Atlanta: GM teams race quotes, notes

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Hard-Fought Third Place Finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Climbs In NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Standings Hampton, GA - Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (Junior), No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Impala SS, battled through an up...

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Hard-Fought Third Place Finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Climbs In NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Standings

Hampton, GA - Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (Junior), No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Impala SS, battled through an up and down day at Atlanta Motor Speedway to finish third in today's Kobalt Tools 500 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS). Junior's finish jumped him up three spots in the standings to seventh with four races in the record books.

Starting on the outside of the front row, Junior led four-times for 60 laps.

"We had a real good car at the start of the race," said Junior. "But we went the wrong way on how we let our spring weight fall away out of the tires during the race. It is pretty complicated stuff. Tony, Jr. (Eury) did a hard job today just trying to get that car better for me. I was hard on him. He had a rough day today.

"I am proud to finish good and proud of my team and happy for our sponsors AMP Energy and National Guard. It was just a hard day, a lot of sliding around man."

A total of five Impala SS drivers scored top-10 finishes at Atlanta. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, finished fifth. Clint Bowyer, No. 07 DirecTV Impala SS, finished sixth, followed by Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala, in seventh. Jeff Burton, No. 31 AT&T Impala SS, finished 10th.

The 325-lap/500-mile race was won by Kyle Busch.

The next NSCS will be March 16 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

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JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS -- Finished 5th:

TALK ABOUT THE RACE: "That was the hardest day I have ever had at Atlanta especially for a top-five finish. The guys on this DuPont Chevrolet did an amazing job; there just wasn't a good setup out there. The No. 18 (race winner, Kyle Busch) was pretty darn good and the No. 99 (Carl Edwards) at times. But nobody was perfect, it was just one of the most challenging days that us as drivers and teams have ever had in and on a race car since I have been in this series. Got some work to do obviously and just have to see what we can do to make it better for the future."

ON THE TIRE SITUATION: "I felt like I was going to crash every single lap. I'm exhausted right now. I feel like I've run a thousand miles here. There is just no reason for this. And it's not any one person or group's fault. It's a combination. This car, this tire, at this race track was just terrible."

DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO FIX THIS PROBLEM? "I think right now Goodyear just overreacted. The initial thing would be to see, now that Goodyear has looked at the tire and the wear and didn't have any problems with tire failure.... A tire is supposed to wear. It's supposed to. And that's a good performing tire. It's not supposed to wear to the cords and blow. It's not supposed to blow if you put a little tiny bit of camber or too little air. So they're in a tough position. This car doesn't help them any. It's really, really hard on right sides. But they've been doing a good job the last three weeks with what we've had. So I'm going to try to go to Darlington and make sure that we have something good when we go back there and race."

IF DRIVERS SPEAK UP, WILL THEY NOT GET TO GO TO THE TEST, OR IS THAT AN OLD ADAGE? "I think that's an old adage. This is not just a tire problem. This is a combination. So I think that both parties need to take responsibility for this. Us, as a teams are going to do the best that we possibly can to try to work with them and make it better. I don't know what the suggestion is right now. We'll see."

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JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS Finished 10th:

"For the majority of the race we were really, really loose. The AT&T Chevy was all over the place. We made adjustments throughout the race and nothing really seemed to work. We were tight for a little bit towards the end of the race, which we seemed to be our best. On the last restart we put on a set of tires that didn't help the handling of the car. It was a good points day for the AT&T Racing team and we'll keep digging and doing our homework."

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CLINT BOWYER, NO. 7 DIRECTV SS, Finished 6th:

"We just got behind on that one stop and stayed, wasn't the right thing to do. But we had a lot of fun out there; it was a good day for us. We got things turned around and I am happy.

"Me and (Jeff) Gordon there at the end, that is all I had. We were both out of control loose. We had a lot of fun out there racing with him. The DirecTV Chevrolet was good. We were really strong there in the middle of the case, for whatever reason, maybe the way the track conditions were. We just could never get it to back that up, the way the car handled. We learned a lot, gained a lot and that is what we need.

"It wasn't fun sliding around, it is fun when you are leading. It is fun when you are fast, when you aren't, it wasn't fun."

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KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS -- Finished 7th:

"It was a good day for us today with our Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet. We just need to get a little more consistent in the pits. But, it was a good day for us, we got another solid finish and had a good points day. Like everybody else, we went from tight to loose and there that last run at the end, we just got so loose and couldn't do anything with the guys in front of us."

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DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS, FINISHED 3RD:

"We had a real good car at the start of the race, but we went the wrong way on how we let our spring weight fall away out of the tires during the race. It is pretty complicated stuff. Tony, Jr. (Eury) did a hard job today just trying to get that car better for me. I was hard on him. He had a rough day today.

"I am proud to finish good and proud of my team and happy for our sponsors AMP Energy and National Guard. It was just a hard day, a lot of sliding around man."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Kevin Harvick , Carl Edwards , Clint Bowyer , Kyle Busch