Indianapolis: GM teams race quotes, notes

Jimmie Johnson Captures Second Allstate at the 400 at the Brickyard 400 Victory from the Pole; Win is 10th for Chevrolet in 15 Previous Indianapolis Motor Speedway Races Indianapolis - Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, collected...

Jimmie Johnson Captures Second Allstate at the 400 at the Brickyard 400 Victory from the Pole; Win is 10th for Chevrolet in 15 Previous Indianapolis Motor Speedway Races

Indianapolis - Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, collected his second career victory in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard today at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) in a race that can best be termed as one of the most bizarre in history.

As a result of tire wear issues forcing numerous mandatory caution periods, the race was slowed 11 times by the yellow flag for a total of 52-laps.

Johnson's win was the 10th time Chevrolet has won the Allstate at the Brickyard and the 627th victory for the Bowtie in NSCS competition.

Starting from the pole, Johnson led eight times for a total of 71 of the 160 laps. The victory by the two-time and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion was the 10th for Chevrolet at the Brickyard and the fifth of the 2008 season.

Johnson's second 2008 win moved him to fourth in the point standings with six races until the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, finished fifth. Today's run was the ninth top-five finish, including four wins in 15 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard starts for the four-time NSCS champion. Gordon is sixth in the standings.

Coming from the 26th starting position, Jeff Burton, No. 31 Prilosec OTC Impala SS, finished ninth in today's race. Burton remains third in the standings.

Second-fastest qualifier Mark Martin, No. 8 US Army Impala SS, finished 11th.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Impala SS, finished 12th to remain second in the point standings.

Team Chevy continues to have five drivers in the top-12 Race for the Chase standings. Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS is sitting in 12th, just two points in front of 13th place Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala SS.

Round 21 of the 2008 season will be next Sunday, August 3, 2008 at RPocono aceway.

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JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS -- Winner

KNOWING WHAT YOU DID ABOUT TIRE WEAR, DO YOU THINK THAT WAS THE RIGHT CALL TO TAKE 2 TIRES ON THE LAST STOP? "I knew what we were setting up for. I was worried the stop before that maybe we had to go two laps to win this thing. Chad called it perfectly. We had a great stop at the end. A great car I just can't say enough of this race car all weekend long. It really was a pleasure to drive it and its because these guys have been working so hard. Big day for Lowe's and Chevrolet, this Impala was awesome. Hendricks Motorsports, the engine department, the whole company, we've been working really hard to get back and we're getting there. This is a good sign of it."

YOU KNEW CARL (EDWARDS) WAS THERE, DIDN'T YOU? "I did. Carl put about as much pressure on me as he could. I knew from chasing Denny (Hamlin) the run before that even if the guys a little faster he's not going to get by so I just made sure I hit my marks. I tried not to think about the fact that it was the Brickyard 400. I really just tried to stay focused on the marks and we did it. I'm so stoked for these guys."

THIS WAS A TEAM EFFORT FOR YOU, THE TEAM GOT YOU OFF OF PIT ROAD FIRST, HOW IMPORTANT WAS THAT AT THE END? "Across the board this team is awesome. All weekend long we've just been on the money and fast in qualifying and fast in the race. There at the end a lot of guys had a lot of pace and the stuff to get it done. Great race car, great pit stops, I'm just so stoked for these guys. It's been a tough year, we've had our butts handed to us a few times through the course of the schedule, it's nice to get back with a win."

YOU CAME IN HERE FEELING AS GOOD ABOUT INDY AS YOU EVER HAVE AND IT ALL PAID OFF. YOU WON THE WEEKEND, YOU WON FRIDAY, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY. "Didn't think about it that way. We did and it's been a lot of work to get to this point. Last year things just kind of went our way plus we had dominant cars. This year we've really had to work for things and earn it. I couldn't be more proud of this race team. I can't thank Lowe's enough and their employee-owners for all their support.

"The race fans, I'm sorry I didn't make it to the backstretch I blew the rear tires on the frontstretch. An awsome Chevrolet, this Impala was awesome."

