KANSAS CITY, KS - Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, captured his fifth victory of the 2008 season by a mere 0.280 seconds at Kansas Speedway. Starting from the pole, the two-time and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion led...
KANSAS CITY, KS - Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, captured his fifth victory of the 2008 season by a mere 0.280 seconds at Kansas Speedway.
Starting from the pole, the two-time and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion led five times for a total of 124 of the 267 laps in the Camping World RV 400 Presented by Coleman.
With the victory, Johnson took the lead in the Chase to the NASCAR Sprint Cup by 10 points with three races completed and seven remaining in the season.
The win is the 38th in Johnson's NSCS career and his first at Kansas Speedway.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, finished fourth at Kansas. The four-time champion, who has battled illness the entire weekend, jumped from eighth to sixth in the standings.
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala SS, scored his ninth consecutive top-10 finish coming to the checkered flag in the sixth position. Harvick remains fifth in the standings, just 15 points out of fourth.
Jeff Burton, No. 31 AT&T Impala SS, finished seventh in a rally from the last starting spot on the grid. The crew was forced to change the tachometer in Burton's Chevy as the field rolled off of pit road prior to the start of the race. He remains fourth in the point standings.
Hometown favorite, Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS, finished 12th and is seventh in the standings for the Chase. Bowyer fought back from a pit road penalty that mired him deep in the field to score valuable points in the Chase.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Impala SS, fought an ill-handling race car to finish 13th in today's race. Junior moved to eighth in the standings with seven races remaining in the season.
Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth completed the top-five in the finishing order.
Round four of the Chase will be Sunday, October 5 at Talladega Superspeedway.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWES IMPALA SS -- Race Winner
WALK ME THROUGH THAT LAST LAP, WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND AS THAT NINETY-NINE WAS COMING ON STRONG? "Where did he come from. Those last two laps, he figured out something and got a bunch of grip. Man he was there I just didn't know. I thought I had him under control and I just didn't know he was there. Great race, I saw the slide job coming and dodged it and got a one."
HOW IMPORTANT WAS THAT LAST PIT STOP TO GET YOU OFF PIT ROAD AND GET THAT CLEAN AIR? "Yeah that really was the difference. The ninety-nine was probably better on the long runs at the end of the race and we did a great job of closing the gap. That pit stop from those guys really made the difference. I can't thank all the employee-owner's at Lowe's for their support, Chevrolet, this Impala has been awesome and all the hard work at Hendrick Motorsports. We're doing all the right things. We're just plugging along on our stuff."
TELL US ABOUT THAT LAST LAP. "Man those last two laps I'm not sure where that ninety-nine came from. Before that I got through traffic a little better than he did and thought I had stuff under control. Started getting tight and was nervous about that but he found some speed somewhere and man he closed up on me. I knew he was a dirt track racer and the slide job was coming so I just got ready for it. He went in there probably thirty car lengths too far and pounded the wall. Watching him I was more impressed that he didn't wreck and he stayed int he gas and didn't hit the wall and I'm like oh yeah this is for the checkers I've got to keep my focus where I need to. Just an awesome race and the fans got what they paid for today."
YOU GOT THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE ON THAT, IT WAS FUN TO WATCH BUT TALK ABOUT THE TWO DIFFERENT RUNS. ONE WHERE HE CHASED YOU DOWN AND THEN RAN AWAY FROM YOU AND THEN THE OTHER LOOKED LIKE HE WAS CHASING YOU DOWN AND YOU PULLED AWAY THERE TOWARD THE END WAS YOURS THAT MUCH DIFFERENT OR WAS HIS THAT MUCH DIFFERENT? "Well I know what happened to us. The run before was too loose the start of the run and by the time the tires came in and things worked out for me he had five or six seconds on me. This last stop Chad (Knaus, crew chief) made some great calls on the chassis and what we needed over the run. I got some clean air with the pit stops and off we went."
YEAH THAT PIT STOP ON LAP 219 MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD AND NOW YOU ARE THE POINTS LEADER GOING FOR THREE IN A ROW, ITS ONLY BEEN DONE ONCE BEFORE BY CALE YARBOROUGH, YOUR THOUGHTS WITH SEVEN TO GO. "We're getting closer and we're going to have start thinking about that. I keep dodging this question every week. Seven to go. We still have a lot to figure out. I think today we were able to gap some of the other guys in the Chase but they can't say we're not trying to win three in a row. These guys on my race team are committed, I'm committed. The problem is we've got some tough competition out there and it's making it hard on us and making it real good for the fans."
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS, RACE WINNER:
"It was exciting. I really like racing with Bob Osborne and Carl Edwards; they are really hard-nosed racers. That was good stuff. That was a lot of fun.
"We had checked out a little bit and Carl he just laid it out there and went for broke. He looked out there on the high side and made up a lot of ground on us. I talked to him after the race and he said 'I was driving it in, I was going to clear him, I was going to hit the wall and stand on the gas and see what happened.' That is what he did. It was great.
"Jimmie just did a fantastic job and everybody on the whole Lowe's team and everybody back at Hendrick Motorsports, you know, they are on it right now, doing a great job for us."
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THOSE LAST 300 YARDS? "I didn't like that a whole hell of a lot. What a great race. Jimmie has just done a great job. I love racing with Carl Edwards and Bob (Osborne). They're gentleman racers, they dig and they want it really bad. It fun when you can beat guys racing like that. That's one for the highlight reel there. Jimmie just did a great job, the pit crew was just incredible today. Great pit stops and we made some adjustments and it all came to light. We were a little off in the beginning but great job by my engineers. Those guys did a great job."
YOU NOW HAVE THE POINT LEAD WITH SEVEN RACES TO GO. "It doesn't matter. Doesn't mean anything right now. Right now all we've got to do is win races and finish in the top five, the rest will fall in place."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS -- Finished 6th:
"Our Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet was strong all day except in the middle of the race, where we started to fall back a little bit and the car was a little loose. But then that last adjustment we made was great and the car was a lot better. But the No. 17 (Matt Kenseth) was just a little better than us and we just couldn't catch him. So all in all, it was a decent day."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS -- Finished 7th:
"We had a good car; not a fast car, but a good car. We just needed to find more speed. We have good race cars on lap 20, but not fast race cars. We've got to find a way to make some speed."
DOES IT MEAN ANYTHING THAT THERE ARE SO MANY 1.5-MILE TRACKS LEFT IN THE SEASON AND THIS IS A 1.5-MILE TRACK? "I think it does. I think it matters. Again, it's been our weak point. We ran well today. We ran third to sixth most of the day. When they drop the green with that many laps to go, it just kills us. But we'll keep working on it and we'll get better."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS -- Finished 4th:
ON HIS STRONG RUN: "I guess I need to be sick more often. Yeah, that was a good run and a good car. I know if I had been healthy, I would have gotten more out of it. That was a tough day. I'm real proud of this DuPont Chevrolet team. They were awesome in the pits and they were calm and made good adjustments. It was a good car. Hey, I gave that position up to (Greg) Biffle there in the end. I came up on the No. 96 (Joey Logano) and he went high the lap before that so I thought I should go to the middle and then he went to the middle and Biffle got a good run inside of me. So it was a great race. We're real proud of that effort. We'll take it."
HOW ARE YOU FEELING AFTER 400 LONG AND HOT MILES AT KANSAS? "Well, I'm going to be pretty sore tomorrow. I'm just aching all over but hey, when you've got a car and a team that's as good as this one, you can't let somebody else get in there and drive it. So I'm very proud of this effort today. We had a great race car and great pit stops. All around it was a great effort. I wish I'd have been a little healthier. I think I could have contributed to a little bit better finish."
ON MOVING UP IN THE POINTS "Right now we just want to be competitive and today was a competitive day. We didn't have enough for those leaders, but we had a really solid and strong effort. We were racing all the guys we're racing in the Chase anyway, so it's just all about solid performances and trying to get that win."
A GREAT FINISH FOR YOU; YOU'VE GOT TO BE PROUD OF THIS TEAM "I was. I went to pit practice with them this past week. All that stuff like that practice and building that team spirit and camaraderie makes a big difference and I think our pit stop showed for this team. I really owe them a lot. They really did an amazing job sticking with me all weekend. I haven't been feeling good, but I also haven't been in a very good mood. So those guys, to put that kind of race car and that type of effort in today with those pit stops, was fantastic. I'm very happy to get out of here."
WERE YOU FEELING SICK IN THE CAR TODAY? "You know, the best I've felt all weekend was in the car (laughs). There are a lot of things that go away when you get in the car. I felt it before and I feel it now and I'll feel it a lot later tonight and tomorrow."
YOU STARTED THE DAY SAYING HE'S NEVER FELT WORSE GETTING INTO A RACE CAR, INCREDIBLE RUN ARE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW WELL YOU HELD UP? "I think I did better when I'm sick. I might need to be sick more often. The car was just so good. Track was slick so it played into not feeling good because you could just drive so easy just had to be real careful getting in and real careful getting off the corner and that definitely played to our favor.
"The team was just unbelievable. They were great on pit road, Steve (Letarte, crew chief) was calm. You know I owe a lot to these guys, they stuck it out all weekend long when I was not feeling good and was pretty ill as far as my mood. Great effort and I hated to give that spot to (Greg) Biffle on that last corner but other than that I was very happy with the way the day went."
