Kevin Harvick Wins at Talladega; Team Chevy Drivers Scores Four of Top-Five Finishing Positions Talladega, AL - Kevin Harvick made the winning pass in the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet just feet before the start-finish line to capture the ...
Kevin Harvick Wins at Talladega; Team Chevy Drivers Scores Four of Top-Five Finishing Positions
Talladega, AL - Kevin Harvick made the winning pass in the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet just feet before the start-finish line to capture the victory in the longest race in Talladega Superspeedway history. The race, scheduled for 188 laps, made history being the first to utilize all three attempts at a green-white-checkered to decide the winner on the 200th lap. The previous records for both number of lead changes and number of drivers leading throughout the race fell as well with 29 race leaders swapping the top spot 88 times.
Harvick, who started fourth on the field set by the rule book as a result of qualifying being canceled, led just two times for a total of two laps in the Aaron's 499. The trip to victory lane jumped Harvick two spots in the standings to second, 26 points out of the lead. The win is Harvick's 12th in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition.
Harvick led a contingent of four Team Chevy drivers in the top-five finishers in today's race.
Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet, finished second just 0.011 second behind Harvick. McMurray led four times for 27 laps and moved up four spots in the standings to 17th place.
Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Tums Chevrolet, finished third after leading once for three laps. Montoya also moved up four spots in the standings to 20th position.
Mark Martin, No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, finished fifth. He led once for one lap and moved to fifth in the standings after nine races.
Clint Bowyer, No. 33 B&T Chevrolet, finished seventh to move back in to the top-12 Chase standings, now sitting in 11th place.
Mike Bliss, No. 09 Phoenix Construction/Graceway Chevrolet, finished 10th in the final order.
Points leader Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, was credited with the 31st finishing position after being involved in a multi-car accident on lap on lap 195 during the second green-white-checkered attempt. Johnson led seven times for nine laps.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet is eighth in the standings with at 13th place finish. He led five times for a total of eight laps.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, finished 22nd after receiving damage in a late-race accident. He led four times for four laps during the day and is 10th in the point standings.
Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, was also the victim of late-race crash damage and finished 32nd to drop to 12th in the point standings order.
Denny Hamlin (Toyota) completed the top-five finishers.
Next on the Series' schedule is a stop at Richmond International Raceway on May 1, 2010.
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET (IN VICTORY LANE)
ON THAT WILD FINISH "We were really tight on gas there toward the end of the race and was able to save enough gas for all the green-white-checkereds and we wound up in a position exactly where we wanted to be, right up against the car in front of us coming to the trivial and he made the one move to the right and I went left and it just worked out really good.
"We knew we needed to be the second car pushing coming to the start-finish line because you can make that one swipe pass there coming to the finish line. It was just a matter of timing. Our day worked out really well for us. We planned on riding around in the back to miss the wrecks and racing with about 50 to go. All of that worked out and we were able to work our way there and have the move that we planned on trying to be in position to make at the end of the race.
"I think the package NASCAR brought here worked out great. It is very forgiving. You can let out of the gas. You just don't want to be the very last car in the pack. While you are in the middle of the pack, you can do what you need to do and push and shove. It is more fun when they let us race the way we want to race."
DESCRIBE THE RACING "I think it was very typical Talladega. I think there was a lot of pushing and shoving, two and three-wide. The spoiler made it so you could pull back up on somebody if you made a mistake. You just didn't want to be the very last car. It was very interesting day and it played out perfect for us.''
HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO MAKE YOUR WINNING MOVE? "He made the move to the outside and I jerked left, so I was going the opposite way that he was going. It's kind of like that old theory, if you're the car leading the race, you don't want to be the one that makes that call. He made the move to the right and I just went left.''
WERE YOU WAITING ON HIM TO MAKE A MOVE? "I was waiting on him to make a move.''
DID YOU HAVE THAT IN YOUR MIND THE WHOLE TIME? "I was really waiting for him to make a move, but I knew I couldn't make it more than halfway through the trivial and he made the move going about halfway through the trivial and I made mine the other way. It worked out perfect. You couldn't have scripted it any better.''
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU? "I think it's great karma with everything that has happened this week with the sponsor and everything. I think it's kind of funny in itself. I think, all in all, it was really good for our team, good for all the cars that have been running well all year and we've been really close to winning races, but the karma thing is the best part.
IS THIS MORE MEANINGFUL THAT MANY OTHER WINS? "The best win is always the last win.
YOU MADE THE CHOICE TO TAKE A CHANCE ON THAT LAST LAP, WALK US THROUGH THAT LAST LAP "Yeah, I tell you what. Everything just played out just right for us. We had a plan to ride in the back....wait till 50 laps to go and then push forward after that. This Impala was great. I have to thank Jimmie John's, Reese's, SKF, Coke-Cola, Champion, Sherwin-Williams, Shell-Pennzoil, Team Realtree and everybody who helps us on this car and the fans that come out to support us every week and get to see finishes like that so.........and Sprint for everything they do for this series and we broke that drought. "
ALL THE WINS ARE SPECIAL BUT WHEN YOU HAVE THE CONTROVERSY AND THE STRUGGLES THAT YOU GUYS HAVE HAD TO GET BACK TO VICTORY LANE, HOW SPECIAL IS THIS? "Well, I think the best part of it is that our sponsor is leaving....and the best part of it is that they can leave while we are winning so that is the best part of the whole thing."
DID THEY HAVE TO CUT THE WINDOW NET TO GET YOU OUT OF THERE? "Yes they had to cut the window net off with a knife, so that was a first but winning here at Talladega......that was a first too."
JAMIE McMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS CHEVROLET -- Finished 2nd:
ON HIS RUN: "We had a another really good car. We rode around towards the rear at the beginning of the race and I really thought there would be a wreck with the way the spoiler is and the way the cars suck up. Not intentional, just guys getting into each other a little too hard, but everybody drove a really clean race. We were just able to put ourselves in a good position in the end. You're coming to the checkered flag like that, you only get to go one way and I really thought he would go to the outside, so I guarded that more. When he went to the inside, it really pulled my car around and you just don't have the momentum he has.''
TALK ABOUT THE RACING "It was actually a lot of fun out there. We had such a good rules package with the wing here, you didn't know how this was going to work. They did a really good job of picking the blade and the right (spoiler) and made the cars racy.''
ARE YOU FRUSTRATED OR HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MOOD NOW? "I'm just glad that I finished. We've had cars close to that fast all year and haven't been able to finish. You want to win, but there's nothing you can do. I did all that I could.''
ANYTHING ELSE YOU COULD HAVE DONE AT THE END? "No. You make your move there. You hope you go the way he does.
DID HARVICK PASS YOU BY GOING BELOW THE YELLOW LINE? "I was racing the car. I was more concerned with trying to side draft him then I was where we were on the race track. I don't know. I didn't see it.
YOUR MOVE AND HIS MOVE "You really only get one direction to go and I thought that I was low enough that he couldn't get underneath me so I was more guarding the outside and when swerved his car to the left, it pulled my car around. As soon as I realized he got underneath me, I was more concerned with side drafting to the start/finish line. I wish they could have crashed on the last lap when I got the white flag this time. I was thinking, surely they'll do it again. It's a good day for our Bass Pro Shops Chevy. I've got Johnny Morris here from Bass Pro Shops and his son and they're taking me turkey hunting in Missouri tomorrow. This will be a great race to talk about tomorrow.''
WHAT WAS FELIX ALL UPSET ABOUT? "I think he think he's the 29 went below the yellow line and I don't really have a comment because I didn't see anything. I was more concerned with side drafting the 29 then where we were on the race track. You live for those moments, coming off of turn 4 at Daytona trying to get to the start/finish line and the same thing here, that's what every kid drams of getting to do.
IS THE SHOW WORTH ALL THOSE WRECKED RACE CARS? "Well, we raced really smart today. I don't know if you guys watched, but we rode around toward the rear. Kevin and I actually rode together all day back there. I think everybody in the back of their heads thought that with the wing and the plate and everything that there were a lot of unknowns and that we were going to suck up too quick, because the cars did, they sucked up really well.
"We saw Ryan Newman get wrecked in practice and that was practice. I really thought in the first 40 laps we would have a wreck like that but everybody did a really good job. When it gets down to the end, you've got to get up there with 35 or 40 laps to go because if you wait that long the race is over because they're all running single file. If you're in the top five or six you have a shot. If you're 20, it gets three-wide or everybody gets to the top and you can't make a move.
ON THAT FINAL LAP "I knew that Kevin was going to wait off of turn 4 and I watched the race last year. When I looked in my mirror, I'm like I think he's going to go high and so you guard high cautiously that way and when he swerved left, it just disturbs the air on the car so bad, it felt like it was going to spin me out and so as soon as he gets in there, I knew he was there, all I was concerned with was just trying to get to his door and I did it with Kyle Busch at Daytona a few years ago. He made his move a little early and he passed me and then I passed him back. I knew that Kevin was going to get in front of me. I was just hoping that I would get that run back on the outside.''
CO-OWNER FELIX SABATES
"He (Harvick) was below the yellow line. They either have (the rule) or they don't have it. He was definitely below the yellow line. That's just pure b.s. It's just b.s. He was below the yellow line when he passed. He passed Jamie under the yellow line and the rule is very specific. You pass below the yellow line, you're the last car on the lead lap.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TUMS CHEVROLET, FINISHED 3RD:
"It was good. Luck of the draw where you went. It was good, we needed this result. It is important to finish well. We have three positives here so it is good. This is what we needed was a race like this."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET -- Finished 22nd:
WHO WAS AT FAULT TO THE ACCIDENT OUT THERE? "Which one (laughs)?"
THE BIG ONE THAT YOU WERE IN "Well, I got collected. I don't know what happened. I'm just excited that we finished on the lead lap, to be honest with you. I think it's been a while since we finished on the lead lap. We got a huge push down the back straightaway. I don't know who it was; maybe the No. 39 (Ryan Newman) or somebody gave me a big shove. And I was coming 10 mph faster than anybody and the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) is testing my patience, I can tell you that. It takes a lot to make me mad and I am pissed right now. You know, when a car is going that much faster, I don't know what it is with me and him right now, but whatever. But the guys did a great job of fixing it. I don't know what happened in the wreck. I just know the No. 31 (Jeff Burton) came across after getting turned and came down in front of me and we got collected, so we just did everything we could to finish at that point and we finished on the lead lap.
"I will say this; that was one heck of a race. I thought all day the racing was amazing. Yeah, there were times it got a little wild. We all knew it was going to go wild at the end but I don't think you could have asked for a better race. I applaud that rear spoiler!"
ON THE BIG CRASHES AT TALLADEGA "Yeah, that's kind of how it goes here. I mean it doesn't matter until two or three (laps) to go. And that's what I was so excited about is I kind of got shuffled back there and I got a shove from somebody. I've still got to find out who it was. I know it was a black car; that's all I could tell. But I got a huge hit. And the momentum and I was just gone. We were going to drive by some cars and the No. 48 decided to change three lanes and keep me from going by him. And that's just not cool when you've got cars going that much faster than you. So maybe he just didn't know it but we'll just take what we can get out of here and go onto the next one."
DOES IT GET A LITTLE OLD KNOWING THAT THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN AT THE END OF THE RACE? "Well it's now a lot of fun from a driver's standpoint to know that. You're just kind of holding on tight. Even when we didn't have any wrecks for the majority of the race, you just know that in those green-white-checkereds and closing laps that you've got to start pushing and shoving and getting so aggressive it's the only way you can make a pass and win the race, that you just know it's going to happen. You just hope that you don't get caught up in it. But we've been caught up in it I don't know how many times now; a lot lately."
DID THE SPOILER CHANGE THE RACE HANDLING MUCH? "I think that the driver attitudes, how we approach the race and just trying to mix it up but use our heads and you can credit the spoiler or whatever you want to credit, but it was great. There were a lot of strategies going on out there. There were guys who wanted to get up there and do the two-car draft thing and try to take the lead. We wanted to lead a lap or two so we got some bonus points but didn't feel like it was worth the risk to get the most laps led. So there were times when I could stay up front there. When I could, I stayed there. When I got shuffled out of line, I just went in the back and rode. There were a lot of different strategies that played out. It's a totally different restrictor plate race these days. It's something we all have to embrace and get used to because this two-car draft thing is what's going to win these races these days."
DIDN'T THINK YOU LIKED BUMP-DRAFTING "I think it's the dumbest thing you can do. For 90 percent of the races, it just makes no sense to me to sit there and just pound on a guy's bumper. They dropped the green and they were doing it. I don't think that's smart. That doesn't make any sense to me. I don't know how you expect to get to the end of the race or what you're really accomplishing by doing that. I've always expected it toward the end of the race. And there is no getting around it. It is what it is."
AFTER TALKING WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON, HOW DISAPPOINTING IS IT TO HAPPEN AGAIN THIS QUICKLY? "Yeah, it's disappointing. I don't think it was a very smart move. These cars sometimes get such a shove and sometimes you get so much momentum it's just more of a coincidence that it was him. But I mean, you turn the wheel left like that when a car is coming and somebody's going to have a problem. I did everything I could to keep from wrecking him. I did. I saw what he was doing and I know I couldn't go underneath the yellow line to pass him so I did everything I could to check up but somebody was still pushing me and turned me and I actually got into him. But he's been testing my patience and it's about reached its boiling point."
DID YOU THINK YOU WERE OKAY AT THAT POINT AFTER YOU GOT SHUFFLED BACK AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN THE THING WITH JEFF BURTON "I didn't know what kind of right front damage I had after I hit him. But I thought the car felt like it was still fine and a lot can happen here in two or three or four laps. So I didn't think we were out of it by any means at that point. And I knew green-white-checkers would be coming into play as well. And then I saw a car out of the corner of my eye get sideways and then go across my hood and then the No. 31 (Jeff Burton) came across there and I couldn't miss him."
ONLY 13 PEOPLE DID NOT LEAD A LAP TODAY. THERE WERE MORE LEAD CHANGES AND MORE LEADERS THAN ANY OTHER NASCAR RACE IN HISTORY. WAS IT CRAZY OUT THERE? "It was a lot of fun for the majority of the race. It was crazy at the end like it always is. But the thing I think we're all trying to embrace here is that we're competitors and we all want to win the race and want to get ourselves to the end of the race. We can't forget the dedication of these fans to travel as far as they travel to go out there and pitch tents in the infield when tornados are coming and just sit there and ride single file to get to the end of the race. And that's what I think was cool about today. There was a very short period of time that that happened. Most guys when they got single file said ah, let's take a shot at it. And this two-car thing allows you to do that.
"But I think it's driver attitude and I think our attitudes are just going out there and putting on a good show and keeping it entertaining and then go racing. Let's be honest. This race only needs to be 10 laps (laughter). So you've got to figure out how to entertain yourself and the fans and try not to wreck for the rest of the race."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET -- Finished 31st:
WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE? "There were two or three cars off the pace and there was a big group of us going by them. And the No. 33 (Clint Bowyer) and maybe the No. 6 (David Ragan) were on the inside and then the No. 16 (Greg Biffle) was kind of in the middle and we were all going around them. And as I trying to fish my way through the center of those three cars, unfortunately the No. 16 I just slightly touched and it knocked me a little sideways and then I lost control of the car."
DO ALL SMARTS GO OUT THE WINDOW WITH 20 OR 25 LAPS TO GO? "Yeah, without a doubt. So there will be something exciting coming up for the finish. It's just part of it. I was trying to squeeze through those guys and the hole closed."
WITH ALL THAT'S GOING ON, DOES IT REALLY MATTER WHO LEADS THE RACE AT ANY GIVEN TIME IN THE RACE? "No, I mean we're just putting on a good show and having fun. The package allows you to pass for the lead a lot. I've put the responsibility for all the racing we saw and the lead changes due to the fact that NASCAR created a certain package. So from there, we saw the lead changes."
IS IT JUST GETTING OLD THAT THESE BIG WRECKS HAPPEN AT THE END OF THESE RACES? "You know it's going to happen. We all do. I've been fortunate to miss a lot of them. I just hope to miss the fall when the points are really on the line."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 71 TAXSLAYER.COM CHEVROLET -- Finished 23rd:
"The car was good at the beginning of the race. I was able to keep it in the draft and had guys that I could run with to stay up with the front pack. The car was fast up until three to go. Toward the middle of the race the 24 and 48 pulled up beside me and that just bogged the car down a lot and really slowed me up. I got spun out after I lost the draft when the car behind just tried to help too much. When you fell back you just couldn't get a run without the right help. I passed the 19 car going into One and Two and then he a had a heck of a head of steam coming up the back stretch, I tried to block him by staying in the middle and then the 59 went to the outside and all of a sudden the 39 came down in front of me and we were in the wreck. We didn't need that to happen.
"There really wasn't much difference from the beginning of the race to the end as far as the car. At the beginning we were in the front and I think some guys were laying back. At the end everyone starts to come and that is when you need to go. It is tough to say what happened. Why was the No. 1 car so bad at the beginning and ended up second. The answer is that is Talladega. We have a long week in front us. We don't have a sponsor for Richmond, so we need some help for next week."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET, involved in multi-race accident late in the race:
"I just got hit from behind. I think the No. 20 hit me. I had a run on outside, we were four-wide. He just hitting me, hitting me, hitting me and just turned me around. Just the way it works. I would have done the same thing to him. We all never lifted coming up to turn three. It was going to happen, it was just a matter of who it was and where it happened. I have to thank Office Depot for jumping on and sponsoring us for this race and Haas Automation. It is Talladega."
"I saw everything in front of me was good, but I was the one that got hit. Joey (Logano) hit me and turned me around. It is just the way it works. It is unfortunate. I felt like anybody did anything wrong but it is a product of the racing here, or product of what happens here. It's not racing.
"I'm not mad at him. It is just the way it works. I told Elliott (Sadler) who asked me what me happened, 'Dude, I was wide open driving right on in to you because I got hit from behind.
"I was thinking about when I was out there, these shouldn't be points races. If they want to have these races for the fans, just let us come here and do this but don't let it affect our championship because it's not racing. If is NASCAR racing, we should be here for the Talladega Event Marketing or something like that. Something different besides racing.
"I was actually worried about Elliott getting up in the air because I hit him and when I clipped it should have kicked his car up a little higher. I was just happy I am able to walk away from it. I wish I could at least crash once and drive away, so I can still drive it back without having to go to the infield care center."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET, involved in a multi-car crash on lap 182:
"I was getting in the top lane and the No. 09 (Mike Bliss) doesn't have a gas pedal I guess, he just stayed in the gas and right reared me as if I wasn't there. There is a reason he doesn't run here every week."
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET, retired from race on lap 100 with engine failure:
"We did have a really strong car. The Furniture Row Chevrolet was real good today. Real proud of the guys, they built a race car. We've always had good speedway cars but this one was really strong. I don't know something of the end of the motor looks like it probably went. I can't complain, Hendrick builds us great motors and we very rarely have trouble with them. It is what it is. We'll go to Richmond and have a good run there."
