex Jr. (Toyota) qualified second, and Denny Hamlin (Toyota) qualified third to round out the top five starting spots.
 
Sunday’s Advocare 500 takes the green flag on Sunday, Nov. 11th at 1:00 p.m. MST (3:00 p.m. EST) and will be aired live on ESPN.
 
DRIVER QUOTES:
 
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMER’S INSURANCE CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 4TH: ON HIS LAP: “The car felt good; I just missed my braking points a little bit and had an issue with my brakes. But other than that, the car felt really good. So, I thought we should have been better; first right now, for sure. I don’t know about beating the No. 18 (Kyle Busch).
 
HOW IS THE CAR FOR SUNDAY? “Well, we’ll practice tomorrow, but the car seemed pretty good during practice today. I liked what I had in the car. But yeah, I like this track and tomorrow we’ll figure it out.”
 
WILL THE COOLER TEMPERATURES HAVE ANY BEARING ON ANYTHING FOR RACE DAY? “I don’t think so. I think it will be pretty similar.”
 
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/FARM AMERICAN CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 6TH: ON HIS QUALIFYING: “It was an interesting couple of laps. I missed it really big on the first lap. Loose; on that edgy side of things. The second lap didn’t feel much better, so that means to me there is still a lot of speed in the track. But overall the five laps we’ve done this year in qualifying with the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevy, they’ve all been on that ragged edge of loose, so we are developing some common denominators, and that is what this year has been all about.”
 
HOW DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE TEAM IS PROGRESSING AS A UNIT? “There is A-Z here, we’ve just got to put one letter behind the next one and make sure we get out vowels in there. We have had the right tools, it’s just in this game of Sprint Cup, you have to be on it every moment.”
 
IS THE TRACK RACIER THAN A YEAR AGO? “It is a little bit more forgiving. It’s not as razor blade edge-ish. It was real tough. If you slipped a little bit, you slipped a lot. Now you can kind of maneuver it a little.”
 
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 RHEEM/MENARD’S CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 7th: ON HIS QUALIFYING
“The track is totally different obviously now, with the repave; but it’s come in a lot. Obviously it’s been a hot summer here and the track’s got different characteristics than when we were here in the spring. I feel good about our Rheem/Menard’s Chevy. We unloaded very slippery and the track kind of came to us a little bit. If we can start in the top 10, that will go a long ways on Sunday. But not a whole lot translates from last spring’s race until now. Like I said, it’s been a hot summer and the track has changed quite a bit.”
 
REGAN SMITH, NO. 51 PHOENIX CONSTRUCTION CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 8TH:ON HIS LAP: “I thought it was a good lap. Obviously there’s always things you want to do different after the fact, but I feel like we made good changes from practice with the Phoenix Construction Chevrolet. These guys have been working their tails off, not only this week, but all year. We’ll go race from there. It was a good run for the No. 51 Phoenix Construction Chevrolet.  These guys have been working hard.  I think they finally got their first day in like six months off this week.  I wanted to come out and try to have a good qualifying lap and a good race on Sunday.  This team is looking for some sponsorship for next year and we would love to have a good run and help them get that.”
 
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 9TH: ON HIS QUALIFYING: “It was alright. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but it is holding on. I don’t know if the track is going the other way, or something, but we were a little free. Freer than we were in practice, but we picked up two tenths, so I’m proud of the pickup. But, I thought our second lap would actually be better, but it kind of gave up some grip that lap.”
 
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 11TH: ON HIS QUALIFYING: “We’ve had some issues here the last couple of times getting real loose going to qualify, and we didn’t want that to happen, so we probably over-tightened it.  The track had good grip, and we were just a little bit too tight. But a decent lap. When we first ran here last year, the track was treacherous on cold tires. Right now, some guys struggled early in qualifying, but when I went out, it had good grip. It’s definitely improving. The groove is wider, the grip level is better. Hopefully this time next year, we’ll have a tire that is maybe not so hard, and we’ll be able to have something that drives a little bit better on cold tires. Even maybe wears out a little bit more on the long runs.”
 
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 QUICKEN LOANS/U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 12TH: ON HIS QUALIFYING: “That was the first time I’ve ever done that actually. (stop and turn around to re-run his lap). I felt like I needed to. It was a decent rebound lap. Our car was really loose there, as much heat as I could get in the tires, I was going to be better at that point. Did a little extracurricular activity and got a decent lap for the Quicken Loans Chevrolet, but obviously not as quick as we were in practice. The track got a little bit quicker, but I think a part of the tire likes the heat to get the rubber on the race track. So, it was a matter of getting the race track cleaned off more than anything.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 24TH: ON HIS QUALIFYING: “Wasn’t so good, but we’ve been fighting a little bit in qualifying trim. But, we’ve got a great baseline race setup to go off of. For me it was really turn one (the sun glare).  The glare was pretty bad getting into the turn then getting the power down was tough for me up off of (turn) two.  (Turns) three and four were pretty good I felt like on both of my laps, but I struggled oddly enough down there this time.”

