Charlotte II: GM teams race report

Jimmie Johnson wins the UAW-GM Quality 500 Lowe's Motor Speedway Jimmie Johnson -- ...

Jimmie Johnson wins the UAW-GM Quality 500
Lowe's Motor Speedway

Jimmie Johnson -- #48 Lowe's Chevrolet
Winner

This was an amazing run and we had to start from the back. We had a flat tire at one point. We had an alternator and battery issue. We had to change batteries under a pit stop. We just overcame a lot of stuff. The guys did an incredible job of keeping their cool in the pits and changing out what we needed. Chad made a lot of great adjustments. We were burning up the right rear tire and he worked some stuff around to take the load off the tire. It was just a great night of teamwork. I can't thank these guys enough. I had a great race car. There was no doubt. And there were times I felt I couldn't really lean on him because I'd abuse the right rear tire and tear it up. But these guys kept me in the game all night long and I owe it to them.

FOUR WINS IN A ROW..IS THIS THE TOUGHEST ONE? I don't really think about that stuff. I guess when I go home maybe it'll sink in a little bit. I kind of forgot the night -- it's been such a long night. And we had to start at the back. To get a fourth win here -- I couldn't pick a better place. I can't believe we did this. This shows what this team is made of.

ON THE CHASE I really feel this championship is about not losing it. Tony (Stewart) had the dominant car tonight. If it didn't get out from underneath him, he probably would have won the race and it would be a different story. We've just got to do our job and not make any more mistakes -- especially on my part, and not tear the car up or do anything stupid and we'll be in pretty good shape.

Chad Knaus
Crew Chief -- #48 Lowe's Chevrolet

PIT LANE INTERVIEW: The thing about this Lowe's team is they never give up. In the face of diversity, this team is so strong. We had a bad week at Talladega and then we had a good race at Kansas. That's what we needed to get back in the hunt. These guys worked so hard today. We had tire issues battling back and forth between scuffs and stickers and battery changes and all that stuff. We've got the best race car driver, the best team, the best engines -- we're pretty fortunate.

Joe Nemechek -- #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet
4th position

GREAT RUN BUT I KNOW YOU MUST BE A BIT DISAPPOINTED WITH YOUR FINISH Yeah, a little bit disappointed but it just shows how good this Army team is. Jimmie got me there just a little bit, running in the corner. My car got a little bit tight right in the middle. He was able to take advantage of that and then the other guys came up through there. I thank Hendrick Motorsports (for) awesome power. All the guys at the fab shop. It was a great race car and we're going to keep on going.

Denny Hamlin -- #11 FedEx Express Chevrolet
8th position

Note: Best finish for #11 Chevrolet in 2005

GREAT RUN TONIGHT Yeah, we had a really great car. The FedEx Express Chevrolet was really good tonight. I wish we would have got that top 5, but a top 10 in only my second start is a great accomplishment for us. This team has had a tough time this year and these guys deserve it. I'm not sure if it's their best finish of the year? Is it? Yes, so I just don't know what to say. I'm living the dream right now.

WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT YOUR ABILITIES? Well, I'm not known as a big mile-and-a-half track guy. I'm just a short-track guy. I really run well on the short tracks. I've only had like one top 10 on a mile-and-a-half all year long and including the Busch cars so to do it in the Cup Series in my second Cup start, I really.it's a big confidence booster for sure.

WHAT WERE YOU THINKING AT THE END WHEN YOU WERE IN THE TOP THREE? Had the caution not come out we would have for sure had a top 5. It's just one of those deals-one guy gets a bad start and it's a chain reaction and I really got the short end of the deal. I didn't expect to run where we were, so I'm not disappointed where we finished.

WHEN ARE YOU SCHEDULED TO RUN THIS CAR AGAIN IN 2005? Next week at Martinsville and then at Atlanta.

Brian Vickers -- #25 GMAC/ditech.com Chevrolet
12th position

TALK ABOUT THE NIGHT There was no enjoyment in the kind of racing we had out there. It was worse than I expected, more frustrating than anything else. We were worried about our tires lasting 30 laps, that's crazy. I'm not going to point any fingers, but I think both the track and Goodyear know what they could've have done to avoid what took place. Fortunately, we chose to play it safe and can home with a good result. The finish should really help us in the points.

