Sprint Unlimited Post Race Notes and Quotes
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 JIMMY JOHN’S CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED FIFTH
YOU LOST A LAP AND THEN YOU WERE ABLE TO COME BACK AND BATTLE FOR TOP-FIVE, TALK ABOUT YOUR NIGHT:
"For us, we had a really good car. Led several laps in the beginning. Then on that restart we couldn't get organized and wound up getting shuffled to the back. We got to the back, and then they had the wreck, and we hit the wall and bent the splitter up. It wouldn't go through the corner, and like you said, we about got lapped. We kept working on it and working on it and the next thing you know, it was at least drivable and you could hold it wide open again. Heck at one point coming to the white flag, I thought we were going to win the race. So it was a great night for our Jimmy Johns guys. It has kind of turned into a team building exercise from all angles. Aside from all of us wanting to win the race, to come out of here with a fifth place finish and do all the things they did to the car to make it go was pretty awesome."
"It is going to be crazy. When you get a push and you get gaining on somebody, the closing rate was pretty rapid, and the side draft is a little more effective than it was last year. You can get yourself in trouble pretty quick. Because it always happens pretty fast."
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 CESSNA CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED SIXTH
TALK ABOUT THE RACING OUT THERE AND WHAT YOU SAW TONIGHT AND MAYBE WHAT YOU CAN USE LATER ON NEXT WEEK? “I thought our car was really good when there were a few cars on the track. It seemed like the less cars on the track we just didn’t, like I thought we had the dominate car at the beginning. Then, man, it just seemed like the less cars on the track our car just didn’t work as well. It’s such different racing just having eight cars versus having 20 cars. I think we learned a few things. We learned a couple of things to do and I think one thing not to do. The debris is really bad. They are going to have to pick the race track up before the 150’s and the (Daytona) 500 for sure. There is still a lot of paper on the race track. I was the lead car getting debris so definitely that seemed like a little bit of an issue.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED EIGHTH
TALK ABOUT THE RACING OUT THERE TONIGHT IT LOOKED CRAZY: “Yeah, I’ve never said that the off season was too long until tonight. I think that there are some guys that should have done some SIMS racing or something. I think there was a lack of mental preparation. Glad that the Caterpillar Chevrolet made it through all of that and we can at least have another car here for a spare for the rest of the week.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – INVOLVED IN AN ON TRACK INCIDENT WITH FIVE LAPS REMAINING IN THE SPRINT UNLIMITED – FINISHED NINTH
WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE?
"I was running along there, and I think the No. 9 (Marcos Ambrose) was trying to go to the outside, and I didn't know that and we got turned into the wall. I don't know if there was enough room out there or not. We had a good car. Just having some fun. A lot of wrecked cars. We had a pretty good car. This was our backup, so we'll just have to see how it goes.
WHAT WAS THE MESSAGE TO MARCOS AMBROSE ON THE BACKSTRETCH?
"I didn't say anything to him. We were just going down the back straightaway. He bent the steering on my car; I couldn't steer very good. Nah, we were just having some fun. His car was already torn up, so I didn't hurt it any worse than it already was. It was time to go, and I know he was trying to do what he thought he needed to do, and so was I."
ON WHAT HAPPENED:
"It looks like I was trying to get down a little bit there, and Marcos (Ambrose) went to the outside. I didn't know he was out there. Hard racing, and I was upset with him, but I can't say really that it was his fault. He was going to the outside and I didn't know he was up there. I thought he was staying with me because he had been pushing me down the straightaway so I thought he was kind of committed to that situation. A lot was happening right there and we just got turned around."
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/BASS PRO SHOPS CHEVROLET SS – INVOLVED IN A MULTI-CAR INCIDENT ON LAP 36
WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE?
“From the replay, I don’t know whether the NO. 20 (Matt Kenseth) came down or the No. 22 (Joey Logano) got into him. You’ve just got to protect your spot. I’ve always said I’m not a big fan of blocking, but unfortunately it’s what you. It seemed like tonight it was a little easier to get stalled out so if you got track positions, you had to protect it. You just need a couple more inches here and there and we would have gotten out of that. We hate to have that happen.”
HOW DOES YOUR LEG FEEL AFTER THIS SITUATION?
“I was a little nervous about it because I knew we were going to hit nose-first. But it doesn’t feel bad at all. It doesn’t have any pain. We’ll see when the Adrenalin wears off here in about an hour. So far it feels good.”
ON THE HARD HIT:
“I didn’t think it was going to feel that good when I hit but everything my guys have done to try to make it as comfortable as they can in the car obviously paid off. I’m very happy I’ve got a group of guys that work that hard. So far, so good.”
