Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Driver Notes & Quotes for 2012 Bristol Food City 500

Carl Edwards has a 12.3 average finish at Bristol (Getty)
CARL EDWARDS ON BRISTOL: “Racing at Bristol is like fighter jets in a gymnasium. The banking is so high, you drive down in the corner and the forces pushing the car into the track seem so much greater than anywhere else we go. The rate at which the car is changing direction is very fast. It always takes me a few laps in the race, 10-15 laps in, to get comfortable with the pace of it because things are happening so quickly there. It is really fun to race there and we hope to get the Cheez-It Ford in victory lane.”

EDWARDS CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 99 will have Cheez-It as the primary sponsor. The crew will unload RK-788 for the weekend. This car first raced at Chicago (fourth place) in September 2011, and then went on to finish third at Dover a few weeks later.

MATT KENSETH ON BRISTOL: “I like going to Bristol a lot. The track is different there after they reconfigured it, so it’s one that is always a challenge. You need to be ready for it because it’s a really fast track and things happen in a hurry. I’m looking forward to going there this weekend with our Best Buy Ford. It’s one of the most fun races of the year so I think everyone always looks forward to heading to Bristol. We had some decent runs there last year so I’m ready to unload this weekend and see what our team is able to do.”

KENSETH CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary: RK-802 (brand new chassis)

GREG BIFFLE ON BRISTOL: “Bristol is high on my list and it’s one of my favorite tracks to go to. The important keys to getting around Bristol are qualifying well and getting a good pit box to keep your track position. Being the point leader we are still showing up with the same exact plan. What we always try to do is win, and I want to win at Bristol sine I’ve never won there. We know we are capable of running in the top five, we just have to figure out how to be there at the end.”

BIFFLE CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis RK-749 is the same car Biffle claimed the pole position with at Texas in the fall of 2011.

KEVIN HARVICK ON BRISTOL: “Bristol is probably the place that we’ve had circled on the calendar as the place that we ran the worst at last year. As a company, the last race was just bad. For us, we’ve talked about Bristol a lot. I’m looking forward to getting on the race track and running through some different theories and things that we think we needed to do different. Bristol is always a fun place. You never know what can happen there. It seems like it’s just a place where anything can happen at any time. It’s a fun race track and obviously short-track racing is something we all grew up doing.”

HARVICK CHASSIS CHOICE: Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team will utilize chassis No. 340 from the Richard Childress Racing stable for Sunday’s race. This Chevrolet Impala was raced four times in 2011 by the No. 33 team, scoring a ninth-place finish at Martinsville Speedway in April and a sixth-place finish at Richmond International Raceway that same month.

JEFF BURTON ON BRISTOL BEING TOUGH: “Well, that’s Bristol. It will definitely do that to you. Bristol Motor Speedway is one of my favorite race tracks. We typically run well there with the exception of the August event last season. Every other time we’ve come here, we’ve run well, but just not got the finishes where we deserved. It’s a track that I really like and RCR typically performs well. It’s a hard race. Early in the season, everyone is trying to find their rhythm. Some teams are playing catch up, some are trying to protect their points cushion and some are being really aggressive. You always want to go there and feel you can be aggressive and go attack the race track. Even though it is a track that will bite you, the only way to go fast and win is to attack it. You can’t be passive, you have to be aggressive.”

BURTON CHASSIS CHOICE: Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 359 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend. This No. 31 Chevrolet Impala was utilized three times last season including, Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600 (started-fifth, finished-21st), Pocono Raceway in August (started-eighth, finished-17th) and Dover International Speedway in October (started-13th, finished-11th).

PAUL MENARD CHASSIS: Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 347 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 27 Chevrolet Impala was last seen on track at Pocono Raceway in August 2011, where Menard started seventh and drove it to a 10th-place finish. Menard also drove this Chevrolet at Pocono in June when the Eau Claire, Wis. native started second and finished 14th, at Dover International Speedway in May where he brought home a 24th-place result and at Auto Club Speedway where he finished 16th.

BRENDAN GAUGHAN ON BRISTOL: “I have a lot of confidence going into this weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. I have learned a lot over the past few weeks running in the Cup car. The more seat time I have, the more comfortable I feel and the more I learn about these cars.”

GAUGHAN CHASSIS CHOICE: Brendan Gaughan will pilot Chassis No. 325 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This RCR racer was last seen as a No. 29 entry that scored a third-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2010 and a 17th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2011.

