Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Driver Notes & Quotes for Daytona Coke Zero 400

Kenseth got to hang out with Jay Leno after winning Daytona 500 (Getty)
MATT KENSETH ON DAYTONA: “I looked forward to going to Talladega more so than any plate race I have ever looked forward to in my career with as well as we ran at Daytona and how fast ourcars were in February. I feel the same way about Daytona this weekend and I am looking forward to getting down there. At Talladega, I felt we had the fastest car inthe race and dominated the race as much as you can, but I felt like I messed that up at the end when Greg (Biffle) and I somehow got separated. I have been agonizing over that since Talladega, but I am looking forward to getting some redemption this weekend and returning to Daytona coming off that win in the 500. Our Roush Fords have been fast and we have been able to pass, so I am going back this weekend hoping it will be the same as our earlier superspeedway results this year.”

KENSETH CREW CHIEF JIMMY FENNIG TALKING ABOUT WHAT CHASSIS THEY'RE BRINGING: “We are bringing our Talladega car (RK-793) from earlier this season. We’ll do some practice runs in race trim as well as qualifying trim, but I don’t think it will be a big difference in the track from February to July honestly. Our carshave really been fast at superspeedways this season and I anticipate another good run for our Zest team at Daytona this weekend.”

CARL EDWARDS ON DAYTONA: “I am looking forward to Daytona. We won the pole there for the 500 so I know we have fast superspeedway cars. We have had pretty good runs there the past few years so I’m excited. It’s the halfway mark of the season and we are determined turn our season around. It’s going to be a big weekend for Subway having them on my Sprint Cup Ford and they are sponsoring the Nationwide Jalapeno 250. We have a very strong team and we are not satisfied with 11th place in the points. We are determined to go to Daytona confident, do our best and shoot for the win.”

EDWARDS AT DAYTONA: In 15 NSCS starts at DIS, Edwards has achieved four top-five and seven top-10 finishes. Edwards’ best finish at Daytona is second place, captured in last year’s Daytona 500 and in July of 2008.

EDWARDS CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 99 will have Subway as the primary sponsor this weekend. The team will be bringing RK-792 which has never been raced, but it was the back-up for Daytona and Talladega this season.

GREG BIFFLE ON DAYTONA: “We never know what to expect from Daytona until we get there. We’ll have to see how the temperature is, how much grip the track has, see what the ambient temp is, water temp, all plays a factor into how long we can push and what kind of speeds the car has under those conditions. You don’t know exactly what to expect until you get into practice and actually get into the race in the night time. Our focusis to win every weekend, we care where we finish, but we want to win.”

BIFFLE CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary: RK-781 Last ran Talladega – finished fifth;Backup: RK-794 Last ran Bud Shootout – finished sixth.

MARCOS AMBROSE CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 9 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 795 for this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Raceat Daytona. This DEWALT Fordwas run previously this season at both restrictor-plate races in Daytona and Talladega.

ARIC ALMIROLA CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 43 team has prepared chassis No. 722 for Daytona, the same car Almirola ran in the Daytona 500 in February.

JAMIE McMURRAY CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew Chief Kevin “Bono” Manion and the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops team will bring Chassis #1204 back to DIS. Chassis #1204 has one previous race, the 2012 Daytona 500, where it started 19th and finished 31st after being involved in a late race incident.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew Chief Chris “Shine” Heroy and the No. 42 Target team will break out Chassis #1216 for this weekend’s race. This is the first time this chassis will be used.

DALE EARNHARDT JR CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew chief Steve Letarte has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-699 for Saturday’s race. Earnhardt last raced this chassis to a ninth-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway in May and to a second-place finish in February at the Daytona 500.

PAUL MENARD CHASSIS CHOICE: Menard will pilot Chassis No. 388 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 27 Chevrolet was last utilized at Talladega Superspeedway in May where Menard started 17th and finished 17th after receiving heavy damage in a multi-car incident while running third in the closing laps. This chassis was also used at the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in February where the Eau Claire, Wis. native started 37th and brought home a sixth-place finish.
JEFF BURTON CHASSIS CHOICE: Burton will race Chassis No. 343 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This chassis, built in 2011 for RCR’s No. 29 entry with driver Kevin Harvick, competed in three superspeedway events last season including the Daytona 500 where an engine failure relegated Harvick to a 42nd-place finish. Harvick also guided this machine to a top-five finish at Talladega Superspeedway in April 2011 and a top-10 finish in last season’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Burton got behind the wheel of this Chevrolet in the 2012 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona where he was involved in an early incident, but battled to an 11th-place finish and brought home a top-10 finish at Talladega Superspeedway in April.

