Thursday, July 29, 2010

POCONO Notes & Quotes: Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500

DENNY HAMLIN ON THE POSSIBILITY OF WINNING THREE STRAIGHT POCONO RACES: "Way too tough to predict wins in this sport, it’s just too competitive but I like coming here and this FedEx team always prepares really good cars for this track. Indy was frustrating for us, we really raced all day trying to get a spot back on the lead lap so I think we are excited to get here and put last weekend behind us. We are building really good cars right now as we look ahead and learning a lot. We want to come here, have a good weekend and keep our focus on a championship and performing at that level where we can compete each and every week. If that means win here, we’ll take it."

HAMLIN ON BEING COMFORTABLE WHERE HE'S AT IN THIRD-PLACE: "I don’t think you can ever get to comfortable knowing how just about anything can happen in this sport but we’ve been running pretty good this year and are pretty happy with our progress. We can’t rest even though we are in a good spot, we need to push like everything is in doubt. We have some bonus points already that will help us later in the season but we know how good our competition is and know that every position or win we can grab this season is going to be necessary if we want to be running for a championship this season. We may try a few things here and there to see if we can find an advantage but the goal is to always win races – that never changes."

HAMLIN ON RUNNING THE TRUCKS AND CUP SERIES AT POCONO THIS WEEKEND: "I am absolutely looking forward to running both races this weekend at Pocono. Obviously this Cup race is one I look forward to because we have been so strong here in the past and we look forward to getting back here and seeing if we can keep our momentum up, and even improve on our performances here. As far as the truck race, it should be a lot of fun. It’s going to be a shootout given the distance and I really do like running the trucks because they are fun to drive and are much different than the Cup cars. I also have some friends in that series that I don’t get to race against very often so it should be fun."

HAMLIN CHASSIS SLECTION: The FedEx team will unload Chassis JGR 279 this weekend in Pocono. JGR 267 will serve as the backup. HAMLIN'S BACK-UP CHASSIS IS THE CAR THAT WENT 3-FOR3 THIS YEAR INCLUDING A WIN AT POCONO IN JUNE.

KASEY KAHNE ON RACING AT POCONO: "The straight-aways are so long, you need to get all of the speed down them that you can so your car can come off of turn three as fast as possible. I’ve always liked the uniqueness of the three different corners and the challenge that it presents to the teams to set up your car to be fast at each of the different ends."

DALE EARNHARDT JR. ON RACING AT POCONO: "I think the difference between a good finish and a bad finish at Pocono is getting the car to turn through the center and really being able to get down into Turn 1. The car wants to go straight into that corner so bad. Getting comfortable enough to be able to be fast through the tunnel (Turn 2) all day long is important. The corners are so different it's so easy to try to improve one thing and just screw up something that wasn't even a problem. So when we've run good, we've had awesome race cars. Hopefully we'll have another one."

EARNHARDT JR CREW CHIEF LANCE McGREW ON ABILITY TO TEST BETWEEN POCONO RACES: "We test before we go to every single racetrack whether it's the wind tunnel, seven-post or some other type of simulation. Track testing is ultimately what we would like to get but don't have that opportunity with NASCAR. What we normally do when we repeat a track is we look at what we think went right the last time we were there and we do simulation runs off of that. We try to build files with the data we have collected over the years. We do simulation runs and seven-post runs. We try to build grip. It's not testing the traditional way where you go to the track and runs laps there. It's more a lot of really smart engineers figuring out how to make your car faster without having a driver, tires, fuel and travel expenses. You make time to do what you have to do to perform than you did the time before -- every single time.

EARNHARDT JR CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend, crew chief Lance McGrew and the No. 88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-584. Earnhardt picked up the pole position at Atlanta Motor Speedway and went on to score a 15th-place finish with this chassis in March. Earnhardt last raced this chassis at Pocono in June where he notched a 19th-place finish after qualifying third.

