Daytona II: GM teams race notes, quotes

Kevin Harvick Wins at Daytona and Extends Points Lead; Team Chevy Drivers Capture Four of Top-Five Finishing Positions Daytona Beach, FL - It was a wild night at Daytona but when the checkered flag flew, Kevin Harvick, No. 28 Shell-Pennzoil ...

Kevin Harvick Wins at Daytona and Extends Points Lead; Team Chevy Drivers Capture Four of Top-Five Finishing Positions

Daytona Beach, FL - It was a wild night at Daytona but when the checkered flag flew, Kevin Harvick, No. 28 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, scored his second victory of the season and extended his lead in the standings to 212 points with eight races remaining until the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

After rain delayed the start of the scheduled 160-lap/400-mile race for approximately one hour and thirty minutes, Harvick survived nine caution flags, a multi-car wreck on lap 147 that involved 19 cars resulting in a 19-plus minute red flag and a green-white checkered finish that extended the race five laps to claim the victory. He led eight times for a total of 28 laps.

Team Chevy drivers captured four of the top-five finishing positions tonight. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet finished third and led five times for a 13-lap total. He jumped three positions in the points to second behind Harvick.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard 8 Soldiers 8 Missions/AMP Energy Chevrolet, finished fourth and now sits 11th in the Chase standings after 18 races.

The fifth place finisher was Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet . He led four times for 11 laps and remains eighth in the point standings.

Mike Bliss, No. 71 TaxSlayer.com/TRG Chevrolet, finished ninth to give Chevrolet drivers five of the top-10 spots in the final order.

Several Team Chevy drivers were caught up in the "Big One" with just 13 laps remaining in the race. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, now sits third in the standings after finishing 31st as a result of the accident.

Tony Stewart, No. 14 Burger King Chevrolet, remains ninth in points after finishing 25th, also as a result of the multi-car wreck.

Mark Martin, No. 5 CARQUEST Auto Parts/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, was another victim of the wreck. With a 28th place finish, he dropped to 13th in the standings, 39 points out of the Chase top-12.

Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet was involved in an accident on the final lap of the race while battling for the win in the lead pack. His 17th place finish actually moved him up one spot in the points order to 14th, 49 points out of the Chase battle.

Ryan Newman, No. 39 Tornados Chevrolet, was another victim of the major accident and was relegated to the 26th finishing position. He is 15th in the standings, just 80 points out of 12th place.

Kasey Kahne (Ford-2nd) completed the top-five finished.

The next race for the Series is July 10, 2010 at Chicagoland Speedway.

***

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET, was involved in a multi-car accident on lap 115:

WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE? "I don't know, I saw the No. 6 car (David Ragan) get into the wall. I honestly thought there might have been oil or something right there. I don't really know. They said the No. 9 (Kasey Kahne) behind me also. It is unfortunate; it was a pretty big hit. I had a really good car there, wasn't as good as I thought it was in practice, but on the longer run, it seemed like our car was good. We had a lot of people here from Bass Pro Shops, so we wanted to do well for them. Unfortunately, I don't think they will get it fixed."

CAN ALL THIS HUMIDITY MAKE THE TRACK FEEL LIKE THERE IS OIL OUT THERE? "That sounds good, but I don't think so, no. That would be grasping I think. The track is really slick, but it isn't any different than it has been in the past. It is really fun. I hate it that they have to re-pave this place. It is so much fun to slide around like that."

***

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET, involved in multi-car accident on lap 147:

WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE: "I saw cars piling up in front of me. I tried down and clipped with the right front corner. There is nothing you can do. It is just one of those deals. Again, this Target Chevy all season has been amazing. The team has done a really good job. That is the story of our year."

EARLIER ON IN THE RACE YOU AND KYLE BUSCH GOT TOGETHER, WHAT DID YOU SEE? "We had a great car. This Target Chevy was amazing today. It was one of those deals. All year has been like that so I'm not surprised."

***

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 TORNADOS CHEVROLET, involved in a multi-car accident on lap 147:

WHAT DID YOU SEE OUT THERE? "I saw the No. 12 (Brad Keselowski) and the No. 83 (Reed Sorenson) sideways and I couldn't tell you what else happened. I just know I got pile-drived. I saw the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) sideways and myself sideways and up on two wheels. Right place, wrong time as usual for me. You know when the No. 48 is sideways, it probably isn't his fault. All I saw was a blocked race track and I'm on the way to the airplane."

