Kahne leads the Chevrolet charge at Michigan

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KASEY KAHNE SURVIVES EARLY SPIN TO LEAD THE CHARGE FOR TEAM CHEVY AT MICHIGAN; CHEVROLET CAPTURES FOUR OF THE TOP-10 FINISHING POSITIONS

BROOKLYN, MI – August 19, 2012 - On lap 68 of the 200-lap Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, Kasey Kahne and his No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet avoided a multi-car wreck and slid through the infield grass of Michigan International Speedway. A fast race car, minor repairs by the crew, and 132 laps later, Kahne and the No. 5 team had rallied back to the fourth position as the field roared to life for a final green-white-checkered finish. Kahne was able to gain one position before the checkered flag fell to come home third. This was his fourth top-10 finish in the last seven races.

Kasey Kahne, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Kasey Kahne, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who had started the race in the rear of the field in a back-up No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, also rallied back from a rough weekend at MIS to take a fourth place finish behind his Hendrick Motorsports teammate. Kahne and Earnhardt Jr. led Team Chevy by taking two of the top five finishing spots.

Ryan Newman, No. 39 WIX Filters Chevrolet had another solid run finishing in the eighth position. Paul Menard, No. 27 Menards/Pittsburgh Paints Chevrolet ended the day in the ninth position recording his fourth top-10 finish of the season.

It was a disappointing day in particular for three Team Chevy drivers who were plagued with engine problems. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet finished 28th, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet finished 27th and Tony Stewart, No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet finished 32nd

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET - FINISHED THIRD:
ON HIS RACE: "We had one of the best cars here. Our Farmers Insurance Chevrolet was great. Spun there. A couple of slower guys spun and then we got caught up in that. But it is this team. The guys had the No. 55 car (Mark Martin) basically land in our pit, and they all survived that fortunately. They fixed my car; I had some right front damage there. They patched it up pretty nicely. It didn't drive perfect after that, but it did drive pretty closely to how it was, which was really nice.

"We had a lot of trouble today, but a great Farmers Insurance Chevrolet. The guys fixed it, and we were able to pass some cars and get back to third which was a pretty good day after all of that. But I really felt the Farmers car was really good."

THAT WAS REALLY A GOOD RE-START. TALK ABOUT THAT “Yeah we had a good last restart. The Farmers Insurance Chevy took off well. My engine ran great and we had a really fast car all day long. But we weren’t able to get to the leaders. We kind of got up there, but the restarts were big today. Crucial points were either getting passed or trying to pass in restarts.”

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/DIET MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET - FINISHED FOURTH:
ON HIS RACE: "Great strategy. First off, my team put together a great race car last night and this morning that was comfortable and competitive. We didn't have any laps on the race track so a lot of credit goes to the guys on the car. Steve (Letarte, crew chief) did a great job on strategy, getting us a lot of track position. We were able to maintain most of it. We lost a little bit there at the end. I think that last set of tires didn't agree with us quite as much as it was in the middle part of the race. Real happy to be able to run well today."

WITH THE SPIN TODAY AND THE CRASH IN PRACTICE, HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT TO COME BACK AND HAVE THE DAY YOU HAD HERE AT MICHIGAN? “I feel like I was under pressure to just not make any more mistakes. I spun out twice in the last two weeks on my own and that’s something I try not to have happen and try not to have that kind of reputation. I felt real bad last night about wrecking the car and all the work the guys had to do to get this car ready for today. They just poured through so many documents and notes on that car to try to put it on the start grid this morning. They did an awesome job. So, thanks to my crew and I give all those guys all the credit for today. Steve (Letarte, crew chief) did a good job getting us some track position with his pit strategy in giving us an opportunity to get a good run. We may not have quite enough to win, but a good finish position.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 WIX FILTERS CHEVROLET – FINISHED EIGHTH
HOW ARE YOU FEELING AFTER THAT DAY? “I’m better. I’m actually better now than I was getting into the race car. I think adrenaline takes over for most of that part. Good run for the WIX Filters Chevrolet we need to win no doubt but if we can manage those others guys we are doing a good thing. We were the benefactor of their misfortunes today. We will go on. Still a win is going to answer a lot of questions and we are all trying real hard. You saw the No. 99 on the restart and other guys. The No. 16 had a really good car. The No. 48 did too but we had about a 10th-place car and finishing eighth I think we’re proud of that.”

TELL US ABOUT THAT LAST RESTART: “I don’t know if there was an advantage on the inside or the outside all depended on who got the best start in front of you. A couple of guys got jumbled up and sometimes there is a good run down the back straightaway on the high side. We didn’t have that, but we didn’t need that that time. Just a good run and I’m proud of the guys everything was good we just got to get great.”

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/MERCURY CHEVROLET – FINISHED 14TH ON HIS RACE: “We had a really good car today. We were able to run with the top-10 cars most of the day. We cut a tire near halfway and were still able to cycle back onto the lead lap. Then when we got caught by the caution right after pitting, that put us at the tail end of the field. We spent the rest of the day just battling to try and get back to the front. Our Bass Pro Shops Chevy was really fast, so I am encouraged by the effort of this team to give us such a good car.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – FINISHED 26TH
ON HIS RACE: “Well anything that could go wrong today did. We finally got the car handling better and then we had an incident with the 47 and then the 20. I hated seeing that happen to Mark (Martin), he had a great run going and the 47 just got loose in front of me and I checked up. Mark had nowhere to go. It was a rough day.”

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET – SIDELINED WITH AN ENGINE ISSUE ON LAP 174
HAVE YOU FIGURED OUT WHAT IT WAS YET? “I’m not sure. It’s something that is not a norm for sure. I appreciate everybody at the Hendrick engine department. We had three different engine tuners down there trying to get it fixed for us. It wasn’t for a lack of effort. It’s uncommon to have a problem like this there. It’s not something I’m concerned about and having problems in the future with it’s just a bad day and like I said we have the best engine department in the world in my opinion. Definitely in this series they did everything they could do.”

HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT FOR YOU AS A DRIVER JUST TO HAVE TO COME IN WAIT TRY TO FIX GO BACK OUT SEE WHAT YOU CAN GET? “It’s not so bad.”

NOT SO BAD TO JUST TRY AND MAKE THE MOST OUT OF IT? “You’ve got to. You’ve got to do the best you can to get everything you can get. It’s a series that obviously we saw how the end of the year was last year and how one point can make a difference. You just try to get everything you can get.”

REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/FARM AMERICAN CHEVROLET – INVOLVED IN ON-TRACK ACCIDENT ON LAP 76
WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE? "Marcos Ambrose is just driving over his head. I don't know if it is because he won last week, he's got extra pressure or what. He's been doing it all day. He's almost wrecked four times that I've seen. Unfortunately, four tires are better than two, and I was four. We're going to get this Furniture Row Chevy fixed up and get it back out on the race track, and get what we can."

IT’S BEEN A TOUGH YEAR FOR YOU GUYS. YOU GUYS HAD A REALLY GOOD RUN LAST WEEK HOW DISAPPOINTING IS THIS? YOU WANTED ANOTHER STRONG RUN THIS WEEKEND? “Of course it’s disappointing. We’ve got a top-10 race car and you can’t help guys driving like idiots. That is what he was doing. Everybody has been really loose on restarts on this tire. I think most of us figured that out and most of us figured out how to control our cars and do what we had to do. Pretty disappointed with today. My guys on the Furniture Row team have been working really hard and that is how it goes.”

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET – SIDELINED WITH ENGINE ISSUE ON LAP 95
WHAT WAS IT THAT BROUGHT YOU BACK HERE? “A valve spring, just running along there and all of a sudden dropped a cylinder. I was pretty sure that’s what it was. Of course the No. 14 had that same issue got our fingers crossed for all the other Hendrick engines out there. This is a tough place on engines. We rarely have these issues and it’s unfortunate to have this one here today. It’s the kind of year we have been having. I was hoping after Pocono we could carry some momentum and not have these kinds of back-to-back weekends, but that’s not the case. We go on to Bristol and fight hard there.”

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO DIAGNOSE ON THE MOTOR? “It’s a valve spring. I think that’s the same thing that happened to the No. 14 (Tony Stewart) earlier. It’s something that when you come to Michigan and you turn these kinds of sustained rpm’s on this fast of a track, it’s always of concern here. And that bit us. I’ll tell you, we’ve been having a rough weekend. We’re not handling the way we were hoping to. Track position is so important that all we had to do was get track position and we still could have come out of here with a good finish and even won the race. There’s a lot of laps left and it’s unfortunate we don’t get to find out what we could do with it. It’s the kind of year we’ve been having. We’ll just go on to Bristol.”

IT SOUNDED LIKE YOU HAD SOME ISSUES WITH YOUR TEAMMATE, DALE EARNHARDT JR., EARLIER IN THE RACE. “Well, he took me four-wide and that wasn’t that big of a deal but then he slid up in front of me off of Turn 2 and I had to check up or I would have wrecked all of us. So, I just didn’t think that it was the smartest thing to do, especially as teammates. But, he chose to do it and that’s fine. It all worked out. I don’t care who I’m racing out there; I’m going to show my displeasure if I’m not happy about something. But that one was pretty close; but no big deal. I’m glad to see he’s running good. Those guys have really got their car dialed-in here at Michigan this year.”

Source: Team Chevy Racing

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Race report
Tags chevrolet, earnhardt, gordon, johnson, kahne, newman, stewart