Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 11/1/14

AVONDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 14: Kasey Kahne (L) driver of the #9 Budweiser Chevrolet is seen in the garage as Denny Hamlin gives an interview in the background during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 14, 2009 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Here’s a collection of quotes from all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers about Saturday night’s Capital City 400 from the Richmond International Raceway. Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. all weigh in on their chances under the lights.

Kasey Kahne

On Richmond: “We’ve had fast race cars at the short tracks this year, and we just caught some bad luck. Richmond is a great track, and it puts on a really good show for the fans. We’re bringing our Phoenix car, which was so fast. I think it’s going to be a good weekend for us.”

On back to back top ten finishes: “The team has a lot of momentum right now, but we can get better. We have to keep working on our communication so we make the right adjustments, and we all have to hit our marks every time. The top-10s are big, but we can do better than that.”

On his qualifying performance in 2012: “We’re as good as anybody out there during qualifying, and that gives us a lot of confidence each week. If we can bring some more of that speed to race day, we’re going to be really strong.”

Jeff Gordon

On Richmond: “(Richmond) is challenging to drive. You can only do so much with the race car. It’s a short track where aerodynamics are important, but not as important as big mile-and-a-half tracks. Richmond also has these great transitions into and off the corner where you can run two and three wide. It’s a different length race track (compared to half-mile short tracks), so it’s a little bit higher speeds.”

On Saturday night races: “I think the race is more exciting on Saturday nights, and it doesn’t have to be on a Saturday night – just under the lights at night time. I think Saturday night races make a lot of sense. The schedule is great, and I think it allows the fans to get home and have a day to themselves before going back to work. It also opens us up if there is weather (issues) to run it on Sunday if we need to.”

Jimmie Johnson

On Richmond versus Martinsville: “They are so different. I love short tracks, first of all, and think we need more. Although Richmond has been a challenging track for me over the years, it’s a place I love to watch a race at. Hopefully, I’ve got the right stuff working. I can go there and be successful. Short tracks, I think, really draw the fans and create the excitement we need in the sport. Although the tracks drive totally differently, they are still both a lot of fun.”

Saturday night races versus Sunday races: “As a fan, I love the night race. As a driver, we are in a rhythm of day racing. It’s so tough to save your energy, even grab a nap so that you are ready for the night. That aspect is hard, but I love racing under the lights. Once I’m in the moment, it’s great, but it’s a long day waiting for the race to start.”

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

On Richmond: “Richmond is a good track. It’s a little bit bigger than most short tracks we race on but the racing is always fun. The shape of the track is quite unique, which makes it pretty interesting. She’s getting a little bit slick, and the last couple trips here it has become more slick but it’s a fun track. I’m looking forward to the weekend and getting in the car and seeing what we got.”

Crew chief Steve Letarte on the 88 team’s short track program: “It’s kind of hard to say with the short tracks we’ve run so far this year — Phoenix is kind of a standalone with the new pavement; Martinsville (Va.) really is not like anywhere we go. They’re all individuals. Richmond (Va.) and New Hampshire kind of go together, but we haven’t been to either yet. We ran good at Bristol (Tenn.) and Martinsville, and we’re hoping to carry the same momentum to Richmond.”

Letarte on day practices and night races: “You need good notes to prepare for Richmond. It’s one of the most difficult races we go to during the year because you practice on Friday in the middle of the day, and 36 hours later you have to go race the next night. It’s very hard to know what the track is going to do and how it’s going to change. You have a (NASCAR) Nationwide race in-between it. It’s a track where you have to heavily look at your notes.”


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