Chevy's Jimmie Johnson became the top finishing Raybestos Rookie for the seventh time this year by scoring a 7th place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He dominated the race by leading 263 laps of the 400 lap event, and moved...
Chevy's Jimmie Johnson became the top finishing Raybestos Rookie for the seventh time this year by scoring a 7th place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He dominated the race by leading 263 laps of the 400 lap event, and moved into 5th place in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series point standings. Jeff Gordon was the top finishing Monte Carlo driver in 5th. Robby Gordon pulled a doubleheader by competing in both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 500 races today for a total of 1100 miles. Driver comments follow:
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo (led 223 of 400 laps and finished 7th):
"We learned a lot as a team and I learned a lot as a driver for next time. It hurts. But that's how it goes.
On the pit stop: I can't blame anybody else but myself. I was trying to get everything I could on that pit stop and slid about two or three inches too far through my stall and the nose was across the line. We had to back up before we could start our pit stop. The couple of seconds we lost there cost us nine positions on the racetrack. I was stuck back in ninth with the lapped cars on the inside and you're pretty much doomed unless you have at least two cautions - one caution still wouldn't do it because the lapped cars would still line back up. I'm very disappointed. We'll just come back smarter and go to Dover and try to win there."
What happened with you and the No. 23 of Hut Stricklin? "I had been behind him for a long time. All of a sudden there was a bunch of closing speed between him and me and I just didn't anticipate it or realize it. I tried at the last minute to miss him and I clipped him. By no means did I mean to do it. Shoot, I'd been riding behind him for 15 laps already so I don't know what happened. I was content riding right there. I was keeping my distance over second place and conserving fuel. Luckily he didn't hit anything. I would hate for him to tear up his racecar over that."
What are the positives you can pull from this as you go forward: "We're rookies and if we stop and look at our position and that this is our first 600 race, we can pull from that and it's not as painful. But we won at California and we've got that taste of victory and we want to keep doing it. To be this close and not bring home the trophy was a disappointment."
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet Monte Carlo (finished 5th): "We had a good car, it was just hard to get track position. There's a lot to be said about aero and being in clean air. The DuPont Chevrolet was good tonight. We just slowly but surely worked our way to the front and we just couldn't ever get all the way up there. But we got up there to fifth. We had something for Ricky Craven and Ricky Rudd. I thought I had Rudd passed there on that last lap and me and (Tony) Stewart got together there and it was three-wide. It was a heck of a race man, it was a lot of fun."
Mike Skinner, driver of the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Monte Carlo gets a new crew chief. In an effort to strengthen the veteran race team, Morgan-McClure Motorsports has shifted duties among key personnel. Chris Carrier has been moved into the crew chief position and Scott Eggleston will take on the responsibilities of team manager.
Larry McClure, who has been wearing two hats as team owner and team manager, is confident the switch will better utilize the talents of Carrier and Eggleston. The change will also allow McClure to focus his time and energy solely on his role as team owner.