Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Childress Driver's Notes & Quotes for the Budweiser Shootout

Looking for third straight Shootout win
KEVIN HARVICK ON 2011 GOALS AFTER GREAT 2010 SEASON: “I think when you look at everything and where we are, racing for the championship is really what it’s all about. We want to win a championship trophy. Coming so close last year, I think we learned a lot, from the mind set, to the expectation level that you need to set for yourself, to the preparation that goes into everything for those last 10 weeks. It’s very important to be able to maintain that level of competitiveness throughout those last 10 weeks. We know what that feels like now, and we’ve done that better than we ever have before. We just have to keep doing the things that we’re doing. We have to make our pit crew better. That’ll help us a lot. If we do the same things we did last year and we improve on pit road, we’ll win more races.”

HARVICK ON HAVING BUDWEISER AS A SPONSOR: “It’s been fun to be a part of all the Budweiser stuff and see the car on the race track. The photo shoots have been pretty cool, because Budweiser is such an iconic brand not only in our sport, but around the world. It makes it a lot easier to promote a product that you actually like, so it’s been fun to be normal and just hangout.”

HARVICK ON THE ADDITION OF PAUL MENARD TO RCR: “Obviously, with Paul coming here, he’s a good guy first off and easy to get a long with. Bringing a fourth team in that’s funded correctly and when you go out and hire the right people and do the right things, you really shouldn’t miss a beat. It should help everything progress forward, with more R & D dollars and more opinions at the race track as far as what needs to get better or things you need to do differently. When the No. 07 team went away, all that stuff went to the truck team, so it really has been a complete addition of everything brand new.”

SHOOTOUT HISTORY: Harvick makes his seventh appearance in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season-opener during Speedweeks. In six Budweiser Shootout starts at the 2.5-mile tri-oval, Harvick has claimed two victories, four top-five and five top-10 finishes. Additionally, the Bakersfield, Calif., native has earned a 16.8 starting average and a 6.8 finishing average.

Harvick has enjoyed quite a bit of success in previous years at Daytona’s big-dollar shootout, and this year he will contend for his third consecutive Budweiser Shootout title. Harvick won his first title in 2009, competing against the largest field ever recorded. A win in the 2010 event added another notch in Harvick’s belt, making him the defending champ two years in a row.

NEW CREW: Harvick debuts a new pit crew for the Budweiser Shootout. The No. 29 team’s 2011 pit crew includes two veterans from the 2010 crew, along with new front- and rear-tire changers and carriers and a new jackman.

HARVICK CHASSIS SELECTION: Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 334 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in this weekend’s Budweiser Shootout. This No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet was built in-house by the Gil Martin-led No. 29 team over the winter months and will make its first competitive laps around the speedway this weekend.

Bowyer win be running his winning Talladega chassis in the Shootout 
CLINT BOWYER ON HIS OFF-SEASON: “The off-season was really great and too short. I had a lot of fun. I actually went hunting right after the banquet for two or three weeks. I enjoyed some hunting back home around Kansas and then went on to Tennessee to a buddy’s house and enjoyed some more outdoors there. I just relaxed and took it easy. I worked on my dirt program quite a bit. I’m really excited about that. We’re hoping to start a new team, making us a two-car organization running on dirt next year. I’ve been working a lot in the shop on the dirt cars and, hopefully, making their program bigger and better this year than it’s ever been.”

BOWYER'S GOAL FOR 2011 AFTER A STRONG 2010 RUN: “Same thing, just add one to the end of it, that’s all you can do. You set out the year to win races, make the Chase and win a championship. Those are your three goals, in that order. Hopefully, we can win more races, do better in the Chase and compete for the championship. That’s the ultimate goal for everybody.. It’s going to happen at RCR, and I want to be the one that makes it happen.”

BOWYER ON MENARD JOINING RCR:“I’m really excited. I thought Paul really came on last year big time. He was really starting to run well and was consistently up front. He was a guy you were being passed by when you were running well. I’m excited to have him as a teammate. He brings a lot to the table for us on and off the race track. To be able to work with him on the race track will add another element to our already solid program. I think we’ll be even better. I think we’re ready this time. That’s the biggest thing. We had four teams and it didn’t work. This time, we have our ducks in a row. We’re organized, we’re structured and we have a lot more depth in our management and engineering. Across the board, we’re ready for it this time.”

