Charlotte Motor Speedway
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/HOPE FOR JOPLIN MO CHEVROLET, retired from the race on lap 181 with engine failure:
DID YOU HAVE ANY WARNING THE ENGINE WAS IN TROUBLE? “No, the car ran really well all night and it ran really well on the restart. It wasn’t hot, the oil temp wasn’t hot. Something broke big in the motor. You can break valve springs and stuff and kind of baby it the remainder of the race. But, whatever broke just then was really big.”
YOU HAVE YOUR HOMETOWN OF JOPIN MISSOURI ON THE SIDE OF THE CAR, I KNOW YOU WERE TRYING TO GIVE THE PEOPLE THERE AS MUCH EXPOSURE AS POSSIBLE: “It is really special for Johnny Morris (owner of Bass Pro Shops) to let us take Tracker (Boats) off the side and put on Hope for Joplin, Missouri on the side. It has been devastating what has happened to those people. And those are my people. I’m from there. It is heartbreaking to see that but I am really fortunate that I have a really good group of sponsors that support me and are going to help us rebuild Joplin, MO.”
That gives us a lot of hope for the remainder of the season.
WHAT HAPPENED? “The motor let go. I’m not real sure. I would guess it was a rod or something. It was significant. You can break a valve spring and kind of baby it for the remainder of the race, but whatever broke, it shook really hard and smoked. Usually when oil runs out the bottom, it’s not good.”
TALK ABOUT SUPPORTING JOPLIN ON YOUR CAR: “It was really special for Bass Pro Shops to take Tracker off the side and put Joplin, Missouri on there. They have helped me a lot this past week with putting together ways to raise money to help rebuild Joplin. It’s my hometown. It was heartbreaking to see the tornado and see all the people that lost their homes and the ones that lost their lives. It is really special that Johnny let us put that on there. Hopefully we made some people proud tonight.”
HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO HAVE A CAR THAT WAS RUNNING UP FRONT AND A CONTENDER TO HAVE SOMOETHING LIKE THIS HAPPEN? “Well, if I am honest, we’ve run really bad all year. So I would rather run well and have something happen. We had something completely different in our car this weekend. The engineering department worked really hard on Friday because we struggled really the first 10 races and they just happened to hit on something on Friday. That gives us a lot of hope for the remainder of the season.”
ON WHAT HAPPENED: ” “Our engineering department did a really good job on Friday. They didn’t take the day off. They went into the shop and they re-worked a lot of the geometry in the front end and they came up; with something completely different and the car was completely different on Saturday. I was just excited to have a car again that I thought we could contend with. I think the cooler it got, the better our car was going to be. But it’s just the way our season has gone. I have to say a special thank you to John Morris of Bass Pro Shops. He took Tracker Boats off the side of our car and let us put Joplin, Missouri on it and everybody knows the tragedy that happened there. But it meant a lot to me personally that he let us put ‘Hope for Joplin, MO’ on it and hopefully it made some people proud; I know that they need some cheering up right now.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 US ARMY CHEVROLET, involved in multi-car accident on lap 301:
WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE, I KNOW YOU HAD NO WHERE TO GO? “No we didn’t. I couldn’t get the car pulled down in time and they (Mark Martin and David Gilliland) bounced off the wall and came back and got me. We were just a by-product of it. We shouldn’t have been in that position, we should have been out front. Just disappointed in our day. The US Army Chevrolet was not good but the guys fought hard. Just got on the unfortunate side of an unfortunate accident.”
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET, involved in multi-car accident on lap 301:
WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE? “I don’t know. I was running on the outside and got collected. I don’t know, I have no idea. We were running on the race track there on the high side and I got collected. I haven’t seen it, I don’t know what happened.”
ON WHAT HAPPENED? “We got in a wreck. It was shame. Everybody’s working hard and you want to finish these things off. And we got collected in a wreck. That is too bad for our team.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S SUMMER SALUTE CHEVROLET – SIDELINED ON LAP 395 WITH ENGINE FAILURE – FINISHED 28th
“What I’m taking from this week is that we had a fast car. Unfortunately four laps from the end we lost an engine, which never happens. We’ve had a lot of things go our way over the years and the last couple of weeks, things have not gone our way and that’s just how it goes. So we’ll dig in deep and work hard and get this Lowe’s car back where it belongs.
