MARTIN TRUEX JR. CAPTURES FIRST CAREER NASCAR CUP WIN IN AUTISM SPEAKS 400 Team Chevy Takes Five Of Top-10 Finishing Positions at Dover Win Gives Impala SS Sixth Straight New Generation Race Car Event Win Team Chevy Drivers Have Won 12 of 13...
MARTIN TRUEX JR. CAPTURES FIRST CAREER NASCAR CUP WIN IN AUTISM SPEAKS 400
Team Chevy Takes Five Of Top-10 Finishing Positions at Dover Win Gives Impala SS Sixth Straight New Generation Race Car Event Win Team Chevy Drivers Have Won 12 of 13 NNCS Points races This Season
DOVER, DEL - Martin Truex Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Impala SS collected his first NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) career win in the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway. Truex's victory is the sixth win of six possible events for the new generation Impala SS race car, and the 12th Chevrolet win of the season in 13 NNCS points-paying races to date.
It was a bittersweet day in Dover as Truex's win came with the sad passing of NASCAR Vice Chairman, Bill France Jr.
Truex Jr. led six times for a total of 216 laps of the 400-lap race on the venue he calls his home track. "I just don't know what to say. I've got to thank all these guys and everyone at DEI for all their hard work in times of change and times when people don't really know what's going on and they need some leadership and some direction, I'm just real happy to be the one here in victory lane. It couldn't come at a better race track for us and for Bass Pro Shops and Chevrolet and everybody involved. What an unbelievable race car we had today."
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Impala SS finished 4th, Mark Martin, No. 01 U.S. Army Impala SS was 7th, Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniels Impala SS was 8th, and Jeff Gordon, finished 9th in the DuPont Impala SS. While running second to Truex Jr., defending NASCAR champion, Jimmie Johnson fell off the pace with a flat right rear tire on his No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, but worked his way back through the field with just 15 laps remaining to recover with a 15th place finish.
Chevrolet continues to lead the Manufacturers' Cup standings as the NNCS heads for Round 14 of the 36-race season on June 10th at Pocono Raceway.
MARTIN TRUEX JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS IMPALA SS - Race winner:
"Wow..thank you, guys! Holy mackerel!
IT'S BEEN A BITTERSWEET DAY IN DOVER AS YOU TAKE YOUR FIRST NASCAR NEXTEL CUP VICTORY ON YOUR HOME TRACK, MIXED IN WITH THE SAD PASSING OF BILL FRANCE JR. WHAT DOES THIS DAY MEAN TO YOU? "Man. I just don't know what to say. I've got to thank all these guys and everyone at DEI for all their hard work in times of change and times when people don't really know what's going on and they need some leadership and some direction, I'm just real happy to be the one here in victory lane. It couldn't come at a better race track for us and for Bass Pro Shops and Chevrolet and everybody involved. This is just unbelievable, man. What an unbelievable race car we had today."
DALE EARNHARDT JR. CAME INTO VICTORY LANE AND CONGRATULATE YOU. WHAT DID HE SAY? "He said, 'I told you, you could do it, man.' It means a lot. He's been a great friend. He said, 'I'll see you at the house tonight.' So we're going to have some fun. But I can't thank these guys enough for their hard work. They work their guts out every week. The guys at the shop and the motors have come a long way. All the guys at our shop really work hard - seven days a week sometimes until all hours of the night. I just want to thank them and Teresa (Earnhardt) and Max (Siegel) and Richie Gilmore. There are so many people to thank - all the guys who have helped me get to this level. It's just a great day for all of us."
KEVIN "BONO" MANION, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS, RACE WINNING CREW CHIEF:
"We worked so hard this week, I can't say enough for the guys on this team. We all love Dale, Jr., but when he made his announcement; we all said we have to carry the torch now. We love DEI and how it works. I have to thank Tony (Eury), Jr., Tony (Eury), Sr., Richie Gilmore, Max Siegel, who is a great asset, Steve Hmiel, everybody. Man, this is just awesome.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWES IMPALA SS, FINISHED 15TH:
"We overcame a lot today. I though we were in position to maybe win or at least finish second and then a right rear went down on us. I think maybe ours was a puncture of some kind. I am not sure what happened to the other guys that had problems. I really think ran something over because I was really good and went from catching the No.1 (Martin Truex, Jr.) a little bit at a time to really loose and losing spots. So I think I ran something over."
ON LOSS OF BILL FRANCE JUNIOR THIS AFTERNOON: "I just found out minutes ago so I don't think I have had time to process it yet. I just really don't know what it say right now."
J.D. GIBBS, PRESIDENT OF JOE GIBBS RACING:
ON LOSS OF BILL FRANCE JUNIOR: "It is hard to work with your Dad and them work with their son. I know that is hard. The fact that they have been able to do that so successfully for such a long and be as strong as they are today, is really and truly an accomplishment. Really and truly, we trust NASCAR. We may not agree with them about everything, but we trust them to make good decisions. He made good decisions. My family is indebted to him; our sport is indebted to him. I think you will see a lot of that the next few weeks, appreciation for everything he did and an outpouring toward him and his family."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER IMPALA SS:
ON THE LOSS OF BILL FRANCE JUNIOR: "It's a profound loss for the sport. His Dad really started NASCAR, but he's the one probably most responsible for the state of our sport today. He's one of those giants - very intimidating to me. I didn't know him well, but my Dad was close with him and I know that made my Dad very very proud to get close to someone that not a lot of others did."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIEL'S IMPALA SS, FINISHED EIGHTH:
"I hate to complain about an eighth-place finish but the Jack Daniel's Chevy was a top three car all day until the vey end. We didn't pit that last time when everybody behind us did. We were real loose for that last run and lost a bunch of spots. I hate it for the crew because they did a great job in the pits all day. We have to look at the big picture with our finish because it was a good points day but that doesn't make me feel much better right now."
MARK MARTIN NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET IMPALA SS, FINISHED SEVENTH:
"That was by far our best COT effort. I actually had fun today for the first time in a COT. We are still a whisker off, but we've made a lot of strides in a short time. Ryan (Pemberton, crew chief) and these guys have done a great job. We didn't have a car to win, but we had a good car and that showed by finishing seventh. It's an honor to drive this Army Chevy."
RICHARD CHILDRESS, OWNER RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING:
ON LOSS OF BILL FRANCE JUNIOR: "Bill France Jr. was not only a leader in our sport but he was also a very good friend. Not only did he teach me a lot about our sport but he taught me numerous lessons about life. Over the last several years, NASCAR has grown to an unprecedented level of popularity. None of that would have been possible without the vision and leadership Mr. France provided. My thoughts and prayers go out to Betty Jane, Brian, Lesa and the entire France family."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS - FINISHED 9TH
HOW WOULD YOU SUMMERIZE YOUR DAY IN THE RACE CAR? "It was a really hard-fought ninth place finish. I started off the race great. I drove to the front and thought we were going to have an awesome day but it just went downhill from there. We were really loose. We made all kinds of adjustments but never really seemed to be able to get it right. It was a good points day for us. We'll take it."
WHAT DID BILL FRANCE JR. MEAN TO THIS SPORT? "He meant everything to it and to me. I can remember going to his father's funeral and at that time, seeing Bill Junior just come along and just take a hold of this sport and take it to the next level. He was a voice and personality that took this sport to another level. I'm really saddened to hear that news. I knew he wasn't doing well. I wish I could have had a chance to see him and talk to him before he went. Certainly our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire France family. He's going to be missed. It's going to be hard to be a part of this sport without him."
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE BILL FRANCE JR? "He was a real soft-hearted guy who had a real hard shell on the outside. He ran things with an iron fist, but he had a passion for this sport that a lot of people maybe didn't get a chance to see. You don't see it very often. I loved being around him. He's one of those guys you always wanted to listen to."
