Chicagoland: GM teams race notes

DAVE BLANEY, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: "We cut a right front tire down. I don't know if I ran over something or what happened. But by the time I realized it going into Turn 1, it was too late and it got up in the wall." (THERE...

DAVE BLANEY, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:

"We cut a right front tire down. I don't know if I ran over something or what happened. But by the time I realized it going into Turn 1, it was too late and it got up in the wall."

(THERE IS A LOT OF SPEED HERE IN THESE CORNERS, ISN'T THERE?) "Yeah, you just can't get it slowed down quick enough. But the time you do, you've got a problem. It's too late."

MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:

"We lost the right front tire when we entered Turn 1 there for some reason. I hadn't seen any problems with the right front. We'd been tearing up the right rear a little bit. But, the NAPA Chevy never really felt as good as it did yesterday all day today. We were working on it. We just kept having a little bit of tire problems here and there. The left front would be flat one time. The right rear would be blistered and then the right front blew out. So there is really no trend; just a bad day."

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:

"Mike Bliss had a lot to do with that one (wreck). There was nowhere I could go. I don't know what's going on. We've been struggling really bad. It's very frustrating. When we get up to the front, hopefully that kind of stuff won't happen."

TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:

"If we would have stayed out like I wanted to, we would have won the race. But we didn't want to take any chances. Zippy wanted to be conservative. We've had four top five's in three weeks here, so I can't complain. The guys did an awesome job this weekend with J.J. Yeley subbing for us and this whole race team getting this back up car out and getting it as good as it was today. I'm tired, but I figured I'd be a lot worse than this after the race. It was just a good enough car that it made it easy to drive today."

(A STRONG RUN TODAY..ARE YOU SATISFIED OR DISAPPOINTED?) "We had an awesome car today. We probably gave up a win or a second place run, but I'm really happy. To have crashed the car on Saturday and be as sore as I was this morning as I was when I got up, the crew did an awesome job. I've got to thank J.J. again for coming in and riding this thing on Friday for us. They did a great job. The car was real good all day and I felt a lot better at the end of the race than I thought I was going to. So to get a top five finish for us I'm really happy about it."

(WAS THERE ANY PAIN FOR YOU DURING THE RACE?) "I had pain the whole race. When you grow up in the Midwest racing Sprint Cars and Midgets, you race hurt and you race with black eyes and you race with bloody eyes and you just do what you've got to do and we got it done today."

(ON WORKING HIS WAY TO THE FRONT) "We really got to the front pretty quick in all reality. We got by a lot of cars in that first segment before they did the mandatory caution. The crew gave us some track position after that and we just worked our way forward from there. Once we got in the top 10, every restart we were picking off two or three in the first two laps or so, so that really helped us out. Once we got in that top five group, clean air was a big help once you got out there. We had nothing for the No. 17 (Kenseth). We were probably about as good as the No. 25 (Vickers), but we just kept hanging in there and should have had a top two finish today for sure, and if we had stayed out, maybe a win. But that's why they call it gambling when you come in the pits there. Some took two (tires), some took none and some took four. We did what we thought was right. Whether it was right or wrong, we still got a top five finish so that was pretty good."

(WHAT HAPPENED ON THAT FIRST PIT STOP) "We just got boxed in. We were one car ahead of the No. 88 and behind the No. 43 and we came in behind the No. 48 and got turned in and then the No. 43 turned in after us. The angle that I was, I had to back up to get out."

"And by the time I backed up, they were ready to go forward again, so we lost seven or eight spots. But I got them back pretty quick."

(ABOUT DRIVING IN PAIN) "You just do it. The good thing is our car drove really good and that's a credit to the guys. When you get the car driving good it helps you save energy and makes it a little less painful to drive. But I'm not going to lie. It wasn't the most fun thing to do today. But I feel really good leaving here with everything that's happened this weekend with a top five."

(THE TEAM REALLY PULLED TOGETHER) "The most impressive part is that's what it takes to win championships. If that happens in the last 10-week stretch and we can pull out a top five in a situation like this, that's what it's going to take. I'm just really proud of everybody. This was a very key weekend for us to backup our performance in Michigan. I think we showed that we've caught up with the Roush and Hendrick teams a little bit. We didn't win the race today. We never led a lap, but we were a contender all day and we were right in that mix with Hendrick and Roush cars. That hopefully will solidify our name at Joe Gibbs racing in that list of two or three now that have a shot at winning this thing at the end of the year."

(HOW DO YOU FEEL RIGHT NOW?) "I'm sore. After 267 laps as fast as we run at this place it would be foolish to expect not to be sore."

