Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Driver Notes & Quotes for Kansas Hollywood Casino 400

Greg Biffle finished 1st or 3rd in four of the last five Kansas races (Getty)
GREG BIFFLE ON KANSAS: “Kansas is a unique track that I have always enjoyed racing at. I think I enjoy it because I’ve run well there. We were able to win there last year and finished third there the two years before that. We got our only win of the 2007 season at Kansas too, so we know we can get to victory lane there if we don’t have anything go wrong. We’re working really hard on all fronts to do everything we can to get the No. 16 Ford into the winner’s circle. We have Sherwin-Williams on the car this week which is the same paint scheme we took to victory lane in Kansas last year.”

CARL EDWARDS ON RACING AT KANSAS: “There is absolutely nothing better than racing in front of your family and friends at your hometown track this weekend at Kansas Speedway. A win there would mean the world to me. We are going into Kansas tied for the lead with seven races to go and we are coming off a good finish at Dover. We’d like to build on that lead and Kansas would be the perfect track to do that.”

FOR THE RECORD…Edwards will make his ninth Cup start at Kansas Speedway this weekend. In his previous starts, Edwards has three top-five and six top-10 finishes. His average start is 20.5 and his average finish is 11.4. His best finish (second) came in 2008.

HOME TRACK… Edwards is a native of, and currently resides in Columbia, Mo. Only 130 miles away, he considers Kansas Speedway his home track in the Sprint Cup Series.

EDWARDS CHASSIS CHOICE: The Aflac team will be bringing chassis RK-732 to Kansas. This car most recently raced at Pocono in August where Edwards finished seventh.

Matt Kenseth using ninth-place Atlanta car (Getty)
MATT KENSETH ON KANSAS: “Kansas and Chicago are a lot alike when you look at 1.5-mile tracks, and I thought that we had a really strong car in Chicago a few weeks ago, so I’m looking forward to a great run this weekend at Kansas. The thing about Kansas that makes it a little different is the pavement, and how the surface has started to wear out, which is a good thing for us when we’re racing. It’s important to have good balance on new tires in order for our Crown Royal Ford to still be good at the end of a run. We work hard to make sure that our car drives well throughout the entire run at Kansas, and if we can do that and continue our great work on pit road, we should have a strong finish Sunday.”

KENSETH CREW CHIEF JIMMY FENNIG ON THEIR KANSAS CAR: “The car we’re bringing this weekend to Kansas was last run at Atlanta where it was a brand new chassis in our rotation. When we raced at Kansas earlier this season, we were able to finish sixth, and I expect us to have a good run this weekend there. Kansas is a track where we typically see cars be aero-tight since it can be difficult to pass at. Kansas and Chicago are similar tracks and I feel that we had a strong car at Chicago so hopefully we can translate that success into our car for this weekend at Kansas.”

DENNY HAMLIN ON HOW HE FEELS ABOUT HEADING BACK TO KANSAS: “I’m looking forward to it. We ran really strong in the Kansas race in the spring and really 1.5-mile tracks in general have been good to us here lately as far as our performance. We look forward to going back to them. It’s the normal type races of what we have during the season Tracks like Dover and New Hampshire these past two weeks have kind of been one off race tracks where you really can’t get a good feel for where your program is at.”

Kyle Busch is using Chicagoland car this week (Getty)
KYLE BUSCH ON CHANGES HE'S SEEN AT KANSAS: “Kansas is a typical cookie-cutter-type race track that we always call a mile-and-a-halfs that have that layout. It’s got older asphalt now, but that’s going to change for next year. The surface has matured a little bit over the years. It’s a race track where you can move all over the place. You can go from the bottom all the way to the top. Typically, when we repave these places you’re always stuck to the bottom. It’s the fastest way around. The shortest way around. Sometimes there’s not a lot of grip. It’s got good age to it. It’s got some character. There are definitely some things about it that are different than other race tracks that we go to and that’s what the drivers like. We don’t want to see a Charlotte, a Texas and Atlanta all the same. They’re all so different. But, yet from the naked eye looking above, they’re all laid out the same. So, you would think that they drive the same, but they’re completely different.”

BUSCH ON LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING KANSAS AGAIN: “I think we need to be better than I have run there before. Dave (Rogers, crew chief) and all the guys in the shop have worked really hard to be as prepared as possible for Kansas. We were much better at Chicago this year, even though our results didn’t show it, and the guys went to work to bring an even better car to Kansas this weekend and it’s a very similar layout to Chicago. The banking is just a little bit different but, other than that, it’s really similar. I’ve had some success with JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) and Hendrick (Motorsports) in the Nationwide Series there, and I’m hoping, with a little more experience and knowledge, I can do that in the Cup car at Kansas, as well. This weekend would be a great time to get it figured out and, hopefully, have a good solid top-five day with our M&M’s Camry.”

BUSCH CHASSIS CHOICE: This chassis will make its second-ever start in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. This chassis made its debut in the first race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup last month at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. After qualifying a solid ninth and running within the top-10 all race long, Busch ran out of gas with just two laps remaining, forcing him to come to pit road for a splash of gas and led to a disappointing 22nd-place finish.

Harvick is using runner-up Chicagoland chassis (Getty)
KEVIN HARVICK ON KANSAS: “I think when you look at the facility itself (Kansas Speedway), when you look at the surrounding area, there are not too many places that we go to that have built around the race track like this particular track. From a fan standpoint, when you look at the race track, there are things to do and places to go, so that part of it is good. The race track itself is a lot like a lot of the other race tracks we go to as far as the race track shape and size, so that doesn’t really set it aside from a lot of other places. The one thing that does set it aside is the way that the race track has aged, which is a good thing. You look at Charlotte, those types of race tracks, the asphalt has not changed much over the years and this particular race track, the tires wear out, it gets slick and the cars start to slide around, which makes the racing groove move up, which it has done here over the past couple of years so that part of it has changed a little bit differently than a lot of the mile-and-a-half tracks.

“I think the competition level is so even. I don’t think you’re going to see anybody come in here and dominate like you have before, as far as just taking off and running away. You’re going to be consistent and solid and it’s just a matter of keeping yourself in it until you get to the last couple of races and if you can keep yourself in contention, hopefully you’ve eliminated most of the other guys in the Chase.”

HARVICK CHASSIS CHOICE: Kevin Harvick will race chassis No. 378 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. The team utilized this car at Chicagoland Speedway to earn a second-place finish last month.

Stewart is using his dominant Vegas car this week (Getty)
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET – 3RD IN STANDINGS: “It seems like in the last couple of years it (Kansas Speedway) has really come around. It’s seasoned and it’s gotten to where we can get off the bottom and move around the racetrack more. That’s what you want as a driver. That’s what the teams want. You don’t want to be stuck following guys and not being able to move around and pass. It just makes you confident that you know you have options when you go into the corner where you can help yourself out as a driver. It makes this place a lot more fun to race when you’re able to move around and find different grooves.”

STEWART CHASSIS CHOICE: This car debuted in May 2010 in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. It qualified 26th and finished 15th in its maiden race. It saw extensive wind-tunnel time before returning to action in late July for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There, it qualified 15th and
ran most of the race at the lower end of the top-10. But a savvy two-tire pit call on the team’s final stop allowed it to rally to a fifth-place finish. Chassis No. 14-591 spent the rest of the 2010 season as a backup, and in the off-season, it received a new body and logged many hours in the wind tunnel.

The Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was its third career start and first of 2011. It was impressive, as Stewart dominated, leading four times for a race-high 163 laps. He opened up a four-second advantage until a pit road miscue derailed the perfect outing and left him second when the checkered flag dropped. Its next start came in May’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, where it was poised to finish in the top-10 until engine woes late in the race dropped it to a 17th-place finish. Chassis No. 14-591’s next outing came in a test July 9 at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. It returned to racing Labor Day weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where after starting 20th, rallied to an impressive third-place finish, gaining 8.5 seconds on eventual winner Jeff Gordon in the final 10 laps. The Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas will mark Chassis No. 14-591’s sixth career start and fourth this season.

JIMMIE JOHNSON ON KANSAS: “The track’s (Kansas Speedway) lost a ton of grip and it’s heading toward Atlanta from a grip standpoint. There are lots of grooves to race on and cars don’t really wear the tire off. I’m going to go out on a limb and say it could be a fuel mileage race but I don’t really want to think about it from that standpoint.”

