Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Driver Notes & Quotes for the 2012 Richmond 400

Saturday night racing in the Capital of the Confederacy (Getty)
JIMMIE JOHNSON ON RACING AT NIGHT: “As a fan, I love the night race. As a driver, we are in a rhythm of day racing. It’s so tough to save your energy, even grab a nap so that you are ready for the night. That aspect is hard, but I love racing under the lights. Once I’m in the moment, it’s great, but it’s a long day waiting for the race to start.”

JOHNSON CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis No. 715 is a new chassis and serves as the primary for Johnson at Richmond. Chassis No. 689 serves as the backup.

KASEY KAHNE CHASSIS CHOICE: For Saturday's race, crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-663. Kahne started 10th in this car at Phoenix International Raceway in March before an early incident sent him to the garage for repairs. Kahne finished that event 34th. The No. 5 team also raced the car four times in 2011 with driver Mark Martin notably collecting a top-10 finish at Richmond in September.

DALE EARNHARDT JR CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend, crew chief Steve Letarte will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-709. Earnhardt last raced this chassis to a 14th-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway in March.

TONY STEWART CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis No. 14-710 - This is a brand-new racecar that has never turned a wheel on the racetrack, but it has seen numerous hours in the wind tunnel. The Capital City 400 marks Chassis No. 14-710’s on-track debut.

KURT BUSCH CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend’s Richmond 400 will be the second race of the 2012 season for this chassis. This is the same car the No. 51 Phoenix Racing team competed with at Phoenix International Raceway in March. Busch started 19th and led two laps en route to a 15th-place finish. This car was built in June 2011 and used by the No. 51 Phoenix Racing team a handful of times last season. Landon Cassill finished 29th at Phoenix in chassis No. 662 in November 2011. The car was also used in events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon in July and September 2011, scoring 26th- and 30th-place finishes, respectively.

KEVIN HARVICK ON RICHMOND: “Richmond (International Raceway) has been a great track for me. I really like the short-track style racing, so I’m looking forward to the race. I’ll be driving in both the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races this time, so the extra track time never hurts. As far as going back with a new team, we just need to keep our focus. The No. 29 team is doing well so far this season, but we just need to quit making the little mistakes and put a whole day together to come out ahead.”

“Richmond (International Raceway) is just one of those places that is short-track style racing, but it has enough speed to where it has that 1.5-mile track feel to it because the front straightaway is so fast. The great thing about Richmond now is the tires fall off so much. The cars slide around a lot. You have to really work on the mechanical setup of the car.”

HARVICK CHASSIS CHOICE: Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 365 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This chassis was used by the No. 33 RCR team during the 2011 Sprint Cup Series season, and Harvick most recently drove it to a second-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway in March.

PAUL MENARD CHASSIS CHOICE: Menard will pilot Chassis No. 380 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 27 Chevrolet is a brand new addition to the RCR fleet and will log its first laps during Friday’s practice session.

JEFF BURTON CHASSIS CHOICE: Burton will race chassis No. 367 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 31 Chevrolet, built new for the 2012 season, was utilized in February at Phoenix International Raceway where engine issues thwarted Burton’s top-five run and relegated him to a 33rd-place finish.

JAMIE McMURRAY CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis #1206 - Crew Chief Kevin “Bono” Manion and the No. 1 McDonald’s team will bring Chassis #1206 to Richmond International Raceway this weekend. This chassis first saw track time this year at Phoenix International Raceway, leading one lap before retiring from the race due to an engine failure.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis #1203 - Crew Chief Chris Heroy and the No. 42 Target team will bring Chassis #1203 to Richmond International Raceway this weekend. This chassis made its debut this year at Phoenix International Raceway, finishing 11th.

CARL EDWARDS ON RICHMOND: “Richmond is a fun race track. We ran in the top five in both races there last year so I feel like we’ve got a really good shot at going there and competing for a victory. Last time we had the fastest car and we have made great gains in our short-track program over the last few years. We led 113 laps at Richmond last fall and finished second, so our plan is to improve on that this weekend.”