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 33RD: ON HIS QUALIFYING: “Going out early here is a huge disadvantage with a new race track. Having a driver wreck in the first practice is a huge disadvantage too. We didn’t get any practice.  The car was exceptionally tight, but again, I think going out this early is a huge disadvantage. You aren’t going to have the grip the guys are going to have later on. I screwed up in practice and dug us in a hole, and we will have to dig out of it on Sunday.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 1O GODADDY RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 37TH: ON HER QUALIFYING: “It was pretty edgy especially coming to the green it stuck way out and I couldn’t turn the wheel so I ended up pretty wide and I wasn’t sure if I was going to have enough grip to stay out of the wall or not coming to the green.  We definitely had a really tight car in practice and our qualifying runs were actually tighter than our race runs.  I know Tony (Gibson, crew chief) was trying to free it up so we could have a good lap.  We are just feeling each other out and how far we need to go with these changes.  I think the temperature change I feel
like has affected me.  It’s much cooler out a lot of the track is more shaded.  Maybe it was a little bit freer than at least I even anticipated it was going to be.  I think that we are working really well together and hopefully we can make good changes tomorrow so we get the GoDaddy car further up.”  

 

Arrow Precision CNC Crank Grinder

The Professional Motorsports Show is next week in Germany.    Before the show, we’re doing a little business, visiting some of our distributors.  Our friends at Arrow Precision have just taken delivery of a CNC Crank Grinder- quite a piece of machinery!  Congratulations, guys- and thanks for giving us the demo.

Arrow’s website

Ilmor Engineering Torque

Small Batch Pre-Production Machining
Click here to watch
 Choosing your ideal partner to machine a small pre-production batch of cylinder blocks and heads can be a challenge at the best of times. There are many sub-contract machine shops that, in theory at least, have the capability but can they deliver the quality, overcome the inevitable teething problems and achieve your immovable delivery date?
 
Ilmor Engineering is the perfect company for this type of work as we specialize in small batch production runs of cylinder blocks, cylinder heads and other engine components for our own racing programs. Our manufacturing engineers are fully versed with the best tooling and machining methods to achieve the required quality, and when problems arise, as they inevitably will do with a new project, they have the experience and knowledge to deal with them quickly.
 
Short lead times and delivery dates that have no scope for slippage are an everyday occurrence in racing and form an integral part of our DNA.
 
11 Race Wins from 15 Starts Secures A Clean Sweep of Championships for Chevy Indy V-6 Power
 
Ed Carpenter’s Chevy powered last lap pass of former champion Dario Franchitti was a fitting end to a thrilling 2012 Izod Indycar season. His victory secured Chevrolet and Ilmor a clean sweep of the silverware winning the Series’ Manufacturers’, Driver’s, Oval and Road Course Championships. Ryan Hunter-Reay started the race with a 17 point deficit to Team Penske driver Will Power, but Power’s crash and subsequent retirement and with Hunter-Reay finishing fourth meant he secured the Driver’s Championship by just three points.
 
The Ilmor Engineering designed and manufactured Chevy Indy-V6 dominated the 2012 IndyCar season securing more than twice the number of victories and pole positions than it’s nearest rival.

New Diesel Powered 15kw APU

In the March edition of our newsletter we featured a small and compact 15kw Auxiliary Power Unit designed to service the automotive, aviation and defence industries. The latest incarnation of this exciting project, known internally as the MB project, is in the final design stages before the initial fire-up in the final quarter of this year.
 
By mating an efficient, lightweight, aluminium blocked diesel engine with a unique hybrid generator provided by the leading company in this field, our engineers were able to incorporate a number of unique design features into this our latest APU.
 
The provision for mounting vertically or horizontally was a key user requirement and only made possible by the integral dry-sump oil system. The direct drive water-cooled generator and water-cooled diode pack complete the package and make for an extremely compact and lightweight unit.

Casey Currie’s Wild Ride

Anaheim Hills, CA (November 4, 2012) – Although the first visit to Firebird this year wasn’t the way Casey Currie intended on launching the Lucas Oil season, the team pulled together to take 8 podium finishes this season. Entering the last race of the season 5th in points, and adding a 2nd place podium finish to the list, Currie would finish 4th overall in the Championship with 9 Lucas Oil podiums for the year.

“I am excited to finish off the season on a high note,” Casey stated. “We had many downs early in the year but finished strong at the end. I owe a huge thanks to my awesome team, family, and fans for all the support and success this year.”

Sunday’s cup race was the long awaited, no-holds barred race between Pro Lites and Buggies, all driving in a win-big or crash-big state of mind. Starting strong, and moving quickly from 14th to 3rd, 4 laps from the finish Casey would end in a tangle of trucks and a cloud of dirt and flying parts as RJ Anderson set up for turn 1 too early, crashing into the side of him mid-air. Sending Casey into a barrel roll side by side with Anderson, the two trucks rolled then flipped end-over-end, tangling with a close-following Brian Deegan.

“My truck was heavily damaged and I was beat up. With a red flag out, the safety crews did an amazing job getting me taken care of. I am bummed that we didn’t win that cup, but we had the speed to win and I am excited to come back in a big way in 2013.”

Casey did however manage to take home a Cup win in at a 10th of the scale—he both qualified and finished first in Sunday morning’s Team Associated RC10 race with other fellow drivers and their signature RC trucks.

Chevrolet Wins Manufacturers’ Championships in Three NASCAR National Touring Series

Chevrolet Wins Manufacturers’ Championships in Three NASCAR National Touring Series
 
DETROIT (November 6, 2012) – For the fourth time in history, Chevrolet has captured the Manufacturers’ Championship Award in all three NASCAR National Touring Series.  Chevrolet has accomplished the feat of winning the three titles in 1996, 1998, 2005 and now in 2012.
 
“Chevrolet is proud to win all three NASCAR national series Manufacturers’ Championships,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “These three titles are a tribute to the passion and commitment of all of our team owners, crew chiefs, crews, drivers and technical partners.”
 
Jimmie Johnson’s victory in the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway clinched the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers’ Championship for Chevrolet. It is the 10th consecutive year, and the 36th time overall that the Bowtie Brand has captured the prestigious title in NASCAR’s top series.  To date, Team Chevy drivers have won 13 races in the 34 races completed on the 36-race schedule, including Johnson’s win in the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway to claim Chevrolet’s 700th victory in Sprint Cup Series competition.
 
With Austin Dillon’s second place finish in the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway, Chevrolet clinched the Manufacturers’ Championship in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The 2012 achievement marks the 15th time the Bowtie Brand has captured the prestigious Bill France Performance Cup. With two races remaining in 33-race season, Chevrolet drivers have gone to Victory Lane 12 times.
 
Chevrolet clinched the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Manufacturers’ Championship with Nelson Piquet, Jr.’s third place finish in the WinStar World Casino 350 at Texas Motor Speedway. Chevrolet captured the prestigious title for the eighth time since the 1995 inception of the Series. Chevrolet Silverado drivers have won 11 of the 20 races run to-date in the 22-race schedule,.
 
“Congratulations and thank you to all of our teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series who worked tirelessly to capture these prestigious championships for Chevrolet,” said Mark Kent, Director Chevrolet Racing. “These championships were made possible by an extraordinary level of cooperation among all of our teams, technical partners and Chevrolet engineers.  We are now focused on a strong finish to the 2012 NASCAR season in NASCAR.”
 
In addition to the three NASCAR titles, Chevrolet’s on-track success in 2012 extended to winning the American Le Mans Series GT Manufacturers’ Championship; Corvette Racing winning the Team Championship, and Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner won the GT drivers’ championship in the No. 4 Corvette C6.R.
 
In the IZOD IndyCar Series, Chevrolet captured the Manufacturers’ Championship.  Team Chevy driver Ryan Hunter-Reay won the Overall Championship and the Oval Championship, and Will Power won the Road Course Championship in his Chevrolet V6 powered IndyCar.
 
Chevrolet also captured the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Engine Manufacturers’ Championship.
 
With two races remaining on the NASCAR schedules, Chevrolet drivers are in strong contention for each of the three driver’s championships as the 2012 season builds to an exciting, and dramatic finish.

Race Results Week Ending 11/5/12

Nascar
Sprint Cup- AAA Texas 500- Jimmie Johnson
Nationwide Series- OReilly AutoParts Challenge- Kevin Harvick
Camping World Truck Series- WinStar World Casino 350- Johnny Sauter

KN East- Tyler Reddick
World of Outlaws- Dale Blaney

F1- Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi- Kimi Raikkonen

RCR Post Race Report AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway

RCR Post Race Report 
AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway  
 
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
AAA Texas 500     
Texas Motor Speedway
November 4, 2012
 
Race Highlights:
Richard Childress Racing teammates finished ninth (Kevin Harvick), 19th (Jeff Burton) and 27th (Paul Menard). 
Harvick completed 112 Green Flag Passes, positioning him fourth amongst his fellow competitors, and 40 Quality Passes according to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics. 
Burton gained seven positions during the final 10 percent (34 laps) of the AAA Texas 500, ranking him second in the Post-Race Loop Data category of Closers, while Harvick improved four positions to rank sixth and Menard gained two to rank 10th.
Burton made 80 Green Flag Passes during the 335-lap race and Menard logged 36.
Jimmie Johnson captured his fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of the 2012 season and was followed to the finish line by Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart.
The next scheduled Sprint Cup Series race is the AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, Nov. 11. The race is scheduled to be televised live on ESPN beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.    

Paul Menard Finishes 27th at Texas Motor Speedway
 
Paul Menard and the No. 27 Quaker State/Menards team earned a 27th-place finish in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500. The Eau Claire, Wis., native started the 34th points-paying NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event of the 2012 season from the 27th position and immediately reported a loose-handling condition on the neon yellow and green machine. The 100-lap green-flag run that kicked off the 335-lap race proved costly as the No. 27 team became trapped multiple laps down to the leader while Menard battled an ill-handling Chevrolet. The Slugger Labbe-led team took every possible opportunity during green and yellow-flag pit stops throughout the 502.5-mile affair to make aggressive air pressure and chassis adjustments to the Richard Childress Racing entry in hopes of improving the car’s balance. Menard continued to wrestle the Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet around the 1.5-mile Fort Worth, Texas-based speedway, ultimately taking the checkered flag in the 27th position.

Start – 27                    Finish – 27                Laps Led – 0              Points – 16
 
PAUL MENARD QUOTE:    
“This was not the finish we had hoped to leave Texas with today. It’s hard to believe that this is the same car we finished third with at Kansas Speedway just a couple of weeks ago. We struggled from the time we unloaded on Friday morning and just never could pinpoint the issue. The Quaker State/Menards team never gave up, though. We tried every possible adjustment you can make on a race car and the pit crew was on their game as they are every week. We’ll put this behind us and look ahead to Phoenix (International Raceway).” 
 
