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Jun 11, 2014 - 06:53 AM
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2014 Michigan: Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Jun 11, 2014 - 06:50 AM
NASCAR News
2014 Michigan: Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview


Racing in front of the hometown crowd brings nervousness and excitement. This weekend 23 Chevrolet SS drivers and teams will feel the pressure to bring the trophy home as they compete at Chevrolet’s home track, Michigan International Speedway (MIS), located approximately 70 miles from Chevrolet’s headquarters in Detroit, Michigan.

 

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In the fall of 2013 MIS created the Heritage Trophy, a special award given to the winning manufacturer of the races at the 2-mile track. The first award went to the competition, but the Chevrolet engineering staff has been working hard on the right package for MIS to secure the trophy this time and display it in its rightful place at Chevrolet headquarters in Detroit.

Winning the trophy this year would only add to Chevrolet’s recent success. The Bowtie brand is looking for a fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup victory at MIS. The Chevrolet SS has pulled into Victory Lane the past four weeks, collecting the spoils at Kansas, Charlotte, Dover and Pocono. Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. have all piloted the Chevy SS to wins four weeks running.

Chevrolet has won only two of the last seven races at MIS, but most recent winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was the last Chevy driver to collect a win in the Irish Hills in 2012. Chevrolet engineers will help guide the teams and drivers as they combat an ever-changing surface at MIS due to harsh Michigan winters, along with a new tire compound for this weekend’s race. The team that is able to put all the variables together and have an engine that outlasts 400 grueling miles at speeds over 200 mph will hoist the trophy at day’s end.

While drivers and teams work hard to find the fastest way around MIS, fans traveling to the beautiful Irish Hills area will be have plenty to do while on site. The Team Chevy display will be open all weekend and will feature a variety of Chevrolet production cars that fans can find out more information about including, Cruze Diesel, Malibu LT, Impala LTZ, Tahoe, Suburban, Silverado 1LT and Silverado 3500. Several Team Chevy drivers will be stopping by the Team Chevy stage including Spencer Gallagher, Martin Truex, Jr., Reed Sorenson, Michael Annett, Kurt Busch, Justin Allgaier, Tony Stewart and the No. 42 Target Chevrolet over-the-wall pit crew.

The Quicken Loans 400 is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday June 15th. Live coverage will be available on TNT, MRN Radio, Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and NASCAR.com.

TEAM CHEVY IN NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES (NSCS) COMPETITION:
· Chevrolet has won 37 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Manufacturers’ Championships

· Team Chevy drivers have scored 726 wins and 653 poles in NSCS competition

CHEVROLET ON THE TRACK—MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY:
Chevrolet drivers have won 20 of 89 races at Michigan International Speedway. Victories by current Team Chevy drivers are:
Kurt Busch, No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, has two (2) victories at Michigan International Speedway (’03 & ’07)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard/Superman Chevrolet SS, has made two (2) trips to Victory Lane at Michigan International Speedway (’08 & ’12)
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, has two (2) wins at Michigan International Speedway (’98 & ‘01)
Ryan Newman, No. 31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, has two (2) trophies from Michigan International Speedway (’03 & ’04)
Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, has one (1) win at Michigan International Speedway (’10)
Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS, has one (1) victory at Michigan International Speedway (’06)
Tony Stewart, No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, has one (1) trophy from Michigan International Speedway (’00)

A Chevrolet driver has won two (2) of the last seven (7) races at Michigan International Speedway
A Chevrolet driver has sat on the pole at Michigan International Speedway 23 times
Team Chevy drivers have scored 152 top-five and 311 top-10 finishes at Michigan International Speedway
A Chevrolet has led 6,445 laps (36.4% of possible 17,693 laps) at Michigan International Speedway


TEAM CHEVY FOR THE FANS AT MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY:
· Fans can check out great Chevrolet vehicles including: Cruze Diesel, Malibu LT, Impala LTZ, Tahoe, Suburban, Silverado 1LT and Silverado 3500
· At the display fans can see a variety of show cars and specialty vehicles including the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS show car, Chevrolet SS production car, Corvette Convertible, the all-new Colorado, the Silverado Rally and the T4 Bumblebee from the movie Transformers
Fans can see a sample of engines, parts and accessories in the Team Chevy Display available for purchase from Chevrolet at their local Chevrolet dealer
· Other activities at the Team Chevy Racing Display include a variety of interactive games for adults and kids

