Bristol II: GM teams race notes, quotes

Mark Martin Gains in Chase Standings with Runner-Up Finish at Bristol Chevrolet Continues to Lead Manufacturers' Cup Standings Bristol, TN - Starting from the pole, Mark Martin brought his No. 5 Pop-Tart/CARQUEST Impala SS to the checkered flag...

Mark Martin Gains in Chase Standings with Runner-Up Finish at Bristol
Chevrolet Continues to Lead Manufacturers' Cup Standings

Bristol, TN - Starting from the pole, Mark Martin brought his No. 5 Pop-Tart/CARQUEST Impala SS to the checkered flag in the runner-up position in tonight's Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The strong run pumped Martin from 12th to 10th in the top-12 Race to the Chase standings with two racing remaining until the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. He led five times for a total of 240-laps, the most of any driver.

With 24 of the 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) in the record books, Chevrolet continues to lead the 2009 Manufacturers' Cup standings. Team Chevy continues to have six drivers in the Chase standings.

A total of four Team Chevy drivers captured top-10 finishes in the 500-lap/266.5-mile race. Ryan Newman, No. 39 US Army Impala SS, finished sixth in tonight's race and jumped two positions in the standings to seventh place.

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, looked to be heading for his first victory at Bristol when an issue with the right rear during a pit stop forced the three-time and defending champion to return to pit road dropping from the lead to 21st position. He rallied back to finish eighth and sits second in the standings.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No.88 AMP Sugar Free/National Guard Impala SS, finished in ninth place.

Points leader and two-time NSCS champion Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Impala SS, persevered through radio issues and electrical problems to finish 33rd tonight. He remains on top of the points order with a margin of 220 points.

Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Impala SS, ran strongly in the top-10 until a late race flat tire relegated him to the 25th finishing position. Montoya dropped two positions in the standings to ninth.

Kyle Busch (Toyota) won the race. Marcos Ambrose (Toyota), Greg Biffle (Ford) and Denny Hamlin (Toyota) completed the top-five finishers.

After the final "off" weekend of the season, the Series picks up again on September 6, 2009 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

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KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, INVOLVED IN ACCIDENT ON LAP 433, FINISHED 38TH:

WHAT HAPPENED? "I got into the back of the No. 33 (Clint Bowyer) and just tried to check up and let him get everything gathered up. I just got in the gas a little bit sooner than he did and I think the No. 26 (Jamie McMurray) just kinda got me from behind; not his fault. Normally in that situation you don't check up for somebody, but I wanted to make sure that the No. 33 had plenty of room. I didn't want to be the one to ruin his Chase stuff. So, I was just trying to give him a little extra room and wound up crashing myself."

IS THAT WHAT HAPPENS AT BRISTOL? "It is when you're running in the middle of the pack."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED? "Yeah I just got in the back of the No. 33 there and just tried to check up to let him gather it up. Normally in that situation you don't check up like that but I wanted to make sure he gathered it up and just got myself wrecked."

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JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS, FINISHED 25TH:

"I had a great car all day. It is really too bad that I got a flat late in the race. Brian and everyone that works on the Target Chevrolet did an amazing job. It is not the finish we wanted but I think we are still ninth and just need to bounce back in Atlanta."

***

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 POP-TARTS/CARQUEST IMPALA SS, FINISHED 2ND:

IT WAS A LOT OF FUN TO WATCH, HOW WAS IT INSIDE THE CAR? "That was pretty exciting. I want to thank all the fans again for being so great tonight. Thank you guys. You brought a tear to my eye. What can I say? Kyle (Busch) gave me room and I didn't get the pass. We were both racing hard for it. That inside was tough and I took my shot at it. I just about slid up into him and wiped us both out. He gave me plenty of room there. He didn't crowd me at all and I needed the room because I slipped the back end and I did everything I could. I wanted to get him but just couldn't pull it off."

YOU TALKED ABOUT YOU AND ALAN (GUSTAFSON) GETTING TOGETHER AND TALKING ABOUT PUTTING MICHIGAN BEHIND YOU AND MOVING FORWARD, YOU DID THAT TONIGHT VERY NICELY. "It was a good run. I'm really glad that we finished like we ran tonight. There were so many times this year that we haven't done that and I'm proud to drive this guy's car. Alan and all these guys, they are just fantastic. I'm having the time of my life and it's a real special night even though we ran second.

"I wanted to get him, but there wasn't any use in, you know; we were racing hard for it. I got in under him. He gave me plenty of room and it was a good thing because I got sideways and slid right up and it was a good thing that he didn't crowd me or we'd have both wrecked. I tried to get him. But I'm real proud of Pop Tarts and CARQUEST and everybody. I'd like to have won it, but we finally got a decent finish with a great race car and no matter how this thing falls, I'm proud of this race team. I'm proud to drive their car and I'm having the time of my life."

THIS IS BRISTOL. YOU COULD HAVE USED THE BUMPER, WHY DIDN'T YOU? "I don't he (Kyle Busch) would have (used it) on me. He gave me room. I just didn't get it done. He gave me room to pass him and I couldn't do it."

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DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AMP SUGAR FREE/NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS, FINISHED 9TH:

HOW DID YOU GUYS SLIP BACK THERE AT THE END? "Well that last run there we were real tight. I needed long runs. My car wasn't good at the restarts and those guys behind us I think had a little bit better tires than we did. I'm real happy. We were running real good. It's a shame we had all them cautions. I think Mark (Martin) could have won the race and we could have probably finished a little bit better. All them cautions just stacked everybody up and we didn't have a good car on the restarts. It's just a shame. We worked hard though."

ANOTHER GOOD POSITIVE WEEKEND FOR YOU AND THE NO. 88 TEAM. "Yeah it was a good finish for us. The car was working good in practice and when the race started we had some work to do. We made it better. I'm real proud of my team. My guys worked really hard. They had some awesome pit stops and we just had a pretty decent car. We just didn't have what we needed there at the end and the cautions fell a little too often for me.

***

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET IMPALA SS, FINISHED 6TH:

"We struggled at the start of the race then made the car better, but we lost track position. Taking two tires (Lap 423) was a good call by (crew chief) Tony Gibson. We came out second and got some track position and made the best of it by finishing sixth. We were running 11th when we took two tires. Again, a good call -- it was a pretty good car the U.S. Army Chevrolet. I am looking forward to the off weekend. "I am looking forward to a little time off. Enjoy the outdoors a little bit and spend some time with the dogs and the Wife."

WAS THE FOUR RACES THIS WEEK A PHYSICAL STRAIN ON YOU? "I haven't felt the greatest for the last week and a half of so, lack of energy. I was a little down all week; it didn't hurt me at all. I am fine. I could do a couple hundred laps more."

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JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR IMPALA SS, FINISHED 18TH:

"Man, our Caterpillar Chevy was fast all night. We got trapped behind some cars early in the race and then we were low on power at times. I think we had a wire loose that caused us to not run on all eight cylinders at various times during the race. As a result, we ended up a couple of laps down but this CAT Racing team fought back and were able to get a decent finish."

***

CASEY MEARS, NO. 07 JACK DANIEL'S CHEVROLET, FINISHED 13TH:

"We got run into there, real early and crunched up our left fender. That kind of hurt us on how our Jack Daniel's Toast to the Troops Chevy turned for awhile. We tried making air pressure, track bar and chassis adjustments to get it better when we made it to pit road each time. We were tight early in a run and then good in the middle, but couldn't get it just right for a whole run. The crew was great on pit road after we got run into from behind, then hit in the right front during that one wreck in turn 1. This is a good finish, but we want better - we're getting there."

***

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS IMPALA SS -- Finished 21st:

"We had a good run going in our Hamburger Helper Chevrolet but got hit from behind and that took us out of contention. I'm not really sure what happened but it's pretty unfortunate. We're not out of this thing yet (running for the Chase). We'll keep fighting over these last two races."

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JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS, FINISHED 23RD:

TOUGH NIGHT OUT THERE. "Yeah, we were making ground and moving forward. Maybe one too many adjustments I don't know. We just had one pit stop where we made some adjustments and the car got extremely loose. We lost a couple of laps and fought from there to get back where we ended up."

IT WAS A TOUGH NIGHT OUT THERE FOR YOU. "Yeah we were making ground. Real proud of everything. We weren't the best car but we were going forward and got inside the top-10. I don't know one adjustment maybe too many. We just got real, real loose. It wasn't a big adjustment. It was just ridiculously loose and we just hung on until the caution came out. Fought back from that point on, and after that we were okay. We were never great. I don't know it felt like something was wrong with the car after that. It just never was the same. It was really good the first third of the race."

***

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS, FINISHED 8TH:

TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR NIGHT. "Fastest car out there. We should be in victory lane. It's just a bummer we had something on pit road screw us up. Just really disappointed."

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TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE IMPALA SS, FINISHED 33RD:

HOW DO YOU FEEL THE TEAM HANDLED THE ADVERSITY YOU FACED TONIGHT? "Well, I'm telling you, this was like an episode of the Twilight Zone. How it started was I switched my frequency on my radio over to Ryan's (Newman) channel to wish them luck, which is not uncommon. I didn't go back to my channel. Every channel I went to it was still them. And then I switched to the second radio, which is our backup radio, and I hadn't even touched it, and it was them. It was like an episode of the Twilight Zone. So the first 240 laps, well for the first 200 laps, I'm listening to Ryan and his dad, his spotter. That's what I was hearing on the radio. Again, the reason I stayed on that and didn't unplug the radio was because at least if a caution comes out I can hear his spotter calling the caution out. We had a short in the wiring harness to the ignition boxes and we thought it was the safety kill switch because the light came on and I guess it just shows if there is a short in the system somewhere. It was real sporadic and then all of a sudden it came on. Whatever it was wiggled itself loose enough that they finally just got one of the junctions in the ignition box back together. Nobody gave up or was yelling and screaming. I mean I thought everybody handled it well. That's the first fire drill we've had to go through during a race and I thought, considering, that everybody did a good job. I couldn't do anything until I got back to the pit box and they did an awesome job of tearing through it and trying to figure out what it was."

WHILE YOU WERE SWITCHING OUT HELMETS AND ALL THAT STUFF, WERE YOU EVEN ABLE TO PAY ATTENTION TO HOW GOOD OR BAD YOUR CAR WAS? "Darian (Grubb, crew chief) called on the radio and they thought I could hear him the whole time, which I couldn't'; I couldn't hear him at all, and he ended up tightening the car up when I was asking for it to be freer. So we've just got to work on that system and get it down pat a little better."

WHEN YOUR CAR NEEDED A PUSH, WHAT WAS THAT? "That was the ignition. We finally lost the connection there, so I had no ignition box."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams AT Racing