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Apr 30, 2014 - 08:19 AM
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2014 Talladega: Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Apr 30, 2014 - 08:13 AM
NASCAR News
2014 Talladega: Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview


With nine races complete in the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Chevrolet SS teams and drivers prepare to compete at the longest track on the circuit. Talladega Superspeedway’s 2.66-mile length is ominous enough, throw in knockout style qualifying and the unpredictability of the draft, and results at the end of the race are anything but foreseeable.

 

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Thus far in 2014, Chevrolet SS drivers have collected four (4) victories in nine (9) races. Chevrolet leads the Manufacturers’ Cup point standings by 14 markers over Ford. The Bowtie Brigade heads to Talladega Superspeedway as the most successful manufacturer at the track with 39 victories.

A Chevrolet driver has gone to Victory Lane at Talladega five (5) times in the last eight (8) races. Jeff Gordon leads all Team Chevy drivers with six (6) wins there. Gordon’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has five (5) victories to his credit at Talladega. Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has collected two trophies from the 2.66-mile track, while Chip Ganassi Racing’s Jamie McMurray also has two victories; the most recent coming at last fall’s event at Talladega. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick also has one (1) win at Talladega.

Chevrolet’s trip to Talladega will be highlighted by events at the Team Chevy display located in the midway area; which will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Fans can stop by to see a plethora of performance parts and accessories their personal Chevrolet vehicles.

Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch and Kyle Larson highlight a list of Chevrolet drivers making appearances at the Team Chevy stage throughout the weekend. Fans can also enjoy an up-close and personal look at six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet SS show car, and explore a wide variety of Chevrolet’s 2014 production car line-up.

DID YOU KNOW? Edmunds.com has recognized seven Chevrolet models with nine awards for 2014. The Corvette Stingray and Traverse were named Top Rated Vehicles, while the Corvette Stingray, Traverse, Colorado, Camaro, Impala, Silverado 1500, and Tahoe were named Most Popular for their segment.

“Today’s Chevrolet lineup is the best in the brand’s history and these awards from Edmunds.com are further proof that we are delivering the expressive designs, easy-to-use technologies, safety and performance that consumers want,” said Brian Sweeney, U.S. vice president, Chevrolet.

BOWTIE BULLET: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chevrolet SS driver and current point’s leader Jeff Gordon has led more laps than any other current driver at Talladega Superspeedway – 843.

ENGINEER EXPERTISE FROM THE GARAGE AREA - PAT SUHY, CHEVROLET RACING – NASCAR GROUP MANAGER:
“Congratulations to last weekend’s Nationwide winner Kevin Harvick, as well as his whole crew and the group at JR Motorsports. They have become a dominant force in the Nationwide Series this year and it’s been fun to watch them put three different winners in Victory Lane on four occasions this year.

“As the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series head to Talladega for the season’s second superspeedway race, there is a lot to look forward to. For the Cup drivers, it will be their first time participating in the knockout qualifying format. Some of the drivers have experience from the Nationwide race at Daytona, but it’s sure to be a whole new ballgame with all of the multicar teams searching for the right formula for success. While the starting position at Talladega isn’t crucial, pit selection still plays a role in the race outcome. So teams and drivers will fight for the pole for that, as well as for the pride of being the fastest qualifier.

“Once the pole is decided, teams will focus on race setups and strategy. The Chevy SS has been strong at superspeedways since its debut win at Daytona in 2013. Making effective use of full and reduced scale wind tunnels, computational fluid dynamics, and our own Proving Ground facilities has allowed our Team Chevy engineers and Key Partner teams to make the cars even better. This weekend should be exciting all the way around, from qualifying to the race. I’m sure that we’ll see at least a few Chevy SS drivers in contention for the win.”

WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE THE CHEVROLET SS RACE CARS?
This weeks’ race is at Talladega Superspeedway. 22 Chevrolet SS drivers will compete for the trophy at the longest track on the circuit - 2.66-mile track. Fans can see all the action on FOX and listen in on MRN Radio, Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and NASCAR.com

TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT:
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS – POINTS LEADER
“Qualifying this Saturday has the potential to be one of the most exciting sessions of the season. It’s definitely going to be a learning experience on where to position yourself to get the best draft with the most speed.
“You can talk about a plan ahead of time, but that plan may completely change when the session starts.”