DRIVER FAN Q/A APPEARANCES:
· Friday June 13th– Spencer Gallagher will kick things off at the Team Chevy display at 1 p.m. with a question and answer session at the Team Chevy stage
· Saturday June 14th – Martin Truex, Jr. will stop by the Team Chevy stage at 10:45 a.m.
· Sunday June 15th – Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet SS teammates Reed Sorenson and Michael Annett will stop by the Team Chevy stage at 9:30 a.m. followed by a questions and answer session with two-time Michigan winner Kurt Busch at 10 a.m. Justin Allgaier will make an appearance at the Team Chevy stage at 10:15 a.m. followed by Tony Stewart at 10:25 a.m. The No. 42 over-the-wall pit crew will be available at 10:40 a.m. for questions from fans and autographs.
· Hours of operation: Fri. June 13th – 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; Sat. June 14th – 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sun. June 15th - 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

CHEVROLET SPOTLIGHT: Last week’s win for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. marked the fourth consecutive points paying victory for Chevrolet and eighth (8th) win in 2014. Chevrolet has won five straight races including Jamie McMurray’s victory in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race. Currently there are five Chevrolet branded drivers with wins in 2014 and locked into the Chase for this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

BOWTIE BULLET: Chevrolet’s Rookie of the Year Contender Austin Dillon and six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has completed the most laps thus far this season. Each of these Bowtie branded drivers have successfully ran 4,509 of 4,517 laps in 2014.

DID YOU KNOW? Chevrolet Traverse is one of the 10 best family cars of 2014, according to Edmunds.com and Parents magazine. It is the second consecutive year Traverse made the list in the SUV category.

ENGINEER EXPERTISE FROM THE GARAGE AREA –– PAT SUHY, MANAGER, CHEVROLET RACING – NASCAR GROUP MANAGER:
“Congratulations to Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Steve Letarte and the whole No. 88 Chevy SS crew on collecting their 2nd win of 2014 last Sunday at Pocono! Congratulations also to Hendrick Motorsports on their fourth consecutive win of the year and fifth overall. They, along with all of our Key Partner teams have contributed to Chevrolet's on-track success not only this year, but for many years. We’re looking forward to enjoying more success in the coming months and years to come.

“Heading to the NASCAR Sprint Cup race that's ‘in our back yard’ at Michigan International Speedway this weekend, our expectations are high that we'll get to see another Chevy win on Sunday. If the trend we've seen this year continues, with speeds being up everywhere, it should be a thrill seeing the cars go into Turn 1 at well over 210mph! With another winter weather season behind us, we're likely to see drivers being able to find more room to pass as the ‘groove’ widens out due to the aging of the relatively new asphalt surface.

“In addition to the car changes in the off-season, the teams will be running a new Goodyear tire code here. Testing was completed in April and the organizations that were invited to that test should have an advantage, at least early in practice, as everyone else will be feeling out what the tires need in terms of car setups. Our Team Chevy engineering group has been hard at work analyzing tire-testing data along with rig data, to provide our teams insight into the tire behavior that should help them get up to speed.

“A win at Michigan also brings with it possession of the new Michigan Heritage Trophy, a new tradition started by the speedway at the Fall 2013 race. I'm hopeful that all of the hard work will pay off with a win for Team Chevy on Sunday, and allow us to bring home that trophy.”

WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE THE CHEVROLET SS RACE CARS?
This weeks’ race is at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan – the hometown NASCAR Sprint Cup Series track for Chevrolet located approximately 70 miles southwest from Chevrolet headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. 23 Chevrolet SS will attempt to qualify at the superfast 2-mile track. Fans can watch and/or listen to all the action Sunday June 8th on TNT, 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
(ON POSSIBILITY OF DRAFTING DURING QUALIFYING.): “While you would want somebody to be quite a bit ahead of you to get a ‘tow’ in a perfect world, I think we’ll be better off just being in ‘clean’ air to get through the corners. But if you’re able to get just a little bit of a draft from a car at a distance, every little bit will help. You just can’t get too close, though.”

