Jimmie Johnson: "Really thought we had a decent car and was going to run in the top-five, top 10 at the worst.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 2ND
Unfortunately not the win, but another great run: Well, you know, the restarts are something that we’ve been really adamant about this year because it was definitely hurting us last year. Tonight we really didn’t have a good short run car; we had a really good long run car. For about 40 or 50 laps it was about the best car out there. I had a blast tonight. It was great short track racing here at Richmond. And to have a race car like that to drive from 25th up to the front like that was so much fun.
Joey (Logano) was in the right place there. He had a good short run car and we were battling it out. And Matt (Kenseth) was making his car really super-wide, which you’ve got to do to try to win, and we were just battling hard. And it just didn’t come down the way that we needed it to. We needed a little bit longer run.
But thanks to Drive to End Hunger and Chevrolet and everybody, (all our sponsors), we’re having so much fun right now. I just can’t thank this team enough for their incredible effort. Pit stops, I mean everything. We’re just showing up at the race track with cars capable of winning. It’s just a matter of time before we do win.”
You had a great run tonight tell us about it: “It was hot. Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and all the guys on this No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy SS man they have been giving me amazing race cars this year. That was certainly one of the best ones we have had. We were having a lot of fun out there. We did not need the shorter runs which is kind of typical for us. Still really battled it out there on that last restart.
That was one of the wildest races with 10 to go that I have ever seen here at Richmond. Then I got very excited and Joey (Logano) was in the right position. He had a really fast car on the short runs and we got racing three-wide. Matt (Kenseth) was running every lane and trying to win the race. Brad (Keselowski) was trying to get by him on the outside, I was trying to get by him on the inside and we just really burned up our tires a little bit there and here came Joey (Logano) right by us on the inside.”
Is it act or react is that what you guys do out there when you are in the middle mixing it up with a couple of other guys like that? “Yeah, you are trying to get a good restart and get to Turn 1 good. You are just hoping that it sticks when you get there. I got to second right away there on that last restart and actually felt like I was a little bit better than Matt (Kenseth), just trying to find a way by him. Then the No. 2 car (Brad Keselowski) came on the outside which was a great move. His car was just super-fast also on the short runs.
Then he moved Matt up which I was happy about so I got underneath Matt, but I about lost it getting into (Turns) 1 and 2, got a little bit loose underneath him. At that point I had to fall back to third and then the No. 22 (Joey Logano) came in there. It was a great battle. Overall I’m very happy with the results of this race team and the effort. I’m having so much fun. The pit stops were amazing tonight, we are leading the points and it’s just a matter of time before this team wins.”
AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 BUSH’S GRILLIN’ BEANS CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 6TH
On His Top-10 Finish: “It was a good race. Just a tough race track. I was really happy with the car in general. It’s just such a fine line between being too tight and burning the rear tires off or just being a little too loose the whole time. I thought there were two or three long runs I thought the car was awesome. Then another couple of runs it wasn’t as good. Overall proud of the guys. We definitely had a top-15 car all day, top-10 car probably. Probably stole one there for finish wise there at the end, but we are getting there.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 7TH
It was wild and crazy, what was it like going on with your 88 car tonight? “Had a lot of brake problems with the car and the fluid boiled over under that last caution and I couldn’t keep the pedal up and had all rear brakes that last run. Just real loose getting in the corner and trying to run seventh was all I could do and just trying not to fall back worse than that. The run before when we were racing with Matt (Kenseth) and I thought we had a little bit better car in the end in the middle of the corner, but at that next caution we boiled over. We had brake problems the last 150-200 laps and it would leave the fluids black and Steve (Letarte) said it had boiled over a couple times. So we got a lot of rubber build up on the brake duct and the grill so it just got real hot.”
Lot of emotion at the end of the race too: “The No. 2 (Brad Keselowski) was mad at the No. 20 (Matt Kenseth) and he slammed on brakes after the checkered and the No. 47 (AJ Allmendinger) ran into the No. 20 and I ran into the No. 20 and I don’t know what that was all about. You know, get over it.”
MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 10TH
On his first top-10 run of the season: “Nothing fell out of the sky and hit us. We kept the air in the tires all night. We worked hard on it. We didn’t have a great car in the beginning, we fell back once, got off, got really tight in the middle part of the race, and Todd [Berrier] did a really good job getting it back.
“I thought we had a shot at a top five there, but the short runs were killing us. We just couldn’t take off for the first 15 or 20 laps of a run. All those guys up there were really fast and we weren’t. Here, it seems to go that way more often than not. We had a really good car on those last couple of long runs, but we had short runs at the end. We have to figure out how to get that short run going. Those long runs toward the end, we had something for them. It was a good day for us.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 11TH
On his night: “Just never could get the car to turn through the center of the corner and lacked rear grip and got behind on one run with a funky set of tires there. Kind of got caught back in the swarm and were never able to quite make it up. It all just didn’t line up right on the restarts there at the end. Just a little bit off.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 32ND
Walk us through a hard night here at Richmond: “Really thought we had a decent car and was going to run in the top-five, top 10 at the worst. Then we had one run where we cut a right-front and the next run another right-front. Not exactly sure why we had that issue, but we did have back-to-back tire issues there. That really just kind of put an end to our night. We didn’t have anything for the win, but I thought we could run top-five.”
Where is your head during a race like that? “This track has been tough on us so when it happened I was like ‘alright things like that happen to us here.’ But I know we have some really good race tracks coming up. Looking forward to those tracks. This Chase and the way you can work your way into the Chase is more forgiving than it has ever been. Might have to count on that this year and make sure we get in the Chase a little later than we want.”
REED SORENSON, NO. 36 TOMMY BALDWIN RACING CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 42ND
What happened out there? “Seems like the rubber got to the oil lines and the brake lines and that was what was burning was the oil and the fuel. So I got out of there as quick as I could and to try and not inhale all that smoke. Definitely not what you want to be inside of.”
Are you guys done for the night? “Yeah, we don’t think they can get all the lines complete and everything inside, so we are done for the night. Want to just thank all the TBR guys and we will be back next night for Golden Corral.”