Darlington, South Carolina - Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS scored his fifth top 10 finish of the season, his 17th top-10 finish in 26 races at Darlington Raceway. Gordon jumped from 9th to 6th in the standings and led six...
Darlington, South Carolina - Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS scored his fifth top 10 finish of the season, his 17th top-10 finish in 26 races at Darlington Raceway. Gordon jumped from 9th to 6th in the standings and led six Team Chevy drivers to finish in the top 10 at Round 11 on the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series tour.
Chevrolet has six wins to date this season and continues to hold the lead in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Manufacturer's standings through the first 11 races of the 2006 season.
The series moves to Charlotte for the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Saturday night, May 20.
UPDATE: Current NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Manufacturer's Standings:
Chevrolet 80 points (6 wins)
Dodge 61 points (3 wins)
Ford 68 points (2 wins)
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 2nd:
YOU DROVE YOUR HEART OUT THOSE LAST FEW LAPS, WAS THE CAR COOPERATING? "Well, we started off a little too loose on that last run and I thought we were in big trouble, but I let those guys go and get out there and hoped that we'd catch them like we had in other long runs. I got by Kenseth and I got into the wall a little bit down in Turns 3 and 4 and I don't know if it knocked the tow out of it or what but I picked up a big push and I was shocked that I even caught the No. 16 (Biffle). We came up on some lapped traffic and we had a run on him. I had one good opportunity and with a little bit more room from a lapped car and I might have been able to get it turned underneath him.
"But it was still a great race and a fantastic job by the DuPont Chevrolet guys and all the sponsors that make it happen for us. This is a big moment for us. We needed a run like this and it couldn't be at a better place than here at Darlington." (more to follow)
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 4th:
YOU GOT BLOCKED TRYING TO EXIT PIT ROAD ON LAP 316, WAS THAT A DIFFERENCE IN THE OUTCOME FOR YOU? "I think it affected us from finishing third or second or somewhere in there. I got held up a little bit. But it was a good performance for us. Qualifying didn't go like we wanted. We worked very hard trying to get this race car situated in the last practice. We had a good car and came from 25th to the front. We were a little too loose all night long, but I'm very happy with our performance."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 5th:
"The team did great job today, gave me great pit stops. The adjustments they made were good all night. Anytime I can come in here and get a top-10 I'm pretty happy. A top-five is almost like a win, so I'm pretty excited."
ON THE MOMENTUM AFTER LAST WEEK'S WIN CARRYING OVER TO THIS WEEK: "Yeah, I'm real happy to see us put a couple of good runs there together like we just did. It pads our points on some of the guys behind us. I really don't worry about who's in front, or whether we're catching them or not. I just kind of watch the guys behind us and whether they're coming. It's sort of been my style. Maybe we can keep it up and make the Chase. I think we have a great team right now."
ON FIGHTING THE FLU BUG THIS WEEKEND, AND HOW IT AFFECTED HIM TONIGHT: "I was sick when I got here (on Friday). I've kind of been fighting the flu. Went to the infield care center on Friday, and they helped me out a little bit. During the race I was shouting into the mic, and it kind of tore my voice up a little bit. I had a good car. I felt alright, good enough to drive the car."
DID YOU EVER CONSIDER GETTING OUT OF THE CAR? "Nah, I was going to be able to finish the race. I told them to maybe have someone on standby just in case, but I wasn't planning on getting out. Just screaming over the motor really tore my voice up. I don't know whether they could hear me or not. It's a tough race, man. I'm tired. Whether you're sick or not, you're going to be tired."
KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 CARQUEST MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 7th:
"It was a good run for us. We started out and unloaded this weekend and we were about a 30th- place car. The guys made some awesome changes to it during practice. They worked their guts out on it trying to make it better and Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) made some awesome calls during the race. I think we probably could have had fifth, definitely sixth but we just got stuck behind (Ryan) Newman there at the end and couldn't really get anywhere. Overall it was a good race. It was a long race. It's just one of them deals where it's a long race here but we all have to deal with it.
"Again for another week it was my crew that got us spots off pit road to keep me up front. We'll take that here at Darlington. "
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 9th and moved to 10th place in the driver standings:
"It was a great night in the pits. The guys in the pits did a fantastic job. We struggled all night on long runs. We were real fast for about 30 laps and then we'd get really loose. It kind of happened on us yesterday. Yesterday we were practicing and we had a really good set up and then the pace picked up and it started bottoming out really bad so we had to change our setup. We just didn't have enough time to get it just right but none the less a good night. The guys in the pits stepped up and did a great job. (It was) another top 10. Certainly we wanted to be able to run better than that but we feel good about where we are. You're not going to run great every week. This is the kind of race track that we really haven't put a whole lot effort into. We've been looking at trying to improve our program. We had to set priorities and I look forward to what we have coming up."
TONY RAINES, NO. 96 DLP HDTV CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS: Started 42nd/Finished 20th:
"It was pretty good, considering they type of day we had on Friday, you know hitting the wall in practice and hitting the wall in qualifying. We started 42nd, and finished 20th -- I'm pleased with that as far as rebounding from where we started. If we had started 20th and finished 20th, I'd be disappointed. We passed a lot of cars. We scraped the wall, but we didn't hit it and tear up the car. It was a good rebound. We've got a ways to go yet, but we changed the car completely from Friday to Saturday, and it was definitely a better car today. It was a little tight at the beginning of a run, and loose at the end of the run, but in the middle of a run we had a fast car. We can build on that and carry some momentum in the next couple of races. From where we started it's a good finish."
ARE YOU FINDING THE CONSISTENCY THAT YOU WANT? "If you look at our finishes, there's a pretty small circle there. I'd like to move it up a couple of notches. Like I said, from where we started -- if this is our worst day of the summer, I'll take it."
WHERE DO YOU SEE THE TEAM HEADED IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS? "Well, I think we just keep building. If we can run top 25 every week and finish the year in the top 25 -- that was our goal at the beginning of the year. As you get a little time and you start going to tracks a second time, you want to move into that top 10 bracket.
"I think there have been a couple of races where we had a car fast enough to finish in the top 10, we just haven't gotten there yet."