Sunday, November 10, 2013

Harvick wins Phoenix race

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
ADVOCARE 500
PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
TEAM CHEVY RACE NOTES & QUOTES
NOVEMBER 10, 2013

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET SS – RACE WINNER:
WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS WHEN YOU SAW CARL (EDWARDS) COME OFF THE PACE? “Well I think we were all pushing it on gas there to try to just put enough in it to get to the end so that we could gain all the track position we could under green.  I saw him slowing with about maybe a lap and a half, two laps to go.  Richard (Childress) came across the radio and said he was slowing down.  I’m like ‘dang we might still be in this thing.’ Just have to thank all the guys on my Budweiser Chevrolet.  The car was rocking all day.  Just wound up in Victory Lane where it needed to be.”

WHAT GOES THROUGH YOUR MIND WHEN YOU SEE CARL (EDWARDS) RUNNING OUT AT THE END?
“I really wasn’t expecting that, but just have to thank all these guys on our Budweiser Chevrolet.  Jimmy Johns, Chevrolet, Bad Boy Buddies, Hunt Brothers, Freightliner, Ollies, Odyssey Batteries, all the people who help us and the race fans and Sprint for putting us on this race track.  We had a really fast car all day.  We were able to make our ground through traffic.  We just we were on the opposite side of the strategy that worked out.  You just never know how the cautions are going to work out.  It was a great day and just have to thank Richard (Childress) and everybody at RCR for all they have done for me.  One to go.”

IT MIGHT BE A LONG SHOT BUT YOU HAVE STILL GOT A SHOT NEXT WEEK AT HOMESTEAD: “Yeah and that is all you can ask for to happen.  Anything can happen.  You have to be in it to win it and done a good job of winning races in the Chase and we will see what happens.”

TALK ABOUT THE CAR ALL DAY LONG, IT DIDN’T LOOK LIKE YOU GUYS MADE HARDLY ANY ADJUSTMENTS:
“Yeah, we didn’t.  You know you never know how the caution flags are going to fly.  We wound up on the opposite side of.  You’ve got a 50/50 shot at the strategy, but our car was fast enough to make up ground through traffic. We were able to make some aggressive moves through the day and be able to put ourselves in position to win and here we are.”

DOES THIS PUT AN EXCLAMATION POINT ON WHAT YOU SAID EARLY IN THE YEAR THAT THIS IS NO LAME DUCK TEAM WITH FOUR WINS?
“Yeah and you know we have had a few bumps in the road.  Obviously, Martinsville was something I wish I could put behind me and keep my mouth shut.  But I think it made us closer in the end, myself and Richard (Childress) and Mike (Dillon) and Austin (Dillon) and all the guys on this team.  Just really proud to have driven at RCR and glad that we could wind up here in Victory Lane again and hopefully we’ve got one more shot at it next week.”   

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED THIRD:
“I knew I had a great race car and that makes life a lot easier.  I really had to fall back on my dirt driving skills racing out here in the desert all the years that I did.  All those incidences were close.   The second one, I thought I was hitting the wall so I was glad that we got it gathered back up and got it going.  Then the No. 20 (Matt Kenseth) wasn’t having the best day, so after that issue we came to pit road and left and I expected him to be ahead of me and he was behind me.  So at that point I knew I was in good shape relative to the championship battle; knew I had a good car, knew I could get through traffic, and I knew it was just about getting points on him at that point.”

HOW WILD WAS IT FOR YOU OUT THERE TODAY? “Yeah, the opening lap was kind of crazy and then we had another moment later in the race.  I am just glad nothing happened on both of those.  The first one my car just went straight.  I couldn’t turn, so I ended up in like the second lane entering the corner.  It got pretty nutty there and then later in the race once again. But a solid race car, I’ve got to thank Chad Knaus (crew chief) and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports for the awesome equipment they give me week in and week out.  Great pit stops and we had a good race here.  Last year at this race we had a tough day and we had a good day today.  Now we just need to go to Florida and have another good day.”
GIVE US THE MINDSET FOR THIS UPCOMING WEEK GETTING READY FOR THE FINAL RACE: “Just excited to go racing.  I’m in a position I want to be in.  I want to go down there and need to defend the championship.  We’ve got a nice points lead so happy to be back on the West Coast.  I want to say hey to everybody in the stands.  Thanks to all those No. 48 fans out there and we will go to Homestead and race some more.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED SECOND:
DESCRIBE THE WAY THIS RACE WENT.  IT WAS UP AND DOWN THE LEADER BOARD ALL AFTERNOON WITH ALL THIS PIT STRATEGY HOW WILD WAS IT FROM BEHIND THE WHEEL? “Yeah there was just really a lot of strategies throughout the race.  Everybody was kind of switching about 10 or 15 cars who were in the front and who weren’t.  We were able to work our way back.  Kenny (Francis, crew chief) had a great strategy throughout the race and we got our car really good about (lap) 150.  I got a little loose in the last restart, but actually the last full run prior to the restart as well.  Just felt good about our Farmers Insurance Chevrolet.  We made some big gains from yesterday and nice second-place finish.  I wish I could have held off (Kevin) Harvick once Carl (Edwards) ran out, but that is the way it goes.  We had a strong car today.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 QUICKEN/SALUTE TO VETERAN’S DAY CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 10TH:
"We had a good strategy, but we ran out of fuel coming to pit road. We had an opportunity to make something of it, but running out of fuel cost us four or five spots. That was probably the difference between us finishing fifth to where we actually finished, in 10th. Matt Borland and the guys worked hard to make the Quicken Loans Chevrolet better over the course of the weekend, and once we got in clean air the car was actually pretty good. But track position was everything. When we had it, the car was pretty good. When we didn't, it was so hard to pass. But we got another top-10 finish, which means Quicken Loans will pay 10 more mortgages and everyone can head to Outback Steakhouse for a Bloomin' Onion”.

