KEVIN HARVICK , NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS: FINISHED SECOND On the race: "Our main goal coming in was to finish. We were 0 for 5 before this so we weren't part of the wreck-fest tonight. We were able to give ourselves a shot...
KEVIN HARVICK , NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS: FINISHED SECOND
On the race:
"Our main goal coming in was to finish. We were 0 for 5 before this so we weren't part of the wreck-fest tonight. We were able to give ourselves a shot there at the end of the race to put us into position and I knew going into turn one I just needed to keep him on the inside there to give myself the best chance. I knew the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) was just a touch better than we were but all in all it was a great night for us. Hopefully the car we have for next week is better like we think it is and we'll be in good shape."
How close were you to the wreck and how did you get through?
"Lee Spencer must not be in the press box, if we have no questions so I guess I won't take a ration from her this week. She is at home? Oh, maybe we should write a letter to her telling her how she should be here covering this race since she is the master of opinions. What was the question? I forgot.
"They were just side by side and on new tires you have to tip-toe through on the bottom because it takes the air off the outside of the inside guy. Just gotta tip-toe through. No. 9 (Kahne) just got loose and slipped up into the six and they all started wrecking. I was on the bumper of the No. 9 already so it was just one of those things where I was probably going to have a good run. I was in the clear when they went up."
About the track surface and tire for next week:
"I think everyone was geared up to run 15 or 20 laps tonight which next week, you won't be able to do that. You need to gear up for a full run. I think the biggest thing we learned was just to get your tires prepared properly and you can do some different things with them to continue through the race with some different tire strategy. That was probably the biggest thing, you know, the car will have to be a little bit different next week to make it all the way through the run. We made some pretty aggressive changes there in the first segment to get our car going in the beginning of the run and give up at the end of the run. I guess you have to be careful the first few laps when you're side by side and I think next week there will probably be a lot more give and take than there was tonight - everybody was just pushing it to the max.
Two tires - right or wrong?
"The car was loose but I knew I had to do everything I could to stay up beside the No. 48 on the restart. I cleared the No. 24 (Gordon) on the high side coming of off two and I was able to get in front of him but it was just time to go and the right side tires were cool. We ran just as fast as we did on four tires so I felt like either way, even the run before with the four tires. The No. 48 was just a half a tenth better than we were and he had everybody covered. Even before everybody wrecked we were the second best car before that happened. I feel like the best two cars finished where they should have.
Hard tire a concern for next weekend in daylight start?
"The characteristics of the racetrack are still the same as they used to be. Temperature affects the place a lot. Our strategy coming into the race tonight, we didn't practice at all in race trim in the daytime just because we knew it was a nighttime race. We didn't want to give ourselves a chance to make any adjustments on the car just because we wanted to go off for the nighttime test. Next week we'll probably go back to our notes in the daytime and probably have some practice during the day. You just have to go off what you did in the test and I think everything was relatively close tonight as far as being comparable.
JEFF GORDON , NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS, FINISHED THIRD
On the race:
"All in all it was a pretty decent night for us, I guess it was sort of what I expected where I thought I was going to be really loose on new tires and I was and that would be really good on long runs and we were. I thought that we would see some guys loose control early in the run and we did, a bit of a survival race, we were so close to being in that one wreck on the back straightaway. We had some damage but we were able to fix that; luckily the red came out and didn't lose really any positions. We had a flat tire and a caution came out. We had some things definitely go our way tonight. Unfortunately, because my car was so loose we had to tighten it up so much for that last run. Once I got into third I was just sitting there riding around. I couldn't do anything. Every time I'd get close to No. 29 (Harvick) I would just lose the front end. I'm happy for Jimmie. Those guys just own this place. For us to have finished third, it was a good night.
On a hot, slick track for next week's race start:
"It's going to be exiting. Tonight we probably didn't have the cars quite as adjustable because we knew we were going to be starting under good conditions. I think other than the rain washing some of the rubber off the race track there at the beginning, that made the track a little slicker. Next week is going to be a real handful, I mean a real handful. Holy cow, those are some serious fireworks. Next week is going to be a real handful but what we'll probably do is start with a little bit different spring package and maybe do something with spring rubbers to maybe get the car a little more adjustable. We can do a lot with air pressure at the beginning of the race. Tape and different things like that. We're actually going to be running two different races next week. I know we just keep talking about tires, tires, tires. But these tires are so, so finicky and you've got to be so careful on it that next week is really going to be a survival race.
The Lowe's team says they have a better car in the shop.
"I feel the same way for ourselves. We have a better car as well and I mean, yeah, his car was good tonight. They definitely did a lot right. One thing about Jimmie's car is that it would take off really good unlike a lot of the other cars out there. That same package if they have a little bit better, when he says he's got a better car he probably likes the body on the car and it showed five more counts of downforce in the wind tunnel. I'm sure it's very close like ours is but maybe you think it's just a little bit better. I think most of us knew coming into this race we would have our best car for the points race, the 600. It doesn't surprise me that they feel like they've got a better car. Track position's important and to me where Jimmie won the race tonight other than fighting back through a lot of things was the restart before the last one where he battled the No. 29 (Harvick) on the outside and fought with him that hard to stay on the outside of him like that - to get that lead when the caution came out. That won the race for him. He fought that hard because track position was so, so important. If those guys get track position next week like they did tonight I expect them to be the guys to beat for sure.
What tires did you take on the last pit stop?
"We took the tires that we started the race with. They had about 25 or 30 laps on them, I think. We just did a ton of adjustments. I kept getting stepped on the outside. Every restart I was on the outside and it was just killing me. There was no grip out there and then on the colder tires my car was just so, so loose. Just a couple breaks if it could have gotten us in the inside, like that last restart where we started on the inside and we about got to second. The car just took off so much better on the inside. I think that we definitely knew that we didn't want sticker tires and if I could have had a set back there that could have had some tire heaters on them I would have liked to have had those. Tonight it doesn't matter how many laps you would have on them as long as they're not cold. There's no getting around that.
On Jimmie Johnson's streak here:
"I don't even know that I've ever had anything like that before. I know that with Bristol we've had some runs and in Dover and Darlington but he's just very comfortable here. I think that Chad really pays attention to detail and they've had good race teams and fortune. That's just a deadly combination to try to beat and that's what we're all chasing right now. You just can't ever count him out no matter what happens to him throughout the race. They seem to find their way back to the front. I was lifting out here on a helicopter last may and I thought 'I'd stay if I thought Jimmie was going to win' and as I'm lifting off I see him passing Labonte on the outside. There was no way. I just couldn't believe it. I think he really has a knack for getting everything out of it. It doesn't hurt that this is his sponsor's speedway, sort of. A little bit of extra motivation, and I'm happy for that as well. You never know why somebody just clicks at a place but they certainly do have the combination here.
More on tires:
"To sum this up, and then I feel like we need to get off this, we have this tire for next week; we're all on it and we all have to battle with it and it is what it is. There's nothing that's going to change about that. Hopefully this track loses some grip by October and they can come up with a new tire for it then. Here's the way to sum it up: I had a flat right-rear tire; I went into turn three and got sideways. I ran another two laps because I wasn't sure that it was just the tire that got loose. That's how little grip the tire has. You have no idea if you even have a flat tire. I felt like I was running on run-flats. I don't necessarily blame Goodyear for this, they had to do something. This track had so much grip and they were building up so much heat that they were backed into a corner. None of us like it but I'd rather have this situation than be blowing tires, chunking them out like they did in the tire test. I wish that there was another solution. I don't necessarily think that we need the fuel cells that we have. I think that's way overboard. Other than that, it is what it is and we're going to do everything we can to make the best of it next week.
On the crash:
"I kind of saw it happening and all you can do is react but I was about in the middle of turns one and two and I saw the tail of No. 9 (Kasey Kahne) start to step out. I thought that it was going to get pretty ugly and sure enough it grabbed the right wheel and he corrected it and went into the outside wall. I just turned left trying to get away from him. I saw another car spinning into it and Kenseth was on my inside. I don't even know that he could necessarily see it and we collided. Tore his right side up and tore his left side up but luckily it was just sheet metal damage. Some other guys had a lot worse damage.
On the restart move by Jimmie:
"I could not have made that move because my car was so loose on the outside of a guy that unless I pinned a guy down - there at the end, Bobby Labonte got a run on me and he was pretty good on short runs. He got a run on me and the only way I was really able to keep him from passing me is to put my left side on his door and just take the air off his spoiler. I couldn't see enough of what was going on with Jimmie and Harvick but I just kept seeing Jimmie staying on the outside of him and having a little bit of an edge coming off the corner. But he could never get clear of him going into the next corner. I didn't think he was going to be able to do that for very long and then the caution came out. I was pretty impressed with that fight. I know my car was just out of control on the outside of guys and Kevin had the preferred line and was real strong on new tires as well. That was pretty impressive.