JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT MONTE CARLO SS EXTENDS POINT LEAD WITH VICTORY AT CHARLOTTE Concord, NC - Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS, scored his second consecutive victory in NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) competition in the Bank of...
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT MONTE CARLO SS EXTENDS POINT LEAD WITH VICTORY AT CHARLOTTE
Concord, NC - Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS, scored his second consecutive victory in NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) competition in the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS). It was his sixth win of the 2007 season and the 81st career victory for the four-time NNCS champion.
Team Chevy drivers captured four of the top-five finishing positions and five of the top-10 in the 31st race of the 2007 season.
Chevrolet has clinched its 31st NNCS Manufacturers' Cup and has scored 22 wins thus far in the season. It was the 11th win for Monte Carlo SS to equal the 11 victories scored by Impala SS drivers with five races remaining in the year.
The win extends Gordon's lead to 68 points over his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS, in the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup championship with five races remaining in the season.
Gordon led a total of four times for 72 laps in the race that finished with a green-white-checkered scenario that extended it to 337 laps. It was Gordon's fifth win at LMS, the site of his career-first NNCS win in 1994, his first at his "home" track since 1999.
Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Monte Carlo SS, kept his championship on target with a second place finish at LMS. It was the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) driver's fifth top-five and 15th top-10 of the year.
Bowyer is continues a strong third in the standings, 78 points behind Gordon.
Kyle Busch, No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Monte Carlo SS, finished third and jumped two places in the standings to sixth, 280 points down from the leader.
Jeff Burton, No. 31 AT&T Monte Carlo SS, finished fourth at LMS to move up two spots in the standings to 10th, 366 points out of the top spot.
Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Monte Carlo SS, rallied from damage received in a pit road accident to finish seventh in at Charlotte. The two-time NNCS champion remains fourth in the Chase, 198 points out of the lead.
It appeared that Johnson was on his way to another LMS victory, leading six times for 95 laps. Damage received from contact with the turn two wall on lap 232 sent the defending NNCS champion down pit road for repairs and landed him deep in the field.
Johnson worked his way back to the sixth position for the green-white-checkered restart when the car sputtered from a vapor lock at the drop of the green flag. Johnson fell in the order and fought back to 14th at the finish. He is second in the standings, 68 points behind Gordon.
Martin Truex, Jr. No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Monte Carlo SS, had a solid top-10 run going until he radioed his crew chief following the final green flag flew that he was out of fuel and headed down pit road. He came back on track in 19th and passed two cars in one lap to finish 17th. Truex is 11th in the standings with five Chase races in the books.
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Kinko's Monte Carlo SS, suffered transmission issues late in the race that dropped him to 20th in the finishing order. He is ninth in the Chase standings leaving LMS.
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Monte Carlo SS, finished 33rd in the Bank of America after suffering numerous tire issues, the first coming just 26 laps in to the scheduled 500-mile race. Harvick dropped to eighth in the standings.
The next event, race 32 of the 36-race NNCS season and round six of the Chase will be October 21, 2007 at Martinsville Speedway.
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT MONTE CARLO SS - WINNER:
IT WAS 13 YEARS AGO THAT YOU TOOK YOUR FIRST CAREER NASCAR CUP WIN HERE AT LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY. WHAT WERE THOSE FINAL MOMENTS LIKE FOR YOU? "Well, I can't tell you how many times we tried to give this one away. Oh, man. I don't know where to start. This is just an incredible day for the DuPont Chevrolet. I've got to thank all these guys. They just never gave up. Jimmie Johnson, I'm not sure what happened to him. He had us all covered. And when I saw they had problem, I thought that was an opportunity for us. We had an awesome race car. The best the car was all night was there towards the end. It was just on a rail. So, I just kept saying, 'No caution, please. No caution, no caution.' And I saw oil coming on my windshield. I saw that the No. 66 (Jeff Green) was leaking it. Everybody was going everywhere and I knew the caution was going to come. And then the thing ran out of gas. I was having trouble with the pickup. I was on the banking. And I wasn't smart enough to go around on the apron the first time. And then even on that last one, on the restart, the tires spun so bad that Clint Bowyer could have gone right b y me and he gave me a big shot in the rear bumper and kind of got me going again. So it was just a great day. This is what we've been looking for is getting us a win at Charlotte. What a great comeback.
"We need to get to the finish. We've been having such a hard time getting to the finish whether we were wrecking or having some kind of mechanical problem. If you don't get to the finish, you don't know where you can finish. This was just a great testament to this race team. We had some huge momentum coming off that great win at Talladega last week. We were really a second place car to Jimmie Johnson tonight. He had us all covered. I think the pit strategy that Steve Letarte played out just really kept us in great position. And I can't tell you how many times we tried to give this one away tonight. Between about running out of fuel there at the end and it was just crazy. I spun the tires on the last restart. I've got to thank Clint Bowyer for racing me so good and so clean. It was a great race. He's having a heck of a year. And also Kyle Busch. I ran out of gas going into Turn 1 for some reason it just didn't pick up the fuel in the tank and he could have run all over the top of me and he didn't. I guess his ran out soon after that. What a great day".
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 14th
"We had a great race car. We didn't have a clean night tonight. I made a mistake. We had mistakes through the night that kept hurting us on track position. Fortunately we had a good car and I could get back through there. I'd always come out sixth or seventh and get my way back to the lead. And then at the end there we had that problem with a vapor lock and it really hurt me from getting a good finish. But we have a great race team and we'll be back next week and try to score some points. We started off good. We made good progress through the field and got up to the front. Unfortunately the car vapor locked on that last restart and I just couldn't go anywhere so I dropped all the way back."
IT COULD HAVE BEEN A LOT WORSE "It could have. I wanted to get all the way back to sixth but I was kind of bummed out we had that problem there on that last restart. We deserved to finish in the top five tonight. We just didn't have a clean night in general. I made some mistakes that hurt on track position. We're trying to get every point we can. I think we led the most laps and to have an 18th or 19th place finish or whatever it was (actually 14th), wasn't what we expected or wanted. So we're leaving here disappointed. But we had a good performance so there is some light at the end of the tunnel. But it's just a bummer of a night."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 2nd
YOU TRIED AT THE END THERE AND HAD A GOOD RUN GOING "Yeah, he spun the tires and I kind of backpedaled a little bit and got a good run on him and I just didn't pull it down quick enough. He slipped and I was gaining on him too fast and got into the back of him instead of going underneath of him. But nonetheless, this isn't my best race track. Gil and all the guys brought me a good hot rod. We went and tested this car and I got a lot of confidence in it and a lot of confidence in these guys. We ain't out of it. We're going to keep going and we're going to get Jack Daniels a championship.
"It was a great finish for us as far as the Chase points. I got a run on him (Jeff Gordon) there at the end, he spun the tires on that last restart, I was just thinking that was enough, but just couldn't quite get there. But we are after a championship and we are still in this thing. We just have to pick up our game a little bit more the rest of these races and I think we will be okay."
KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S / CARQUEST MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 3rd:
"Our Kellogg's/CARQUEST Chevrolet was pretty fun tonight, it was a great race car. My guys did an awesome job on it. We just fought a tight chatter in the corner throughout the whole race. Never could get rid of it, we got loose there for a little while and had to make some saves, but overall I would say it was an ok night for us to come home third. We didn't gain any points on Jeff (Gordon) or anyone but a good finish."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T MOBILITY MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 4th:
"We had a really good car on long runs, all those cautions really hurt us. We would come through the field really well on long runs, we just weren't very good on short runs. We kind of thought that was going to happen toward the end of the race. We got it where I could go pretty decent at the end of the race, which was a good thing because we got all those cautions and short runs there at the end. I think being on old tires was probably a good thing for us too. I am really proud of my guys, they just kept fighting and we got a good finish."
GREG ZIPADELLI, CREW CHIEF, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS:
ON TONIGHT'S RACE: "We made too many mistakes. We had a really good race car by the half way point, it was kind of what our goal was...in the top five, running some of our best laps of the race in comparison to the other guys. I think we top-two, three car at that time. We made some mistakes on pit road and didn't get them fixed the way we needed to. Just frustrated, we should be better than that. Those things happen, but they shouldn't happen to us. We need to be a little more intense and think about everything and be aware of everything. I don't know, just seems like it is our season right now. We will keep digging; we will never give up. It is a little frustrating right now.
"With the condition that right front fender was in and all that, everybody did a really good job. Because, normally you can't even salvage something this out of that because these cars are so aero sensitive."
ON HEADING TO TRACKS WHERE TEAM HAS HAD GOOD SUCCESS: "Next week, Martinsville is a place for three, four of us that are going there in the top-five in points run really well. So, I am sure, it will come down to one of us. Hopefully we will do our work next week, have good pit stops, be able to keep good track position and do all the things we need to do and have a shot of winning."
ON HAVING A SHOT AT WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP: "It isn't over until you tell me mathematically we can't do it."
ON CONTACT WITH NO. 15 ON PIT ROAD FOR SECOND TIME DURING THE CHASE: "The blame is I don't think either one of them has any respect for each other. The kid in the No. 15, I don't know, but I do know his crew was clapping when we were working on our car. That is kind of uncalled for and unprofessional. But, I am believer in what goes around, comes around. Someday he will be good enough to be in that situation, maybe, if he is lucky, and that will probably happen to him, or he will lose something because he didn't have respect or give or take with other people, that is just how it works. We can't control what others do and how they act, all we can do is control how we respond to situations."
ON IF TONY HANDLED IT OK: "The No. 15 car was a minor thing, I think everybody got to hollering on the radio and never even saw the No. 9 car. That is what did the damage, the No. 15 just scraped the paint off, didn't really do anything else. With us rolling out, it would have been real easy for him to give us the go ahead, not that he has to; it is a give-and-take. If you have respect for people and they are racing for something you are not, you kind of usually do that. If you don't, the roles will usually be reversed."
ON IF IT IS THE MOST FRUSTRATING THING ABOUT THE CHASE TO HAVE GUYS NOT IN IT HAVE SUCH AN IMPACT: "Yes, but so do the 11 other cars we are racing. They could be in the same situation. We all started with same odds and situations that can happen, where you are on pit road, whether they picking next to us or we pick next to them. I don't even know to be honest with you or why it happened. Why twice on pit road with the same person, who knows. Obviously we need to not worry about that and worry about going to Martinsville and running really good."
-credit: gm racing