BOWYER'S CHASSIS SELECTION: Bowyer will pilot chassis No. 294 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in the annual Budweiser Shootout event. This chassis was driven in two restrictor plate races during the 2010 NSCS season at Daytona and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Bowyer drove the No. 33 Chevrolet to Victory Lane at Talladega last Halloween and to a top-five finish in the prestigious DAYTONA 500. In both races, he qualified inside the top 10 and led for a total 56 laps.

Burton looking forward to first competitive racing in the Shootout
JEFF BURTON ON THE LARGE FIELD FOR THIS YEARS BUD SHOOTOUT: “It’s almost a whole field. There are a lot of cars in it, and I guess that’s good because we’re in it. It’s going to be an exciting race. I really think that the race, with the new surface, is going to be crazy. This race offers an opportunity to learn something. The drivers and teams racing in the Bud Shootout will go into the Duel 150′s with a race under their belt that others won’t have, and I think that’s an advantage. Anytime you can be on the race track and other people can’t, gives you an edge. It’s going to be hard to imagine that half the cars that come out of it won’t need another car to replace that one.”

BURTON'S STRATEGY FOR THE GATORADE DUELS: “I think it depends on what you have going on. I think that’s going to be the mind-set for most people. If you look at testing this year, there was never a large pack of cars. You would walk through the garage area and ask ‘are you guys going to draft?’ People say ‘no, we’re afraid we’re going to tear something up.’ There’s a general consensus that there’s going to be a fair amount of wrecks going on at Daytona. You certainly want to be able to put your best piece into the Daytona 500 and, certainly, the car that you qualify is the car that you believe is the best one. There’s a fine line between learning and being aggressive. I think the 150′s are going to be a great place to learn but, at the same time, it’s a race and people are going to try and win.”

BURTON ON COMING CLOSE BUT NOT WINNING THE DAYTONA 500: “In the last four years, we’ve been 15 laps from the end of the race and in the midst of a battle with a real opportunity to win the 500.Every year, there’s been a circumstance where we didn’t make the right move or something happened and it just didn’t work out for us. Our restrictor-plate Chevys have been great and I feel like we’ve been in position to win at both Daytona and Talladega. We’ve always been a little better at Daytona than at Talladega, but I think you’re going to have to shift your mentality a little bit. I have to make sure that my weaknesses at Talladega don’t come out at Daytona because I feel like it’s going to be more like a Talladega race. I’ve spent a lot of time watching the last three races at Talladega to see how Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer have won them as well as other drivers who got it done. I feel like I’ve learned a lot. I’ve talked to Clint a lot. The Daytona 500 is a race that means a great deal to me. I’ve never won one and it’s certainly on my list.”

BURTON ON WHETHER THE SHOOTOUT HELPS KNOCK OFF SOME RUST: “Competition brings something out of you that you can’t replicate by practice or testing, especially in our sport. With football, basketball and baseball, you can practice and scrimmage at a level against people. When we go test, we’re testing against the race track, which you ultimately have to beat. But, you have a lot of people you have to go through to beat the race track. So, in our sport, you don’t get the chance to do that unless you’re at the race track with other people. The Shootout is our first chance in three months to go out and try to beat our competitors. I think it’s great to get started the week before the Daytona 500.”

BURTON CHASSIS SELECTION: For the second consecutive year, Jeff Burton will pilot chassis No. 238 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in the annual Budweiser Shootout event. Built new in 2008, this No. 29-turned-31 Chevrolet Impala was driven in a number of races that year, including those at Auto Club Speedway at California in February, Atlanta Motor Speedway in March, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May, as well as the June race at Michigan International Speedway and the fall race at Bristol Motor Speedway. In those five races, Harvick qualified in the top 10 four times and posted three top-10 finishes, his best result being a fourth-place run at Bristol in August. At the completion of the 2008 season, the RCR entry was converted from its original downforce configuration into a superspeedway car.

In 2009, Harvick was scheduled to drive this car in the Daytona 500, but a crash during practice forced the team to use a back-up car instead. A couple months later, Harvick and the No. 29 Chevrolet were involved in a multi-car incident just seven laps into the 188-lap event at Talladega Superspeedway and were credited with a 38th-place finish. Serving as a back-up entry for the remaining restrictor-plate events, this racer wouldn’t return to competition until the 2010 Budweiser Shootout when Burton drove it to a 12th-place finish.

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