(WHAT DID ZIPPY SAY AT THE END?) "I think he knew I was frustrated with our decision on the pit stop. It's the what-if syndrome. If Matt would have gone up there in three laps and got back in the lead and drove away from the field then four tires would have been the perfect thing. We did what we thought was right. We didn't win the race but we got a top five out of it and with the circumstances, I think that was all right."

(DID YOU HAVE ANY TIRE PROBLEMS TODAY?) "To be honest, historically we never have tire trouble. That blown tire the other day was a freak deal. We just don't have the tire problems the other teams tend to have. It makes it feel good as a driver when you know tire problems are there that you normally don't have to worry about it."

(DO YOU KNOW WHY YOU DIDN'T HAVE PROBLEMS?) "We scuffed less than anybody. I went out and ran one lap and came in on all my sets. A lot of guys ran two or three laps on their sets and then got more heat in them. But I don't know what the problem is. Our set-up is a little easier on the tires. It may not be the fastest set-up. We might have been able to be a little more aggressive, but I'm not sure the result would have changed anything. We probably would have just had more problems like everybody else."

(ON THE 23 MINUTE FLIGHT HOME) "If I could click my heels three times and just be there, I'd skip the 23-minute flight. The bad thing is I'm going to get in the airplane and fall asleep and I'll want him to circle for an hour and let me keep sleeping. I'll be nice to sleep in my own bed."

BRIAN VICKERS, NO. 25 GMAC CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:

(IT LOOKED LIKE YOUR RACE CAR WAS AS GOOD AS ANYBODY'S FOR MOST OF THE AFTERNOON) "Yeah, it really was. These GMAC Chevy guys did a good job. We got all we could out of it there at the end. It just got tight and we just didn't have anything for them."

(WHAT ABOUT THE CALL TO GET TWO TIRES TO GAIN TRACK POSITION THERE AT THE END, DID YOU OR LANCE MCGREW MAKE THE CALL?) "It was (crew chief) Lance (McGrew). He made a good call. Track position meant everything. It was real important there at the end."

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:

(IT LOOKS LIKE YOU FOUND SOMETHING ON THE OUTSIDE THERE AT THE END THAT WORKED PRETTY WELL FOR YOU) "Yeah, without a doubt. We finally got things working right with the car. We had a fast race car but I had to take care of it on new tires. We would blister a right rear tire off after about 25 laps. Actually, I had to pit under green because of that one time. During the pit stops we kept moving spring rubbers around and changing the wedge and trying to get the weight off the right rear tire and finally got it to where it was good for 30 or 40 laps and got back on the lead lap and went to the front from there."

(TALK ABOUT RACING FOR THE WIN) "It was a lot of fun all day long. There were a lot of young guys up there really racing their hearts out. It's fun to be able to race with these guys and everybody is giving each other the respect we need but we're still racing hard."

(ON THE DAY) "It was really a good day for us. We had some issues with the right rear tire blistering on the first pit stop. And we thought we had figured out a way to cycle the tires and keep them from blistering and add some life to the tire, but unfortunately we had a longer run and the right rear blistered again and started to come apart so I had to hit pit road. When we were down a lap, (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) started moving things around like I said. Then we started bottoming out the front. Once we got our lap back we came and lifted the hood and tried to pick the front of the car up a little bit. It was really just a ton of work. We worked our way up to 11th and was on the jack getting ready for four (tires) and Chad saw a lot of guys taking two. He called two tires and the guys responded right. We got some track position. Then we just made some flatfoot moves on the outside of Turns 1 and 2 and made up some good spots and got some position. I really thought I was going to have a shot at the No. 8 (Earnhardt Jr.) but once Matt (Kenseth) got to me and got by that he would probably going to go up there and take the win away, but he didn't."

(ON JEFF GORDON'S CONTINUOUS STRUGGLE) "Yeah, this weekend wasn't very good for him. The car was really out of control throughout the weekend. It always seems to happen that you have bad luck and then your bad performance is mixed in with it and unfortunately he had another bad day. I'm not sure how he crashed off of Turn 2. But it's going to be tough to bounce back in the points. If anybody can rebound back, it's him. And there is still a lot of racing left."

(WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE AT LOUDON AND DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF MOMENTUM GOING INTO THE LAST HALF OF THE SEASON?) "Yeah, it's nice to finish well. Our 1.5-mile program has been a little off. Today was a nice way to get up there and lead in the top five throughout the day. We did have tire trouble so we have a little bit of work to do still with the intermediate tracks. But at Loudon, we were up there testing last week, it's a tough little track to race on. It's going to be a track position race and hopefully we learn the right things at our test session. I can't say we went there and found what we did in '03 when we won both races. My car just doesn't drive the same there right now and we're trying to get that back, but the test session did help us out a lot."

-gmracing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers J.J. Yeley , Mike Bliss