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED FOURTH:
WHEN YOU CAME DOWN PIT ROAD WITH THAT LOOSE WHEEL DID YOU EVER THINK YOU WOULD BE STANDING OUT HERE WITH A TOP-FIVE FINISH?  TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY: 
“Yeah, I did.  We had a fast car.  I thought Steve Letarte (crew chief) could get some good strategy to get us back up into the top-10, top-five and I was real happy with the way we were able to rebound.”

KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/DENVER MATTRESS CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED FIFTH:
UP AND DOWN ROLLER COASTER AFTERNOON DID THE CAR RESPOND TO THE WAY YOU GUYS HAD IT SET-UP BASED OFF OF ALL THE PRACTICE SESSIONS THIS WEEKEND? “Well we were fifth today and maybe we were an eighth-place car.  We got up as high as fourth.  We put a good effort in and we just didn’t have the muscle those top-five guys had.  With (Carl) Edwards running out of gas that put us fifth and we will take that.  This is a single car team in the Chase with the big dogs and we have had a very successful season.  It’s tough we haven’t won, but we have been knocking on the door.  We will give it everything we’ve got next week in Miami.  It’s been a good run.  Really have to thank those Furniture Row guys out of Colorado.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED SIXTH:
“It was a good day for the Target team. The car was good and the guys did a great job with the pit strategy. It seemed like everyone was on a different pit strategy and I’m happy with a top-10 finish. The car had great speed all weekend and aside from a few handling problems the car was good.”


Contact: I can be reached at tgilli52@gmail.com or nc3022@yahoo.com. Also, my Twitter handle is EDITORatWORK.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Youngster still gets around (a Winston Cup Preview story)

Note: A story from the Winston Cup Preview in the early 20th century. It was written for the Winston-Salem Journal.
YOUNGSTER STILL GETS AROUND
By Tom Gillispie
Special to the Journal
Peter Franson gets around, walker or no walker.
While thousands of his fellow fans were trying to get autographs yesterday at the Winston Cup Preview at Joel Coliseum, Peter and his father, Jon, of Mebane were checking out the cars in the Coliseum Annex.
Peter, 8, would leave his walker outside and climb inside the one car with a door, the No. 7 show car for the Jimmy Spencer team. With a friendly photographer in tow, he’d slide in and out of the seats, grinning ear to ear. Cameras would snap, and he’d check out another car, especially the No. 97 of Roush Racing and Kurt Busch.
Peter is a veteran of the racing world. Sam Wilson,  a friend of Jon Franson, invited Peter to be the poster boy for Fairlane Acres Speedway, a go-kart track in Dover, Del. Then a friend of Wilson’s, Roush show-car driver Jeff Isom, drove the Roush Racing show-car of Mark Martin to Mebane.
Peter, who was born with spina bifida, an open spinal column, had just undergone hip surgery.
During the visit, a Roush fan was born.
“He parked the Mark Martin car on the road where we live in Mebane, and Peter was sitting on the porch wearing full leg casts,” said Franson, who carries mail for the postal service in Chapel Hill. “The No. 6 car drove up, and he got to sit in it, and now he roots for all of the Roush cars.”
In the Annex, the Busch car was sitting beside another Roush Racing entry, Matt Kenseth’s No. 17, and the No. 6 Martin car was in the next row. But Peter was concentrating on the red-and-silver Busch Ford and the blue-and-white Spencer Dodge.
Spencer doesn’t drive for Roush, but the easy opening door made the car mighty appealing. Again and again, he gleefully got in, inviting onlookers to join him.
Peter’s involvement with racing goes even further. He sang the national anthem at his church, and the song was recorded. Since Peter was the poster boy for Fairlane Acres last year, Wilson played Peter’s rendition each week. Jon Franson said it was a good version.
“He has perfect pitch,” the father said proudly.
Through Wilson, the Fransons also got to know the Petty family, and that led to the family’s support of Kyle Petty’s Victory Junction Gang. The VJG camp, which is scheduled to open next year in Randleman, is for children with special problems, and Franson said he hopes to take Peter there next year.
But that’s not all. Franson said that Peter will be a poster boy for the Victory Junction Gang, and his VJG advertisement with Winston Cup star Bobby Labonte will appear on television early in the 2003 season.
And watch out for Busch and Spencer this year, because Peter may have the magic touch. A few weeks after he sat in the Mark Martin show car, Martin won at Charlotte. Then when he sat in Busch’s Cup car last year, Busch won at Bristol.
“What’s your favorite number?” Peter was asked.
He replied shyly, “97.” He grinned broadly.
Franson said that the neurosurgery and therapy have helped his son, and Peter had no problems getting around and being sociable with the Preview crowd.
“He’s spent most of his life in hospitals, and most of his friends are doctors, nurses and physical therapists.”
The Fransons don’t know how much their son will improve. “All the surgery that can be done has been done,” Franson said.
But Peter doesn’t let it slow him down much when it comes to racing. The family plans to go to time trials at Martinsville, Rockingham and maybe Darlington.
If there’s a race car sitting idle somewhere, the  young man from Mebane may jump in it.

And if it’s the 97, so much the better.
Contact me at tgilli52@gmail.com or nc3022@yahoo.com. Also, my Twitter handle is EDITORatWORK.

More entries from TARJ
(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)
(the book of great NASCAR stories)

EDITOR@WORK blog entries 

Entries from The Dog Blog
More blog entries by Tom Gillispie

Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie