Michigan II: GM Racing race notes, quotes

Chevy Maintains Lead In Point Standings With Second-Place Finish At Michigan Jeff Gordon Finishes Second, Tony Stewart Third To Keep Chevrolet On Top in Manufacturer's Points Chevrolet continues to lead the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup ...

Chevy Maintains Lead In Point Standings With Second-Place Finish At Michigan

Jeff Gordon Finishes Second, Tony Stewart Third To Keep Chevrolet On Top in Manufacturer's Points

Chevrolet continues to lead the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series manufacturer's standings with a second-place finish by Jeff Gordon in the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Gordon started 12th and gradually moved his No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS through the field and almost caught up to eventual race winner Matt Kenseth (Ford) in the last few laps. Last year's Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Monte Carlo SS, qualified 33rd but also moved his way up and rounded out the top-three after crossing the finish line in third.

The other drivers in the top five were Kasey Kahne (Dodge) and Mark Martin (Ford), but Chevy had two other drivers in the top 10 - Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Monte Carlo SS) finished sixth while rookie Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Freight Monte Carlo SS) finished ninth.

Series points leader Jimmie Johnson of the No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS holds his lead over Kenseth despite suffering a cut tire on the first lap of the race. He finished 13th. Pole winner Jeff Burton of the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Monte Carlo SS had less luck; he retired from the race after the 20th lap because of engine problems.

Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS drivers currently in the top-10 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup driver standings are Jimmie Johnson (first), Kevin Harvick (third), Tony Stewart (fifth), Jeff Gordon (sixth), Kyle Busch (seventh), Denny Hamlin (eighth), Jeff Burton (ninth) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10th) with only three races remaining until the final 10 races of the Chase for the Championship.

The next event for Team Chevy Monte Carlo SS is the Sharpie 500 on August 26 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

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Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS - Finished Second

HOW MANY MORE LAPS AT THE END DID YOU NEED TO RUN DOWN MATT KENSETH? "We were really making some good laps there those last couple of laps and gained on him quite a bit but catching him and passing him is a whole different deal. I would have loved to have gotten to him and showed him and everybody else that we can race him and pass him clean. I'm just so proud of this DuPont Chevrolet and Steve (Letarte, crew chief) and all the guys. We had a great race car all day and when we had track position we were strong but when we didn't have it we really struggled. They made some adjustments on that last pit stop and then the DuPont Chevrolet just came to life. It was fun driving up to the front like that."

ON THIS BEING A GOOD DAY IN POINTS FOR HIM: "I'm not sure where that puts us but I saw a few guys that were having trouble. All I know is we finished second to a guy that was already up front in the points that's way up there that we can't really catch so I know it was a good day for us. These guys have been putting up that kind of fight a lot lately. We just haven't had the results show for it and today we finally did. I'm real proud of them."

YOU RADIOED IN THAT YOU WERE FASTER THAN YOU THOUGHT BUT COULDN'T CATCH HIM. "I didn't radio in that I couldn't catch him, I radioed in wanting to know the lap times and the difference between the two of us because I was trying some different lines and I wanted to catch him. I tried the high line there for a little bit and I thought I made some gains but I couldn't really tell so I asked them to tell me and it seemed like I was better on the bottom. Those last few laps we really made some good laps and we made up a lot of ground on him. I was getting pretty hopeful and I didn't want to see that white flag when I did."

HOW PLEASED ARE YOU ABOUT YOUR POINTS BOOST? "Today is a fantastic day for us. It builds momentum, confidence in the team, it gets us ready for California, big points. I couldn't have asked for a better day than this. It was an awesome day. Yeah, we were closing on Matt but I'll take it. I hate that I spun him in Chicago and maybe this is his way of kind of earning that win back that he might have had there."

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Tony Stewart, No. 20 The Home Depot Monte Carlo SS - Finished Third

HOW DID YOU WORK YOUR WAY THROUGH ALL THAT TRAFFIC? "I did my job. That's what the Home Depot and this racing team expect from me. Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief) and all these guys did an awesome job today. We had a really tight car at the beginning and just kept working with it and kept making adjustments. We just battled our way through. The pit strategy at the beginning of the race really separated a bunch of people, kind of got two different groups grooves going and that kind of helped us get up there too. It wasn't like we had to pass 33 cars on the race track so that helped a lot."

ON HIS RUN TODAY: "Everybody on the Hope Depot team did an awesome job. Zippy did a great job too. I felt really bad for Clint Bowyer there at the end blowing a motor. We had an awesome run going too. To come from 33rd to third like that was a good day for the Home Depot team."

ON HAVING A SOLID DAY IN THE POINT STANDINGS: "Yeah, as much as you want to race for these wins right now these next three weeks we have to worry about the points and then we can go back to racing again. We did everything we could do today to try to win. Matt (Kenseth) had an awesome car. Him and Robby and the guys on the DeWalt team did an awesome job and when Jeff (Gordon) got up to me there was no way I was going to hold him up. He was so fast there was no doubt he was going to get by so there wasn't any point in holding him up any longer. We had a solid day. Like I said, I felt bad for Clint Bowyer who had a good day going and lost a motor there at the end and I'm just really happy with our Home Depot guys. They did an awesome job today."

ON HAVING MOMENTUM WITH THREE RACES TO GO: "We're back to form now. I think we got some of this bad luck behind us now. This is the old Home Depot team back so I'm hoping we stay like this now."

ON MAKING THIS LOOK EASY: "We're just back in form I feel like right now. This is the way we were last year at this time. We just had so much bad luck before all this that I think everybody is kind of surprised now. Hopefully this is a sign that we're back on track and we've got all the battles behind us now."

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Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Monte Carlo SS - Finished Sixth

ON TRYING TO CATCH UP TO MARK MARTIN: "It was a lot of fun - I only battled him for 150 feet. I did catch him, we got side by side there at the end."

ON THE PIT STOP ON LAP 131 (YELLOW): "We got tight at the end and we lost a lot of track position on pit road - I don't know what happened exactly, you'll have to ask my crew chief. They messed up on something, maybe a lugnut."

ON JUGGLING THE BUSCH TEAM WITH CUP RACING: "It can be a headache. they know that this (Cup racing) is number one, my Busch team knows that. They do a good job of maintaining and doing what they can."

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Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Freight Monte Carlo SS - Finished Ninth "We struggled there. We weren't that great. We battled back there at the end. I know the potential of our car and I feel like we could have easily ended up top five had we been just a little bit better."

ON HAVING TOP 10 RUNS AND STILL SITTING WITHIN THE TOP 10 IN POINTS: "We're by no means a sure thing in there. We're just trying to survive and do all we can. It's still another a top-10 run for us which is good. It feels good to struggle and still run top 10. That's a good thing for us."

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Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Monte Carlo SS - Finished 11th "I got a little over anxious there in the beginning trying to get five points and just lost it. The guys did a good job repairing the nose and getting everything back. Then we had one set of tires there at the end that were really loose and just lost a lot of ground. They were able to make some great adjustments and come back and finish 11th so it wasn't too bad."

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Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS - Finished 13th "Yeah, we definitely fought. We came back and got a good finish out of it. I'm disappointed with how we finished. We got inside the top three and was really going to fight for the win. Now that those guys have had a few minutes to look at the car we found that the right rear tire is down 30 pounds of pressure so we had a slow leak luckily. That depends on how you look at. We're disappointed that we couldn't finish any better but the tire is almost flat sitting here and I guess we're lucky to finish. A great day. These guys, God, they impress me. When I'm down they pick me up, when they're down I pick them up. We had some mistakes today. I made a mistake at the beginning of the race. The 31 (Jeff Burton) was loose inside of me and drifted up. That made me real tight and then really ran out of race track and got in the outside wall. I didn't expect that to happen with somebody coming behind you real fast but it adjusted the gear enough. I'm real proud of these guys. I'm very, very happy."

IS THIS THE KIND OF DAY THAT PUMPS YOU UP FOR CHAMPIONSHIP RUNS? "Yeah, we'll always try to find a positive out of it. We'll take today and have our meetings and make sure all the guys understand we've been able to overcome a lot. We'll find some good out of it, definitely."

DO YOU FEEL LIKE THIS IS YOUR YEAR SINCE WHEN SOMETHING BAD HAPPENS YOU BOUNCE RIGHT BACK? "No, I don't have sensation. The reason I say that is because with 10 races to go that's when it really counts. We've been very fortunate. We've had good races. I think we've earned our spot in the top 10 so far but until we get in the final 10 we'll see how our luck goes then. I'm not getting too excited yet."

Travis Kvapil, No. 32 Tide/Downy Monte Carlo SS - Finished 21st "We fought a loose condition all weekend at the beginning of a run and it continued during the race. I really felt it on fresh tires and it cost us to lose some spots early on but after 10 laps it was really good and cars started to back up to us. This was a real solid run for us so I am very pleased. We continue to make gains and that's awesome for us."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Clint Bowyer , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch , Travis Kvapil