TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS, FINISHED SECOND: "He (Jimmie Johnson) was faster than us right there, I just wish he would have gave us enough room to race him for it. That is racing. That is why everybody loves coming here, It...
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS, FINISHED SECOND:
"He (Jimmie Johnson) was faster than us right there, I just wish he would have gave us enough room to race him for it. That is racing. That is why everybody loves coming here, It is such a great feeling to go from racing like we had to last week to racing like we did here. I wish we could have won it obviously, but we had a run like we needed to day, gained a lot of points we needed today and gave this Home Depot Chevrolet team the boost they needed today.
"It got awful crowded there off of turn two but I'm really happy with our team. My Home Depot guys did an awesome job. We fought ourselves after a bad pit stop there all the way back to the lead. We just didn't have enough evidently."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S/KOBALT MONTE CARLO SS, WINNER:
"We just had a great race car, we did the right things to get the car hooked up there at the end. I was real good on the long runs but lacked a little on the short runs. But Chad made the right adjustments there. It was just a great day for the Lowe's/Kobalt Monte Carlo. It really was a great race car. We weren't as strong as we needed to be on the short runs. The No. 20 had us, but by the end of the run, we were spot on. I just can't thank these guys enough for all the hard work all day long and coming in to this race. We are thinking championship already. I know it is a momentum thing. We want to make that Chase and worry about having the points to make that top-12. We just have to keep it up for a few more months.
ON WINNING TWO IN A ROW BEING A GOOD HABIT: "It is. I just can't thank Lowe's for their support and Kobalt for being on the race car this weekend and winning the race sponsored by Kobalt. A great support from the team, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and this Monte Carlo I'm driving. We had a great race car all day long. There were a few guys that were better than us on the short runs which Chad (Knaus) made some great adjustments there for that sprint at the end and we were spot on."
ON THE BATTLE WITH TONY STEWART AT THE END: "It is so fun racing with the best in the business and Tony Stewart is certainly that. The guy had so much speed and was so hooked up I was shocked I could hang with him and then started racing with him and put on a great race. Tony Stewart is a rock star. He is a great racer."
ON DRIVERS LIVING FOR THAT: "We do but I'm in a situation that everybody wants to be in. When you don't win it's not as much fun. I've definitely lost one here on the last lap before so I understand that. But all day today it was great racing with the 17, the 20, the 24, just a lot of respect and a lot of hard racing."
AFTER GETTING BEAT ON THE HIGH LINE HERE BEFORE, WHY DID STAY LOW? "I just had to go where Tony wasn't. Our cars were so equal I needed to be in clean air so the only lane that was available was on the bottom and the first time I tried it I closed the gap. So I thought well I'm going to stay down here and keep working on it and it finally paid off."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY MONTE CARLO SS, FINISHED 10TH:
"I feel good, man. I am looking forward to next weekend. I want to thank all the fans that have supported me and especially this U.S. Army Chevy. This team is incredible. We were off a little with the car today, but they fought so hard and this is how I want to do it.
"We missed our setup just a little bit but what an awesome effort by the U.S. Army team. We battled it out there and got a pretty good finish but the car was off a little.
"Somebody told me I was still leading the points; I don't really know but that will be gone after next week. At least we said we were leading when we took a break.
"It was a good race with long runs and that's real racing. That's the way I like it. This one was a little more of a chore than the first couple, but I love working with this U.S. Army Team and representing our soldiers. These guys are just fabulous and they give their heart and soul. They are finally getting the recognition they deserve.
"People might not believe it, but they'll have a hard time finding me next week. This think has really been encompassing. We've worked really hard since January and we've put a lot into this. My team has and I have too. It's been a hard-working stretch and I'm really looking to taking a little break.
"I am so proud of this team. They've had a lot of setbacks, with Ernie and Jerry -- a lot of disappointments and I'm just so proud of this team and to be a part of it.
"It's really cool and kind of a story book to go out leading the points like this. It's the way to do it and I'm just proud of this team to finally get the recognition they deserve. These guys are awesome and I sure wish I had been driving their car a little sooner."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS MONTE CARLO SS, FINISHED FOURTH:
"I think we had a shot at him. We had something wrong with the fueling system. These little things keep getting us, man. We kept losing spots in the pits because we had to wait for the fuel. It wasn't the fuel man guy's fault. For some reason it just wouldn't take fuel. We had problems there but the Cingular Chevrolet ran well all day. We got off a little bit in the middle of the race but at the end of the race we really had something that would go. We put ourselves in position but we've just got to get these little things behind us between me at California making a mistake and these little bitty things that keep taking us out of a chance to win. We'll keep fighting and see what we can make happen."
