JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - WINNER: "That car was so good. There were times when some of the guys were better, but we just stuck to our game plan and changes that we were going to make and knew what we needed to do....
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - WINNER:
"That car was so good. There were times when some of the guys were better, but we just stuck to our game plan and changes that we were going to make and knew what we needed to do. Chad (Knaus, crew chief) was on top of it and this Lowe's Monte Carlo was awesome. How can you beat this winning at home? Kyle (Busch) did it in the Busch race yesterday and we did it today. The employee owners at Lowe's have got to be freaking out right about now.
ON THE MOVE WITH 25 LAPS TO GO - LIKE THREADING A NEEDLE BETWEEN THE NO. 31, ROBBY GORDON, AND THE NO. 9, KASEY KAHNE: "Yeah, I had some urgency. I knew I needed to get going. I knew those guys were on old tires but I still I needed to be quick. I was able to get through there and get going."
ON WINNING LAST YEAR AND THEN AGAIN THIS YEAR: "It was rain-shortened last year and there was some controversy about that. There were some people said that maybe we weren't the best car. So to come back and back it up this year is great. I can't believe it. It's nice to deliver when you have the dominant car and we did that today. I wish we would have had a shot at the All-Star race last weekend. But this was still an all-star performance for this Lowe's team and I can't thank everybody enough."
WHEN THE CAUTIONS KEPT COMING OUT LATE, WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND? "I knew if a caution came out that we were going to pit. So I was trying to get all that I could and tried to run to get away from the No. 9 (Kahne) because over the long haul he seemed to catch back up to us. I was just trying to get out of town and get going and then the cautions came out and there's nothing worse than breaking your stride with a caution."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 2nd:
WHAT LED TO THIS GREAT RUN TONIGHT? "Slugger and the boys did a lot of wind tunnel work. They did a great job tonight. The NAPA crew stuck with me. We kept working. We changed the downforce and made it more like the car I had last year and there we were."
ON THE LAST FEW LAPS AFTER THE RED FLAG: "We just did a nice job on the re-start. Slugger made a good call in the pits to get two tires. It got us some track position. I didn't work Jamie (McMurray) over before the red flag, but got a chance to get him there afterward. I was real proud to get second place tonight."
THIS IS A SHOT IN THE ARM FOR YOUR AND THE TEAM, ISN'T IT? "Not a lot of teams were capable of running of running like we did tonight for 600 miles and stay in the Top 5 all night long. Call Domino's tomorrow night and ask for the Waltrip family special and they'll give you $5 off a large pizza. They do a nice job of sponsoring us."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (Finished -30TH (Started - 3rd )
HOW FRUSTRATING WAS TONIGHT? "It was really frustrating, but more than that , it was just a handful. I was just holding on trying to keep control of it. You know the sun is going to go down and you are going to be able to make adjustments. We needed a caution really really bad and we didn't get it. We needed big big adjustments and we just didn't get a chance to do that. Once the track cooled down, we were better. But that just wasn't a lot of fun."
DO YOU GUYS HAVE TO SET IT UP REAL LOOSE HERE AND ADJUST ON IT? "Not that loose. The 48 car was good all day."
DID YOU GUYS HAVE A SIMILAR SETUP? "I don't know, we are going to go back and look at everything. I'll tell you what, if he won with that setup, he needs a gold star (chuckles). We don't normally have the same setups but I want to go back and compare to see if we can figure out where we were off and where they were at-that looks like it makes good sense."
IS THAT THE HARDEST YOU HAVE EVER HAD TO RACE AT CHARLOTTE? "Yes it is and it figures it would be 600 miles and as hot as can be and no cautions."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR, NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (Finished - 6th) (Started 10th)
TALK ABOUT THE END, YOU JUST MISSED THAT ACCIDENT: "Yes, we gained some spots there at the end. We came in and got just two tires and took advantage of some of those guys there at the end. It wasn't a good day for us though, we struggled with the handling all day. We were really a 10th place car, we were lucky to get a couple spots there at the end."
TALK ABOUT HOW YOU FOUGHT BACK ALL NIGHT, YOU GOT A LAP DOWN AND WERE ABLE TO GET THE LUCKY DOG AND LEAVE HERE A FEW POINTS AHEAD OF JIMMIE JOHNSON: "I'll take it. This is one of his better tracks, we didn't lose a whole lot to him and we leave here with the points lead. That is important. But this is his racetrack, he does good here."
DID YOU GET HOT IN THERE? "It is one of the hardest races we run no doubt. My airbox quit half way through the race, I didn't have any air in the car. I wasn't tired, I just got hot, and it isn't any fun. But it is still a good finish for us."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (Finished -9th)(Started - 6th)
"The car felt worse than I did. (Tony Stewart battled feelings of nausea during the last 150 laps) We just missed it tonight. It was nobody's fault. I think we tried too hard to make sure that we didn't get tight at the end of the race, and instead, we just ended up with a car that just drove bad all night. Zippy (crew chief Greg Zipadelli) kept diggin and I kept digging and we finally got the 'lucky dog' and got a ninth-place finish out of it."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 14th
"We missed the setup early and that put us in a deep hole by falling two laps down. But I am very proud of this Army team on how we fought back to finish 14th. This was definitely a workmanlike performance by everyone. We made some good calls as the race went on and the Army Chevy was really hauling at the end. Our problem in the beginning was compounded because Jimmie Johnson had a rocket for a car and there weren't any cautions. Considering the bad luck we've had recently it was sure nice to finish a race and get a decent result. We know we're better, but when you're in a slump you take 14th and go to the next race with more enthusiasm and confidence."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (Finished - 20th)
(Qualified - 20th, dropped to rear of the field prior to start)
DESCRIBE YOUR DAY - "We had a decent run down here. We couldn't get a hold on the racetrack early, but we started out really good. The car got up on top of the racetrack, and slid four tires until the sun went down. After the sun went down, we got pretty good but obviously not good enough.
HOW ABOUT YOUR RUN HERE TONIGHT? "All of us have a lot of work to do. I think we finished three laps down. Kevin (Hamlin), myself, Johnny (Sauter), all the crew chiefs and all the engineers have some catching up to do. They say when you get down, you get tough and we have a tough race team here. I know that Richard (Childress) gives us the tools to do our jobs, so we have to find out why we aren't as competitive as the others."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (Finished - 13th) (Started - 9th)
""I asked him (Kasey Kahne) what happened, and he just said he bottomed out when he got on the brakes going into Turn 1 and got into us in the left rear. Thought we had him pretty much cleared, but we had older tires on, and I think he had two (new) tires on or something like that. It's one of those situations a lot of times when you have a red flag and you've got guys that came in (to the pits) behind us that had, by virtue of the lucky dog, got their laps backer earlier tonight and they had new tires on and I was the last one that didn't have new tires on. It's probably my fault for not pitting and putting new tires on, but hindsight is 20/20. They got jumbled up on the restart and we started getting passed left-right, left-right, but then we got back around a couple of them. Got into Turn 1, got into the fence, then got back around."
WAS THIS A TYPICAL COCA-COLA 600?: "Just without caution flags. Early on it was sunshine and real bright and then it's gets dark and the lights come on. It usually happens here."
DID YOU WOULD THINK THERE WOULD BE MORE CAUTIONS THAN THERE WERE?: "A lot of times when cars are handling really bad, nobody races each other, which is not a bad thing. I like that, because you can either make your car better or worse, you don't have to worry about everybody running the same speed. When the lights came on and the sun went down, we had a good car and were in seventh-place, but were as fast as the second-place car. The guys third through sixth were half a tenth slower than me, so you still couldn't catch them, still couldn't pass them. When the sun was out, at least people where slipping and sliding and you were able to make your car better or worse."
YOU HAD A TOP-EIGHT CAR AT LEAST, DOES THAT MAKE THE ACCIDENT THAT MUCH MORE DISAPPOINTING?: "Yeah. Obviously, it wasn't what we wanted to see. We had a good car and got up to third, but we could never catch back up to it. All in all, it was still a good restart. We were going to finish eight if that didn't happen. It was good night until that happened. I've never had a run-in with him, and probably won't again. It was just one of those situations tonight."