Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Driver Notes & Quotes for 2012 Pocono 400

Johnson swept the 2004 season at Pocono, his only two wins there (Getty)
JIMMIE JOHNSON ON THE TESTS AT MICHIGAN AND POCONO: “I talked to Matt Kenseth. He was at the test and Jeff Gordon was there (Michigan), too. There are different ways that we describe things and the expression that both Jeff and Matt had on their faces when they described the speed at Michigan; I know it’s going to be exciting. So, I’m looking forward to the test. Testing will be helpful for all the teams. And then we’ll see what it does. And it’s just going to be blistering fast. I’ll know more when I get there. I want to make sure I have plenty of coffee to be awake when I get on track (laughs).

“The speeds and the shapes of the tracks are different, of course. But any more, the airflow over the car is where we find the bulk of our grip. So the fact that the speeds at Pocono are very high and the same with the speeds at Michigan, there will be some things that cross over (between the two tracks). So, we will leave the Pocono test and race, and go to Michigan and, actually, it will probably be closer than it would if we came from a short track because the speeds in the way you set the car up due to the aerodynamics would be the same.”

JOHNSON CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis No. 681 serves as the primary for Johnson at Pocono. This is the same chassis Johnson used to win at Darlington last month and Kansas last October. This will be the seventh start for chassis No. 681. In the previous six races Johnson has led at least one lap with the car. Chassis No. 669 serves as the backup.

KASEY KAHNE CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew chief Kenny Francis has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 729 to make its debut this week at Pocono.

DALE EARNHARDT JR CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew chief Steve Letarte and the No. 88 team will debut new chassis (No. 726) this week at Pocono.

RYAN NEWMAN CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis No. 39-655 has just two starts to its credit – last season’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and the Food City 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway earlier this season. At Charlotte last spring, Newman was making a run for the top-10 when he got tangled in a multi-car melee on lap 303. The accident forced Newman to take his No. 39 to the garage for extensive repairs. He returned to the track more than 40 laps down and finished the race 31st. After the incident at Charlotte, the car underwent extensive work and updates in the shop before making its 2012 debut at Bristol, which resulted in a 12th-place finish.

TONY STEWART CHASSIS SELECTION: Chassis No. 14-722 - This is a brand-new racecar that has never turned a wheel on the racetrack, but it has been wind-tunnel tested numerous times.

JAMIE McMURRAY CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 1 Banana Boat team will bring Chassis #1106 to Pocono Raceway this weekend. This chassis has made two race appearances this season, the first at Bristol with a seventh-place finish and the second appearance at the Sprint Showdown, resulting in a third-place finish. This chassis was also brought to the Pocono test. This chassis was used in 2011 at Texas in November, Dover in October, Michigan (June and August), and Charlotte (Coke 600, and All-Star).

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew Chief Chris “Shine” Heroy and the No. 42 Target team will bring Chassis #1108 to Pocono Raceway this weekend. This is the first time this chassis will be on-track in the 2012 season. This chassis raced at both Michigan International Speedway events in 2011, finishing 28th and 30th.

KEVIN HARVICK ON POCONO: “I haven’t been there since they repaved it, but obviously it’s going to be really fast and I think they have put a lot of effort into making the race track safer with the barriers all around the track. Just to see that type of effort from the race track and the commitment they have for the sport is pretty cool. There is going to be a lot to learn over the first couple of days of testing, and as we go into the third day of practice hopefully we will have it figured out on the Rheem Chevrolet.”

HARVICK CHASSIS CHOICE: Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 374 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for competition during the 2012 season, Harvick utilized this chassis at Auto Club Speedway in March and Darlington Raceway in May finishing fourth and 16th, respectively.

PAUL MENARD CHASSIS CHOICE: Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 384 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 27 Chevrolet was built new for 2012 competition and was last seen on track at Auto Club Speedway in March where Menard finished 19thafter starting from the 27th position in the rain-shortened Auto Club 400.

JEFF BURTON CHASSIS CHOICE: Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 385 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend. This No. 31 Chevrolet, built new for the 2012 season, was utilized twice this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March (started-22nd, finished-14th) and Texas Motor Speedway in April (started-24th, finished-29th).

CLINT BOWYER CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary Chassis No. 733 is a new chassis racing for the first time at Pocono Raceway. Chassis No. 721 is the backup and previously served backup duty at Las Vegas, California, Texas, Kansas, Darlington, All-Star and Charlotte but never raced.

MARK MARTIN CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary – Chassis 720 – This chassis raced at Kansas and Las Vegas. Backup – Chassis 726 has raced at Fontana and Darlington.

CARL EDWARDS ON POCONO: “My heart rate is going up just thinking about how fast it is going to be at Pocono this week. The new pavement has the potential to make this one of the highest-speed tracks that we go to. It was already a fast track. I have yet to be on the surface, so I am very anxious to see how it drives. I think the fact that the surface is new, no one really knows what will work and what won’t. I think it could shake up the race and make it a real interesting one. We have gone there before and run really well on the old surface, so hopefully we can turn that into a good run this weekend, because we need it. Last weekend we had a good car that could compete for the win and we had some bad luck. Now we are on the outside looking in, so it’s time to go.”

EDWARDS CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 99 team will be unloading chassis RK-815 this weekend. This car was new at Darlington where Edwards finished seventh.

GREG BIFFLE ON POCONO: “I’m nervous heading to Pocono because I have no idea what to expect. We have a day and a half of testing, which is good, but I have no idea how fast it will be, or how different it will drive through the corners. I’m excited it was repaved and also think that the race being shortened to 400 miles will create some excitement with the fans. There will be more urgency to go and different strategy during the race. I’m pretty anxious to get there and get on the track.”

BIFFLE CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary: RK-777 Last ran Kansas – finished fifth; Backup: RK-786 Last ran Homestead – finished 35th

MATT KENSETH ON POCONO: “I don’t know a lot about Pocono since they repaved it, but since we have to be there for testing next week, I think by the time we do the test, we’ll have a good idea of what you need and a good plan going into Friday and getting ready for the weekend. It is a bit of an unknown right now, and until we get on the track, having not been on that surface yet with a tire on that new surface it is hard to predict how much tires are going to make a difference compared to track position and all those variables. I would assume with it being a new paved track that we’ll have a fairly hard tire and be more focused on track position and fuel mileage than on tires. Again, we haven’t been on the track yet so it is hard to predict all that right now.”

KENSETH CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary: RK-810 (last run at Texas)

ARIC ALMIROLA ON POCONO: “This is going to be a busy week. We’ve got a bunch of test time at Pocono to try out the new surface – which is going to be a big benefit for me because I’ve never raced at Pocono in a Cup car. So it’ll be good to get out there and run a bunch of extra laps both for myself as a driver and for the team because, obviously, any priornotebook that the team had from before isn’t going to account for the new pavement.

ALMIROLA CHASSIS CHOICE: The team has prepared chassis No. 742 for the Pocono race. Almirola drove this car to a 19th-place finish earlier this season at Darlington Raceway.

MARCOS AMBROSE CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 9 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 805 for this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race atPocono Raceway. This DEWALT Ford was run previously this season at Richmond and Phoenix.

BRAD KESELOWSKI CHASSIS CHOICE: Brad will race chassis PRS-818 during Sunday's Pocono. Brad drove this chassis to a ninth-place finish at Martinsville.


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