 
 
 
     
Kevin Harvick and the Rheem Team Salvage a Ninth-Place Finish 
at Texas Motor Speedway
 
Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Rheem team salvaged a ninth-place finish in the AAA Texas 500 Sunday afternoon after battling handling issues for the majority of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Texas Motor Speedway. The Richard Childress Racing driver started the scheduled 334-lap event from the 23rd position before alerting crew chief Gil Martin that the black and red Chevrolet had an extremely tight-handling condition. The pit crew made multiple adjustments during four-tire pit stops throughout the 502.5-mile affair to alleviate the handling issues Harvick was battling. As the race progressed, and the sun set over the 1.5-mile facility, the car transitioned from a tight to loose-handling condition as Harvick maneuvered into the top 15 in the running order. The Rheem pit crew continued to make adjustments that helped to improve the handling of the No. 29 Chevrolet allowing Harvick to break into the top 10 during the final laps, ultimately crossing the finish line in the ninth position. Harvick remains 11th in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, 101 points out of the lead. 

Start – 23               Finish – 9               Laps Led – 0              Points – 11 
 
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:
“The team did a great job keeping us in the game today. We had a tough time making the right adjustments to get the Rheem Chevrolet handling the way I needed it to be, but the pit crew was solid today and I have to thank them for all their hard work this weekend.”
 
 
  
          
Jeff Burton Finishes 19th at Texas Motor Speedway
 
Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team battled back to finish 19th at Texas Motor Speedway after untimely caution-flag periods trapped them multiple laps down to the leader. Starting the 335-lap event from the 22nd position, the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner worked his way into the top 15 by lap 25 and during the first long green-flag run of the afternoon, he reported to crew chief Shane Wilson that the No. 31 Chevrolet had developed a loose-handling condition. After pitting for fresh tires, Sunoco E15 fuel, chassis and air pressure adjustments on lap 86 under green-flag conditions, the South Boston, Va., native was trapped a lap down to the leader in the 26th position when the caution flag was displayed shortly after the pit stop. As the loose-handling condition persisted throughout the race, Burton would struggle with ill-timed caution-flag periods as opportunities to return to the lead lap via the “lucky dog” award eluded him. The Caterpillar team didn’t give up throughout the race, making several chassis adjustments to remedy the loose-handling condition, but eventually fell to the 26th position, two laps down to the leader. The Richard Childress Racing driver was finally dealt good luck with fewer than 25 laps to go when he was able to receive the “lucky dog” award on back-to-back caution-flag periods allowing him to return to the lead lap. The fortunate turn of events gave Burton the opportunity to gain seven positions and bring home a 19th-place finish for the Caterpillar team. Burton remains 19th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.
 
Start – 22                Finish – 19               Laps Led – 0                Points – 19
 
JEFF BURTON QUOTE:  
“Everyone on this Caterpillar Chevrolet team put in a solid effort all weekend. I just got crazy loose there towards the middle part of the race and we couldn’t catch a break until it was too late. Shane (Wilson, crew chief) did a great job during his first weekend on top of the box and we hope to run strong again at Phoenix (International Raceway) next week.”

Schatz Crowned at the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Banquet on Sunday

Schatz Crowned at the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Banquet on Sunday
His fifth championship nets a prize of $150,000 as top four earn more than $325,000
 
CONCORD, N.C. – Nov. 4, 2012 – Donny Schatz was crowned the 2012 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion at the season-ending banquet Sunday evening at the Great Wolf Lodge Convention Center.
He received a check for the $150,000-to-win championship – his fifth since 2006 – at the event, which honored the 11 full-time Outlaws as well as the marketing partners for the World of Outlaws.

“The fact that we ran second a lot and third a lot, and that’s what wins championships – is what you do on the nights when you can’t win,” Schatz said. “This ranks up there as one of the hardest fought ones. We had some of the lowest lows and the highest highs.”

Craig Dollansky finished second in the standings, which was his best result since 2006. Sammy Swindell, who led the series with 13 feature victories, placed third and Joey Saldana ended fourth – his eighth top-five finish since 2002. Steve Kinser, who is a 20-time champion and the winningest driver in the series, garnered his unprecedented 31st top-five result.

Kraig Kinser placed sixth, Cody Darrah seventh, Kerry Madsen eighth, Lucas Wolfe ninth, Chad Kemenah 10th and Bill Rose was 11th in the final standings.

The 2013 season kicks off with the 42nd annual UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment on Feb. 15 at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla.

Chevy Racing–Texas Motor Speedway Post Race

 
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
AAA TEXAS 500
TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY RACE NOTES & QUOTES
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET, RACE WINNER: YOU GUYS WENT BARE KNUCKLES THOSE FINAL TWO RESTARTS.  YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING TO LET YOUR DRIVING DO THE TALKING WHAT KIND OF STATEMENT WERE YOU MAKING WITH THAT FINAL RESTART?
“It was an awesome race. Great way to put it and the gloves are off and it’s bare knuckle fighting.  I have a lot of respect for that No. 2 team.  Those guys are doing a great job.  Today I think our cars were pretty equal throughout the course of the race and at the end of the race we were on four (tires) had to take advantage of it.  That second to last restart was pretty sketchy a couple of times how close we were and how hard we were racing.  Luckily we brought the cars back, another caution came out and got a great restart and got by him.  We knew that we had the speed if I could just get by him and got this Lowe’s Chevy to Victory Lane.”
 
BRAD SAID ON THE RADIO ON THE FINAL RESTART ‘I’M NOT GOING TO LOSE THIS CHAMPIONSHIP THIS WAY.’ WHAT DOES THAT MEAN COMING UP AT PHOENIX AND HOMESTEAD? “Well I expect a lot of hard racing.  That is what we’ve seen all year long.  All Chase long, you can’t count those guys out.  There were times today late in the race where they were pretty far back and still worked their way up to the front.  They are keeping us honest and pressuring us hard.  I’m very proud of this Lowe’s team and everything they have done. Before we go off the air I just want to let everybody know that the Racing for Relief fund that Hendrick Motorsports and myself are matching what Lowe’s is doing.  Thinking of everybody up in the Northeast and all the troubles they have had with Sandy.  And 700 wins for Chevrolet so good day all in all.”
 
