"It was a good run for the Alltel Dodge Avenger. We weren't a very good car yesterday [Saturday] in practice at any point. We made some changes that worked and the guys did a good job. In hindsight, I still wish we had the last lap on the outside...
"It was a good run for the Alltel Dodge Avenger. We weren't a very good car yesterday [Saturday] in practice at any point. We made some changes that worked and the guys did a good job. In hindsight, I still wish we had the last lap on the outside of the 48 [Jimmie Johnson]. It was a good run for us. We had a little bump-and-run there with the 24 [Jeff Gordon]. That is something that has happened to me in the past, so I didn't feel that bad giving it to him. In the end, it was a good finish for us."
WHAT DO YOU SEE OUT OF THE HENDRICK CARS THAT MAKE THEM SO TOUGH AND THE TWO-TIRE STRATEGY CALL? "The two tires [pit strategy] was definitely a great call; strategy-wise to get us track position. It was tough. Those guys are tough. At one point, I think they were all in the top three. You look at that and you think, 'Man, I just have to run fourth today at best.' It's nice to be able to bounce back and do a little hard racing, come in second, and have a shot at the win on the last lap."
ON THE LATE RACE CAUTIONS: "Well, for me, it was a good thing because we were better on the restarts. We had two tires versus four tires and we're at a little bit of a disadvantage there. The restarts kind of equalized our situation. From a fan's standpoint, it might have been a little boring. In the end, I think they saw a competitive race with two cars running side-by-side for a good finish."
WOULD YOU LIKED TO HAVE SEEN THE RACE EXTENDED BY A COUPLE EXTRA LAPS AFTER THE LAST CAUTION? "Not according to the rules. Yeah, I would like to have had that opportunity, but not according to the rules. There is one attempt at a green/white/checkered. That was the end of the race as long as you can make it back to the checkered."
IS THERE ANY MORE CONCERN THAN USUAL WHEN YOU'RE RACING TWO GUYS THAT ARE RUNNING FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP? "That doesn't matter to me. In my opinion, I'm a championship driver and just because I had some bad luck this year doesn't mean I should change the way I race for guys that are going for the Cup."
DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAD A SECOND- OR THIRD-PLACE CAR THE ENTIRE RACE? "Not really. At one point there, we were the ninth-place car. To be a second-place car just means that we were good on restarts. Restarts didn't really hurt us and we had a good car in the Alltel Dodge.
ON TRACK POSITION: "Well, it really seemed like the desired line was the bottom line. You could work the outside just a little bit, but it seemed like the distance around was kinda out of the way. That is why we saw so much bunched up racing on restarts. The lap down cars had the desired line on the inside. The guys on the outside had to work really hard to get around those lap-down cars. I wouldn't say the racing was great, but it was pretty much the same as the first race."
DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD HAVE HAD A SHOT AT THE 48 HAD IT STAYED GREEN? "I know I would have had a shot at him. I had my nose at his left-rear tire at the start/finish line getting the white flag. It's over. I would have liked to have said that 'Yeah, I could've passed him on the inside.' He went into turn three and drifted up and over-braked and got loose and drifted up and gave me an opportunity. I didn't think that was going to happen. He was really strong. I think he struggled a little more on restarts. I thought mine was really good on restarts, but it just never happened."