Long Pond II: Chevy race notes

Kevin Harvick top Chevy finisher in Pocono. Kevin Harvick started 29th in his No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevy Monte Carlo in what should have been a 200-lap race but was shortened to 175 because of darkness as a result of two red-flag situations (for...

Kevin Harvick top Chevy finisher in Pocono.

Kevin Harvick started 29th in his No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevy Monte Carlo in what should have been a 200-lap race but was shortened to 175 because of darkness as a result of two red-flag situations (for guardrail repair and rain), and worked his way consistently to the front. He finished sixth, as the highest-placing Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

The course was under red-flag conditions for a total of three hours and seven minutes.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., in the No. 8 Budweiser Chevy Monte Carlo, who started 11th, crashed on the first lap with his teammate Steve Park, in the No. 1 Pennzoil Chevy Monte Carlo (see previous notes). Earnhardt continued after repairs to finish 37th, 31 laps down. Park did not complete a lap.

Terry Labonte, in the No. 5 Kellogg's Chevy Monte Carlo, scored the best result of the Hendrick Motorsports cars, placing ninth, while Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Jimmie Johnson, in the No. 48 Lowe's Chevy Monte Carlo, ended up 15th; Jeff Gordon, in the No. 24 DuPont Chevy, came in 12th, and Joe Nemechek (No. 25 UAW-Delphi Chevy) was 24th.

Chevy lap leaders included Nemechek (nine), Robby Gordon (one), and Johnson (two).

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVY MONTE CARLO (sixth, top Chevy finisher): "We had a good car all day; we just needed to get good track position. We got it, and got up there at the end and that's all we needed, was another solid top-10."

ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVY MONTE CARLO (25th, driving with sprained ankles): "The biggest thing is I couldn't let my guys down. We play together, we get hurt together. If I'm well enough to drive this car then I need to be driving it. Richard was cool enough to let me do that. I understand I'm in the wrong there for getting hurt, but you got to have a little bit of fun in your life too. Just unfortunate timing."

TESTING TOMORROW?  "I can't road-course test.  I
can't use my left foot.  We'll get it X-rayed tomorrow and get back after
it.  Decent run for us; scored some points."

WAS THIS THE TOUGHEST RACE DUE TO YOUR PHYSICAL CONDITION? "This is the first time I had to play hurt. The guys were great. They babied me all weekend. It was an unfortunate situation, but we scored some points. It could've been a lot worse. We'll get out of here and learn from this experience and be better off next time."

WAS IT UNCOMFORTABLE RACING? "The first stop, I'm glad we had that caution, because I was able to stick an aluminum plate underneath my sole of my shoe, so it didn't let the left foot bend, which allowed me to use the brakes a little bit."

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVY MONTE CARLO (15TH): "Long day, but big picture. Looking at our goals at the launch of the season, we wanted to finish in the top 15. We did that today. A little dumbfounded as to why we weren't more of a threat all day long. We had some cautions not work out in our direction on pit strategy, and some different stuff there. Still, we were a lot faster here six weeks ago; we're all a little dumbfounded why we weren't like that today."

HOW MENTALLY HARD WAS IT HERE? "It's a real hard track mentally. And then you get really frustrated in traffic, you get aero tight. Track position is important and all that. You only really have one opportunity to pass around the track and that's on turn 1. It was like that in the spring, but we just had a better car and we could pass people and (we were) just a little slower today."

DID THE RACE TRACK CHANGE OVER THE COURSE OF THE SIX HOURS? "It really didn't change until the sun went down here in the last 50 laps. It got real tight for us." NOT A CHEVY TRACK? "In the spring we were a threat, but we missed something today, and I think when you're on, you're on."

TERRY LABONTE, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S CHEVY MONTE CARLO (ninth): SECOND CHEVROLET: "We had a good car and we had a good finish there in the top 10. We were close; we just didn't quite have enough; but it was a good run for us."

VERY CONSISTENT, FIRST HENDRICK CAR: "We were, about all day, really. We ran pretty good. The guys did a good job on the car and this is probably our favorite car. I think we're going to go home and clean it up, tune on it a little bit and take it to Indianapolis. It's not the car we tested in Indy, but I think we're going to go back with it, because we have some confidence with this one."

WAS THIS MORE DIFFICULT TO RACE BECAUSE IT WAS SO LONG? "It was long. A long, drawn out deal, and especially when you have be back at the airport at 6 in the morning to go somewhere tomorrow. It makes it a short night. That's part of it. I'm glad we got it in today. I'm glad Steve Park was OK; that was a terrible looking wreck he had."

-chevy-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Terry Labonte , Steve Park , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Robby Gordon , Jimmie Johnson
Teams Hendrick Motorsports