Jimmie Johnson Claims Million Dollar Win at Lowes Motor Speedway Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Drivers Sweet Top-Three in All-Star Challeng Concord, NC - Jimmie Johnson piloted the No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS to victory lane and collected a check...
Jimmie Johnson Claims Million Dollar Win at Lowes Motor Speedway
Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS Drivers Sweet Top-Three in All-Star Challeng
Concord, NC - Jimmie Johnson piloted the No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS to victory lane and collected a check for just over $1 million in one of the biggest payoffs in NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) racing Saturday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS). Johnson and his Chad Knaus led team captured the win in the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge, a non-points, very unique event on the Series' schedule.
Fellow Bowtie drivers Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Monte Carlo SS and Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS, chased Johnson to the checkered. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Monte Carlo SS finished ninth. Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Monte Carlo SS and Kyle Busch, No. 5 Kellogg's Monte Carlo SS were both involved in multi-car incidents that eliminated them from the race.
The victory was Johnson's seventh win at the track and his second in the Challenge. He has won five of the last sixth NNCS points-paying races at LMS and will be going for his fourth consecutive Coca Cola 600 win next Sunday night.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS: FINISHED FIRST
This is just awesome. I knew I was going to have to really get a good restart to stay with and pass Kevin (Harvick). For a minute there, I thought he made the move of the race. He had a great car and did a great job. We were racing our butts off there side-by-side for a couple three laps. I was really happy and having fun racing with him, I knew he would race me clean and hard. I put together some good runs on the outside and finally got by him on the outside. The caution came out and from there I had control of the race. I kept the nose clean and everything was good.
"I just saw some cars up in front of me moving around and checked up when Kasey (Kahne) and Mark (Martin) hit and dove down to the inside and sure enough, guys were crashing. My biggest scare today was coming to pit road when I got my speeding ticket. Everybody was spinning behind me and I looked in my mirror and they were chasing me down. That is why I sped up and ended up getting my speeding violation. We rebounded from that and won the thing.
"Just before the inversion, all of us sitting there from sixth to 15th trying to figure out where to be running about half throttle trying to figure out what to do. I was thought I was safe there in 11th but I missed it by one spot. But this car was so good. My guys have been working very hard to get this car right for this race track with the new surface and the new tire and we got it right when the money was on the line and I can't say enough for this team and the Chevrolet I am driving.
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS: FINISHED SECOND
"Couple corners there after the restart, they just out-accelerated us on the restart and just got a good restart and flat out took off on us. No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) was tough, got up on the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson). I let him clear me getting into turn one and I needed to stay up beside him to keep him from getting down there. All in all it was a good night. First time we've ever had our GM Goodwrench Chevrolet rolling at the end of one of these things. It's definitely good momentum, got a good car. Some pretty aggressive adjustments, gave ourselves a shot and that's all we can ask for."
On the crash: I saw the No. 9 (Kasey Kahne) and the No. 6 (Mark Martin) get together and I was already to the bumper on the No. 9 and just was in the right spot on the bottom and cleared it before they got all the way around.
You always expect something to happen here. This night is a car destroyer. I'm not a big fan of the event but we all come and run it and had a good time tonight.
For next weekend: I don't know that you learned a whole lot other than you can put two tires on and be competitive. We were geared up to run 15 or 20 laps there and next week you're going to have to run forty.
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS
"That's the first time I actually got to sit in the truck and watch the other guy (Matt Kenseth) in the interview. I had a pretty definitive view from what I saw. I got a run on him like he said, at least he got that part right. You could see where they start the camera view that he's a whole lane-and-a-half low. You know, you don't go in the corner that way. So, obviously he's blocking there. If he wants to complain about me getting under him there, I mean, I was there and any other weekend that would be acceptable. But it's the Nextel All-Star crash fest. I think he screwed up on this one. If he thinks I did that and that was my fault, he's screwed up in the head."
JEFF GORDON, No. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS, FINISHED THIRD
"I was moving pretty good and the car was better, but once we got to third, and I got up behind Kevin (Harvick) we just got way too tight because of how much we had to tighten the car up. I was losing so many positions at the beginning of the run, we were just trying to make it all up there at the end. We just have to find that balance. It seems like the 48 had that balance and was able to take off strong and stay strong. I am proud of those guys and congratulations but I am really proud of my DuPont Monte Carlo SS team. I thought they did a great job. There were times we had the best car on the race track, but unfortunately at the end, third was all we could get.
"You could find grip about eight or ten laps on the tires. The thing is that the tire gets so tight on you in the long runs. You have to start out so loose and yet the tire is so hard, you slide the back end around the corner for the first eight to 10 laps then you push the front end of the car the rest of the time. I think that is why we didn't see much of a second grove come in tonight.
"I knew it was going to be a bit of survival, and it is a good test for the DuPont Chevrolet team for the 600 next week. We have a real good car for the long runs so, I am excited about next week. If I had a bigger fuel cell, I would be in great shape. We couldn't find the balance of cold tires, versus hot tires. We would be really good on old tires, but then we wouldn't be really good on new tires. We would be really good at the beginning of a run then not good at the end of a run. We needed a little bit better track position, but all in all a great effort for our team."