Charlotte II: GM teams race notes, quotes

Jamie McMurray Wins at Charlotte; Jimmie Johnson Holds 41 Point Lead in Chase Standings Concord, NC (October 16, 2010) - Jamie McMurray had the best Chevrolet race car when it counted tonight in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor...

Jamie McMurray Wins at Charlotte; Jimmie Johnson Holds 41 Point Lead in Chase Standings

Concord, NC (October 16, 2010) - Jamie McMurray had the best Chevrolet race car when it counted tonight in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. McMurray jumped to the lead in turn one of the final restart of the race on lap 314 and led the final 20 laps of the 334-lap/501-mile race to take his No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet to victory lane.

It is the third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win for McMurray in 2010. He led three times for a total of 65 laps on the way to his sixth career victory.

With a third place finish tonight, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, maintained his lead in the Chase standings by 41 points with five races remaining in the season. The four-time defending Series' champion led once tonight for a total of 15 laps.

Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, remains third in the standings after finishing eighth in final order tonight. Harvick is 77 points down to the leader.

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, remains fourth in the standings despite a 23rd place finish at Charlotte. The four-time champion and tonight's pole sitter suffered an electrical issue mid-way through the race that put him a lap down. He battled back to the lead lap but received a pit road speeding penalty late in the race that dropped him in the final order.

Tony Stewart, No. 14 Old Spice/Office Depot Chevrolet, finished 21st after battling an ill-handling car for the majority of the race. The two-time champion dropped one position to sixth in the Chase standings.

Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, also battled handling issues throughout the race to score the 20th place finishing position. He is now 10th in the points order after 31 races.

Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, remains 12th in the standings and finished 17th in tonight's race.

Kyle Busch (Toyota) Denny Hamlin (Toyota) and Greg Biffle (Ford) complete the top-five finishers.

Round six of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will be October 24, 2010 at Martinsville (VA) Speedway.

****

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET, RACE WINNER:

YOU WON THE DAYTONA 500, YOU WON THE BRICKYARD 400 AND NOW AT CHARLOTTE: "Yes, it has been an unbelievable year. I certainly can't thank Chip (Ganassi) and everybody enough. We've had a really good season and we've been blessed to have some really good runs in some bigger races. Really, really excited about our success this season."

THERE WEREN'T BIG CHANGES TO THE CAR TONIGHT IN THE PITS, SMALL CHANGES AND YOU WORKED ON IT, DID YOU THINK YOU HAD SOMETHING FOR KYLE BUSCH ON THAT LAST RESTART? "You just drive your heart out and if you have the car, then you are able to make those passes and if you don't, you don't make the passes. We had a better car than Kyle at the end. He was better at certain stages during the race but at the end of the race we had the best car."

YOUR DAD SAID THAT HE WASN'T HERE TO SEE YOU TAKE THE CHECKERED FLAG AT DAYTONA OR THE BRICKYARD, BUT HE'S HERE TONIGHT. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU? "Well it's very special. My dad and I are really good friends and he is certainly what got me involved in racing. We still race go carts together, we fish together, we do all kinds of stuff together; and he is really one of my best friends. It's important to have him here.

"I want to say hi to the Hmiel family though; Shane Hmiel had a terrible racing accident and our team is thinking about him. We'd certainly like to dedicate our win tonight to him and the whole Hmiel family. I wish Steve could've been here; he is a huge part of our success. We just had a really good car there.

"I also want to take the time to explain something--as the laps were winding down I was thinking about Daytona and crying in victory lane. I don't think I ever really got to explain that and why I cried and what was going on there. I had a tough year last year; I found out the power of prayer and what that can do for you. When you get to victory lane and you get to experience this, it just makes you a believer. And it's something that is obviously very important to me and my family. And man, it's just the stuff I was thinking about; and honestly, it made the laps go by really quickly at the end. So thanks to God and all the things that he has blessed my family with. I was on the phone with Johnny Morris from Bass Pro Shops there. We've had a really great year--McDonalds, Coca-Cola and everybody that has been a part of this. I talked to Chip [Ganassi] earlier today and we were discussing sponsorship and where this organization was a year ago, and how far we've come. To be in victory lane four times this year, and to have both cars run as well as they do, and to have the support we do from Target and all these sponsors now--it's incredible and I just feel very blessed to be a part of it."