KEVIN HARVICK ON DAYTONA: “Speedway racing has been good for us. The last couple of races at Talladega (Superspeedway) haven’t been great due to some crashes, but Daytona (International Speedway) has been a good race track for us. I think the main talk when we get back this year is going to be about cooling as we go to the restrictor plate stuff again. Obviously, with the race being in July the cooling isn’t going to be better than it was in February, so it will be interesting to find that balance as to how hard you can push the engine and keep yourself in a position to be able to run up front and hopefully win the race.”

KEVIN HARVICK CHASSIS CHOICE: Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 295 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in this weekend’s Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola. Harvick drove this Chevrolet to a top-10 finish during the 2009 Daytona 500 and into Victory Lane in the July event at Daytona International Speedway in 2010. The No. 29 team most recently utilized this car during the Budweiser Shootout earlier in February.

TONY STEWART CHASSIS CHOICE: This car debuted during Daytona Speedweeks in 2010. Its first race was the non-points Gatorade Duel, where it started 11th and led two laps before finishing second, which slotted it sixth in the Daytona 500. In the Great American Race, Chassis No. 14-565 finished 22nd.

Its third career start came in April at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, where it qualified 13th and finished an unscathed 16th in the crash-marred race. It was refitted with a new body and wind-tunnel tested for its return to Daytona via July’s Coke Zero 400. It performed well, as its seven laps led attest, but a multi-car accident on lap 148 collected Chassis No. 14-565 and relegated it to a 25th-place finish. The car had served as a backup ever since, but was completely rebuilt in preparation for the 2012 season.

The 54th Daytona 500 marked Chassis No. 14-565’s fifth career start and first since July 2010. It performed admirably, finishing 16th after leading two laps. It sat idle for the series’ second restrictor-plate race of the year at Talladega, but returns to action for Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona.

JOEY LOGANO ON DAYTONA: “Daytona is always so much fun in the summer. The track is a lot different because of the much higher temperatures now then when we are there in February. There’s less grip and that means thecars are moving around a lot more. That leads to some fun racing but with us being back to pack racing that can also mean there are better chances for ‘the big one.’ Hopefully everyone just plays it safe and makes it to the end and we can race from there. The pack racing and the two-car racing should be interesting with the higher temperatures. It was tough to keep our cars cool in Daytona and Talladega, so things should be even crazier this weekend. We will just have to see how it all plays out.

“I feel like I’ve become a much better plate racer over the last couple of years and we are just now starting to see the results. We had a great runs in Daytona the last couple of years and we have been winning races on the Nationwide side. I feel like we had a car that could have won at Talladega earlier this year but we just got caught up with a couple of the multi-car wrecks that eventually just took us out of the running. It would really be big to get another win and try and get ourselves in even a better position for the Chase.”

MICHAEL WALTRIP ON DAYTONA: “I’m really confident when I go to Daytona. I feel like I can run well and win and be up front. Daytona is a different animal. We’ve led the race at Talladega and ran up front and feel like the same will happen at Daytona.”

KYLE BUSCH ON DAYTONA: “Daytona is cool — a lot more in the spring than in the summer just because it is the Daytona 500 versus the Coke Zero 400. You still want to win everywhere you go, every single week. To win in Daytona is always cool — it’s definitely special. It’s been kind of the birthplace of NASCAR — the superspeedway aspect of it. I definitely love going there — it’s hot, it’s slick and you can make the most out of you as a driver and what you’ve got as a car.”

DENNY HAMLIN ON DAYTONA: “I really think that NASCAR has honed in on our restrictor-plate program. I think they’ve monitored the temperatures, the drafting and things like that to where the racing is as good as it’s been on superspeedways in a long time.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI ON HIS POINT STANDINGS: “The three wins are nice, and it means that we are pretty safe in regards to making the Chase, but we are focused on staying in the top 10 so that we can use the bonus points. That’s the way I look at the points right now. To me, we are leading the points because we are in the top 10 with the most wins. I want to be the guy with the most wins and inside the top 10 and I want to look forward to making sure that we stay inside the top 10. Hopefully we can climb up a few more spots to be safe. But wins and being in the top 10, that’s all that matters.”

A.J. ALLMENDINGER ON HIS SEASON: “We’ve had some incredibly fast race cars in the plate races this season, but we just don’t have the good finishes to match the strength we’ve shown. If we can just get through the whole race without the problems, there’s no reason we can’t come out of there with a greatfinish and have a legitimate shot at the win.”


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