Wednesday, August 1, 2012

2012 Pennsylvania 400 Driver Notes & Quotes

Speed was the name of the game in the June Pocono race (Getty)
KEVIN HARVICK CHASSIS CHOICE: Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 396 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for competition during the 2012 season, this RCR racer was utilized by Austin Dillon earlier this season at Michigan International Speedway where he captured a 24th-place finish in his 2012 Sprint Cup Series debut.

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 last seen on track at Pocono Raceway in June where Menard started from the third position and drove to a ninth-place finish. The Eau Claire, Wis., native also raced this Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway in March, finishing 19th after 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. Burton has driven this No. 31 Chevrolet three times this season including the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May (started-22nd, finished-19th), Texas Motor Speedway in April (started-24th, finished 29th) and Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March (started-22nd, finished 14th).

KURT BUSCH CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend’s Pennsylvania 400 will be the second race of the 2012 season for this chassis. This is the same car the No. 51 team used during last weekend’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, where Busch was running in the top-10 prior to issues on pit road and, with engine
issues, left with a 36th-place finish. Prior to becoming part of the Phoenix Racing fleet of cars, this chassis was used by the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team.

JIMMIE JOHNSON CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis No. 681 serves as the primary for Johnson at Pocono. Johnson raced this car to wins at Darlington in May and last fall at Kansas. This will be the eighth race for the chassis. It last ran at Pocono in June finishing fourth. Chassis No. 669 serves as the backup.

DALE EARNHARDT JR CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend, crew chief Steve Letarte and the No. 88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-726. Earnhardt first raced this chassis to an eighth-place finish at Pocono in June.

RYAN NEWMAN CHASSIS CHOICE: After an impressive debut last weekend in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Chassis No. 39-733 will return to the track this weekend at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. Newman and his team overcame an ill-handling racecar and used quick pit work to help engineer a run into the top-10.

JAMIE McMURRAY CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew Chief Kevin “Bono” Manion and the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Allstate team will use Chassis #1106 for Pocono. Chassis #1106 has been raced three times this season: Bristol, finishing seventh, Charlotte for the Sprint Showdown, finishing third, and earlier at Pocono, finishing 10th. This chassis was also raced six times in 2011.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew Chief Chris “Shine” Heroy and the No. 42 Target team will travel to Pocono with Chassis #1119. This chassis was used in 2011 at Charlotte, finishing 14th, andTexas finishing 18th. Chassis #1119 raced earlier this year at Fontana where it finished 17th, Texas, finishing 16th and Charlotte for the Sprint Showdown, finishing fifth.

CARL EDWARDS ON POCONO: “Since we just ran at Pocono I think we have a pretty good feel for what we were lacking there. We qualified really well and got hit in the first corner and fought back all day. I think we have a pretty good plan for Pocono. The race at Indy helped us try things we want to try for Pocono.”

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 and it also finished 11th at Pocono in June.

MATT KENSETH ON POCONO: “The track surface at Pocono was way better in June with the new surface. I thought they did a great job paving it because one of the big challenges about Pocono used to be how bumpy it was. Usually everyone is against new pavement, including myself, because you think it hurts the racing, but I thought it was better overall. I never did well there in the past, and honestly never really liked the track there before, but I feel like we ran competitive during our race there in June. I don’t remember everything that happened during the race, or what we did to finish seventh, but I am looking forward to going back and trying to improve on that finish this weekend.”

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

GREG BIFFLE ON POCONO: “Well, I’m definitely looking forward to Pocono this weekend for several reasons. It’s always good to go back to a track where you’ve won. Pocono is really more like a road course than a traditional oval so shifting is important to make the car perform properly and allow for better racing. It can be a difficult track because all three corners are completely different which makes handling an obstacle. We can just go there and try to run as well as we did when we won and hope for the same result.”

BIFFLE CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary: RK-803 Last ran Kentucky – finished 21st; Backup: RK-786 Last ran Homestead – finished 35th

MARTIN TRUEX JR ON POCONO: “The package we ran at Indy is something I think will work at Pocono. Since NASCAR changed the side skirt rules, we’ve struggled a little bit as a team. We were really onto some stuff at the beginning of the season that was working well for us. Then NASCAR made the rule change and we had to go back to work. The package we ran at Indy was a lot different than what we usually run. I think we made some gains at Indy. It was similar to what Mark (Martin) ran at Pocono and contended for the win. To be honest, we had a fast car at Pocono too. It was remarkable that we finished 20th with a car that had the door taken off of it on the first lap. With that said, I think a top-10 finish or even a chance at the win is a real possibility for us on Sunday.”

MARK MARTIN ON SEVEN SECOND-PLACE FINISHES AT POCONO: “You’re not owed this stuff, man. I’ve earned all those second-place finishes, and I’m proud of that. You’re not entitled. You’ve got to go get ‘em.”

MARK MARTIN CHASSIS CHOICE: Finished second at Pocono in June. Also ran at Kansas and Las Vegas. Backup – 732 has not raced in 2012.

JOEY LOGANO ON POCONO: “As everyone can imagine, I think me and all of the guys on the No. 20 Home Depot team are looking forward to going back to Pocono for obvious reasons. It’s always a pretty cool feeling going back to a track where you were the last race winner and knowing everyone wants to knock you off of that throne. That is really, really cool. I still think about Pocono. It was a great day and a big part of my career. But, in this sport, you can’t look back on things for too long, even race wins, or you will hurt your chances going forward. Yeah, we are going into the Pocono weekend looking to repeat, but we go into every weekend thinking we can win the race. You always just come to the track prepared and go from there.

“You can’t expect to just unload and be right back to where you were. There are a lot of things that go into thecar, the track conditions, the tires and your competitors. You might have the exact same set-up, with the same changes that you made during the race and you might not even be in the ballpark of where you were. The best thing you can do is just go with a better baseline and hopefully you will have less to work on to get it right. In the end, I still think we’ll have a very fast Home Depot Toyota and we’ll be one of the cars to beat. We have to go out there and get another win and keep getting points. It’s going to take at least one more win, maybe two, to get yourself into the Chase. We have to go out there and maybe even take some chances to get some wins. You’ve got to risk it to get the biscuit.”

KYLE BUSCH ON THE SHORTER DISTANCE RUN AT POCONO NOW: “I would have liked to have made the whole 400 miles the first time around there this year. But I do think the distance change was a positive one and I hope to be around at the end this time around. You know, certainly sometimes I felt like it might have been a bit long there or drawn out. Now, it might add less of a lull during the middle part of the race. So, you’ll have the beginning and people trying to make moves and get themselves in position. Then you’ll have guys working it and getting themselves in position for the final pit stop and the final run, thereafter. Hopefully, we’ll finally get that win at Pocono with our M&M’s Camry.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger team will race chassis PRS-813 during Sunday’s Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway. Keselowski last raced this chassis to a second-place finish in the NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May. Since that race, the car has been updated to the current Penske Racing specification.


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