THIS IS THE WAY YOU WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP YOU LEAD THE MOST LAPS AND WIN THE RACE:
“Did we do that did we lead the most laps?”
 
YOU DID YOU GOT MAXIMUM POINTS FOR THE SECOND STRAIGHT WEEK CONGRAULATIONS:
“Awesome, it’s a great number too it’s 48.  48 points today, just real proud of the effort.  We didn’t have it right off the truck.  Got it right and won the pole.  Today we had a really strong car all night long.  There at the end being on four tires was a little bit of help. Some crazy racing at the end and we were able to rally around the top finally and get the win.”
 
TALK ABOUT THE LAST COUPLE OF RESTARTS: “Yeah there was a lot of hard racing and just a lot of stuff going on.  Glad that we made it through with straight race cars and nothing was torn up.  It’s just a solid day all in all.  I just have to thank my guys on pit road all day long for getting that stuff done, just a great effort all in all.”
 
YOU HAVE A SEVEN POINT LEAD TWO RACES TO GO I’M ASSUMING STILL NOT ENOUGH TO BREATHE EASY? “No, there is not going to be any breathing easy until the end.  Breathing a little bit better.  I was two points and now we’ve got seven, but there is a lot of racing left.  We are running up front, running one-two all the time it doesn’t mean it will be that way for the final two races.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET, FINISHED 5TH: TALK ABOUT SOME OF THAT ACTION ON THE RACE TRACK QUITE EXCITING: “Yeah, I think (Brad) Keselowski has a death wish (laughs), but man I’m proud of our guys.  What an awesome, awesome come back.  The set-up that we ended up running in the race we had six laps on at the end of happy hour yesterday. God I’m just so proud of everybody on the pit crew on the pit stops.  The last two stops got us a lot of track position and really proud of Steve Addington (crew chief) he just kept digging away at it and kept tweaking on it making it better and better all day.  Just really happy with the effort today.”

DALE EARNHARDT, JR. NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/DIET MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET, FINISHED 7TH: ON WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END OF THE RACE? SEVENTH-PLACE FINISH YOU COULD HAVE HAD A TOP-FIVE THERE WHAT HAPPENED DOWN THE STRETCH?
“Well we just restarted on the outside and it’s a little tough out there to make any ground. We had been on the inside all day making up time.  We had a pretty good car at the start of the race.  We dialed it way out and got real slow and made some great changes near the end.  The pit crew really did a good job, they gained us about eight spots on pit road there those last two stops.  Just real happy with the way we were able to rebound.  I would have liked to have run in the top-five maybe been a little closer to the front, but we definitely run a little bit better like we should.”
 
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WATCHING THE NO. 2 AND THE NO. 48?
“That was pretty crazy.  I was thinking I might have a shot to win if they kept on going like that.  Somebody else might win the race, but I was glad to see Jimmie (Johnson) take it at the end.  What a battle this championship is.  Brad (Keselowski) is putting up an awesome fight.  He hadn’t really run good here.  His stats were terrible for this place and they came in and they did their work.  They have been real impressive.  But I’m a company man so I’m glad HMS (Hendrick Motorsports) is on top tonight.”
 
ON CHEVROLET’S 700TH WIN: “I’m proud of my Chevy heritage, and happy for the success that Chevy has had in the sport. I’m glad that Hendrick Motorsports was able to bring the 700th win. That is a big deal for Rick (Hendrick). He’s got a great relationship with Chevrolet, and he is proud to do that for them. We want Chevrolet to be on top. Milestones like that certainly put it there.”
 
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/FARM AMERICAN CHEVROLET, FINISHED 8TH: ON HIS RACE: “All-in-all a good day for Furniture Row Racing. We battled back to get a top-10. Considering that we had a top-five or top-10 car at the last two races but got nailed in accidents, it was important to come away with a solid finish today.  We’ve made a lot of progress as a team in a short period of time which gives us plenty of optimism for 2013. However, we still have some handling issues to work out, but we’re getting there. This was only our fourth race together and I am really proud of how we came back after struggling for a good
 
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 RHEEM/BUDWEISER CHEVROLET, FINISHED 9TH: ON HIS RACE “The team did a great job keeping us in the game today. We had a tough time making the right adjustments to get the Rheem Chevrolet handling the way I needed it to be, but the pit crew was solid today and I have to thank them for all their hard work this weekend.”
 
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET – FINISHED 18TH: ON HIS RACE: “We really worked hard for that 18th place finish today.  The guys on our McDonald’s Chevy made a lot of adjustment during our pit stops today.  We were lucky to get a few cautions to help us out with maintaining position on the lead lap, and keep us in a position for a top-20.  Our car was back and forth on the handling all day both tight and loose at times, but the guys did a great job of adjusting along the way.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET, FINISHED 24TH: ON HER RACE: “We had a really nice first weekend.  It was really steady from the beginning.  The car unloaded and it had speed right off the get go.  We just kept on improving with it.  I felt like it was a nice progression of the weekend where I actually felt like I knew I why I went faster and I knew why I went slower.  In the race we were creeping along.  We spent most of the race tight, but there late in the race we finally got it freed up enough to start really running some good speed. Those yellows at the end I just didn’t do a good enough job on those restarts and lost a whole
bunch of spots.  I always feel so defeated at the end of the race when that happens.  It was a really nice first weekend with the new GoDaddy crew.  Tony Gibson (crew chief) did such a good job.  I’m really looking forward to next year.”

