Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Richmond Driver Notes & Quotes: AIR GUARD 400

JEFF GORDON'S CREW CHIEF STEVE LETARTE ON THE RICHMOND FALL RACE: “It’s a very interesting race. It’s an interesting dynamic because it’s almost like the All-Star race. No matter where we finish at Richmond, we’re going to come out of there lower in the points then we went in. It’s not feasibly possible for us to gain anything. There are a couple teams with five wins, a couple with three so to get a win there would be good for the bonus points but way more than the bonus points, it’s very important for us to go there to lead laps and to bring a car capable of winning even if we don’t win to prove to ourselves that we can do it. We need to build a little momentum. We seemed to struggle the last month or so, so Richmond is a really good track for us. Hopefully we can do it there.”

GORDON CHASSIS SELECTION: Crew chief Steve Letarte has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-542 for Saturday night’s race at Richmond. Gordon led 92 laps and drove this car to a third-place finish at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in March. In June, he drove this car to a fourth-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

GREG BIFFLE ON RACING AT RICHMOND: “Richmond is definitely a driver’s track. I think that’s one of the biggest reasons I have always liked it. It allows for really good racing and the night race this weekend will be exciting for the fans no matter what. We struggled there a little the last couple of years but I know the guys have been working hard to make sure we don’t have the same problems again. We obviously didn’t have the finish last weekend in Atlanta that we were planning for but the good thing is that it wasn’t a handling or mechanical issue that put us back there. We basically just have to start the race in Richmond to lock in our Chase spot but I won’t breathe easy until we finish that race.”

MATT KENSETH ON RACING AT RICHMOND THIS WEEK: “Saturday night’s race at Richmond is the last chance to make the Chase and I really think there’s going to be a lot of excitement under the lights. We were fortunate enough to lock in a Chase spot last weekend at Atlanta so we don’t have as much pressure on ourselves as other teams may, but honestly you always want to do all that you can to run up front week in and week out. We’ll work on putting together good runs at Richmond to keep our momentum going this weekend and then for the final ten races of the season.”

KENSETH CHASSIS SELECTION: Primary: RK-698 (brand new chassis)

CARL EDWARDS ON RACING AT RICHMOND: “Richmond is a fun racetrack. We ran fifth there in the first race this year so I feel like we’ve got a really good shot at going there and competing for a victory. It’ll be a purely fun race with no real stress because we’ve already made the Chase. It’s an opportunity to go there and have a good time and try to get a victory for Kellogg’s. We’ve clinched a spot in the Chase so we definitely don’t have to go in there with the stress we’ve had in the years past. That was one of our goals for the season and we’ve accomplished it. I’m really proud of my guys.”

EDWARDS CHASSIS SELECTION: RK-570 – Last ran Richmond in May; finished fifth

MARK MARTIN ON NOT MAKING THE CHASE AND WHAT'S IN STORE FOR THE NEXT 11 WEEK'S: “It’s disappointing for sure. After last year, you know we made it and had a shot at the championship and that was exciting for me and everyone on this race team. That was a career year for me and for Alan (Gustafson, crew chief). And not every year is going to be like that. This year we definitely have some things to work on and improve on. I have no doubt that we’re going to figure it out. Not making the Chase last year would have been awful because we were in championship form. This year, we have more important things to work on. It doesn’t hurt as bad as it would have had we not made it last year. These next 11 races are going to be fun. We can throw anything at the car, and I know this team is going to be super aggressive now about figuring out where to find more speed and better handling. It’s all about the win and setting ourselves up for 2011 now. I’m looking forward to it.”

MARTIN'S CHASSIS SELECTION: Crew Chief Alan Gustafson has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-561 for Saturday night’s race at Richmond. This is the same chassis Martin drove at Richmond earlier this year. Most recently, this chassis was tested at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Colorado.

JIMMIE JOHNSON ON WHAT HE THINKS HIS CHANCES ARE AT RICHMOND: "Im hoping we will be a little better this time around. We didn’t have the greatest run there in the spring even though we finished 10th. The first couple of pit stops are always real important so you can get the car adjusted right. Track position is so important – it’s not like you can come in and work on it if it’s not where you want it. We’ve won there before but it just seems like we are up and down there. We just need to stay on top of it and try to get things going the right way as we start the Chase. It was a big relief to lock ourselves in (to the Chase) at Atlanta. It takes a little bit of the pressure off this weekend but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t looking for the win.”

JOHNSON'S CHASSIS SELECTION: Chassis No. 590 will be the primary for Saturday night’s event. Johnson last piloted that car to a ninth-place finish at Martinsville in March. Back up chassis No. 520 has collected four wins in five starts – the most recent coming at Martinsville Speedway in March.

RYAN NEWMAN ON HIS CHANCES OF MAKING THE CHASE SITTING IN 13TH PLACE 117 POINTS BEHIND: “It’s evident that you don’t need an engineering degree to figure out our odds of making the Chase,” said Newman. “Mathematically, we still have a chance, and I guess that means something. But you can’t expect to make up all of those points in one shot. Again, our position in the standings is not going to change how we will approach the Richmond race. History will show that this No. 39 Army team has had success on short tracks and with that said we’re looking to be running up front just like we did in the past two races in Bristol and Atlanta.”

