Chicagoland: GM Teams race notes, quotes

Three Team Chevy Drivers Claim Top-Five Finishes at Chicagoland; Kevin Harvick Holds Points Lead with Seven Races Remaining to Start of the Chase Joliet, IL - In what was described at the Tale of Two Races, Team Chevy drivers Jeff Gordon, No. 24...

Three Team Chevy Drivers Claim Top-Five Finishes at Chicagoland; Kevin Harvick Holds Points Lead with Seven Races Remaining to Start of the Chase

Joliet, IL - In what was described at the Tale of Two Races, Team Chevy drivers Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet and Jamie McMurray, No. 1 McDonald's Chevrolet finished third, fourth and fifth respectively in the LifeLock.com 400.

Gordon led twice for a total of 47 laps while Bowyer led once for one lap and McMurray led once for 72 laps. Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Gordon remains second in the point standings. Bowyer now sits 12th in the standings while McMurray, who started on the pole, moved up to 18th in the points order.

The Chicagoland Speedway race started in the daylight with second place qualifier Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, jumping to the lead and setting a blistering pace at the front of the field. But as day turned into night, the track changed dramatically as did the complexion of the race.

After leading for 92 laps, Johnson was involved in an on-track incident that sent him spinning into the grass and relegated the four-time defending champion to a 25th place finish. He remains third in the standings with seven races remaining to the start of the Chase.

Points leader Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, suffered an equally disappointing night when he spent several laps in the garage to repair a faulty fuel pump assembly. He finished 34th but remains in the points lead with 103 points over second place Gordon.

Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, moved up one spot in the Chase standings to seventh with his seventh place finish in tonight's 267-lap/400-mile race.

Two-time NSCS champion Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, finished ninth in the race and remains ninth in the standings.

David Reutimann (Toyota) was the race winner with Carl Edwards (Ford) in second).

After a weekend off, the Series resumes competition in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2010.

***

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 3RD:

DID THE HANDLING GO AWAY FROM YOUR CAR IN THE LATE LAPS? "We tried to tighten it up; we just didn't tighten up our DuPont Chevy enough. When the sun went down, we were really good. Had good grip but we fought loose off all night. Then we started fighting loose-in, loose-off condition. But all-in-all, it was a great effort by the whole team. We have to give David Reutimann (race winner) a lot of credit. Hats off to him. Great job and I'm happy for those guys. We just came up a little bit short."

HOW WAS YOUR RUN TONIGHT? "You know to be able to get up there at different times and at times it looked like our Dupont Chevy was the car to beat but I knew David was really, really strong and we got the lead that one time and he ran us down and I knew we were in a little bit of trouble. We made some adjustments in that last pit stop but unfortunately it didn't go the right way for us so we fell back to third. We are trying some new and different things, trying to get to victory lane, trying to get ourselves ready for the Chase so to come out here with a third place finish and have a solid car like that all night is something that we are all very happy with."

I AM SURE THE GUYS MADE YOU AWARE OF THE FACT THAT KEVIN HARVICK OUR POINT LEADER HAD TROUBLE "I had no idea. I saw that we got by him. You know right now it is more about the wins and those bonus points than anything else. We are pretty solid in the points but you can never be solid enough so happy to make some gains there but it is all about the wins for us until we get in that Chase."

ENJOY YOUR WEEK OFF "I am looking forward to that. Can't wait to get home to Ingrid and Ella."

***

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURER HELPER CHEVROLET, FINISHED 4TH:

TALK ABOUT YOUR RUN TONIGHT: "We just kept working on it a little bit, kept getting it better and better. Shane (Wilson, crew chief) made some great calls. All weekend long the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet was good. This is exactly what we needed to do. We need to string together a bunch of these and we'll find ourselves in the Chase and have a shot at this championship. We just got way too loose there at the end. We tried to adjust on it to get to the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) car, just couldn't do it. Got just a little bit too loose, but we'll get them next time."

