Notable Quotables – MENCS Chevrolet Drivers Before Phoenix Race

PACING THE FIELD: This weekend the field will be looking at a gold Bowtie as they head toward taking the green flag at Phoenix International Raceway.  A silver Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will bring the field to the start of the 312-lap/312-mile event around the 1-mile oval in the desert.  This will mark the third time in 2017 the silver Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will serve as the pace car in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Read what the Chevrolet Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers had to say leading into the Phoenix race weekend:

KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 CREDIT ONE BANK CHEVROLET SS – 2ND IN STANDINGS
“I’m not like a short track racer, so I seem to struggle at those places, but last year we had some good runs at short tracks.  That was probably our most consistent races were short tracks.  I finished third at Martinsville, second at Richmond and third at Phoenix.  Those are my three worst tracks.  I feel like I’ve gotten a little bit better and I think my crew chief has kind of learned what I need at short tracks to help me out.  It’s weird, but I kind of look forward to going to those places right now.”

CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 NAPA CHEVROLET SS – 3RD IN STANDINGS
“I don’t have an issue with Phoenix.  I have enjoyed going there.  It hasn’t really been a good place for me historically I don’t feel like, just from my stand point and where I feel like I am there.  It’s a fun place to go to.  It’s definitely unique and different than the rest of the tracks which is always fun.”

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 GREAT CLIPS CHEVROLET SS – 9TH IN STANDINGS

“Phoenix is such a cool track.  It just keeps getting better.  They did a lot of work to it to make it what it is and I really enjoy Phoenix.  You can pass cars there on a long run for sure.  That is a neat track.”

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 CESSNA CHEVROLET SS – 10TH IN STANDINGS

“Since they reconfigured Phoenix, that dogleg is pretty unique and how you cut across it on some of the restarts.  Phoenix is really fun.  I have always liked going out there.  I think most of the people in the garage do because typically you have great weather.  We got out there in April and November and it’s beautiful.”

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 FVP/MENARDS CHEVROLET SS – 16TH IN STANDINGS
“I do like Phoenix.  It’s lost a lot of grip since the repave which is cool because before the repave Phoenix was really slippery.  It almost felt like you were driving on bias ply tires which have a lot of deflection in the tires.  It’s getting back to that. It’s a driver’s race track.  You have to, especially in (Turns) 3 and 4 you are really working the wheel trying to manipulate it because you are loose, you are tight, you are loose and you are just trying to follow that right line.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 GRAINGER CHEVROLET SS – 17TH IN STANDINGS
“Phoenix is difficult, now, because really Turns 1 and 2 are kind of one groove and (Turns) 3 and 4 are one groove up to the point until somebody starts losing traction and can slide up a little bit.  To me, it’s less racy than it used to be.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – 18TH IN STANDINGS
“I guess the changes that have taken place.  For the longest time, it was an old surface and tricky and we hit on it and won a bunch.  The reconfiguration/resurface job threw a huge curveball at us. Now it is changing again.  I don’t think the track is going to change much, obviously where the start/finish line is going to relocate, but it’s going to look and feel completely different and where the start/finish line is moving it could have a much different ending to a race than what we are used to seeing.”

MICHAEL MCDOWELL, NO. 95 WRL GENERAL CONTRACTORS CHEVROLET SS – 21ST IN STANDINGS

“Growing up in Phoenix and going to the races the things that stand out to me the most is probably the Copper World Classic.  The silver crown cars would come, midgets, sprint cars and when I was a kid, Tony Stewart and Mike Bliss and Jeff Gordon and all these guys would come run and then as I got older, guys like (Jason) Leffler and there are so many sprint car and midget guys that have come up and raced at PIR or raced at Manzanita all those places. Then watching the IndyCar races and seeing the Penske cars and Mears and all those guys, Phoenix used to be so fast in an IndyCar, still is.  It’s definitely a very fun city for racing.  Racing is so big there and you wouldn’t think about it because there are not that many races, but if you look at the camp ground and you look at the stands when we go to Phoenix it is unbelievable how big of a turn out we get there.”

TY DILLON, NO. 13 GEICO CHEVROLET SS – 23RD IN STANDINGS
“I love Phoenix.  I’ve raced there a lot, whether it was running the K&N West Series, the Truck Series, the Xfinity Series…and I’ve made two Cup starts there. So, Phoenix is one of the tracks I’ve raced the most.  I’ve always loved it.  It’s a fun, fun race track.”


AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW WORLD WATER DAY CHEVROLET SS – 25TH IN STANDINGS
“Phoenix is good.  I think it’s coming into its own.  I learned a lot this year there at the end of the race.  I feel like we should just be able to get better and better as we go.  The track is going to widen out more.  It started getting really wide this last race.  It’s fun.”


DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS – 27TH IN STANDINGS

“Phoenix is a good track for us. We have certainly had a great car at Phoenix the last several times. We are going to try to keep on chipping away and grabbing some points. I am looking forward to the next several weeks.”

CHRIS BUESCHER, NO. 37 SCOTT PRODUCTS CHEVROLET SS – 33RD IN STANDINGS
“I have a hard time getting around Phoenix.  I wish I knew what I was doing wrong there to be able to pick it up.  Phoenix for me… Daytona was a love/hate, Phoenix and I try really hard to keep a very optimistic mind set going into a weekend and try and put everything out of my head, but Phoenix has been awful to me.  I just haven’t gotten that place figured out.  I know AJ will be going out for a test there and we will have some good stuff to go off of.  Phoenix is a fun race track and by design I love the idea, something very different.  I just haven’t run well there yet.”

AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 KROGER CLICKLIST CHEVROLET SS – 34TH IN STANDINGS
“It’s flat, but the corners are different.  (Turns) 1 and 2 is definitely different than you go through 3 and 4.  It’s a tough race track.  We don’t go to any other place like it.  So, that is what makes it unique.  There are certain race tracks that you can kind of judge off of and say ‘oh we run well here’ and it’s going to be like ‘this’ place, so that is the kind of set-up we are going to go to.  Phoenix, you don’t go to a lot of places like it and then on top of it, you start the season there and you basically end the season there.  Everything that you’ve done in a nine-month span changes so much.  Even if you run well at the first race you don’t guarantee yourself, unless you are Kevin Harvick, that you are going to run well the second race. A lot goes on during the season and it’s just unique because the races are so split apart and we just don’t go to really any race tracks like it.”

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