JAMIE McMURRAY RICHMOND CHASSIS SELECTION: Chassis #1007. The No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats team will bring chassis #1007 to Richmond International Raceway this weekend. This chassis was used earlier in the season at the first Richmond event finishing 19th and at Martinsville where McMurray battled handling issues after an on track altercation forcing a 30th-place finish. The chassis was also tested at Gresham Motorsports Park in August.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA RICHMOND CHASSIS SELECTION: Chassis #1005. Pattie and the No. 42 team are bringing chassis #1005 to Richmond International Raceway this weekend, the second race of the season for this chassis. The chassis was first used at Martinsville where Montoya had a tire expire forcing a 36th-place finish.

DENNY HAMLIN ON RACING AT HIS HOME TRACK OF RICHMOND: "I love coming back here, I love the racing and the race track and seeing friends and family. I don’t think that will ever wear off. Winning here was something I’ll never forget but I enjoy just being at that track, it means a lot to see so many people wearing your number on their shirt and hats – that support from the fans in Richmond and all around Virginia is something I never take for granted.”

HAMLIN CHASSIS SELECTION: The #11 FedEx Racing team will unload chassis # JGR 276 this weekend in Richmond. 276 last ran at Indianapolis in July when it recorded a 15th-place finish. JGR 251 will serve in backup duty.

CLINT BOWYER ON DOING THINGS DIFFERENT WHILE ON THE CHASE BUBBLE: “You can freak out about it, you can worry about it and everything else, but that’s going to hurt you. The No. 33 team needs to go out there and make sure everyone is having fun. You need to pick on each other and lean on your buddies. These guys are the only friends you bring to the racetrack when the race is on the line. We need to make sure we’re having fun and enjoying this time together.”

BOWYER CHASSIS SELECTION: Bowyer will pilot Chassis No. 303 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new in 2010, Bowyer drove this Chevrolet to seventh-place finishes at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May and New Hampshire Motor Speedway in June. Most recently, the 31-year-old RCR driver piloted this No. 33 Impala to a fourth-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway in August.

JEFF BURTON ON WHY RICHMOND IS ONE OF HIS FAVORITE TRACKS: “I just think for the teams, for the fans and for everybody that it takes to make this sport work, it’s the best all-around track. Richmond has good racing action. It’s big enough where it’s not wreck after wreck, but small enough where it’s close side-by-side action since you have multiple grooves. To me, it’s a really hard race track to beat, competition-wise. I take a lot of pride in running well at Richmond. Being from Virginia, Richmond is where I went as a kid to watch Cup Series racing and it’s a special place for me to come back to.”

BURTON CHASSIS SELECTION: Burton will race chassis No. 302 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for 2010, Burton drove this Caterpillar Chevy to a 12th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway in April where he overcame a pit road commitment line violation to be in contention for the win, leading with 10 laps to go. However, a nine-car incident brought out a lengthy red flag and after the engines re-fired and green-flag racing continued, the handling on the No. 31 Chevy went away in the closing laps and Burton held on to finish 12th. Most recently, this No. 31 racer competed at Dover International Speedway where Burton scored a runner-up finish.

KEVIN HARVICK ON GOING ALL OUT FOR THE WIN AT RICHMOND: “Absolutely, Richmond has been a great race track for us. That’s the last one to have a free for all, and just do what you have to do. It is also the last weekend to prepare yourself for what is coming in the next 10 weeks. We have to have our stuff together, and I think we should run well. I enjoy Richmond, and I think it suits everything that we do at RCR, and always has since I’ve been there. It should be a good weekend.”

HARVICK ON POSSIBLY MOVING ASIDE DURING THE RACE TO LET BOWYER PASS IF NEEDED IN ORDER TO MAKE THE CHASE: “Absolutely, I think you have to. It’s important for our company, it’s important for all of our sponsors to see that. Whatever we have to do, we’ll do.”

HARVICK CHASSIS SELECTION: Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 304 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built brand new for 2010, the team raced this Chevrolet Impala at Phoenix, Richmond and New Hampshire, finishing 13th, third and fifth, respectively.

DALE EARNHARDT JR. ON RACING AT RICHMOND: “Richmond fits my driving style. I grew up racing at Myrtle Beach (S.C.), and it’s got the same characteristics of that track. It’s got multiple grooves and multiple ways of racing around there. The car changes quite a bit over the night, and you’ve got to be able to move around and find different grooves. We’ve struggled there the past couple of times but we’ve been doing a lot of testing to get ready for this weekend.”

EARNHARDT JR CHASSIS SELECTION: Crew chief Lance McGrew and the No. 88 engineers will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-586 this weekend at Richmond. This chassis first saw action at Phoenix International Raceway in April where Earnhardt finished 12th. In May, Earnhardt raced this chassis to a 32nd-place finish at Richmond after a cut tire forced an unscheduled pit stop on Lap 196. The No. 88 team also tested this chassis recently at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga.

No comments: