Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Driver Notes & Quotes For Texas Samsung Mobile 500

Joey Logano finished fourth in his last Texas race
JOEY LOGANO ON RACING AT TEXAS: “Texas was only one of those tracks that I just struggled at and had no idea why. People try and tell you it’s like Charlotte, but I assure you it’s not. Charlotte has always been one of my best tracks and until last fall Texas was one of my worst. Last fall I was kind of expecting to be happy with anything around a top-10 finish and thought that would be a good day for us. Then all of a sudden I was in the lead and I was leading laps. I thought that was pretty cool was like, ‘who would’ve thought that here.”

“It’s a really fast track and the Joe Gibbs Racing cars have done well as these types of tracks recently. Hopefully The Home Depot Team will have a solid weekend and continue to work our way up in the points. Plus, I enjoy Saturday night racing so I’m looking forward to this weekend.”

LOGANO CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 20 Home Depot Team is taking chassis #297 to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend for the Samsung Mobile 500. The team utilized this chassis at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this season. A late-race tire violation with 25 laps to go dropped the team out of the top 10 and into the 23rd position at the Nevada track. The back-up chassis is chassis #284 which Logano drove last year at Auto Club Speedway to an 11th-place finish and at Phoenix International Raceway in November to third.

RYAN NEWMAN ON TEXAS: “We’re off to a strong start and if we’re going to continue to have success we need to do well at the intermediate tracks like Texas. In the past, the mile-and-a-half and two-mile tracks gave us problems, but so far this season we have had good results at those venues with fifth-place finishes at Las Vegas and Fontana. Texas will be another good test for our U.S. Army Reserve Chevrolet. I’ve had a mixture of results there including a win (2003), but it’s going to be more interesting this weekend with it being a night race. The balance transition at night races is key and with this being the first night race at Texas that’s the big unanswered question. It’s the same for everyone, but I feel good about how our U.S. Army team has been communicating and working through problems. I think we put ourselves in a better position team-wise and communication-wise to be more successful this year. After two years of working together, we’ve learned what we needed to work on and I think we did a good job in the off-season of doing that.

JAMIE McMURRAY ON TEXAS: “I love Texas! I grew up only about five hours from the race track so It feels like home, and it’s one of the nicest facilities that we go to. We didn’t run very well there last year, so we’re going with a completely different style of a setup. Texas has usually been a good track for me, so hopefully we’ll hit on something this weekend and bring home another solid finish for our Bass Pro Shops Chevy.

McMURRAY CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis #1102 - Kevin “Bono” Manion will bring chassis #1102. This chassis was raced earlier this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where the team qualified 11th and finished 27th.

Montoya will be using third-place Vegas chassis this week
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA ON TEXAS: “I like Texas believe it or not. Our results haven’t been that great there but it’s a track I enjoy racing at. You can run against the fence there and make up good ground especially in (turns) three and four. The racing there suits my driving style. Our program has definitely improved over the last couple of years and our Target Chevy’s are strong so I’m looking for a good points day.”

MONTOYA CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis #1105 - Brian Pattie and the No. 42 team will bring chassis #1105 this weekend. This chassis was also raced earlier this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where the team finished third.

DALE EARNHARDT JR ON RACING AT TEXAS: “I look forward to going to Texas — it’s a real fast place, and it’s wide. The car needs to move around, and it needs to work in several different groves. Texas has some really, really tricky transitions. The exit off of Turn 2 is a real, real tricky corner — it is real loose off if you aren’t careful.”

MARK MARTIN ON RACING AT TEXAS: “Who doesn’t like a good night race? I’m excited about it. It’s our first one of the season, and I think that everyone, the drivers, the fans, the sponsors, gets pumped up for night races. I think it’s a good call by the Texas track and I am looking forward to it.”

KASEY KAHNE ON WHAT MAKES TEXAS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER 1.5-MILE TRACKS: “To me, the biggest difference is when you get into the corner — the way the car drops into turn one and then the way it transitions into (turn) three. The banking is kind of similar, the exit to the corners get flat also, which Charlotte and Atlanta do it, but not quite as much probably. There’s a hole — where the tunnels are — there’s a hole across the centers of the corners so your car bounces pretty big through there. It’s a unique track — it’s a tough track and a great track.”

JEFF GORDON ON TEXAS: “We haven’t always run well at Texas, but I am cautiously optimistic heading into the weekend. The differences in our performances in the spring and the fall races recently is probably just different weather and track conditions at that time of year. This track has always been one of the premier facilities – if not the premier facility. There is no other place like this and it has really turned into a fantastic track. When we first came here, it was a really, really challenging race track. It was fast and the transitions were really abrupt, and it was hard just to stay out of the wall. But as the surface has worn and as we’ve gotten the cars handling better, it’s become one of the premier tracks. The race track itself has come into its own and made great racing with the groove widening out. It seems like it gets better every time we come here.”