YOU KISSED THE BRICKS ONCE, HOW SPECIAL WILL IT BE KISSING THEM TWICE? "I can't wait to have that gritty kiss. I am so ready."

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CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS ON TODAY'S RACE:

"The thing I was concerned about was that as we were going there that NASCAR would say okay you guys can go ahead and race the final 30 laps after we had had so many competition cautions. They did the right thing by having us come down and do what we needed to do to get the tires on the cars so nobody had any problems and got hurt. This team has worked so hard to get our program turned around and I really feel like we've come into our own over the last 10 to 12 weeks and just haven't gotten the breaks that we needed. Fortunately enough today it all came together. To win the pole here and to win the race, it's pretty nice."

***

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS -- Finished 5th

YOU HAD A GOOD RUN TODAY BUT ENDED UP A LITTLE BIT SHORT. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS? "No, never seen anything like this. Really hate that it happened here at the Brickyard, it's such a big race. I think all of us are disappointed in what went on here today. It was a great eight lap shootout there at the end. I hate that we didn't get the track position that we really needed there at the end. That hurt us from having an opportunity and I felt like we were as good as Jimmie (Johnson) but we were really a second-place car because they had the track position. They had that number one pit stall, you know it was hard to beat those guys with that.

"The biggest determining factor for our race today was just where we would be located on the restart. Sometimes we'd be third or fourth and I'd be able to be conservative, and ride, and make my way to the front. When we were 7th or 10th, I had to push a lot harder and use up a lot more of the tire, you know. That's just kind of the way it played out."

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN A RACE QUITE LIKE THIS? "I can't remember where we've ever had one quite like this. I know at Charlotte you had to be careful. You couldn't push too hard. But we could go a lot more laps that what we could go here today. I've never seen anything like this."

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JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 PRILOSEC OTC IMPALA SS, FINISHED 9TH:

DID THE TRACK GET ANY BETTER DURING PRACTICE TO GIVE YOU A HINT AT WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN TODAY? "The problem was just we never saw any evidence in practice it was getting any better. Maybe a lap difference between when we started practice on Friday versus when we ended on Saturday, maybe got a lap more, but just not enough cushion."

HOW MUCH DID YOU HAVE TO BACK OFF TODAY? "Early in the race we were running 3/4 speed. Late in the race we ran hard and we had faith in NASCAR to throw the caution. NASCAR did a great job today under adverse situations. I don't know what they could have done better. I know that NASCAR and Goodyear are going to take a lot of heat for this, you have to also look at the other side of it. NASCAR did a really good job of throwing the cautions. Once we had a problem, definitely knew it was a problem, earlier than everybody thought it was going to be, they did a good job of responding to that. I give them credit for that. Then they didn't change it late in the race. I was real nervous, that with like 20 to go or something, they were going to say "Ok, that's it", that wasn't going to be right but they changed their minds, I was proud of them for them."

WHO SHOULD TAKE THE MOST HEAT FOR TODAY'S RACE? "Well, Goodyear builds the tires and Goodyear has done a much better job, I think, this year. This wasn't a good day for them for sure. I think it is hard to put it on NASCAR's shoulders, Goodyear is the tire provider."

***

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY IMPALA SS, FINISHED 12TH:

TALK ABOUT TODAY'S RACE: "That was the most bizarre race I have ever run. It was bizarre. I have never seen nothin' like it. I was glad we got finished with relatively no true chaos. NASCAR did what they had to do."

WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE TIRE SITUATION? "I like what NASCAR did. It is the only thing they could have done. The tires wouldn't last and that is the only way we could have put on a show today. I am ashamed but there wasn't much we couldn't do, besides load them up and not run at all, that was the best we could do today. I feel bad for NASCAR, they are going to take a lot for this and they certainly don't deserve it."

YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE FANS TODAY. "Some of them will brag about seeing it in person. Twenty-five, thirty years from now. They can call it whatever they want, I thought it was kinda fun, 10 lap sprints, ya know. I thought it was kinda fun actually."

WAS IT NERVE WRACKING IN THE CAR? "It was less work. Really less nerve wracking. You just couldn't run hard. You just couldn't run hard, you had to pace yourself and try not to blow your tire out. I liked it. It was less work, like running little heat races with new tires every 10 laps, that was great. The whole truth of the matter is, that was the best show we could put on today. NASCAR did everything right. It was all we could do aside from loading up and going home not running at all. It wasn't quite the race everyone expected, but shoot maybe it was better than some races you have seen here, you know. There was a lot more passing and carrying on."

HOW WAS YOUR CAR? "Well, I would have like to have got my lap back sooner so I could work on getting back through the pack after the flat tire. We were running out of time to get back through the back.

"The car was really, really good through the middle part of the race. We made some changes in light of the tire situation that hurt the car especially in traffic. We should have left it alone. The track got better later in the day, the shade came in the front straight away, you could keep the right sides in the shade on the front straightaway to cool the tires down a little bit."

***

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, FINISHED 37TH AFTER BEING INVOLVED IN A TWO-CAR ACCIDENT ON LAP 15:

"Our Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet was good, my guys did a great job getting me back out there after the accident so early in the race. I want to thank the fans for supporting us and the other cars and staying out here today to watch despite the situation that we had out there. We will just go on to Pocono. Hopefully we will be good and I think we will be fine for the Chase."

***

STEVE LETARTE, CREW CHIEF NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS:

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE TODAY WITH THE TIRES? "Simple, we just didn't get any rubber down there until late in the race.But I am not going to blame Goodyear, I think they did the best job, they could. I saw the tire test from here. The No. 88 (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) came and he ran 10 or 12 laps on a set of tires. I was amazed they ran that far. In my opinion, they did everything they could. As series we maybe need to be a little more tight as a family. We don't want to blame one guy, we all came out here, and we put on a good show. It wasn't the race everybody wanted, still a lot of passes; I think there was a pass for the win. That is my kind of passing."

WAS IT FRUSTRATING AS A CREW CHIEF? "It was the most boring race I have ever called. It is easy when you know when the yellows are coming. It is just a waste of time. It is not the hardest, it was just boring. It is just disappointing when the cautions come every 10 laps. Like we all knew what we had yesterday. We worked on our short runs, the car was great, we lost our track position there with about 20 or 30 to go and we just couldn't get over it, but I am real proud of the car we had, real proud."

IF YOU ARE A FAN, WHOM SHOULD YOU BE UPSET WITH? "I don't know that you can blame anybody. They have just as much of a right to be mad as anybody. I am mad that I had to race that way, but at the same time, I put myself in the shoes of everybody that made the decisions and I think NASCAR, Goodyear, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, everybody stepped up and did a wonderful job and we had a Brickyard 400. It had the makings of not going to be a very intense race. We could have done what Formula One did and everybody pulled in and gave them nothing but 43 drivers, 43 teams, Goodyear, NASCAR, the manufacturers went out there and put on the best show we could put on here at Indy."

***

MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET IMPALA SS - Finished 11th

"Nobody is to blame, as everybody did the best they could. It was just an unfortunate circumstance with the tire wear out here today. I hate if for this U.S. Army Race Team. We had a monster motor and a great race car today. We definitely had a top-five car.

"We probably didn't have anything for Jimmie Johnson, so I wasn't going to be able to back up my prediction, but we had a lot better car than where we finished (11th).

"We just pushed it a little too hard twice at the start, and we got caught twice under green," added Martin. "I didn't think that would happen to us, but I was wrong. After that it was just very hard to make your way back to the front. We really had to keep taking four tires to keep the right sides on, so we were not able to get position in the pits.

"Still the team gave me a great car today. ECR (Earnhardt-Childress Racing) gave me a great engine and it's just unfortunate the way it all turned out."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Clint Bowyer , Mark Martin