TONY GIBSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 10 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET: ON HIS FIRST RACE AS DANICA’S CREW CHIEF: “It was a great day and a great weekend for the first weekend working together. Qualifying went really well and practice went really well. She had an awesome race and she did a great job. We did the wave around twice and got back on the lead lap early and she stayed on the lead lap. She ran with guys that she’s never run with before, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin. To come here and run on the lead lap and a shot at a top-20 was pretty impressive.” 

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 HUGGIES CHEVROLET, SIDELINED ON LAP 119 DUE TO AN ON-TRACK INCIDENT. CREW MADE REPAIRS AND HE RETURNED TO THE RACE, FINISHED 34TH: WHAT HAPPENED FROM YOUR WINDSHIELD? “It’s kind of a tough break.  We had a decent car and I don’t know. They all checked up on the restart and I saw that I was either going to pile into them or… you see the leader going you go and we normally go and they all checked up and you got on the brakes.  These things don’t slowdown that well so I went left to go through the grass to avoid the wreck.  I don’t know there is like a manhole cover there or something.  The car took off like two or three feet in the air; same thing as the No. 51.  The crazy thing is we are not even up to speed yet.  I mean I went from second, shifted into third, got on the brakes, went left and the car just flew up in the air.  I hit something; you look at the No. 51 and the same thing.  There is something there like a big step there in the middle of the grass and it kind of breaks race cars in half.
ON HIS RACE: Not a good day for the HUGGIES team. I was trying to avoid the No. 47 in front of me so I turned left and ended up in the grass. We must of hit something in the grass the car jumped up and the front end received a ton of damage. The guys worked really hard to get us back together and we were able to return to the track. We just haven’t had any luck this season.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON SCORES 700th Win for Chevrolet in
NASCAR Sprint Cup Competition
 
FORT WORTH – November 4th, 2012 – Jimmie Johnson’s win of the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet scored the 700th all-time victory for Chevrolet in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. This unprecedented win secured an important milestone for Chevrolet as the most successful manufacturer in NASCAR history. In addition to reaching this 700th win for the brand, Johnson brought the Chevy Impala to Victory Lane for the 151st time in the nameplate’s history.
 
“We are so very proud of Jimmie and his win today at Texas Motor Speedway, said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “On behalf of everyone at Chevrolet, we congratulate the entire No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team in this momentous victory. The unparalleled dedication and tireless effort of all our Team Chevy members have made this important achievement possible.  We salute all the drivers, team owners, and crews for their performance and contribution in securing each and every one of the 700 wins for Chevrolet from 1955 – 2012 in NASCAR’s elite division.”
 
Chevrolet’s rich heritage in NASCAR competition began when Fonty Flock took the checkered on March 26, 1955 at Columbia Raceway in Columbia, South Carolina in his ‘55 Chevy.  Fifty-seven years later the ‘Bowtie Brand’ has continued to set the mark.
 
“Chevrolet has a storied history in NASCAR competition,” said Mark Kent, Director of Chevrolet Racing. “Behind every single one of the 700 victories has been dedicated and talented Team Chevy drivers, car owners and crews who have worked together to create a tradition of excellence. They are supported by our formidable group of Chevy engineers and specialists that enhance the depth and legacy of the Chevrolet brand in NASCAR. We are truly proud of this accomplishment.”
 
This win was Johnson’s 60th NASCAR Sprint Cup career victory and fifth of 2012.
 
“This is a great performance by the entire No. 48 Lowe’s Team all weekend long”, said Johnson.  To win the pole, lead the most laps, and then win the race is a big deal. The significance of 700 wins for Chevrolet is really huge for Hendrick Motorsports. It’s also big for me. The only thing I’ve ever raced throughout my career has been a Chevy. They gave me my first opportunity back when I was 15 years old and put me in an off-road stadium truck to help develop a new truck that was coming along. And I’ve been with them ever since. So, it’s very cool to hit this landmark number for Chevy and I’m very proud of the efforts.”
 
“I think this is a pretty big deal”, added winning crew chief, Chad Knaus.  “We have a long relationship with Chevrolet and we’ve won a lot of races with them. We were able to clinch the Manufacturer’s Cup Championship for Chevy last week in Martinsville, VA; and to be able to come back this weekend and get win the 700th victory I think is really cool. Hendrick Motorsports is extremely dedicated to the product of Chevrolet and to be able to do that is an honor.”
 