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/SUPERMAN CHEVROLET SS – 3RD IN STANDINGS
(ON POSSIBILITY OF CLAIMING BACK-TO-BACK WINS.): “That would be awesome. I haven't done that since the Nationwide days back in '98 or '99. We won a couple there back to back, I think. That's a really good feeling. Puts you right on top of the world. A win gives you a lot of confidence, but you know and realize how difficult those are to come by and how competitive this garage is, but man, when you win two in a row, man, that sets you apart a bit from your competition. That would be a great thing for us.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET SS – 4TH IN STANDINGS
“It seems like we run well at Michigan and then something usually happens to us, so we have been chasing a win for what seems like forever. There are always a lot of Chevrolet guests out at the track since its right down the road from Detroit so it would be nice to see a Chevy in the winner’s circle for them. Hoping we can pull off a win at Michigan soon for this Lowe’s team, check it off the list and have a great celebration. I also want to win at Chicago since that is a ‘hometown’ track for Chad (Knaus). So we are looking for a solid run this weekend.”

KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – 10TH IN STANDINGS
“I’m looking forward to getting to Michigan this weekend and building off the momentum from the top-five finish at Pocono. Our Target Chevrolets’ seem to be getting better and better, so it will be good to be back on the track and see what we’ve got for this weekend. I had a good race at Michigan last year in the Nationwide car, so I’m excited to see what we can do in the Cup car. We’re always looking for a win, but will just try to stay consistent this weekend as we continue to work on getting into victory lane.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET SS – 11TH IN STANDINGS
"Michigan is its own unique two-mile track. You really can't compare it to places like California Speedway anymore. They've kind of flip flopped. Before, California was the new pavement and Michigan was old. Now, it's the opposite. I look forward to going back up to Michigan. It's the Quicken Loans 400 race. It's an important race for us because Quicken Loans is one of our partners. We are still looking for our first win of the season and hopefully we can do it right down the road from Quicken Loans headquarters. There's double the importance for us to at least have a solid run for Quicken Loans and all of their team members who will be with us this weekend and supporting us. We actually tested at Michigan a few months back as part of a tire test for Goodyear. The track is fast, especially now with the rules package so I hope that we can build upon last week's top-10 effort."

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET SS – 12TH IN STANDINGS
“It depends on how your day is going. If you’re having a good day, it’s not really hard to tell your guys what you need and everyone is in a good mood. If you’re having a bad day, you can get behind at Michigan really fast. Usually, when you’re hooked up at Michigan, the leaders have clean air and move through traffic pretty well, but if you’re in the middle of the pack, you find yourself getting behind and going a lap down pretty quick. You’re going to end up with a green flag pit stop and a whole bunch of green flag laps. You just have to be going from the time the green flag drops and keep yourself in position at the end.”

AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW CHEVROLET SS – 15TH IN STANDINGS
"I've raced at Michigan International Speedway before in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, so I'm really looking forward to going back to a track where I've made a few laps. Last year I subbed for Smoke (Tony Stewart) at Michigan and I've also raced a RCR-prepared car there. It's a fast track. I love it. I've had one of my best finishes in the Cup Series at Michigan. I've had some good success at Michigan in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Last year we came pretty close to winning the Nationwide race, but cut down a tire. It's a very raceable track."

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 PITTSBURGH PAINTS/MENARDS CHEVROLET SS – 17TH IN STANDINGS
“Before they repaved you could run all over the place then they paved it and racing groove got narrow. We had maybe two car widths on the bottom. Last year got better and this year I foresee getting better again. I know they had a tire test up there but I’m not sure what kind of tire we will be using. Hopefully it has a little give to it so we can move around. I definitely see us breaking a track record again, we’ve broken the track record pretty much every where we’ve gone with these new rules and car so I can see that happening again.”

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 BASS PRO SHOPS/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET SS – 18TH IN STANDINGS
“It’s hard to say but it should be better. That first year, 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. It was even better last year and really we should see more of the same even with the higher speeds. 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, and it’s just been getting better so I’m anticipating it’s going to be even better when we get back on it this weekend.”

AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 CHARTER CHEVROLET SS – 20TH IN STANDINGS
“I think the main thing that comes to mind is having a brand new race car for the first time this year beside the superspeedway races. I’m looking forward to that. That is something that hopefully makes a difference. I feel like on the bigger race tracks we haven’t been way off, but we haven’t been where we need to be either so hopefully that will help a little bit. Michigan is a tough place because with the repave I feel like the track has always got a lot of grip in it especially during practice and it’s really fast. Then after the sun comes out for the race it will turn on you in a heartbeat and be really slick. That is a place that if you are loose it’s a real tough race track to get around. I enjoy it. I think it’s a fun race track to be able to race on. Since the repave the groove is starting to widen out a little bit. The racing has gotten better, but more than anything just try to keep getting better and seeing if all the work that we are doing, brand new car, the hard work the guys put into it going there and seeing if it makes a difference.”