ON THE WRECK:
“I caught the No. 22 (Joey Logano) off of (Turn) 4 really well and got him a good push. He got a run on the No. 20 (Matt Kenseth) and as much as I hate blocking, you have to do it. That’s what you have to do at restrictor plate tracks. Joey got a run and Matt tried to protect it and missed it by about four inches is what it looked like on the monitor. It’s just part of what happens here.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS – INVOLVED IN A MULTI-CAR ACCIDENT ON LAP 36
WHAT HAPPENED OUT ON THE RACE TRACK?
"Tight racing at Daytona. There was a spin happening in the tri-oval. It looked like it was going to maybe wash up high so I went low. When I went as low as I could go, I caught some of the grass and spun around. I was about stopped, and then I got hit.
“Ricky (Stenhouse) said his hood was up so he couldn't see anything which is a bummer because I was pretty much just going to need four tires. It was a real bummer. I would have liked to have gotten to the end for the experience. I had a shot to win for GoDaddy and for the team and for everybody. Then you always get to be in the Unlimited.
"There was a lot of back and forth through the field. It felt like you were really risking things in the back. It was very easy to lose touch. I found it that way anywhere. Denny (Hamlin) was nice and kind of came back and helped me in the beginning here. It was all about finding the right line and staying with it and hoping people stayed with you. Ricky and I were laughing because were running toward the front at the end of that front run. I said it made me so mad when they decide they don't want to be behind you anymore. You are just gone. It is frustrating but it is stuff for me to learn."
WHAT HAPPENED FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE? “I didn’t know how far they were going to come down or go up you just don’t know how the accident is going to keep unfolding so I just went as low as I could. I thought I would end up just going straight through the grass, but I don’t know if it is just a little bit of a drop off or if it’s wet, but it just hooked on it and spun around. Then I had pretty much come to a stop. Just kept the wheel straight during the spin and that way it didn’t like flip around and go back into the wall and it worked. I was sitting there and pretty much just about stopped and then I got hit and that was it. It was a real bummer because I was having fun and I felt like I was really learning a lot. It was good to run with those guys. It would have been nice to get it to the end for the experience and for GoDaddy.”
HOW MUCH DID YOU LEARN? “I feel like I did. I feel like I learned how the runs are happening and how they form and how to make them form. It was a good experience. It was just cut short.”
DOES RICKY (STENHOUSE, JR.) OWE YOU FOR TAKING YOU OUT? “No. Well he got me 18 tin cans of Godiva dark chocolate for Valentine’s Day so I don’t know if he’s trying to butter me up or get me fat (laughs). I feel like I have probably got enough. If his hood wouldn’t have been up and had the ability to see obviously there would have been more frustration. It was one of those racing things.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS – INVOLVED IN A MULTI-CAR ACCIDENT ON LAP 36
HOW HARD WAS THE HIT? “Yeah when you get hit like that it’s pretty soft. I mean it sends you up in the air pretty good, but it’s not really that severe of an impact for me because the back of the car absorbs so much of it. I knew it was flying up in the air and I was just hoping it was going to sit back down on all four wheels. The funny thing is that we slid in there and I was into Tony (Stewart) and I thought well I will try to drive it back. I put it in reverse I didn’t realize my rear tires were off the ground.”
WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE?
"Business was picking up. There was a lot of action going on out there. It's only going to continue as you get closer to the end of the race. And, we're not even close to it. Hopefully there's enough cars left to be able to keep this race as amazing as I think it is capable of being. It's bumper cars at 200 miles per hour out there really. The closing rate is so severe; we have a little bit of extra spoiler, and so when you lose that momentum, boy, you get caught up in a hurry. The 22 (Joey Logano) got a big run on the 20 (Matt Kenseth). He came down; they got together and just stacked us all up."
"It was pretty interesting. The race started of really calm, I was quite surprised. Then all of a sudden business started picking up. I couldn't see anything. I was behind Tony (Stewart). I knew that they just started stacking up. The closing rate with the little bit of extra added spoiler on the back of these cars is pretty severe, so maybe Matt (Kenseth) misjudged how quick that 22 (Joey Logano) was coming up on him, and just kind of changed lanes a little bit too quick. Glad everybody is alright. I believe everybody is alright. Pretty nasty wreck and unfortunately our Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet is torn up, again. So we'll start looking forward to tomorrow qualifying, and next week."
WHAT COULD YOU SEE FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE? “It looked to me like the No. 22 had a big run; the No. 20 maybe had lost some momentum, which is easy to do with this spoiler combination. You can just really lose momentum in a hurry so the closing rate is big and maybe he misjudged it because the No. 20 got inside of him and they got together. I was in a blind spot. I wasn’t directly behind the No. 14, but I was enough behind him where I couldn’t see anything that was happening. I tried to hedge to the inside when they started stacking up and that sort of caught me into it.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 41 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET SS – INVOLVED IN A MULTI-CAR ACCIDENT ON LAP 36
WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE? “It was pretty wild racing. It’s a big exhibition race where there are no points and everybody is just kind of changing lanes and getting aggressive and it was good though. The cars were handling well and the addition of the rear spoiler really took away some of the big runs that you could get because it would stick out there and throw up the drag and put you side-by-side. I thought it was a good show all up until then.”
