JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Race Winner: (HOW BIG IS THIS TO BEAT THE DEI CARS AGAIN?) "This is unbelievable. I've got a lot of people to thank for this one because we certainly didn't do it all on our own. What an awesome...
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Race Winner:
(HOW BIG IS THIS TO BEAT THE DEI CARS AGAIN?) "This is unbelievable. I've got a lot of people to thank for this one because we certainly didn't do it all on our own. What an awesome race car. I've got to thank Jimmie Johnson. I owe him bigtime. What a great push he gave me. We worked awfully hard to get all the Hendrick cars up here today. I want to thank DuPont and what a big day it was for Pepsi. What an awesome effort by Hendrick Motorsports.
(FOR THE SECOND CONSECUTIVE WEEK AND THE FIFTH TIME AT DAYTONA YOU'RE CELEBRATING IN VICTORY LANE) "Wow. It's a big one. We had a lot of guys challenging us. What an awesome effort by Hendrick Motorsports. I owe this one to Jimmie. This team built an unbelievable race car but he gave me a push that nobody else out there would have given me. I love working with him and racing with him and drafting with him. The guy just gets it. He absolutely gets it and next time, he's going to get a push from me.
"What a big day for this DuPont / Pepsi Chevrolet. I thank DuPont enough for allowing Pepsi to come on board and do this $1 billion promotion. We had all those red cars gunning for us so it's really awesome to finish ahead of them. It's the Pepsi 400 and it's a special night."
(TALK ABOUT THE CALL TO TAKE FOUR TIRES AND WHAT A DIFFERENCE THAT MADE) "The four tires made a difference. My car drove so good tonight. My hat's off to these guys. Yesterday I was asking for a lot out of the race car. We had plenty of speed all weekend long but just didn't have the feel that we're looking for. Robbie Loomis and all these guys just really went to work and put a great piece underneath me. We took four (tires) and the other guys had to gamble if they were going to beat us. The four tires definitely played a roll and enabled us to make some maneuvers out there and get some runs on guys. When Junior got by me, I thought we were in trouble. I really did. He had a heck of a run back there. And then for some reason something happened to him off of Turn 2. His car stalled out and I had a heck of a run and a push from Jimmie and we both got by him and then we went after Tony (Stewart). He was driving a great race and I didn't know if I was going to get by him or not."
(YOU'VE WON 4 RACES THIS YEAR. DO YOU HAVE THAT CHAMPIONSHIP FEELING AGAIN?) "I tell you what, it makes me feel pretty darn good right now, that's for sure. What a way to get momentum to just be strong week in and week out on totally different types of race tracks. I think Charlotte led a fire underneath us. We had a miserable day and embarrassed ourselves and Rick (Hendrick) and our sponsors and we don't like to do that. They've been on a mission ever since."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 5th: (ON HIS RACE) "We gambled there and took two (tires) and it got us good track position. My problem was I just couldn't hold 'em off. We were just too tight there and they got a big run on us. It was fun. It was good to get up there in the top-five today. It was a big improvement from where the car was in happy hour to race time.
(ON HAVING A PAIR OF OPPOSING TEAMMATES BEARING DOWN ON HIM) "There's nothing you can do about it, first of all. But I can tell you one thing, it's not a pretty sight watching a dot behind you get really big all of a sudden. It was hard. I figured the whole line would go by us, but they caught me at the wrong spot on the track coming off of (turn) four. It got us going there and I thought we might have a shot at winning this thing, but it just kept getting tighter and tighter off of two, and once they got by it made it even tighter yet. I just tried to come home with a top-five finish.
"That's the best car we've had here for a night race. It's normally so hot it's hard to get the cars to work good here."
(ON DALE JR., GETTING SEPARATED FROM HIM) "I don't even remember, to be honest. There were so many things happening there the last 15 laps. I guess Jeff (Gordon) got a run on him somehow and got underneath him and then from there it was bad news."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 3rd: (ON THE LAST FEW LAPS AND THE HELP FROM KURT BUSCH) "We were trying to make a run on him however we could and we just didn't have the car to get by him. I had a terrible day in the pits. My crew really wasn't on their game today. We stayed out on the race track and lost a lot of track position one time and got a long ways behind the pack and just didn't make a bunch of right calls. But to win these races, you've got to out front and I thought we knew that but we didn't try to do that."
(YOU ALSO DID A LITTLE MUG BOGGING AT ONE TIME DOWN PIT ROAD. DID THAT DO ANY DAMAGE TO THE CAR?) "Nah, some of these guys just don't watch where they're going. They ain't got good spotters or something because the guy just ran me right into the grass. I was too far up on him to check up and get behind him or I would have done that anyways. But it didn't hurt the car any. The car was great. The motor was great. Everybody back at DEI is doing a great job. They worked real hard to get it faster and they did. It was just not good enough. We were real tight behind them and just didn't have a lot of help either but I don't know if that would have mattered."
(A GOOD RACE FOR YOU, BUT YOU CAN'T WIN THEM ALL RIGHT?) "Well I guess not. Jimmie's always run good here and I seen him come close here. I can take a loss if we were right on their butt and it was so good to be competitive all night. They did good. They did their work. They teamed up in the end like they needed to. It shows everybody how valuable it is. Me or Michael weren't getting our cars to handle too good to make a charge. It was kind of hanging on at the end. My car was real tight. When the 97 got close to pushing it make me tighter and I'd have to lift. It wasn't the fact that we didn't have enough help at the end we just didn't have the car to beat them.
(COULD YOU HAVE CAUGHT THEM AT THE END?) "I was sitting there running about tenth there with 20 to go. My car wasn't turning. I had a lot of people in front of me. I knew to keep my head on my shoulders here to try to get a good finish. I got a run on the back straight away and got by and behind Tony (Stewart). It still didn't have what I needed to maintain and my car didn't have no air on it."
(ON GOING INTO THE GRASS AFTER THE PIT STOP) "Three of us were pulling out of the pits at the same time on the outside of each other. I think the No. 48 (Johnson) was in front of the No. 25 (Vickers) and he was on the outside of him. They all went up to the edge of pit road. I had so much race car up beside the 25 lifting and getting behind him wasn't an option. I'd end up hitting him so I just went into the glass. You're not thinking about the grass being that wet at the time. Once you hit it you really knew you're in for a hell of a time trying getting out of it. I just sat there trying to ride it out trying to keep the car from spinning out and getting stuck."
(HOW WAS YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS TO KEEP IT MOVING?) "On the Sunday night at the Daytona 500 is when the 11, 15 and the 1 spun out at the back straight away. None of them could get out. I remember that if you keep your car rolling and moving some how or another when you get in the wet grass."
(DO YOU FEEL HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS HAS CAUGHT DEI?) "You're asking me as if I'm outside of myself. I am part of DEI. Every time I go to the race track I have the best team, the best car, I'm the best driver. No matter where I'm at. They are as competitive as we are. It wasn't a matter of who catches who. You saw the Roush cars running good all day long. They were up there. The Gibbs cars were up there. At the end it was all about who was out front. It just happened to be the Hendrick cars. They're fast. Like Tony said, it's hard to keep secrets in the garage.
"I don't think we have an advantage of any kind anymore. That was kind of gone away even before the Daytona 500. We just came down here to out handle everybody. Tonight we didn't. We had a pretty good handling car. I drove it to the front. I led a lap. When the car didn't handle good I didn't lead it. I didn't lead the race. That's basically what happened. My car got real tight. They got by me and that was it."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 WELLBUTRIN XL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO- Finished 7th
"We got a top ten which is good. We should move up in the points. The car was tight for most of the night but the guys worked on the car and we got a good result."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 13th:
"The first lap out I said something's wrong. It never got better. I had a really great car. I had a lot of fun. I don't know what happened. Something happened. We'll figure it out. Something went wrong with the NAPA Chevrolet. We'll have to call AAA maybe they can tell us."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 COCA COLA C2/GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET - Finished 14th: (ON HIS DAY) "That was probably the loosest car I have ever driven. The GM Goodwrench Chevy started out pretty good. That second the car got got terribly loose I thought I had a tire going down on me at one point. We got back towards the front right before that last run and took two tires to put ourselves into a position to win the race. Five laps into the last run the car just got terribly loose again and I did all I could just to hold onto it. I have to give these guys some credit because we gave it what we had. It just got so loose there at the end I couldn't really drive it."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 10th
"We had a couple of hiccups, including an unscheduled pit stop (under caution) for a loose wheel. That hurt, because it put us out of the lead draft (went from 7th to 31st). But we stayed patient and hustled our way back. During that last green-flag run my Army car was perfect -- we were passing everybody (note: Nemechek picked up 13 spots in the final green flag run). I think our year is turning around -- we have showed in the last 10 races we can lead laps and run up front. By gosh, this Army team is strong -- we just keep finding that little weak spot every race. We have to get a little better and keep on digging until we get there. Overall, I have mixed feelings about tonight. I guess a 10th-place finish wasn't that bad, but yet, we had a car that should have contended for the win."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 2nd: (WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END?) "There at the end, the No. 8 (Earnhardt Jr.) was trying to set me up and get by and he was never behind me long enough to get me a good push to try to make something happen. Jeff (Gordon) is on his game and he knows how to do this plate racing, so congratulations to him and to Hendrick Motorsports. It was a solid night all night long for everyone. The Pepsi car won the Pepsi 400 so it's hard to beat that. I'm just very proud of this Lowe's team. Everyone on this Lowe's Monte Carlo worked hard. Yesterday we got things turned around and I think we showed tonight we had a car to win the race."
(ON THE LAST PIT STOP THAT CAME UNDER GREEN FLAG CONDITIONS, ANY SECOND THOUGHTS ON WHEN YOU TOOK THAT?) "No, we played it out right. The problem was I got to pit road a little too hot and we had the left front locked up and slid up against the wall and lost a lot of track position. We were still able got second, but I wish I wouldn't have made that mistake. It may have cost us the win."
"It's all performance and I wish that the No. 8 (Earnhardt Jr.) could have formed up behind us a little better and we could have of gotten around the No. 24 (Gordon). My first priority was to get him clear. Then get myself clear. We're sitting there one, two. I knew the No. 8 was coming. I was glad I had a big strong bumper in the back. He got to me a couple of times but really couldn't get to me to give me the push I needed to try to get the win."
(DO YOU THINK YOU COULD HAVE GOTTEN BY JEFF GORDON FOR THE WIN?) "Absolutely. We're here to win the race. I knew that I didn't need to make a move with two or three laps to go. I needed to be off of turn two on the white flag lap or off of turn four because once you make that move and get out and slow the two lead cars down and once with the 8 and 97 working together they would have passed both of us. I was just trying to wait, dragging the brake and set up that opportunity. The 8 didn't get back to me in time to give me the push I needed."
(WHAT HAVE YOU SEEN OUT OF GORDON'S TEAM IN THE LAST MONTH?) "Typical 24 team. If you look at the No. 24 and the No. 48 in the same shop, it seems like we're one- upping each other each week. The No. 24 has been very strong. We've had our strong moments. I think you're seeing a whole surge from all of Hendrick Motorsports. If anybody doubted that Hendrick Motorsports was closing the gap after Talladega and had any doubts after leaving that race, I think tonight showed that Hendrick Motorsports has all the speed and commitment and the drivers to get the job done. We put on a good show."
(DO YOU THINK PEOPLE MIGHT PEOPLE MIGHT SAY YOU RAN INTERFERENCE FOR JEFF GORDON?) "It's funny. If it would have been any other car it would have been 'man you drove but' and 'great second place finish.' But soon as it is a teammate in front of you, everybody wonders if you're blocking or content in second. There's no way in the world I wanted to finish second. If you would have listened to me when they crossed the start-finish, there were plenty four letter words since I wanted to win this race. It's just the way it is. You do race smarter when you are around your teammates. You help them because you can count on them helping you back. I helped the No. 24 get the lead. I was stuck on the high side next to the No. 20 (Tony Stewart) and he stayed up there ahead of me and helped pull me by. It was a two way street and worked for us. But after that if the 8 could have been on my bumper it would have been a different story."
(DO YOU THINK IF THE NO. 15 WAS IN THE LEAD PACK IT WOULD HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE FOR THE NO. 8?) "I think it hurt him but Junior never got into a bad position. He would back up to the No.97 (Kurt Busch) and just couldn't quite get a big enough run to get next to me. Where you can count on a teammate is when you're next to somebody, they'll help push = you by. If they get position, you can count on your teammate to help you = by. I don't think they were ever in a position to find out where the = loyalty would be so it never materialized."
RICKY CRAVEN, NO. 32 TIDE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - sidelined in crash: "I just saw a couple cars in front of me get together and I don't really know why or what happened, but we just got swept into it."
WARD BURTON, NO. 0 NETZERO CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - sidelined in crash:
"I'm fine. I felt it bottom out on the front straight. When it bottomed out I felt a little bit of smoke in the car. Then we got in the corner and it bottomed out again really hard. More smoke came into the car. It's just tough luck for the team. The team ran really hard. I'm sorry for the NetZero Chevrolet and all their sponsors. We had a lot better car than what we showed this weekend. Two things happened that were beyond our control so here we are."