Kevin Harvick Continues Strong Season and Maintains Point Lead After Strong Run at Dover; Jeff Burton Finishes Second Dover, DE - Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, continued his strong season after scoring his ninth top-10 finish...
Kevin Harvick Continues Strong Season and Maintains Point Lead After Strong Run at Dover; Jeff Burton Finishes Second
Dover, DE - Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, continued his strong season after scoring his ninth top-10 finish in 12 races to stay atop the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings following today's race at Dover International Speedway. Harvick finished 7th in the 400-lap/400-mile race after starting 30th in the 43-car field.
Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, finished second in the Autism Speaks 400, leading once for one lap. It is Burton's third top-five and fifth top-10 of the season and moved him to eighth in the standings.
Tony Stewart, No.14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, moved up four positions in the standings to 14th with his ninth place finish today.
It was a day of mixed results for other Team Chevy drivers.
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, led eight times for a race-high 225-laps before suffering an speeding penalty on pit road exiting from his last pit stop of the race. The four-time defending champion is fourth in the standings, 131 points out of the lead.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, finished 11th and sits sixth in the series point standings.
Mark Martin, No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, is 11th in the standings after battling handling issues most of the race that relegated him to the 15th finishing position.
Kyle Busch (Toyota) was the race winner. Matt Kenseth (Ford), Denny Hamlin (Toyota) and David Reutimann (Toyota) completed the top-five finishers.
The Series takes a week off from points-paying races to participate in the Sprint All Star race Saturday, May 22 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET, suffered a rear suspension issue and in garage for repairs on lap 256:
"For us it was a really tough day. We struggled this weekend here for some reason; it is one of my best tracks. I think we found the reason why. I don't if we changed a part of the car but within three laps, both cars (No. 1 Jamie McMurray) broke down and it really sucks. Everyone on this Earnhardt-Ganassi team has worked hard and this Chevy car has been amazing. We have been really good every week. It is crazy."
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET, suffered a rear suspension issue and in garage for repairs on lap 261:
"We had a part fail on the car, a track bar broke. It is kind of weird; it broke on Juan's (Pablo Montoya, No. 42) car two laps earlier. You just build these cars as light as you can, I think we might have pushed the limit on lightening that piece. I had a really good car. One of those runs, I thought we were the best car. I think that piece has been breaking for a while because the car kept getting looser and looser and eventually it broke. It was unfortunate, we had another solid run going."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, FINISHED 7TH -- POINT STANDING LEADER:
YOU GUYS SHOW UP TO WIN AND TODAY YOU GOT 7TH, TELL US WHAT THAT MEANS FOR YOU GUYS IN THE BIG PICTURE "Yeah, I think in the big picture it fits well for us because everybody knows that Darlington, Charlotte, and Dover are probably our three biggest struggles and the month of May has always been tough for us and so far we have got three top-tens in (May). So we just have to do that one more time in Charlotte and then we can go back to being comfortable at the race tracks that we like going to. Everybody on the Shell-Pennzoil race team is doing a great job and they know that coming in that my mindset is to try and be more focused and more positive on these types of race tracks and knowing that our cars are better and that we are going to have better days so all-in-all its worked so far."
KNOWING THAT THESE AREN'T YOUR BEST RACE TRACKS AND YOU FINISHED IN THE TOP-TEN DOES THAT HELP MAKE A TOP-TEN FEEL LIKE A WIN? "Yeah, it does feel like a win. We ran up front for most of the day and got up as high as third there just racing and for us its just one of those things where we just have to keep doing what we are doing. Every week you run good at somewhere that you don't think you should it gives you a little more confidence."
HEADING INTO THE ALL STAR RACE AND THE COKE 600, IS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU AND THE TEAM HAVE DONE TO IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES THERE? "I think our cars are just way faster. We have got to get a little bit better on pit road and obviously you still want to continue working on your set ups and things that you need to do to go forward and to make your cars faster and better, but our cars are just a 180 from where they were last year and it just makes my job a lot easier and you can adjust on them on pit road good and do things you need to do to get competitive."
YOU SAID YOU DIDN'T LIKE THE RACES IN THE MONTH OF MAY, BUT ANOTHER SOLID RUN: "So far we have had all top-10s and that says a lot about our cars and where everybody is on our Shell-Pennzoil team is right now to come here and run as well as we did. With a little bit of track position, we could have run in the top-five so all-in-all it was a great day. It has been a good month, just have to get through Charlotte. We just have to keep doing what we are doing. If we keep that up, everything will take care of itself. You can't win one week and be inconsistent the next so we have to keep taking advantage of chances to win and when you can't get solid finishes."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET -- FINISHED 2ND: ON THE RACE:
"We were good. We had one run there where we were the fastest car, but the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) was the fastest car of the day and the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) got dialed in there at the end. But we did a nice job today. I'm real proud of everybody. This team is really strong and we're getting there."
HOW MUCH WERE YOU HOPING FOR THAT CAUTION TO COME OUT TO CLOSE THAT GAP ON YOU AND KYLE BUSCH IN THE CLOSING LAPS? "Well, the way things have been going for us late in the race, I don't know if I wanted a caution or not (laughs). The track is so rubbered-up that if you ever got out of the groove you'd just all but wreck. It was just crazy how much rubber was on the track. It really made it hard to pass. So, he was better than we were there at the end, so I was just probably just wanting the race to get over."
YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN ASKING FOR EXECUTION OVER THE LAST FEW RACES. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU EXECUTED TODAY? "Yeah, I think we did. I think we got everything we could today. There was one run there when we had a really fast car. We were faster than everybody. But for the majority of the race, the No. 48 (Johnson) was better than us. And then the No. 18 got dialed in there late in the race. So we weren't quite as good as those guys. With a little luck we could have won. But we probably got a little more than we deserved. But second, to fourth to fifth is what I thought we should have gotten and we got second. So we're on the good side of it."
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET -- FINISHED 9TH:
TODAY WASN'T A WIN, BUT DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION? "Well, it's slowed the bleeding down a little bit. But we still had one run in the race there when we came into the pits third or fourth there on a caution, put four (tires) on and all of a sudden we go back out and we go to the last car on the lead lap. We raised the track bar and eighth of an inch and that doesn't make it that bad. But it's definitely it's a step in the right direction with our run today. It's not a perfect run by any means, be we're going in the right direction."
ON GOING TO NASHVILLE TO HELP "Yeah, we're doing that for NASCAR and because of great people like Office Depot and Old Spice and Coke and the Army and all those people that believe in giving back, and that's something we're really big into also. I'm excited to go to Nashville and I'm all in favor of doing anything we can do to help our own country. I'm all for helping the world, but we've got our own country we need to look out for first, so I'm all for that and looking forward to going to Nashville."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET -- FINISHED 16TH:
YOU LED 225 LAPS, TAKE US THROUGH WHAT HAPPENED ON PIT ROAD "Yeah, I guess I got busted in the segment just leaving, or after our pit box, the very next one. So what I can take from this is that I got a much better launch out of my pit box than I did on other pit stops and then was speeding in that given area. At the end, I wasn't busted. I knew Kyle had me beat when I saw the jack drop for him and he was easing away from me. And I kind of gave up at that point on racing him off of pit road because I knew we needed to be single file on the apron. So, I just had too much forward bite leaving the pit box and got going too fast and got busted."
YOU HAVE A LOT OF MOMENTUM TO TAKE WITH YOU TO CHARLOTTE WITH A GREAT RUN TODAY. YOU'VE GOT TO BE SATISFIED WITH THAT RACE CAR "We had a very good race car. Usually what works here ends up working at Charlotte for the most part. This is a great race track for us. And the next two weekends coming up are (too). So you know, there are some good stretches for us coming along. I couldn't be more proud of the effort we put in today and one mistake makes it look like a bad day, but we had great pit stops, a great race car, great communication with Chad (Knaus) and me and it was just a great day for the No. 48 but didn't the finish we wanted."
I HEARD YOU SAY ON THE COOL DOWN LAP THAT YOU GOT A REALLY GOOD LAUNCH COMING OUT OF THE PITS, DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHERE THEY CAUGHT YOU SPEEDING? "From Chad telling me on the radio, I guess the segment right after our pit box. I had been leaving the pit box really good each time and there are some cues there from the spotter and we need to be able to calculate where we need to check up to be doing the right thing. And evidently I just got out of the pits much better than I did any other time. As I got to my mark I heard my spotter and saw my lights and I was conservative because I didn't want to make any mistakes in the end and I saw Kyle was going to beat me so I just kind of gave up that final segment off pit road and I got nailed. So, like I said, must have launched much better than we did before off of pit road and its just disappointing to have the day end up like that. But a great race car, I can't complain about our pit stops, how fast the car was, and we definitely had something for them today."
YOU DIDN'T GET TO BATTLE FOR THE WIN IN THE END, BUT ARE YOU ENCOURAGED BY THE WAY YOU GUYS RAN? "Yes, without a doubt. When I look back at the last few races I know the results aren't what we want but we were competitive at some of the tracks and we had bad luck at some of the tracks, and today we lead a lot of laps and ran up front so it's a long season and there are tracks that are good for race teams and there are tracks that are bad for race teams and we knew coming here this would be good and next week at Charlotte is going to be another good one for the 48 team and hopefully we don't leave a trophy behind there."
ASSUMING YOU WERE NOT CAUGHT SPEEDING, HAD YOU FIGURED OUT WHAT YOU NEEDED TO DO TO BEAT KYLE? HAVE YOU PROCESSED THAT YET? "I want to believe I did. You know, he was real quick on the restarts and there at the end I think we did a little bit better job on the restarts and it looks like they freed their car up so it would run better on the long haul and there at the end it took me much longer to get by him so there at the end it was going to be a dogfight. It was a lot of fun and I ran my guts out trying to pass him the run before that and its unfortunate that we didn't have a chance to race him there at the end for the fans."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 11th:
IS IT OVERSTATING TO CALL YOUR RACE TODAY A PATIENT RUN? "To me, days like today are way more frustrating than not winning when we have the car capable of winning. I would rather go in to every race talking about that because when you have a fast race car like we have had, that drives good really makes things a lot easier. It just puts more pressure on you to win. Whereas today, man, it was a struggle. Just trying to make it better constantly. Trying to get track position. Trying to work our way to the front. Nothing we did ever really worked. We knew it was coming now we check this track off on the list of tracks we know we have to focus on because this race track is in the Chase.
"You always after day you have to find the positives of what you did well to carry you through to the next race. But you also have to critique yourself as a driver and as a team to see what you can do better. To me, today was frustrating because we really never gained on it. We started 15th and got up to like 8th one time and then we went backwards. We just kind of hovered in an area instead of really making any big gains where we could get ourselves up in the top-five and then see what we had for them once we had good track position. Days like today for me are the ones that really stand out for me to be more frustrating."
YOUR FANS HAVE SEEN YOU FINISH SECOND 8 TIMES AND YOU'VE LED OVER 1100 LAPS SINCE WINNING AT TEXAS LAST YEAR. HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT FOR YOU TO COME SO CLOSE TO VICTORY AND NOT GET IT?
"Well, today we struggled. All weekend, really. So we've got this one checked on our list of tracks we've got to come back. And really, we've got to qualify better. I don't know if we were that bad if we could just get some track position. We just weren't very good in traffic. It was certainly a great team effort by our DuPont Chevrolet because we weren't real happy out there running in the back like that. It just goes to show, when the car is fast and we've been running the way we've been running, life is a whole lot easier (laughs). It just seems like everything is easier. So, we'll go to work on it and make sure when we come back here we're a lot better. Now we go to Charlotte for a couple of weeks and I think we're going to be really good there."
WAS THERE ANYTHING SPECIFIC THAT TROUBLED YOU DURING THE RACE TODAY, OR WAS IT A VARIETY OF PROBLEMS?
"Yeah, the race track, every lap, every corner (laughs). We would take off there and struggle on new tires. Then it would come in really good and we'd think okay here we go, we're going to go to the front; we'd catch somebody and just stop. It seemed like it was really hard to pass today. You've got to be careful what you wish for. We've been trying to talk Goodyear into laying rubber on the track and it laid so much rubber down that it actually made for new challenges where it was kind of a single groove race track. So, it was challenging and tough for everybody, but we're glad to stay on the lead lap and at least come out of here with a decent finish."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET, FINISHED 15TH:
"We definitely got better as the race continued. We weren't getting all we could out of the car there in the beginning and middle of the race. We were crazy tight early and Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) kept loosening me up and loosening me up. We're not where we want to be, but I feel like we're going to get there. These guys fight like dogs. I'm really proud of all of them."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET, FINISHED 13TH:
"Our Army Chevy wasn't that good in the beginning and we almost had a tire go down. But (crew chief) Tony Gibson and the crew guys kept working on the car and made it better as the race went on. In the early going, we looked like a 25th-place car but came home 13th. We took a bad day and turned it into a decent day. We're a battling team with great will and have a strong desire for success. It's the same will and pride that are Soldiers have. Wearing the Army uniform inspires every one of us on this No. 39 Stewart-Haas team."
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET, FINISHED 24TH:
"We started 37th and ended 24th -- that was a positive," said Smith. "We were off in practice on Friday and Saturday and didn't have a good handle on the Furniture Row Chevy. But good setup changes following Saturday's practice worked as we were able to move forward from the get go. The car was good in the middle of the race, but lost some of its zip at the end. We're battling for top 20s, then top 15s and eventually top 10s. I feel we're on the right path -- we just need to be patient."
-source: gm racing