JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO - Race Winner Note: This was Johnson's third consecutive victory in as many races. Jeff Gordon was the last driver to win three straight races winning the final two races of 1998 and the first race in ...
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO - Race Winner
Note: This was Johnson's third consecutive victory in as many races. Jeff Gordon was the last driver to win three straight races winning the final two races of 1998 and the first race in 1999. Gordon was also the last driver to win three straight in the same season by winning four consecutive races (Pocono, Indianapolis, Watkins Glen and Michigan) in 1998. This win marks the 554th all-time NASCAR Cup victory for Chevrolet since 1949, more than any other manufacturer in the history of the sport.
"Once I got in the car today and knew what I was supposed to do, I honestly forgot about everything until I took the checkered flag. I wanted to do the victory lap to honor our friends. It doesn't change anything and we don't get back our friends that we lost. But it sure makes all of us feel a little better to be able to do something like this. This is unbelievable. I don't even know what to say. I just talked to Rick on the phone and he told me to put my hat on backwards for "Little Ricky, John Hendrick, Randy Dorton, Joe Jackson, Jeff Turner, Liz and Dick. I don't even know where to start. As I am sure you can imagine, I am at a loss for words. I just want to thank everyone at Hendrick Motorsports, Chad (Knaus), all my crew guys for being able to bounce back after such a difficult week.
"This Lowe's car was awesome, all the support we have received from everyone. This is a very special deal, a big day in the points."
ON TODAY'S LAST RESTART: "When you get that close to the front, I guess you do things you probably shouldn't do. I tried it once before and the car stuck really good when I flat footed it through one and two. I had a great restart on the one before and I knew Kasey (Kahne) was having trouble on the restarts and I was going to have to be careful and watch out for him. I didn't realize I was going to get on the outside of the 01 (Joe Nemechek), and then be three or four wide up against the wall so I just kept my foot in it. I knew the 6 car (Mark Martin) was coming but I had 10 angels riding on this race car. I know Mark had a dominate car but things happen for a reason. Unfortunately the events of last weekend changed the plans for them and changed the plans for this Hendrick team today."
ON HOW TO GATHER IT UP TODAY: "It is all preparation. The way Rick has prepared all of our race teams. It is preparation. It was tough but it was this guy (Chad Knaus) and all those other guys over there and those two guys named Vickers and Gordon over there with their hats on backwards. I just want to thank everyone at home and here for supporting the Hendrick family during all of this.
It really didn't sink into my mind until I got the lead in the end. I just got goosebumps inside. I was getting nervous - knowing how big the day would be. We want to win every race that we come to, but today we just wanted to try to honor this race and dedicate it to our lost of our friends. There's just nothing like this. I'm just so thankful to the Hendrick organization. To be able to have a dramatic win like this after the worst week ever possible - and to come back and put a car on the track that could win the race is just incredible. There at the end, I knew I was going to be good on the restart. I thought I was going to be good, but I had no idea it was going to be that good. I flat-footed it and 10 angels riding on this race car and one big one in Randy Dorton underneath the hood and off we went. To be able to win the race where our friends were lost and then come back and win this one for them is unbelievable. And I don't think it matters if you're a fan for the sport or for anybody else, I think you have to respect what we did here today and respect the entire Hendrick family and everybody involved here today. We dedicate this win to them today.
TERRY LABONTE, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"I am just so proud of Jimmie and everyone on this team. For them to come back from such a tough week we have all had, it is just incredible for them to be able to win this race for Rick and all the family and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports. It is really a special day. It is awesome."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
"I couldn't have said it any better than Terry did. This is a very special day for Hendrick Motorsports organization. I am just so proud of Jimmie and Chad and this entire Lowe's team. We all wanted a victory here and all four of us were trying so hard to win this race and I just know that this had brought a lot of smiles out there. That is so awesome and I am just so proud of the whole organization for coming together and stepping up by the way they did."
"We all wanted to win this race for the Hendrick family and for all those who were part of that tragedy and the families who are still grieving. This certainly doesn't take that pain away but boy, it helps a little bit. It's amazing to see how this organization has come together. The family is a team. What an incredible day. It was a great day and a great victory for Jimmie and the team. I'm so proud of him for pulling it off. But we've still got a championship to win and both of us can still do it."
YOU MIGHT BE BATTLING JIMMIE IN MIAMI FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP: "He deserves to be in it. They were so strong all year long leading in the points. When they got into trouble they just went for broke and it's certainly been paying off with three wins in a row. That's what's going to get you back into it and it certainly has. But the trouble that all those guys in the points have, it's anybody's race right now."
BRIAN VICKERS, NO. 25 GMAC CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
I finally have a smile on my face. You know we all wanted to win. This is a hat that Ricky gave me and he liked to wear it backwards. I first want to thank Rick for encouraging everyone to follow through and wear their hats backwards because we all wanted to wear then that way. I can't say enough about this organization and congratulations to Jimmie, Chad and everyone on the Lowe's team. This organization is unbelievable and that Randy Dorton motor was just awesome. I want to thank Marshall (Rick and Linda Hendrick's Son-in-law, married to their daughter Lynn) for being here, it was good to see a family member at the race track. It inspired everyone and meant a lot."