DALE EARNHARDT, JR, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY / NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS -- Finished 5th: ON THE HARD RACING WITH JEFF BURTON, WHEN YOU GUYS ARE BOTH GOING FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO RACE HARD LIKE THAT KNOWING YOU HAVE TO COME OUT WITH A...
DALE EARNHARDT, JR, NO. 88 AMP ENERGY / NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS -- Finished 5th:
ON THE HARD RACING WITH JEFF BURTON, WHEN YOU GUYS ARE BOTH GOING FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO RACE HARD LIKE THAT KNOWING YOU HAVE TO COME OUT WITH A GOOD FINISH? "Well I mean we don't want to wreck each other. I don't want to hit Jeff; I like him. I thought I had him and I slipped a little bit and he got back by me. It was just great, great racing. I hate that I lost a spot though because every one is important, but it's fun. He's a good racer. He's hard to beat man, just smooth."
YOU GOT ONE SET OF TIRES IN THAT RACE THAT YOU DID NOT LIKE AT ALL. ARE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW JUST ONE SET CAN TOTALLY CHANGE AN ENTIRE CAR? "No. It seems to be happening to a lot of us. I don't know man. The car was awesome. We were leading the race, we were the fastest car on the track and we put on a set of tires and fell all the way to 10th or whatever. Where are you going to point the finger other than the racing tires we just put on the car. We put on another set and were fine. We went back to good. We just lost all that track position and it was just too short of a race. One thing I am happy about is my guys got me a lot of spots back on pit road that I lost. It's really, really hard to gain spots on pit road and they gained a bunch today so I want to thank them for that."
A TOP-FIVE FINISH TO START THE RACE, TALK ABOUT YOUR RUN TODAY. "It was pretty good. We were real, real good at the start. Got out to lead there. Felt like we were going to be a good car the rest of the day. We put on a set of tires midway through the race. That thing got so loose I couldn't drive it and we lost all these spots. I got to thank my pit crew because they got me a bunch of them back on pit road. They're an awesome bunch of guys. They did a good job today to get us a top-five."
YOU WANTED A QUICK START TO THE CHASE OBVIOUSLY, YOU GOT IT. OBVIOUSLY YOU FEEL GOOD GOING INTO DOVER. "I'll feel good when I'm holding that trophy."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS -- Finished 4th:
A TOP-FIVE FINISH HERE, A HECK OF A RUN IN THE FIRST RACE OF THE CHASE, HOW WAS IT? "It was good. We were solid all day. We didn't have quite the speed those guys had. There were times in the race we did. I could see them coming back to us. There were times in the race they were better than us. It was a solid day for us. We ran pretty much top-five most of the day and that's what we ended up getting. Proud of everybody. We had no idea what we had coming into the race today and the guys did a great job getting us ready. One down, nine to go."
LONG DAY, TAKE US THROUGH YOUR RUN, FINISHING FOURTH. "Yeah, we had a good solid run. We weren't the fastest car most of the day but we had the fastest car every now and then and got ourselves in position. We ran in the top-five all day. That's the kind of runs we need to get back to having. I feel like we can, I really do. I feel like our best stuff is coming. It's a good solid day for us. The main thing is we ran well. If we ran well and finished 30th, so be it but we ran well and when we run well good things happen."
A LOT OF HARD RACING UP FRONT, YOU AND JUNIOR RACING EACH OTHER HARD. HOW HARD IS IT GETTING IN THE CHASE NOW KNOWING WHAT IS AT STAKE? "This is what it's all about. It's playoff time now. When it's 10 to go, 20 to go, 30 to go it's every man for himself within limits obviously. Dale and I had a great race. We never touched each other; we race each other hard. That's what it's supposed to be. It's supposed to be good, hard racing. I think you've got nine more races of that coming."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, Finished 10th:
"We started out the race just real loose, so loose I was worried I could hang on to it until the competition caution. Todd (Berrier, crew chief) on the guys kept working on our Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet all race long, but we just couldn't quite get it where we needed to be. We were in trouble on the restarts. If we had a long run we were fine, but we were pretty much terrible from the drop of the green flag. It is a top-10, but it is not what we wanted."
MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS, Finished 7th:
"That was a great run for the Bass Pro Chevrolet guys. We had a great car, if the race would have stayed green, I feel like we would have easily been top-five. But, we will take seventh. It is great to be competitive again."
ARIC ALMIROLA, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS, Finished 18th:
"Not bad. I am learning a lot, I am really learning a lot. I can't wait for next. I am taking everything I am learning and trying to absorb as much as I can. I didn't get the race car where I needed it to be in practice and that is my fault. I am learning every time I come to the track what I need to look for in practice to be good in the race. What I looked for on Friday and Saturday this weekend was not what I needed for the U.S. Army Chevy for today.
"So, I am learning. We worked hard, we fought hard, we got our lap back. We raced hard all day. I guess it somewhat satisfying to come out of here with a top-20. Me and (Tony) Gibson are getting along really good. It is going good.
"We had a clean race and a decent finish. Not a bad day overall. I thought we had a 15th place car, but missed that finish by a few spots. I had fun today. In fact it was a lot of fun out there. We fought hard to get our lap back and never gave up. We had great pit stops.
"I am really happy that we were able to finish on the lead lap at this track -- that's an accomplishment. There were a couple of close calls, but I was able to avoid the wrecks. I'm learning a lot and looking forward to everything I'm learning and applying it to next year."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS -- Finished 2nd:
YOU GUYS RACED YOUR HEART OUT TODAY AND YOU LED A TON OF LAPS, THAT'S GOT TO FEEL GOOD BUT I ALSO KNOW IT'S GOT TO BE TOUGH TO COME UP SECOND. "Second anytime is no fun but with the big picture and you look at the guys who had bad luck today. Great effort for this Lowe's Impala. I'm very proud of these guys. We had a shot at winning. My weakest point all day long was on restarts and Greg (Biffle) was a little stronger then and I'd pull away after 10 or 15 laps. But a great performance. Great fun racing these guys today and we did what we needed to."
TO BE THE RUNAWAY WINNER TODAY AND THEN (GREG) BIFFLE JUST PULLED ONE ON YOU, DID THAT SURPRISE YOU? "You know on long runs, we had been very, very strong all day long. The short runs is what hurt me the most. We freed the car up because of all the long runs that we had on the run before. I felt a little vulnerable and sure enough he got by and I was inching back up to him but I just didn't have enough laps at the end there. But they did a great job. I'm very proud of the team with the day that we had, it could be a lot worse. It could be the 18 or the 20 or some of those guys that had bad luck. Victory Lane would have been great for this race team and all the Lowe's employee/owners but second is not a bad thing either."
YOU WERE LOOKING AT THE POINTS, YOU ARE TIED RIGHT NOW WITH CARL EDWARDS FOR FIRST, HOW DO YOU THINK THIS CHASE IS GOING TO SHAPE OF AS FAR AS HOW CLOSE YOU GUYS ARE GOING TO BE UNTIL THE END? "I'm preparing for the worst. I'm preparing for it to be close. We just don't know until we get about half way through this and see where everybody is."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS, Finished 14th:
"We were better than 14th place. I had to avoid the No. 10 when he wrecked. Lapped cars were just horrendous today. We had a lot of trouble in the pits with the No. 7 car. Try to talk to him about practice and trying to get in to this pit stall this week. We weren't a bad car, just took a long time. We were good on the long runs, not very good on the short runs. Once we lost that track position, just couldn't ever get it back. Just fought hard, it was a great fight by our team, kinda the way our season has been, the results don't show for it.
DO YOU THINK THE NO. 24 TEAM IS A STRONG FACTOR IN THE CHASE? "We are a dangerous organization. We never give up. We always put up a big fight. We shake every race off that is behind us, whether we win or whether we finish 40th. We go to the next one thinking we can win. That is what we are going to do, put this one behind us and go to Dover."
RICK HENDRICK, OWNER, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS:
ON DALE, JR.'S FRUSTRATION IN THE CAR TODAY: "Tweaking the car a little bit is a whole lot better than making a mistake then having a situation you can't even fix. I look at how good that No. 88 was the first part of the year, then we went through a summer lull. But, Junior has told me that is the part of the year he gets tired and not his best tracks. Again, you have to go back and look at where he is this year. We are building on it and we are going to make it better. How to work with all of our folks. Tony (Eury, Jr.) is too and I am real proud of them.
"If you let things get to you, you will not win this Chase. If you turn all the negatives in to positives, if you have a bad race, if you go back and say how can we be a little bit better in every category, whether it is chassis, motor, pit crew, whatever. Those are the guys that are going to win it. It is just like a basketball game, guys lead, lead, lead and choke. You can't choke and that is what I am trying to get them not to do is choke. I am not changing tires, I am not driving, I am not building the motors. I am just trying to help from all the years of watching the guys that won the championship. If they get steam and they get a bit in their mouth, sometimes they can beat the guys in their head before they get on the track. I probably talked way to much on the radio today.
"I think I listened to him (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) when he had Lance McGrew as a crew chief and he was mild mannered, just saying I need a little of this, or a little of that. I just think it is like you and your brother playing in the house or out in the yard, you wouldn't treat a friend or neighbor that way. I think they can be better. I know Tony will be better and can help him more if he calmer when he is giving him information. When you say I am so loose, I am so loose, but you have to talk a little bit about your drive off and your entry so you know if you are going to fix one, are you going to hurt something else. I have had the benefit of listening to a lot of drivers over the years.
"To my knowledge, I have never had one that gave us good information when he was on the chip. I think it is better information when he has had a little bit more time to think about it. And I think Junior, he knows the car, he knows what he wants, he knows what adjustments he ought to make, but you drive, you can't keep up with what adjustments you made a change ago. Maybe he thought there was a big adjustment made and there was not adjustment. That was on the stop prior to that. Giving him good information and talking too him, he likes that. I think Tony has been so used to being quiet and letting him rant and go off. They both tell me they like it, so either they are lying to me, or they like it. If they are lying to me, they screwed up because I am just going to keep on going.
"You can talk Junior off the ledge. He thought about it in California and he came back to me and said that was good information, thank you. He had to be running around there thinking about it was good stuff. We will see. I don't claim to have the answers. I don't have all the answers, I am just trying to do the best I can.
DO YOU HAVE TO CALM HIM DOWN A LITTLE MORE THAN OTHER DRIVERS YOU HAVE HAD? "I have guys that get that way and I don't talk to them because you can't talk them down. He doesn't really realize sometimes that he is that much on the chip. And that is what is what I am trying to help him with. Just give us good information so we can help him get better. I just think you can focus more when you are thinking about it, rather than mad. He is not mad at Tony as much as he is frustrated with the situation. I know that has to kill you when you have a five second lead and you come in for a pit stop and you are fifth or sixth, you are trying to get back up there and you can't. He needs that information too that we didn't make any changes, we will see. We are ahead of schedule. I think he is going to win some more races this year. I think he is going to be a factor. I want to get the best out of those two guys I can. I think I am trying. Like I said after the race that bothered me, then we will talk about me stopping."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIEL'S IMPALA SS, FINISHED 12TH:
"It was a decent day for the Jack Daniel's Chevrolet but, I'll be honest, I'm disappointed to have finished 12th. I think we had better car than that. Our pit strategy didn't work out as well as we hoped. We'll be better next week at Dover."
-credit: gm racing