Chevy drivers give their thoughts on returning to Michigan International Speedway
“We had a really strong car there (at the June race) and I’m excited to go back. Late in the race I was running down the leaders and I blistered a right rear tire. But, I understand that a great tire test took place at the track recently and they didn’t see any issues. So I feel like things are fixed and I’m looking forward to going back because I know we’re going to be strong. The way we’ve been running on the ovals and also with our performance at Michigan in the spring, even though we blistered a tire, I really feel like I can win there and make that list one shorter for the tracks we haven’t won on. I really feel this is our best chance ever.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/DIET MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET – 4th IN STANDINGS:
“The track has always been fun for me. It’s really wide and up until they repaved it, you really used the whole race track in the corner. That’s perfect -- you can’t ask for any better situation than when cars go through the corner and everybody is sort of using a different line. That’s what you want. I think over time the surface will age, and we’ll get back to widening up the surface quite a bit. It has the characteristics as far as the way the corners are banked and the way the corners are laid out to widen back out again and be the great racetrack it’s always been. So I really enjoy it. Even had I not won any races there, it’s just a really fun track.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET – 8th IN STANDINGS:
“Once it cleaned off, it seemed like the track got to be pretty good. It was still a relatively one-groove track, but it got better as the weekend went on. Hopefully, the racetrack will continue on that path and continue to widen out. It was a lot racier than I thought it would be, right off the bat, so I’m anticipating it’s going to be even better when we get back on it this weekend.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 JIMMY JOHNS CHEVROLET – 9th IN STANDINGS:
“We didn’t have the best race. We practiced really well during the weekend and were able to figure things out on the first tire, but when they changed the (left-side) tires and we weren’t quite as good. We had a few problems at the beginning of the race and had to make up ground all day. Our car was fast enough to make up ground and do the things we needed to do to get back into the top 10, but we still need to be better.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET – 11th IN STANDINGS:
“I’ve always liked Michigan because you could race anywhere on the track. The repaving made the groove a lot narrower. When it gets wider again, it will be a great race with a lot of speed and a lot of room to drive.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 WIX CHEVROLET – 13th IN STANDINGS:
“I still don’t think that you have a 100 percent answer. They thought they had a 100 percent answer in the first test. The conditions can be so different in Michigan. It can be hot. That was the problem with the tire that we had – even when it got hotter, it got faster. The rubber liked to be on rubber. As the rubber laid down, the track got wider and everything was great except for the fact that the tire didn’t have the durability to go along with it. So hopefully we’ll be in a much better position with the reduced grip with the left-side tire. Basically they just went back with the same tire with a more modern construction, something that didn’t come out of the warehouse and give us the opportunity to know that the tires are new and not old tires and the consistency is going to be 100 percent as we hoped that they would be.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET – 15th IN STANDINGS:
"My wife (Ingrid Vandebosch) has given me things and my daughter (Ella) has given me things to put in the car for luck. Even fans have sent in things to the team. But I think when I won at Pocono it was the first time in quite a while that I did not have some sort of good luck charm in the car. So far, my theory holds true. It's not about luck and good luck charms; it's about going out there and performing and doing what you have to do as a team."
"We were pretty solid here (Michigan International Speedway) in June and (Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt) Junior won, so we can certainly carry a lot over from that race. We also did the tire test here at the end of July. That test didn't go spectacularly well for us, but we knew it was just more of a test to try and learn things."
"We have to qualify better. Track position can play a huge role during the race, so it's better to have early than to fight for it all race long. Right now, qualifying is a priority for us."
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 MENARDS/PITTSBURGH PAINTS CHEVROLET – 16th IN STANDINGS:
“We ran out of fuel on the last lap and that cost us seven positions. We ran between 10th and 15th all day. We felt really good about the car after testing and practice and then Goodyear changed the left-side tires. We had a hard time figuring out the balance of the car with the new tires, so that put us behind for the race. We did not have a good practice on those left-side tires. When the race started we made some good adjustments and the car was competitive. I felt like at the worst we were going to finish 14th, but I think we could have gotten a top-10 finish.”
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 WHEATIES CHEVROLET – 19th IN STANDINGS:
“It was a lot of fun. The speed was really cool. It felt like a brand new track with the new pavement. After going to certain race tracks for so long, it is cool when they change them because it brings something new. The speed was fast, but until you looked at the speed charts, you didn’t know you were going that fast because the pavement allows you to run that speed.
“I think we’ve started to move in the right direction. We went to Indianapolis Motor Speedway and didn’t get the finish we deserved because we had a mechanical failure. We ran much better at Pocono Raceway earlier this month also, but still didn’t get the finish we deserved. We made a lot of changes in the way we are doing stuff and things certainly seem to be picking up.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS CHEVROLET – 20th IN STANDINGS:
“I am looking forward to going back to Michigan. It was incredible how smooth and fast the track was for the first race on the new surface in June. We had a decent car there and had a top-15 finish, but we know that we can be better. We tested in Nashville this week to try a few things take back to Michigan. The guys on this Bass Pro Shops team have been working hard and putting in lots of extra hours to make this team better and we are looking forward to seeing all of that effort pay-off.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – 22nd IN STANDINGS:
“We were good at the Michigan race this last time around. Plus the Target team has gone there twice for a tire test and we felt like we were very good there. There’s a harder tire now so you’ve got to work on the car a little bit. But we feel like we’ve had decent speed there. Michigan was typically one of those tracks we never ran good at and now, with the new track surface, I feel like we have a legitimate shot at running up front and staying up there.”
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/FARM AMERICAN CHEVROLET – 23rd IN STANDINGS:
"We've had a good run the past three races, especially scoring a top-10 on the Watkins Glen road course. We're a different team and credit goes to our crew chief Todd Berrier. We've been unloading the car with more speed and not playing catch-up all weekend. While I am excited about how we performed the past three weeks, I am really looking forward to Michigan this weekend. We had a great test there a few weeks ago. In fact, we packed up early at the test because we were dialed in. I would be awfully disappointed if we didn't come away with another top-10 or better finish at Michigan in our Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet."
KURT BUSCH, NO. 51 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET – 25th IN STANDINGS:
“Well we learned it was fast. I’m sure it will be more of the same this time around but the unknown for us a little bit is the tire. We weren’t able to do the tire test there after Indianapolis just for the simple reason of not having enough manpower. We felt like we were in good shape going into the race there in June but we made some changes that just sent us to the back. So we did learn some things about what not to do and hopefully that will be enough to help us. We are taking a great car with us this weekend. It’s the same car we ran in the top-five with at Kansas in the spring so hopefully between that and what we learned in June we’ll be in a competitive position this weekend.”