Team Chevy Post Duel Race No. 2 Notes and Quotes
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 23, 2012) – Regan Smith, No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet and Elliott Sadler, No. 33 General Mills/Kroger Chevrolet gave Team Chevy three of the top-four finishing positions in the second race of the Gatorade Duel at Daytona. The trio finished second, third and fourth respectively.
It was also a great day for Dave Blaney who earned a starting position in the 54th running of the Daytona 500 by finishing 12th in his No. 36 Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Chevrolet. There will be a total of 16 Team Chevy drivers in the Great American Race on Sunday afternoon.
Other Team Chevy drivers finished Duel No. 2 as follows: Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet – 8th; Ryan Newman, No. 39 U.S. Army/Quicken Loans Chevrolet – 9th; Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet – 10th and Kurt Busch, No. 51 Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet – 14th.
Matt Kenseth (Ford) was the race winner. Greg Biffle (Ford) completed the top-five finishers.
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET -- FINISHED 2ND :
THE FEEL GOOD STORY OF THE DAY IN DAYTONA WAS REGAN SMITH FINISHES SECOND IN HIS QUALIFYING RACE, HOW WOULD YOU ASSESS THE AFTERNOON? “It was good. We don’t have a torn up race car. That is probably the most important part. The Furniture Row Chevy was strong all day. There is a couple of things I want to do different come Sunday. I definitely learned a lot today about what we want to do Sunday. It’s good to know we have a car capable of running up front and capable of having a good day. I didn’t feel like I made the right move there at the end. Clint (Bowyer) gave me more of a shove than I thought I was going to get. I wasn’t anticipating that and I got a little squirrely on the backstretch and lost the run. None the less there are a lot of guys working a lot harder than we are going to have to right now in this garage area. We are happy about that and we will see what Sunday brings.”
I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD DESCRIBE YOU AS A CINDERELLA IF YOU WERE TO WIN THE DAYTONA 500. ALTHOUGH WE DID SEE TREVOR BAYNE WIN LAST YEAR. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CHANCES? “I thought we were going to have a good shot at it last year. We came to five to go leading the thing and I felt really good about our situation. Cinderella or not, you can call it whatever you want to call it, as long as we win it I don’t care what you call it. It’s really irrelevant at that point. I’m proud of these guys for working hard. This car didn’t have a lot of speed in it on qualifying day. They have been going to work and constantly trying to find every little thing they can and dig in with it. We are going to keep doing that through Sunday and if we keep doing that through Sunday and we can get down to five to go and be in a position to sniff the lead then we will see what happens. Up until that point it is such a long race and so many things can happen you don’t want to get caught up in. ‘Well if we win it’ this and that. It’s a long race and I’m sure the night before I’ll think about if we win it. But up until that point I will think about making the Furniture Row Chevy faster.”
WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE RACING OUT THERE? IT SEEMED LIKE EVERYBODY SETTLED DOWN IN THE SECOND RACE. “Yeah I’m glad I wasn’t in the first one, the second one was kind of calm. I think everybody is starting to figure out where we can push, where we can’t push. At the end of the day you can’t push in the corners if you are not already on them in the corners. I think everybody is figuring that out. It is a little smoother looking race this time and hopefully it stays that way. We are going to obviously protect our car until Sunday from here on out.”
A LOT OF THE DRIVERS WERE CONCERNED ABOUT THE ENGINE TEMPERATURES. DID YOU HAVE CONCERNS OR ARE YOU GETTING A REAL HANDLE ON HOW TO MANAGE THAT? “I don’t think there is any good way to manage it. We were running 250-260 in the pack and that is a tough situation to be in. It’s going to be the same for everybody. I think just ambient temperature is going to be like 10 degrees cooler on Sunday than what it was today. That will be good, but outside of that unless they give us some more air we can’t really do too much.”
YOU HAVE TURNED INTO AN INCREDIBLE SUPERSPEEDWAY RACER. IS THAT SOMETHING YOU CONSCIOUSLY THINK ABOUT OR PRACTICE OR DOES IT SEEM TO COME MORE NATURAL TO YOU? “I enjoy plate racing. It is a different type of racing definitely. I don’t know how good or bad I am at it but I enjoy it. I think I go into it with an open mind. A lot of guys probably don’t have that open of a mind when they go into it. They maybe beat themselves before they get here. I just go with the flow.”
ELLIOTT SADLER, NO. 33 GENERAL MILLS/KROGER CHEVROLET -- FINISHED 4TH:
TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR RACE: “It was great man. Halfway down the backstretch we actually thought we were going to win the race. We got hooked up with Kurt (Busch) and just when we had to go around those other guys we just came unhooked. We should have won the race. Man, if I would have stayed hooked to him we would have won. I am just so proud of my guys. They have come a long way since last Saturday when we unloaded. We know what to do to this thing to make it good for Sunday. We will do that and take care of it.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET -- FINISHED 8TH:
TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT YOU SAW OUT THERE TODAY: “It wasn’t a lot of fun for us. We really struggled keeping the temperatures down. Once we got hot we just really were along for the ride. You know, it looked like the guys up front did gas and go’s. We have to look at that as well. It just wasn’t’ the day we were hoping for, but we have a fast race car.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET – FINISHED 3rd:
ON THE RACE “It was an awesome race. We really had a shot to win that one. It was unfortunate there at the end that there were some lapped cars that were kind of mixed in with the leaders. It would have been nice if they would have let us race there; at least from the white flag on. I understand trying to get a lap back, but when the white (flag) came out I wish they would have gotten out of there and I would have had a shot at winning that thing.”
IT SEEMED A LOT SANER DURING THE SECOND RACE THAN THE FIRST RACE. DID YOU WATCH THE FIRST RACE AND JUST THINK HEY WAIT A MINUTE, WE’RE NOT TEARING UP RACE CARS?
“Yeah, I think some of that and then everybody I was racing with I have a ton of trust in. So I felt like we had a good group of guys that knew the game and knew that we didn’t need to tear-up race cars today. So, there was a lot of smart driving out there.”
DID YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEM WITH OVERHEATING? “We were right there on edge. And even without pushing, we’re right there on edge. And that’s fine design by NASCAR. They don’t want us to be able to connect and stay connected for long. But it keeps me worried all day long to see my gauges flash at me.”