JIMMIE JOHNSON WINS SECOND STRAIGHT RACE AND EXTENDS POINT LEAD WITH TWO RACES TO GO
 JOHNSON’S TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY WIN IS 700TH FOR CHEVROLET
FORT WORTH  – (Nov. 4, 2012) – Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, displayed a remarkable will to win on Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) as he scored his second NASCAR Sprint Cup series (NSCS) win in a row, and his fifth win of 2012.  Johnson led seven times for a race-high 168 laps; and was able to pass and hold off his closest championship rival, Brad Keselowski, for the win in a furious battle in the final laps after a green/white/checkered finish.
The win marked Johnson’s 60th career win; and 700th for Chevrolet in the NSCS, and allowed him to extend his point lead to seven points with just two races remaining in his hunt for a sixth career title.  Johnson also extends his “Chase” win record to 22 with his second career win at TMS.
Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, rallied from a 21st place start to finish in fifth place.  Stewart won this race last year en route to his third NSCS championship.
Team Chevy driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., had a solid day in his No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet and finished today’s race in seventh position.  Kurt Busch had his best finish to date behind the wheel of the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet and come home eighth while Kevin Harvick overcame a freakish start that saw his team make repairs to his No. 29 Rheem/Budweiser Chevrolet after being hit by a sky diver’s weight bag in the pre-race ceremonies to finish ninth.   
Rounding out the top five were: Brad Keselowski (Dodge) in second place, Kyle Busch (Toyota) in third, and Matt Kenseth (Ford) in fourth.
The tour now moves to Phoenix International Raceway on November 11th, 2012 for Round 37 of 38 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

