Richard Childress Racing Teammates Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton Finish Second and Third at Las Vegas; Jeff Gordon Leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Point Standings with Three Races in the Record Books Las Vegas, NV - Clint Bowyer, No. 33 ...
Richard Childress Racing Teammates Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton Finish Second and Third at Las Vegas; Jeff Gordon Leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Point Standings with Three Races in the Record Books
Las Vegas, NV - Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Impala SS and Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Impala SS, teammates from the Richard Childress Racing stables, finished second and third in the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
With his sixth place finish in today's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race, four-time champion Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, leaves Las Vegas as the point standing leader with three of 36 races in the record books.
Bowyer led the 285-lap/427-mile race once for a total of nine (9) laps while Burton held the point once for a total of 61 laps. Gordon was the race leader once during the day for a total of 17 laps.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Impala SS, finished 10th to give Team Chevy four of the top-10 finishers.
The next stop on the tour will be March 8, 2009 for the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S / CARQUEST IMPALA SS Sidelined with engine failure:
"I hate it. I sure would have liked to kept racing today. We had a good race car. And we were getting better. And we're learning each week. We'll have to get 'em next week.
DID YOU HAVE A SHOT TO WIN? "Well, not yet; maybe with some adjustments and maybe with some track changes. We were within striking distance. We weren't quite good enough yet. But we were within striking distance."
WITH ALL YOUR EXPERIENCE, DOES IT GET ANY EASIER TO LOSE A RACE LIKE THIS WHEN YOU HAVE A CAR THAT COULD WIN? "Well, it was a great run. I really feel bad for (crew chief) Alan (Gustafson) and all the guys on the No. 5 car. They're doing such a great job. And we're learning. We're getting better. It was a great run and I just wanted to give Kellogg's and Pop-Tarts and all our CARQUEST teammates something to cheer about today. It was a very encouraging run but also very disappointing."
ON THE RECENT ENGINE WOES HITTING EVERYBODY "I know we probably knocked our bearings out. We broke a rod. They'll figure it out. They're already all over it. Last week was pretty explainable. It was a different batch of valve springs. I've seen that movie before in my career. I know how that works. So, this one is a little bit more puzzling. The oil pump belt is still on it. I can't understand what happened. This stuff is usually bulletproof. But I feel bad for Alan and the whole race team. They're getting it done. They're doing a great job. We're getting better. We were better today. I think we were making progress also throughout the race. And we'll get better. But it's a pretty devastating result for us today."
ARE THESE ISOLATED INCIDENTS? "Yeah, these are separate. They are definitely separate incidents. Completely. The first one, that happens. It's happened more than once, probably, at Roush's with us. You know, you go into a new lot of valve springs. That was pretty explainable. This one doesn't make much sense."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS -- Finished 24th
WHAT CAUSED YOU TO CRASH? "I got down into Turn 1 on the outside of the No. 26 (Jaime McMurray) and maybe it was just a little too high and I got in the dirty stuff and just lost it. It was just unfortunate. I think that there were some bad calls that ended up hurting us today. One on pit road. We selected our pit stall on the other side of the start/finish line so that if the caution came out we wouldn't be held on the lead lap. I think NASCAR missed that call but I've got to go back and look at the tapes and see exactly how that works out. But we picked that stall for a reason in that respect. And then they should have thrown the red well before and let these laps wind down at the end of the race today, in my opinion. All that wrapped up into my frustration in trying to get to the front. We had the best car. It was just unfortunate that I just got a little too aggressive and I piled it up."
ON THE PIT ROAD INCIDENTS WITH THE NO. 96 BOBBY LABONTE AND SLIDING THROUGH THE PIT STALL "I thought the No. 96 was doing four tires because they had finished the rights and they were going around. Evidently they were doing two (tires) and it just didn't anticipate it. On the stop before when I slid through, Chad (Knaus) and the spotter were talking on the radio at the same time I guess there was some traffic that was getting ready to leave the pits. And I couldn't hear or understand where I was supposed to go. And the glare was pretty bad. By the time I saw my pit stall, it was just too late and I slid through it a little bit."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD / AMP ENERGY IMPALA SS -- Finished 7th:
ON THE TRACK CONDITIONS "It changed so much with the shade coming in and it cooled way off in the last 30 minutes. I don't think anybody was ready for that one. But we were real, real tight at the end. We were nowhere as good as we needed to be. But I felt like we were kind of teetering on really getting it right because we were pretty good there.
ON THE EARLY PIT ROAD INCIDENT "Oh, I just keep giving everybody ammunition."
DID YOU COME IN TOO HOT? "I was thinking about it. I'd run that Nationwide race yesterday and I was like all right, I was lifting here in the Nationwide car. So I lifted a little bit earlier and when I got toward pit road I really got on the brakes hard and it wheel-hopped. It was just my fault. When you're wheel-hopping, you can't read the tach and I knew it didn't matter if I could read it, it was going to be too fast. But just trying man, tryin' hard."
OVERALL, WAS IT A PRETTY DECENT DAY? "Yeah. We ran good last week and we didn't get to show it. And that's so frustrating. That's maybe the most frustrating thing about racing is when you run good and you've got nothing to show for it and no credibility. We ran good today. We ran better than 10th most of the day. We put ourselves behind a couple of times but these are the kind of runs we need in the next five or six weeks to sort of get ourselves back up in there for a chance at the Chase."