JOHNSON CHASSIS CHOICE: Johnson will drive chassis No. 681 in Sunday’s race. He crossed the line 10th in that chassis at Chicagoland Speedway in September. Johnson finished second in backup chassis No. 650 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in September.

JEFF GORDON ON KANSAS: “This has been a great track for us and I can’t wait for this weekend’s race. I hope we run like we did earlier this year. If so, it gives us a chance to make up some points. I feel like Kansas is where we really turned the corner this year with our 1.5-mile program. We ran really strong and I felt like we had a shot at winning that race. I guess we are somewhat fortunate (with seven races remaining in the Chase to the NASCAR Sprint Cup). We’ve had only one good race out of three, but we’re down only 19 points. That doesn’t have to be made up in one event. Seven races is a lot of races. But every race is important. It doesn’t matter what track you are going to and what your past experience or stats are there. It’s all about what you do these next seven weeks. That’s all it boils down to. And I think this No. 24 team is strong enough to put a string of seven good races together.”

DALE EARNHARDT JR. ON KANSAS: “We kind of struggled in that race, but the car ended up not being too bad. I don’t know if we could have caught Brad (Keselowski) there at the end, but we had to do what we had to do at that point. I was happy with the second-place finish, but I do think we need to qualify better so we won’t have to deal with the dirty air. The aero balance on the car can be frustrating being so far back.”

RYAN NEWMAN ON KANSAS: “Kansas is quite a bit different with the asphalt. The seams are the same as in the asphalt, I guess you could say. The way we have to cut them and work them, cars can be pretty sensitive there. Charlotte is a totally different animal with the banking and the speed and the tire combination that we have at that racetrack. I look forward to both of them. We had a decent car at Kansas in the first race and never got track position and the improvements we made in the car and the team at Chicago, I look forward to going back to a mile-and-a-half racetrack because that had been one of our weaknesses and I feel like it is one of our strengths right now.”

RYAN NEWMAN CHASSIS CHOICE: This will be the fourth start for Chassis No. 39-677 this season and the first start for the chassis at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. The chassis made its first start in July at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Newman started 23rd and finished 12th. The next start for Chassis 39-677 was in August at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, where Newman started third and finished fifth. The last on-track appearance for this chassis came in September at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., where Newman started fourth and led 18 laps en route to an eighth-place result.

Clint Bowyer is hoping for some home-cooking this week
CLINT BOWYER ON KANSAS: “Kansas is a great market. They earned a second date. Beyond that, it’s just a great place for a fan to go watch a race. There’s so much to do around the race track within walking distance, malls, shopping centers and a ton of restaurants. There’s going to be a casino on property next year. So many things have happened to that area because of the race track. Everyone around there is proud of what it’s become. It’s just a long week (with additional pressure) because that’s where I’m from. A lot of my personal and dirt team sponsors are based in that area too. It’s a long busy week and it’s important to reach out and help all those people that support us throughout the season.”

BOWYER CHASSIS CHOICE: Clint Bowyer will pilot chassis No. 371 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend. This Chevrolet Impala, built new last month, was utilized at Chicagoland Speedway in September when Bowyer drove it to a top-10 finish of seventh after starting 21st.

MARK MARTIN ON KANSAS: “The best thing to me about going to Kansas is that it’s real close to Batesville, Ark. I have a lot of fans that make the drive up there to support me and this team and that means a lot to me. I feel like our intermediate program is getting better and better. We’ve gotten top-10s in two of our last three intermediate races. Hopefully we can give them a show this weekend and get a good finish out of it.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA ON KANSAS: “We hope to get things back on track this weekend in Kansas. If you look at our season to this point and last year, we’ve had good runs, but the finishes aren’t there. It has been like that. We have had good speed, but bad finishes for one reason or another. We run out of gas, we pit and everyone stays out, or they make it and we don’t. Jim (Pohlman) is now getting comfortable. It’s not an easy transition but now he is relaxing and getting in the zone, and things are going to turn around and get better.”

PAUL MENARD ON KANSAS: “We felt like we let one get away there (Kansas Speedway) last year. If I remember right, last Fall the No. 16 won the race and he was really fast. Everyone else was kind of racing for second-place. When we came in for our last pit stop, we didn’t have a good one and fell back quite a bit because of that. We felt we let one get away there. By the time we get to qualifying, we’ve gone through practice and figured out how we want the car to drive off into the corner. If you can do that, you usually can qualify pretty well by arcing it out and turning the wheel.”