“We dropped a cylinder and it blew the engine with four (laps) to go. So it was definitely a disappointing way to finish up. We fought so hard all night long and to get track position from multiple issues and then got ourselves up there and were looking at a top five finish and lost the engine. It was very uncharacteristic. Our engine shop is very dedicated and focused on building reliable power. So it must have been a fluke deal.”
ON THE PIT CREW LEAVING THE WEDGE TOOL IN THE CAR AND HAVING TO START AT THE REAR OF THE LEAD LAP “Yeah, we’ve been stubbing our toe on pit road. We have a great group of young guys that just need some race time to develop. They are true athletes and amazing, amazing guys. They are very talented at what they do, we just need to get them some more race experience and we had a couple of miscues there on pit road. So, we’re all growing as a team and growing them inside of our team. It’s just going to take a little time to get everything right.”
DO YOU STILL LIKE THIS PLACE, CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY? “I love this place. It will come back and love me one of these days. It was very good to me for a while.”
RICK HENDRICK, OWNER, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS
“Another 400 feet and he (Dale Earnhardt Jr.,) would have won the race. So it was one of those deals that we had to do it. Dale just did a super job and (crew chief) Stevie (Letarte) called a heck of a race. It was a great race all night. It was the best that the No. 88 has won on a 1.5-mile. So we’ll take it and it was a rough night for the rest of our guys. But I’m real proud of Junior and real proud of Stevie. They did a heck of a job.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET, FINISHED 7TH AFTER RUNNING OUT OF FUEL ON THE FINAL LAP WHILE LEADING:
ON HIS RACE: "Great race car. We should find our fortune here soon if we keep working hard."
WHAT DO YOU SAY AFTER THAT? "I'm going to have a good time tomorrow. (LAUGHS) Nah, I'm kiddin'. I'm not kidding about that. I'm pretty happy. I was sitting there...I'm disappointed about running out of gas, but we knew we were...we knew we were short. You saw the No. 16 (Greg Biffle) give up the lead. Everybody knew they were short. We were just fortunate enough to get around to the back straightaway and have enough momentum to carry us around to the front straightaway and get a seventh place finish I think, wherever we finished...somewhere in the top-10.
...we performed well all night long.
“I'm disappointed, we came so close to winning but, I was sitting there looking at maybe a 20th place finish if we would have run out of gas sooner. I thought those guys wrecked on that restart and that would have brought the caution out before the white and we'd have had to pit. This was probably, in all honesty, the best turnout of events for us besides winning the race. But it wasn't the car, we just ran out of gas. That is just the way it goes. We will keep working hard. We run good."
WHEN YOU WERE IN TURN FOUR, DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE GOING TO RUN OUT OF GAS? "I was already out. I was out on the back straightaway. My car just kept up enough speed it didn't look like it was out. But, I was out. The spotter is like 'man, they are comin', they are comin' and I'm like I'm just crusin' here, what am I supposed to do? Get out and pedal this thing with my feet? It was a long race and a really hard race and I haven't ran good here in a long time. We ran really, really good tonight. Real good and I'm real happy about that. The wins are going to come; we just have to keep working'."
TEAM-WISE, MOMENTUM-WISE, WHAT DOES THIS DO FOR YOU EVEN THOUGH YOU WERE DISAPPOINTED THERE AT THE END? "Well, I know we are doing a good job. I know we are unloading good cars and the car we unloaded for the Shootout, I didn't get into the meeting for what our plan was and it wasn't a good car. So we knew better so we came back with a good car. It showed it and we're really happy with our effort. These guys just have to lift their heads up man, because we are doing a good thing. We're building a good team and building good chemistry and they keep their heads up and we'll keep proving. That's what is important. If we let this bother us too much, we won't improve as much as we should. So, we want to win races and we are getting close enough that a couple of them are about to fall in lap and when we get that little extra stint, we'll be in business."
WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE WHEN YOU CAN TASTE IT? "It is a good feeling. it is a real good feeling. I was going around one and two (turns) and T.J. (Majors, spotter) there is seven car lengths, there is eight car lengths. I was like this is a great feeling. I feel like I'm about to win this race. When we ran out of gas, I'd already had my mind geared for that in case that happened so I wasn't too upset. The crew chief said we ought to be out of gas before that green-white-checkered even happened."
YOU HAVE ALWAYS SAID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO GIVE YOUR FANS SOMETHING TO CHEER ABOUT AND FEEL GOOD THE NEXT DAY, IS THIS THAT? "To be honest, I know there will be disappointment about coming so close tonight but our fans should be real happy about how we are performing and how we are showing up at the race track. How competitive we are. We've definitely improved things and we want to keep getting better and better. I think they are pleased with our efforts and pleased with the results so far this year and I'll be the first to admit we need more, but this is going in the right direction. I felt like a true front-runner tonight. I've felt like that several times this season, but Charlotte is a true test. The 600 is a true test of our team and we performed well all night long."
I HEARD STEVE LETARTE SAY 500 MORE FEET AND WE WOULD HAVE HAD IT, DESCRIBE YOUR NIGHT. "I believe we needed more than 500 feet. We weren't supposed to win tonight. We played our hand and those other guys came in. I tried to save a ton of gas but I know I didn't save enough. I tried to save as much as I could. I'm disappointed we didn't win. I know all our fans were disappointed to come so close. We were a top-five car. This was our Vegas car and it is really, really good so we will keep taking it to race tracks and running good. We were so fast at the start of the race and once the sun went down we kind of went back. We ran good tonight, I'm proud. I'm proud of my guys and I'm proud of the care we unloaded."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET – RACE WINNER
CONGRATULATIONS, ON THE WIN. HOW DO YOU FEEL? “I tell you what; I’ve got to give a huge credit to all the race team, Gil Martin and all these guys. We started saving gas from lap one when the green flag fell, just hoping that we’d go to the end. I saw those guys up there racing and I knew how close we were on gas but it all worked for our Budweiser Chevrolet. I want to thank all the men and women who have served and are currently serving that give us a chance to do everything we do in this country.”
YOU HAVE LED NINE (9) LAPS AND WON THREE RACES. THAT’S PRETTY INTERESTING. “Yeah, I mean, you know, it’s just one of those deals I guess. The last two we earned and this one we conserved gas to be around at the end. I can’t stand driving in this place. This is a great facility, great management, great people running it, but it’s just been a race track for me where I’ve struggled every time I’ve ever been here. Yesterday was probably the best day I’ve ever had in the Nationwide car and to be here in Victory Lane says a lot!”
DO YOU FEEL THAT THIS IS THE SEASON THAT FEEL LIKE YOU CAN REALLY GO AFTER THE CHAMPIONSHIP HARD? “Well, it’s one of those deals like today, when everybody started pitting we said to heck with it. We’re just going to try to save gas and try to get to one pit stop to go by saving gas. And the caution came out with like four or five laps before we were supposed to pit. So heck, it’s just one of those deals where we had enough gas to get to the end and wound up winning the race.”
THIS IS YOUR THIRD WIN WITH A TOTAL OF NINE LAPS LED, HOW ARE YOU CLOSING THESE THINGS THAT WAY? "Today we were lucky. I told them at the beginning of this thing that we haven't fixed this thing in two weeks, there's no way we're going to fix it today. Nothing against this race track I just don't like racing here. It just doesn't feel right."
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET, FINISHED 8TH:
"I guess you can say the longest race of the season paid off in our favor. We were patient, and crew chief Pete Rondeau made the right calls on the pit box. We had a pretty good car but then a lug nut issue knocked us to the back and it was a battle from that point on. But we kept our cool and didn't quit fighting for track position. The pit strategy was perfect, which was the main reason we made a pretty good leap near the end of the race. It was a good points day as we continue to fight for a top-20 position in the driver standings.