Dover International Speedway
Mark Martin Scores Runner-Up Finish at Dover; Team Chevy Drivers Hold Seven of Top-12 in Race to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Standings
DOVER, Del - In what seems to be trending toward the norm near the end of a race, Mark Martin's crew chief, Lance McGrew, No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, took advantage of track position with a pit call to stay out when the final caution flew for the final time on lap 363 of the 400-lap race today at Dover International Speedway.
On the restart, Martin was the leader as the field took the green flag but had to give way to race winner Matt Kenseth with just 369 laps to go. The pair pulled away from the field and perennial fan favorite brought home the runner-up finish in the 400-lap/400-mile FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks.
Martin now sits 11th in the standings with 11 of 36 races in the record books.
Clint Bowyer powered the No. 33 BB&T Chevrolet from the 22nd starting position to finish in sixth place. He was credited for leading once for a total of 29 laps and moved up one place in the standings to eighth position.
Five-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, led nine times for a total of 207 laps when the no-tires, two-tires, four-tires strategy played out on the final stop as the field came off pit road. Johnson is second in the standings, 24 points out of the top-spot.
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet, also took four tires on the last stop and finished in 10th place to give Team Chevy four of the top-10 finishers. Harvick remains fifth in points.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 AMP Energy Sugar-Free/National Guard Chevrolet, also had a strong run the majority of the race and finished 12th to remain fourth in the point standings.
Ryan Newman, No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet, is seventh in the standings after battling handling issues that put him 21st in the final order.
Tony Stewart, No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, is 10th in points to give Team Chevy seven of the top-12 Chase contending drivers. He finished 29th in today's race.
Next weekend, the series takes a mental break from running for points to compete in the Sprint All Star Race for a $1 million prize at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night, May 21, 2011.
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET, FINISHED 2ND:
HOW GUTSY WAS THAT CALL TO STAY OUT AT THE END OF THE RACE WHEN EVERYBODY ELSE PITTED? “Well kudos to Lance McGrew and everybody on this GoDaddy.com Chevrolet crew here. I want to give a shout out to all our supporters here, CarQuest Autoparts and all the guys that support us. We ran good. But we were getting ready to finish 15th again and its been a shame because we have run that well a lot this year and finished 15th. And today was just a great Dover race. I love this place.”
SO WHAT IS LEFT FOR YOU TO FINISH FIRST? “Well, we would have had to be a little bit faster.” THE NO-TIRE PIT STOP, TALK ABOUT THE LAST FEW LAPS AND GETTING THAT 2ND PLACE FINISH “Well, Lance McGrew and the GoDaddy.com team deserved it. I want to give a shout out to CARQUEST Auto Parts and Farmers Insurance and everybody who supports us here, Chevrolet and Quaker State. We just about pulled one off there.”
And today was just a great Dover race.
HOW SLIPPERY WAS IT IN THE WANING LAPS OF THIS RACE? “It was almost dangerous.” REALLY? “Yeah. Before that last caution came out I felt like it was dangerous. I just didn’t feel like I could pass anyone without getting in a wreck; unless they allowed you to clear them. You couldn’t run side-by-side. It was great; a great Dover.”
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 BB&T CHEVROLET, FINISHED 6TH: ON TODAY’S RACE:
ON TODAY’S RACE: “Our guys worked really hard getting our car fixed up. We got up and led the race. I mean, we’re really working well together. Getting a little bit of confidence. Shane (Wilson, crew chief) is getting a little bit of confidence in himself. I’m getting some more confidence in myself. Just making better decisions. Obviously, probably two tires may have won the race right there, but, when he said four and that many guys stayed out or were on two, I really thought we would be able to get back up through them, especially, as greasy and slimy as the track was on restarts. But it just didn’t. Real proud of my guys on the BB&T Chevrolet.”
WHAT HAPPENED WITH YOU AND CARL (EDWARDS)? “Awe, man, I just loose in that slick stuff and he got in the back of me and about lost it. It is just racing. I mean, like I said, everybody was sliding around. He was pretty close. I wasn’t about to let him pass me at the end. (LAUGHS)”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET, FINISHED 9TH:
YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW THAT LAST STOP AND THE RACE SHOOK OUT: “I guess in our minds we didn’t think that would take place, so many guys taking two [tires]. It was certainly the call. I knew basically from the numbers we were in trouble when we left pit road and there were so many guys in front of us. It is just the way it is. We had a great race all day. Led a lot of laps but unfortunately, not the one at the end that counted. But solid day; in the pits and on the track. We couldn’t really get a hold of the track the longer the day went on, but we got some good ideas coming back.”
A LOT OF PEOPLE THOUGHT FOUR TIRES WAS THE RIGHT CALL THERE ON THE LAST STOP; DID THE TRACK CONDITIONS PLAY INTO THE FACT THAT THEY WEREN’T AS GOOD AS THE GUYS THAT DIDN’T TAKE ANY OR TOOK TWO? “Maybe. I think the track conditions more affected the balance of the cars, especially as a run went on. There at the end, I really think that it was just dirty air and track position was the issue why the four-tire guys couldn’t get through. You are just going so fast around here, even though it is just a one-mile track, that clean air, just cleaner air towards the front makes a huge difference.”
IF YOU HAD TO DO IT OVER AGAIN, WOULD YOU AND CHAD CHANGE THE CALL? “Looking back, it is easy. At the time, we had done four all day and we saw some two yesterday and it didn’t pan out. Four looked like the call so I have his back, it is no big deal.”
WERE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW THE FOUR TIRES DIDN’T HELP AS MUCH AS THEY DID?“I really was. I knew we were outnumbered once we came off pit road and saw so many guys who had taken two and one or two that didn’t stop, so at that time I knew we were in trouble. The numbers just don’t work in your favor, especially at this track so it was really a great race for the 33, the 99 and us and we finished like 7th, 8th, 9th or whatever it was so we had a great day, had a great race car and led a lot of laps and had great stops on pit road and we are doing things that we need to with this Lowe’s Chevrolet but I would love to be over there in victory lane but we will have to do that when we come back in the fall.”
EXCITING BATTLE BETWEEN YOURSELF, BOWYER AND EDWARDS ESPECIALLY ON THAT ONE RESTART: “Yeah, we were just racing even later in the run with the 99. Track position is just so important here and I let Carl go 4 or 5 times before that but with a pit stop or two before the end, it was time to race and we are here to race and I hope the fans enjoyed it. Carl and I had a lot of fun running side-by-side.”
YOU WERE UP FRONT ALL DAY LONG. IT SEEMED LIKE A LOT OF GUYS TAKING 2 TIRES AT THE END REALLY SURPRISED PEOPLE “Yeah, it really did. I think what was working in their favor was so many took two and a couple stayed out. And if you just look at the numbers, the four-tire guys couldn’t get back through there. It was one of those deals. Congratulations to the No. 17 team (Matt Kenseth). They made a great call and did a great job.”
GIL MARTIN, CREW CHIEF, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET, FINISHED 10TH:
TALK ABOUT TODAY’S RACE AND THE STRATEGY ON THE LAST PIT STOP: “We came in and got four and obviously, it is easy to say we should have stayed out right there. But, I really thought with 35 laps to go and the guys that were going to be up front like that, the tires were going to blow through them and it would have caused a caution if you didn’t have tires and you were going to be in big trouble. But the way it played out, it was again, a perfect storm for the guys that stayed out. You live and learn and sometimes you gamble different ways. But, today, the Budweiser Chevrolet was good all day so I’m happy with it.”
IS CLEAN AIR JUST THAT IMPORTANT HERE REGARDLESS OF TIRES? “Yes it does. That is the case, clean air is so good. But again, I think everybody was banking on there was 35 laps to go. If there would have been 20 or less, everybody would have stayed out just because of that reason. May, I tell you, it’s getting to be anymore where you can’t come on pit road at all. Like I said, live and learn. We’ll be alright.”
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET (SUFFERED A BROKEN TRACK BAR MOUNT DURING A LAP 334 CAUTION LAP), FINISHED 34TH:
ON TODAY’S RACE: "What a difference a week makes. The frustrating thing is that our Furniture Row Chevrolet was coming to life when the track bar mount broke during a caution (Lap 334). Our car really picked up steam during the second half of the green flag run before the caution came out. We were definitely in position to make a late-race charge and get a nice finish out of this race. I think we were running 16th when the mount broke. It hurts because we had a good car and wanted to continue the momentum from last week's win in Darlington."
-source: ford racing