Michigan II: GM teams race notes, quotes

Kevin Harvick Wins at Michigan to Become First Driver Locked into the Chase; Chevrolet Continues to Lead Manufacturers' Cup Standings BROOKLYN, Mich - (August 15, 2010) - Kevin Harvick took the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet to victory lane in...

Kevin Harvick Wins at Michigan to Become First Driver Locked into the Chase; Chevrolet Continues to Lead Manufacturers' Cup Standings

BROOKLYN, Mich - (August 15, 2010) - Kevin Harvick took the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet to victory lane in the CARFAX 400 to become the first driver to lock into the 2010 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup (Chase). It was the first trip to Victory Lane at Michigan International Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) for Harvick; the 14th win of his career and his third win this season.

With three races remaining until the start of the Chase, the victory added valuable bonus points to Harvick's tally when the 12-car field is seeded for the 10-race run for the Series' Championship.

Harvick led five times in the 200-lap/400-mile race for a total of 60 laps and extended his lead in the standings to 293 points.

His win is the 12th NSCS win for Team Chevy this season. Chevrolet holds the lead in the Manufacturers' Cup Standings by 30 points with 13 races remaining on the schedule.

After leading three times for a total of 36 laps, Tony Stewart brought the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet to the finish line in sixth place. Stewart jumped four position in the point standings to the fourth position.

Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Chevrolet, finished seventh today. He remains 19th in the standings.

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, finished 27th today after he suffered a flat tire following on-track contact and had to pit for repairs. He remains second in the point standings.

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, battled handling issues throughout the race and was scored 12th at the finish. Johnson is fifth in the points.

Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, also sustained damage in an on-track incident that relegated him to a 24th place finish in today's race and now sits seventh in the points order.

Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, moved up to 12th in the Chase standings with a 13th place race finish. He leaves Michigan with a 35-point lead over 13th place Mark Martin, No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet.

Martin made contact with the outside retaining wall early in the race and finished 28th today.

Denny Hamlin (Toyota), Carl Edward (Ford), Greg Biffle (Ford) and Matt Kenseth (Ford) complete the top-five finishers.

***

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET -- FINISHED 12th

"We overcame a lot today. We started the race good and faded a little bit and in the middle of the race when things started to slip from us, we did a good job of keeping our heads in the game and not letting it beat us down start making bad decisions. It's definitely not the finish we wanted but I think it was a big victory in a lot of other areas. At a few races this year we've had some struggles and you can all get frustrated and start making mistakes, but we kept our head in the game."

SO IT'S MOVING FORWARD NOW? "Yeah, when we lose our cool, we would miss an adjustment or two due to being frustrated and then we were an adjustment or two behind and could really never recover; and today we all kept our heads in the game and we did a good job of that."

***

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET -- FINISHED 27TH:

ON THE DAY "We had a great run going and I was really excited about how good the car was to be able to drive up from 36th and I really thought we were going to give those guys a run for the win there. But, everything that could have of happened did happen. We cut the front tire and got damage to the right rear (tire) the vacuum system we had a problem with that. I don't know if we caused that or if the system failed or what. We've never had a problem with it. Everything just went wrong there at the end."

ON THE CONTACT WITH JEFF BURTON, HE THOUGHT YOU WERE HAVING AN IGNITION PROBLEM; HE HEARD SOME POPPING "No, that was the cut tire. I just went in the corner; actually it was about halfway down the straightaway when I felt it go. I tried to pull to the inside but I couldn't steer it and yeah, I hated that. Jeff and I were having a great race all day and that ruined both of our days, probably. But that caused damage to our right rear and the car was just never the same after that. But then we started having the electrical problem or vacuum problem.

ON MAKING GAINS EARLY IN THE RACE AND PEOPLE SAY IT'S HARD TO PASS HERE AND YET YOU GAINED SO MUCH WITHOUT THE HELP OF A CAUTION "I don't think it's tough to pass here. I think this probably is the best place to pass on of all the tracks we go to because it's so wide and there are so many options of lanes. So, you've got to have a good car and we had an awesome car. We really did. But we also found out how important aerodynamics are here. All you have to do is look at that race car and the slight damage to the right rear made it so loose that I couldn't drive it. Mark Martin got in the wall early and I want to see what kind of characteristics the car had after that. But you know, it's a big, fast race track. Who knows what would have happened had we not had that cut tire. But the other vacuum brake system might have failed us anyway. So, who knows what would have happened."

ON THE STRENGTH OF THE RCR CARS "They're strong. They showed it all day. All three of their cars are pretty strong; especially Kevin (Harvick, race winner). This is the time to get momentum going into the Chase and leading the points. They've shown strength. They haven't gotten the victories on these types of race tracks and these are very important race tracks to win on right now. I think that was a huge win for them and I'm obviously disappointed for us."

DO YOU HAVE A STRATEGY FOR THE REST OF THE RACES? "Oh, yes; on finding a golden horseshoe out there somewhere. I don't know. We've just got to work hard and keep putting good race cars out there and you just hope that things turn around and come your way. That's the thing about the Chase. Your momentum can shift at any time. And it doesn't matter what you do. If you show that your cars are fast and you've got a good team, even if you don't win races, you can get one or two wins and all of a sudden the momentum is on your side and confidence and everything is there."

KNOWING YOUR CARS HAVE BEEN STRONG, DO YOU STILL HAVE A LOT OF CONFIDENCE IN THE SEASON? "Definitely. Oh, yeah. I think we're one of the best teams out there, honestly; especially on the 1.5-miles this year. But we're already 50 points down here and we'd be starting 8th or something like that if the Chase were to start tomorrow. We've got to get those bonus points and cut into those 50 that (Denny) Hamlin and Jimmie (Johnson) have and hope we can battle them to keep them from even getting more as well as the NO. 29 (Kevin Harvick). And now there are a lot of important battles going on to really get yourself seeded correctly in the Chase, but heads up, I think we can beat anybody in 10 races; especially the 10 tracks that are coming up in the Chase."

WERE YOU ABLE TO LEARN A LOT TODAY? "You always learn from things that go wrong. But our car was fast. So, I know there were some guys that struggled but that was not our issue today."

***

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY CHEVROLET -- FINISHED 28TH

"I ran into the back of the No. 82 (Scott Speed). He lifted for Juan (Montoya) and I didn't know it was time to lift yet and I pounded him pretty hard and that really messed it up. But I put us behind anyway earlier in the race getting up against the outside wall. So we got a little behind because of that too. It was, oh, I'll call it my mistake but we are racing hard. And that was a case of me racing too hard, too early for sure. But that would have been too hard even late because it messed me up; it would have messed me up late or early. I was charged up and excited and amped up when the race started and had to hammer down a little bit more than I control."

WHAT ARE YOUR CHASE CHANCES? "I don't know what they are. We'll keep digging. I don't know. Every race is a new race."

HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP THE DAY? "My guys did an awesome job. The car was really fast the last run but it took us the whole race to fix up my mistake. I was real aggressive early in the race and got the damage in the front. It got us a little bit behind first of all and then got the damage in the front end. We going to race hard like we did today and try not to have any more scrapes but we're going to go down swinging and that's what we did today. I'm real proud of the rebound that the guys made; we were pretty fast in that last run."

DID THAT SPEED LATE IN THE DAY GIVE YOU ENCOURAGEMENT? "I think we had a decent car. I don't know what we had because things started going wrong from the start. It was a great team effort and we'll keep pounding no matter what. We were racing hard."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya