Sonoma: GM teams race notes, quotes

Jimmie Johnson Scores Career-First Road Course Win at Infineon to Pick Up Fourth Win of the Season; Team Chevy Drivers Claim Three of Top-Five and Five of Top-10 Finishing Positions in Sonoma Sonoma, CA - Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet,...

Jimmie Johnson Scores Career-First Road Course Win at Infineon to Pick Up Fourth Win of the Season; Team Chevy Drivers Claim Three of Top-Five and Five of Top-10 Finishing Positions in Sonoma

Sonoma, CA - Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, checked another item off of his to-do list by capturing his career-first road course win in the Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. The four-time defending champion started second in the 43-car field and led 55 of the 110 laps in claiming victory number four of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season.

In claiming his 51st win, Johnson jumped to second in the standings with 16 races in the books and 10 remaining until the start of the Chase.

Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, extended his lead in the point standings to 140 points, the largest of the season, with his third-place finish in the 350K/110-lap/218.9-mile race.

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, finished fifth to give Team Chevy three of the top-five finishers in today's race. The four-time NSCS champion moved up two spots in the standings to fifth.

Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet finished ninth followed by Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Chevrolet in the 10th finishing position to give Team Chevy five of the top-10 finishers. Stewart moved to 10th in points while Montoya remains 20th in the standings.

A total of six Chevrolet drivers are currently in the top-12 Chase points positions. Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, remains eighth in the points order. He finished 27th today after late-race contact sent him deep in the running order.

Mark Martin, No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, finished 14th to move up to 11th in the standings.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, finished 11th today. Corvette Racing's Jan Magnussen, No. 08 hendrickcars.com Chevrolet, in his first NSCS start finished 12th in the final finishing order.

Robby Gordon (Toyota) and Kasey Kahne (Ford) completed the top-five finishers.

The Series moves to New Hampshire Motor Speedway on June 27, 2010 for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301.

***

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET, RACE WINNER:

WHAT WENT THROUGH YOUR MIND WHEN YOU SAW MARCOS AMBROSE PULL OFF TO THE SIDE GOING UP THE HILL? "I thought he broke or something. I didn't know what was going on. Unfortunate for him, he was the fastest car at the end and I know he is kicking himself for whatever went wrong there. You have to maintain pace car speed and they said he had to go back behind the No. 9 and I said 'Ok, I'll take this' and off I went and had a great day."

HOW GOOD DOES IT FEEL TO GET THE ROAD COURSE WIN? "It feels so good. I've been working really hard to get better as a road course driver. I have to thank Bob Stallings and Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty and Kyle Brannan and all the guys at GAINSCO Racing who have been working with me and letting me come and run their Grand Am car. It has been a big help. On top of that Hendrick Motorsports has been working so hard to get better at this stuff. We tested again and again and again and we are getting better. I'm getting better and we have all the tools here. Just an awesome day. I want to say hi to Channi, she is at home, she can't travel right now. Happy Father's Day to my Dad and it is also my Mom's birthday, so one heck of a day."

HOW HARD WAS IT FOR YOU TO SAVE THE REAR TIRES? "It was tough, especially with the No. 47 (Marcos Ambrose) driving away. I'm like, 'Man'. I felt like I was better than him throughout other parts of the day. So, I wanted to go, I wanted to chase him, but Chad (Knaus, crew chief) was doing a good job of talking to me and letting me take care of my stuff. And, in the end, that was what I needed to do because if I beat up my stuff, the No. 7 (Robby Gordon) or the No. 29 (Kevin Harvick) could have been there on top of us at the end."

YOU WERE PRETTY EXCITED ON THE RADIO TODAY, YOU'VE WORKED HARD FOR THIS ROAD COURSE WIN: "Yes, I have. It's been a big effort on my part. With my background in off-road racing, I felt like I would be a favorite in road course racing right away and it took a lot of years to get there. A lot of hard work from this team and I have to thank them for their efforts. Then I've been doing all I can. I've been running Grand Am races and trying to get as good as I can with that stuff. Today it all came together.

"I feel bad for the No. 47 guys, I drove my first Nationwide race for his car owners. I would have been happy if he (Marcos Ambrose). He had the best car and was up there in front of us and pacing the field. But, something happened there at the end. When they said he had to go back behind the No. 9 (Kasey Kahne), I felt bad for him, but not for long."

HOW SURPRISED WERE YOU WHEN YOU SAW HIM DROPPING BACK LIKE THAT? "I saw the car shut off and roll to a stop. I didn't think he could be out of gas, but I just didn't know what went on. Didn't think too much about it and hoped I could maintain that position on the race track."

THIS IS WEEKEND YOUR CAR OWNER, RICK HENDRICK GOT INDUCTED INTO THE HALL OF FAME AT SONOMA, IT'S FATHER'S DAY WEEKEND, YOU GUYS ARE GOING TO HAVE A BABY IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS, IT'S ALL KIND OF COMING TOGETHER ISN'T IT? "This is a great day for us. I've worked so hard to get better at the road course racing. Channi can't be here so I know she is at home watching it on TV, going crazy right now. It's my Mom's birthday today and also Father's Day so happy Father's Day to my Dad and all the fathers out there."

SO THIS YEAR YOU GOT BRISTOL AND A ROAD COURSE, IS THE BUCKET LIST COMPLETE? "It's not complete, I think we have four more tracks to work on to try and win at all of them. I'm just happy to get back to victory lane. Especially at a track that has been so tough on more over the years."

***

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 5TH:

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RUN HERE TODAY AT SONOMA? "Crazy. We had an awesome race car on the long runs. We needed those long runs. We weren't very good on the short runs. On the restarts you just got used up. Guys making it three wide and I'm as guilty of it as anybody. After they started doing it to me, I had to do it to others. There is some things that I'm not proud of that I did today; certainly with Martin (Truex, Jr.). I mean, I completely messed that up and I will try to patch that up. Other things that happened out there were just really hard racing incidents. We fought as hard as we could to bring the DuPont Chevrolet home fifth."

YOU HAVE BEEN ON BOTH SIDES OF INCIDENTS, HOW DO YOU HANDLE IT BETWEEN NOW AND NEW HAMPSHIRE WITH TRUEX BECAUSE HE WAS PRETTY UPSET ABOUT IT? "He should be, you know. And whatever is coming back to me, I understand. When you blatantly get into a guy like that, you can say you are sorry all you want and I certainly had no intentions on what happened with him. I have the No. 42 (Juan Pablo Montoya) behind me dive bombing me into the braking zone and where I made a mistake is trying to out-brake him. I will try and explain that to Martin. I fell terrible because Martin races and a lot of guys clean out there. He had a good run going and I ruined that for him."

IT JUST LOOKED LIKE SHORT TRACK RACING WATCHING YOU GUYS BEAT AND BANG OUT THERE TODAY: "It was pretty wild and crazy. I made a lot of guys mad today. I certainly owe Martin Truex and apology. He was just racing as clean as he could and I was racing with Juan Pablo (Montoya) and I just got in there and took him straight out. I feel awful about that. Other than you, you just had to race so hard there at the end. Guys were just running people off the race track. Running into the back of them. It was like being on a short, dirt track. I know we've made a lot of people mad. We finished top-five, we'll just take it. It tore our race car up and we never had a shot of winning after that but, a lot of guys didn't finish in the top-five like we did either, so oh well."

A GOOD POINTS TO YOU DESPITE HOW GUYS WERE RACING YOU AND OTHERS: "Kurt Busch had everything coming to him that I gave him because he gave it to me on the restart before that, so I don't feel sorry about that. I certainly do with Martin. With Elliott (Sadler), I feel bad. I was racing him hard, he was blocking me but we was trying to race somebody else too but that was probably my fault as well.

"There was a lot of that going on out there. I got a little frustrated because we had a good race car and we got shuffled there a little bit on some of those restarts and we were playing catch-up from that point on. Congratulations to Jimmie (Johnson). I know how bad he wanted a win on a road course and he did an awesome job today. Happy Father's Day."

***

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, FINISHED 3RD:

IF YOU COULD HAVE GOTTEN AROUND ROBBY GORDON, DID YOU HAVE ANYTHING FOR JIMMIE JOHNSON? "It really all started when the No. 26 (Boris Said) kinda got off the track and I got shoved high and off the course and I got shuffled back. I felt like I could run with the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) when it was time to go, I ended up getting back there and getting my car beat up a little bit, back in sixth or seventh or eighth or so. Just a great day for us. We did what we needed to do, had good strategy. Gil (Martin, crew chief) and those guys in the pits and the car handled good all day. Good day for us."

YOU WILL LEAVE INFINEON WITH A 140 POINT LEAD, THAT IS HUGE: "Yes, it was a great day for our Shell-Pennzoil Chevy. I felt like we could have raced with the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) at the end, but we just got stuck back there in traffic. In the end it was a good day so we are really happy"

WHY WAS IT SO AGGRESSIVE OUT THERE TODAY, MORE THAN WE HAVE SEEN IN THE PAST? "I think the double-file restarts promote a lot of that. You have to take what you can get and when you have guys on different tire strategies, it's hard to judge the speed. Then you have some slow guys and some guys that are faster so you have a little contact here and there."

***DARIAN GRUBB, CREW CHIEF, NO. 13 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE CHEVROLET -- Finished 9th:

ON THE DAY "We just struggled getting forward bite all weekend. The car was actually really good with balance left versus right, compared to what we had last year, so we thought we had a pretty good setup. When the track got slicker, we thought it was our strong point, but it went away pretty quick. Top 10 is not exactly what we came here to do. We came here to win the race. But, getting a top 10 and moving into the top 10 in points, that's what we needed to do."

***

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET, FINISHED 11TH:

THAT WAS A GREAT DAY FOR YOU GUYS: "We're pretty happy with the AMP Energy/National Guard team. The car wasn't that great for me all day. We ran a totally different setup than we had run in the past. Trying to learn and get better. Just think we might have taken a step backwards on the setup. But we saved the car and really saved the brakes and the sheet metal on the car until the end and then just threw it in the fire and try to come out on the good end. It worked out for us. You want to learn something every day. I just took care of my car the first half of the race and at then end, I just kind of jumped in the fire and hoped for the best and it worked out.

"We had some luck on the restarts really; where people were and how they were running into each other and stuff. It worked out for us real good on that one restart with 20 to go. It hurt us a little bit and we lost a couple of spots on that last restart, but it still worked out for us. It was a good day for us. I think you just do whatever the heck you want on the first part of the race and then you say, all right, we need to make it to the end. The thing about our car is that Lance (McGrew) said that might help with our car is that it wouldn't go after 20 laps so he didn't want to finish the race with anything older than 20-lap tires. So we kind of did that. We had new tires about 20 (laps) to go on that last restart before the last caution. It worked out. It was good. I ate up the car a little bit, but not as bad as some people. We didn't really get aggressive until the end. I took care of the car all day and the brakes were good. The car worked good at the end of the race. I don't get that pumped up about it; I just get relief to be able to go home and not be ticked off. But that's every week. I feel like I can run in the top 10 at the Glen on a good day. I don't feel like that here yet. Even when the car is handling good in practice like it had been in years past, I just don't have the confidence. I just sat there and watched the first half of that race and a lot of these guys were kind of taking themselves out of the race. I just wasn't really braking hard or running hard and was playing around with tires to see what saved them and what didn't. Nothing really worked. But I ran one run where I didn't even spin a wheel the whole run to see what it would do, but it didn't make a difference. At the end of the race I thought all right, if we're going to get something, let's get it. And a couple of holes opened up and we got lucky and got us up in the top 10 and we just tried to hold it."

***

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET -- Finished 10th

10TH PLACE IS NOT BAD BUT YOU PROBABLY WORKED AS HARD FOR THAT 10TH PLACE AS YOU'VE EVER WORKED BEFORE

"Yeah, when Jeff (Gordon) spun all the guys and we got hit and came into the pits and we couldn't put the left front tires on it and we ended up like 30-something. But it was fun. This Target Chevrolet was so fast today I had a blast. That's what we need to do is get good finishes and days like this when we can finish well are important."

WAS IT CRAZIER THAN NORMAL FROM YOUR STANDPOINT?

"For me it was! It was a little more aggressive than normal, but it was fun."

***

JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 09 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET -- Finished 12th:

ON HIS FIRST EXPERIENCE IN A SPRINT CUP STOCK CAR "Well, it was fantastic; unlike anything I've ever experienced. The first two hours compared to the last hour was a big difference. People got more aggressive. The last 20 minutes, it just got nuts (laughs)! Nothing prepares you for that other than doing it. So it was a fantastic experience all the way through.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST THING YOU LEARNED TODAY? "To stay off the wall; it tends to under steer afterwards."

ON THE NASCAR CHEVROLET VERSUS THE ALMS CORVETTE "You cannot compare the cars. They are two completely different worlds. It's like tennis and golf. And that's true. You cannot go and do any comparison. What you can compare is the way people drive. And they drive so aggressively, but still with respect! And that, I admire. They two two-wide and three-wide. That'll never happen in ALMS. Anyway, and not only in ALMS, but anywhere else I've run. If somebody is on the inside of me, I'm either lifting or falling off. So, but here, they allow you to race and to be two and three-wide; it was fantastic. I'm a little bit sorry that Carl Edwards came over to me after the race, but I got shoved into him and he spun around. He did not know that and was really angry. So I'm sorry for that. But this was a really great day for me. I learned a lot and had fun."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Hendrick Motorsports , Corvette Racing