DO YOU LOOK AT POINTS RIGHT NOW? "Well, you don't want to miss the Chase. You don't normally look at points unless you're in 35th (laughs)."
TODAY WAS A BATTLE AND YOU FOUGHT YOUR WAY BACK FROM A LAP DOWN. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE DAY? "Well, we had a great car. The National Guard Chevrolet was running really good. We had a little bit of a tight issue we worked on all day and we got it pretty good and then the last 45 minutes this place changed so much. The sun went down and the temperature changed 20 degrees and the track was in the shade and we got real tight. We didn't have enough to really go after it in the end. But we gained on it. We ran good all day. We just seemed like we kept either put ourselves behind. I sped on pit road and we got caught on pit road during the flat tire with the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) and we were fighting it all day."
TO RALLY BACK, HOW BADLY DID YOU AND THE TEAM NEED A RUN LIKE THIS? "We really, really needed it. We know that we need to put together about six or seven good weeks to give ourselves a shot at getting back into the battle for the Chase. We've got some good tracks in a row here where we can do that. We've just got to keep our heads on straight. The problem with speeding on pit road is just trying too hard and that can hurt you just as bad as not trying enough. We've just got to be smart."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS / HAMBURGER HELPER IMPALA SS -- Finished 2nd
SOME GREAT STRATEGY, A STRANGE KIND OF DAY AND YOU CAME HOME SECOND. "Yeah, you know it was a wild day. We went a lap down, got that back. I think (Juan Pablo) Montoya run into me, knocked the right rear end and we got that fixed and got back up there. Shane Wilson (crew chief) made a great call. Just a good way to bounce back. Had a bad weekend last week at California and I'm really proud of all the guys on the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet.
"Absolutely, second is ok. Give credit where credit is due. Shane Wilson (crew chief), that is where he shines. He studies his pit strategy and things for these races really hard and it paid off for us. The Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet...that is what you gotta to do. You gotta keep diggin'. We went a lap down, got that back. Got run in to on a restart, got that repaired and got back up there. Shane got us a good call and a good finish."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR IMPALA SS -- Finished 3rd:
HECK OF A RUN TODAY, TWO TIRES, THE STRATEGY PAID OFF. "I think it was no tires actually. I don't know why we're always better on old tires. We took off there and led the race for a long time and came in and put on four and then went back to sixth or seventh and that's been a struggle. Real proud of all our guys. Hell of a rebound today to come back from where we ran last week and everybody just kept their head up and kept digging. I'm real proud of them for that. It's real easy to quit and give up when things are going badly. Our guys never do that."
"I don't know why, but we were really strong on old tires. We can't seem to go on new tires very well. Stayed out that one time and led the race for a long time. Then the No. 48 came and we drove back away from him. Came in and put four tires on it and went to run in the back. I don't know, that has been our struggle. Real proud of all the guys. The way we ran last week, to come back last week and perform like that, real proud of everybody. It is real easy to get down when things aren't going well but my guys don't do that. They never give up on me and I am real proud of them."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS -- Finished 6th:
ITS HARD TO BELIEVE YOU FINISHED SIXTH MUCH LESS ON THE LEAD LAP, TALK ABOUT HOW YOUR RACE ENDED UP. "It was an eventful day that's for sure. My hats off to this DuPont Chevrolet crew. They deserved a win with the effort they put out there. We had an awesome race car and it was a lot of fun up there battling for the lead with my teammate Jimmie (Johnson). I just was coming to pit road and saw the guys behind me, looked like they were coming down on me pretty hard so I tried to get off on the apron and when I did it just locked the left front up and I missed pit road. And then locked the left front up and blew the left front. We kind of got fortunate in the one sense that the caution came out.
"I know it hurt a bunch of other guys but I'm just proud of the job that the team did to get that fender cut off there and still pull off a sixth-place finish. That's pretty amazing and all in all a good day."
WE COULD HEAR THE FANS CHEERING FOR YOU AND THEY'RE REALLY GOING TO CHEER WHEN THEY FIND OUT THAT YOU ARE NOW THE POINTS LEADER. YOU'RE 18 AHEAD OF CLINT BOWYER, HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL? "That's pretty amazing. It's been a great start to the season and I'm really proud of this team. We're just bringing awesome race cars to the race track. Three weeks in a row I've felt like we have the car that can win and that's quite a change from last year. What an exciting time this is for this DuPont Chevrolet team.
"And I think the fans saw a heck of a race. I tell you what to come here to Las Vegas and see that kind of crowd and see a Las Vegas kid win this thing, they got their money's worth and I appreciate them all coming out."
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OLD SPICE IMPALA SS -- Finished 26th
"We had a solid car all day. We were definitely a top-five car. The finish doesn't show the performance that we had. Obviously we had bad luck with the left rear that came loose. I take five-fold over that that we were good. There's still question marks I'm sure with a lot of people, 'Can we do this?' and three weeks in a row we've gone out and run well. We didn't get the physical finish today that we deserved, but we had a good performance on the racetrack. Every time I leave the racetrack it just gives me confidence that we're going to be something to contend with at the end of the year."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL / PENNZOIL IMPALA SS -- Finished 12th
"Our Shell-Pennzoil Chevy was pretty good. We just got caught a lap down when we pitted just before (Jeff) Gordon blew a tire. I'm proud of the way the guys battled back to get us back on the lead lap and salvage a top 15. I was a little too tight most of the day, but I'm pretty happy with how we ran. I think we could have been top 10 if that caution hadn't bitten us."
-credit: gm racing