Kevin Harvick Holds Points Lead after Coca-Cola 600; Jamie McMurray Leads Five Team Chevy Drivers to Top-10 Finishes at Charlotte Charlotte - With an 11th place in the Coca-Cola 600, Kevin Harvick, No. 29th Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, continues...
Kevin Harvick Holds Points Lead after Coca-Cola 600; Jamie McMurray Leads Five Team Chevy Drivers to Top-10 Finishes at Charlotte
Charlotte - With an 11th place in the Coca-Cola 600, Kevin Harvick, No. 29th Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, continues to lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings with 13 races in the record books.
Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet, finished second in the 400-lap/600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway to lead five Team Chevy drivers to top-10 finishes. McMurray jumped two places in the standings to 15th place.
Mark Martin brought the No. 5 CARQUEST Auto Parts/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet to the checkered flag in fourth place to move to the 10th place in points.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Stars & Stripes Chevrolet, finished sixth to move up to fourth in the points standings with 13 races remaining until the start of the Chase.
Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, finished seventh and gained two positions in the standings, now riding in 13th place.
Ryan Newman, No. 39 US Army Chevrolet, finished ninth and now is in Chase contention, sitting in 12th position.
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Memorial Day Tribute Chevrolet, was involved in two on-track incidents that relegated him to the 37th finishing position. The four-time defending champion is now seventh in the points order.
Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, remains eighth in the standings after late-race contact dropped him to the 25th finishing position.
The Series moves to Pocono Raceway for the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 on June 6, 2010.
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET, FINISHED 2ND:
"I'm still excited from where I was last year and not knowing what was going to happen to get to be here right now with Bass Pro Shops and McDonald's being a part of our team. I'm still really happy. I think we had the best car tonight. Certainly on the long runs, we had the best car toward the end and that is all you can ask for. You can't win every time you have a fast car and the No. 2 bunch put themselves in position and they were able to win. But, I'm really happy with our finish."
YOU DIDN'T WANT TO SEE THAT LAST CAUTION: "If the caution didn't come out, our car was so fast we were a tenth or two-tenths quicker a lap and I was only driving it about 90%. Yes, that was really disappointing to have that caution come out, but, that is why you race until the end.
"We had a great Bass Pro Shops Chevy. It would just take us 20 or 30 laps to be able to catch Kurt and then about 10 more to pass him. We had a great night, a great car. Track position was so important. When he got out in front of us on that last pit stop and some of those guys stayed out, it was just a struggle to get around them.
"It is disappointing but I'll continue on. From where I was last year to the runs we have had this year and the poles and to have great partners like Bass Pro Shops and McDonald's support us, it is a really good time to be a part of Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing. With him winning the Indy 500 today. I'm disappointed about second but at the same time, I'm real happy about it."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, FINISHED 11TH-POINTS LEADER:
"It was a good night, we hit a piece of debris and from that point on, we were extremely tight and we just fought it. I had to pit a couple of times, had a loose wheel and still came out 11th. Our car was really good until we hit that piece of debris. We just took what we get tonight and that is what you have to do when things happen. It was a good night for us."
YOU HAVE SAID YOU DIDN'T LIKE MAY, ARE YOU HAPPIER ABOUT MAY NOW? "I think tonight we had a fourth, fifth, sixth place car. Dover we ran in the top-five, the whole month of May was really good. Can't complain. Just a huge testament to how good these cars are now. I'm good now until September so I'm happy. Happy that June has started."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 US ARMY CHEVROLET, FINISHED 9TH:
"We started off pretty good, the car was really pretty nice, a little tight, but pretty nice. The more we ran and got farther back in traffic and it was just struggle, struggle, struggle. So the end stop, I said let's just stay out and the track position definitely paid off for us. We had a decent US Army Chevrolet, but it wasn't meant to be for us tonight."
YOU MADE IT BACK TO THE TOP-12 IN POINTS: "It was a good points, I wasn't happy with the way we finished but it was a points night and we have to look at the big picture. That's racing. I'm just glad I finished. I hate racing for 398 laps and get crashed out in the last two and finish 30th so happy to come home with a top-10 in the US Army Chevrolet."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST AUTO PARTS/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET, FINISHED 4TH:
"We had a good car in the second half. We messed up on a pit stop, we just stayed behind all day. We knew we had a good race car there at the end. We knew we didn't need tires. Yes, to run with the front two, we needed tires, but we were strong. We were getting ready to pass Kyle (Busch) back. Great effort CARQUEST, all our supporters, GoDaddy.com, Delphi, Chevrolet. This race team pulled a rabbit out of the hate."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET, FINISHED 7TH:
"I'm real proud of everyone on the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet team. The boys in the pits were on it tonight and gained us a spot or two every time, even during green-flag stops. I tried to catch the No. 24 car there at the end, but just came up a little short."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET, FINISHED 25TH:
"It is just really frustrating to race that hard and we had the car like it needed to be there at the end. Todd (Berrier, crew chief) and the guys did a great job. We didn't run like we needed to be early, but those guys kept working and working and got the car really good. The last restart, Kyle (Busch) made it three-wide on the restart because the guys on the bottom didn't have tires and he trying to make something happen, which I don't have a problem with. So he run into me and cuts my left-rear tire, then I have a problem with it. He's real aggressive. That's cool. But when he starts affecting me with his aggressiveness, I just will not put up with it. I've been around here long enough. I just will not tolerate it.