EDWARDS CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 99 team will be bringing chassis RK-801 to Richmond this weekend. This was a brand new chassis at Phoenix in March when Edwards finished 17th after running out of fuel on the final lap.

GREG BIFFLE ON RICHMOND: “Richmond has been a hit or miss track for us, it’s kind of been like Martinsville, but not as bad. We look forward to having a good run at Richmond this weekend. Richmond is definitely a driver’s track. It allows for really good racing and the night race this weekend will be exciting for the fans no matter what. We have a better brake package, lighter cars and I think we’ll have a good run."

BIFFLE CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary: RK-778 - Last ran Phoenix – finished third; Backup: RK-759 - Last ran Phoenix in ’11 as the No. 6 – finished 33rd.

MATT KENSETH ON RICHMOND: “I think that both the drivers and the fans love the racing action at Richmond. It’s a great track because there’s enough room to maneuver around without running into someone or getting run into. It’s also a place where we can get a lot of speed on the straightaways, so that also makes it exciting for the fans as well. Night racing provides for a little more consistency with the track, since conditions usually don’t change too much once the sun is down, so we’ll see what our Ford EcoBoost has in store for us this weekend.”

KENSETH CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary - RK-802 (Last run at Bristol)

ARIC ALMIROLA CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 43 Smithfield Ford will be chassis number 804. This is the same chassis the team ran at Phoenix earlier this year.

MARCOS AMBROSE CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 9 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 805 for this weekend’s race at Richmond International Raceway. This Stanley Ford was run previously this season at Phoenix.

KYLE BUSCH ON WHY RICHMOND SUITS HIS STYLE: “I’m not sure exactly what it is about Richmond that fits my style. When I first went there in the Trucks, I was terrible. And then they repaved the place and I went there in a Nationwide car with Hendrick Motorsports and pulled off a win right away. It’s been a good track for me ever since then with both the Nationwide and the Cup Series and I have just taken a liking to it. You have to be so technical there. The speeds are really high, but yet it’s a short track. You really have to be on top of your game to be sure the car stays under you.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR ON HIS PERFORMANCE THIS SEASON: “Everyone continues to do such a great job at Michael Waltrip Racing. It’s been a lot of fun and I really enjoy going to the track each weekend especially when we are running like this. We just need to keep this thing going. We’ve been on one heck of a roll over the last 12 or so races. I realize it is early in the season, but we are right where we want to be. I feel like we are still getting better as a team so I am really proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish. It is so nice to be a part of Michael Waltrip Racing. I feel like I am contributing to MWR and help building it. This whole experience has really been good for me not only as a driver, but as a person so I owe a lot to Michael Waltrip, Rob Kauffman and my sponsor NAPA AUTO PARTS.”

CLINT BOWYER ON RICHMOND: “Richmond is one of my favorite racetracks. It’s one of those racetracks that we’ve always run well at – I’ve won in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series and it’s a track that I always look forward to going to. I love night races, but I don’t like the night schedules because there is nothing to do all day. I want to race and hate the waiting.”

BOWYER CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 15 5-hour ENERGY team will race chassis No. 712 at Richmond. Bowyer finished 30th with No. 712 in Phoenix after struggling with multiple cut tires early in the race. Chassis No. 718 will serve as the backup and previously served as backup at Phoenix and Bristol but never raced.

AJ ALLMENDINGER CHASSIS CHOICE: AJ and his Todd Gordon-led Penske Racing #22 Team will be racing their "PRS-808" Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger this weekend at Richmond. The team raced the car earlier this season at Phoenix. In that race Dinger started 15th and was involved in an early-race incident that tore the entire back deck lid off the car. He was able to salvage an 18th-place finish out of the day. The "PRS-807" is the backup Dodge Charger for the "Double-Deuce" team. It was in the transporter serving as the backup at Phoenix, Bristol and Martinsville, but has never seen any track time to date.


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