JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: ON HIS ENGINE FAILURE "This doesn't happen to us very often. I went up through the gears and was in fourth coming off of two and I felt a really bad vibration, and that was it." JOE...
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
ON HIS ENGINE FAILURE "This doesn't happen to us very often. I went up through the gears and was in fourth coming off of two and I felt a really bad vibration, and that was it."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW-DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We got behind on our adjustments a little bit. It seemed like we could be good one run and then the next run we'd either be tight or else we would get loose. We could never hit it perfect. When we had to make time up we could go, but it's disappointing coming home ninth. We had a much better car than that. The pit stops were up and down. They had some great awesome stops, but then they had a couple where - well, we left the lug nuts loose and we got behind one time. It's just hard to make it up when all these guys keep adjusting their cars, too."
TONY STEWART, NO. HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We thought with the sun we might be a little bit free. We were really good in Happy Hour yesterday, but it was overcast and cool. We fought a loose car the majority of the day. We could get it tightened up in certain areas, but we'd get it too tight in others, and then still be loose in some. We just fought it all day, but we had a good day and the guys did a great job. The first half of the race we showed signs of being as good as everybody else, but it seems like if we miss a little bit here it shows up big at the end. The guys that finished ahead of us got their cars right. I've had a cold all week, so when you run 100 laps without a caution that makes for a long day. At the same time, we had a great car. It was a little free at the beginning of the day, but we kept working on it. We just never could get it 100% right through the corner. We'd get parts of the corner good, but we couldn't get 100% of the corner right."
WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS TRACK AND THE JOE GIBBS RACING TEAM? "Our teams run really good here. I mean, Bobby's always run well here even before I joined the team. It's a track we both like, and it's a great place for the fans to watch a mile-and-a-half track. It's probably the best one we run on all year. You can run on the bottom, you can run on the top, you can run anywhere in between. You actually get to race here. It's kind of nice on a mile-and-a-half to be able to race instead of one of these new places you can't race on."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"What a great day. I'm real happy. To come from 30th and drive up the way we did - I had a lot of fun racing with Junior to get up through there. I just couldn't believe how awesome our race car was. The guys did an incredible job. We had that race car on Friday and unfortunately we over-adjusted for qualifying and weren't able to start up there. But, it certainly made it fun to come from the back.
"I got up there, and I don't know if Bobby was just playing with everybody or what, but as soon as we came in for pit stops and I got the lead, man, he just mowed us right down and blew us away and just drove away. It seemed like anytime he wanted to he could. I thought we had it figured out that one time when he came up there towards the end and was behind me and he couldn't get to me. We were kind of actually driving away from him right before the pit stop. But, he was so good on new tires and Bobby is just good here anyway. I just wasn't as good on new tires as I need to be. I told the guys to tighten it up a little bit because I thought that would help us, especially if we got the lead and it all worked out perfect. We passed him, got the lead and just couldn't hold it. I was actually too tight then, and Bobby was just super strong. I'm just so happy to get a good strong finish and kind of get some momentum on our side.
"We had great pit stops. It was a whole team effort and hopefully we can do that every weekend."
DID YOU THINK YOU HAD THE TOP BLOCKED WHEN BOBBY CAME UP? "Bobby could run that thing anywhere. It was amazing how well he could hold his momentum. I went to the bottom trying to protect the bottom. That was where my car was working better. I saw him on the outside of me and my spotter said I was clear. I slid up in front of him, but he had the momentum. When I slid up in front of him he gave me a little tap and I was hoping that would slow him momentum down, but it didn't. I actually spun the tires a little bit and got a little sideways, but it allowed him to kind of get a bumper to the outside of me. I tried to squeeze him up high, but I knew he was there and I knew it was only going to be a wreck if I went any further with it, so I just had to give up the spot unfortunately. But, Bobby was so strong it would have been hard to hold him off there."
WERE YOU SURPRISED HE CAME AT YOU SO QUICKLY ON THE TOP LIKE THAT? "When Bobby Labonte has a car that is capable of winning he drives it for all it's worth, so that doesn't surprise me. I think a lot of people think of him as maybe just this calm, conservative guy. But, nobody is any hungrier than he is when he's got a shot at winning, so nothing surprised me. And, he's so good here at Atlanta. You can't take anything for granted. They certainly had their car dialed in today, so no - it didn't really surprise me."
ON THE HIGH NUMBER OF BLOWN ENGINES TODAY "We're cranking these things really hard - a lot of RPM. On those restarts there we were almost wide open there for one or two laps. You have no idea how much stress - you can just hear the engine - the RPMs it's turning, the stress that's being put on it. We were running some pretty darn fast laps there, especially there towards the end of the race, so it didn't surprise me. I know I looked at my tach one time. I had turned like 9,400. I don't know if that was just coming through the gears or whatever, but I got a little nervous because I did that. It wasn't surprising me that guys were blowing. I was just hoping that mine wouldn't."
JOHNNY BENSON, NO. 10 VALVOLINE PONTIAC GRAND PRIX:
"I really thought we were going to be a little bit better. But after how we unloaded Friday, (crew chief) James Ince and the guys did a tremendous job. I mean, we were 40th quick after unloading, worked our way up, qualified okay, and in the race worked our way up to 11th. It was a good day for us, just a little bit behind, but not bad. We fought the car on the long runs, which is really unusual for us. Normally we run really good on the long runs, but we fought that a little bit today."
ANOTHER SOLID FINISH MOVES YOU UP TO SIXTH IN THE POINTS. "We'll take whatever we can get. You kind of look at the points race, but then you don't, so we'll just keep working away."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
DID YOU HAVE ANYTHING FOR THE GUYS THAT FINISHED IN FRONT OF YOU? "No, I don't think I really had anything for the '18' or the '24' when they were in front of you. It just really depended on who got off pit road first and who got in the clean air - you might have a chance of keeping them tight back there behind you. The '18' was really, really good all day. Me and Jeff came up through the pack together and raced together pretty much most of the day. I felt like we had a good shot at a top five if we just kept our nose clean, so that is what I concentrated on."