Martinsville: Winning team interview, part 2

Continued from part 1 ON THINKING OF TALLADEGA LAST YEAR: JIMMIE: "My hands were full, I was trying to hang on and win the race." ON THINKING OF TALLADEGA LAST YEAR: RICK: "I had fears of Martinsville several years ago when (Kenny) ...

Continued from part 1

ON THINKING OF TALLADEGA LAST YEAR:

JIMMIE: "My hands were full, I was trying to hang on and win the race."

ON THINKING OF TALLADEGA LAST YEAR:

RICK: "I had fears of Martinsville several years ago when (Kenny) Schrader and (Ricky) Rudd were running one-two and took each other out coming off of two and I was in the middle of the pit crews fighting. I remember that real well and remember the meeting we all had the Monday after that and we talk about that situation a lot."

ON THINKING OF TALLADEGA LAST YEAR:

CHAD: "I wasn't concerned about it. We really operate as one team and I know that Jeff isn't going to wreck us. He is going to rough him up and beat Jimmie up. Going to the backstretch the last lap I told Jimmie 'He is going to hit you Bud, be ready' and he did. That is short track racing and anybody that has ever watched 1/2-mile, 5/8-mile, 1/4-mile racing, that is what it is about and that is what Martinsville has always been about."

ON TURN AROUND TEAM MADE FROM BEING 43RD IN FIRST PRACTICE FRIDAY TO WINNING TODAY:

CHAD: "We struggled, there is no doubt about it. I think that it was a group struggle. I was off a little bit, Jimmie was off a little bit on how to drive the car. Our geometry package, our springs, our shocks, everything was off and we just couldn't not seem to get it right. We legitimately lucked in to a 20th place qualifying effort because Jimmie drove very very hard. Midway through the first practice session I went to Steve (Letarte, crew chief No. 24) and said 'Buddy, I need your setup'. Literally every nut, bolt, degree, camber shim, trailing arm position, I mean everything that the No.24 had at that point in time, we put in to the No. 48. Basically told Jimmie he had to go out there and lay it down. Jeff was fast and we needed him to figure it out. He went out there for about 20 laps, got it figured out and we came in, started to fine tune it a little bit, found some things that were clicking and you see the result, both cars were just running phenomenal."

ON PERSCEPTION INSIDE THE NEW CAR:

JIMMIE: "I just get in it and go. The perspective sitting in the car, you can tell the roof and the halo bars are much taller. I have never driven or even sat in a Craftsman Truck, so when I first climbed in it, my response was "Wow, I guess this is what a Truck is like." But once you are on the track, it is really tough to tell the parameters of the car are any different. On seat location, we have done a really good job of where our seats are located in the old car and I don't think out seat location is much different going in to the Impala SS, we have worked real hard to get us all the way over. So that reference hasn't changed for the Hendrick drivers."

ON ANY AWKWARDNESS WITH JEFF AFTER GETTING HIT BY HIM TODAY:

JIMMIE: "The bumps were getting progressively stronger and stronger and the last few may have set off an air bag in a street car. Last one just moved me clean up the track in three and four. I will certainly leave here and there will probably be a message on my phone from Jeff and we've been in this situation of hard racing before, he has the utmost respect as I do for him and it is certainly something we will work out. The reason he is upset is because he is a competitor and he wanted to win and he had the better car but he couldn't get by me. Once again, I respect him and it will all be sorted out and be fine."

ON BEING HIT HARD AND WHAT IT WILL BE LIKE THE NEXT TIME HE TALKS TO JEFF:

JIMMIE: "The bumps were getting progressively stronger and stronger and the last few may have set off an airbag I think the street car (laughs). The last one moved me clean up the track in three and four. Certainly (when I) leave here, I'm sure there's a message on my phone from Jeff and we've been in this situation before racing hard throughout the years. He has the utmost respect for me, I do for him and it's certainly something that we'll work out. The reason he's upset is because he's a competitor and he had the better car but he couldn't get by me. Once again I respect him and it will all be sorted out and everything will be fine."

