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Sep 03, 2014 - 07:06 AM
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2014 Richmond II: Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Sep 03, 2014 - 07:05 AM
NASCAR News
2014 Richmond II: Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Preview


Ten years ago NASCAR officials decided to make a radical change to how the season champion was decided – a Chase. Like many other professional sports, NASCAR adopted a playoff type system, where the final 10 races would determine which driver carried home the hardware. As Chevrolet teams and drivers enter into the 11th season in which a champion will be crowned via the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, once again they will be faced with a new challenge – win and you are in.

 

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This season the Chase for the Sprint Cup will be comprised of 16 drivers; and that final field of 16 will be determined when the checkered flag falls this Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway (RIR). Fourteen drivers have already locked themselves into one of the 16 coveted spots. Seven of those will carry the Chevrolet Bowtie in their quest to win this year’s championship. Two positions remain unsecured in the Chase bracket. Many scenarios are up in the air, but if everything goes as planned, Chevrolet drivers will make up at least half of the Chase grid.

Team Chevy’s odds at securing at least one, if not both of the final spots in the Chase at RIR, are good. Chevrolet is the most successful manufacturer at the track, earning 36 wins in 116 races held at the 0.75-mile oval. In the last three races there, Chevrolet has only visited Victory Lane once; but hungry drivers like Ryan Newman, Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon and Paul Menard, all of whom are still mathematically eligible to make the Chase, will be vying for a win to ensure a spot in the Chase.

2014 has been a successful season already for Chevrolet. The brand has secured 14 victories thus far with the Chevy SS, and continues to lead the way in the Manufacturer Championship standings.

As fans prepare to cheer on their favorite Team Chevy driver under the light this weekend at Richmond International Raceway, before they take their seats they can check out the great line-up of Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUV’s on display at the Team Chevy display in the midway. Fans can see a variety of vehicles including: Cruze, Malibu, Impala, Camaro Coupe, Corvette Stingray, Equinox, Traverse, Suburban, Silverado 1500 Crew, Silverado Double Cab and Silverado 2500 LTZ. Fans can also ask questions of their favorite Team Chevy drivers when they visit the Team Chevy stage for question and answer sessions. This weekend the stage will be a flurry of activity with multiple drivers including: Reed Sorenson, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson, Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier, Michael Annett, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Martin Truex, Jr., Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne all making appearances at the Team Chevy display.

The 400-lap/300 mile Federated Auto Parts 400 at RIR is scheduled to begin under the lights on Saturday September 6th at 7:30 p.m. ET. Live coverage will be available on ABC, MRN, 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 732 wins and 661 poles in NSCS competition

CHEVROLET ON THE TRACK—RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY:
Chevrolet drivers have won 36 of 116 races at Richmond International Raceway. Victories by current Team Chevy drivers are:
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet SS, has three (3) victories at RIR (’00, ’04 & ’06)
Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, has taken the checkered flag at RIR three (3) time (’06, ’11 & ‘13)
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, has three (3) wins at RIR (’07 - TWICE & ‘08)
Tony Stewart, No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, has three (3) victories at RIR (’99, ’01 & ’02)
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, has visited Victory Lane at RIR twice (2) (’96 & ’00)
Kurt Busch, No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, has one (1) victory at RIR (’05)
Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Farmer’s Insurance Chevrolet SS, has made one (1) trip to Victory Lane at RIR (’05)
Ryan Newman, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, has one (1) trophy from RIR (’03)

A Chevrolet driver has won one (1) of the last three (3) races at Richmond International Raceway
A Chevrolet driver has sat on the pole at Richmond International Raceway 46 times
Team Chevy drivers have scored 217 top-five and 444 top-10 finishes at Richmond International Raceway
A Chevrolet has led 14,678 laps (33.7% of possible 43,496 laps) at Richmond International Raceway

