Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Driver Notes & Quotes: Talladega Amp Energy Juice 500

CARL EDWARDS ON RACING AT TALLADEGA: “I was a little nervous about Talladega while we were up there real close to the point lead, but now I’m really excited about it. I think in that race you could see a huge swing there. If we could go win the thing, or run top three and a couple of guys could be caught up in wrecks, the Chase could look a lot different. That’s Talladega and anything can happen. Man, I have a love-hate relationship with that place, but I am looking forward to it now and I hope that we can come out of there with a good finish.”

EDWARDS CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 99 team will carry the Subway paint scheme this weekend. The crew will be unloading chassis RK-692 this weekend. This is the same Ford Fusion that Edwards raced at Daytona in July. He started that race 12th and finished sixth.

GREG BIFFLE ON TALLADEGA: “We started the season this year with a good run at Daytona and although Talladega is certainly different than Daytona despite them both being superspeedways, I am hoping that we can have that same sort of performance this weekend. We haven’t had a lot of luck at Talladega but last year we had two top-10’s there so it looks like we’re doing something right. If we can just get out of there with a top-10 finish I will be happy.”

BIFFLE CREW CHIEF GREG ERWIN ON TALLADEGA: “The superspeedway races are obviously unique races in that even if you have the best driver, the best pit crew and the fastest racecar, you can very easily get caught up in someone else’s accident and take the car home in pieces. Qualifying is not as important as it is at other tracks just because pit selection isn’t that crucial because the pit stalls are so big and no matter where you start you could have the lead one lap and be 20th the next lap. We had a couple of good finishes at Talladega last year so we’ll just go out there and do what we did then to try to get out of there with a top-10 finish.”

MATT KENSETH ON RACING AT TALLADEGA: “Everyone always talks about Talladega being the wild card race in the Chase, and I guess it really could be. Any of the races in the Chase can always end up being a wild card because you never know what’s going to happen as far as wrecks are concerned, but certainly Talladega always has the potential to be an accident waiting to happen. You never know where it’s going to occur, when it’s going to happen, or who it’s going to take out, so that’s one race that you’re never sure where everybody is going to end up finishing until the race is over.”

KENSETH CREW CHIEF JIMMY FENNIG ON RACING AT TALLADEGA: “It’s very difficult to have a plan for racing at Talladega because you never know when wrecks are going to happen. There can be incidents starting from the drop of the green flag so you just never know. A lot of teams opt to hang out in the back of the field to try to avoid wrecks, but that doesn’t always work out. We just plan to race the best we can at Talladega and hope to avoid whatever happens on the track. We’ve also worked hard on our drag numbers to keep the resistance levels down in order to have the best car we can for this weekend.”

KENSETH CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary: RK-690 (last run at Talladega, finished 28th)

DAVIS RAGAN ON TALLADEGA: “It’s kind of crazy going straight from the shortest track we race at to the longest track, but I really enjoy racing at Talladega. It’s not far from my home in Georgia, so a lot of my family comes to the race. I’m excited about our special UPS Logistics paint scheme for this weekend. I think the car looks really good and Talladega is a place we can run really well at. Talladega is such a wide, smooth track which creates tight packs and makes for some exciting racing.”

# Ragan has scored more points in the last 10 restrictor-plate races than any other driver.
# Ragan has visited Talladega Superspeedway seven times in his Sprint Cup Series career and in his seven starts has earned two top-five and three top-10 finishes, while also leading for a total of 22 laps.
# In the spring of 2009 Ragan earned his first Nationwide Series victory at Talladega.

RAGAN CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary: RK-691 - Last ran Daytona – finished 38th; Backup: RK-665 - Last ran Talladega in the fall of ’09 as the No. 26 – finished first.

BRAD KESELOWSKI'S APPROACH TO RUNNING AT TALLADEGA: “You really have to pay attention to how the race unfolds at Talladega. There are times when you need to be patient. There are times when you need to keep your head about you and race smart. But you are going to have to be aggressive at the end. Those are three elements of restrictor-plate racing that I work on throughout the race. I learned that from Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. He gets a lot of the credit for the kind of racer that I am on the plate tracks.”

KESELOWSKI CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 12 Penske Dodge Charger team will use chassis PRS-639 during Sunday’s AMP Energy Juice 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. This is a brand-new chassis to the No. 12 fleet.

DAVID REUTIMANN ON RACING AT TALLADEGA: “There’s not anything really difficult about driving Talladega. You have to have a good car and then you can hopefully get out there and get in the right line and get with the right guys and work with the right people to try to make your day go as good as you can. A lot of times you’re trying to get yourself in a position where you’re trying to let things shuffle out and see what happens. At Talladega you would like to be able to qualify up front, but you’re really not all that worried about it because you know that in a matter of a couple laps you could be up there leading the thing.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR. ON RESTRICTOR PLATE RACING: “Sunday I expect to see the typical Talladega race with the welcomed addition of my boss Michael Waltrip. We’ll see three-or-four-wide racing sometimes. Some drivers will lay back and wait for the end. There will be a wreck. It’s always an exciting race to run and for the fans, a great race to watch. The finishes over the last few years have been pretty wild and I think we’ll see more of the same. I just hope the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota will be one of the cars that can make it to the end. We had a good car and good speed so I hope we can get the luck we need. It’s one of those races where if you are there at the end, you have a shot to win it.”

JAMIE McMURRAY VS CHASERS: While not in the Chase, McMurray and the No. 1 team haven’t given up on being one of the most impressive race teams on the track. The team has been on a hot streak during the first six races of the Chase. Compared to the top-12 Chase drivers this is how McMurray and the No. 1 Team currently stack up:
# Average start of 11.6 – (Ranks 3rd)
# Average finish of 9th – (Ranks 4th)
# Ranks 4th for the most points gained in the chase with 866 points gained

McMURRAY CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis #1009. Crew Chief Kevin “Bono” Manion has elected to bring chassis #1009 to Talladega this weekend, the same chassis that led 27 laps and finished second in the Spring Talladega event.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis #902. The No. 42 Target team will bring chassis #902 to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. This chassis was used at the first Talladega and Daytona events this year as well as all four superspeedway events last season. Montoya captured the pole for the spring Talladega event last season and has started in the top-10 for four of the six events. He has three top-10 finishes with this chassis including third at the first 2010 Talladega event.

JIMMIE JOHNSON ON THIS YEARS CHASE BEING DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHERS HE WON: “Yeah, I think that every other championship has helped me be more confident in my abilities, what my team is capable of; and there are probably some other emotions that are wrapped up into it that all lead to the fact that I am much more relaxed fighting for this championship than any other championship in my life. So experience really helps out a lot and I have enjoyed these last five races more than I did the last year and the year before, and so on.

“I feel like I am in a really good place where some guys that are fighting for their first championship, there is so much on it. I have been there, so I know exactly what those feelings are like. I feel like it’s helpful for me to be this relaxed and to come in and not obsess over things during the week and to come into the track with a fresh mind and a ton of energy and go to work. So I really hope that the experience gives me an upper hand through the championship battle.”

JOHNSON ON STRATEGY AT TALLADEGA, LAY BACK OR RUN UP FRONT: “We’ve tried both approaches and the last three years we’ve made it through there (the big crash) without any big trouble. I can remember Bobby Labonte at the front of the pack racing Talladega one time and gets flipped over and ends up landing on Tony Stewart, who is trying to ride at the back to be smart for points. So there is no safe place. We see a lot of teams trying to be conservative and smart and get to the end of the race and go from there and the problem we have now is when everybody decides with 20 (laps) to go, that it’s time to race, you have to race. You need the best finish you can get and that’s where the crashes are. So I think we all feel better if we go 480 miles and then get crashed. It really sucks to crash at five miles into the race or something. I think that’s what we’ve done over the years is there’s no need to push the envelope now if something weird went on, we could miss that. But at the end you’ve got to pull (the belts) tight and drive through there and try to get the best finish you can.”

JOHNSON CHASSIS CHOICE: Johnson will pilot brand new chassis No. 618 in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race. Back up chassis No. 482 was driven to a sixth-place result at Talladega last November.

- From Team Press Releases

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