ON IF THERE IS ANY FRUSTRATION WITH SHARING BETWEEN THE CREW CHIEFS:

CHAD: "Actually we've been in situations before where roles have been reserved where the 24 car has had to come to us for advice and then they've gone out there and beaten us and it happens. It's painful, it's going to be painful for Stevie, it's going to be painful for Jeff but when you sit back and look at it and look at the grand scheme of theme of things and what we're trying to accomplish at Hendrick Motorsports there's nothing better. There's nothing better to see the crew chief interaction, the team interaction and what we've got right now is far superior than any other company out there and it's great but it stings a little bit. There's no doubt about it but that doesn't mean that the books are going to get closed or the doors are going to get shut, that won't happen. I won't let that happen, Mr. Hendrick won't let that happen. That's not the case, that's not the way we operate. It's an open book policy for everybody and we're glad to see our teammates run well."

ON HIS TEAMS BEING CONTENDERS TO WIN:

RICK: "I thought that Kyle, he had better tires, I thought he might get up there and get in it. It's great to have them run like that but it's also kind of a nail biter because not only do you have the drivers, you've got sponsors and you've got crew members that have to work on the same car and again I think the proof is that when you struggle, and you're going to struggle no matter who you are, you're going to show up a race track and you're going to need someone that you can believe in and we've got that now. So we just have to keep that big picture in mind. We ran down to the wire in the championship and this way and I remember it with Terry Labonte and Jeff and we had a meeting before Atlanta and we talked about it and we said 'Look, we've got a shot to win this and run first and second' and we did. But the team has to believe in the concept and I think they see the results. It doesn't mean that you've got crew chiefs and drivers and teammates team players. Actually the 24 and 48 guys out there today on pit road worked on Jimmie's car as much as they worked on Jeff's car so it's a tough deal for them but I'd rather have that problem with the three of them or four of them battling each other than to be strung out in the back of the pack trying to figure out how to catch a guy that seems to be hitting on all eights. I think that's what they keep in mind and I think that's what's made it work."

ON CHAD'S PIT STRATEGY AFTER THE RED FLAG:

JIMMIE: "After the red flag we came in with just a few cars, took fuel and tires and were right on the edge on making the distance on fuel. I guess 10 laps later another caution came and we restarted 15th or 16th or however many cars were on the lead, got by a couple of guys caution came out right away, the rest of the guys hit pit road and we were then left with the question do we pit or not and we elected to stay and thankfully a lot of guys did stay out and it was pretty far back in the pack before somebody came in for tires."

ON FOUR WINS IN A ROW FOR HIM SINCE 1998 AND IF IT REMINDS HIM OF SEASONS WHERE HE HAD MULTIPLE DRIVERS GOING FOR TITLES:

RICK: "I hope so, I think we won the championship that year. I think we've done it, somebody told me today we've done it three times - four in a row. I hope that we can maintain the momentum. It's going to be competitive and everybody would like to win the championship and have a shot so the first priority is to be in the top 12 and get there and try to get wins to get points going into the Chase. It feels good but you've got to be a realist too. Tony Stewart had trouble at Bristol and things can happen and there were cars that could probably have won a couple of races in the middle of all this so we just have to be thankful that we've got the brakes and we were good enough to be up front and hopefully we can make it five."

ON DRIVERS HAVING PROBLEMS WITH THE FOAM IN TWO CARS:

CHAD: "We haven't seen anything as of yet but no I haven't had a chance to inspect the race car obviously after this race. Once thing that's very important is these race cars get very hot on short tracks obviously. The brake heat multiplies the engine temperature and multiplies the frame rail temperature and so on and so forth so we don't know exactly what's happened yet. We haven't seen anything thankfully but I can guarantee we'll go through every precaution we possibly can to make sure it doesn't happen."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Terry Labonte , Tony Stewart
Teams Hendrick Motorsports