TEAM CHEVY FOR THE FANS AT RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY:
· Fans can check out great Chevrolet vehicles including: Cruze, Malibu, Impala, Camaro Coupe, Corvette Stingray, Equinox, Traverse, Suburban, Silverado 1500 Crew, Silverado double cab and Silverado 2500 LTZ
· At the display fans can see a variety of show cars including: Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet SS and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s No. 88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet SS. Fans can also get an up close and personal look at the all-new 2015 Colorado, the Silverado Rally, Chevrolet SS and Camaro Z/28.
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:
· Saturday, September 6th – The Team Chevy Stage will be a flurry of activity prior to the Federated Auto Parts 400. Beginning at 3:15 p.m. Reed Sorenson will make an appearance at the Team Chevy Stage followed by Jamie McMurray at 3:30 p.m., Kyle Larson at 3:50 p.m., Danica Patrick at 4:05 p.m., Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett at 4:15 p.m. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Martin Truex, Jr. at 4:30 p.m., Kurt Busch at 4:45 p.m. and the day of driver appearances ends with Atlanta Motor Speedway winner Kasey Kahne at 5:00 p.m.
· Hours of operation: Fri. Sept. 5th – 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. and Sat. Sept. 6th – 10:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

CHEVROLET SPOTLIGHT: Since the inception of the Chase in 2004 a Chevrolet driver and team has ended the year as the series champion eight times. The only other Manufacturer to win the season-ending championship is Ford (2004 & 2012).

BOWTIE BULLET: Chevrolet has had at least one driver make the Chase each season since it began in 2004. Chevrolet’s Jimmie Johnson is the only driver to make the Chase field all 11 seasons.

DID YOU KNOW? Eleven plants. One-hundred and eighteen countries. Eighty-eight awards. And now, 3 million sales for the Chevrolet Cruze. The best-selling Chevrolet model crossed the milestone this month, just 16 months after selling its 2 millionth model. From the U.S. and Canada, to Laos and the Philippines, to Lebanon and Qatar, the Cruze has proved itself a global player among small cars.

ENGINEER EXPERTISE FROM THE GARAGE AREA – ALBA COLON, PROGRAM MANAGER, NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES - CHEVROLET RACING:
“First of all, a big congratulations to Kasey Kahne, Kenny Francis, Rick Hendrick and the entire No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet SS team for their performance and win at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday night. What a race; what a win. Also, Congratulations to Hendrick Motorsports for placing their 4 teams in the Chase.

“This weekend we head to Richmond International Raceway to one of the most important races of the year. With only one race to go before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup gets underway, Richmond is not only a vital race for all the contenders, but especially for those teams on the bubble. Every lap, every position, every win counts. Currently, there are seven Team Chevy drivers locked into the Chase, and a possibility for several more to secure the two spots remaining.

“We always look forward to visiting Richmond, and have a successful history at this unique 3/4 –mile D-shaped oval short track. The racing is always exciting, and especially so under the lights. The key is having an adjustable car; and the chassis set-ups are always very important.

“We are looking forward to Saturday night and to celebrating with our Chevrolet drivers who make the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.”

WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE THE CHEVROLET SS RACE CARS?
This weeks’ race is at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. 23 Chevrolet SS race cars will attempt to qualify at the 0.75-mile short track. Fans can watch and/or listen to all the action on ABC, MRN, 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
“You always look forward to visiting a track when you ran well there the previous race. We had a great car there in April and led a lot of laps, but Richmond has always been ‘hit or miss’ for us.
“I’m just glad this weekend isn’t going to be as stressful as years past when we had to race our way into the Chase at Richmond.”

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONWIDE INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS – 2ND IN STANDINGS
“I enjoy racing at Richmond. You can be aggressive and the racing is fun. We run at night and get a great crowd for the event. Richmond has put on a good show for years.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – 6TH IN STANDINGS
“This will be an interesting race for sure. There are a few guys trying to get in the Chase and a few guys trying to stay in it. It’s been a great regular season so far – exciting for the fans and everyone involved. I’m so happy for Kasey Kahne and the No. 5 team with their win in Atlanta – so proud Hendrick Motorsports will have all four drivers represented in the Chase for this year’s cup.”

