Second, third finishers press conference

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chicagoland Speedway Post-Race Transcript July 12, 2008 An Interview With: JIMMIE JOHNSON - 2nd KEVIN HARVICK - 4rd THE MODERATOR: We are joined by tonight's third place finisher, driver of the No. 29 Shell Pennzoil...

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chicagoland Speedway Post-Race Transcript
July 12, 2008

An Interview With:
JIMMIE JOHNSON - 2nd
KEVIN HARVICK - 4rd

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by tonight's third place finisher, driver of the No. 29 Shell Pennzoil Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick. Kevin, tell us about your run tonight.

Q!KEVIN HARVICK: We had a good car all night. We've kind of struggled for last few weeks with good cars and just haven't quite finished where we've run all night, and tonight we finally got everything to go in the same direction, the right direction, and you know, finish it out.

It was a good night, proud of all my guys. We built new cars the last couple of weeks and building all new cars going forward, so they have worked really hard to get these cars done, and you know, the engine shop's been really making up some ground.

So hopefully we can gain some momentum and keep everything headed in the right direction these next few weeks heading to the end of the Chase.

Q: You had the best seat in the house at the end there and almost worked your way into that big finish. Can you tell us what you saw and what it was like it there?

Q!KEVIN HARVICK: I thought I was in a pretty good spot to tell you the truth when the 18 got up on the outside of the 48, the 48 looked like he needed momentum. Looked like his car was free, I don't know if it was or not. Looked like he needed to carry the momentum all the way to the outside, and the 18 was there and did a good job on the restart and made it stick and made it happen. I thought we were might sneak one through there, but still, a good night for us and exciting finish.

Q: On that restart, did you think you had a chance when you saw J.J. get a little wide to go and catch Kyle?

Q!KEVIN HARVICK: Well, we don't ever give up until it's over. In those situations, it's very easy to kind of, you know, get loose underneath somebody or something happens, so you just go as hard as you can. And I really thought, yeah, we had a shot, and we were just a touch off of those two guys for most of the night and kept ourselves in position. I felt like we were better than everybody behind us.

Still, a good night for us, exciting finish. Felt like the series came off probably the most exciting race that we've had with this car last week. It was fun to be a part of and probably fun to watch and another exciting finish tonight. I feel like everything is going good with the cars.

Q: The cars are so different now. What do you think has carried over for you from the early days when you won here to today running so well?

Q!KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, we've always run really well in everything that we've been able to run here. And you know, we came here the very first time as a company and had a great test, and ever since that point, it just seems like we've run well and just fits my driving characteristics and the things that we do with the car, and we've been able to adapt every time we've come here.

So you know, luckily we're able to put the whole night together tonight and capitalize on one of our better racetracks and make it happen.

So it's just one of those tracks that just fits your driving style and fits the things you do as a company with your engine and your cars and your setups and things like that.

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by the second place finisher, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, Jimmie Johnson. Tell us about your run tonight.

JIMMIE JOHNSON: Not bad till the last lap. Good performance for the team.

We've been working very hard to be back in race winning form, and I think the last two or three weeks, maybe even the last four weeks, we've been there. If you look at Michigan, I can't remember the tracks before that, but we've been running up front and doing a good job.

So, very proud of the effort. We had a great car there at the end, past the 18, got going and the last restart should have given him the inside. There's no way I thought with how good my car was that I couldn't have got away from him through one and two and somehow he got to be outside. And as soon as he broke the plane in my bumper, I knew I was in trouble, and sure enough, I was.

Q: You've agonized over giving him the inside instead of the outside. When you're coming down to this, was there any decision made before you headed off into turn one?

JIMMIE JOHNSON: If I would have been thinking, absolutely. If I think back to passing Kenseth and passing I guess Bobby Labonte, I got to the outside of both of those guys coming to the checkered flag and it worked out; and seeing a lot of different races won by guys just giving up the bottom, you know, the leader just gives up the bottom and the outside you can hang on for a lap or two and surge ahead at the start/finish line.

I really wasn't thinking defense. We had such a good car, I thought I would get away from him on the restart, and he got a great start and was right there with me and just broke past that bumper plane through the center of one and two, and that was it.

So looking back, if I could do it over again, I would have played more defense on that restart. I thought with how we had been running, I was in good shape.

Q: You said even though you had the last restart, you felt like you could deal with the 18 car or at least challenge him, because you did pass him and you were pulling away at the end.

JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, a few guys, the 29 at the end of the race showed they had good pace. It's nice to see these Chevrolets running up there where we should.

We've all been working really hard to catch up this year and looks like we are all making good ground right now. Those guys are still strong. Kyle probably led the most laps from what I saw inside the race car tonight, but to have a couple Chevrolets racing up there with him at the end says a lot for the hard work that's going on.

Q: You talked about this race being a good race not just for yourself but for everybody; can you talk about how much the difference of this race being at night made this a better race and maybe a better race at one and a half mile tracks at night?

Q!KEVIN HARVICK: I don't think from our team in particular, I don't think we noticed any huge characteristic changes from what we did in the day to what we did in the practices during the day.

The car was pretty consistent from day tonight for us, and so we actually didn't change anything from practice to the race and just made minor adjustments through the race, small wedge adjustments and air pressure adjustments and that was it. Not a huge swing handling wise on the race cars from day tonight for us. Maybe it affected other people differently, but you know, night racing is always fun. It's cooler in the car, so that's a good thing.

Q: You were so strong the whole race, even the finish was so strong, how was it racing under the lights, and do you think that had anything to do with the finish?

JIMMIE JOHNSON: No, I think the fans like night racing; the drivers do. We all enjoy it once the race starts. It's a long Thursday, Friday, Saturday, waiting to get on track, that part's no fun but once we get going I think everybody enjoys it and puts on a good show for television and puts on a good race.

THE MODERATOR: Guys, thank you. Congratulations.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson