Lap 20 - 10 Minute Intermission Rundown: JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: "Chad Knaus and this Lowe's team have put together another great race car. We're out there having some fun. It's nice to be out here without any ...
Lap 20 - 10 Minute Intermission Rundown:
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"Chad Knaus and this Lowe's team have put together another great race car. We're out there having some fun. It's nice to be out here without any points on the line. It's just awesome.
(WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED SO FAR ABOUT HOW YOUR CAR SUCKS UP IN THE DRAFT AND HOW THAT WILL PLAY OUT IN THE LAST 50 LAPS?) "Our car sucks up pretty well. I was able to come from the back and get to the front. We're learning a little tonight about what we'll see in the (Daytona) 500. The temperatures are cool and there's a lot of grip in the track. But the cars are pretty forgiving right now and I think we'll put on a good race. But it's really all about staying on the bottom and not getting out of line."
(YOU'LL OBVIOUSLY HAVE TO COME DOWN PIT ROAD DURING THE LAST 50 LAPS. DO YOU HAVE A STRATEGY?) "Get gas when we need to and win the race."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
(WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?) "We don't know yet. It was cutting out there one time and then it quit and I ran back up through there in the middle a little bit and then it started doing it again. We just lost a lot of power. We're going to try to figure out what it is and change everything we can change."
(WHAT KIND OF HANDLING DID YOU HAVE ON THE CAR BEFORE THAT HAPPENED?) "We were going to the front."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"Jimmie just got a run on us there. We're having fun out here. This Home Depot Monte Carlo is good right now. We're just going to make a couple small changes. We've got a good car. It's just a matter of getting up there where we need to be now."
(WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE GOODYEAR TIRES IN THE FIRST 20 LAPS?) "We aren't having any problems with them. I think the stuff that was going on yesterday, they did a real good job of isolating the problem and making sure we don't run into that situation tonight. We thank Goodyear for doing a good job on that. We aren't having any problems right now."
(DO YOU AND GREG ZIPADELLI HAVE ANY WAY OF KNOWING EXACTLY WHEN YOU'RE GOING TO COME IN THIS NEXT 50 LAPS?) "Oh, what we were taking about was who was buying dinner tonight. I bought last time and I think over the off-season he's forgotten that it's his turn to buy dinner. I think he already knows what he wants to do. He hasn't even told me about it but he'll tell me as it goes."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - RACE WINNER:
"That's a great way to start the season. It's my first plate win. It's not the Daytona 500, but we'll see if we can't come back and do that again on Sunday. That race tonight really shows all the hard work that goes into these race cars at Hendrick Motorsports - our engine shop, these bodies, and everything. Everybody has worked real hard all season long."
(HOW MUCH OF THOSE LAST TWO LAPS WERE YOU LOOKING OUT THE WINDSHIELD AND HOW MUCH IN YOUR REAR VIEW MIRROR?) "If they would have gone down through the grass, I was going to go there because I wasn't looking out the windshield. I was all in the mirrors trying to use the brakes and use the guys behind be in a way to keep them back there and keep myself up front. Greg (Biffle) did a good job. He had a strong car and really, that pit stop meant everything. Whoever came out first was going to win the race and my guys really did a good job."
(DID YOU SEE TONY STEWART COMING?) "I saw two guys coming. I saw some smoke back there. I saw the No. 16 (Biffle) sideways once as well. So I know those guys were trying hard. I know I was choking them down with the brakes and trying to keep them bottled up behind me." More
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: "This is my first win here at Daytona and I'm pretty excited about it. It was that pit stop that got us all the way."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 4th:
"Jeff Gordon had a good car and we got together there finally. We got him through one of the holes and then I got stuck in a hole. We got separated. But my buddy, Dale Jr., got me one more spot at the end there and gave me a real good push and that's how I was able to get up to fourth. We had a good car. We just kind of got hung out there at the beginning. We got such a good run with Jeff and me, and then we got into Turn 1 and I went to the outside and those guys stopped and Jeff went down to the bottom. So it just stopped us and put us all the way to the back and it was hard to work our way back forward."
"You know, that's the thing with this type of racing. You've got to run so hard with each other. With the windshield, I was trying to give everybody a lot of room. It wasn't just Casey (Mears). Casey did a good job. This was his first Bud Shootout. I thought he did a good job. I thought everybody had a good night. Nobody really had any huge moments out there. It's fun when you can take 20 of us like that and go out there and run a clean race like that."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished third:
(IT LOOKED LIKE IT MIGHT BE A ONE-TWO FINISH OUT THERE) "Yeah, I was really hoping for that. I thought we could stay right there together. And certainly I was going to try to make a run on him on that last lap but wait just as long as I could. But it was everything I could do to hold those guys off behind me. I thought the No. 16 (Biffle) car was the strongest car out there. But Jimmie did a great job of blocking and running his line out there tonight. He had a good handling car. I wanted to be one-two, but we came up a little bit short with the DuPont Chevrolet tonight. But I'm really happy. We've got a really good car for tomorrow and the rest of this week should be fun."
(YOU GOT A HUG FROM TONY STEWART WHEN YOU GOT OUT OF THE CAR) "Yeah, I was surprised by that because he went wide up there in (Turns) one and two and I just wanted to stay in the middle. I didn't want to go to the outside and I had to let him go out there by himself. I wanted to go with him but he had the momentum and I didn't. But we were bumping and banging all over the place. That's a sign of a true racer when you get out of the car after bumping and banging and smile and shake hands like that." More to follow
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 11th:
(HOW DID YOU DAMAGE YOUR CAR?) "It was the last lap. Everybody was battling out there. We kind of got bogged down in one and two in the last lap. The 9 car got a run on us. I was coming off the corner and all the sudden it was three wide. It should have been a big wreck. We just tore the sides off our car. I don't know what happened there. It's just part of racing. I made it back around and finished 11th. I'm disappointed with that. We had a much better car than that."
(HOW WAS YOUR CAR UP UNTIL THAT LAST LAP?) "The Army Chevy was good. So much is about track position now. It seems like they took that restrictor plate away and took that little bit of horsepower away. Now it's so hard to pass. You only had two leaders. That only happened under pit stops. It's just really hard to go. Last year you could make moves and pass guys. Now you can't do it. We'll take it. We got a good driving car. We'll fix her up for a back up. They'll take it back home, put a side on it and get it ready to go."
DALE EARNHARDT JR, NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 7th
(WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM WITH YOUR CAR IN THE FIRST SEGMENT?) "We changed the boxes and a bunch of stuff and it must have cleared it up because it ran really well after that."
(DO YOU HAVE YOUR WORK CUT OUT FOR YOU THIS WEEK?) "I thought we ran pretty good. There were some really good cars that kind of got shuffled. You know, the car we had tonight was the worst car we had in the test, so I think we've come a long way with it. I know the 500 car is better. I was pretty happy tonight and had a lot of fun. Mark and I kind of worked up there. It seemed like the outside line could get to third and that was it. The bottom line was just jumbled up. You had a choice: you could either get down there and beat on each others' bumpers or get in the top and struggle."
(WAS THE CAR HANDLING POORLY?) "No, the motor. There were a couple times where I thought it was handling again in the second segment. The handling of the car was great. It was really, really good in the corner. In practice yesterday I was really happy with the way it ran, except for that tire deal. I was running around there sideways, which I like. Normally we push really bad but we ran the right rear out-I was a little nervous about that tonight because I was really sliding that right rear in the second segment. All in all I was really pleased with the car. I could pass, I could race, I just needed more time. We kind of got near the front there.
"We were kind of moving up there on the last couple of laps. Three wide is tough. It's a chess game and I played good tonight I guess."
(IT LOOKS LIKE IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO PASS THE LEADER) "Yeah, it's been that way for while. Not totally impossible, obviously as in last year. It's hard. That car was really that good to be able to do it by itself. The field from first to last is a lot slimmer that it used to be, so yeah, when the cars are all even, it's like an IROC race. So they'll have to put a bunch of blades on them to make it where you can blow each other away and keep passing each other. I had a good time. You saw the last couple laps where the bottom worked, you could push people to the leader. The guy in the third, when he pushes the guy in second to the leader, the leader is going to block the bottom, the guy in second is going to go to the top, the guy in third is probably going to push the leader back in front of you to see if he can get that push. It's a revolving door. It isn't that hard to pass but second, third and fourth have to work together well. It's tough. You have to have a lot of friends out there and everyone is tired of losing, I guess."
(YOUR TEAM DIDN'T GET FRUSTRATED) "Yeah, I told you they were laid back. Pete was worried about the issue but he did a good job keeping his cool and he changed what we could and what we were allowed to change. We were going to go back out there and if it was still having a problem we were probably going to have to park it. But, it was fixed and that was good because we were able to get up there and race a little bit. I'm telling you, when we unloaded that car in that test and even when we got to drafting practice on the last day, I couldn't even hang on to anybody. We got in an eight-car pack and I was just tagging on the rear. It was terrible. So they've done a lot of good work to that car. Our 500 car was the best car in the draft, I thought, so we're not really running that good by ourselves with it. But when they put them all out there, I'll be the strongest."
(YOU DIDN'T LEAD A LAP) "We kept having problems getting good track position. We changed the transmission, which put us in the back. It's hard to get in that top 3.
"The top 3 seems to stay consistent, for a while, at least, until they get racey. But the top 3 is hard to get into. Once you get there, the lead is even harder to get. Then we had a problem with the motor and we started in the back again. We just got to beating around and tried all kinds of way to get up there. We had a lot of good runs and had a lot of good partners helping me but we just couldn't make it work."