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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dale Earnhardt Jr, other Chevy drivers size up Talladega

Dale Earnhardt Jr., riding a hot streak in the Cup series, returns this weekend to plate racing, a style that he has traditionally been good at. And he likes this year’s package.

“I feel like the style of racing we had in the Daytona 500 this year suits me better. I feel more confident in that style than I do the tandem. With the tandem, it is difficult to commit to someone all day long. The way we did it in the (2012 Daytona) 500 was nice, but the tandem is going to win the race, which is fine with me. I do like having more control of my destiny and making my own decisions for myself. I want to look out for No. 1 and my team all day long and try to do whatever I can to put myself in position to win the race. That is really what I feel like I have been doing all my life. To do anything different just doesn’t feel comfortable. It feels odd to me.”

Ryan Newman has traditionally had bad luck at plate tracks, but he says he still does not dread going there.

“I wouldn’t say that I dread coming to Talladega. It’s not my favorite race track, but I don’t say that I dread it. I love doing what I do. I love driving a race car even at Talladega. I think the difference is there’s more potential to get involved in something not of your making there, and that’s frustrating to me. But that’s not just me. Everyone hopes they can avoid the big crash there. And, to be honest, when you’re up front at Talladega, it’s great. When you’re not, it can be miserable. When you’re the recipient of somebody else’s lack of judgment, then it’s not easy to talk about it. And that’s pretty much it. It’s just that there is way more potential for that there than there is at most other race tracks. So, I don’t think I’m any different than anybody else. I’d love to win the race but, when I’m the recipient of somebody else’s misjudgment, that’s even more aggravating to me. But what I can say is we’ve had very good superspeedway cars since I’ve been at Stewart-Haas Racing. We’ve led the most laps and we’ve been in position to win a couple of races. And (Tony) Stewart has won a couple of races. So, I’m very confident coming into Talladega, and I feel good about our race cars. Now, we just have to have some luck on our side to finish the deal.”

Jamie McMurray said the key is to just survive and hope things don’t “get out of hand”. He said he prefers the return to pack racing over the two-by-two style.

“I look forward to going to Talladega, but this is one of the four races a year that you just hope things don’t get out of hand and maybe you can bring the car home in one piece with a good finish. We always seem to have a good car at the Superspeedway races so if we can manage to stay out of trouble; I think we can have a good run. We have gained a few spots in the points the last couple of weeks and hopefully we can continue that momentum, but Talladega is all about being lucky. I expect the racing to be like Daytona in February where we are back to more of the larger pack racing. I actually prefer that style, because it seems I was always better with that style versus the tandem drafting. Our Bass Pro Shops team is working on being more consistent and with three straight top-15 finishes I think we are starting to move in the right direction. We just need to start turning those into top-10’s and top-five’s.”

Jeff Burton had the opposite view, saying that the pack racing leads to more possibility of a big wreck.

“A lot of drivers like this pack racing better. I personally think that things get taken out of your hands a lot easier in this kind of racing. I think it will be a safe bet to say that there will be a lot of cautions towards the end of the race. It will get four-wide and really aggressive in the big packs. That is all a given."

One spoiler could be Kurt Busch, whos drivers for the Phoenix Racing team of James Finch that is always on point at plate tracks.

“Well the team works hard every week but there is certainly a greater sense of excitement and anticipation. James Finch is full tilt when it comes to places like Daytona and Talladega. These are the tracks where there’s extra effort with us also running the Nationwide car there this weekend. Obviously as we saw in Daytona anything can happen. We got wrecked on lap one and basically just had to log laps for the rest of the race. But it’s still nice to get ready for this weekend knowing that the car is going to draft well and that we have Hendrick power under the hood. We may not qualify well but we know we’ll race well and that’s more important. I’ve been racing at Talladega for years so when you add that up with the way Finch’s cars run there it does make it one of the places we have circled on the calendar and we look at these opportunities to crack into victory lane.”

Chevy stats at Talladega
— Chevrolet has won 35 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Manufacturers’ Championships
— Team Chevy drivers have scored 690 wins and 622 poles in NSCS competition
— Chevrolet drivers have won 38 of 85 races at Talladega Superspeedway
— A Chevrolet driver has won four (4) of the last five (5) races at Talladega Superspeedway
— A Chevrolet driver has sat on the pole at Talladega Superspeedway 28 times
— Team Chevy drivers have scored 164 top-five and 302 top-10 finishes at Talladega Superspeedway
— A Chevrolet has led 6,764 laps (42.4% of possible 15,940) at Talladega Superspeedway
— Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, has six (6) victories at Talladega Superspeedway (’96, ’00, ’04, ’05 & ’07 – TWICE)
— Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, has five (5) wins at Talladega Superspeedway (’01, ’02 - TWICE, ‘03 & ’04)
— Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, has two (2) trophies from Talladega Superspeedway (’06 & ‘11)
— Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Rheem Chevrolet, has gone to Victory Lane once at Talladega Superspeedway (’10)
— Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet, has one victory at Talladega Superspeedway (’09)
— Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, has one win at Talladega Superspeedway (’08)

Total Chevrolet race wins: 690 (1949 – to date); (2,327 possible = 29.6%)
Poles Won to Date: 622
Laps Lead to Date: 206,362
Top-Five Finishes to Date: 3,465
Top-10 Finishes to Date: 7,090

Total NASCAR Cup wins by Corporation, 1949 – To-Date

GM: 1,025
Chevrolet: 690
Pontiac: 155
Oldsmobile: 115
Buick: 65

Ford: 708
Ford: 608
Mercury: 96
Lincoln: 4

Chrysler: 462
Dodge: 213
Plymouth: 190
Chrysler: 59

Toyota: 42

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Anonymous Bumpdrafter NASCAR Blog said...

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May 3, 2012 at 7:19 AM 

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