Brian Vickers ...
Brian Vickers #25 GMAC / ditech.com Chevrolet 23rd position
WHAT WOULD IT HAVE TAKEN TO BEAT MARK MARTIN? You know, it would have taken a longer race. The biggest thing was we knew the changes we needed to make. We were very tight going through the second segment and we lost a little bit of ground there. Going into the last segment, we wanted to make a more aggressive change than we did. We only made an air pressure change because we couldn't afford to lose the track position. It was so important tonight; it was so hard to pass here. You know, so that was the biggest thing. I think if we could have made a more aggressive change, and got the car a little bit looser through the end of the run, we would have really had a shot at them. But, you know, all in all I think it was a great night for us. I'm so proud of this whole GMAC / ditech.com Chevy crew, they did a good job and it showed. I was so glad for this team to show what it's capable of. You know, we had things go our way tonight, we had things on our side. And, we showed it.
EMOTIONS RUNNING HIGH HERE AT THIS RACE? I think it's maybe that's part of it. It's the fact that it is all about fun and it is all about fun. It's all about the passion and go all out and win. It brings out even more emotions than maybe the way you approach a normal points race. In the points race you're still driving and still doing what you love, but you've got to think so far ahead sometimes, you kind of get lost in that. Tonight it's like going back and racing go-karts and man, it's just wide open. It's like a kid. You're just a kid in a candy store having fun. In this race, it just breeds that kind of excitement. Everybody's going for the same spot. People block each other like they normally wouldn't in a race. People race each other to pass like they wouldn't normally pass them in a normal race. And, you know, you see that. It's a great win for Mark. Obviously, we wanted to be in victory lane. I think we had a shot at it at some points in the race. We had a great car, but you know, I'm happy for Mark. It's his last (All-Star) race and he earned it. He drove a great race and those guys built a good car and there's nothing like-I'm sure he'll talk about his emotions-but I'm sure there's nothing like going out on top. It's the way to go out.
WERE YOU WORRIED THAT WITH WHAT HAPPENED AT THE OPEN, YOUR REPUTATION WOULD CARRY OVER INTO THIS RACE? You know, things happen. It wasn't exactly how I wanted it to happen, but that's how it came out. It wasn't intentional. He was blocking, I think, more than I think more than he would normally block in a race. He was high and low everywhere I went. I'd get under and he'd cut me off and block me. I would have done the same thing. I'm not saying that he done anything wrong. And then coming to the line, we were going for the same spot. He came down and I was right there. It worked out. I mean, as far as my reputation, I can only race people the way I want to be raced. If the position was switched, it would have been the same way, I feel like. It's something that happens over a long time, your reputation. I feel like I have a good one. But, you know, we'll see what happens. I don't think anything was wrong with it. I was proud of the guys. It was a good night for us and we had a good race.
IS THERE ANY ADDED TENSION COMING INTO THIS RACE? It's like coming into this event. Everybody says it's so much more fun, there's no points, there's nothing to worry about. But it's like, well it's so much more fun that's more reason why you want to do well and you're in your backyard. Family and friends and especially for me being born here in North Carolina. There's no excuses. Like, I don't want to hear that I don't want to knock the fender in, I didn't want to do this. Push it til you do wreck or bring me the trophy-that's kind of the mentality. That's the only thing that matters in this race. It's probably a good thing we don't race like that every week. Because somebody would get hurt. But for this one time of year, it's so much fun.
SURFACE OF THE TRACK? I think that I'll commend Charlotte and Humpy and Bruton and those guys for going out on a limb and trying to make the track better. It was getting time for some changes. It's been a long time since many changes have been done to the surface. They've got the right idea. I think they've got the right direction. Is it perfected right now? I'm not sure. It's so difficult to pass. You know, I don't know what's going to happen in the 600. The way the teams setup the cars, the way the drivers drive the race track, the way the groove really doesn't widen out, it's hard to see what's going to happen in a 600-mile race. But I think that maybe if they thought about coming back and griding the bottom groove just a little bit more, just give us just enough grip on the bottom, that we can race side by side. Right now, it encourages side by side racing, because if you catch a guy and you catch a guy and you can't pass him and you can't go high and he's running high, you go to the inside but you can't pass him. You know, you need just a little bit more. And maybe if they've give us that, they'd have an awesome race track.
I was just thinking about something. In my comments I was talking about maybe working on the bottom a little bit more. I think mainly just in 1 and 2. 3 and 4 are real good right now. You can run side by side, there's different patches. You hunt for them, you find them. The bottom of 1 is treacherous.
Jeff Gordon #24 DuPont Chevrolet
GREAT TOP 5 FOR YOU TONIGHT I wouldn't call it a great top 5. We didn't give up on it, that's for sure. You know, I'm glad we came home with a top 5, but we really were way off. There were times where I thought we were really going to be good. The second run that we had was awesome. I don't know-we just could never get back. When we were in traffic it was really, really tight and we just couldn't do much with them. I spun the tires off on that one restart when we took two tires. So, thank goodness there was a caution. I don't know what happened with Ryan, if he just got loose or somebody got into him. You know, it's a typical All-Star race with bumping and banging and super hard. Really excited for Mark Martin. He's an awesome race car driver and he deserves it.
DOES THIS PREPARE YOU FOR NEXT WEEK? You know, we just learned for next week. I think our car is a little bit better for next week. I think we learned some really good things for next week. We've got to catch up-those guys were definitely better than us, especially the #38. And the #6. So, we'll go to work.
Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe's Chevrolet
Yeah, we had a shot at it. But our car was real tight and on the pit stop we made some adjustments to try to make it better. And then when I was lining up on the outside I knew I had a shot at it. And I had about three or four laps when the tires were good to make a run at Mark and I tried and it didn't work and the #38 got by me. The Hendrick group with Brian and Jeff-we were racing our butts off with third, fourth and fifth. So, good night all in all. We learned a lot. I learned a lot about the track myself and I think we'll be better for the (Coca-Cola) 600.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT THE RACE TRACK? When the sun is out, it's totally different from what it was in the past. When the night sets in, some similar characteristics set in. I don't know why it's so different in the night, but tonight it reminded me of the (old) Charlotte.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. #8 Budweiser Chevrolet
HOW WAS YOUR RACE? Pretty decent. I just got caught in that early crash and we just tried to tape it up and get it fixed. Tried to get it taped up and get it fixed and we couldn't. It must have bent some suspension when we slide through the grass and banging around there. But, you know, 10th place, what can you say? We spent a lot of money banging around and crashing these cars, so we got something back.
YOUR CAR FOR NEXT WEEK? Brand new. And we're real optimistic about it.