BRAD KESELOWSKI ON BRISTOL: “I love racing at Bristol. Normally I don’t pick favorite tracks because if you have tracks that you like, then you have to have places where you despise going. That means you are defeated before you ever get there. But if I had to pick a favorite, Bristol would be right at the top. The feeling I get when I walk through that tunnel is the same feeling I had when I went there for the first time. I’ve never been, but it has to be the same feeling that you get when you walk into the Roman Coliseum."

KESELOWSKI CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger team will race chassis PRS-813 during Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS). This is a new chassis to the No. 2 fleet.

JAMIE McMURRAY CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis #1106. Manion and the No.1 McDonald’s team will bring Chassis #1106 to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. This chassis competed in both races at Kansas Speedway (finishing 29th and 22nd) as well as Atlanta Motor Speedway (finishing 16th).

JUAN MONTOYA CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis #1111. Crew Chief Chris Heroy and the No.42 Target team will bring Chassis #1111 to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. This chassis made its debut in last season’s finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, leading two laps and finishing 31st after an accident put the No. 42 four laps down.

CLINT BOWYER CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 15 5-hour ENERGY team will race chassis No. 724 at Bristol. Chassis No. 718 will serve as the backup. Chassis 718 also served as the backup in Phoenix. Both chassis are new in 2012.

JIMMIE JOHNSON CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis No. 650 serves as the primary for Johnson at Bristol. Chassis No. 590 serves as the backup. The primary has never finished worse than ninth and has two runner-up finishes in five 2011 starts.

The kid is right: 4 wins last 6 starts
KYLE BUSCH CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis No. 322 - This chassis will see its first-ever race action in Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

RYAN NEWMAN CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis No. 39-655 only has one start to its credit – last season’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Newman was making a run on 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 in 31st. Since the incident at Charlotte, the car has undergone extensive work and updates in the shop in preparation for its 2012 debut this weekend at Bristol.

KURT BUSCH CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend’s Food City 500 will be the second race of the 2012 season for this chassis, which was built in June 2011. This car is the same one with which Kurt Busch raced at Phoenix two weeks ago, when he scored a 15th-place finish after starting 19th. The team tested this chassis in January at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway during a two-day session in preparation for the upcoming season.

ARIC ALMIROLA CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 43 Charter Communications Ford will be chassis number 710. This is the same chassis that raced at Bristol in the fall and finished 12th.

MARCOS AMBROSE CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 9 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 743 for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. This Mac Tools Ford was previously run last season at several intermediate tracks.

KASEY KAHNE CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew chief Lance McGrew has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-696. Kahne piloted the car during an electronic fuel injection test at Charlotte Motor Speedway last October.

TONY STEWART CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis No. 14-535 debuted at Phoenix in April 2009. After only being tested in the wind tunnel, Chassis No. 14-535 hit the racetrack in impressive fashion, as Stewart used it to qualify sixth and led once for 19 laps before finishing second. Chassis No. 14-535 returned to another flat track in June at New Hampshire, but its time on the racetrack was short after it crashed in practice. It was repaired with new front and rear clips for its return trip to New Hampshire in September where it led four times for 52 laps before a loose axle cap forced an unscheduled pit stop, which resulted in a 14th-place finish. The November trek to Phoenix marked the car's third career start, where it qualified eighth and finished 25th when it was caught up in a multi-car accident on lap 171 of the 312-lap race. With a new body, Chassis No. 14-535 returned to Phoenix in April 2010. It qualified 11th and finishing 23rd. The car was quickly turned around and tested April 26 at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga. It sat idle until coming back to Phoenix in November, where it qualified 20th and ran as high as fourth before falling to 17th in a race dictated by fuel mileage. Chassis No. 14-535 spent all of 2011 as a backup and never turned a wheel on the racetrack. With a brand-new body and updated underpinnings, Chassis No. 14-535 will make its sixth career start and first in more than a year at Bristol Motor Speedway.

AJ ALLMENDINGER CHASSIS CHOICE: AJ and his Todd Gordon-led Penske Racing #22 Team will be racing their "PRS-815" Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger in this weekend's Food City 500 action at Bristol Motor Speedway. This is a brand new car and Friday's opening practice will be the first time it has been on a race track. The "PRS-807" is the backup Dodge Charger for the "Double-Deuce" team. It was in the transporter serving as the backup at Phoenix, but has never seen any track time.

DALE EARNHARDT JR CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew chief Steve Letarte and the #88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-657. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis to a 24th-place finish at Dover last September.

- From several team press releases

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