Thursday, July 22, 2010

BRICKYARD 400 Notes & Quotes: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

DALE EARNHARDT JR. ON WHAT A WIN AT INDIANAPOLIS WOULD MEAN TO HIM: "When somebody asks me what it would feel like to win here, I think about the open-wheel history of this track, and I think about drivers like (Mario) Andretti and (A.J.) Foyt and the guys even before them. I think about the history of this track and how it's survived the war and closed down and opened back up and everything that it's been through. When they first brought stock cars here to practice, it was a realization for a lot of people, including myself, being an aspiring driver at the time, that I may have a chance one day to race at Indianapolis that I otherwise didn't think that I would have unless I was to go in the open-wheel series."

EARNHARDT JR. CREW CHIEF LANCE McGREW ON RUNNING LAST YEAR'S SETUP AT INDIANAPOLIS: "I think you always look at your past setups. There are some places we go where you will carbon copy it. But you continue to evolve. I think some of the stuff we ran at Indy last year, we now have better stuff. Sometimes we will try our old packages and then may migrate more toward what we've been racing lately. I think that Indy race was a good one for us. We had a car capable of finishing in the top five but didn't end up with the finish. This season we've managed to run up front and stay up front when we've had cars capable of doing so and doing it pretty consistently."

EARNHARDT JR.INDIANAPOLIS CHASSIS SELECTION: Crew chief Lance McGrew and the No. 88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-612. This is a new chassis that has not been raced or tested.

MARK MARTIN ON RACING AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: "When NASCAR first started coming to Indy, I thought it was a mistake. I knew what it would mean to the sport to have a race there, but I just didn't think it would happen. I didn't think this type of car, a stock car, would be good on that kind of track. I can honestly say now that I was wrong. I love going back to Indy to race. It's been a tremendous addition to the NASCAR schedule, and I think it's great for all of the stock car fans that NASCAR races on that track."

MARTIN ON HIS EUROPEAN VACATION DURING THE SPRINT CUP OFF WEEKEND: "I had a great time over there with (son) Matt and (wife) Arlene. The most amazing thing to me was the architecture and history of the area. There are buildings over there still standing from the 13th century. That is incredible. The human race is so incredibly smart. I'm not sure anything we're building today will still be around in 700 or 800 years. The biggest highlight of the trip was our visit to Stonehenge. It's incredible to look at something and know that it has been standing there for 4,000 years. The entire trip was awesome and something I'll never forget."

MARTIN'S INDY CHASSIS CHOICE: Gustafson has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-550 for Sunday's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This is the same chassis that Martin drove to a second-place finish in last year's Brickyard 400.

GREG BIFFLE ON RACING AT INDY: "Indy is a unique track and passing can be difficult so track position will be crucial. We will have to be on our toes as far as pit strategy goes because fuel mileage can become a factor. We have run well there the last couple of years and if we can go back there and run as well as we did last year, I’ll be happy. Needless to say, our last couple of races have been disappointing and we really can’t afford any more bad races before the Chase. We are looking forward to this weekend at Indy though as an opportunity to get some points back."

BIFFLE CREW CHIEF GREG ERWIN ON CHASSIS SELECTION AND RACING AT INDY: "We have a brand new car for the race this weekend in Indy. Qualifying will be important because passing is difficult and there are generally very few cautions. Goodyear gave us a great tire last year so I don’t foresee any problems there. Fuel mileage can come into play so we have to be smart about pit strategy. Indy is a great opportunity for us to turn things around and gain back the ground we’ve lost the last couple of weeks to be in a better position heading into the Chase."

JIMMIE JOHNSON ON BEING EITHER HIT OR MISS AT INDY WITH THREE TOP FIVES BEING ALL WINS AND THREE OTHER FINISHES ON 36TH OR WORSE: "Yea, that seems to be the pattern. I'm certainly hopeful for another win. I think at the beginning I wasn't driving the track right. And it took me a year or two to get the track figured out. And then I could lead the team in the right direction with the setup. And then we had some luck from there. We got the right baseline setup under the car and I was driving it right and we were able to get some results. So I feel good about what I'm doing. I feel good about the direction of the team and what we're taking there. We'll just have to see what kind of luck we have."

JOHNSON INDY CHASSIS SELECTION: Johnson will be piloting chassis No. 558 in Sunday's event. Johnson last drove that car to a fifth-place finish at Pocono Raceway in June. Backup chassis No. 553 was driven to Victory Lane by Johnson at Auto Club Speedway in February.

JEFF GORDON ON WHERE HIS FOUR BRICKYARD 400 WINS RANK ON A PERSONAL LEVEL: "They're huge for me. I wasn't born there, but went to high school there, growing up there. Not just that, but being born in California, racing was everything to me. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy 500, guys like Rick Mears and A.J. Foyt, Johnny Rutherford, Al Unser, all those guys were heroes of mine that I aspired to be."

"Living in Indiana, racing around Indiana, Indianapolis Raceway Park, the fairgrounds, Bloomington, all over the place, it was every short track open wheel Sprint Cup driver's dream to race at Indianapolis one day. To be able to do that in the very first ever stock car race there, NASCAR race in '94, win it, then go on to win it three more times is something that I probably put up as the highest accomplishments of my career."

GORDON SPEAKING ABOUT THE EDWARDS-KESELOWSKI NATIONWIDE RACE INCIDENT: "Well, just glad that I'm not the one making those decisions. You know, I think it's been well documented this year that NASCAR is allowing the racing to be more in the drivers' hands, to try to stay out of some of those incidents that are judgment calls. Probably it's hard to really say just because there is a little bit of a past history with those two. You don't really know what all has gone on over the years with them that has brought it to this point."

"But just looking at the incidents, looked to me like Brad got into him a little bit getting into one, but was just racing hard for the position, for the win. Then what Carl did I felt like was definitely out of line. I felt like it was over and above what needed to be done. Again, you don't know what kind of bad blood there is between the two. Whether or not NASCAR gets involved in it, I think two, three, four, five years ago, I would have thought absolutely they would have done something, maybe taken the win away or docked points or a fine or something like that. Today, it's letting the guys race. That means that I'm sure you'll want to watch the future Nationwide races and those guys battling one another, and in the Cup Series as well. You just know there's going to be more to come."

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