Chevy drivers give their thoughts on Pocono
“I had a good, strong run at Pocono in June. I felt like we had a great car there last time. I’m definitely looking forward to going back there. I think the whole field will be a little bit stronger than it was. It will be a bit tougher. But I thought we had some good speed.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 – 4th IN STANDINGS:
“I am excited to go back [to Pocono] because we had a really strong car there in the last race. I think we had a few track position issues to overcome and a two speeding issues, but we still managed a Top 5 finish. Chad (Knaus, crew chief) called a great race. He got me some track position on two tires. The pit stops were flawless and we had a fast car. After last week’s win at the Brickyard the entire team is excited to get to Pocono and keep the momentum going.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 – 6th IN STANDINGS:
“The first thing you do is you’ve got to survive the restart (laughs). We learned last time that practice didn’t really matter if you could get a good restart and survive going through the corner and get in line then you were in good shape. It’s really fast and the thing I like about what they did at Pocono all the bumps are now kind of swells and you have the same kind of feels that you had there, they are just not extreme bumps. Each corner is fast. Turn one is a corner where you drive in and down shift. The key to Pocono now is getting up off the corners and in the throttle and being able to stay in the throttle really in all three of them.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 – 8th IN STANDINGS:
“It was pretty hard to pass (in June), but it kind of normally is. I don't think it was really any worse than it normally is. But seemed like at the end of the race it got pretty racy there and guys could move around a little bit. All in all, for a freshly paved track, it was a pretty good race.
“It was frustrating the first half of the race until guys got their cars better. You really just kind of got stuck, and then it seemed like the longer the race went, the easier it got to pass toward the end.
“The restarts were insane, but you had to take full advantage of them. That was the biggest opportunity to make gains and definitely big gains. You could get three or four at a time if somebody got bottled up a little bit. Had to be on your toes for the restarts, for sure.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 – 13th IN STANDINGS:
“We had really good speed at Pocono in June and just had some bad luck on a restart. The track is so smooth and fast now, but you really need rubber down to pass. We easily had a top-10 car last time, so hopefully we have the luck this time.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 – 14th IN STANDINGS:
“It’s (Pocono) one of my favorite race tracks just because it is so difficult. It’s really fun to drive. I like it because it’s challenging. Each corner is different – different radius, different banking, and different bumps. Each straightaway is a different length. It just seems like it’s a driver’s race track and a crew chief’s race track because he has to get the car to the driver’s liking in all three corners. It’s all about matching up the combination of how the crew chief sets up the car relative to how the driver drives the race car to make a happy package and have a shot at victory. It’s fun to have unique situations and unique racetracks. We look forward to going to Pocono each and every time.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 – 15th IN STANDINGS:
"That was a tough race (in June), especially fighting back from a lap down and also having engine temperature issues. I remember two cars running off the track into the dirt that day and I was behind them both times which led to the high engine 'temps.' But the car had good 'speed' all day. I'm hoping the Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet has good race pace again and that we can do a good job of maintaining track position throughout the race.
"It's amazing the difference on restarts when running up front here versus running mid-pack where you'll get a run on a couple cars and before you know it, you're already three-wide with other drivers that have gotten a run on you. This track - even after the repave made it smoother and faster with more grip - still has 'old' Pocono characteristics which I love. The shape and the banking of the turns haven't changed. It still has three unique - and three very challenging - corners."
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 – 16th IN STANDINGS:
"I don't think the racing itself changed a lot, but the track is a lot faster. It opened up a second groove in turns one and two. It was pretty narrow around the entire track, but the racing has always been like that there."
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 – 19th IN STANDINGS:
“I am looking forward to heading back to the new racing surface at Pocono. I enjoyed racing there in June with the changes that have been made. We had a really good car for the last race, qualifying went well and we brought home a top-10 finish. I made it no secret that I wasn’t a big fan of Pocono before, but I really enjoy racing there now. We’ve had a busy week with the tire test at Michigan right after the Brickyard 400, so we will look forward to getting right back to the action this weekend.”
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 – 20th IN STANDINGS:
“I was very impressed. We had a disappointing 14th-place finish with a top-10 car. The last run of the race was our worst run and we lost a few spots in the end. We had fun that whole week and spent over five days there testing, practicing and qualifying. I had Harrison, my 11-year-old son, with me and we took advantage of what the area had to offer. We went to the go-kart race track, played paintball and all kinds of different stuff. We made a holiday out of it. Pocono Raceway took a step into the present. We used to go there and feel like our race cars, haulers and the preparation far outweighed the quality of the race track. We were taking modern pieces of racing technology to a track that was outdated. Today, Pocono (Raceway) is a modern facility with the kind of racing surface that is needed to put on a good race. I was very impressed with the workmanship and quality of the job. It’s as good of a job as any track we have repaved.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 – 21st IN STANDINGS:
“I think it’s fun going to Pocono and racing. The layout and the corners make it different from any other track we go to. Plus going to Pocono the second time it’s a little calmer, you know. The Target team kind of struggled there the first time. At the end of the race we got a little bit better, we were just never as good as we needed to be so hopefully this time we’ll get it figured out and get that Target Chevrolet to the front and stay there.”
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 – 24th IN STANDINGS:
"If Sunday at Indianapolis was any indication of things to come for our Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet than we should be in good shape this weekend at Pocono. We had speed at Indy and ran with the leaders until the left-front fender got smashed in. But for the first 90 or so laps we had it going and it felt great to be running up front. It was a great start with new crew chief Todd Berrier and I look for better things to come in the future, starting with Pocono this weekend. We had a pretty good handle on Pocono's new track surface back in June and expect that to improve too. All-in-all, we're upbeat as we head to Pennsylvania."
KURT BUSCH, NO. 51 – 26th IN STANDINGS:
“It’s a track that you can never get dialed in perfectly for all three corners. You have to compromise. Other tracks like that are Darlington and Phoenix, where all of the corners are different and you have to work your way through each one. When you’re making setup changes, you have to keep in mind what you do in turn one and how it’s going to affect turns two and three.”