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET SS – 8TH IN STANDINGS
“I’ve been fortunate over my career to have had a lot of success at Richmond in the Nationwide and the Cup series and look forward to running another race there. We didn’t feel like we ran as well as we should have in the first race there this year and we’re looking forward to going back and hopefully having a good weekend and doing what we need to doon Saturday night.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET SS – 9TH IN STANDINGS
"When you look at the racing last year, there is no doubt that people contending for a Chase spot were racing in a way to help their cause. I think everyone has learned a lot from what happened and the consequences of it all. I think you may see a very different Richmond this time around."

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMER’S INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS – 11TH IN STANDINGS
“It was just an unbelievable way to make The Chase and to win at Atlanta was very special. It's a tough track, but a track that I love coming to so it feels really good to get a victory there. It’s been a tough season, and we have had kind of a downer year at times and then we started running really well so I’m very happy to be in the Chase with my teammates. I have the best teammates and Mr. Hendrick gives us everything that we need. It’s awesome to work with those guys and to be part of Hendrick Motorsports with everything that Mr. H gives us. Glad we are in the Chase, and we can race our teammates now.

“Up until our Atlanta win, we weren't going to be in the Chase and that hurt so as a team, we put it together on Sunday night. We never gave up, and we ended up getting the win. I feel really good about that. We can just build off of it. Hopefully, we can build some confidence, some momentum, and go into Richmond and even get better. We actually ran pretty well at Richmond earlier in the year, so that could be a good track for us this weekend.”

KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – 13TH IN STANDINGS
“For this weekend, it’s pretty simple for us, we need to win. Our Target Chevy has continued to be fast, and I know we have the ability to win the race. We’ve had a pretty good season, and getting into the Chase would be an awesome accomplishment for the team and me in our first season together. Richmond can be a tough track, but we have a good car for this weekend and we’ll use what we learned from the race there in the spring and our test to go out Saturday night and fight for a victory and a spot in the Chase.”

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 SYLVANIA/MENARDS CHEVROLET SS – 14TH IN STANDINGS
"Yeah, we practice during the day with really long sessions then we race at night, so it's a lot of predicting what your car is going to do at night. It changes a little bit; it generally gains more grip but doesn't really get tighter or looser. You gain some grip which then goes away because you're doing longer runs. There's not a whole lot we change from day to night."

AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 AMERICAN ETHANOL CHEVROLET SS – 15TH IN STANDINGS
"It's probably one of the biggest short tracks we go to because the restarts are so intense and you can really screw a guy getting into the corner there if you duck under him and put him into a bad spot. It's a place where you have to be aggressive and then have a car that holds on late because that guy that you were aggressive to at the beginning, will come back and get you later in the run. A fast car makes everything easier for sure, and if you've got that you don't have to worry much about Richmond. It's a place that brings the competition really tight together."

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 CESSNA CHEVROLET SS – 16TH IN STANDINGS
“I feel that the biggest challenge at Richmond is tire management. Richmond is a lot of fun to race when your car is good, because there is a lot of fall-off with the tires during the course of a long green-flag run. It is completely different from any of the other short-tracks that we run at. I have had a lot of people ask me about added pressure of winning leading into this last race before the cut-off to make the Chase to the NASCAR Sprint Cup. I don’t feel any added pressure for our team. The goal is to win every week, so this will be just like the first race of the season. We have tried to win at each race since the Daytona 500.”

