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Jun 25, 2014 - 07:02 AM
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2014 Kentucky: Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Jun 25, 2014 - 07:01 AM
NASCAR News
2014 Kentucky: Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview


In 2014 the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) will travel to 23 different race tracks. Of those 23 facilities the Chevrolet brand has visited Winner’s Circle in every one, but one – Kentucky Speedway. The 1.5-mile track located in Sparta, Kentucky was added to the NSCS schedule in 2011. Despite two pole wins for Chevrolet’s Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., the Bowtie Brand has yet to earn the trophy in the Bluegrass State.

 

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After last week’s task at the first road course race of the season in Sonoma, California, Chevy SS teams and drivers must now switch gears. Kentucky Speedway is not only a 1.5-mile track, but one of the most unique tracks drivers must tackle throughout the season. With its distinctive tri-oval layout, bumps and fast speeds achieving balance will be a hefty task. Throw in the difficulty of racing under the lights, adjusting to changing track conditions, managing tire wear and fuel mileage each of the 23 Chevy SS drivers and teams competing in this weekend’s 267-lap/400.5-mile race will be busy on their quest to get to Victory Lane.

With 16 races complete in 2014 Chevrolet continues to lead the manufacturer standings by 31 markers over second. Chevrolet SS drivers have won nine of the 16 races thus far as the countdown to the Chase creeps ever closer. Prior to Kentucky Speedway five different Chevy SS drivers have collected victories in 2014, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kevin Harvick each have multiple wins, while Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon each have one win this season. Given NASCAR’s new rules for making the Chase this season each of the drivers have all but locked themselves a position to compete for this year’s title.

Every Chevy SS driver that takes the green flag on Saturday night will be looking for their first career win at Kentucky Speedway hoping to mark that track off the list of venues that they yet to have collected a checkered flag at – the Bowtie looks to do the same.

The Quaker State 400 is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday June 28th. 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 727 wins and 655 poles in NSCS competition


CHEVROLET ON THE TRACK—KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY:
Following the first three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race held at Kentucky Speedway, Team Chevy drivers have recorded six (6) top-five and 12 top-10 finishes
Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. are the only two Team Chevy drivers with poles at Kentucky Speedway, Earnhardt, Jr. currently holds the track qualifying record
A Chevrolet has led 217 laps (27.0% of possible 801 laps) at Kentucky Speedway

CHEVROLET SPOTLIGHT: Kentucky Speedway is the only track on the current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule that Chevrolet does not have a win at

BOWTIE BULLET: Chevrolet’s Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon (along with two other drivers) lead the series in top 10 finishes at Kentucky Speedway with three each

DID YOU KNOW? The Chevrolet Malibu, Suburban (tie), and Silverado HD ranked highest in the Midsize Car, Large SUV and Large Heavy Duty Pickup segments in the 2014 J.D. Power Initial Quality StudySM. This is the second year in a row that Silverado HD leads in its segment. In addition, Chevrolet had three vehicles that finished in the top three of their respective segments, including Camaro in Midsize Sporty, Equinox in Compact SUV, and Tahoe in Large SUV.

ENGINEER EXPERTISE FROM THE GARAGE AREA –– ALBA COLON, PROGRAM MANAGER, NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES - CHEVROLET RACING:
“The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Kentucky Speedway this weekend, and Team Chevy is looking forward to some exciting racing on Saturday night on this unique 1.5-mile Tri-Oval. Also, the three main NASCAR series race this weekend. There’s nothing better than a weekend full of racing.

“This track has a lot of character and is very unique. It is rough, bumpy, challenging, and wide. The teams will practice during the day but they mainly race at night. They have to find the right balance and grip of the vehicles in order to be successful at this race. The team that can master all these variables will likely be victorious at the end.

“It’s hard to believe that we are just 10 weeks away from the start of the ‘Chase for the Sprint Cup’, which ultimately crowns the 2014 NSCS Champion. But first, we have to get there. All our Chevrolet teams are very focused, and they understand the goal at the end of the upcoming ten weeks. We need to perform, achieve top finishes, and score wins.

“This will mark the fourth time the Cup circuit will race at Kentucky Speedway, and Team Chevy is really looking forward to visiting Winner’s Circle on Saturday night.”

WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE THE CHEVROLET SS RACE CARS?
This weeks’ race is at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky. 23 Chevrolet SS will attempt to qualify at the 1.5-mile track. Fans can watch and/or listen to all the action under the lights on Saturday June 28th 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
“Kentucky is a very challenging track that is tough to win on. The transitions are tricky – it’s pretty flat from the back straightaway into to Turn 3 plus there’s a huge bump going in there.
“Winning at all the tracks would be something that I would be very proud of. But it seems every time we get close to accomplishing that goal, another track is added! But I think winning at all the tracks would be a pretty awesome feat.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – 2ND IN STANDINGS
“It would be great to go to Kentucky and win, to cross another track off our list. We have run really well there, led a lot of laps but just haven’t been able to score a win. Last weekend we had a really great run going, I’m really proud of this team and I’m just looking forward to the upcoming tracks before the off-weekend – Kentucky, Daytona and New Hampshire.”

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – 3RD IN STANDINGS
“I think we are pretty confident when we go to Kentucky that we can be competitive. We sat on the pole last year and were leading the race when we had a little bit of trouble and ran over something on the racetrack. The car should be fast, should be quick. It’s a fun place to run at. It’s got some bumps and some characteristics that are unique to that track. I can’t wait to get there and see what condition the racetrack is in.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET SS – 8TH IN STANDINGS
"I love racing under the lights just about anywhere. I think it's cool in Kentucky. I like that it has character and it has bumps. It is one of our one offs, so-to-speak. I think it falls at the most pivotal time in our season as far as racing to the Chase. Where you finish can make a big difference. I know the No. 31 Chevrolet was fast there last season, so I hope we can take what was done last season and improve upon it to be even better."

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET SS – 9TH IN STANDINGS
“It’s the newest, oldest track we go to. Kentucky Speedway is very rough. The corners are longer so they’re not as sharp, but the roughness of the racing surface is really what makes it unique in my mind. There is still a lot of grip, but the track has become rough over the years.”

KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – 10TH IN STANDINGS
“It’ll be nice to get back on an oval track this weekend. Kentucky is actually where I had my first NASCAR national series start, in the Truck Series a couple years ago. I’ve only raced there a few times, but I do tend to favor the mile and a half tracks. I know Kentucky will be another physical track with the bumps, so hopefully my arms are recovered from driving around Sonoma without power steering for a while. My crew has done a great job this season setting up really good cars, and our Target Chevy has been fast, so I’m looking forward to getting a good finish this weekend.”

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 QUAKER STATE/MENARDS CHEVROLET SS – 12TH IN STANDINGS
"It's definitely a unique track with the surface. It's one of the oldest surfaces we go to with the bumps that are characteristic of an old, worn-out track. It's real flat, very wide. The fact that it is so multi-grooved makes it a fun track. You can run the middle, years ago we ran by the fence, which has gone away a little bit, but you can run all over the place."

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 GREAT CLIPS CHEVROLET SS – 15TH IN STANDINGS
(ON THE TEAM’S RECENT MOMENTUM.): “I look at it as we need to score as many points as we can each weekend. We are in the midst of racing at tracks that we run really well at. We ran well at Michigan and Sonoma, and as a result, we had great finishes so we just need to continue that momentum and continue to do the best we can. We are figuring things out and starting to put full races together. If we continue to do that, we will be in a good spot with the new points system. We’re definitely not out until Richmond. You have a much better shot this way to make the Chase even if you are not running very well throughout the first half of the year.”

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 RUSH TRUCK CENTERS CHEVROLET SS – 17TH IN STANDINGS
“It’s got a lot of bumps, so that makes it very challenging. Trying to figure out exactly where to be, where to try to get around some of the bumps, how to get through them better, how to get the car to go through them better – those are challenges that kind of make it fun, because it’s not just flat and easy to get around.”

AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 CHEERIOS PROTEIN CHEVROLET SS – 18TH IN STANDINGS
"The schedule goes from Sonoma Raceway to Kentucky Speedway, so it's pretty much going from my newest track to my favorite track. I'm looking forward to Kentucky Speedway. I wish we could have had a test in there, just because I feel like it's one of those places where we can go out there and have a shot to win. We'll do our best this year to get after it in that race, I think we will have a solid run there."

