Denny Hamlin Drives Monte Carlo SS to the Win; Chevy takes 6 of top 7 Finishes DENNY HAMLIN, SCORED HIS FIRST CAREER WIN OF A NASCAR POINTS-PAYING RACE IN THE NO. 20 ROCKWELL AUTOMATION CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS: "I can't say enough for this ...
Denny Hamlin Drives Monte Carlo SS to the Win; Chevy takes 6 of top 7 Finishes
DENNY HAMLIN, SCORED HIS FIRST CAREER WIN OF A NASCAR POINTS-PAYING RACE IN THE NO. 20 ROCKWELL AUTOMATION CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS:
"I can't say enough for this entire crew. Everybody knows how good Joe Gibbs's stuff is on road courses and all I did was turn the wheel. Dave Rogers (crew chief), I can't be more happy than to drive for him. This whole Rockwell team -- it's been a while since they've gotten a win and I'm glad I could give it to them. I never imagined my first win would be on a road course but it just seems like these flat tracks seem to fit me and we had a great car."
ON THE LAST FEW RESTARTS: "I knew if I could just get away, I'd be in good shape. The problem is just getting away. We were strong on restarts as well as on long runs and I was just able to pull away and just run my line." (press conference to follow)
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 21 U.S. COAST GUARD CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS - Busch Series point leader - finished 3rd:
DID YOU EVER HAVE ANYTHING FOR HAMLIN? "The U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet was pretty good. We just couldn't get off the corners and accelerate like the No. 20 (Hamlin) could. I felt like we were probably as good as the No. 9 (Boris Said), but he just got by me."
EVEN THOUGH YOU DIDN'T WIN, THIRD PLACE IS STILL GOOD FOR POINTS: "Well, we want to win. If we're in contention to win, the points are going to take care of themselves because you're going to be in the front. So it was a good day for us."
J.J. YELEY, NO. 18 HOME DEPOT / VIGORO CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 4th:
AFTER AN EARLY RACE INCIDENT YOU STILL CAME HOME IN 4TH. WAS THIS A GOOD DAY FOR YOU? "It was. We definitely didn't need that in lap two or three or whatever that was, getting turned around there. But we had good pit strategy and it got us back. We had a really fast race car and I think we definitely had a shot at running in the top two. Denny (Hamlin) is really good on the road courses. Any time we go anywhere to test, he seems to find about a tenth or two more than I can. He can really push the race car hard. But congratulations to those guys. I couldn't get by Harvick there at the end. It was close."
PAUL MENARD, NO. 11 MENARDS / HOT SHOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 5th:
WHEN THE CHECKERED FLEW, YOU WERE ONLY 3 SECONDS BEHIND THE WINNER: "Yeah, we just needed a good solid run after the start of our year. Daytona and California didn't really go how we'd hoped. We came out here with the Hot Shot Chevrolet and we're pretty happy. We were looking forward to this race and we'll take a top five."
WAS IT DIFFICULT MAINTAINING A TOP FIVE? "Our car was awesome once we got rolling. The first two laps probably after a restart, we weren't that good and that's when you really need to get going to capitalize on some passing. But our hat's off to Denny Hamlin and his first win."
ADRIAN FERNANDEZ, NO. 57 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 12th:
"It was a wild day. That's the only way I can describe it. What a great car. We went to third straight away. I felt good. The car was pushing a little bit more than I wanted, but we were waiting for a correction in the pits. After that we pitted on lap 7. That was our strategy. It was good until I was going behind (Jamie) McMurray. A few times I tried to pass him. And then one time he really made a mistake -- a big mistake coming out of the fast chicane. I saw him on the grass, but I came behind him with a run. That was the problem. I was going to pass him. So I came out of the chicane very fast as he went off. I had no time to do anything.
"It was very hard because first the steering was to the right. Nothing felt good. The car felt really weird. And then we came through the field. A lot of things happened that I don't even remember. It was loose turning right and pushing quite a bit turning left. Somebody hit me that almost spun me around on the banking and then somebody else hit me really hard behind me in one of the corners. So that was really bad. I could feel my car was really damaged. And then there was a big crash in one of the corners and as we were coming through, there was a lot of dust. I didn't know where to go and I almost hit him head on. Basically I touched him on the left side. It was basically a miracle that I didn't hit him."
WAS IT A FUN DAY? "It was a fun day. It was just unfortunate. At the end I just couldn't fight -- when Kyle (Busch) was coming through and all that. I didn't want to have the yellows at the end. I knew my brakes, I flat spotted them at one point. I just couldn't drive the car like we had it right at the beginning."
ON THE INCIDENT WITH JAMIE MCMURRAY "When McMurray came back to the track and hit me, it really jerked the steering wheel to the side and hit my right thumb. And I felt it. I felt a lot of pain there. Amazingly I knew how to drive like that through the whole way. I was having a lot of pain every time I was shifting. I tried to get just my fingers to shift, but it's not as quick and it was hard to just stay with them. But as much as I wanted to do, I felt that my car and myself were injured. It was just our pride to try to get us to the front. I was hard. It was a shame that we lost those positions at the end. But there is always next time. That's racing."
DO YOU WANT TO COME BACK NEXT TIME? "Yes, definitely. It's a track that I enjoy racing. Unfortunately, there are always a lot of things that happened. We were not even part of those crashes but we just got hit."