Dover, DE - With eight races remaining in the 2008 Chase to the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Team Chevy's Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, continued his charge for a third consecutive title with a strong fifth-place finish at Dover International ...
Dover, DE - With eight races remaining in the 2008 Chase to the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Team Chevy's Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, continued his charge for a third consecutive title with a strong fifth-place finish at Dover International Speedway.
Johnson sits second in the standings, just 10 points out of the lead after leading three times for a total of 81 laps in the Camping World RV 400 400-lap race.
Mark Martin, No. 8 U.S. Army Impala SS, finished fourth in today's race after starting on the outside of the front row. It is Martin's fourth top-five and 10th top-10 in 19 starts this season.
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala SS, finished sixth at Dover. It is the eighth consecutive top-10 finish for Harvick and propelled him from 10th in the standings to fifth with eight races remaining.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, came to the checkered flag in the seventh position. The strong run from the pole by the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion moved him up three spots in the standings to the eighth position.
Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS, finished eighth in today's race. Bowyer now sits sixth in the points order, up three positions.
Jeff Burton, No. 31 AT&T Impala SS, was ninth at the finish to give Team Chevy six of the top-10 finishers in the 400-mile race. Burton is fourth in the standings, up one position.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Impala SS, suffered a blown right rear tire on the 141st lap. He managed to keep his Chevy out of the wall, but the shredding tire damaged the fender of the car. He finished 24th, three laps down to the leader and now sits ninth in the point standings.
Greg Biffle won his second consecutive race followed by Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards.
Edwards sit atop the Chase standings followed by Johnson, Biffle, Burton, Harvick and Bowyer in the top-six. Tony Stewart, Gordon, Earnhardt, Jr., Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch complete the order of the 12 drivers.
Round three of the Chase will be Sunday, September 28th at Kansas Speedway.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY / NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS -- Finished 24th:
"FIRST OF ALL, GREAT JOB KEEPING THE CAR OUT OF THE FENCE WHEN THAT TIRE WENT DOWN" "Yeah, thanks, I had a lot of help from my spotter and from Tony (Eury) Junior. I didn't really know where I was on the race track. That thing scared me. It sounded like a shotgun going off. By the time I got un-scared, I was a little bit behind on trying to correct it. But it was loud. But, to be honest with you, this track, you can only run on the bottom. If you move to the top, it's just like what we had at Indianapolis. It wears the tire out. They need to fix it."
YOU HUNG IN THERE AND KEPT ADJUSTING ON IT, BUT YOU COULD NEVER REALLY REPAIR THE DAMAGE TO THE BODY WORK, COULD YOU? BUT AT LEAST YOU CAME AWAY 24TH, IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE. "Yeah, I really hate how it hurt our points race, but that was the best we could do today. We didn't put the right set-up underneath it. Me and Tony Junior worked on that direction today, but it was the wrong direction. So, we'll try to rebound next week."
YOU HAD A GOOD TEST IN KENTUCKY AND HAVE ANOTHER TEST AT LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY. YOU MUST BE OPTIMISTIC FOR KANSAS. "Yeah, we're going to Charlotte to test this week. I'm optimistic. To be honest with you, when a tire blows like that, I've seen a lot of other teams just give up and ride it out. And we got ten spots better than I think a lot of other guys would have. We're going to work hard."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS -- Finished 7th: "We're good, but we're just not quite good enough. We've got to just keep going back to the drawing board and keep working at it. It's a good points week for us, as well as performance, and we'll go on to Kansas."
IS IT HARD TO RACE AROUND THE CHASE GUYS? "No, you expect that. Everybody is going to step up their game. If you're going to be a threat for the championship, you've got to be up there leading laps and battling for the win. The Roush cars just had everybody covered today. It was pretty obvious. A good job for them."
ON KYLE BUSCH HAVING TWO BAD RACES IN A ROWL, IS IT EASY TO SEE THAT HAPPEN? "It's extremely easy. It's almost as easy for Biffle to go out there and win both races. When things don't go your way, you can't second guess yourself and everything you're doing. You've just got to re-group and get back together and not let it get you down. But it can happen so easy. Every re-start, I see 10 wrecks happening and you just hope you're not in it. So it can be that. It can be engines. There are just so many things that can go wrong and unfortunately for those guys, that's what's happened the past two weeks in a row."
WHEN YOU LOOK BACK AT SOME OTHER WEEKENDS THIS SEASON AS FAR AS WHERE YOU CAME DURING THE COURSE OF THE RACE, DO YOU FEEL YOU WERE AT A BETTER STARTING POINT WITH YOUR CAR FOR THIS RACE? "You know what? Other than being on the pole and having that number one pit stall, we had a totally different set-up and ran about the same as we did last time we were here. So we're still searching. We're working hard. We're testing. We're looking forward to going to Lowe's and try to figure something out for there. I do feel like we've learned some things for Kansas. And I'm looking forward to applying them there. We weren't sure if it would work here. We tried a few things and it really didn't work for us as well as we were hoping it would. It looked like me and Jimmie (Johnson) were about the same, even though he led some laps and kind of got out of sequence, our cars were about the same. So we have a little more work to to."
YOU'RE STILL SEARCHING, BUT YOU'RE STILL IN THE THICK OF THINGS "Well it's all about getting the best finishes and finishing as high up in the points as you can and you just take the positives that come along with that and move on. You're either the team to beat for the championship, or you're a fifth place car or a 10th place car or whatever it may be. It's always about getting the full potential out of the car."
ON THE 1.5-MILE TRACKS, THE ROUSH CARS HAVE BEEN STRONG AND JIMMIE JOHNSON HAS BEEN STRONG, IS THIS A BAD OMEN FOR EVERYBODY ELSE THAT THEY'VE SCORED A BUNCH OF POINTS SO FAR GOING INTO THE 1.5-MILE TRACKS? "Yeah, but just like Kyle Busch, you never know what's going to happen. You've got to take advantage of the tracks that are good tracks for you and then make the most of the ones that you don't consider your best tracks. You've got to give credit to Greg Biffle and those Roush cars. They've done a great job in the first two races at tracks that probably weren't considered their best. And they're going to be really tough to be in this next stretch of races."
WERE YOU SURPRISED TO SEE THEM BEATING AND BANGING AT THE END? "Well, no. When you are the three best cars on the track, you can probably expect to be up there battling one another. Those guys were obviously well-prepared and had very fast race cars and it was about battling it out amongst themselves. Everybody wants to win. Just because you are teammates doesn't mean you're not going to go out there and try to get the win. There is no pecking order and those guys showed and proved that today. Thank goodness. That was about the only good racing that I saw out there all day."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS -- Finished 6th:
"The Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet was awesome today. I think we only made a few minor adjustments on it during the race. I am just really proud of all my guys and I really think we still have the momentum to win this thing."
TODD BERRIER, CREW CHIEF, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS
THIS WAS YOUR 8TH TOP 10 FINISH IN A ROW. THAT SHOULD BE A GOOD WAY TO START OFF THE CHASE "Yeah, it's good to start off, but you still have to take it another step. We can see them, but that ain't quite good enough. We need to win a race. But if you can run 10th or 6th, or 5th, you can win a race. That's what you've got to do. You've got to crawl before you can walk. I think we are consistently a lot better and looking for a little something to take that next step."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS -- Finished 9th:
"We were pretty decent. The AT&T Chevrolet was really good in the middle of the race when everybody was on different pit sequences. I'm proud of the effort everyone on this team put in to get the finish we did. We're only 20% into the Chase and anything can happen but you can believe that we're going to continue to keep digging."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS IMPALA SS -- Finished 8th:
"It was a really good day for the Jack Daniel's Chevrolet. I needed a couple more laps and I think I could have gotten by Jeff (Gordon) but we got out of Dover with all four fenders and a top 10. We'll take that and roll on to Kansas."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS, STARTED 2ND, FINISHED 4TH:
"Well, it is a privilege to be a part of the U.S. Army team. I want to thank them so much for giving me this opportunity. Tony Gibson and these guys gave me a shot to win this thing and I can't tell you what it means to me. I was up on the wheel and I gave it everything I can and everything I have. You know, it just wasn't enough for that 45-lap run. Man this thing was awesome on long runs, it was really coming before that last caution. I thought we were going to be able to make it exciting. Even after that last caution, I thought we might have something for them, I just couldn't run with those guys for about 20-laps, they were really fast. Then my car would really come on strong.
"On that last restart with four fresh tires and Carl (Edwards) on two, I wanted to go up there and take it. But my car just wasn't up to that challenge. We gave it our heart and soul, but we just weren't up to a short run challenge. It looked like before the caution came out that we were going to run Carl down and really make a race out of it at the end. But that last run, we gave it all we had, we were just a little short."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS, STARTED 20TH, FINISHED 5TH:
"It went kinda like we expected today. I knew we were going to be strong, but I knew deep down inside that the Roush cars had something special today and it was going to be tough to beat those guys. Throughout the day, we made our stuff better. We were running their pace at the end. Very proud of the effort today, bad day at the office. Not really a bad day, but to be fifth, we are doing everything right. We will just roll on from here to this next race with this Lowe's Impala.
"We did get the car driving good, we just didn't have the pace of those Roush cars. We did all we could and got a good top-five finish. It looks like 10 points out of the lead. So, if we can take a day where we aren't as fast as we want to be and get a top-five out of it, we are doing the right things.
"You think you are doing the right things and consistency is good, but you just don't know. It is just two of 10 and we have eight more to go. Consistency might not get it done this year, you just never know. Especially with the type of racing we have seen the last few weeks. I think the fans are getting what they paid for."
-credit: gm racing