Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Michigan Notes & Quotes: Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA MICHIGAN HISTORY: Montoya has made six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Michigan International Speedway. His average start is 18th and average finish is 26th. Montoya’s best race at the two-mile track came in this event last season when he qualified seventh and came home with a sixth- place finish. Montoya also completed all laps (400) raced in 2009 at the track.

MONTOYA CHASSIS INFO: No. 42 Target Chevrolet (NSCS): Chassis #1015. Crew Chief Brian Pattie will bring a brand new Chassis #1015 to Michigan International Speedway.

STEVE LETARTE, CREW CHIEF FOR JEFF GORDON (ON MICHIGAN BEING A FUEL MILEAGE RACE.): "What makes Michigan such a unique track is it's in that two-mile category like California, but Michigan is very multi-groove racing. When you have a driver like Jeff (Gordon), it's a crew chiefs dream because he can really help the balance of the car. It (Michigan) runs a lot of green-flag racing, which lends to a lot of fuel mileage racing. Both races last year were fuel mileage races and we had two seconds. We are normally on the better end of the fuel mileage, which helps. It was going to help us last weekend at Pocono, it just didn't turn out that way. Michigan has always been a good track for us, which is good because we haven't performed in the last month like we need to perform. We are hoping to go to Michigan and maybe turn things around a little bit."

LETARTE (ON THE EFFECT THE SPOILER WILL HAVE AT MICHIGAN.): "I think the spoiler will definitely have an impact at Michigan. I don't think it will have a huge impact on the cars handle but it will have an impact on how the cars race. It increases the drag so much that I think you are going to see a lot more drafting on the straightaways. If you make a mistake in a corner or you attempt to pass somebody and it doesn't work out you are going to lose a lot. When you lose your momentum you're going to lose a lot of time on the track, so we are definitely going to have to pay attention to that for sure."

JEFF GORDON'S MICHIGAN CHASSIS: Crew chief Steve Letarte has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-557 for Sunday's race at Michigan. Gordon has raced this car three times this year, picking up a 20th-place finish at Auto Club Speedway in February, a 14th-place finish at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in March and an 11th-place finish at Dover (Del.) International Speedway in May.

GREG BIFFLE ON MICHIGAN: "I love Michigan. It is my favorite track on the circuit and I’m really looking forward to going there. I like Michigan because I’ve had success there with wins in the Sprint Cup Series and the Truck Series. I also like that you can race three and four wide at a down force track. As a driver, you have so many options. You can run the bottom, middle or top. It is a strategy race and fuel mileage often comes into play - sometimes in your favor and sometimes not. I just like the way the track is laid out and I think you see good racing there."

DALE EARNHARDT JR.(ON MICHIGAN.): "Michigan is a fun track. It's wide, and you'll find a lot of side-by-side racing. You can move around. If the top doesn't work then you can run the bottom. I enjoyed running there, and we seem to have had some success there."

EARNHARDT JR. CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend, crew chief Lance McGrew and the No. 88 crew will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-599. Earnhardt raced this chassis to an eighth-place finish at Texas in April and most recently to a 22nd-place finish at the May 30 event at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

MARK MARTIN (ON HIS 2009 WIN AT MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY.): "First, let me say we didn't win that race just on fuel mileage. Our car was amazing that day. Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and the guys gave me a really fast race car. And the fuel-mileage game, I never win that. I always come up short. So winning like that, that was a surprise and it was so much fun. Three laps into the final run, I started saving fuel. We needed the points bad last year so we couldn't risk it. I saw the (No.) 48 run out. And I knew the (No.) 16 was close, too. I just held back. When I took the white flag and still had fuel pressure, I just went for it. I saw the (No.) 16 run out on the backstretch, then we ran out, too. Between that and having a battery going dead the whole race, it was so much to overcome. Winning that race was such a surprise, and surprise wins are so much fun."

MARTIN'S MICHIGAN CHASSIS: Gustafson has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-523 for Sunday's race at Michigan International Speedway. This is the same chassis Martin drove to the win last June at Michigan. The No. 5 team has used this chassis twice this season, notably finishing fourth at Auto Club Speedway in February.

JOEY LOGANO ON TASK AT HAND THIS WEEK: "From my perspective, last week was last week. My focus is Michigan and Kentucky. We finished seventh at Michigan last August and feel like we can at least do that well here this weekend and hope to even improve on that. Michigan was one of the tracks where I felt like we made huge gains the second time around and so far this year we've continued to get better when we go back to tracks for the third time. We’re 100 (or so) points out of the Chase and every race is going to be important to make up ground and be in contention when Richmond comes around.

"I will be going back and forth to Kentucky and try to defend my race win there. As of now the plan is to head over Friday to practice the Nationwide car after qualifying the Home Depot Toyota and be back for final Cup practices on Saturday."

LOGANO CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 20 Team is taking chassis #272 to Michigan this weekend for the 200-lap event. This is the second race for this chassis in 2010. Logano drove this car to a 13th-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway two weeks ago. The back-up car is chassis #266 that completed earlier this season in Darlington.

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