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – 5TH IN STANDINGS
“Talladega is really a special racetrack to the sport with the history of it and how it was conceived. The track eventually turned into one of the most impressive and unique, concerning speed, and how the style of racing that you have is so unique, it’s just amazing what it has been able to deliver year after year. I enjoy going to Talladega, and I remember it was one of my favorites as a kid. When I was young, out of all the tracks that I had the chance to go to, this was definitely one of my favorites to come to. Milling around in the garage during the race and just how big the place was and the cars looked different because of the superspeedway bodies -- it was just a really fun experience for me.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/VALSPAR RESERVE CHEVROLET SS – 8TH IN STANDINGS
“The spring Talladega race is always a great race. Granted, things can happen out of your control and you can be taken out in heartbeat, but for the most part, to me it’s a lot of fun. With the rules package as it is, it encourages racing from the drop of the green flag to the checkered so you have to have strategy throughout the race. Qualifying is going to be pretty interesting – I’d say it’s one for the fans to watch. It’s going to be fun.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET SS – 9TH IN STANDINGS
"Talladega is one of those tracks that is a necessary evil on our race schedule especially considering my history at the track. But, it's like any other track where it provides you with a legitimate chance and opportunity to win. I just have to figure out a so-called antitoxin to stop getting snake bit there because it happens to me more often than any one there."

AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 BASS PRO SHOPS CHEVROLET SS – 12TH IN STANDINGS
“That was a wild ride. Talladega Superspeedway is one of the places we circled to try and go win. Talladega is open for everybody to have a really good car like I did last year in the No. 14 car so hopefully I can back that up in the No. 3 car and be there on the white flag lap. It’s all about being there for the white flag so that you can try and win the race.”

KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – 13TH IN STANDINGS
“We’re cautiously optimistic about this weekend at Talladega. It’s a tough track where anything can happen. I’m hopeful that we can come away with a better outcome than we did in Daytona, and we’ll be smart about managing the car during qualifying and the race. My team is really excited about our Target Chevy for this weekend and they feel good about the setup. We’ve had good momentum lately, so I’ll try to stay out of trouble and shoot to get another good finish.”

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 BASS PRO SHOPS CHEVROLET SS – 15TH IN STANDINGS
“They’re different tracks with their own characteristics, but its plate racing and that really doesn’t change. Daytona has always been the track billed as being more of the handling track, but we’re still drafting and will be in a pack where you’ve got cars on top of each other. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time, and that’s the same whether we’re racing at Daytona or Talladega.”

AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 BUSH’S BEANS CHEVROLET SS – 17TH IN STANDINGS
“The racing at Talladega Superspeedway is a little bit different than Daytona International Speedway. The track is wider at Talladega and there’s more room to work with if you want to try to get to the front of the pack. I think it is a little bit safer than Daytona because there you can get stuck in a lane and it is three wide and there is not a lot of space to maneuver around. In the end, the ‘Big One’ still has a real good shot of happening. I think we will at least have a decent car.”

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 RICHMOND/MENARDS CHEVROLET SS – 18TH IN STANDINGS
"I like the plate races and we've had some measurable success at Talladega and Daytona. We're taking the same car we ran up front with in the Daytona 500, so we know how it handles from an aerodynamic standpoint. The toughest about restrictor-plate racing is you can have a great car, set up and engine package. But, your finish can be determined by something that is totally not of your doing. I look forward to the fast racing and we'll give it our all to do well."

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET SS – 19TH IN STANDINGS
“It seems like every time we go back to a restrictor-plate race something a little different happens (with rules). To me this time, the biggest difference will be the qualifying format. It will be interesting to see how that goes the first time (for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series) on a superspeedway like Talladega or Daytona. The car that we won with at Talladega in October is the same car that we raced in the Daytona 500 and unfortunately it was wrecked on the final lap, so we will bring a brand new McDonald’s Chevy to Talladega and hope we can run up front again.”

