TONY STEWART WINS COKE ZERO 400 AT DAYTONA; JIMMIE JOHNSON TAKES SECOND TO GIVE TEAM CHEVY THE ONE-TWO FINISH; CHEVROLET HAS SCORED NINE (9) WINS TO DATE IN '09 SEASON AND MAINTAINS TOP SPOT IN MANUFACTURERS' CUP STANDINGS Daytona Beach, Fla -...
TONY STEWART WINS COKE ZERO 400 AT DAYTONA; JIMMIE JOHNSON TAKES SECOND TO GIVE TEAM CHEVY THE ONE-TWO FINISH; CHEVROLET HAS SCORED NINE (9) WINS TO DATE IN '09 SEASON AND MAINTAINS TOP SPOT IN MANUFACTURERS' CUP STANDINGS
Daytona Beach, Fla - Loudon, NH - Tony Stewart powered his No. 14 Burger King Impala SS across the finish line in a dramatic finish to capture his 35th victory in 374 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races. With the win, Stewart boosted his hold on the driver's point lead to an 180 point advantage over second place driver, Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Impala SS. This win was Stewart's third victory at Daytona International Speedway; all of which have come in the July race. Gordon was caught in an early multi-car accident, and finished 28th. With a strong No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, three-time and defending NSCS champion, Jimmie Johnson took the runner-up finish to give Chevrolet the top two spots in the 400 mile race. Johnson, the 2006 Daytona 500 winner, is now just 14 points behind teammate Gordon in third place.
Ryan Newman, No., 39 Haas Automation/U.S. Army Impala SS, sits seventh (7 th) in the standings with a 20th place finish after having to pit for fuel on lap 264 while leading the race.
Mark Martin, No. 5 CARQUEST/Kellogg's Impala SS, dropped to 13th in the standings with a 38th place finish after being involved in a multi-car crash early in the day.
Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Impala SS, finished 9th and remains 12th in the Race to the Chase standings.
With eight (9) victories to this point of the season, more than any other manufacturer, Chevrolet continues to lead the NSCS Manufacturers' Cup standings.
Denny Hamlin (Toyota) finished third; Carl Edwards (Ford) finished fourth, and Kurt Busch (Dodge) finished fifth to round out the top five.
Next on the NSCS schedule is the July 11th round at Chicagoland Speedway.
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 BURGER KING IMPALA SS - Winner
TELL US ABOUT THE LAST LAP. YOU SAT IN THE CAR FOR A WHILE JUST THINKING ABOUT THINGS: "Well, I don't know that I was real proud of that, but I don't know what else I could have done there. I went where I had to go and he (Kyle Busch, No. 18 car) went where he had to go. You hate seeing a guy that's been up front all day; and especially a guy that helped me the whole race get wrecked like that. I don't like winning them like that."
WELL IS IT MORE OF A THING WHERE EVERYBODY IS DOING WHAT THEY NEEDED TO DO" "Well, yeah, it is. But you still don't like it. You're kinds of forced in that position. I made my move to the outside and I got up to his right-rear tire and then when he went to block us, we were already there. But it still doesn't mean you like it and like to win them that way. That's not the way you want to win these things. We had a good car all day. You know you just feel bad because you want him to have a good day too. But we weren't going to give it to him. But if I did something wrong, I'm sorry. I don't think I did. I was out there when he moved so I don't know. You just feel bad about it. That's not the way you want to win these things."
FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM, WE TALKED ABOUT THE EMOTION AT POCONO. YOUR GUYS ON PIT ROAD TODAY WERE SEVEN FOR SEVEN. YOU NEVER LOST THE RACE ON PIT ROAD "No, these guys on this Burger King/Old Spice/Office Depot/U.S. Army Chevrolet team did an awesome job. And I'm proud of Coke Zero and everything they do for our sport. But these guys did an awesome job; man they had awesome stops all night long. They were just consistent. I gotta thank Hendrick engines and chassis and our body shop at Stewart-Haas. These guys really worked extra hard on this car. I'm proud of everybody that's a part of this program that believed in us and Coca-Cola was one of the first to come on board; Coke and Chevy. I really appreciate everything they do for us."
TAKE US THROUGH THAT LAST LAP" "Well we just tried to split the Gibbs cars up and that was all we could do and they got a run and Kyle got by us there and we backed up to the forty-eight car and got a run on the backstretch and got a really good run off of four and got up to his right rear going into the tri-oval and I hate to see him get crashed like that and I don't like winning them this way but I don't think I did anything wrong there. I got beside him to his right rear before he came up and he was doing what he had to do. He had to protect his line also. So we did the best we could do there."
WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT THEY DIDN'T TRY AND MAKE A RUN ON YOU BEFORE THAT TO JUST TO TEST THINGS OUT OR WAS YOUR CAR JUST THAT STRONG BECAUSE THEY RAN TWO-THREE BEHIND YOU FOR SO MANY LAPS" "We had a strong car for sure and I am really proud of everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing. We had guys that came down from the body shop that really massaged on the car before we came to Daytona and I am really proud of them for that and proud of Hendrick engines and their horsepower was awesome tonight and that kept us up front here and we had a great car that worked. We just kept getting in lines that were productive and we kept pulling away from the field and that is what you wanted to do to be able to fight it out at the end. As much as you wanted to mess around and try to figure out where to pass guys but at the same time it was nice to be able to drive away in a line up front and get away from the crowd in the back."
IT LOOKED LIKE THE LOW LINE WAS THE PLACE TO BE ALL NIGHT. "Yeah, I mean we got the lead back from the top at one point but it was the best place to be all night long and we were really good to keep our car freed-up enough to line it up in the corners and letting it have its head coming off the wall. But I am just really proud of everyone at Stewart-Haas and glad to get this Burger King Chevrolet in victory lane tonight."
IF WE WERE STANDING HERE AT DAYTONA IN FEBRUARY AND I TOLD YOU AT THIS POINT YOU WERE GOING TO BE LEADING THE POINTS, HAVE WON THE ALL-STAR RACE, AND WOULD HAVE BOTH CARS INSIDE THE TOP FIVE IN POINTS WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE SAID" "I would have said you were drunk on Pabst Blue Ribbon. That is what I would have said (laughs)."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS - Finished 2nd
YOU HAD A FRONT ROW SEAT FOR THAT WILD FINISH. TAKE US THROUGH YOUR EYES AND WHAT YOU SAW COMING TO THE FINISH LINE "I thought we had one more lap (laughs). So I was hopeful the caution came out before we crossed the start/finish line and evidently that wasn't the case. But I had a couple of runs a lap or two before that and I knew to sit in my position there and not give up the bottom. I felt like something would happen up front and I could improve my position and sure enough, it did. It looked like when Tony (Stewart) was trying to make a move that Kyle (Busch) was trying to keep him behind him and they hooked by a couple of inches and turn the NO. 18 (Kyle Busch) into the outside wall. But I think the top four cars really were there all day long, the No. 18, the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin), the No. 14 (Tony Stewart) and us.
"It was just a matter of who came out where on pit road and what track position they had and I screwed up on pit road and slipped through our stall and that hurt us a little bit. But we recovered from it and had a great race car. I want to thank all the armed services men and women across the country working for us and keeping our country free and Happy Birthday, America."
YOU HAVE TO BE HAPPY WITH THE FINISH TONIGHT AND THE PERFORMANCE" "Yeah we had a great run. Very fast car and competitive car and I think the top four cars were all pretty darn equal with the eleven, the eighteen, and the fourteen and us. I screwed up in the pits and kept us from having a shot at the win but we worked our way back up to fourth and it worked out to be second coming to the strip which was cool, but my mistake on pit road kept us from winning the race today.
"It was a great race car. We haven't been this strong in Daytona in a long time and I am really proud of the hard work my team has put in this chassis and the guys did a great job of setting this car up and I am very impressed with this."
WHAT GOES THROUGH YOUR MIND WHEN YOU ARE LOOKING THROUGH YOUR WINDSHIELD AND COMING TO THE STRIPE AND SEEING THESE GUYS TRY TO MAKE A PASS ON A RESTRICTOR PLATE RACE LIKE THIS" "I just knew something was going to happen. I was just content kind of riding where I was and not trying to get an outside lane going but I felt like I would improve my position somehow, someway and you know, the leader just has to block and defend and it doesn't matter who is up there especially coming to the stripe. You have to block and defend and second is trying to find a way by him and they just hooked bumpers and around the eighteen went."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR IMPALA SS - Finished 16th:
"Our Caterpillar Chevrolet was great all night. We had a tire going down after we took the lead, which was unfortunate, but we were able to get our lap back and had a fast enough car to get some spots. Things are bound to happen when you have double-file restarts in the closing laps of the race and even though we got caught up in the last lap incident, we did cross the finish line."
DAVID GILLILAND, NO. 71 TRG MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET IMPALA SS - Sidelined in accident, Finished 40th
"I saw smoke up in front of me, I think the nine got into the 12. I checked up, trying to get slowed down and then I got hit in the back and turned, then someone hit me in the left front. After that I was along for the ride. I am really disappointed.
"I was able to stay with the lead pack there before we were taken out. Slugger and the guys made some good tire adjustments and we made a huge gain. I felt good about the way were going with the car. Now we are loading a wrecked race car. It is very unfortunate. I hate to ruin our day like that tonight."
"I hate it for the team. They missed Daytona at the beginning of the year. We were taken out early at Talladega and now this. We were just riding and biding our time. The guys thought there was some weather coming so we were starting to move up a little. We were getting ready for our final adjustments later in the race. This is all a part of restrictor plate racing and we know that, so it is tough. We are going to keep working. This program gets better every weekend. We have had a couple of wrecked race cars the past couple of weekends, with our limited number of guys that makes things difficult."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/KELLOGG'S IMPALA SS - Involved in crash with No. 17 Kenseth and No. 42 (Montoya)
"Matt (Kenseth) ran the top side there and got a run up off the corner, and I was trying to keep it down and leave us room and I just pinched him; front wheels were cut and it just didn't turn quite enough. It's really slick out there. It's my fault."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD SERVING AMERICA / AMP ENERGY DRINK IMPALA SS - Involved in multi-car crash
WHAT TOOK PLACE FROM YOUR VANTAGE POINT" "I couldn't really tell, you know. A couple of guys got together and I just tried to stay high and the No. 00 (David Reutimann) was crossed up and we got together with him pretty hard and tore the upper A-frame off the chassis. So the car is tore up too bad to get back out there. But we just got it driving good, you know, and just freed it up enough to where it could go up through there and we was just trying to get around them. Everybody was in the way at that point and we were just picking them off one at a time.
"I just saw some guys getting together in front of me. The track's real slick. It's not wide enough for three-wide or two-wide racing sometimes; these cars are just sliding around and everybody had to be careful. I guess there were a couple of guys going for the same piece of real estate there and I tried to stay high because I thought they would spin down off the wall and the No. 00 got crossed up trying to miss them and we hit him. So the National Guard Chevrolet was just getting going. We had just freed the car up enough and was moving toward the front and the car was driving good. I thought we had a shot of getting up there and mixing it up with the leaders."
CAN YOU GET THE CAR FIXED AND BACK OUT THERE" "It tore the upper A-frame off the left front and drove it into the exhaust, so all the exhaust is tore off the left side of the motor and we ain't got time to fix."
-credit: gm racing