DAVID REUTIMANN ON WINNING VERSUS POINT RACING: "I think a lot of things do get lost in the fact that there's a lot of focus put on the Chase, and rightfully so. That's what you're obviously trying to do. You're trying to win races. It's important to win races, but it's also about being consistent and all those things that gain you the most points. Every driver, when he's strapped in on Sunday, you're out there to try to win the race. For the drivers, I think the most important thing is going out there and trying to win races, doing what you can to help your cause. If you win races, that's always the better way to get in the Chase as well. It's a win-win situation if you can go out and win races. I know that's what we're focused on doing."

MARTIN TRUEX JR. ON RETURNING TO POCONO RACEWAY: "We had a really good run at Pocono earlier this year. Unfortunately it came to an end on the last lap when we got caught up in a wreck. That’s been pretty much the story for this team this year or at least the past two months. We had a strong car there and we plan to go back with a similar setup, but the summertime race at Pocono is a lot different than the June race. This time when we go back, we’ll be searching for more grip and since the track changes, we’ll have to go there with an open mind. We’ll fine tune our NAPA Toyota. Pocono is one of those places where we get plenty of practice so we’ll be ready to work on the car like we do every weekend. I feel like our TRD engine program and the way our engine performed at Chicagoland and Indy, will be a big help too when we hit the track this go around. I really look forward to going to this race.

MARK MARTIN ON TAKING THE SAME CAR FROM INDIANAPOLIS TO POCONO: "That's one of the best cars we've had for awhile. The guys have been working very, very hard on every detail to get our cars to the place we want them to be. I think that we showed improvement at Indianapolis. We qualified well. We ran up front. We just faded a bit at the end. I'm glad we're bringing this car back this weekend. I think the team has a lot of confidence in it, and I think it's one of many steps in the right direction."

MARK MARTIN ON HIS MOST RECENT RACE AT POCONO: "We really struggled with the handling of our car all day. The car would be nearly perfect on fresh tires, but as those tires wore out, we lost all grip on the track and just couldn't hold our speed. I think we would have had a decent 10th- or 12th-place finish there at the end, but, as everyone saw, the competition just got crazy on the green-white-checkered restart. When that many cars are on the lead lap, and you've got two laps to duke it out, we're all going to run over one another. That's what happened. It ruined our race and really hurt us in points, but it happens. We just have to take what we learned from that race and apply it this weekend and hopefully gain some of those points back."

MARTIN CHASSIS CHOICE: Martin and crew chief Alan Gustafson has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-550 for Sunday's race at Pocono. This is the same chassis that Martin drove to an 11th-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week.

GREG BIFFLE ON RACING AT POCONO: "I am very excited to be going back to Pocono with the car we finished third with last weekend at Indy. We have run very well the last two races. We had a top-five car at Chicago and then last week at Indy we had a car that could win and ended up with a third place finish. I’m ready to go to Pocono and Michigan to try to get the win that we’ve been working for. Who knows, we may have a shot at it at Watkins Glen too. I just can’t say enough about how well our cars and our engines are performing right now. We just need to get that win."

BIFFLE CREW CHIEF GREG ERWIN ON POCONO AND CHASSIS THEY'RE BRINGING: "We’re taking the car that we raced at Indy last week because we feel it is the best car we have right now and we need to take what we think is our best every week. We feel this car has the best chassis/body combination for what we need to run up front. This race can come down to fuel mileage so we are working on that but hopefully it will be a race to the finish rather than a conserve to finish kind of race. We didn’t have a great run there earlier this year but we were gaining ground before the wreck on the last lap. I look for us to be competitive this weekend and walk away with at least a top-five."

JIMMIE JOHNSON ON PEOPLE COMPARING INDY TO POCONO AND WHAT THE DIFFERENCES ARE: "People have said that and I have always thought they're crazy. Maybe if you look at the setup on paper, at one time they were similar. But I just don't think there's anything to get you ready for either one of the tracks. And then Pocono - it's a triangle. It's bumpy and rough and different and awkward. So I think Pocono is its own animal. I think it's a stretch to compare the two."

JOHNSON CHASSIS SELECTION: Johnson last piloted primary chassis No. 592 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May. Back up chassis No. 553 has collected three wins in four starts - the last coming at Auto Club Speedway in February.

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