YOU NEEDED A GOOD SOLID RUN HERE TO MAKE SOME GROUND UP IN THAT CHASE "Yes absolutely, it felt good. You know our car's been good here all weekend long. Our Cheerio's Hamburger Helper Chevrolet......we unloaded a good car and that's exactly what we have got to do to get ourselves back in this Chase hunt. You know I know there's still seven races to go but to get that monkey off your back..... it seems like we have fast race cars but can't get the finish but to get the finish and the caution didn't come out at the end, it felt good."

YOUR TEAMMATE KEVIN HARVICK HAD SOME SORT OF A FUEL PUMP ISSUE WAS THAT ANY KIND OF CONCERN FOR YOU GUYS "I just found out. Nobody told me. I guess it wasn't a concern to the boys up on the box. But it is a bummer, you hate to see mechanical failures like that but the guys in the engine shop do a good job and they will have the problem fixed."

***

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD'S CHEVROLET, FINISHED 5TH:

TALK ABOUT YOUR RUN STARTING ON THE POLE: "I thought we had one of the best cars at the beginning and as the sun went down, the track just got tighter and tighter. Bono (Kevin Manion, crew chief) did a really good job adjusting on the car and getting it tighter. We just didn't have the grip that we did at the beginning.

"When I saw the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) miss pit road and get in the accident, I thought we had a legitimate shot to win. But the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) and the No. 00 (David Reutimann, race winner) really came on there the second half of the race, we just didn't have the speed we needed. We practiced and really worked hard to make my car work on the bottom and 10 laps in I was up against the wall."

JUDGING BY THE RIGHT SIDE OF YOUR CAR YOU SPENT A LOT OF TIME ON THE HIGH SIDE TONIGHT "Yes, I worked really hard to make our car work well on the bottom and never really went to the top but when they dropped the green flag our car was a lot tighter than it had been in all of the practices. Really a good run for our McDonald's Chevrolet. I thought the first half of the race we had one of the best cars... us and the 48. When Jimmie missed pit road and got caught up in that accident I thought we had a legitimate shot to win but David Reutimann and Jeff Gordon came on there at the end. It is cool to see David Reutimann....he is a very deserving driver and that will be a popular win among all the guys here in the garage.

THEY WILL SAY WHAT A NICE RUN FOR YOU AND THIS TEAM. THIS TEAM CONTINUES TO EVOLVE AND IMPROVE AS THE SEASON WEARS ON. "Yes our car certainly has enough speed.... I feel like we are a car that needs to be in the Chase we already have a win and we seem to run well enough. I will let Bono worry about that because every time I pay attention to points something bad happens. It is really cool to get runs like this in the McDonald's car here in Chicago because we have all kinds of McDonald's folks here so it was a good night and I have to say hi to Johnny Morris. He sent me a text message last night. He is in Wyoming and he sent it from a random number. Hey Johnny.""

***

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET, FINISHED 7TH:

ON HIS RUN TONIGHT AND HAVING A TOP-10 CAR: "We got what we deserved tonight I think. We gave up a little bit of spots there at the end with a little bit of a bad pit stops. But, you will have those things in racing every now and then. I just messed us up. I thought we were good enough yesterday and I made the call on where we were with the car. We just weren't as good as we needed to be. We needed to be working more yesterday. I just didn't see that, I just missed it."

DID TONIGHT NEED TO HAVE LONG RUNS AND CLEAN AIR? "I don't know why, but this race track is really sensitive to clean air. I saw that yesterday in practice. We were pretty free and I knew we were pretty free, but I thought the track would get tighter and it never really came to us. We got better, they made the car a lot better, but I just kind of got us in the wrong direction yesterday. Thanks to all of our supporters for sticking with us and all of our sponsors, Caterpillar, Prilosec OTC and just everybody. They are awesome."

***

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 9TH:

YOU TRIED SOME NEW THINGS WITH YOUR SETUP TONIGHT, HOW DID THEY WORK FOR YOU? "I think there were some positives to it, but I'm not sure it was exactly what we wanted, but we'll keep working at it. That's the good thing -- throughout the night we didn't totally miss it but we didn't totally hit it either. So, we'll try to figure out where we missed it and what we can do to make it better. We've got some data from this package and we'll just keep working forward."

REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET, FINISHED 20TH: ON TONIGHT'S RACE: "There were a lot of long faces yesterday after we qualified 41st, But tonight is different. We made a nice recovery to finish 20th. Pete (Rondeau, crew chief) and the guys made a lot of changes overnight. I also looked at everything that I was doing and even watched last year's race about 25 times.

"We're not overly happy with the result, but considering the tough times we had the past three weeks we are feeling a lot more upbeat. We're kind of back to where we were three weeks ago. We're building and this Furniture Row team will get better during the second half of the season."

***

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET -FINISHED 23RD:

ON HIS RACE: "We had just a really shitty, shitty driving car all night. We made it worse at times and made it better at time. We just weren't very good. There aren't any excuses, we just weren't very good."

DID YOU THINK THERE WAS A CHANCE IT WOULD GET BETTER IF YOU KEPT WORKING ON IT? "We tried all the way to the end, we just didn't have any chances that really responded. We wore out every right rear tire we put on my car to the cords. So what are you going to do?"

DO YOU WORRY ABOUT MAKING CHANGES? "No, I just let Lance (McGrew, crew chief) rip away, man. I let him swing away trying to get the car as good as we can get it. I believe what he does is right. Tonight some adjustments didn't respond like we thought they should of, but, sometimes this car doesn't behave like you think it would. Some things you do to it don't really turn around and do what you think. Oh well.

"We are pretty disappointed, little bit devastated about how we ran tonight. We got nobody to blame but ourselves. We worked really hard in practice trying to get better because this was about how we were going to run. We just couldn't make it better all night."

***

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET -- Finished 25th

WHAT HAPPENED WITH YOU AND THE NO. 56 (MARTIN TRUEX JR.)? IT LOOKED LIKE YOU GUYS MIGHT HAVE NOT EVEN MADE CONTACT "Yeah, I followed Jeff into the corner and got tight being behind him and the No.56 was trying to squeeze in there on the white line and I just think the air, being that close to me, disrupted my car and I just couldn't catch it I got turned around."

IS THERE ANY RELIEF IN KNOWING JUST HOW GOOD THIS CAR WAS? "Oh, that makes it worse (laughs)."

WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH THAT MISSED PIT STOP? "Well, coming to pit road I hit the brakes to slow down and the car had a lot of rear brake percentage in it that I didn't expect it to have. It didn't have that in my practice runs when I was trying to get to pit road. I just didn't expect the car to try to rotate around on the brakes coming to pit road like it did and I almost spun out so I missed pit road that time. We recovered and got back to the No. 1 (Jamie McMurray) car and that's just kind of how it was. It was not a bit deal. And then we got turned around on the backstretch and then after that we were coming through the field and I felt like we could still salvage a top five or something and I cut a right front tire down and then just got in the wall. I think between sliding through the grass and touching the wall, it messed up the body and the nose started dragging pretty bad for the final run or two."

ON HAVING A GOOD CAR BUT NOT GETTING THE FINISH YOU WANT "Yeah, it makes it a lot worse. At the beginning of the race we had a great race car and a thought we had a shot at a win tonight. But stuff happens and we'll just come back in a couple of weeks."

WHAT HAPPENED WITH YOU AND MARTIN TRUEX JR.? "It was really just a racing thing. He was trying to squeeze his way in between me and the white line. I came up off the white line a little bit and the air flow changed as he got close to me. I could feel it when he got close and it just started my car into a slide and at that point I was just hanging on and it finally turned around on me."

***

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, FINISHED 34TH, RETAINS POINTS LEAD:

ON TONIGHT'S RACE: "We had a fuel pressure issue, and we had to go to the garage to repair the fuel pump assembly, so that ended our chance at salvaging a good finish. But we missed the setup on our Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, too. We were just extremely loose for most of the race. Tough night for us, but we have a strong race team and we will bounce back at Indy."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , David Reutimann , Carl Edwards , Clint Bowyer