TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT:
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET – Point Leader: "Richmond has been a great race track for us. That’s the last one to have a free for all, and just do what you have to do. It is also the last weekend to prepare yourself for what is coming in the next ten weeks. We have to have our stuff together, and I think we should run well. I enjoy Richmond, and I think it suits everything that we do at RCR, and always has since I’ve been there. It should be a good weekend. Absolutely, I think you have to (give up a spot or two to Clint Bowyer, if he could). It’s important for our company, it’s important for all of our sponsors to see that. Whatever we have to do, we’ll do.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT/NATIONAL GUARD MILITARY INTELLIGENCE CHEVROLET – 2ND IN STANDINGS: “Richmond is a very tough race track. I felt like we had a real legitimate shot at winning that race the last time we were there. I felt like Kyle (Busch) and Denny (Hamlin) run really really strong there but we definitely cut into that gap tremendously the last time we were there. It is a tough race track. It is a short track. It is not easy to get a hold of. You go from day to night because the race starts sort of in the evening but you still slip and slide around a little bit until the sun goes down. Then you have double-file restarts which at any short track, but especially a multiple groove track like Richmond really makes it challenging and that is one of the reasons we lost the race last time we were there.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OLD SPICE CHEVROLET – 4TH IN STANDINGS: “You want to make sure your car is adjustable at Richmond. We start the race at the end of the day, when it’s usually pretty hot but, as night comes, the track cools down and it changes quite a bit. Old pavement, new pavement – the same theory applies, and that’s not something you see at most of the races we go to. It’s pretty much isolated to just the night races. You’ve got to have adjustability because you know for a fact that the track isn’t going to stay the same all night long. Richmond is my favorite track. It’s not one of them, it’s the favorite track of mine on the circuit. I’ve just always thought it’s the perfect-sized track for a Cup race. The other short tracks we run – Bristol and Martinsville – they’re cool in their own right, but there’s a lot of congestion at those two tracks. But at Richmond, it just seems like that extra quarter-mile, and that three-quarter-mile shape, and how wide the groove gets there, allows for good racing. It seems like we have to race ourselves and race the racetrack versus racing each other a lot of times. You do have to race each other, obviously, but there are a lot of times during the race when you have the flexibility to move around on the racetrack and try to find a spot your car likes better than somewhere else. A lot of times on a short track you don’t have the flexibility. You’re more narrowed down with what groove you’re going to be in.”
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET –6TH IN STANDINGS: “I just think for the teams, for the fans and for everybody that it takes to make this sport work, Richmond is the best all-around track. Richmond has good racing action. It’s big enough where it’s not wreck after wreck, but small enough where it’s close side-by-side action since you have multiple grooves. To me, it’s a really hard race track to beat, competition-wise. I take a lot of pride in running well at Richmond. Being from Virginia, Richmond is where I went as a kid to watch Cup Series racing and it’s a special place for me to come back to. When you've clinched (a spot in the Chase), you get to go to Richmond and be in the shape to run really hard. That's how the Cat Racing team is going to run in the Chase - we are going to run it really hard. We are going to kick it off this weekend in Richmond and just bring everything we have. There’s no more protecting now. It is go time and we have to lay it all on the line. The pressure that those drivers (who have to fight their way into the Chase) will go through is just unbelievable. It’s not what you want to go through. You want to be able to clinch earlier than coming to Richmond. But, this is what our sport is about. You have to be able to operate under pressure. You have to be able to do your best under pressure and, if they get into that mind set, they’ll handle it well.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET – 7TH IN STANDINGS: "I'm hoping we will be a little better this time around at Richmond. We didn't have the greatest run there in the spring even though we finished 10th. The first couple of pit stops are always real important so you can get the car adjusted right. Track position is so important - it's not like you can come in and work on it if it's not where you want it. We've won there before but it just seems like we are up and down there. We just need to stay on top of it and try to get things going the right way as we start the Chase. It was a big relief to lock ourselves in (to the Chase) at Atlanta. It takes a little bit of the pressure off this weekend but that doesn't mean that we aren't looking for the win."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET - 12TH IN STANDINGS: "I need to make sure I don’t screw up (at Richmond), first and foremost (laughs). In the end, you need to make sure you don’t beat yourself. I’ve been in this situation before. Even though there is a lot of pressure, we need to go out there and do what we’ve been doing all year long. I need to stay focused at the task at hand, but also remember to have fun with it. As a driver, I’m kind of like the quarterback of this deal. I need to make sure everyone is upbeat and having fun, no matter what’s going on this weekend. Richmond is definitely the place I feel the most comfortable laying it out on the line. It’s one of my favorite race tracks where I’ve won at in the past, so gives us an extra boost of confidence. By no means is it locked up yet. We aren’t looking at it that way either. I do feel better about our situation with the padding we have over the guys behind us. It’s a good feeling to have, but we know we still have a job to do this weekend in order to be able to contend for the championship. I have a lot of confidence going into this race. I’m going to have to lean on this race a lot. This will be the race that gets us in or keeps us out of the Chase. We know that. Hopefully, we can run well and take care of business. Even though it’s an important point race for us, it’s also a place where we can go out and win.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET – 13TH IN STANDINGS: "We've been running well lately with finishes of sixth and eighth in the last two races. Our approach this weekend in the U.S. Army Chevrolet will be the same as it's been all year and that's to try our hardest and hopefully be in position to contend for the win. It seems like everyone wants to talk about where we stand in points. It's evident that you don't need an engineering degree to figure out our odds of making the Chase. Mathematically, we still have a chance, and I guess that means something. But you can't expect to make up all of those points in one shot. Again, our position in the standings is not going to change how we will approach the Richmond race. History will show that this No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing team has had success on short tracks and with that said we're looking to be running up front just like we did in the past two races at Bristol and Atlanta."