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 LEXAR CHEVROLET SS – 19TH IN STANDINGS
“I think the thing that comes to mind mostly about Kentucky Speedway is that it is a track that is really bumpy. You have to really work on getting the car set-up right. It is also a challenge because all of our practice takes place in the heat of the afternoon and we race later in the evening. We have had really good cars all year and after a runner-up finish last year at Kentucky, I hope we can go back and be in position at the end this year too.”

AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 SCOTTS PRODUCTS CHEVROLET SS – 23RD IN STANDINGS
“Kentucky Speedway is one of my favorite places and I’ve ran decent there before. It’s definitely got a lot of bumps in it. It is not like it is rough, but it is wavy and tough to get around. It will be warm this weekend, so the track will be slick. That makes it tough for the guys to set up the SCOTT Products Chevrolet SS and on top of that you practice during the day and race at night. It is one of those places where you have to get into a rhythm. The track is not really wide, but you have lines you can choose. If you can get your car working over bumps, then you have an advantage. You have to have finesse for this track and you cannot be aggressive. You have got to be patient because the track changes a lot and it gets slick.”

CASEY MEARS, NO. 13 GEICO CHEVROLET SS – 24TH IN STANDINGS
"We had a strong run at Sonoma and if we didn't get banged around there with around 13 to go, the No. GEICO Chevrolet SS would've had a top ten finish. All things considered, we're happy with 13th and now look forward to getting to Kentucky. Kentucky is a track where we feel we can do well. The first half of the season is winding down, so we're looking for good runs at Kentucky and then Daytona to close it out strong. I'm proud of the guys on this Germain team and everyone has worked really hard. Also, our pit crew has been doing a good job, which has been a great help to me on-track."

MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET SS – 25TH IN STANDINGS
“Honestly, Kentucky Speedway is something different. It’s a rough racetrack but I think it is fun to race on. I personally like the old bumpy, slick and worn out tracks. Early in my career, I didn’t like these types of tracks. But right now I like them the most. I don’t know what has changed over the years either I figured out how to get my cars working on rough tracks or just have had better cars. I am confident that our Furniture Row Chevrolet with the World Vision paint scheme this weekend will be strong. We need another solid run, which we are capable of. I believe I’ve had two top-10s in the three Kentucky races. Regarding World Vision, it’s an honor to drive for such an outstanding humanitarian organization that fights poverty and injustice in nearly 100 countries.”

KURT BUSCH, NO. 41 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET SS – 26TH IN STANDINGS
“Kentucky is a tough 1.5-mile circuit that’s relatively new to the Sprint Cup schedule. The track has a unique set of bumps that makes it different from a lot of the typical 1.5-mile tracks that we see. It’s kind of a one-off race with its own set of setup issues. You can overthink Kentucky a little bit because there’s nothing similar to it.”

JUSTIN ALLGAIER, NO. 51 BRANDT PROFESSIONAL AGRICULTURE CHEVROLET SS – 29TH IN STANDINGS
“Well, after my weekend at Sonoma [Raceway] I’m ready to get back to an oval track. Kentucky [Speedway] was never really one of my better tracks in the other series I’ve raced in there, but I’m keeping an open mind going in to this weekend with a Sprint Cup car. We were able to test a little bit there earlier this month, so we should have a pretty good baseline to start the weekend with."

MICHAEL ANNETT, NO. 7 PILOT FLYING J CHEVROLET SS – 30TH IN STANDINGS
"I just feel comfortable at Kentucky. We've got a bunch of top-10 finishes to show from our races there in Nationwide. It's just a really fun place, and I'm confident that, after our runs at Pocono and Michigan, we have a good feel on this car going into the weekend."

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: 9
Poles: 8
Laps led: 2842
Top-five finishes: 41
Top-10 finishes: 91

CHEVROLET IN NASCAR SPRINT CUP CUMULATIVE STATISTICS:
Total Chevrolet race wins: 727(1949 – to date); (2,406 possible = 30.0%)
Poles Won to Date: 655
Laps Lead to Date: 216,502
Top-Five Finishes to Date: 3,656
Top-10 Finishes to Date: 7,472

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

GM: 1,062
Chevrolet: 727
Pontiac: 155
Oldsmobile: 115
Buick: 65

Ford: 723
Ford: 623
Mercury: 96
Lincoln: 4

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

Toyota: 65


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