"I can't blame him for that, but the least he can do is stay off of me, he cut the left rear tire. I like racing with Kyle, I really do. I enjoy it, but when he gets over aggressive and I pay the price for it, I won't tolerate it. I'm just not going to put up with it. I don't mind racing with him. I don't mind him being aggressive, but I'm not going to be the victim of his aggressiveness, I'm just not going to put with it.
"First he said he didn't hit me. Then he said he got put there, then he said he had to go. He didn't mean to do it, ok. He was trying to defend himself and what he was saying wasn't making sense. That's ok, he was upset because I was yelling at him. He didn't mean to do it, but he's real aggressive and I don't mind that but like I said when it affects me, then I have a problem."
ON THE RACE "Well, we weren't quite as good as we needed to be in the early and middle part of the race. We fought tight and then we just kept working and working. Toward the end of the race, we got pretty good. There were times we had the best car on short runs. We were really fast. All in all we ran well. We didn't run great; we ran well."
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END OF THE RACE? "Well, we had a restart and had some guys without tires and some guys with tires, which meant that the guys on tires were going to be coming harder. Kyle (Busch) just tried to make it three-wide and cut my left rear tire and just made me mad, you know? I like Kyle a lot. I like racing with Kyle. I don't really have any trouble with Kyle. He's very aggressive, which I don't care. You can be as aggressive as he wants to be, but when I pay the price for his aggressiveness, I'm not going to tolerate it. We all make mistakes, but when you see somebody as aggressive as he is, when he makes a mistake around you, it makes you mad."
DID IT MAKE YOU MAD TO HAPPEN LIKE THAT AND COST A GOOD FINISH? "Well, yeah. I mean you run 385 laps or whatever and you're in the top seven all night long and finish 25th, it's really frustrating. We're racing to get ourselves in the Chase and to try and win a championship. That stuff is going to happen to everybody. It happens to everybody. It's just real frustrating when somebody does it to you. I've made mistakes and run into people and caused them problems too and everybody makes mistakes. I probably overreacted a little bit. Like I said, he made a real aggressive move and I paid the price for it and I didn't like it."
WHAT EXACTLY DID KYLE BUSCH DO WRONG? "Making it three-wide is not a huge problem, it's not great; but anytime you make it three-wide on a 1.5-mile race track like this, and things don't work out very well. When he made it three-wide he got in my left rear tire and cut my left rear tire. It's all cool making it three-wide, but if you can't make it three-wide without running into somebody, then you shouldn't do it."
DO YOU THINK YOU GOT YOUR POINT ACROSS TO HIM? "I think so."
DID YOU MANAGE TO GET YOUR HANDS ON HIM AT ALL? "No."
WHEN THE MEDIA ASKED KYLE BUSH ABOUT IT, HE SAID TO TELL HIM WHAT HE COULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY "Not run into me. That's what he could have done different."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT STARS & STRIPES CHEVROLET -- Finished 6th:
"Well the finish wasn't bad, you know, a sixth place. I feel like that was the best we'd been. It was definitely a long, long 600 miles for us. We struggled at the beginning in the daytime and luckily stayed on the lead lap. We fought hard and got some track position and did our best to maintain it, but we just never really had it tonight. So we know we've got to work on some things for when we come back."
BOTH PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY, HOW GRUELING WAS IT TO WORK ON ALL THOSE ADJUSTMENTS FOR 600 MILES? "There were some long green flag runs so you don't get as many opportunities to hydrate yourself and take a rest. So that was pretty tough. It was a very humid night. When your car's not quite where you want it and you're working harder at that as well. And so mentally and physically it's a pretty draining race."
ON KURT BUSCH GOING FROM THE ALL-STAR WIN TO THE COCA-COLA 600 WIN, HOW DIFFICULT IS THAT TO DO? "That's the most disappointing thing about our week here in Charlotte is that I wrecked on the first lap of the All-Star event and it took away our ability to really gain valuable information. It's the only night testing and practice that you really have. So with those guys really being able to tune on their car and have a car capable of winning there at the end of the All-Star even, I think it's a big advantage. So I think when you run good in the All-Star race, you should run good in the 600. Those guys were good in both the daytime and nighttime, so it was pretty impressive."
BETWEEN POCONO AND INDY, AND DURING THIS EARLY PART OF THE SUMMER, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE TEAM? WHAT POSITION DO YOU WANT TO BE IN GOING INTO INDY? "First. There is only one place to be and that's first. Tonight was a nice points race for us and points night. We jumped up to fourth (in points). Some guys had some trouble, but we want to run good. We want to lead laps and we want to be able to compete for the win. If you're going to win a championship, that's all that really matters."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 37TH: Damaged in crash on lap 271
TALK ABOUT BOTH THE INCIDENTS THAT HAPPENED HERE TONIGHT "That first one was just a racing deal. I got in the fence and did some damage and we were trying to recover from that and I was trying to run from the leader, trying to be respectful of the leader, and I had the leader on my tail coming through. We made some big adjustments to the car and basically adjusted it to free it up there and I just spun out off of (Turn) 2."
-source: gm teams