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET – 14TH IN STANDINGS: “The key to having success at Richmond is obviously being the fastest car, as well as making sure you make the most on the restarts. The inside line is the preferred groove to run on, so a lot of times it gets hard to fight your way forward in the field if lapped cars are running that line. I’m really looking forward to this weekend with our Bass Pro Shopsl team along with all the exciting two-wide racing you’ll see Saturday night.”
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – 15TH IN STANDINGS: “Richmond is a great race track. I think all the guys like racing there. We had good racecars there last year. Every race is a new race. We had three great racecars at Bristol; the first three times we raced Bristol in the 5 car were awesome and this last time was about as bad as I’ve ever been. You never know what you’re going to get. Right now we’re working as a whole organization to try to raise our game. I think we’re all—when we hit it just right we have good strong results—but we don’t have the kind of strength and stamina that we had as a group last year where you could just be ok and be competitive. If you’re just ok right now, we’re not there. We’re not competitive and we need to raise the level of the performance of the whole group right now. That’s part of the competition. It comes and goes like that. You’re never on top all the time; although Hendrick seems to be on top most of the time.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – 17TH IN STANDINGS: “Richmond and I don’t have a very strong history together but hopefully after our top-10 finish earlier this year our luck is changing. The schedule and the track are unlike any other we go to. It’s an impound race so we don’t get any practice time at night which makes it difficult to set-up the car for race conditions. And the track itself is pretty tricky. It’s two-wide racing and you have to fight hard for position. Our Target Chevrolet’s have been fast and we’ll just go out there and try to run a smart race.”
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET – 19TH IN STANDINGS: "Richmond fits my driving style. I grew up racing at Myrtle Beach (S.C.), and it's got the same characteristics of that track. It's got multiple grooves and multiple ways of racing around there. The car changes quite a bit over the night, and you've got to be able to move around and find different grooves. We've struggled there the past couple of times but we've been doing a lot of testing to get ready for this weekend."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 09 PHOENIX CONSTRUCTION CHEVROLET – 31ST IN STANDINGS: "James Finch and this Phoenix Racing team have really worked hard. We had some bad luck at Bristol a couple weeks back. Right now, we are really hoping to find a lucky horseshoe or something. This No. 09 team deserves a great finish for all of the tough things we've been through. Hopefully this weekend we will be able to get one. This team has had great qualifying runs at Richmond these past few races. Hopefully we'll be able to use that set-up to put us in a good starting position for the race. Starting the race up front will definitely be beneficial in keeping us out of trouble. It's really easy to get caught up in traffic, and it's hard to race in 'dirty air' in the back. You just can't pass. I have had some really good races at Richmond. This race is really exciting for all the fans. It's the race that determines the 12 drivers for the 'Chase', and even though we are not in it this year, it really gets the fans excited. This race gives me the same feeling the Bristol night race does. A packed house, under the lights, it's the way racing should be. This weekend will be extra special for the Labonte family. Terry (Labonte) will be making his debut with the Stavola Brother's. It's going to be a cool feeling to be racing again with Terry. We had a lot of great racing battles together over the years and it'll definitely be a great feeling to be with him on the track again."
LANDON CASSILL, NO. 71 POST-9/11 GI BILL CHEVROLET: “I’ve run in the Nationwide Series at Richmond. I finished 12th there in the second race in 2008. The last time I ran there we had a shot at the pole and then qualifying was rained out, so we had to start a little farther back based upon points. I have a of lot laps at Richmond and that experience will help me in the Sprint Cup race this Saturday. It is a short track; the grand stands go all the way around the track, giving it a real stadium feel.”
TERRY LABONTE, NO. 10 GANDER MOUNTAIN CHEVROLET: "This seems like it's been a long time coming for everyone, but probably more for Bill (Stavola, co-owner of Stavola Labonte Racing). He has been around the sport for a while, and we talked about doing something. He has such a passion for the sport and for doing things the right way. That's why it was easy to partner with him. He's put together some good people, and I think he's gone about this in a way that gives us the best chance to succeed. I'm happy to be with him this weekend. I think we're all anxious to get out there and see how it goes. We got some help from Richard Childress Racing and their group. Everyone knows that they have been extremely competitive this season. That gives us confidence that we have a good car to go to the track with."