THEY PUT A SIGN ON THEIR PIT BOX THIS WEEKEND WITH NO EXCUSES WITH A PICTURE OF THE CUP ON THERE, HOW MUCH DID KEEPING THEM PUMPED UP PLAY INTO YOUR MIND NOT GIVING THEM ANY KIND OF CONDITION REPORT OR FEELING BAD TODAY? "That's the thing about a great team. When one team member is down other guys rally and pick up the pace and that's what they did with me today. I'm very thankful for that. We had some pit practice this week not to mention the test in Charlotte. I think all of it paid off even though I'm sick it all paid off. Great top-five effort."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY IMPALA SS, FINISHED 13TH:
ON TODAY'S RACE: "I think an average driver would have finished about 35th. I told my guys that, I don't know, we had fun regardless. The car wasn't that good. We just made the best of it.
"We aren't dialing our car in We were real bad in the second practice. The track gets slick, we ain't workin' the car in to get it comfortable. That was the best I could do.
"We made light of it though. I told them the were lucky to have me."
HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT FIGHTING THE CAR? "I toned it down a lot today. I've been trying to be better on the radio and be more productive. We kind of gained on it in the center of the race and we were kind of getting better. It just went away, it got so loose at the end, I didn't know what to tell them."
ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT TALLADEGA? "I think we will be fine there. I am looking forward to it. Hopefully we have a couple more in the bag that we can run good at."
IS IT A THREE-MAN CHASE NOW? "I hope not, hell. Unless you are counting me in."
MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS, FINISHED 43RD: NOTE: Retired from the race on lap 229 with a broken transmission:
"It is so frustrating, but that is how our entire season has gone. Every time we get a good car and are running good, something goes wrong like this.
"We had a good, strong car the first part of the race. Then started to get loose and lost some track position but we were still ok, but started to have transmission problems. Then it just completely broke. It's just disappointing and frustrating. It has been that kind of a year."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS IMPALA SS -- Finished 12th
YOU HAD ONE OF THE FASTEST CARS AT THE BEGINNING BUT A HEARTBREAKER RIGHT AT THE START, WHAT HAPPENED? "Yeah, it was just the forty-five was slow getting going and I just went around him. Not supposed to do that but you know its I just kept making mistakes all day long, guess I sped off of pit road there at the end and pretty much ruined our chances at a good finish. I just didn't have my head into it today. I just kept making mistakes and paid for them all day. Car was fast, we tried hard and dug deep and the driver kept making mistakes."
JUST DIGGING DEEP BECAUSE IT'S YOUR HOME TRACK? "Yeah, just trying too hard, that's what it's all about."
"I made a couple of mistakes today and it cost us. The Jack Daniel's Chevrolet was a top-five car so it's tough to swallow 12th. I feel terrible for my team because they brought me a great car to my home track and, if things would have gone our way, we might have been able to race for a win. It could have been a lot worse but that doesn't make me feel much better. We're not out of this Championship yet so we'll go to Talladega next week and try and gain some ground on the guys ahead of us."
CASEY MEARS, NO. 5 CARQUEST / KELLOGG'S IMPALA SS -- Finished 14th
ON HIS RUN TODAY. "It was fun. We've made a lot of progress the last few weeks. The results haven't really shown for it but I think we finally found some speed and found kind of what I'm looking for on these bigger tracks. The Charlotte test went well. Today was a good run for us. We had some trouble there and lost the track position and once we got to the back it was pretty difficult getting back through the pack. Once we got up to the top five we showed we were a car that could run up there. It was a fun day for us. I want to apologize to Matt (Kenseth) too. I was the one that started that with Matt getting him sideways there in one and two and he just checked up a little bit earlier than I thought he was going to. I was hard on the brakes but still got into him. Fortunately he did a good job sliding all the way through the corner, saving it and coming back for a good finish. It was a good day for us, I'm happy."
YOU SAID YOU FOUND SOME SPEED, WE HAVE FOUR MORE TRACKS THAT ARE 1.5-MILE COMING UP CASEY, YOU SAID YOU HAD A GOOD TEST, WHAT DID YOU LEARN THERE THAT MAYBE CAN HELP YOU IN THOSE NEXT RACES? "You know we were just looking for something that can kind of put the whole corner together and by that I mean we've been really loose in, really tight in the center, really loose off and we've kind of found something that's kind of mellowed that all out, just making it a little bit more easier to drive. I'm real excited with what Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) all the guys have done on the team. Recently we've really found some things that are making it a lot more fun to drive and I think we'll have something for them these last few races."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS -- Finished 18th:
"It was just one of those days," said Martin. "I just didn't have a good day out there. We had good car, but I got caught speeding on pit road and then I overshot the pit and that hurt us. The team gave me a much better car than the finish. I'll take the responsibility for what happened out there today. I just made too many mistakes."
"It was just really difficult once we got back there in all that traffic," added Martin. "I'm just proud of everyone on this U.S. Army team. They continue to put me in good cars each week and it's a lot of fun to drive them."
-credit: gm racing