Talladega, AL - With a sixth-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, extended his lead in the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The three-time and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion...
Talladega, AL - With a sixth-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, extended his lead in the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
The three-time and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion took the cautious approach in today's race running and avoided two major multi-car incidents to take the checkered in the back of the field throughout the majority of the race. He made his move toward the front late in the face to secure the top-10 finish at the checkered.
Johnson holds a 184-point lead over second place Mark Martin with three races remaining in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season.
Mark Martin, No. 5 Pop Tarts/CARQUEST Impala SS, was the victim of the final accident of the day and relegated to the 28th finishing position. He lost 63 points to Johnson to remain in the runner-up spot in the standings.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, remains third in the points order, eight points down to Martin after finishing 20th in the final shuffle that forced the race to a green-white-checkered finish on lap 191, three laps over the advertised distance.
Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Impala SS, moved to fourth in the Chase points order after finishing 19th today.
Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Impala SS, and Ryan Newman, No. 39 US Army Impala SS, were the victims of a multi-car accident on lap 182. The pair finished 35th and 36th respectively after Newman's car ended up upside down in the grass of backstretch. Newman was evaluated and released from the infield care center.
Stewart is now fifth in the standings with Newman sitting eighth in the points order.
Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Impala SS, finished fifth today with Brad Keselowski, No. 09 Miccosukee Indian Gaming and Resort Impala SS, eighth at the checkered flag.
Bobby Labonte brought the No. 71 TaxSlayer.com Impala SS to the finish in 10th place to give Team Chevy four of the top-10 finishers.
Jamie McMurray (Ford) was the race winner followed by Kasey Kahne (Dodge), Joey Logano (Toyota) and Greg Biffle (Ford).
The next race in the Chase will be November 8 at Texas Motor Speedway.
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS
INVOLVED IN MULTI-CAR CRASH, LANDING UPSIDE DOWN IN THE CAR -- Finished 36th: HOW ARE YOU FEELING? "Pretty sore. Just really disappointed. We had this race back here in the spring and complained about cars getting airborne and now ironically I'm the guy that gets upside down. I had the roll bars down on top of my helmet and stuck upside down inside my U.S. Army Chevrolet. It's just disappointing. I wish NASCAR would do something. It was a boring race for the fans. That's not something anybody wants to see at least I hope not. If they do, go home because you don't belong here.
"It's just a product of this racing and what NASCAR has put us into with this box and these restrictor plates with these types of cars. You know with the yellow line, no bump-drafting, no passing. Drivers used to be able to respect each other and race around each other. Richard Petty, David Pearson and Bobby Allison and all those guys have always done that. I guess they don't think much of us anymore."
WHEN YOU WERE UPSIDE DOWN YOU DIDN'T RESPOND TO YOUR TEAM RIGHT AWAY, CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH THOSE MOMENTS? "It knocked the antennae off the car. When they rolled the car back over the antennae wire connected and I criticized what was going on. It's no fun. It's disappointing. There's no good part of it. It's not even a good race for the fans and that's who we're trying to service is the fans. They can stand up and cheer when there is three to go with the green-white-checker. We're supposed to be racing all day long and I think we lost a little bit of that luster."
WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO WALK BACK HERE TO THE MEDICAL CENTER AND SEE YOUR WIFE KRISSIE, WE TALKED ABOUT IT BEFORE THE RACE? "I was glad to see her. I mean its emotional just like we talked about but it's not the way I wanted to see her after the race. I just got to thank ButlerBuilt, Simpson Race Products and all the guys at the shop and Hendrick Chassis what they do to make the cars safer. When I hit the roll cage and landed on my head I was a little worried and I was happy to be able to walk out of that in a roundabout way."
WHAT HAPPENED? "Just a byproduct of Talladega racing. Unfortunately. We got hit from behind that turned me sideways then I got up in the air and just kept flipping and flopping. Unfortunately, the cage came down on top of my head and I couldn't get out. Tough situation with the US Army Chevrolet. It was a boring race and it was a ridiculous race. To see 43 cars run single file is not showed up here today for. We'll see what happens."
WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE RULE ENFORCEMENT EXPLAINED IN THE DRIVER'S MEETING THIS MORNING? "The more rules, the more NASCAR is telling us how to drive the race cars, the less we can race and the less we can put on a show for the fans. As I said, I will go back in the day, Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, all those guys, they respected each other. In the end there were some big accidents, but geez, we don't need the cars getting upside down like this. This is ridiculous. There is way more technology than that to help us out. Whether it is a speed issue, a roof flap issue, whatever. I said it myself in the media center after the Spring race here, and now to be the guy standing here trying to live it all out again, I'm just happy I am living it out. But it is ridiculous situation. It is a shame that not more is getting done. I don't know. I guess maybe I expect NASCAR to call me. I am the only guy out there with an engineering degree. I would like to have a little respect on my end.
WHY DON'T YOU GO TALK TO THEM? "I am not going to talk to them. I just doesn't matter."
DID NASCAR CREATE THE BOREDOM OF TODAY'S RACE? "They have created a lot of the boredom because we couldn't race. It is survival. The race could have been 100 laps long and we could have had a great race. It is just not the way it is and it is unfortunate. I just hate it for the fans."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS -- Finished 6th:
YOUR POINTS LEAD IS NOW 187. ARE YOU OKAY WITH THAT? "I am good with that. That is a good number. Hopefully we're sixth with the way this thing is scored. I know some guys at the end were trying to make up some spots when the yellow was out which wasn't cool but we made it. I really have to give Chad (Knaus, crew chief) credit for coming in and pitting and putting fuel in the car. That's what set us up for this great finish. To be far enough ahead on the race track that I wasn't caught up in that big wreck."
CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? "No, I can't. I was really concerned under the red flag for (Ryan) Newman's crash and was like what do I do? How do I get to the front? Chad said these guys might run out of gas and I didn't want to believe too much in that because we're 25th and I don't want to hope for some of that to take place but they started running out of gas. There's another car then the No. 24, then the No. 5 hits pit road and I'm like man this isn't Halloween this is an early Christmas present. So we got through here well. Did not expect that. With the green-white-checker restart I thought we were 20th at the best and we came home with a top-10."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 POP TARTS/CARQUEST IMPALA SS
ARE YOU OKAY? "Yeah, I'm fine."
WHAT HAPPENED, WHAT DID YOU SEE? "Nothing."
SKY AND ALL KINDS OF THINGS, WAS IT TYPICAL TALLADEGA? "It was just a wreck. I hope everybody enjoyed the show there. I don't know what it looked like. It looked pretty exciting from my view point. I don't have a clue. I don't know what happened out there. So, I don't know. Congratulations to Jamie McMurray and that's about all I know about the whole race. I'll find out later I guess, I don't know."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS -- Finished 20th
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT WE JUST SAW THERE AT THE FINISH? "It's no surprise to me. I think we all know that's what's going to happen when we come to Talladega. You know everybody is pretty patient throughout the day and just waiting to get crazy at the end. You know it's going to happen eventually.
"A little disappointing for us on the DuPont Chevrolet just because we ran out of fuel. I felt like we saved a lot. I certainly didn't think we were going to run out right then but I guess I'm kind of glad we ran out when we did because we were at least able to get back out there and destroy our car."
DID NASCAR MESS UP BY TELLING YOU GUYS HOW TO RACE TODAY? "No, no; it just didn't change anything. As long as you can bump-draft period, you're going to have those kinds of incidences. Everybody really used their heads all day long and it was great. With guys staying off of you in the corners I think it definitely allowed us to get to the end. But we had more cars at the end and you know that it's going to happen coming down with a green-white-checkered finish. It's no different; same old thing as usual."
SEVERAL DRIVERS, EVEN RYAN NEWMAN AFTER HIS CRASH, SAID THIS WAS THE MOST BORING RACE HE'S BEEN A PART OF "Well, yeah, but the only way it's not going to be is for it not to be 500 miles. I mean we know what we're up against. And why go out there and beat and bang and turn one another sideways in the first 100 or 200 miles? You want to make this a really exciting race for the whole race, make it 200 miles. That's why the truck races and other races when they come here are so exciting. To me, our sport is about strategy, it's about longevity, it's about pacing yourself. I thought it was a great race. But unfortunately the rules that we have are going to play out. The cars suck up too much. And they need to change that for this race track or it's just going to happen every single time."
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN BETWEEN NOW AND THE NEXT TIME THE SERIES RACES AT TALLADEGA? "My recommendation to them a long time ago and still, is I think basically we're just punching too big of a hole and we've got too much power to go along with that if you take away from that wicker. I just think we've got to get the air turned back down to catch the cars a little bit more. I don't know what the solution is if it's wicker or if it's something else. I'm not an aero guy. I just know that we shouldn't be able to just get into that pocket and close up; there's two things: one, the car has so much drag that when you clear somebody it's just like putting the brakes on. And then the other side is that when you get close up to them, you just close right up on them. And when you take 40 cars or 20 cars and pack 'em, it's just bumper cars at 190 mph."
THE INCIDENT AT THE END, SHOULD THAT JUST BE LOOKED AT AS TALLADEGA RACING? OR IS THAT SOMETHING RELATED TO THE RULES AND EVERYTHING? "Well, I think this contributes more to it. But Talladega is always, on a green-white-checkered, is always going to be pretty hairy and crazy. But I don't think we had as much of that when the cars didn't close up as much. But then again, we didn't have the ability to pass as much. So I don't know what the solution is. I look forward to the day when I can watch this on TV instead of being inside of it. It's fun, exciting, and just so crazy at the same time, and you know what the outcome is going to be and that takes away a lot from the desire to want to go out there and race at Talladega."
WAS THE BUMPING WORSE IN THE STRAIGHTAWAY THAN USUAL SINCE YOU GUYS WEREN'T DOING AS MUCH IN THE CORNER; WAS IT A LITTLE HARDER? "Yeah, it was. I think everybody realized that they had to make it all up on the straightaway. But before, it was on the straightaway and in the corner. So I thought that part was better today."
WHEN RYAN NEWMAN LEFT THE INFIELD CARE CENTER TODAY, HE SAID THAT NASCAR PUT YOU IN A BOX; AND BECAUSE OF THAT, IT'S CLEAR THAT THEY DON'T RESPECT YOU AS DRIVERS. WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO THOSE REMARKS? "No reaction. I mean the car's in a box; there's no doubt about that. Ever since this car has come about, we've seen pretty much the same results here at Talladega. NASCAR obviously sees what's going on and we leave it up to them to make the call."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS -- Finished 19th:
"Not too crazy. It was actually really quiet. It made it a lot more quiet than normally you could bump all the way through the corner until something happened. I think that is why you saw so much single-file racing because you couldn't make anything happen.
"You couldn't do anything. You tired and then every time you would get in to someone's bumper, then you would life and you would lose that contact and half of a car length and the whole pack slows down. I wanted to run up front but you couldn't do anything."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR. NO. 88 AMP ENERGY GET ON THE 88/NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS -- Finished 11th:
"If they have to slow us down and run around these tracks at slower speeds, they have to make a smaller motor, make us run a smaller motor but be able to open it up so there is throttle response. Then slow the cars down with a little more drag or something. Them old cars in the 80s' didn't cut the wind like these things do. We have got them in ground and everything else advantage-wise to make it smooth and sleek and now we are having to trim the motors back to make the cars slower. It is probably the opposite of what needs to be going on. Probably need to open the motors back up and slow the cars down with the air.
"We have sort of out-engineered this race track somehow. You know what I mean? We over-engineered and the technology has sort of passed what they were trying to accomplish here when they built this place. But what we are doing now, is ok, but I don't think it is the best solution.
"We are going to go to Daytona and for two days. I don't know if NASCAR will get a shot to work on some new ideas. The race is pretty safe up until the end. You knew that. I don't think anybody wants to be out there and involved in what happens at the end. Dodging cars, seeing people flip upside down. Obviously there is something else that needs to be thought about. I am sure NASCAR will figure it out. They are pretty hard headed over there, don't like to admit they wrong sometimes."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR IMPALA SS -- Finished 5th:
"It's nice to finally get back in the top five. Luckily, our Caterpillar Impala SS was not involved in the incidents in the last few laps. Things are bound to happen in restrictor-plate events and luck was on our side today."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET -- Finished 21st:
"We had a really good Chevrolet today and the Shell-Pennzoil guys did a good job on pit road. We led a bunch of laps and its fun to race like that when you have a fast car. We just got too far out in front there and then got shuffled back towards the end. We were trying to working our way back up to the front and all it took was one car to spin and end our bid for a good finish. That's been pretty typical of the year we've had in regards to luck."
REGARDING THE WRECK WHEN RYAN NEWMAN'S CAR FLIPPED AND LANDED ON THE FRONT OF THE NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET: "I saw Ryan got hit from behind and then he came across the nose of our car. Then, he flipped in the air and the back end landed on my hood and windshield as it was upside down. I'm just glad he's okay. It was pretty calm out there until that point."
CASEY MEARS, NO. 07 JACK DANIEL'S CHEVROLET IMPALA SS -- Finished 25th:
"Our Jack Daniel's Chevrolet was fast today. We worked well in the draft and had some help from Kevin Harvick to get us the lead early on. It was unfortunate that we had the speeding penalty on pit road and then we had no place to go on that last accident. All in all, it was a solid day for us and we'll try to build on this momentum next weekend."
-credit: gm racing