ABOUT THE RACE: "There was something wrong with the fueling system. These little races keep getting us, man. We kept losing spots in the pits because we had to wait for the fuel. It wasn't the fuel man's fault but for some reason it wouldn't take fuel. We had problems there but the Cingular Chevrolet ran well all day. We got off a little bit in the middle of the race but at the end of the race we really had something that would go and we put ourselves in position. We just have to get these little things behind us between me at California making a mistake and these little bitty things that keep taking us out of a chance to win but we'll keep fighting and see what we can make happen."
YOU HAVE TO FEEL REALLY GOOD ABOUT THE ATLANTA WEEKEND: "Yeah I feel really good about it. We worked really hard and got the car driving well. When the race started it was really fast and the first couple or three runs were fast and then it kind of went away. At the end of the race it was really good again."
YOUR TEAM IS VERY CONSISTENT THIS YEAR: "We have been really consistent and we keep on putting ourselves in position and keep having the little things that are getting in our way but I'm real proud of the effort. We got off in the middle portion of the race but when it counted at the start of the race we were really good and at the end of the race we were really good. Real proud of how those guys just keep working and making it better and it's a pleasure to drive for these guys."
THE CAR SEEMED TO COME INTO ITS OWN AT THE END OF THE RACE: "Yeah, there were times in the race we had the best car, especially on long runs. We needed to be near them. We kept losing spots in the pits because something was wrong with the fueling system. It wouldn't take fuel. We kept having to wait to drive the car before we could leave so we kept losing spots. Nobody's fault. It's just some sort of a mechanical issue. It is where it is. We keep having little things like that. We'll keep working and get through it."
DO YOU THINK MARK MARTIN WILL SHOW UP TO BRISTOL? "No, he's not. He's insisting he's not and when Mark Martin says he's not going to do something you can pretty much take it to the bank. I hope he doesn't simply because he's really happier than I've ever seen him and it's because of the situation he's in. Once he gets out of that situation he could lose his happiness and I don't want that."
DID YOU HAVE ANY TIRE ISSUES? "I don't think we had any tire issues. Scott told me there were some that UNITELLIGIBLE. We're real happy about that. I was nervous going into the race but we didn't have any tire issues. We kept changing the car and trying to make it better and had inconsistent runs but I don't think that's the tire's fault. I think it's just us experimenting and learning and all in all, we didn't have any tire problems."
IT'S NICE TO GET THE FINISH TODAY THAT YOU DIDN'T GET LAST WEEK: "Yeah, we just keep putting ourselves in position but it will happen for us. We just keep putting ourselves in position. We're not trying to finish third, fourth, fifth. We're trying to win races. We keep putting ourselves in position and it will happen for us. That's all we can do."
TALK ABOUT THE END OF THE RACE: "Yeah, I was supposed to be in the middle of it but I wasn't close enough. I had a good seat and obviously at different times in the race the No. 20 and the No. 48 were really fast. The No. 48 was fast and he's been hard to guard this year; no big surprise."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER MONTE CARLO SS, FINISHED 14th:
"We ran pretty good all day until the end. There at the end, I don't know what the hell Tony, Jr. and those guys did to the car, but it was terrible. My tires were fine, they didn't blow out and I had enough grip. I am not complaining but pretty frustrated that we didn't do a better job of getting our car handling. With a hundred to go we got bad, then we got bad but up in to then I was pretty happy. "This team, we're better than that what we run today. It's very frustrating we can't make that happen but I really thought we was going to be strong every weekend. We had the car pretty good at one point today but it was frustrating, really, to end up like we did."
WHAT WAS IT LIKE RACING OUT THERE TODAY? "My car wasn't turning in the middle and we couldn't fix that and we worked really hard to try to fix that but we really had no answer for it. So we had to hustle with that all day long. As it got late the track turned up. We got really, really tight at the end."
DID YOU TRY TO MAKE AN ADJUSTMENT ON THAT LAST PIT STOP? "We made one pretty much every stop."
YOU LOST SOME POSITIONS ON THAT LAST PIT STOP: "I think it's just a poor pit stop."
