Watkins Glen: GM teams race quotes, notes

Wild Day at the Glen Yields Fifth-Place Finish for Martin Truex, Jr. Team Chevy Drivers Hold Five Spots in Top 12 with Four Races Remaining to Start of the Chase Watkins Glen, NY -- Team Chevy driver Martin Truex, Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro...

Wild Day at the Glen Yields Fifth-Place Finish for Martin Truex, Jr. Team Chevy Drivers Hold Five Spots in Top 12 with Four Races Remaining to Start of the Chase

Watkins Glen, NY -- Team Chevy driver Martin Truex, Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Impala SS, finished fifth in today's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Watkins Glen. Truex, who started 18th, had methodically worked his way through the field to be a contender as the race wound down. Just when the Dale Earnhardt, Inc. driver looked ready to make his move to challenge for a top-three finish, the melee of the day occurred.

The race had gone smoothly, just three cautions for seven laps, until lap 84 when a nine-car wreck on the frontstretch on a restart forced the race to be red-flagged for 43 minutes, five seconds.

Truex came through unscathed and went on to finish fifth and move to 16th in the standings.

Team Chevy holds five of the top 12 points positions as the Race to the Chase winds down.

Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala SS, finished sixth to gather valuable points keeping him 11th in the standings with four races remaining until the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, led once for two laps and finished the race seventh. The strong run for the two-time and defending NSCS champion moved him to third in the standings.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Impala SS, looked to have the car to beat early in the race, leading twice for a total of 33 laps. But an ill-timed caution took away the team's pit strategy for the race and mired the Hendrick Motorsports driver deep in the field. He finished 22nd and now sits fourth in the point standings.

Jeff Burton, No. 31 AT&T Impala SS, started fifth but had trouble on a pit stop and lost the Richard Childress Racing driver valuable track position, relegating him to 17th in the final order. Burton sits fifth in the standings.

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, lost radio contact with his team when they were closing in on the first green flag stop of the race. The delay in getting Gordon to pit road put the four-time NSCS champion deep in the field, and coupled with handling issues, he was never able to recover. He finished 29th in the race and remains sixth in the standings.

Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS, struggled with the handing of the car throughout the race and dropped to 13th in the standings, just 22 points out of 12th, with a 23rd place finish in today's race.

The series moves next to Michigan International Raceway on August 17.

***

MAX PAPIS, NO. 708 HAAS AUTOMATION IMPALA SS, INVOLVED IN A MULTI-CAR ACCIDENT ON LAP 83:

ARE YOU OKAY? "I'm fine. I'm broken in my heart because the guys at Haas Racing were doing an awesome job. Strategy was perfect and we were ready to attack for the last nine laps. We went into the last corner and I know with nine (laps) to go, you've got to get up on the wheel and push hard, but that's too much. I don't know exactly what happened; I need to see the replay. Pushing and shoving is okay, but that was crazy. It was just crazy. There were cars everywhere. I had nowhere to go. And unfortunately you know, I want to see the replay, I can't really say much. But definitely it's heartbreaking because we were bound to do a great race.

WE ARE GOING TO SHOW THE REPLAY RIGHT HERE AND GET MAX'S REACTION: "Wow. I guess there was really not much place to go. Yeah, here we are. Too bad. You know they kept pushing and shoving in the last 10 laps; pushing and shoving on the back. Wow (as he sees footage again). It is what it is. Unfortunately I ended up in my second Cup race in the wall; that's not what I wanted. But it was a blast. I had Jeff Gordon right in front of me and I was ready to attack. And it was a blast anyway. Hopefully nobody got hurt.

"It was crazy, came out of the last corner, someone pushed me in the back, the next thing I saw was kind of a black car in the middle track smashed from the back to the side, then my car was destroyed. I know when it comes down to nine to go, it you need to get up to the wheel and push hard, but that was too much I think.

"I banged the steering wheel so hard, I think I bent it from how upset I was. We put the Haas car in a position to finish for sure strong. We had the right strategy, we had the right fuel, we were attacking. I had Jeff Gordon right in front on me, we were catching him. It was a dream coming true and unfortunately we ended up in the wall. But we will be back.

"I just want to understand who started all of this, cause that is crazy. Someone hit me in the back first, spun my car around. The next thing there was a black car stopped, I was wide open, let off and on the brake, someone was pushing me and I ended up in the wall.

"It was a heavy impact against the wall, but my Chevrolet car was awesome. With the Hans device and the protection of God, I am alright."

ARE WE GOING TO SEE YOU BACK IN A CUP CAR ANYTIME SOON? "I'm going to continue my duties and test for Hendrick Motorsports on the road courses and want to thank all the race fans for supporting me, and for my family and God to protect me, and I'll see you next round."

***

MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS, FINSIHED 5TH:

"It was a lot of fun out there today. I just want to thank all my guys on the Bass Pro Chevrolet. We had a really good car all day. We charged from 17th where we started early in the race. For a long time we were one of the best cars on the track. That last set of tires we got a little bit too loose but had a lot of fun out there today. Just want to thank Bono (Kevin Manion, crew chief) back at the shop for building this new car. All the guys there that continue to work so hard day in and day out. Had a great engine under the hood today so I got to thank ECR engines for that. Just a lot of fun today. It was great to get another top-five. It's been a while coming."

***

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, FINISHED 6TH:

"We ended with a good finish for our Shell-Pennzoil Impala SS. It was a great points day for us but just as important, it just continues to show how strong our team is. We started out loose and wheel hopping, but Todd (Berrier, crew chief) made good pit calls and we kept getting the car better as the race went on. We needed a couple more cautions to pit for more adjustments, but all in all, we rallied from a car that wasn't quite right, to a good car at the end."

***

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 31 LOWE'S IMPALA SS, FINISHED 7TH:

"I'm really proud of the guys. We were good all weekend and just came up a little short. We battled a tight racecar and had a tire go down early on but we were able to battle back and get a good finish."

***

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS, FINISHED 17TH:

"The AT&T Impala SS was pretty decent. We stuck to our pit strategy and unfortunately we had trouble with the rear tire and lost some spots. All in all, it was a decent day. I can't complain. The AT&T Racing team constantly works hard and I have faith that we'll back to our top 10 form."

***

RON FELLOWS, NO. 01 BASS PRO SHOPS/RED HEAD IMPALA SS, FINISHED 11TH:

HOW DOES THAT 13TH PLACE FEEL FOR A GUY LIKE YOU WHO IS USED TO WINNING HERE AT WATKINS GLEN : "I have to admit that on a personal standpoint, it is a little disappointing. The guys at the No. 01 worked hard and got a satisfying points finish in their situation but for myself, I don't mind not winning but I mind not being able to contend. We weren't contending today. The guys found out a last-minute problem with the front-end geometry which forced us to guess at the set up. We went stiffer that Sonoma in the front and the back but the way the tires reacted, I believe we were a little too stiff. We should've been able to get a top-10 out of it but I lost six positions when I made a mistake on the last restart. Like I said, all in all, a good points day for the No. 01 but I would've liked to contend for the win."

WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT MARCOS AMBROSE'S RUN AND HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL TO SEE ALL THESE GUYS WITH ROAD-RACING RESUMES NOW GETTING A FAIR SHOT AT BIG-TIME NASCAR?: "The 21 car was phenomenal. And not only did the team prepare a good car but Marcos did a spectacular job of driving it. As far as the road-racers making it in NASCAR, I'm happy for them. I'd like to run more NASCAR and a little less sports car but I don't have any regrets. When I had my first successes in NASCAR, here, I was offered a few opportunities to run in Cup but I wasn't sure that it was with the right teams for my situation. At that time, GM was ramping up the Corvette program and I chose to focus my attention on that side of things. I'm really proud of what we accomplished over there and couldn't have any regrets when you factor in the success we had with that program. The only regrets I might have might be when I look at my bank account! (LAUGHS)"

***

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY IMPALA SS, FINISHED 22ND:

YOU WERE LEADING LAP 65; YOU GUYS DID DECIDE TO STAY OUT A LITTLE BIT LONGER, WHAT WENT THROUGH YOUR MIND WHEN THAT CAUTION CAME OUT? "Not a whole lot. What are we going to do to get a good finish? I was happy we had a good car, we learned a lot at the Saturday race. I lost a lot of foot brakes as the race got going and the car got real tight. The splitter was on the ground a little bit too much but that sort of did foil our strategy. More important I think is trying to get the car more durable. I really wasn't running that hard out front and I was actually slowing down and taking it easy when Jimmie (Johnson) was catching me. I didn't push the issue any harder and the front brakes just quit on it. If we can fix that and get the thing where it will turn. I don't know as the day goes it gets hot and slick."

I KNOW YOU GUYS ARE SOLIDLY IN THE CHASE RIGHT NOW, HOW MUCH EXPERIEMENTING ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR PACKAGE TO GET READY FOR THOSE LAST 10 RACES? "I just drive them. Tony (Eury) Jr. might be trying something in there but he wouldn't get too crazy. His deal is just to give me a chance every week and he wouldn't take too many risks. I was proud of my team. Our motors are really good. At the end that was about the only thing that did right was go straight, but it went straight fast. My team worked really hard, we had a good car. We were fast in practice, lead some of the race just ran out of car. Strategy got messed up there at the end. We should have done something different but I don't know. I really didn't know what the strategy was and what Tony Jr. and the guys were really trying to make happen up there but I know it didn't work out for us."

***

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIEL'S IMPALA SS, FINISHED 23RD:

"We had a plan for fuel mileage and it we thought it was going to work. It was working until the late cautions helped everybody else. The DIRECTV Chevy Impala was pretty good but luck just didn't go our way today. Heck, we didn't get any luck all weekend. We have our work cut out for us for the next four races but I know this team can make it happen."

***

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS, FINISHED 29TH:

THIS IS NOT SOMETHING WE NORMALLY SEE HERE: "No, not at all. We just struggled today. We really missed the set-up. There wasn't much we could do about it other than just fight."

ON LOSING RADIO COMMUNICATION WITH THE TEAM: "Yeah, we lost probably about 15 seconds on that; probably 20 (seconds) total because there were guys coming in to pit earlier and we needed to pit. Steve (Letarte) was trying to tell me to pit and I had no idea. We just had a loose connection and finally they black-flagged me. But even while I was out there I was trying to fix it and I lost even more time doing that. And so we finally got in there and shoot, we came out and we were like 30th, you know. The car was a struggle already and the last thing we needed was to lose that much track position."

DID YOU KNOW WHAT THE BLACK FLAG WAS FOR? "Yeah, oh yeah. Well I wasn't exactly sure because when I first saw it; the funny thing was the fuel. It stumbled back through the inner loop and I thought, oh, this thing must be getting close. And I wondered when they were going to call me in and then I saw the black flag and I was saying, 'Hello, hello?' I started talking to them and that's when I knew we were in trouble. I was just hoping to make it back around. I didn't know if I was going to make it back."

WHEN YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A GOOD DAY, AND IT TURNS OUT WITH RADIO PROBLEMS AND ALL THAT, HOW DOES THAT FEEL? "Oh, it's miserable. It's about as frustrating as you can get as a team, as a driver. It's not any one person's fault. We're all in it together. We have some work to do. You know we had this same issue at the beginning of the Sonoma race, but we got some cautions to work on it. We didn't have the cautions to work on it early enough here and it bit us. But my car was probably the fastest car out there for two laps (laughs). And after that, it was one of the slowest cars. We know it and we've got to work on it. Hopefully next year we'll get an opportunity to come here or go to Sonoma and test at those tracks because we've lost that magic that we had at one time."

ON STRATEGY, THIS SEEMED LIKE A RACE WITHIN A RACE "Yeah, I don't know. I couldn't tell you. I was running my own race. I was so far away from what was happening up front, I couldn't tell you. I just know that we weren't getting good fuel mileage and that was just another one of the things that were hurting us."

WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE BIG WRECK HAPPENED? "I was right behind it. I barely missed it. I made a pretty good move getting into (Turn) 1 and got by three or four guys. I came around and saw McDowell and the No. 38 I guess got together and when he hit the wall, I was just trying to pull right and stay away from it and just barely missed him. I looked in my mirror and just saw guys plowing into it and I knew it was bad."

DO YOU FEEL LIKE THIS IS JUST A ROAD RACING ISSUE FOR YOU GUYS? "No, I can't believe we are where we are in the points, to be honest with you. If it weren't for us having such an awesome team, we wouldn't be where we are. As a team, we know we've got to get the cars running better too. At Indianapolis it was exciting and it was great to be running up front. But it was one of those weird, crazy races. But I really feel like we've been gaining on our 1.5-mile program but we have absolutely missed our road course program. And we even went and tested and I thought we were going to be pretty good. We were good on our short runs in testing and here, but we just didn't make enough long runs and that's what we're going to have to work on."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Martin Truex Jr. , Clint Bowyer
Teams Richard Childress Racing , Hendrick Motorsports