***

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST AUTO PARTS/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET, involved in multi-car accident on lap 147:

WHAT HAPPENED FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE AND ARE YOU OK FROM THE FIRE IN THE CAR? "The fire was outside, it wasn't inside. It wasn't as bad as it looked. No big deal. It is a disappointment to be in a wreck as hard as we fought and as hard we worked. My guys did an awesome job battling through things. I wish we hadn't been in that wreck. There was no way. I couldn't see anything and I couldn't get down. My spotter said get down. Well, I was going too fast, there wasn't no getting down. My spotter said get down, but I couldn't get down. I was going too fast.

"It was a disappointment. Me and my guys battled and fought for everything we could get there and we got in one accident and we were just trying to finish it off there and there wasn't any way to miss that one."

***

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET, involved in a multi-car accident on lap 147:

YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE: "You can't see much from the cars. I saw the No. 2 (Kurt Busch) down on the flat. Then I was hit from behind and everybody was trying to slow down and just got caught up in things. We came close, I mean, 380-something miles of not having a big one and then we always seem to have that big one at the end."

WAS IT HARD RACING OR OVER AGGRESSION TOO EARLY? "I couldn't really tell from where I was at. I would just be speculating, but the energy inside the draft changes as the laps wind down. We all know that every move you make could be worth five or 10 points on the track in position. You could sense it. We knew it was coming and you could feel it building and sure enough it happened."

***

GIL MARTIN, CREW CHIEF, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, RACE WINNER:

"What a great night for this Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet team. I have always wanted to win this race my whole life! Now we are going to victory lane!"

***

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, RACE WINNER:

LET'S START WITH THOSE LAST COUPLE OF LAPS: "The No. 33 (Clint Bowyer) and myself got split up and we were able to...we just had to do what we had to do at that point. We were going to finish first and second there at the end. But we were able to get the win at the end. It was a lot of fun. I have to thank everybody from Shell-Pennzoil. All the fans for coming out tonight and supporting us on their holiday weekend is really neat and hopefully they saw a great race."

YOU WERE ON THE BOTTOM AND SAW KASEY KAHNE AND JEFF GORDON COMING, WERE YOU WHERE YOU WANTED TO BE? "I didn't really know. The spotter thought we were. He thought the No. 9 (Kahne) was a little bit better than the No. 24 (Gordon) and I think the No. 24 got on the outside of the No. 33 and it slowed both of those lines down and at that point I knew I just had to block both lines on the bottom. It all worked out and man, here we are in victory lane."

ON LAP 106, YOU CAME DOWN LATER THAN ANYONE ELSE AND RESTARTED SOMETHING LIKE 20TH AND IT SEEMED LIKE YOU COULD SLIDE RIGHT THROUGH THE FIELD, WAS THAT WHEN YOU REALIZED YOU HAD SUCH A STRONG CAR? "Yea, our car handled really good. That was the main thing. It handled really good through the corners. Tires at the end were key. I was able to maneuver where I needed to to make moves happen and handle the shoves without letting off the throttle getting in the corners."

TALK ABOUT THIS BEING THE FINAL RACE ON THIS PAVEMENT: "This has been a great place for us. Daytona has been one of those magical places for us since we started coming here. Just have to thank everybody from Shell-Pennzoil, Jimmy Johns, SKF, Champion, Coca Cola, drink a lot of Coke Zero and this is their race. Realtree, Reeses, who'd I miss on the back? I want to say hey to all the guys from Jimmy Johns and congratulations to Brock on kicking some ass tonight, so that was pretty cool."

HOW CRAZY WAS THAT FINAL RESTART? "That really wasn't the situation that we wanted to be in. I wanted to be behind him (Clint Bowyer) and be able to push him because it was working pretty good for us. Then that caution came out and we had to split up because of the double-file restarts. But, I helped him as much as I could and we got split up and the No. 9 and the No. 24 split the No. 33 then that was it."

WHAT IS IT GOING TO MEAN TO ADD ANOTHER DAYTONA TROPHY AND PROBABLY SOME PAVEMENT FROM START FINISH LINE? "I don't care so much about the trophy; I want some of the pavement from the start/finish line out there so this is pretty cool."

***

JEFF GORDON, NO 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 3RD:

WALK US THROUGH THE LAST HANDFUL OF LAPS THERE: "I was having a lot out there on the long runs with the DuPont Chevy earlier in the race. We weren't very good on the short runs but on long runs, we would start picking them off one by one. It was a fun night for us with all those crashes and green-white-checkered and double-file restarts, it was pretty wild out there. I love racing with Clint Bowyer and I was trying to push him there on that restart there. I don't know if he was on the brakes there or what was happening, but I kept slamming him and slamming him and we weren't going anywhere. I finally had to go to the outside of him and took us three wide. That probably didn't do any of us any favors but got a great run there. Was trying to get to Kasey (Kahne) to give Kevin (Harvick) a run for his money, but all-in-all, a great top-three finish for us. Got to thank the fans for sticking around. These rain delays like this are never any fun for anybody, but without our fans sticking around and supporting us, we wouldn't be here. Happy Four of July."

ALL-IN-ALL, YOU HAVE TO BE HAPPY WITH A TOP-FIVE: "It has been awhile since we finished one of these races too. We certainly haven't had good fortune go our way recently. But, the DuPont Chevrolet was really strong tonight. Especially on the long runs, we needed long runs. There at the end, Steve (Letarte, crew chief) made some great calls and we missed some of the big stuff. I did a big four-wheel slide into three there and able to come out of there pretty clean. Got some good runs there at the end. I was trying to push Clint Bowyer, I don't know if he was riding the brake or what was going on with him trying to keep me on his bumper, but it was really messing us up and I finally said 'I gotta go man, your killing me'. I got a run around him, got another run and got up to Kasey and trying to help him get to Kevin but all in all a great top three finish for us."

***

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD 8 SOLDIERS 8 MISSIONS/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET, FINISHED 4TH:

WALK EVERYBODY THROUGH THE NIGHT THE WAY IT WENT FOR YOU: "I want to thank Lance (McGrew, crew chief) and my team, they worked really hard. We thought after practice we had a good race car, but when the race started, we didn't. We learned a lesson that we need to work a little bit harder in practice and try to make sure we've covered all our bases because when the race started, we didn't have a car to compete. Lance and the guys worked really hard trying to make it better. We just missed a lot of wrecks and got lucky with the finish. We didn't have a car to compete tonight. I apologize to all the fans. Thank the National Guard and all of our sponsors for their support. We'll try to do a better job next week. We don't want to get lucky every time."

COULD YOU TELL A DIFFERENCE WITH THE DIFFERENT RESTRICTOR PLATE? "Oh, man, I'm not the guy to ask, I was struggling with the handling all night. We were really hanging on to the car all night long. I didn't really...it was slick and obviously you saw that. The spoilers make the racing a little bit different and make the action a little bit more dicey."

HAVE YOU SEEN A RACE THAT CRAZY RECENTLY? "Yea, I've seen a lot of races that are pretty crazy. Congratulations to Kevin and RCR. We were terrible all night. We didn't do a good job this weekend as a team putting our car on the race track and making it as good as we could. We thought we were going to be ok. We just weren't when the race started. We just have to do a better job. We got lucky, real lucky tonight to get what we got. I'm proud of the work the guys did but, you'd rather be good than lucky. Anybody wants to trade you some luck like they all did tonight, we'll take it.

"Even after the checkered, there were cars in the mirror spinning. I don't know what was going on man. I was just out of control all night myself. I want to thank the Eight Soldiers and 8 Missions that were here tonight. They were representing the entire National Guard and we're proud to have them here. I wish we would have put a better race car on the track for you all."

ON MOVING INTO THE TOP 12, AFTER A GREAT RUN CAN YOU TELL US HOW THE NIGHT WENT FOR YOU TONIGHT?

"Well, I want to thank (crew chief) Lance (McGrew) and my team. They worked really hard. We thought after practice, we had a good race car. But when the race started, we didn't. We learned a lesson and we need to work a little bit harder in practice and try to make sure that we've covered all our bases because when the race started we didn't have a car to compete. Lance and the guys worked really hard trying to make it better. And we just missed a lot of wrecks and got lucky with the finish. We didn't have a car to compete tonight. I just apologize to all the fans. I thank the National Guard and all our sponsors for their support. And we'll try to do a better job next week. You know, we don't want to get lucky every time."

IS SURVIVING THE WRECKS A BIG PART OF IT?

"Yeah, you want to be in front of all the wrecks. We weren't in front of none of 'em tonight really, I don't think. But it's okay. We learned a good lesson and we had two cars in the stable that ran really good and two that didn't, and we learned a lot. We're going to have to get lucky sometimes but we don't want to use up all our luck."

BUT LAST YEAR, YOU WOULD HAVE ENDED UP IN THIS BIG WRECK

"I would have been in one of them wrecks (laughter). I know but I was just so embarrassed about how we ran all night. I could get up there and wrestle a little bit but man, at the beginning of the race it was just awful and we made it a little bit better. We were about a mid-pack car and clean air was great. I was in the top 10 one time and I could feel a complete difference in the car. It was feeling great. And we were in the middle of three-wide with (David) Reutimann and he slid up off the bottom. When a car takes off you can't do nothing about it. He shuffled us back. We had to get out of the gas and everybody went by us. And we were in the back again sliding around. But I'll take a 4th tonight after all that we went through. We've just got to do a better job. We work hard. We're a good team. We deserve it. We're good guys. But we can't handle nothing; we almost did tonight."

CAN YOU FEEL THE ENERGY IN THE DRAFT CHANGING AS THE RACE GETS LATER AND LATER?

"I'm not a good person to ask. Our car was handling so bad I didn't really learn much about the draft tonight. I was just focusing on figuring out how to get the car to go around the corner better. I never really got up in there and learned much. I know that every time I went to the bottom I got my ass killed. Everybody just went right by. So that's why you saw everybody running around the top because hell, you couldn't pass on the bottom too well; or at least I couldn't."

FOUR STRAIGHT TOP 11 FINISHES. HAVE YOU EARNED THOSE OR WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO STEP IT UP NOW THAT YOU'RE IN THE TOP 12?

"We're getting a little bit more lucky than I would like."

YOU DON'T WANT THE LUCK NOW?

"No, we're not running good enough to finish fourth. So, we're lucky to finish there. You don't want to make the Chase on just pure luck, you know, because you ran well. We've been running good. We just totally missed it. We ran our 500 setup and Mark (Martin) had the same setup and we both ran like shit. Jimmie (Johnson) and Jeff (Gordon) had different stuff and I was looking at it and going wonder why they've got that? And then they ran like they did. So we've just got to be smarter. We'll be all right."

THERE ARE A LOT OF DRIVERS THAT WOULD TAKE IT

"I'm taking it, sure. Why not? But we've just got to do better. It's not enough."

YOU WERE IN 15TH PLACE AND IT SEEMED LIKE YOU WERE FADING BACK AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU WERE HERE. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

"Just shuffling around. I said no more going to the bottom trying to make passes. I'm going to stay on the top and just stay there and let everybody race on the bottom. Cars wrecked and bounced into each other and I don't even know."

***

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET, FINISHED 5TH:

TALK ABOUT YOUR RUN TONIGHT AND WALK US THROUGH THE GREEN-WHITE-CHECKERED: "Our trouble started before that. I thought we had a car to win the race. I got behind the No. 29 (Kevin Harvick),. He had trouble in one and two and then I drove under him and when I did that, I didn't clear him and that was what caused all the problems. Kurt (Busch) had such a big run on us down the back straightaway and we just got together. I don't know if it was his fault, my fault or just a racing deal. We got together and wrecked half the field. They did a good job, I came in and fixed the car, and did a good job to come back and finish fifth after all that. That is a great finish. It is disappointing. I mean, every week it seems like we lead these races and we are up front at the end of the race. We just can't find a way to finish it but, when we do it is going to be big."

HOW DID YOU RALLY FOR THAT TOP-FIVE? "I don't know. That is just the way our year has been. I don't know, we had a great race car. I thought we had the fastest car on the race track and we just got in that deal with Kurt. To be honest, I don't even know what happened. I know he was coming with a big head of steam and we got together. I don't know if it was my fault or his faults or one of our faults and wrecked half the field unfortunately. The car wasn't that bad. It hit every corner, but it hit everything solid so it didn't tear up anything too bad. We got in the right line in the first restart, in that last restart, we were on the bottom line and that wasn't any good ever. We had a fast race car. I thought we had the best race car on the track tonight. I thought that if everything would have gone the way we needed it to go, we'd have won the race. Nonetheless, it was a good finish for us. I'm disappointed we didn't win, like last week, I was really disappointed we didn't win. But, I'm not discouraged about what we are doing. We are building great race cars. We're not finishing the deal but we will and when we do, it is going to be a bunch of them. If we can get ourselves in the Chase, we are a real contender. We can run, our speed is great so I'm real happy. I'm proud of Caterpillar and all of our sponsors, they have done such a great job being patient with us through last year. Just proud of all of them for sticking in with us."

***

MIKE BLISS, NO. 71 TRG MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET -- FINISHED 9TH:

"We had a lot happen today on the track," Bliss said. "We would go from tight to loose and then neutral. The rain washed away the rubber on the track so cars were moving all over the place at the beginning. Once we laid some rubber down the cars settled down a little. Then around lap 55 I noticed that something was broken on the front left. We pitted and changed a shock. We went down a lap and then were able to get the Luck Dog, putting us back on the lead lap.

"We got lucky. We were able to avoid both big wrecks with the worst being just a spin through the grass. I am not sure how we avoided the last big one, but I came out the other side of it with it no problem. I didn't have the car to run up front so I just took what it would give me and tried to keep the fenders on it. After the red flag period we pitted for four tires and were ready for the finish. We had to come one more time before the green-white-checker attempt because we ran over some debris. The ninth place is a nice reward for what the team has been through lately. The only down side of the night for us was when I damaged the car after the checker because I couldn't see out the windshield."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Mike Bliss , Clint Bowyer , David Ragan , Reed Sorenson , Mark Martin