WITH YOU AND MARTIN TRUEX JR. UP IN THE TOP 10 MOST OF THE DAY DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE STARTING TO COME TOGETHER A LITTLE? "I'm together. We've been fast. You can look at every race and see where it's not throughout the entire race but at one point in the race we've been really good. We shot ourselves in the foot today just not getting the car handling right there at the end and I'm frustrated as heck about it. I think everybody knows what we've gotta do. I'm pretty proud of how we had it running there one point in the race. I was really proud of it. But I'm proud of my team's effort today. They worked really hard with me."
DENNY HAMLIN, NO. 11 FEDEX MONTE CARLO SS, FINISHED 19TH:
"We definitely didn't run very good. We will just look at the positives and move on. We moved up there at the end, we were as bad as 35th at one time. I we just have to learn what it takes to run good at these race tracks, we just struggled. Obviously our teammate got it, we just have to figure it out."
MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS MONTE CARLO SS, FINISHED 8TH:
"Our car was strong all day long from the start of the race all the way to the end. Bono (Manion, crew chief) and the guys did a great job of making it better and better and better. We lost some track position there at one time and we lost some track position, we just couldn't ever get there. We were really really good on the long runs, we would just really get going, then it would be time to pit again. We adjusted on air pressures there at the end of the race and it helped a whole bunch. We just needed more time cause my car was really fast."
"This is the fourth race of the year and we have ran good everywhere. We led a bunch of laps at Daytona, We had a top-five car at California and blew up. Things are working good, the cars are driving great, Bono is doing all the right things in the pits, everything is going good for us right now."
TODD BERRIER, CREW CHIEF, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL MONTE CARLO SS, FINISHED 25TH:
"We were going to be ok, we would have finished in the top-10 today. That was an improvement from the races here previously. We were one-time caution away from being 18th, even on seven cylinders and the engine skipping. So it could have been worse. We could have finished 25th on all eight cylinders, we have done that before. We got a little better and a little worse a time or two throughout the race but we were slowly working our way up. For the most part, it was the best we have been here in three or four races. The No. 31 team got it last week, so guess it was our turn"
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 DIRECTV HOT PASS MONTE CARLO SS, FINISHED 6TH:
"It was a good day. We were good all day long. We just got too tight there at the end. The last two runs, I don't know what happened. It was just too tight up off but a good one for everybody. The DirectTV Hot Pass Chevrolet was pretty good."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT MONTE CARLO SS, FINISHED 12TH:
"We were awesome. I'm very disappointed obviously. We had a couple of issues we'll have to work through. We had a crush panel come loose and we're getting to the bottom of that and we made little mistakes where we got a lap down in the pits. That shouldn't have ever happened. We all recognize it. We make mistakes and we learn from it but what an incredible race car we had. Man, that thing was fast. I know we had a shot at certainly a top three but I think we had a shot at winning. It doesn't matter. We came out of here 12th, got the best finish we could. We're still second in points so in some ways we were fortunate."
ON HIS BATTLE WITH JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: "I never really battled with him it's just that we were a lap down and had the caution come out then we would have just gotten our lap back that way but what happened was the caution wasn't coming. We had long green flag runs so I had to drive to the front so anybody that was holding me up then I was going to try to pass him. I think that one thing he'll learn over time is that when you have a lapped car that eager, you give it up. If you're catching the guy it's a little bit different but he was just sitting there in that position. He wasn't making any ground. I wanted to race him but for position not for that but I had to go. My car was too good and I had to start trying to get to the front to get that lap back."
WHAT EFFECT DID THE GREEN FLAG LAPS HAVE ON THE RACE? "Well, it kept us from finishing in the top five. The neat thing about this race track and today is that even though we had a lot of green flag laps and we didn't have many cautions, we still saw great racing throughout the entire race all the way down to the end and that's what makes Atlanta such a great race track. I wish we had more race tracks like this out there but typically it's boring when you see that but it wasn't today. There was just racing going on constantly. Tire wear was an issue and you saw cars drive to the front and fade to the back and that's the way racing should be."
IS NEXT WEEK A HUGE VARIABLE FOR EVERYONE IN THE GARAGE? "Definitely, there's just too many unknowns right now. Once we get through the race and we understand that car a little bit more then we can probably answer some of those questions but it's going to be an interesting weekend from the time that truck and crews get to the track to the time we leave because it's about going through inspection. It's about getting qualified in, getting our cars ready for the race and then going out and racing. I think in the race you shouldn't see too much of a difference other than if guys are way off on their setups."
-credit: gm racing