KURT BUSCH, NO. 41 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET SS – 21ST IN STANDINGS
“You know, this has always been a tough place for me. Even with the win there, I still just find it to be one of the more difficult tracks to get a handle on. It’s a short track but it’s pretty unique because, other than the fact that it’s under a mile in length, it really doesn’t compare to a Martinsville or Phoenix. It’s pretty wide whereas, at some of our other short tracks, you are dealing with one-lane racing grooves. It’s almost like a 1.5-mile track that has been packaged into a three-quarter-mile track. It’s a place where you can get caught in the outside lane on restarts but you won’t necessarily fall back 10 or more positions like you would at a Martinsville because, if your car is handling, you are able to maintain position. The last few times we’ve been there, though, the bottom is the place to be. Aside from it being the shortest way around the track, you can get more aggressive on the bottom lane and, if you have to, you can move people to advance your position.”

AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 BUSH’S BEANS CHEVROLET SS – 23RD IN STANDINGS
“The first Richmond race this season, we were pretty good and ended up with a sixth-place finish. I feel like our short track program is the best we have besides our road course program. Hopefully, we can go there and have a good run. It’s all about focusing on going into the Chase at this point. In a way, we are focused on Richmond, but at the same time looking ahead. We need a solid run and know our expectations going into it. Richmond is a place that changes throughout the night. It gets slick and it burns off the rear tires, which makes it fun to manage as a driver. It’s just a fun race in general especially with the Chase berth on the line and you always get a big crowd to watch the anticipation for what is on the line. I’m just going to enjoy it because fortunately we don’t have to worry about it since we are locked in the Chase.”

CASEY MEARS, NO. 13 GEICO CHEVROLET SS – 24TH IN STANDINGS
"We're very excited to get back to Richmond this week. Our car was strong there in the spring and we feel like we learned a lot. It's only 100-miles from GEICO's corporate office, so we always enjoy racing there and having some of their folks join us at the racetrack."

MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET SS – 25TH IN STANDINGS
“Richmond is a difficult weekend because we practice in the daylight and race at night. You never have a good feeling in practice about what your car is going to do in the race. Even if you’re fast in practice there is no guarantee that it will be the same during the race. It gets so hot there during the day and the track is super slick. The race conditions at night are obviously different and you must be ready to make the necessary adjustments. Racing at Richmond is really a crap shoot to be honest but it’s also a fun place to race at. We had one of our better finishes of the season there during the spring race.”

DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS – 28TH IN STANDINGS
“The first thing I think of when going to Richmond is we have sucked there each and every time (laughs). So we are going there with a different approach, a different approach from what we will need out of the car to be good on Saturday night, and let’s hope it will work.”

JUSTIN ALLGAIER, NO. 51 BRANDT PROFESSIONAL AGRICULTURE CHEVROLET SS – 29TH IN STANDINGS
“I’m excited to get back to a short track this weekend at Richmond [International Raceway]. Our short track program at HScott Motorsports is really good and I’m confident we will have a good weekend. It’s the last race before the Chase, so it should be a very exciting racing on Saturday night."

MICHAEL ANNETT, NO. 7 PILOT FLYING J CHEVROLET SS – 30TH IN STANDINGS
"We had some handling issues in the spring, which was a shame. Richmond is one of my favorite tracks. It's a place I feel we can do really well at, but it will be important for us to nail down the handling in practice. I think we can get there. Lately, Bono [Manion, crew chief] and everyone at TBR has been helping improve upon our initial setups each weekend. We're capable of a great outing."

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: 14
Poles: 14
Laps led: 3885
Top-five finishes: 62
Top-10 finishes: 135

CHEVROLET IN NASCAR SPRINT CUP CUMULATIVE STATISTICS:
Total Chevrolet race wins: 732 (1949 – to date); (2,413 possible = 30.0%)
Poles Won to Date: 661
Laps Lead to Date: 217,545
Top-Five Finishes to Date: 3,677
Top-10 Finishes to Date: 7,516

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

GM: 1,067
Chevrolet: 732
Pontiac: 155
Oldsmobile: 115
Buick: 65

Ford: 727
Ford: 627
Mercury: 96
Lincoln: 4

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

Toyota: 65

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