SPARTA, KY – June 30, 2012 – Hendrick Motorsports showed that they have the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway figured out as good as any team and saw all four of their teams post top-six finishing positions. Although the win eluded Hendrick Saturday night, it was a stellar showing for Team Chevy. Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Quaker State Chevrolet, powered his way back through the field to finish second, after a pit stop mishap early in the race put him a lap down. It was his eighth top-10 finish in 2012 and he moves up three markers to 14th in the point standings.
Fellow Hendrick teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, ran solidly in the top-five all night and posted yet another great finish by coming home fourth at Kentucky Speedway. Earnhardt Jr. was followed immediately by another teammate, Jeff Gordon, who also put a consistent run together all night and brought his No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet home in fifth place.
Pole winner, Jimmie Johnson came home in sixth-place tonight, but had a strong car early in the race running at or in front before losing track position late in the race. He led four different times for 21 laps. Johnson thought his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet got into oil or speedy dry on the final restart and could not make up much of the track position he had lost when he fell back several spots on the final restart.
Kevin Harvick finished 11th in his No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet, but remains sixth in the overall points. Harvick’s Richard Childress Racing teammate, Paul Menard was 12th in his No. 27 Menards/Sylvania Chevy, Juan Pablo Montoya came from a 31st starting position to post a respectable 14th-place finish in his No. 42 Target Chevrolet and Montoya’s teammate, Jamie McMurray, was right behind in 15th in his No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet.
It was a tough day for reigning champion Tony Stewart in the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet who experienced electrical problems very early in the race which caused him to finish 32nd in the final order.
The series next travels to Daytona International Speedway to race under the lights on Saturday evening, July 7th in the Coke Zero 400
POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 QUAKER STATE CHEVROLET FINISHED SECOND
THE MODERATOR: For tonight's second annual Quaker State 400. Joining us right now is Kasey Kahne. Kasey drove the No. 5 Quaker State Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. Kasey, coming on strong there at the end. I know you wanted to get that win. But talk about your run this evening.
KASEY KAHNE: Yeah, it would have been great to win in the Quaker State car. But we had a really good Quaker State Chevy throughout the whole race. Yesterday in practice I was worried, and Kenny Francis and Keith Rodden made some really good adjustments. We felt like our teammates were pretty good. So we looked at some of the things they were doing. And it's nice to have as good of teammates as we had. So we were able to put a nice package in the car and it worked really well. We got a lap behind there with the loose right front, and then we had another slow stop later. The pit crew is really good at times and they're solid. We've got to keep working on it and got to be a little stronger throughout. But my car was fast. And I think the longer the run went, the better we seemed to get. The better I could move around on the racetrack anyways.
KASEY, YOU FINISHED WELL, THE WHOLE HENDRICK TEAM FINISHED WELL. HOW ENCOURAGING IS THAT FOR YOU KNOWING THAT YOU HAD TO RUN PRETTY MUCH EVERY WEEKEND TO MAKE THE CHASE IS A TOP 5 FINISH GOOD THIS SEASON?
KASEY KAHNE: Yeah, top 5's good, probably not going to get us in the Chase. We need to win a race or two more to make the Chase. But to see how well the Hendrick cars are right now, I mean, it's great to see. Great to be part of that. All of the guys should be really happy because they've prepared us some pretty nice cars and our engines run great. It is nice to be part of that organization.
WHICH PART OF THE TRACK WAS WORKING THE BEST? IT LOOKED LIKE SOME CARS WERE RUNNING HIGH WHILE OTHERS STAYED LOW?
KASEY KAHNE: For me, I had to run the bottom, and as soon as I'd get off the bottom I'd just slide, a four wheel slide. I couldn't make it work. I kept trying outside, but later on I was able to make a little speed on the outside corners, both ends, and could still run the bottom pretty well. But for probably the first half of the run, I had to be on the bottom.
KASEY, DID YOU THINK ALL ALONG THAT YOU COULD CATCH BRAD (KESELOWSKI) OR WAS THERE A STAGE THAT YOU THOUGHT BOY HE'S MAKING GOOD TIME?
KASEY KAHNE: I just hoped he'd run out of gas. There was no way I was catching him. We had enough gas to run as hard as I could all the way to the finish, and I was hoping his would shut off, off of two or something.
THE ONLY THING WE KNEW ABOUT WAS THE LOOSE WHEEL. BUT ON THE POST-RACE IT WAS REFERRED TO PROBLEMS ON PIT ROAD. WHAT HAPPENED?
KASEY KAHNE: I don't know what the other one was. We came in with a group of cars, and went out and I couldn't see that group. They went full straightaway and that the next corner. And we were sitting there on the jacks for a while. I'm not sure what happened, but there were two stops that just slowed us up. Like I said, my pit crew is solid. They're a really good group of guys that work as hard as anyone, probably harder than everyone or most. We just had a couple of bad stops. The runs we're going and things, I'm sure losing a ton of time on pit road, you'll never catch up.
BRAD WAS ONE OF THE GUYS THAT SAID THE SWAY BAR RULES CHANGES WOULD BE A GAME CHANGER. SO I DON'T KNOW WHAT HE'LL SAY WHEN HE COMES IN HERE, BUT I'M CURIOUS IF YOU THOUGHT IT IMPACTED WHAT YOU WERE DOING IN YOUR RACES?
KASEY KAHNE: I felt pretty good tonight.
Source: Team Chevy Racing