Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Driver Notes & Quotes For 2011 Budweiser Shootout

Denny Hamlin is ready to kick off a new year beginning with the Shootout
DENNY HAMLIN'S THOUGHTS HEADING INTO THE BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT: “The Shootout is a fun event and it’s a race that we all want to win. It’s unique because you aren’t worrying about points, about how it’s going to affect your season. You’ll probably see guys try things in the Shootout that you won’t see in the 500 but it’s a short race and the format means that there is nothing to lose at the end. I think that’s what the fans like about this race. We just go out there and race.”

HAMLIN'S OUTLOOK FOR THE 2011 SEASON: “I’m ready to go. I feel as confident as we’ve ever been. Every year we’ve steadily made a progression towards the top and obviously had a career year last year. We know we can do it and we can win at all different kinds of race tracks. For me, I think we have everything in place. I’m keeping all of my key personnel from what we had last year. No changes there. Pit crew is the same. The driver will be a little bit better. Everything is in place to hopefully pull out a first one.”

HAMLIN ON WHETHER HE'S THE DRIVER TO UNSEAT JOHNSON: “I hope so. This is almost a free year for me. A lot of people are going to expect us to have a bad year coming off such a good year, because the expectations were so high last year. We came through and succeeded in winning a bunch of races like we said we were. We were championship contenders — almost won the championship. And this year, a lot of people expect a letdown year because it’s happened to guys before. For me, I know my passion for racing, and it’s impossible for me to fail in that aspect. Unless something crazy happens, we’re going to be right back in the same position this year as what we were last year.”

HAMLIN ON THE NEW POINTS SYSTEM: “I think (NASCAR) hit it right on the head. I really don’t think they could’ve made it any simpler for the new race fan coming into the sport or the driver that knows he’s 10 points behind. He’s got to pass 10 cars. It makes things so much simpler and for me it’s well understood. I think it’s going to reward those guys that go out and win during the regular season. It’s going to give you three bonus points. That’s three spots — that’s like 15 points going into the Chase versus last year’s 10. It’s going to pay to win races nowadays.”

HAMLIN REGARDING HIS STRATEGY FOR SEASON WITH NEW POINTS SYSTEM: “I think you’re going to have to run it the exact same way. The only difference is that wins are obviously going to pay more points. I like it. Of course, we won a lot of races last year. If we don’t win any going into the Chase this year, I’m not going to like it that much, but it should pay the guy that wins. You should see a battle — a guy that’s giving it all he’s got running second trying to win the race. I think NASCAR set that up for us, teed it up for us, and now it’s up to us to go out there and put on the show.”

Greg Biffle excited as ever to start the season
GREG BIFFLE ON THE BUD SHOOTOUT: This is about the most excited I can remember being about the start of a season. We had a good test at Daytona last month and we’re looking forward to seeing what we’ve got in the draft. The Shootout is a big deal if for no other reason than it is the first race of the season. It’s not a points race, so we can go out there and just have fun with it. It’s always good to get the extra laps and be able to experiment with a few things during practice and even the during the Shootout. I think we’re all just looking forward to getting back to racing.”

BIFFLE'S CREW CHIEF GREG ERWIN ON THE SHOOTOUT: "It's obviously very advantageous to be in the Shootout to get the extra track time for the Daytona 500. If you can go down there and run well in the Shootout, that can be a big morale booster for next week. It just really gives everyone on the team including the driver a chance to kind of work the bugs out before we get into a points race. We didn’t get to do a lot of drafting at the test, so the Shootout will give us a better indication of how our cars will perform in traffic. We believe the new nose we have for this season will be beneficial but it will be great to test that in race conditions before the 500.”

MATT KENSETH ON RACING IN THE BUD SHOOTOUT: “We had the chance to get on track at Daytona twice during the off-season with a tire test as well as NASCAR’s test in January and we have a lot more grip with the new track surface. In the past, handling was one of the main points we’d focus on for Daytona, but now with the new surface, I really think it’s going to make for extremely exciting racing. I think we definitely have what it takes to be contenders this season and I’m just looking forward to getting back onto the track to start this season with our Crown Royal team. The Shootout should be a lot of fun Saturday night for both drivers and the fans.”

KENSETH CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary: RK-719 (Brand new chassis)

Carl Edwards is ready to pick up where he left off in 2010
CARL EDWARDS ON RACING IN THE BUD SHOOTOUT: “With the new surface the Shootout is going to be a really important race to be able to go no holds barred and find out the most you can about the race track and the way the cars are going to race for the 500. It’s a fun race and I’m going to go win it if I can, and I’m excited to kick off the season with a fun race like that.”

EDWARDS' CREW CHIEF BOB OSBORNE ON THE SHOOTOUT: “The Shootout is a good test to help us prepare for the Duels and the 500. Generally the set-up is very close to what we run in both races, and it gives us a chance to see what the new surface is like in race conditions. It’s also a good warm-up for the pit crew. We’ve got one new guy (front tire carrier) going over the wall this year and a new fueling system, so it gives everyone a chance to work together for the first time under race conditions. I’m hoping to pick up where we left off last season.”

EDWARDS CHASSIS CHOICE: RK-677, Finished 9th in the 2010 Daytona 500

JAMIE McMURRAY BUD SHOOTOUT CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis #808. The No. 1 Bass Pro Shops® / Tracker Boats team will bring chassis #808 to the Bud Shootout. This is the same chassis McMurray drove to a third-place finish in last year’s Shootout.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA BUD SHOOTOUT CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis #809. Bryan Pattie and the No. 42 Target team are bringing chassis #901 to the Bud Shootout. This is the chassis that the Montoya qualified on the pole and drove to a third-place finish at Talladega in the fall of 2010.

- From Team PR Releases

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