Atlanta: GM teams race notes, quotes

Juan Pablo Montoya Scores Podium Finish at Atlanta; With Solid Top-10 Finish Kevin Harvick Continues as Points Leader HAMPTON, GA -- Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Chevrolet, battled in the front of the field throughout the 341-lap race, 16...

Juan Pablo Montoya Scores Podium Finish at Atlanta; With Solid Top-10 Finish Kevin Harvick Continues as Points Leader

HAMPTON, GA -- Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Chevrolet, battled in the front of the field throughout the 341-lap race, 16 laps over the advertised distance, to score a third-place finish in the Kobalt Tools 500. He started third and led once for a total of three laps.

Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, finished ninth at Atlanta Motor Speedway and maintains the lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with four races in the record books.

Four-time defending NSCS champion Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, finished 12th today and jumped one position in the points to fourth place.

Despite being involved in a multi-car accident as the field came down for the first of two green-white-checkered attempts at the finish, Clint Bowyer, maintained his top-five position in the standings sitting fifth after his 23rd place finish today.

Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, jumped one position in the standings to sixth with a 20th place run. He led once for one lap.

Mark Martin, No. 5 Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet is seventh in the standings after being sidelined before the finish as a victim of the multi-car accident and was scored in 33rd place.

Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, now sits eighth in points with his 13th place finish.

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont/National Guard Chevrolet, is seventh in the standings after today's race giving Team Chevy seven of the top-12 drivers in the NSCS point standings. The four-time NSCS champion finished 18th.

Kurt Busch (Dodge) won the race. Matt Kenseth (Ford), Kasey Kahne (Ford) and Paul Menard (Ford) completed the top-five finishers.

The Series takes a one-week break before heading to Bristol Motor Speedway on March 21, 2010.

***

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET, FINISHED 15TH:

TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY: "We weren't very good. We got two bad right side tires and right rear tires, I don't know, it felt the damn wheels were coming off. We pitted and the wheel was fine, but the car was vibrating so bad I couldn't hardly see. I should have not pitted but I thought the wheel was loose and I have had them come off here and that isn't fun. I should've just stayed out there and waited for it to come off."

DID YOU SEE ANYTHING OF THE KESELOWSKI WRECK? "I'm glad Brad is all right. It looked like a bad deal and I am glad he is ok. What happened there is between them (Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards) I've got nothing to do with that."

***

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET, FINISHED 3RD:

"It was good. It was a pretty quiet day until the end. Before that first caution, I thought we had a chance at winning; we were catching him (Kurt Busch, race winner). He took off pretty fast there, We needed to have a good finish, it is getting closer.

"I was hoping we would finish second but he caught my surprise. You know we have those two lines we are supposed to start with and he went for it like 40 yards before the first one. It really surprised me. It is not a big deal, he deserves to win. I am not going to say, Oh we should have won because he did that here. I just want to make sure for the next time NASCAR knows about it, but it is ok. We were a lot better in the long run, in the short run he was good. I spun the tires there at the end, but it was so tight, it wouldn't turn at the end. It is ok, we needed this. We have been there every week, just a lot of things happen; it is nice to get a clean result. Car is in one piece. Ran against the fence all day, I'm pretty proud."

***

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET, FINISHED 29th:

"Obviously, we wish that could've ended a bit differently. I am very proud of my guys for taking a top fifteen car and giving me an opportunity to bring home a top five. Things just got a little wild there at the end as to be expected with a green white checker finish. We will take a week off, take a deep breath, and come back looking to rebound at Bristol."

***

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET - Finished 18th:

ON THE TIRES: "I think it's one of those things where when they come here and test, you expect them to build a tire that we can abuse and that we can race hard with. That obviously wasn't the case. There is a good chance we were too aggressive, but until we go back and analyze everything it's hard to say."

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO DURING A RACE ONCE YOU HAVE THOSE PROBLEMS OR WHAT DID YOU TRY TO DO? "Slow down."

YOU JUST HAVE TO RUN A SLOWER PACE? "We actually freed the car up to get it off the right front and the right front got worse. So you've got to look at everything."

DID YOU SEE THE KESELOWSKI/EDWARDS INCIDENT? "No."

***

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 TORNADOS CHEVROLET - Finished 17th:

TOUGH DAY: "Man we could not catch a break until the very end there. But either way it was a hard-fought 17th place finish for the Tornados Chevrolet. It looked like we were going to be 31st there for a long time and to get that break there at the end was really nice. But we've just got to work a little bit more on it. It'll be interesting to see what the replays look like, but I'm glad this is the last fast race track with the wing."

ON TIRE ISSUES "Goodyear's got some work to do. It's a safety situation. We popped one. There are a lot of guys who popped one. It was too sensitive for the guys who didn't get it right. The guys who had their cars just right, yeah, they didn't have any issues. But either way, they've got a little bit more work to do here. This is a challenging place for Goodyear and we'll come back and test for them if they'll let us."

IS THIS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION? "No, we blew tires today. Last time we didn't blow tires."

NO, I MEAN FOR GOODYEAR IN GENERAL "No, not when you're blowing tires. We didn't blow tires last time here. We just had really bad inconsistencies. We went from inconsistent tires to tires that were popping in the right front and that's not good. It's not any gain; especially a safety issue. Inconsistent tires are still safe. Tires that blow out are not safe."

GOODYEAR WAS SUGGESTING IT WAS AGGRESSIVE SET-UPS THAT WERE LEADING TO THIS "Sounds pretty par. That's what they always say, right? I guess the drivers should probably slow down too and save their tires."

DID YOU SEE THE KESELOWSKI/EDWARDS INCIDENT? "No. I just kind of pictured it from what happened on the wall. I could see the marks."

ONCE WE GO TO A SPOILER, DO YOU THINK THAT WILL SOLVE THINGS? "I hope NASCAR's got that sorted out. From what I've been told it looks just like what happened to me at Talladega. I said after Talladega it's going to happen at an intermediate track but that window of opportunity is only at the end of the straightaway. At Talladega it's all the way around the race track. I guess I proved myself right. Luckily it wasn't me this time."

WITH DRIVERS WRECKING EACH OTHER, DOES NASCAR NEED TO CHANGE THIS 'HAVE AT IT BOYS' IDEA? "I think it would have been a whole lot better if they'd got back and got to fight it out a little bit. That would be a lot more interesting than getting black-flagged. But I don't know entirely what all happened and who hit who first and if it stems from six years ago or not. But either way they've made their call and it is what it is."

***

MIKE BLISS, NO. 36 WAVE ENERGY DRINK CHEVROLET - Finished 24th:

"That was a tough race. We learned a lot out there. Glad we brought it home in one piece and I'm proud of how hard all the guys worked in the pits, up on the spotter stand and the pit box. Gotta thank Wave Energy Drink for all the support they give us--hopefully, this finish will be enough to give as a good boost in the points."

***

REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET - Finished 14th

"You can look at it any way you want, but we put ourselves in a position to take advantage of an opportunity. The cautions at the end definitely played in our favor. We were fortunate to avoid the wrecks at the end and sneak in there for a pretty good points day. When we needed a quick stop on pit road, the Furniture Row over-the-wall crew came through with flying colors. We had issues during the race, but the guys on the pit box, led by Ryan (Coniam, crew chief) never gave up and made the car as good as they could make it. This is a hard race track, and we'll take a 14th-place finish."

***

RYAN CONIAM, CREW CHIEF NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET

"The cautions fell when we needed them to fall and we got lucky. As they say, I'd rather be lucky than good. But what I am most proud of is that we capitalized on a big opportunity. The driver did a heckuva job at the end. He drove the Furniture Row Chevy as hard as he could and did a brilliant job to avoid the wrecks. He didn't have a good enough racecar today, but he stuck with it. He kept his composure. We had a throttle hang up, and with all the other adversity we had to deal with a lot of cars would have been in the high 30s. A great points day -- just can't say enough about these guys. I am just thrilled."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya