In a rain-shortened NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Joe Nemechek and Dale Earnhrdt Jr. put their Chevy Monte Carlo's in the top five. Jimmie Johnson falls to 3rd place in the Winston Cup Series point standings as the season heads down the ...
In a rain-shortened NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Joe Nemechek and Dale Earnhrdt Jr. put their Chevy Monte Carlo's in the top five. Jimmie Johnson falls to 3rd place in the Winston Cup Series point standings as the season heads down the homestretch.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - finished 22nd and slid to 3rd place in the point standings, 150 points behind the leader, Tony Stewart
WAS THIS RACE A HEARTBREAK? "No, this was no heartbreak. We had a loose race car and spun out twice. Luckily I didn't hit anything. I came close. I brushed the wall during the first one (spin) and the second one I spun out again and luckily didn't hit anything. We just really expected the track to tighten up a lot more, but it didn't. And we were loose. I just kept hanging on. The longer we'd go, the looser it would get and I'd spin out. It's something we didn't need for the big picture, but we're rookies. This stuff is supposed to happen. We'll just go on to the next one (Rockingham). There are three races left and a lot of things can happen. If that No. 20 car finishes 25th, we'll be right back in it."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 5th
HOW ABOUT THAT NICE TOP FIVE FINISH? "Yeah, it was great to get some points. I think we might have got closer and closer to the top 10, if not in it. We had a few problems on pit road. One time we just pitted for gas, like Tony (Stewart). We had a good enough car (and) got back to the front. We actually got some points for leading, I think.
"It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if we could have kept going. (Dale) Jarrett just got his car dialed in and I think we was the best one after 20 or 30 laps, though. We would have probably put in on him.
"The car was a little bit better than most people's - especially at the end of a long run. We'd stay real fast and a lot of guys would lose a lot of time. But I was pretty happy with the finish. We had a good car and that was a good top five. That's the fifth top-10 for us in a row. We're coming on here at the end of the season trying to get in that top 10."
IS THIS A GOOD PUSH FOR THE TEAM'S CONFIDENCE GOING INTO NEXT YEAR "Yeah, it is. I'm real excited that we're doing as well as we are. It really lifts up all the guys' spirits. They are really pretty competitive - Tony Eury Jr. and Tony Sr. - and it's good to see them satisfied with what they're getting out of the deal.
"Me, as the driver, I'm just happy to have a job doing it. I mean I like to win races and win championships, but just being around here has always been fun - ever since I was a little kid. So, it's just good to see the enjoyment they get out of it and hopefully next year we'll get the year we're looking for."
PETER SOSPENZO, CREW CHIEF, NO. 25 UAW/DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"Joe has been doing a great job all day. We were hoping that the rain would stop so we would at least have a chance to get at Kurt Busch. I think we had a car that was good enough to win the race - we really do. We were catching him, but you know that Kurt is one heck of a driver, too. We just had hoped we'd have another opportunity at him. The guys on the pit crew did a heck of a job tonight. We had some good pit stops and a good race car and a good engine. I want to thank everybody back at the shop for all their support."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW/DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 2nd
ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED WITH 2ND PLACE AFTER HAVING SUCH A GREAT CAR? "I am disappointed, but the team is coming together. This UAW/DELPHI Chevy was strong. We showed that tonight. I'm just not sure how the No. 97 (Kurt Busch) got in front of us under that green flag deal. But we just needed some more laps. At the beginning of the runs, this No. 25 Chevy was so fast. We just got behind there a little bit. The pit stops were good, the power was good, and everything was right. We needed this.
-team monte carlo-