REGAN SMITH ON TEXAS: “We’re going to Texas knowing that our luck cycle needs to change. It’s been a frustrating start for our No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team. We’ve done so many things well, but can’t seem to avoid trouble and mechanical issues on race day. We know as a team that we’ve made big gains this year even though the results haven’t been what they should be. We’ve been hit pretty hard so far this season with unexpected issues. All we can do is keep plugging away and stay positive. I’ll be driving the Farm American Chevrolet this weekend and hopefully that will change our luck. I think the last time I drove the Farm American car was in California last fall and finished 12th.”

Denny Hamlin needs a major boost at Texas this week
DENNY HAMLIN ON TEXAS AND WINNING LAST YEAR AFTER ACL SURGERY: “Texas is a track I’ve always really run good at, but I was looking at Texas as kind of a week off after Phoenix. As bad as I felt that weekend, I felt like I could use Texas as almost a week off and then try to catch my stride a couple weeks after that and try to get better. How am I supposed to know that my car was going to be rocket fast and we find ourselves in a position to win that race. For me, it was just a huge turning point. It instantly went from trying to recover to just trying to figure out how I am going to get into the Chase and win the Chase at that point.”

TEXAS NATIVE BOBBY LABONTE ON RACING AT HIS HOME TRACK: “Texas Motor Speedway is going to be a good track for us and it will be fun racing at night – - we’ve got Bush’s Beans on board. I really like that place and every track has its own unique characteristic. I was fortunate to go there before they ever built the track. I literally saw it being built from the ground up. It is a great facility and right now it is as good as it has ever been. Texas is coming into its own with a lot of racing grooves.”

“We’ve had really good race cars except for one race and that was Fontana (Auto Club Speedway). We’ve had a little bit of bad luck to go along with the good luck we’ve had. But, we’re getting that consistency where we unload better weekly. We’ve got to find that last little bit to start gaining confidence and momentum as soon as we unload. Momentum is a big thing in this sport. You can’t buy it at a grocery store or a parts store. We’ve been more competitive than not and that’s really encouraging for us.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI ON RACING AT TEXAS: “Texas really is a unique racetrack and a unique layout. From above it looks like any normal 1.5-mile track, but the transitions into and off of the corners are quite a bit different than Charlotte, Las Vegas or any of the other mile-and-a-halfs. There is a lot of banking into the corners, which means you can carry a lot of speed in and to the center, but you lose that speed on exit as the track flattens out. It’s difficult because normally you can carry the same amount of grip and speed on both corner entry and corner exit. You have to adjust accordingly and sometimes that’s hard to do at 180 miles per hour. It’s easy to find yourself in trouble, especially off of Turn 2.”

KESELOWSKI CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger team will use chassis PRS-745 during Sunday’s Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Keselowski drove this chassis to a 26th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last month.

Martin Truex Jr's career best  finish at Texas was third in 2007
MARTIN TRUEX JR ON GOING TO TEXAS: “Martinsville wasn’t too pretty. Anytime you lift your foot off the floor and the engine doesn’t change sound, it’s not a good thing. All I could do was hold on and hope it didn’t hurt too much. It was an unfortunate deal that’s for sure, but it ended up not hurting at all except for our place in the standings. It’s unbelievable what these race cars are able to take nowadays. I think we forget sometimes how much work NASCAR has done to make these cars safe, but I want to thank everyone who has worked and still works diligently to make our sport safe.

“Now, it’s about going to the Texas Motor Speedway to pick everything back up and go at it again. I’m really looking forward to going back there. I think a track like Texas falls in one of our strong points in our program. We had a great run at Vegas so I hope some of what we used and learned there will translate to Texas.”

DAVID REUTIMANN ON TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: “Texas is a track that we really like a lot. It’s a fun racetrack and a place where I enjoy going. For some reason it’s been a racetrack that I’ve enjoyed running ever since my days in the truck series. It’s one of my favorite racetracks. I think I probably like it so much because we’ve run so well there in the past – that probably helps a lot. In the end I think it’s just the overall design of the racetrack and the fans that come out for the event and the way they promote it. The feel of the whole weekend just makes it a fun weekend. I don’t know exactly what it is, but we definitely enjoy running there. I’ve always ran well there and I haven’t had a chance to run two races in a weekend there in some time. This may be my only shot all year to run both races, so I’m going to go out there and try to make the most of it.”

REUTIMANN ON TEXAS BEING A TRACK THAT HE CIRCLES AS A PLACE HE SHOULD WELL: “Absolutely! There are a couple racetracks on the schedule that we look at that way and Texas is definitely one of them.”


StockCartoon by Mike Smith - Las Vegas Sun
Jimmie Johnson Notes

Kurt Busch Notes

Jeff Gordon Notes

RCR Texas Preview

Roush Racing Texas Preview 

Kyle Busch Notes

Tony Stewart Notes

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