POST RACE WINNER’S PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET
JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, the way things have been going, you have to win the race to get points.  Reminds me of last year’s Chase in some respects.  Just a great performance by the entire 48 team all weekend long.  To win the pole and lead the most laps, win the race is a big deal.  Just excited and really wish we were in Phoenix right now getting ready to start the next race.
            Things are rolling.  We’re
enjoying it.  The significance of 700 wins for Chevrolet is huge for Hendrick Motorsports.  It’s also big for myself.  The only thing I’ve ever raced throughout my career has been a Chevy.  They gave me my first opportunity back when I was 15 years old and put me in an off‑road stadium truck to help develop the new truck that’s coming along, and I’ve been there ever since.  Very cool to hit those landmark numbers for Chevy and just very proud of the effort tonight.
            THE MODERATOR:  Also joined by winning crew chief Chad Knaus.  If you could talk about that 700 victory for Chevy and what it means to you and the organization?
            CHAD KNAUS:  I think it’s a pretty big deal.  Obviously, we have a long affiliation with Chevrolet, and we’ve won a lot of races with those guys.  Being able to clinch the manufacturer’s championship last week in Martinsville, and then to be able to come back this weekend and get their 700th victory I think is cool.  Hendrick Motorsports is extremely dedicated to the product of Chevrolet and to be able to do that is an honor.
            Q.  Those last few restarts were very physical.  Brad and you both leaned on each other a lot.  How would you describe what was going on there over the last two or three restarts?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, definitely was.  You’re going to have that to a certain degree.  On these big tracks I was a little shocked by the commitment into turn one.  I’ve joked before about driving in far enough to where I see Elvis, and we went past Elvis.  I don’t know who was coming next, but that 2 car was coming up the track and took us both to the fourth and fifth lanes.
            So, fortunately, we both stayed one‑two and didn’t crash, didn’t lose a spot on the racetrack.  But I knew he was serious about the race lead prior to that and that took it to a new level.  That last restart I was able to rally around on the outside and finish so fast.  I came so close to finishing the pass the restart prior, but I didn’t get it done.  I made sure I got everything right on that last one and got by them.
            Q.  You’re a guy that’s known for being calm, cool, collected, that kind of thing.  What was your emotional state after that next to last restart?  You pulled up beside him at the end of the backstretch there.  Just where were you at that point?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, I just pointed at them.  Just wanted him to use his head.  There is no sense in taking us both out in the process.  If I was ‑‑ if he was taking me out, you can count on the fact that I would have been on the gas and trying to take him with me.  You know, it just doesn’t need to come down to that.  Brad, also, after the race, came into victory lane and shook my hand.
            The cool thing about it is we walked right up to that line, got right to the edge, and then it stopped.  He showed a very classy move coming to victory lane and shaking my hand afterwards too.
            Q.  Jimmie, Brad feels like he still controls his destiny.  He says, even though he’s 7 points back.  But you’ve been adamant that the points leader is in control.  How in control do you feel right now with two races to go and going into Phoenix a track where you’ve done so well?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  It’s a small amount of control, but we’re definitely in control.  We don’t have to catch any or make up any points.  7 points is nothing to feel comfortable about and to relax on.  We’re still going to go into Phoenix and act as if we’re behind and go in there to try to sit on the pole and win the race again.
            Q.  What were you angry about on the next to last restart with Brad?  Did you think he went too early or is that just the way restarts are these days?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, seemed really early to me.  Caught the 18 off guard and myself.  I need to look at the video before I put my foot in my mouth or something here.  But it seemed early.  We have this gray area exiting on to the racetrack off turn two when you leave the pits.  Last week, two weeks ago we had a hard reference point.  This week we don’t.  It’s just in the area of.  We all know at Chicago the situation that was there.
            On the front stretch for the restart, there were two lines there for a reason.  I felt like he went really early and caught us both off guard.
            Q.  Right after the race, you said the gloves are off.  It’s a bare‑knuckle fight.  I know those are figures of speech, but is this the hardest you’ve been pressed coming down the stretch in a title run in your career.  The most competition you faced maybe the better way to put it?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, I’m trying to remember with Jeff in ’06, no it was ’07, ’08, I think we finished with a 4.8 average to win the Chase.  Had to win four races to win the Chase, and Jeff was at a 5.0 and finished second to us.  So it’s in line with that year.  I can’t remember vividly what went on that year, but it reminds me a lot of that year.
            Q.  On the last restart, did you think Brad spun his tires?  It looked like you beat him to the line right there on the last restart.  Did he spin his tires or what happened there?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, he spun them pretty bad.  I was pedaling trying to let him catch up as we got to the start/finish, and he kind of surged past right at it or just past it.  NASCAR has been aware of that in the past and allows you, if you give that nose back, you’re in good shape.
            Q.  Are you a little surprised that the two‑tire strategy of Paul Wolfe seemed to work twice?
            CHAD KNAUS:  Nothing surprises me anymore, to be quite honest with you.  I felt as though it was a gutsy call for sure.  It worked midway through the race because everybody was kind of just fighting their way and getting to the end.  I don’t feel like if the caution hadn’t come out, it wouldn’t have really panned out for them as well as what they had hoped.  I felt like we were catching them pretty quickly before that second to last caution came out.  We just scooted by him pretty quickly.
            But I do think they would have ended up solidly second or third even with that call.  So that was a solid call on their part.  But we’ve been racing pretty conservatively the last couple of weeks.  Been able to get the laps led and fortunately enough been able to get the victory.  So we’ll they’ll have to continue to be aggressive to swing by us, I think.
            Q.  At the end of the race you had the
tire advantage.  Is there any way Keselowski could have stuck with you being any less stubborn and ornery than he was?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Well, I think as Chad pointed out, I kind of forgot about it.  The restart where we put tires on, they took their two and we took our four, and I was coming fast.  Got by the 18, and made up a couple of seconds on them and we were there.  So I feel like our car, and certainly the advantage of being on four was the thing.  We improved our car because previously I couldn’t get by the 18, and I rolled right on by them and was heading after that 2 car.
            So I think we were in the offensive situation there at the end.  They had to protect because of the two tires those last three restarts.
            Q.  Is the process of getting through each week and preparing the cars now as it has been throughout the other title runs or are things in some way different or improved upon so to speak?
            CHAD KNAUS:  I think that’s the goal ‑‑ I shouldn’t say that’s the goal.  I think it’s the good thing for the 48.  Everybody thinks once you get to the Chase, you’ve got to ramp everything up.  Being part of the 48 car, you’re expected to win every single week, so we really can’t prepare any differently.  I think going to the racetrack each week, whether it be Martinsville or Richmond or Atlanta, wherever it may be, we put as much effort into the race cars as we can week‑in and week‑out.  Once we get into the Chase, we really can’t do anymore.
            We’re really operating in our comfort zone.  Where I think what happens to a lot of the other teams, it takes them out of the comfort zone.  They try to do more.  They try to push that further.  They do things that are outside the norm.  I think that’s where usually people get in trouble.
            Q.  Are you impressed with how Paul Wolfe and Brad for their first run at the championship have stayed this competitive at every level physically and emotionally and in the actual preparation of the cars?
            CHAD KNAUS:  Oh, yeah they’ve done a good job.  You have to realize that’s Penske Racing.  It’s not like it’s a slouch team.  Those guys have been building good cars for a long time.  You look at Kurt Busch has gone very fast in that race car.  There have been a lot of great drivers in that race car, and they’ve always run competitively.
            I think that team is more than prepared to do it.  I think Paul’s a great crew chief, and Brad is a really good driver.  So I think they’ll be there through the end.  They’ll be here for years to come and that’s good.  That’s a good thing.  We need that.
            Q.  It’s not the first time that Brad has kind of irked you a little bit during the Chase.  Chicagoland and going back to Michigan, it seems like the 2 kind of likes to play games with you guys.  Do you expect that gamesmanship to continue over the next couple races and how do you deal with it?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  I’m not familiar with Michigan.  Chicago was just a thing of pulling up on the track early.  I said then and there that it didn’t change the outcome of the race.  So it’s not those ‑‑ those are more ‑‑ I don’t know what the word is ‑‑ just the flow of the race and different things that go on.  But the way we race this afternoon or this evening was that’s a different thing.  That’s the first time that we’ve really engaged at that level and raced each other that hard.
            To his credit, he did a nice job of getting right to the edge, and we brought home race cars.  We weren’t wadded up to look like a bunch of fools over there and handing the 5 and 15 a big gift.  So that’s a good thing.
            Q.  Do you expect that you have the car to do it?  (Indiscernible)?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, I don’t expect it to be easy to pass any chaser.  It’s been that way all Chase long.  Drop the flag at Chicago and then even in Loudon, the guys that aren’t in the championship battle seem to be a little bit more respectable.  They’ll race to a certain point.  But when you’re around a guy that you’re trying to beat in the points, it’s gloves off in a whole different deal.
            Q.  You were in here the other day talking about not being superstitious even after you had been sitting in the car after qualifying.  I heard a story about a lucky charm that was from shooting the gun.  Could you expand on that a little bit, and are you going to take that to Phoenix with you?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, when I shot the gun in qualifying, after qualifying and put the shells in my little glove box thing that I have.  I’m not superstitious, but I’m just covering that base in case it does weigh into things (laughing).  I’m not, but I cover every base.
            I’ve set my alarm to 6:48.  I get up every morning at 6:48, if not earlier.  Microwave I put at 48 seconds instead of a minute, but, no, I’m not superstitious at all.
            Q.  (Indiscernible)?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  I don’t know.  Again, Phoenix is Phoenix, I don’t think they’ll stay in the car.  We’re probably not taking the same car, so they won’t go to Phoenix.  Now you have me thinking about it, I might have to cover that base and take them to Phoenix.
            Q.  But you’re not superstitious?
            JIMMIE JOHNSON:  No, what would make you think that?  I have no clue.

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