MENARD CHASSIS CHOICE: Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 379 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This is a brand new No. 27 Chevrolet Impala that will turn its first laps during opening practice on Friday at Kansas Speedway.

JEFF BURTON ON KANSAS: “I think we’ve always had good race cars at Kansas (Speedway), we’ve just always had something go wrong. I feel really good about going there and I really enjoy the race track. I think it’s a great track and as it has gotten older, it’s become a much, much better track to race on. I have really high expectations going there. It’s your typical 1.5-mile speedway where dynamics are very important. Although, it’s not a real high-banked or high-speed race track, the grip goes away and it gets slick. It’s not a place that you tend to run wide open during qualifying. It’s a track that you have to be aggressive on. It’s not a cookie cutter, high grip, new pavement type of race track.”

BURTON CHASSIS CHOICE: Jeff Burton will pilot chassis No. 367 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This Caterpillar Chevrolet is a recent addition to the fleet and ran for the first time at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July where Burton started 13th and finished 35th after facing electrical issues in the closing laps. It later ran at Atlanta Motor Speedway in September, where Burton started 27th and climbed through the field to post a 13th-place finish.

REGAN SMITH ON KANSAS: “Once again we (Furniture Row Racing) will be showcasing the Farm American paint scheme on our No. 78 Chevrolet. What better place to pay tribute to our farmers and ranchers than in the Heartland of America. We’ve been on a consistent pace the past four races, scoring four straight top-20s. While we like the consistency and staying away from trouble and mechanical issues, we would like to see the final results improve to top-15s and top-10s. I feel we can do that at Kansas since we have a solid intermediate track program. Kansas is the first of four remaining races on mile-and-a-half tracks. A good performance Sunday will not only give us a lift, but also help us prepare for the other 1.5 ovals.”

JAMIE MCMURRAY ON KANSAS: “I am looking forward to going back to Kansas again. I think our team has made some progress on our cars since our first trip there in June. We ran good a Chicago a couple of weeks ago before we had a motor problem and the two tracks are very similar so we hope we can have our Chevrolet running strong again. This is also the closest track to Bass Pro Shops headquarters in Springfield, Mo. and we always want to put on a good show for all of the guests that we will have on hand this weekend.”

Kurt Busch dominated first Kansas race (Getty)
KURT BUSCH ON KANSAS:“I don’t know what it is about the Kansas track. The year that I won the championship, I finished sixth and that had been the highlight so far. It’s a flat mile-and-a-half that reminds me of Las Vegas when it was built and flat. It’s just a tough combination. If you’re just a tick off, you feel like you play catch-up most of the weekend and if you unload fast, you’re tough to chase down.”

BUSCH CREW CHIEF STEVE ADDINGTON ON THEIR KANSAS CAR: “This is a sister car to our ‘758’ that we won Dover with last weekend. Since the last time out, we’ve gone back and completely redone this car with our latest stuff. It’ll be a good car for Kansas and we can’t wait to get back out there. We’re heading in there with the attitude that we have some unfinished business to take care of this time around.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI ON KANSAS: “Wow. So much has happened this year since we won at Kansas, but I don’t want the significance of that win lost in the fact that we won two more races and made the Chase. That win at Kansas was special because we knew we were doing the right things to be successful, but just didn’t get the luck needed to win. Winning at Kansas was a validation, of sorts, and it was definitely the catalyst for what we were able to accomplish as the summer months wore on. We won the race on fuel mileage, but we had a very fast car throughout the race. We ran in the top-10 most of the day. With a fast Miller Lite Dodge and good fuel mileage, I’m confident about our chances this weekend.”

KESELOWSKI CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger team will race chassis PRS-753 during Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. Keselowski last raced this chassis to a third-place finish at Michigan International Speedway in August.

DAVID RAGAN ON KANSAS: “We always look to improve at tracks from the first event there and Kansas is a track that really fits our program. Our engines run well there and our cars are fast. Drew and I are going to work hard to try and grab another win for our UPS team.”

RAGAN CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary: RK-730 Last ran Kansas – finished 13th; Backup: RK-711 Last ran Darlington – finished 21st

No comments: