Daytona II: GM teams race quotes, notes

Four of Top-10 Finishers Behind the Wheel of Chevy Monte Carlo SS; Jeff Gordon Continues as Points Leader; Chevy Drivers Occupy 10 of Top-12 Spots in Standings Daytona, Fla - Kyle Busch, No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Monte Carlo missed winning the ...

Four of Top-10 Finishers Behind the Wheel of Chevy Monte Carlo SS; Jeff Gordon Continues as Points Leader; Chevy Drivers Occupy 10 of Top-12 Spots in Standings

Daytona, Fla - Kyle Busch, No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Monte Carlo missed winning the Pepsi 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Daytona International Speedway by a scant .005 seconds to take second. The tiny margin prevented Busch from becoming the first driver to win a both a Busch Series race and a Nextel Cup event on the same day. Earlier in the day, Busch had taken the checkered flag in the rain-delayed Winn-Dixie 250 Busch Series race on the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont/Pepsi Monte Carlo SS took a fifth place finish and increased his lead in the standings to a 277-point advantage over Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx/Kinko's Monte Carlo SS. Clint Bowyer finished seventh in his Jack Daniels Monte Carlo SS and NASCAR champion, Jimmie Johnson, took a 10th place finish in his No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo giving Team Chevy four of the Top-10 finishing spots.

A total of 10 Team Chevy drivers sit in the top-12 as race two of the Race to the Chase is now in the record book.

Chevrolet continues to lead the NNCS Manufacturers' Cup standings with 14 wins in 18 of 36 races completed.

Round 19 of the 2007 NNCS season will be July 15, 2007 at Chicagoland Speedway.

***

KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/CARQUEST MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 2nd:

SO CLOSE, YET SO FAR. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT LAST LAP? "I knew I had to go into Turn 3 and give up a little bit and let him (Jaime McMurray) get ahead of me going into Turn 4 so that I could get the suck down the front straightaway, but I didn't let him get far enough ahead you know, it was just a mistake on my part. I apologize to these guys (crew) but I've got to thank them for giving me a great CARQUEST/Kellogg's Chevrolet today and being able to contend for the win. For the regular car we wanted to get a win and put that in the record books, but it wasn't meant to be."

ON THE EARLIER PART OF THE RACE, IT DIDN'T SEEM LIKE YOU MADE VERY MANY ADJUSTMENTS "No, we really didn't. The car was pretty good. I'd like to thank all the guys for building such a great race car here. But you know, we didn't adjust a lot. We just made minor change here and there so I could run and try to pass if I had to. But running through traffic was a little tough. For us, we were just able to stay out front in clean air in the top 10 anyway and some out with a solid effort here."

ON THE FINAL LAP AND IF HE WOULD HAVE DONE ANYTHING DIFFERENT: "Well I think everything was kind of going pretty well there. We were on the outside there pushing Jeff or somebody there for a little bit. Then there was an opening for me to go to the inside so I got down and went to the inside and then there was a hole a little bit later for Jeff to get in behind me and the 48 was there and he got shuffled out but yeah just didn't have help from the teammates tonight but our Kellogg's/CARQUEST Chevrolet was pretty fast and it had to be the best Hendrick car out there. So I'm proud of that effort by all the guys and just being able to run up front all night. I got to thank my brother there for pushing me at the end and sticking with me but going into three, I think if I would lagged back just a little bit more let Jamie get further ahead I probably could have had a better suck in side draft coming down front straightaway but as soon as I started slowing down he started slowing d own so there wasn't much we were going to get by with there."

ON SEEING THE REPLAY: "I knew that he could beat me however much he wanted to down the back straightaway. I was just kind of relaxing at that point and looking in my mirror making sure to see who I had behind me and getting into three I figured well I'm ahead now so he better slow it up and get back closer to my brother's front bumper and let him ahead. I figured that's probably good enough. I better get rolling here and come up and get the side draft off him and I guess I must have got it a little bit too soon or something."

***

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT/PEPSI MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 5th:

YOU BATTLED A LOOSE RACE CAR ALL EVENING, BUT YOU WERE ABLE TO BATTLE BACK FOR A TOP FIVE "It was loose and tight, so it was kind of hard to tune on it. But Jeff Meendering and the guys on this DuPont/Pepsi Chevrolet did a great job because we were not very good to start with and got shuffled back early and just couldn't find our way back to the front. The cautions really fell right for us. They made great adjustments and got the car better and four new Goodyears certainly helped us out and some good pit work and good pit strategy calls and great teamwork overall got us a top five. I'm extremely happy with that. I thought we had a shot at winning this thing there for a second. I knew when I lost my drafting partner and my teammates Casey Mears and Jimmie Johnson; I knew we were in trouble.

"It was nuts man. We weren't very good. We really struggled and I got to give a lot of credit to this race team because they never gave up. They made great adjustments and this DuPont/ Pepsi was pretty awesome there at the end. I got into the outside lane, made some good moves. I made a bad move when I tried to go around the 26 outside. It was too early and I thought I was in big trouble but I had the momentum so I tried to go with it. Luckily I got back to the inside and got back up to the top five. A top five is a great, great finish for us tonight because we had about a 12th or 15th place car. That's a great effort."

ON HAVING A CERTAIN LAP IN YOUR MIND WHEN YOU NEED TO START MAKING YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT AND IF IT WAS DIFFERENT TONIGHT: "I was trying to get to the front every single lap there. Luckily the caution fell right for us where we got to get four new Goodyears and when the cautions fell we were able to come in and get four more or we stayed out that last time and we had track position and then we were able to get the lead. Unfortunately I lost my drafting partner Casey Mears and also Jimmie Johnson. It looked like those tires finally wore out on Casey so I knew I was a sitting duck at that time. Great job to Jamie McMurray too. He drove the wheels off that thing. He was completely out of control but he got to the finish line first so that's all that matters."

***

TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS:

"The No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) just stopped for no reason, right in the middle of Turn 4. I'm sure he was getting tight because for three laps in a row we were catching him through the center and the exit of the corner. All of a sudden he just stops on the exit of (Turn) 4 in front of 42 cars and I guess expects all of us to drive around him. I don't know. It's tore up two really good race cars. He tried to crash us on Friday in practice and didn't get it done so he finished it off today."

HAVE THERE BEEN SOME DIFFICULTIES BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU? "No, I mean he's a young guy and he wants to be successful, but I don't know if he knows the definition of 'team' right now."

***

JOE GIBBS, OWNER, JOE GIBBS RACING

TONY IS NOT REAL HAPPY WITH DENNY RIGHT NOW. DID YOU TALK TO HIM? "I did talk to him. Really, what the deal is, is that we've got two guys who are very competitive, running up front, and we've got real good cars. And this is something that can happen. That's really what happened. It was one of those unfortunate things. Both guys were going as hard as they can and I think both of these guys are real competitive. I think they are good teammates. Both guys are frustrated. And I'm sure Denny really feels bad that it got away from him there. And I'm not sure exactly what did happen. It's just one of those things. It's a shame because we had two good cars. I hate it for FedEx and Home Depot but it's a competitive sport. When you've got good stuff and you're up front like that, it can happen. I hate it, but it did."

IS THERE A LESSON TO BE LEARNED FROM THIS? "I don't know what it would be. We were going as hard as we could. We were up front."

IS THERE ANY MESSAGE YOU'D LIKE TO GIVE TO EITHER OF THE GUYS? "No, I think both our guys are very aggressive. They love to race. They're good teammates and they want to win every race. Sometimes guys get upset, which is understandable."

EVERYBODY PREACHES PATIENCE IN THIS RACE. DO YOU THINK THEY WERE IMPATIENT? "We're up front. That's where you want to be. It's just unfortunate. I hate it for everyone. It's just a racing incident, really."

TONY SAID DENNY TRIED TO TAKE HIM OUT ON FRIDAY. DID YOU HEAR ANY OF THAT? IS THERE A FEUD GOING ON? "I didn't hear any of that. I talked to Tony and he didn't say any of that to me."

WILL YOU CALL THEM INTO THE OFFICE AND TALK TO THEM NEXT WEEK? "They talk to each other. They're good teammates. They run extremely well together. Sometimes you can be up front and sometimes it happens to two guys on the same team. It's tough for everybody. It's just a very unfortunate deal."

IS THERE A FINE LINE BETWEEN BEING AGGRESSIVE AND BEING SMART OUT THERE? "I think where you want to be in these races is in the front. You want to be leading the race. You want to be up front. It's just one of those unfortunate things."

***

DENNY HAMLIN, NO. 11 FEDEX KINKOS MONTE CARLO SS:

ON WHAT HAPPENED: "I'm not sure. I didn't get to see it but I definitely felt a tap from behind. The cars were starting to lose their handle there and I don't know, just trying to hang on. It's just one of those things. It's superspeedway racing.

"It's tough to say. I definitely had my foot in the throttle. My car had a little bit of a wiggle there but I think Tony was a little bit closer to me than what he expected or he was closer than he was the lap before and I think maybe if he was trying to get underneath me it just got hung right there in my bumper and got into us. I was still OK, had it saved, but I think somebody was right there on him probably and he got into us again so it's oh well."

DOES IT MAKE IT ANY DIFFERENT GETTING HIT BY YOUR OWN TEAMMATE? "Not really, we're going to race each other the same regardless so I mean it's really just part of it. Tony or it could be Jeff, it really doesn't matter who it was. That's racing. It's what happens at this race track. It really doesn't matter either way who it is whether it's him or somebody else but I hope he don't try to blame it on me."

DID YOU TALK TO TONY AT ALL ON THE RADIO: "No, I haven't talked to him at all. It's just a situation where he was probably trying to put a position pass on me and it just was a little cluster. I don't know. I might have got loose first. It happened so quick that I didn't see what happened. I thought I had it saved and then got hit again. That kind of put it overboard."

ON IT BEING PRETTY EARLY IN THE RACE FOR SOMETHING LIKE THAT TO HAPPEN: "Oh yeah, it's definitely early but it can happen no matter what lap at this race. It's really not too particular."

DO YOU THINK TONY WAS PUSHING IT TOO EARLY? "I don't know whether it was pushing it too early or not. I felt like I was doing everything.I was holding it wide open every single lap and that one in particular I didn't get off the corner as good as what I had before but everyone's got to be aware that stuff can happen and it definitely did."

WOULD TONY REALLY BLAME IT ON YOU IF HE SEES THE REPLAY? "I don't know. Who knows. Me and Tony have always had a good relationship on the race track. We get frustrated with each other at times for sure but I don't know. It's frustrating. This early it's really frustrating but it's me and Tony."

ON HANDLING THIS WELL AND IF HE HADN'T WON LAST WEEK IF HE WOULD BE MORE UPSET: "I don't know. I'll tell you, I've been in a pretty good mood here in the last month so I'm going to take it for what it's worth and move on. Luckily we're in the position that we are in the Chase right now and we're going to move on. This is not going to put a damper on our team at all."

SHOULD TONY BE BLAMING TONY? "I don't know. It's tough to put blame on anyone especially since I haven't seen the replay or what happened. I know from inside the race car I definitely got hit coming off the corner but the circumstances that led up to that I'm not sure of."

ON TONY SAYING HE TRIED TO WRECK HIM ON FRIDAY AND THAT HE NEEDS TO LEARN THE MEANING OF TEAMMATES: "I do (know the meaning of teammates). I figured I did but I'm going to be the bigger man and I'll take the blame on this. If he wants to blame it on me I'll be the bigger man. I'll take responsibility for it. He's been around this sport longer than I have and he probably knows more than I do so I'll just take it for what it's worth."

***

TONY EURY JR., CREW CHIEF, NO. 8 BUDWEISER MONTE CARLO SS:

"We'll get it straightened up here. The car is not tore up that bad. Just the tow is out. He don't want to drive it because it's darting all over the place. We'll just get it where he can drive it in a pack and have a little fun. Right now, the night's pretty much wasted so we'll just get it to where he can drive it."

***

JEFF GREEN- HAAS AUTOMATION/BEST BUY CHEVROLET

(Green made contact with Kasey Kahne to bring out the first caution flag of the night) - "I don't know what happened. I didn't know Kasey was there. My spotter didn't say anything. I haven't talked with him yet, but we talked earlier in the day about how the color of our car might blend in with the race track and make it hard to see. Either that, or maybe he got us mixed up with the (No.) 70 (Green's Haas Racing teammate, Johnny Sauter, whose car was painted with a similar color and design).

"Kyle, my spotter, does a great job, so I'm not blaming him. He has a tough job. It was a frustrating night, though. As a team, we seem to take one step forward and two steps back."

***

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS MONTE CARLO SS

"I was real bummed out actually. We just got too far behind. Had too many teammates behind this team up on us there at the end but Gil and everybody on this Jack Daniels Chevrolet just brought me a good race car and gave me a good chance. We about got there. I tell you we were out in the lead and the ignition of all things just cut out. It took me a while to figure out what happened. We hit the other ignition box and it took off again. That was kind of a bummer, got us set back and then we get back in the lead and I'm thinking man we might have them after all and then they just went around me. But it was a good effort, good day for us. We needed a good points day to get us back in this thing but man I wanted to win that thing."

ON WHAT HE CAN COMPARE HIS IGNITION BOX GOING OUT TO IF HE WERE DRIVING DOWN THE HIGHWAY: "Well throwing up (laughs). That's what I wanted to do. I didn't know what happened. It was like there's no way. I guess being in California traffic nose to tail at 80 miles an hour and your car quits and you're in the middle lane. I guess that's the biggest thing. It was unfortunate. I never thought in a million years we'd get back up there. We were so tight in traffic. We got a couple good pushes and I got up through them again and gave us a shot and just had too many teammates running behind us."

ON COMPARING THE FEELING OF THE BOX GOING OUT TO HOW HE FELT RESTARTING WITH 14 TO GO AND FOUR HENDRICK CARS BEHIND HIM: "That was pretty sickening but you know I hate it for those guys. I wanted to win that thing so bad but we'll get one. We just got to keep doing what we're doing. They can't keep it from us forever."

ON THE DAYTONA 500 FINISH AND HOW DICEY TONIGHT'S FINISH WAS: "It was very dicey. Everybody was going for broke and it always ends up that way. You ride around here to get to the last five laps. You can't push it that hard the whole race but everybody does stuff to get their cars to run a little bit better but those last five laps, hey the only way you're going to win the race is just go for it."

ON WHAT HE THOUGHT ON THE DEBUT OF THE DEI/RCR ENGINE PACKAGE: "I'm looking forward to it. Everybody at RCR works very hard to give us the best equipment they possibly can when we come to these tracks and they did. We were close."

****

CASEY MEARS, NO. 25 NATIONAL GUARD/GMAC MONTE CARLO SS

"I wish we wouldn't have finished where we did. We had a good car. Right there at the end that last run we were a little bit too loose and then we stayed out and everybody came in. I think just not having that little bit of tire I was just hanging on, just didn't quite enough grip to really get up there with those guys. I thought it was a good call because if it would have went green I think we would have had a really good finish but when it bunched everybody back up we were just at a little bit of a disadvantage. Then my car was a little bit too loose so I had a really hard time keeping it on the bottom. It was crazy. That last lap was just out of control. It's almost like everybody just holds it wide open even if their car's not working and doing all they can to make it to the front. I was no exception. I was doing the same. It was exciting. I think the fans enjoyed. It was pretty wild for us in the seat but at the same time it was fun. I just wish we would have had a littl e better finish for our National Guard/GMAC."

WHEN YOU MADE THE GAMBLE DID YOU THINK YOU HAD A CAR CAPABLE OF WINNING? "I did especially the first few laps after that. I felt like we had a car that.maybe a little disadvantage not having the tire but the tires weren't wearing that bad and I felt like our car was good all night. We just needed to get up there so it was a good opportunity to get up there and try. Just the last two or three laps we just didn't quite have enough so it kind of made it a little bit of a rough night. I want to say congratulations to Jaime. I know it's been a long time for him and I'm happy for him."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Casey Mears , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Johnny Sauter , Kasey Kahne , Clint Bowyer , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch