Jimmie Johnson -- ...
Jimmie Johnson -- #48 Lowe's Chevrolet
The problem was the adjustments we chose to make took a long time (like) spring rubbers in the right rear and taking them out of the left rear. My guys had some record stops doing those changes, but we just lost some track position. I'd restart out of the top 10 and have 10 or 13 lapped cars on the inside. So really, I'm 26th. I'd work my way through all those guys and then start picking them off one at a time. We had a better car than where we finished, but I can't complain about a top five.
WITH TWO RACES TO GO, IT'S STILL DO-ABLE Oh, definitely. The nice thing is that it's still in our control. We can win the championship on racing and not have to count on bad luck on anybody's behalf. It looks like we've also stretched out a little cushion over a couple of guys and don't have to worry about losing anything there. Tony (Stewart) is going to run strong and it's going to be five points here or there. That's just kind of the way it is. We've got some good tracks coming up. We did close up a couple of points. All in all, I'm happy. It's been a great performance all night long. The biggest problem we had was track position. We were making some big changes on pit road with the track tightening up. We had great stops on pit road putting rubbers and stuff in. But once we came out fifth or so and restarted outside of all the lap down cars, we struggled a little bit with that traffic. But all in all, it was a good top five for us.
Tony Stewart -- #20 The Home Depot Chevrolet
HOW WAS YOUR NIGHT? We didn't have the best car all night, but we had a real good battle there at the end. I'm real proud of my guys. This is the best we've run here at Texas. This is a good night for us.
MARK MARTIN CAME OVER AND TALKED TO YOU..WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT? It was just about the deal on the backstretch. I ran clear up to the wall to give him all the room but he just got too close and run into us and he came down and did what most of these guys won't do.they're too chicken to do it. He came down and apologized for it. We yelled at each other for a minute. And the good thing is I respect Mark because of that. I won't say most of these guys, but there are about 40 or 50 percent of these guys don't have enough guts to come down here when they did something wrong and tell you right away. They'd just soon sit there and hide behind and run to the trailer and wait for the phone call the next day. It's like I told Mark, 'I'm good with it now.' Anybody that's got enough guts to come down and talk about it has my vote. He was a man and came over and said he made a mistake. That's why I respect Mart more than anybody in this series. It hurt our car when it happened, but at least he came down and talked to me about it.
I gave him as much room as I could. I was clear up against the wall. I knew I couldn't beat him, but I wasn't going to give up any more time than I had to. He was just trying to suck up on the door like we do on these big tracks. He didn't mean to do it. Whether you're going to scream at him or not, he's going to come over and talk to you about it and get it resolved right away. I have no issues with him. I probably have more respect for him now before I came in here tonight.
ON THE OVERALL DAY Not terrible. I don't think we were going to win the race. Mark (Martin) was better than us and the No. 99 (Carl Edwards) was better than us. But I think we were gong to be good enough if we didn't get the fender pushed in to run in the top five.
HOW DO YOU LOOK AT THE POINT LEAD NOW? No different..the same as last week.
DID YOU GET CAUGHT IN TRAFFIC BEHIND CARL EDWARDS? I just got tight. We weren't as good as we were in clean air, obviously. But that's probably the best we've run here in a long time. So I'm really happy. We got up to the front with Matt (Kenseth) and we were a little bit quicker than him and then when the sun went down we really got loose all of a sudden. It took us the whole rest of the night to get caught up. The guys had an awesome stop that got us in the lead there with 40 (laps) to go. It wasn't exactly the night we wanted, but this is a better week than we had last week in Atlanta.
CHASE FOR THE CUP LEADER'S PRESS CONFERENCE
We were pretty decent at the start. We started 16th and got ourselves up in the top 5. We drove up to 2nd and got behind Matt. We wanted to lead and knew that he raced us hard and never cut us any slack. He was one step away from wrecking himself-he was sideways and all that. It just shows how important five points are right now. To fight hard like that. It was pretty tough. But we got a lap at the end of a pit sequence and went back out and it seemed like once the sun went down, we were just a little bit too free. Loose back to the gas. Zippy and the guys were awesome. They made awesome pit stop changes and we didn't want to go too far, so we kept sneaking up on it and finally got it where the car was pretty good there at the end. We just weren't as good as the Roush guys.
RE: A CLOSE CALL WITH MARK MARTIN AND WE HEARD A REPORT THAT YOU THOUGHT YOU MIGHT HAVE DAMAGED IT. It got tight after that, I don't know why. And I'm not going to say it because he's sitting here but I'm going to say it because but because it's true. He came right over and talked to me and that's why I respect Mark Martin more than I do anybody else in this series. Because whether you're mad at him or not, he's going to come over and tell you that you did wrong or he did wrong or whatever, and be done with it. Most of the guys in the series don't have enough guts to do that. I knew I wasn't going to be able to beat him. I tried to give him enough room. We're just doing the superspeedway stuff-you know that the closer you get to a guy the more draft you get out of him and you know, it got us a little bit. I don't know how much it hurt the car. It's like I told Mark, it just made my car a little bit tighter after that. There wasn't much we could do. Either way we ended up with a sixth-place finish and didn't hurt ourselves too much today.
RE: 38 POINT LEAD, OR DO YOU LOOK AT IT LIKE YOU'RE GOING TO PHOENIX AND YOU'RE NOT THINKING ABOUT THE POINTS LEAD? That's the way I've been looking at it the whole Chase. It really isn't.you look at it for a couple of seconds, but you're really racing the same guys. If you look at the pylon, the guys that we're racing in the Chase are the same guys we were racing for the win today. You know, it's not even really worth worrying about the points, it's about worrying what you need to do to win the race the next couple of weeks.
RE: DENNY HAMLIN'S RUN TONIGHT Yeah, he had an awesome day. He showed why he deserves to be in that FedEx car right now and basically, Denny keeps showing why he deserves a ride in the Cup Series. HE was patient today, he was aggressive when we needed to be. But most of all he brought the car home in one piece and had a top-10 finish. So, I'm really proud of him. I think this kid-he doesn't even realize his potential yet. But he's definitely somebody who's going to make a big name for himself there for sure.
WHY TWO TIRES AT THE END, NOT FOUR? I don't honestly know. I wasn't ready for two. He said Go, so I went. And the guys.I don't know if we all just missed him saying that but I think we probably would have been better off taking four at that point. Knowing how our balance was there. You know, when you're running for points like you are right now, you don't want to give up too much track position. I think that's probably what led to that position-not wanting to give up any more track position that we had to. It cost us a spot at the end, but it could have cost us a lot more than that if our car was just too tight and we couldn't get there to begin with.
Denny Hamlin -- #11 FedEx Chevrolet
Yeah, we were a solid top 10 car all day long. We stayed in the top 10 practically all but maybe 30 or 40 laps or something. But, you know, I can't say enough about the pit crew. They kept getting me out three or four spots ahead almost every time. The driver would lose it a little bit in the short run, but we would gain it in the long run. I'm just so happy for these guys and happy to be with Joe Gibbs Racing. You know, everybody has been behind me 120%. Since the announcement has been made and that's over with, the pressure is off and now we can build for next year.
HOW DIFFERENT WAS YOUR CAR FROM TONY'S TONIGHT? We all come to the race track pretty much the same. Tony's got a lot more experience and (he's) probably a better driver than I am. He can do things with it that I can't and wow, it's just another great day.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. -- #8 Budweiser Chevrolet
HOW WAS YOUR DAY? It was okay. It wasn't great. We were tight all day. We got a good finish of it. I was pretty happy about that. The car didn't drive as good as I wanted it to, or as good as my team wanted it to. I had to work real hard today, so it was a little bit more work than play. It's good to get a finish like that after all that effort.
Kevin Harvick -- #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet
Our GM Goodwench Chevy was tight off the corners from the beginning. We tried wedge, track-bar, and even took a rubber out of the left rear but nothing seemed to help it. I would start off loose once we pitted, then go right back to where we were.
Frustrating because after final practice yesterday I thought we might have a car that could contend for the win. Instead, the car just got worse and worse as the race went on.
Brian Vickers -- #25 GMAC / ditech.com Chevrolet
Yeah, we had a good car all day. A real good car. It took us a little while to get it where it needed to be, but right toward the end we had a real good car. About the second-to-last stop, we took the lead. And we had a left front going down. The car got really tight and we lost the lead because of it. We came out of the pits a little bit behind over that. We made some adjustments to help free it up center-off and just got it too loose getting in. And then we had a loose lug nut there are the end of the race and ended up at the end of the pack. We had a good car all day and the team did a great job.