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET SS – 23RD IN STANDINGS
“Michigan is a fun place to race, but it is completely different since the repave a couple of years ago. It is especially fun because you have guys that run the bottom and others that are way up by the fence all day. The track is really fast and has a ton of grip. It seems that this always comes down to being a fuel mileage race, so pit strategy will come into play on Sunday. We have had really fast cars and I hope we can continue the good finishes that we have had the last several weeks.”

MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET SS – 24TH IN STANDINGS
“I am not sure about Michigan. Since the track was repaved it changed the style of racing there. The track is just too fast right now. I am hoping the new pavement is wearing out a little to slow us down. I enjoyed the old asphalt at Michigan where you could run all over the place. But give credit to the track for making improvements with the repave. We’re professionals and it's our job to deal with the track conditions. I feel our Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet will be good at Michigan due to our recent gain in speed. We have some momentum right now with consecutive top-10s and need to build on that. Things are much brighter with our Furniture Row team than they were earlier in the season.”

CASEY MEARS, NO. 13 GEICO CHEVROLET SS – 25TH IN STANDINGS
"Michigan is a track where we are looking forward to having a good run. We had always struggled at Pocono over the years, but had a strong race there on Sunday, so we're starting to get our hands wrapped around some of these tracks we've had problems at in the past. The relationship with Chevrolet and RCR (Richard Childress Racing) has been great and we're looking forward to getting to the next few races and finishing up the first half of the season in strong fashion. I'm really proud of the guys on our GEICO team and their hard work is paying off."

KURT BUSCH, NO. 41 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET SS – 27TH IN STANDINGS
“I like Michigan because it’s a balance of trying to make sure you have the speed through the corners, but then every change that you’re making in the back of your mind you have to keep in mind the straightaways are so long there. You’re balancing trying to keep the drag out of the car.”

DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS – 28TH IN STANDINGS
“I think it’s a momentum track and I feel like I come from a background of carrying a lot of momentum and using a lot of throttle. Being smooth and hopefully that is something that can help me at Michigan. At the end of the day it has to handle well. It has to feel good. It has to be a fast car. Here at this Cup level, it’s very competitive and being a little off is being a lot off. I think my strength of carrying momentum is something I’m used to doing.”

JUSTIN ALLGAIER, NO. 51 ACCUDOC SOULUTIONS CHEVROLET SS – 29TH IN STANDINGS
“Michigan [International Speedway] is a very fast and wide two mile track. We are in Chevrolet’s back yard, so that brings a little extra pressure to make sure I do well. We’ve been making gains every week at HScott Motorsports and I’m looking forward to continuing that momentum this weekend."

MICHAEL ANNETT, NO. 7 PILOT FLYING J CHEVROLET SS – 30TH IN STANDINGS
"I believe 'Bono' (Manion, crew chief) and I are becoming more comfortable with one another and that has shown in the past few weeks. I think we're getting closer and closer to where we want to be. We had a competitive car at Dover and had a competitive car at Pocono, and I think, at Michigan, we have the chance to have another really good day."


Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Statistics

Manufacturers Championships
Total (1949 – 2013): 37
First title for Chevrolet: 1958
Highest number of consecutive titles: 11 (2003-2013)

Years Won: 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

Drivers Championships
Total (1949 – 2013): 29
First Chevrolet champion: Buck Baker (1957)
Highest number of consecutive titles: 7 (2005 – ’11)

Years Won: 1957, 1960, 1961, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013

Event Victories
Record for total race wins in single season: 26 – (in 2007)

2014 STATISTICS:
Wins: 8
Poles: 6
Laps led: 2606
Top-five finishes: 33
Top-10 finishes: 78

CHEVROLET IN NASCAR SPRINT CUP CUMULATIVE STATISTICS:
Total Chevrolet race wins: 726 (1949 – to date); (2,403 possible = 30.0%)
Poles Won to Date: 653
Laps Lead to Date: 216,266
Top-Five Finishes to Date: 3,648
Top-10 Finishes to Date: 7,459

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

GM: 1,061
Chevrolet: 726
Pontiac: 155
Oldsmobile: 115
Buick: 65

Ford: 722
Ford: 622
Mercury: 96
Lincoln: 4

Chrysler: 466
Dodge: 217
Plymouth: 190
Chrysler: 59

Toyota: 65

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