RYAN CONIAM, CREW CHIEF NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET:
"It's too early to say what caused the engine failure. There was no warning, it just blew up. It's really disappointing to have this happen after running in the top-10 and top-five all day. Regan was in cruise mode, just trying to stay out of trouble. We talked before the race and debated to hang in the back or go to the front. Regan chose to go to the front and did a great job there. He's a hell of a plate racer. When we did get shuffled back it was only to 10th to the14th positions. That's one of the discouraging parts of this engine deal because it appeared we weren't going to get hurt too bad when we got shuffled back."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET, FINISHED 13th:
"The National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet ran pretty good. But when it counted at the end, we just didn't make the right moves. The bottom line didn't go very good and that last restart cost us a few more spots. I'm pretty happy to come out of here in one piece with all of those green-white-checkereds. A lot of cars tore up. It was a pretty fun day and I was real happy with the car and how well we ran. The pit stops were great. I got one really pit entrance, it was a lot of fun under green. I lost spots there. Otherwise, just hoping to get some luck getting around and get in a lane that was going to go in the end. We just didn't. I take full responsibility for that. Cars in one piece to take home and get ready for the next one.
"It was just the luck of the draw at the end, it is a lottery. That is all it is.
"I thought that the wing (spoiler) is good but it is too big. Creates too much drag for me. My personal opinion it creates to much drag and we are running all over each other too easily. I just don't like the drag it creates but it is better than the wing.
"The two-car pushes have been happening here for a couple of years now. It doesn't really help you. I don't know how the race was won at the end, but any time before five laps to go, it's really pointless to do it because you get shoved way out there and then everybody just runs over you coming right by, later on, a lap or two. It isn't a good practice but it is just something to do.
"I was working with everybody out there. I was hoping me and Tony Stewart were going to hook up there and get to settle it between ourselves, but we got shuffled around late on a couple of those restarts and split up. I was wanting to work with him pretty bad because I feel like me and him know what we are doing when we work together we seem to have good results. Tony went to the outside of the No. 16 and I didn't want to go up there, he was running him up the track/ So I was like all right, I'm going through the middle. I had pushers pushing me. If I would have gone up with the No. 14, we'd have all get passed by the No. 56 and No. 18 and all of them. I just didn't think it was the thing to do and the No. 16 was running him up the track enough for me to make it four wide pretty comfortably.
"I told him (Stewart) to hug the line the best he could. I wish he would have pushed that No. 16 and let me get back to his bumper. I don't know what would have happened. I just didn't want to go up that high. The No. 56 was not going to follow me, the No. 18 wasn't going to follow me, we were going to lose all them spots. We finished back there anyway so it didn't really matter.
"I gets real old knowing these wrecks are going to happen late but you have to show up, part of it. (smiles) You don't like the big wrecks. I got over the frustration of that a long time ago. I have probably caused a few. That is just the way racing is here. They were having big wrecks even when the cars were more spread out back in the mid-90s when the plate came. They still had some pretty good crashes. I don't think they need green-white-checkers here. Maybe one is enough. It gets expensive. Man, we are in a tough economic environment and know it is great seeing cars hitting the fence and drivers climbing out and everybody getting excited about the drama that brings. It is exciting. It is wild to witness something like that. It is just not a good practice I don't think so maybe, just for this place, cut off two of them. Maybe both here an Daytona.
"It is a lottery, points racing, racing for a championship shouldn 't be a lottery. These races here are lottery picks. You make your own luck. (Kevin) Harvick deserves a lot of credit for doing what they did to win the race. From there on back, I don't know. Winning sometimes is a lottery too. It is just chance so much. It is not really about someone's car handling better or somebody's motor being better. The cars might as all be kit cars for these two races."
-source: gm racing