WHAT WERE YOU ABLE TO LEARN CONSIDERING THURSDAY NIGHT FOR THE DUEL IS UNDER THE LIGHTS? “Yeah the handling just is still very easy on the cars. There is no big difficulty. Before the repave there was the balance of speed versus handling, but it’s just wide open. Trying to find the right draft and not find trouble and we ended up just finding trouble just because everybody was wrecking in front of us.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET SS – INVOLVED IN AN ON-TRACK ACCIDENT
ARE YOU OKAY AND WHAT HAPPENED?
"Yes, absolutely. Racing hard with and trying to find a way by the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin).and the transition off of (turn) four there, the back of the car got light. The car did a slow, lazy spin and lost the back of it. I was trying to set up the pass on the No. 11 and work the air. In the end, I got turned around there."
"The back of the car just got light coming up off of turn four. I was trying to set up a pass on the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin). I had a good run going. As I looked to the outside of him up off of four; I looked to the outside off of four, the back of the car just started sliding out from under me. I had a long, lazy slide to the inside wall there on the front stretch.
"Hate to have it end that way, but learned a lot in the Sprint Unlimited Race. It’s going to be an exciting Daytona 500 for sure. (What I learned) just depends on who is leading. The No. 1 car (Jamie McMurray) likes to run around the top, and he paced the race early and was controlling the race on top. I got the bottom working, and was able to tow some car cars up to the front - Carl Edwards and myself. It's really kind of a numbers game; where everybody decides to run - that is going to be the fastest line."
WHAT HAPPENED FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE? “The back of the car got light off of turn four there. I had a great run on the No. 11 just trying to size up how to get the lead. I wanted to be up front and try to lead some laps. I think the transition of the race track and the tight proximity of the, I think the No. 4 was behind me, and catching the No. 11. The back just kind of got light and the car went into a drift and for a second there I thought I could keep it off the inside wall, but the longer I slid the more the wall became a reality and I got it.”
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF THIS RACE FOR YOU? WHY IS IT THAT THIS IS NOT ONE THAT YOU SEEM TO FINISH? “I don’t know. I’m glad I get it out of the way here and then have success in the (Daytona) 500 and the Duel, but it was a fun race. I learned a lot during the course of it. We didn’t draft yesterday trying to save a race car and we lost one here racing. I should say I learned a lot in the car, how to create passes, how to slow people down and make some neat stuff happen out there.”
WHAT IS DIFFERENT WITH THE MODIFICATIONS THEY MADE TO THE CAR THIS YEAR? WHAT IS DIFFERENT THIS YEAR VERSUS LAST YEAR? “With the spoiler being taller the car is much more sensitive to cars next to you and near the back of your car. As they get close to you, even when they are dead behind you and trying to pull out you can feel it change the airflow and really slow the car down. The taller spoiler is acting more like a parachute and the car is much more sensitive to side drafting.”
HOW WAS IT TO RUN TONIGHT CONSIDERING THURSDAY THE DUEL IS AT NIGHT? “I didn’t even know it was at night, so that is great. I’m glad I was out there for a little bit. I had no idea. It’s just great getting reps. I have been sitting on the couch for a few months and not racing or plate racing for that matter. Then all the Daytona testing we have had, the practice down here, we have been doing single car stuff. It was nice to get out there and knock the rust off a little bit, but unfortunately we are behind the wall.”
HOW HARD WAS THE HIT? “It was just a good left-side smack. It wasn’t too hard. You like to go in rear first that is always the softest, but catching it left side is a little harder.”
DID YOU FIND THE LANES WERE ANY DIFFERENT? DID YOU FIND IT EASIER IN THE HIGH LANE? “Jamie (McMurray) had everybody run on the top and then we were able to get the bottom going so I think it is still in the numbers. Where people decide to run is going to be the fast lane.”
YOU SAID WHEN THE CARS ARE COMING UP BEHIND YOU BECAUSE OF THE NEW SPOILER IT AFFECTS YOU? “Always when you break the bumper plane of the car in front of you it takes the air off your car and puts it on their spoiler and literally shifts off the side of your car and pulls it back. The air hits the front of the car and it spills off and as you cross the bumper plane it pushes the air onto the spoiler of the car you are next to. That is how the side draft works you are just redirecting the air onto the spoiler. With it being taller it’s just more sensitive so you don’t need to be as close and as soon as you start breaking the bumper plane it starts to slow that car down more. Just more dramatic side drafting effect.”