Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Score Top-Five Finishes at Darlington Darlington, SC - May 10, 2008 - Hendrick Motorsports and Team Chevy drivers Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 Mountain Dew/AMP ...
Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Score Top-Five Finishes at Darlington
Darlington, SC - May 10, 2008 - Hendrick Motorsports and Team Chevy drivers Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 Mountain Dew/AMP Energy/National Guard Impala SS, finished third and fourth respectively in the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway.
Gordon's fourth top-five and fifth top-10 finish of the season jumped the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion to 10th in the standings with 11 races of the 2008 season in the books.
The fourth top-five and eighth top-10 finish to date kept Earnhardt, Jr. third in the standings.
Jeff Burton, No. 31 AT&T Impala SS, finished 10th and remains second in the standings, just 79 points out of the lead.
Currently five Team Chevy drivers occupy spots in the coveted top-12 positions in the standings with 15 races remaining until the start of the Chase.
The 367-lap/500-mile race was won by Kyle Busch with Carl Edwards second. David Ragan completed the top-five.
Next on the NSCS schedule is the non-points paying All-Star Challenge on Saturday, May 17th at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The unique event rewards the winner with a $1 million dollar paycheck.
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS -- Finished 10th
"Toward the last third of the race, I drove way more aggressively and my car got a lot better too. But we didn't hit anything all night and that was a good thing. We were tight then loose then back to tight. We were our best there at the end but I'm proud of the AT&T team for fighting and because of that we were able to get another top 10."
WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THIS SUCCESS STREAK OF THE NO. 18? "They are just in a league of their own. And that doesn't surprise me when you look at pre-season testing. They were ridiculous fast. All the Gibbs cars were. So I'm not surprised. We've just got work to do. We've just got to keep working and I think we can get there, I really do. We're not there now. But I think we can get there."
A LONG HARD, NIGHT'S RACE. WAS THIS WHAT YOU EXPECTED? "Yeah, it didn't surprise me. I was surprised we went that green that early you know. After that first caution, it seemed like we went forever. No real surprises. The track is pretty cool. It's just almost too fast because it's hard to pass. It's so aerodynamic-sensitive now, more than it's eve been. That will go away some as the track ages. But all-in-all, I think it was pretty much what I expected."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS -- Finished 13th:
"I don't have much to say. It was one of those nights. We had an alternator problem that hurt us through most of the night. We had to turn all our fans off and everything so that was kind of frustrating certainly; I was warm in the car without any air circulating around. And I barely made it in. It was sputtering coming to the finishing. It was just out of juice. The alternator died.
"We weren't the fastest car, but we should have been a little better. I got in the wall early and that hurt us."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 MOUNTAIN DEW/AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS, FINISHED 4TH:
"Well, we had a real good car all weekend and when the race started, I knew we weren't exactly like we had been. Tony Jr. (Eury) told me right after the race we had changed a lower A-Frame and that might have changed how the car rolled over and traveled and stuff and handled. We were off a little bit all night, weren't really that good. Track position was everything; you could not pass, period. That was the worst I have ever seen it as far as trying to be able to pass. But, I have to hand it to my team. They worked hard. We worked hard and we finished top-five. I am pretty happy with that."
"Let's line 'em up and go again. But I want to set mine up again. We were a little bit off from where we ran all weekend, it wasn't near the same race car. But, when you are off and you run fourth, I guess you got to be happy.
"I don't know, man, it was a long race. How did the fans like it, the like it as long as it is? BIG CHEER FROM CROWD. Well, I reckon that will work."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS, FINISHED 3RD:
"We are definitely making big strides, I am real proud of this DuPont Chevrolet team. Tonight, Steve Letarte just did an awesome job. He has these guys in the pits just on their game. I mean, that track position and getting us out of the pits and making good calls all night. All I did was try to keep it out of the wall. Which was not easy in itself. We were off. I wish I wasn't so darn competitive because you have no idea. I am happy that we have a top-five and we are third, but also how frustrated I am because of how far off we are from winning races right now. We did the tire test here at Darlington and the No. 18 just kicked everybody's tails tonight. So, we have some work to do. We have been working hard, hopefully we can get a little bit closer to them at Charlotte.
"It was a very solid effort by this DuPont Chevrolet team. That was all done in the pits. Steve Letarte did a great job calling the race. This DuPont Chevrolet crew was just awesome in the pits, getting us out and gaining us spots all night long. We didn't really have a great car, we just got great track position and all I did was focus on not getting in to the wall. Probably one of the only cars out there that didn't hit the right side. We just didn't have a car capable of going up and challenging those guys so we just brought her home in one piece.
"The No.18 was in an unbelievable class of his own. Carl (Edwards) and his crew got their stuff better there at the end. We tried and tried and tried a lot of things and every time we got it a little bit better. But every time we tried to get it better than that, we went the wrong way with it. So, we just had to settle for a car that was a third place car and hope we could get track position and we did."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS -- Finished 39th:
"I hate it for the Shell-Penzoil team. It was my fault when I hit the wall. The guys did a great job in the garage and worked hard for me to get back on the track and because of that we were able to pick up a few positions."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS IMPALA SS -- Finished 15th
"We didn't have the best night but it could have been a lot worse. Everyone on the Jack Daniel's Chevrolet kept their heads in the game and we came out of here with a halfway decent finish. Gil and all the boys kept working on it during every stop and we ended up ok. We got a lap down a couple of times but we stayed after it all night and finished on the lead lap. We'll take that and go on to Charlotte."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS -- Finished 16th
"This was a really tough race," said Martin. "But these guys on this U.S. Army team are just incredible. They just don't give up and they got us so many positions on pit road. We were able to just hang in their and bring home a respectable finish.
"You don't always have the fastest car out there and everything doesn't always go perfect. On those nights you just have to dig deep and give it all you have. That is what these guys did tonight and I'm incredibly proud to drive their car each week."
-credit: gm racing