JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 4th: "I'm happy to get a top five out of this today. It's definitely a boost to this Lowe's team. We needed a decent finish. We needed a little bit of luck. We didn't have the...
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 4th:
"I'm happy to get a top five out of this today. It's definitely a boost to this Lowe's team. We needed a decent finish. We needed a little bit of luck. We didn't have the fastest car today, but felt like we were a top 10 car all day long. We just had to keep working on the car. We were loose and then tight and then loose again.
"But it was a great day for us. We fought a loose race car all day long. We spent a lot of time on pit road to put spring rubbers in the left rear and pull them out of the right rear to get the car tightened up. We lost a lot of time and had to fight our way back through traffic. We were making major changes every time on pit road and still didn't lose any ground. So I'm very excited to come out of here with a fourth. It was a solid day for us and we really needed to gain some points toward the championship.
"The weather actually helped us. If it had been really hot and sunny, I would have been in worse shape than I was. I wanted to leave Happy Hour a little free and come into the race that way. But it doesn't seem like that was the right thing. But we were just chasing our tail all day long here. The sun comes out and then goes back in. It really changed things. There were a couple of cars, like the No. 8 (Earnahrdt Jr.) that were unreal at the end. We would have needed to have at least one or two more adjustments to hang with them. But I'm happy."
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We just didn't have the car we needed today. It was a struggle. Jimmie was just up on the wheel all day long. But the car was tight and then it was loose and then it was tight again. We're glad we had a decent finish, but it just wasn't what we wanted. The thing that kept us going was that we were able to keep adjusting the car all day. The guys did a great job, it's just been a struggle.
"It's just tough out there. It's just tough. These guys are just driving hard. But that was about as perfect as we could get the car. It just bounced back and forth. We were about three-tenths off all day."
"We're really happy with a top five, though, to get us closer to that top 10 (in points) to let us breathe a little bit. Right now, where we are in the points is a bit stressful. So we definitely needed this."
GREG ZIPADELLI, CREW CHIEF, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 7th:
"We just got tight for some reason. Either we put a set of tires on or the race track changed a lot - something changed - because we went from running really good to having an average place car, and we just got tighter as the day went. I think we got it a little better at the end by looking at out lap times, but it still didn't drive like he (Tony Stewart) wanted it to. It's just frustrating. It seems like we're our own worst competition. I feel like we beat ourselves for some reason. It's hard. You run so good at the beginning and sometimes that's as good as your car is going to be all day while everyone else makes their cars better. It's frustrating, because for two weeks in a row we've had a really good race car. But we still came out of here with seventh and we got a third last week and that's nothing to be ashamed of, but I think we should've been better than what we finished here."
ON THE LACK OF CAUTION FLAGS: "It seemed like when we needed a caution, we didn't get them. Then, in the middle part of the race, when the guys who needed the cautions to catch up to us, they got a couple of them right in a row. That probably helped them more than it helped us in the end. But I guess that's the way the ball bounces."
ON THE OTHER TEAMS SEEMING TO DEAL WITH THE SAME ISSUES - GOOD AT THE BEGINNING OF THE RACE AND NOT AS GOOD TOWARD THE END: "The race track cooled off quite a bit from when we started to when we ended. Cloud cover came over late in the day and the outside temp went down and the race track surface temperature went down quite a bit. That, and the more rubber that's put down, people blow some motors, and eventually the track gives up some grip. Wherever you're lacking early in the race it just kind of magnifies it later on."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 US ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 15th:
"We were really good the second half of the race, but unfortunately we got lapped early (lap 76). It was tough in the beginning because Tony Stewart was on a rampage lapping cars and there weren't any cautions. Timing and track position are everything and today they weren't in our favor.
"We were trying to make up that lap but never got it back even though the Army Chevy was as good as a number of cars in the top 10 at the end of the race. We passed Stewart and Jeff Gordon at the end and also passed cars that led laps today.
"Overall it was an okay day. We know we can be a lot better - we just need to figure out the car setup in the beginning. On the positive side, we fought back, the guys had another excellent day in the pits and the engine ran flawlessly."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 18th:
"It was a tough day. We were loose from the beginning of the race and never could get the car to do what we wanted it to do. It made for a very long day and the car was tough to get a handle on all day long. We've had a lot of success at Atlanta in the past, but we've also had some bad days too. This, unfortunately, was one of those bad days."