Chevy notes heading into Talladega weekend
— Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, has six (6) victories at Talladega (’96,’00,’04,’05, ’07 – TWICE)
— Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, has gone to Victory Lane five (5) times at Talladega Superspeedway (’01,’02 –TWICE, ’03 & ’04)
— Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, has two (2) victories at Talladega Superspeedway (’06 & ’11)
— Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet, has one (1) win at Talladega (’10)
— Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Allstate Chevrolet, has one (1) trophy from Talladega Superspeedway (’09)
— Tony Stewart, No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, has gone to Victory Lane once (1) at Talladega Superspeedway (’08)
— 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
— A Chevrolet has led 6,764 laps (41.9% of possible 16,134 laps) at Talladega Superspeedway
TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT:
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – 2nd IN STANDINGS:
“Well, as you can probably see from our finishes this year, we haven’t had a lot of luck at the restrictor-plate tracks. It definitely is the one track in the Chase I’ve kind of been a little concerned about. There are a lot of great tracks for the 48 coming up in the Chase, but this one is definitely one where anything can happen. There are so many things that are out of your control. There is a lot of room on this track to move around though, obviously, and try things. I think the odds are in our favor to be able to finish one of these restrictor-plate races this year. At least I hope so.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET – 5th IN STANDINGS:
“We’re looking at it as an opportunity to gain some points and positions. Every time you’re at Talladega you try to take care of yourself and your equipment by not getting yourself in compromising positions that are going to take you out of an opportunity to get you to the end of the race. For me, it’s no different whether the race is in April during the regular season or in October when I’m in the Chase.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET – 6th IN STANDINGS:
“Talladega is really the biggest wild card in the Chase (for the NASCAR Sprint Cup). Almost everyone has a shot at the win, but you can be out of running early, too. We’re going into the weekend with a couple of good superspeedway finishes this year, and the guys at the shop put together awesome restrictor-plate cars. If we can stay out of trouble, we should have a solid day.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 DIET MOUNTAIN DEW/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET – 7th IN STANDINGS:
“We've rode around and played it pretty conservative before. That hasn't really worked out. Last couple times we've been racing just as hard as we can race, and I think that's just about what we'll do this time.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET – 9th IN STANDINGS:
“I go to Talladega with the approach that you have a 50-50 chance when you get there. You’re either going to have a great day because you finished or you’re going to have a torn up race car. I’ve gone with that mentality since my first race at Talladega. It’s just one of those race tracks where you really don’t have any expectations and you just go out and run as hard as you can because there are so many things out of your control.
“I love this style of racing. I love the strategy and the pushing and the shoving and all of the things that come with it. With that comes a lot of risk as far as getting torn up. Kind of like the rest of our year, we haven’t gotten the finishes that we’ve been accustomed to in the past at the superspeedways. Hopefully, we’ve been saving all of that luck up and can get through this weekend and put ourselves up front when it counts. It’ll be fun to see how it all shakes out.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET – 10th IN STANDINGS:
"There is no set strategy that works best. If there was, we all would be doing it. Drafting can be fun and the finish is usually exciting, but you don't know when, where or if you're going to be caught up in the 'big one.' I've raced up front and been caught up in a wreck. I've also been involved while running in the middle of the pack and also while running what I thought was a conservative distance back of the main pack, but I've also won using each of those strategies.
"You may have to use each at some point during the race. You just need to be willing to change and adjust if a different plan will put you in a better position to win. You rely on your spotter providing good information about which lane is doing what or who has a 'run, but you're constantly looking at the mirrors in your car in that situation.
“If we're going to have any shot at moving up the standings or having any shot at the championship, then things will need to go our way this weekend. Everybody knows they can win here, and we believe we can win as well. We always seem to have fast cars here. We look at this race as an opportunity."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET – 15th IN STANDINGS:
“This U.S. Army Racing team has really been on the short end of the stick at Talladega for the past few years. Despite our rotten luck, this team has not given up on succeeding at this track. Just like our U.S. Army Soldiers, we have a mission – and that mission is to win this race. And this team has proven time and again at the restrictor-plate tracks that we will do what we have to do to put ourselves in position to go for the win, and we’ll just have to see if luck is on our side on Sunday when we’re in that spot. Just like our Army Strong Soldiers, we will have to display a strength like none other this weekend – we will have to be mentally, emotionally and physically strong to be successful at Talladega. And we have to have some luck on our side. If you think about the law of averages, sooner or later we’re not only going to finish a race at Talladega, like we did at Daytona in July, we’re going to get a good finish – maybe even a win – considering all the wrong-place, wrong-time wrecks we’ve been caught up in at both tracks. We had a fifth-place finish at Daytona in July, which was huge for us. Hopefully, this is our time to come out of Talladega with a strong finish and a racecar in one piece.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 MENARDS/CERTAINTEED INSULATION CHEVROLET – 16th IN STANDINGS:
"When we go to Talladega (Superspeedway), it is really anyone's game. We've qualified better there the last couple of races. I think the guys at ECR (Engines) are building even better motors for us. The cars have been good, too. It's just a matter of dodging the wrecks and finishing the races."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – 19th IN STANDINGS:
“Restrictor-plate races are the four races a year that I’m nervous. I’m not going to lie about it. I’m nervous because there is a high percentage that you will be caught up in a big wreck. It’s not that I’m afraid that I’m going to get hurt. I’m nervous because it means that your chances of winning can disappear so quickly and easily. There have been some spectacular wrecks there, but it’s difficult going into a race knowing that the odds are higher of you getting in a wreck than anywhere else. My theory has always been that if you don’t start the wreck, then you won’t be involved. Hopefully, everyone else is thinking the same thing. When the race starts and I get uncomfortable in a position, I’m not afraid to drop back and get out of there temporarily. If you get uncomfortable during a normal race, you need to keep digging. At Talladega Superspeedway, if you aren’t comfortable then just back out of the gas and get out of the situation. You have to be willing to do it mentally though.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/ALLSTATE CHEVROLET – 20th IN STANDINGS:
“This is the place where the adage, it’s better to be lucky than good, really applies. You obviously need to have a fast car that drafts good, but this is all about being in the right place at the right time in the closing laps. You can be in first-place when the white flag comes out and the next time by for the checkered flag you can be in 20th-place. We have had good cars at the speedway races in the past and I don’t expect this race to be any different. I have been lucky enough to win at Talladega and it is just a matter of being patient all day and put yourself in position to be up front near the end. Hopefully we can put our Bass Pro Shops Chevy in position to be there on Sunday.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET/GILLETTE CHEVROLET – 21st IN STANDINGS:
“I’ve always said that Talladega is unpredictable. I love racing there and it’s a lot of fun as long as you don’t get involved in someone else’s mess. It’s really anyone’s race and the last 25 laps is really what it comes down to. We’ve tried different strategies in the past and the last time we got right up into the mix of things and our day was cut short do to an accident in front of us. The Target team just hasn’t had much luck on the Superspeedways this year and hopefully that luck will change this weekend.”
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/FARM AMERICAN CHEVROLET – 23rd IN STANDINGS:
"We have a great superspeedway program, but haven't had much luck of showcasing the power of the No. 78 Chevrolet on the big tracks this year. We had an accident late in the Daytona 500, an engine malfunction after only 15 laps at the Talladega spring race and another accident in the Daytona summer race. The odds favor us of having a clean race on Sunday, and if that's the case, then look for the Furniture Row/Farm American Chevy running up front with the ECR (Earnhardt, Childress Racing) engines. I like superspeedway racing and know that we are capable of winning at the restrictor-plate events. In my humble opinion, I crossed the finish line first at Talladega back in 2008, but NASCAR said I passed the lead car below the out-of-bounds yellow line and penalized me. It was a controversial call, but in my heart I truly feel that I did not do anything wrong."
KURT BUSCH, NO. 51 PHOENIX CONSTRUCTION CHEVROLET – 26th IN STANDINGS:
“We always get excited when talking about racing at Talladega, especially for all of the guys on this Phoenix Racing team. Obviously, this place is special for the team because it’s where it got a win in 2009. This team works hard every week but there is certainly a greater sense of excitement and anticipation for these plate races. (James) Finch is all in when it comes to the races at Daytona and Talladega so we definitely go into this race with a little higher expectation because anything can happen.”