Jeff Burton -- #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet
14th position

WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE? We had a piece of rubber get between the belt and the pulley and knocked the pulley off the power steering. The way the set-ups are running and stuff, you just can't drive it without power steering. It's not like it used to be. We had to go to the back and finish. We had a great car. Part of the way through the race, we didn't have a real good stop and I pulled out and got the right front fender tore off of it. That hurt us but we still had a top six or seven car.

Tony Stewart -- #20 The Home Depot Chevrolet
25th position

TELL US ABOUT YOUR NIGHT We did the best with what we had. We had the fastest car all night. I was listening to a stat Zippy was telling me-42 out of 43 cars had tire problems, so welcome to the wonderful world of racing. It was just a weird night.

WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT THIS SITUATION? I don't think it was Goodyear's fault. You can't blame Goodyear when they didn't know there was a change. So, you know, it's a bad set of circumstances that started before the May race and everybody involved did their part to make it as good as they could. I don't know that you can point the finger at anybody. Everybody tried to make it better. This is just what we had to deal with tonight. We'll take our lumps and we'll go on from here. Everybody can point fingers all they want, but everybody involved-from NASCAR, Humpy and Goodyear-everybody involved did everything they thought they could do to solve the problem and make it safer for all of us. You can't ask for them to do anything more than that.

CAN YOU TELL WHAT THE PROBLEMS ARE? How can I tell what the problems were? I'm in one of 43 cars out there. I don't know. You know more about what the problems were more than I do because you go to see all the problems that everybody had. I don't know what the problems were. I just know from my standpoint that we cut a tire down and we had the fastest car all night and we ended up 25th.

YOU'RE TIED WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON FOR FIRST PLACE IN THE POINTS RIGHT NOW Who cares. It was the most screwed up night I've ever seen, so all I want to do is just go home right now, I don't care about anything else right now.

Kevin Harvick -- #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet
28th position

Note: Hit the wall on Lap 171

I ASSUME YOU'RE ALRIGHT Yeah, everything's fine. I just got a set of tires. This is the biggest joke in racing that I've ever seen, with tires going down and it's just terrible. Everybody saw it coming last night and out there, not willing, but just knowing that at any time the tires are going to go. It's pretty disgusting and pretty embarrassing for our sport.

IS THERE ANYTHING THAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT THIS? Yeah, throw the checkered flag and get the hell out of here.

Michael Waltrip -- #15 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet
29th position

Note: Accident on Lap 278

WHAT HAPPENED? The left rear tire was tore off of it I think. It blew out right when he (Jamie McMurray) was beside me and when it did, it turned me into Jamie and we wrecked. It looked like he probably hit me -- and maybe he hit me earlier and cut my tire -- I can't really remember because it happened so fast. But I definitely think that the reason why we spun was because of the left rear tire blowing out. Whether Jamie got into the side of me and did that, I don't know, but I'm just not sure.

YOU WERE HAVING A REALLY GOOD RUN TONIGHT We had a really fast NAPA Chevy. I was really proud of my team and Tony Gibson and all those guys do a great job. I was just thankful to be in a car that fast. It's better to have a problem when you're running like that, in my opinion, than when you're running like crap all day long. And so, I'm all right.

Robby Gordon -- #7 Jim Beam Chevrolet
32nd position

Note: Engine failure on Lap 278, retired from race.

WHAT HAPPENED? I don't know what happened with the wreck. I think I was running, what, I think I had just gotten back into about 18th. It happened up in front of me. The reason I'm sitting here is no reason of the wreck-I lost a motor in turn 3 and 4 right off the same time of the wreck. So, I was trying to get out of the way and make sure we didn't oil down the race track.

IT WAS LOOKING LIKE A GREAT NIGHT FOR YOUR CAR We had a really good car. The Jim Beam Chevrolet was very fast. Honestly we were easily a top 10 car all day. We started the night with a right rear flat tire on lap one or two and we fought ourselves back in the top 10. There at the end, we took four. A lot of guys took two and we were saving our two tires for the last stop and thought we might have a shot at it.

Scott Riggs -- #10 Valvoline Chevrolet
33rd position

Note: Accident on Lap 267

WHAT HAPPENED? The Valvoline Chevy was a little loose at the beginning. We kept making air pressure adjustments and got it feeling pretty good. We made some two-tire stops and four-tire stops to help with track position. It seemed like the car was pretty decent though. I thought we'd be able to cycle our way around and be able to get two tires at the end and put ourselves in position to get a solid finish. I thought at least a top-fifteen was feasible. But it didn't happen. There was a wreck in front of us and I didn't get slowed down in time. I tried, but unfortunately I got into the back of the zero car (Mike Bliss) and knocked the fender of our Valvoline Chevy in. There was no geometry or suspension damage-- just sheet metal damage. The guys thought they got it cleared off around the tire, but unfortunately something was still there. It cut the tire down, put us in the wall and killed our night.

Jeff Gordon -- #24 DuPont Chevrolet
38th position

Note: Hit the wall on Lap 46

WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE? The two cars in front of me-Bobby Labonte and Casey Mears-got together and when they did it just sent my car right into the wall. It's just that the cars are going so fast out there. Aero dynamics plays such a role that it just took all the aero right off the front of my car and right into the wall.

YOU WERE MAKING YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT I was real happy. These guys did an amazing job with this car. We lost some track position because we had a fast car and we went down to the bottom, and then I lost track position knowing, realizing that you can't pass on the bottom. And so we worked our way back through there and we were coming and we were having fun and then that happened. It's unfortunate.

WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS NOW? It's tore up pretty good. We'll see what happens out there and we'll try to get back out there and learn some things. But, you know, we're not really out there for points right now, so if we go back out, it's just to get information.

Kyle Busch -- #5 Delphi Chevrolet
39th position

Note: Hit the wall on Lap 150

ANY INDICATION OF WHAT WAS COMING? No, no indication. The right front tire went down. There was nothing I could do. I'm only driving my car 85-90% out there. Not even pushing it the final 100% just because I'm scared to death from seeing all the other people with problems out there. It's just terrible circumstances out there to race in. It's not Goodyear's fault. It's not the race track's fault. It's just circumstances. It's a tough break. If NASCAR wants to throw a caution every 30 laps, that's what they're going to have to do to keep us out of the fence. Otherwise that's what's going to bring out the cautions: us.

ANY PROBLEMS WITH YOUR RIGHT FRONT TIRE BEFORE THAT? No problems with our right front all day. We had a little bit of problems with our right rear. Watching it and trying not to abuse the right rear. We started blistering a little bit, some chunks were coming out of it, but no right front problems. I'm not sure what needs to happen here but I'm sure Humpy's thinking about repaving it now.

Bobby Hamilton, Jr. -- #32 Tide Chevrolet
41st position

Note: Hit the wall on Lap 94

NOT THE WAY YOU WANTED TO HAVE YOUR NIGHT GO TONIGHT The way they was having trouble with tires and the way our luck has been, I was scared to death tonight. I had a feeling.I just knew the way our luck was, we were going to wind up taking ourself out tonight, just because tire stuff or have a wreck or something. The right front went down, I don't know if we cut it. The way it looks, looks like something cut it. Everybody talked about how hard it was. It didn't do nothing, but it killed a race car. But, we're two for two this week.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. -- #8 Budweiser Chevrolet
42nd position

Note: Hit the wall on Lap 61

WHAT HAPPENED? I blew a right front tire. I didn't have no warning, just blew going down the front straightaway. Hit the wall real hard. The car is tore up, we probably won't be able to get back out. It was really fast. I want to thank Tony Jr. and the Bud crew-they gave me an awesome car. And, I was going to have a great night. We were really running great and I was really excited. It's something for me and especially my fans to look forward to for next year.

DO YOU EXPECT OTHER PROBLEMS FOR OTHER DRIVERS WITH TIRES AND THESE HIGH-SPEED CRASHES? I surely hope not. Hitting the wall that fast.it hurts. Luckily it happened to me on the straightaway, but hopefully nobody else has to have any problems tonight.

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Robby Gordon , Casey Mears , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Scott Riggs , Mike Bliss , Brian Vickers , Denny Hamlin , Chad Knaus , Jim Beam , Kyle Busch