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 JIMMY JOHN’S CHEVROLET SS – 20TH IN STANDINGS
“I didn’t really feel like our cars were dominant by any means, I feel like we did a good job on pit strategy and pit stops and all the things that came along with keeping ourselves in the race. I know that the guys were working on finding some speed and making the cars a little better before we headed off to Talladega. It’s a constant progression. I felt like we had a little bit of a lack of speed, but I think by the time we get to Talladega we will have found that. Hopefully that will allow us to be a little bit better than we were at Daytona.”

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE/THANKAMILLONTEACHERS.COM CHEVROLET SS- 22ND IN STANDINGS
(ON HELPING TO PROMOTE FARMERS INSURANCE ‘THANK A MILLION TEACHERS’ PROGRAM.): “Teachers play such an important role in helping students pursue their dreams so I’m proud to be a part of the Farmers Insurance ‘Thank A Million Teachers’ program. It’s great being able to show our appreciation towards these amazing teachers who have positively influenced our lives.”

CASEY MEARS, NO. 13 GEICO CHEVROLET SS – 23RD IN STANDINGS
"We're coming off of two strong runs at Darlington and then at Richmond, so we're looking forward to getting to Talladega because we've always been pretty strong there. The GEICO team has made great strides and we're beginning to gain some continuity over the course of the race weekend. We feel like our No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet SS will be strong when we unload on Friday. We're also excited that our sponsor GEICO will be sponsoring the fall race at Talladega (GEICO 500), so some of their folks will be there with us this weekend, as well."

KURT BUSCH, NO. 41 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET SS – 25TH IN STANDINGS

MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET SS – 27TH IN STANDINGS
“When you go to Talladega it’s a whole new can of worms compared to Daytona because the track is so much wider. There’s a lot more options as far as cars moving around at Talladega. Typically, Daytona is a two-wide, sometimes three-wide track where as Talladega is three-wide all the time and sometimes even four-or-five wide. There’s always a lot of side drafting going on at Talladega, these cars are very sensitive to that. The best choice of lane at Daytona is not necessary the best choice of lane at Talladega. It is also well known that Talladega is a place where the odds increase of getting collected in an accident. But with that said we’re going to Talladega with an upbeat attitude after posting our first top-10 of the season last week in Richmond.”

JUSTIN ALLGAIER, NO. 51 BRANDT PROFESSIONAL AGRICULTURE CHEVROLET SS – 28TH IN STANDINGS
"I’m excited to get to Talladega [Superspeedway]. My team had a great weekend at Richmond [International Raceway], and we left there with a lot of confidence. The main goal at Talladega is to stay out of trouble. All of our cars at HScott Motorsports come from Hendrick Motorsports, and they have the best superspeedway cars. I’m really looking forward to the race and hopefully the momentum from Richmond carries over to this weekend."

DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS – 29TH IN STANDINGS

REED SORENSON, NO. 36 GOLDEN CORRAL CHEVROLET SS – 32ND IN STANDINGS
"I am looking forward to having Golden Corral back on board my No. 36 Chevrolet this weekend at Talladega," Sorenson commented. "We had a great run in February with Golden Corral on board, and were up front for most of the night. A top 10 would be great, and then kids would get to eat for free on Monday. The new group qualifying format should be pretty fun this weekend, especially at a restrictor plate track, and I really think that fans will enjoy it."

MICHAEL ANNETT, NO. 7 PILOT FLYING J CHEVROLET SS – 33RD IN STANDINGS
"I've been near the front of the field toward the end of these plate races in the Nationwide Series, and I know the TBR cars have done the same on the Cup side. Hopefully that's a good omen for the weekend. Track position will be important and anywhere from 10th on up near the end of the race will have a real shot of winning. Our goal is to put it in that group at the right time."

BRIAN SCOTT, NO. 33 WHITETAIL CHEVROLET SS -
“I am looking forward to doing double duty on the superspeedways again. That was a lot of fun getting to run the Daytona 500 and also the race we had in the Nationwide Series. We ran towards the front most of the time in the Nationwide Series. We felt really good about our Camaro; we just got hung out towards the end and fell to the back. Unfortunately, the track position lost became insurmountable because there were really only two grooves. We never got a third groove going, so hopefully we don’t lose track position at Talladega. Love them or hate them, with the luck involved in superspeedway racing, you always feel like you have as good a shot as anybody.”


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