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THOUGHT IF NASCAR HAD THROWN A RED FLAG IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RACE FOR BILL FRANCE JR? "Well, if you were thinking about Bill at that time, I think he would have been really upset if they would have thrown a red flag for him. I'm pretty sure they did what he would have asked for."
DENNY HAMLIN, NO. 11 FEDEX KINKO'S IMPALA SS, FINISHED FOURTH:
"It was a great run today for the #11 FedEX Kinko's Chevrolet team. Our car continued to get better throughout the day and we made all the right adjustments throughout the day...Mike and the pit crew did a great job. I still don't consider this track one of my favorites, but I am becoming more comfortable running here and with the success we've had I have to say I do like it a bit more. It's just such a physically demanding track. Its hard to even walk right now.
"Looking at where we started on Friday in practice and qualifying, we were really tight and couldn't carry speed through the corners. The team did a great job in our final two practices to free us up and it showed today. (He #1 car was in a different time zone today. I'm happy with how we progressed through the weekend and I'm looking forward to Pocono."
ON LOSS OF BILL FRANCE JUNIOR THIS AFTERNOON: "My condolences go out to the France family today. We lost a great person this afternoon.. He was a pioneer and helped make NASCAR what it is today."
STERLING MARLIN, NO. 14 WASTE MANAGEMENT IMPALA SS:
STATEMENT ON LOSS OF BILL FRANCE JUNIOR: "It's a sad day, the sport of auto racing has lost a giant. Bill France Jr. was without a doubt the person responsible for bringing NASCAR to a major league level. I always enjoyed his company. I will miss him as will the entire motorsports community."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 13 HAIER IMPALA SS:
STATEMENT ON THE LOSS OF BILL FRANCE, JR.: "Mr. France will go down as one of the outstanding executives in all of the major sports. He was not only a visionary, but a compassionate competitor about NASCAR. He worked hard to achieve his visions, and all of us in the sport have greatly benefited from his leadership. He will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the France family."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT IMPALA SS - FINISHED 40TH
ON RACING WITH KURT BUSCH: "He just wasn't clear off of (Turn) 4. It's a shame because we've been racing him how he has raced us for a whole year. He's raced us every lap like it pays a million dollars, so I've kind of adopted Matt Kenseth's policy of racing guys the same way they race me. He never was clear and came off the corner and crashed both of us."
WHAT WAS YOUR VIEW OF WHAT OCCURRED ON PIT ROAD? "I didn't see him until the last minute, but he about hit one of our crew guys. So that was self-explanatory I think."
IS THAT SOMETHING YOU'D GO TO WAR FOR TO PROTECT YOUR GUYS? "Yeah, because they'd go to war for me. It didn't make much sense."
DID YOU ACCOMPLISH YOUR MISSION OF WRECKING HIM DURING THE RACE? "No, I've never tried to wreck him. I've had plenty of chances to wreck the guy. That's not what it was about. It's about racing people with respect and he hasn't done that with anybody for a year. You finally get to the point where you're tired of giving guys positions. Most of the guys are pretty good. There are only a couple of bad apples out there and he's one of them. When you've got guys that you let go every time they get to you and they don't do the same thing when the roles are reversed, you finally get tired of it. You finally learn to race those guys they way they race you. You don't see me having problems with Mark Martin and the guys that run up front every week. His brother figured it out and his brother and I have gotten along great and have no problems. This is a sport that is so competitive that you can't afford to give guys positions all the time if they're not going to do it back for you. I'm just going to race guys the way they race me. Like I said, I don't have problems with 95 percent of the guys out there. It's only a couple."
ON THE PASSING OF BILL FRANCE JR: "It's just sad. You look at what he's been able to do in the time he's been with NASCAR and obviously learning from his father. There aren't enough words to describe what he's meant to this sport and what he's done for it. I guarantee it's the biggest loss in racing since Dale Earnhardt, and probably bigger."
-credit: gm racing