***

JIM MCMURRAY, father of race winner Jamie McMurray:

"Every time he wins is great, but I missed the last two. I missed Daytona and I missed the Brickyard, even though I was at Daytona. But I'm here for this one. I love it! Good job, Jamie!"

***

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET, FINISHED 3RD:

DID YOU THINK YOU WOULD FINISH LIKE THIS THE WAY THE NIGHT STARTED: "No, not at all. We had a really loose race car and I was trying to run the middle lane down in one and two and lost it. Then I had to drive backwards and out the side window and everything to keep it off the inside wall and luckily I did that. We stayed on the lead lap and just went to work from there. The track slowly started coming our direction and that is when we got fast and was able to drive up to the front."

TALK ABOUT YOUR BATTLE WITH KYLE BUSCH THERE AT THE END: "That was good racing. I have to give him a lot of credit. He ran his line, didn't start mirror-driving me or blocking me, he ran as hard as he could in his lane and I was searching for a new lane to try and get by him."

YOUR LEAD NOW 41 POINTS OVER DENNY HAMLIN HALF-WAY THROUGH THE CHASE: "It was really a wash this weekend. We got one more race behind us. That's great. We'll just keep plugging along and see what happens after Talladega. I really feel like after Talladega we can then be in a position to protect or know if we have to play catch up at that point. Right now I am very proud of this team. They worked as a unit tonight and got the job done."

HOW DID YOU TAKE A CAR THAT WAS A HANDFUL EARLY, SPIN ON LAP 34, AND STILL BE IN CONTENTION AT THE END OF THE NIGHT? "Just couldn't give up. Hate that I spun out, but I'm kind of proud that I didn't hit anything because I did a lot of driving out the side, in reverse and turning the wheel--just trying to keep it off the fence. We just never gave up on it tonight. We knew that the track would come to us, it was just Lowe's Chevrolet team; these guys are working so hard. We did what we needed to tonight and got a great finish out of it."

IT LOOKED LIKE YOU WERE USING THE WHOLE TRACK THOSE LAST FIVE OR 10 LAPS TRYING TO GET BY KYLE BUSCH: "Yeah I had a lot of fun racing with Kyle. I knew that could race him really hard and we wouldn't get into a situation where we'd have a problem. He ran his lane and I ran mine, and he wasn't mirror driving me and I wasn't trying to side-draft and screw him up, or getting in there compacting air to turn him around. We just raced really hard for that second spot."

***

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, FINISHED 8TH:

ON TONIGHT'S RACE: "I'm really happy. Everybody knows that has been our big struggle. Our goal was to come in here and get a single digit finish and we did that. The guys fought all night. I screamed and complained and the pit crew had a bad stop on the first one, then they were great the rest of the night. Hopefully that is something we can build on going forward. To get out of here with that finish tonight, we're really happy."

HIS THOUGHTS ON THE CHASE GOING FORWARD: "I think for us it was damage control. For me coming here, I know we probably had lot better race car than eighth place tonight. For me, this is just a struggle. I struggle getting the feel that I want. To come out of here with an eighth feels like a victory."

***

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET -- Finished 17th

ON THE NIGHT "It was pretty much a nightmare. This was just a bad weekend all together for our Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet. We unloaded bad and just really never got it. When you do that, you play catch-up the rest of the weekend and it is what it is."

***

DARIAN GRUBB, CREW CHIEF, NO. 14 OLD SPICE/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 21ST:

TALK ABOUT YOUR NIGHT TONIGHT: "It was just a comedy of errors. We evidently just missed it on the setup. Not really sure what happened, we just weren't fast enough on restarts or anything. Then mid-run we could be ok, but by the end we had no track position. We had to fight to try to get track position all night and just never got it. Anytime we had a hope that we were getting somewhere, we got stuck in our pits two or three times, or missed our pit box or something. It was just a mess."

***

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET -- Finished 23rd:

JUDGING BY WHAT WE HEARD ON THE RADIO, YOUR NIGHT WAS BASICALLY HELL: "Yeah, it was not a lot of fun. We had about everything go wrong that could go wrong. Track position being crucial at this place. I've never seen it so sensitive. We lost a little bit of track position and then we had the battery issue which took me a little while to figure out. I've never had that happen before. I've had them stumble, but I've never had them just shut off. So, it took me a few seconds to figure that out. We lost a lap; and then speeding (on pit road) and a tire coming loose; we had it all happen.

WAS IT THE BATTERY OR THE ALTERNATOR?: "We had an alternator and then that drained the battery and then it shut off. Luckily we were running a second battery. That's the only thing that really saved us."

YOU ARE 156 POINTS BACK WITH FIVE RACES TO GO. HOW DO YOU LOOK AT THINGS RIGHT NOW? "All I can tell you is that it doesn't make us race any different. We race to win every weekend. So that's all we can continue to do going forward. Things are not looking good, but we'll just keep going and get to the next one and see what happens."

JIMMIE JOHNSON SEEMS TO ALWAYS HAVE ALL SORTS OF PROBLEMS AND A LOT OF TIMES COMES OUT OF IT. HE HAD THE SPIN TONIGHT. "Ah, that was just to get (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) to tighten the car up (laughter). Chad wasn't listening to him. He thought he needed to keep it loose and so Jimmie showed him how loose it really was and they tightened it up and he went to the front."

HOW CHALLENGING IT IS TO REMAIN COOL AND BOUNCE BACK AND HAVE THE ABILITY TO DO THAT? "That's what great drivers and teams and championship caliber teams do. They amaze you at how they fight through problems and issues and those guys obviously have a great chemistry. They've won four championships and that's what's going to make them really tough this year again."

DO YOU FEEL THAT MOST OF YOUR PROBLEMS WERE PREVENTABLE "We've been trying to fix a loose middle-off the corner all year long here at Charlotte, so I don't feel like that was preventable. But certainly we can look into what caused the alternator problem and me speeding down pit road was preventable. At that point I didn't really feel like I had much to lose so I was pushing it anyway."

AFTER ALL THAT HAPPENED TONIGHT, DO YOU STILL HAVE THAT CONFIDENCE YOU TALKED ABOUT A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO? "Well, I'm looking forward to going to Martinsville. I think Martinsville is a great track for us. When we had track position tonight, I don't want to say we were as good as anybody, but we were good. I've never seen track position be so important as it was tonight because we just fell back to like sixth or seventh that one time after coming in and getting the gas-and-go and couldn't do anything. It was just so important to keep that track position."

WHY WAS IT SO MUCH DIFFERENT? WHY WAS TRACK POSITION SO VERY IMPORTANT? "I don't know. The tires were real edgy. The track was cool and fast; aerodynamics; and I mean it's just a combination of those things. The tires don't really give up much and the track is so smooth that it doesn't really make the tires wear. And so you can stay out on tires, you can do two tires, and they just don't slow down much."

CHAMPIONSHIP CALIBER TEAMS SEEMS TO RALLY FROM ADVERSITY. THE NO. 11, DENNY HAMLIN, DID THAT TONIGHT WITH A 4TH PLACE FINISH. DOES THAT TEAM HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "Yeah, they're going to be tough in Martinsville. He runs good a lot of places so I feel like tonight kind of showed who the real players are and I think that that was a plus on their part because they really recovered and didn't really lose as many points as they could have, and now they go to one of their best tracks, if not their best track."

***

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET, FINISHED 36TH:

"I'm just mad at myself. I had no warning -- the car just jumped sideways. I haven't had a racecar jump sideways that quick, that fast in a long time. There was just no saving it, and I backed it into the fence. I'm just mad at myself because I know we had a fast racecar. We still had a fast racecar when we came back out, it was just damaged."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Shane Hmiel , Clint Bowyer , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch