JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET -- RACE WINNER: AFTER LAST WEEK, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO WIN THE POLE AND THEN WIN THE RACE THIS WEEK? "It feels great. Last week didn't turn out how we'd want but that's racing and it's going to...
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET -- RACE WINNER:
AFTER LAST WEEK, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO WIN THE POLE AND THEN WIN THE RACE THIS WEEK? "It feels great. Last week didn't turn out how we'd want but that's racing and it's going to happen in the Chase. I just can't thank everybody at Hendrick Motorsports enough for working as hard as they do. It just never quits. It never stops. And I'm so thankful for the engine shop, the chassis shop and all the great guys who work on this Lowe's/KOBALT Tools car and all the great people at Lowe's and KOBALT Tools for their support; the fans and everything. I may not look a lot excited right now, but there's this huge weight off my shoulders that we were able to win a race in the Chase, rebound from last weekend, and we're in the middle of this thing and I'm really, really excited."
YOU'RE ONLY 35 POINTS BACK IN SECOND PLACE NOW "Yeah, that's good. I knew it would be close. I'm excited about what we have ahead. Last weekend; anything can happen. I know Talladega is out there. We did a great job today. We're in the right position but we've got to keep this Impala fast and be there after Talladega. That's the goal. So we did the best thing possible. I've very, very excited about today. At some point hopefully my wife and my daughter will show up; I thought they might be here now and I can't wait to celebrate this moment with them too."
AND SPEAKING OF FACES IN VICTORY LANE, WHAT IS IT LIKE TO ROLL IN AND SEE MR. HENDRICK'S SMILING FACE? "There's nothing better. We've had a few frowns on recently because we've been getting our butts kicked, but this is a great track for us and today we got the job done and it's because of Rick's (Hendrick) dedication to this race team and all the tools that he gives us."
YOU TOLD US BEFORE THE RACE THAT YOU THOUGHT THIS WAS THE TIME YOU GUYS COULD HIT YOUR STRIDE, LET'S GO BACK TO THE LAST RESTART, ABOUT 295 TO ABOUT 320, THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU STARTED REELING KYLE BUSCH IN, WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE THERE? "Truthfully, we lost some spot on pit road and I didn't have control of the restart. Once we got going, I ended up third. I have my daughter here in a car carrier here and I don't know what to do with her yet. (LAUGHS) First time in victory lane for her. We came up third on that restart and I just fought really hard to get back into position behind the No. 18. (Kyle Busch) It took me a while to get by the No. 20 (Joey Logano). I knew we had a lot of laps on our side and I didn't want to do something stupid and throw it away. So, I took my time and made sure I got to the front when it was time."
HOW MUCH DIFFERENCE DID THE WEATHER MAKE WHEN IT COOLED DOWN? "Today it was easier to drive the car than yesterday. We did make some changes to help that but I think today with the cooler temperatures helped out a little bit."
IT HAS BEEN 10 RACES SINCE YOU HAVE WON, WHAT IS IT ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ARE IN THE CHASE? ARE YOU DOING ANYTHING DIFFERENT? "No, we are not doing anything different. Today is a great day for us because it shows us what we are capable of and the fact that we can win races and be competitive in this Chase. This summer was hard on us. There is no way around that. We had bad races and finished bad. We had good races and finished bad. So it is nice today to do things start to finish all weekend long on the right foot."
SECOND IN POINTS, ONLY 35 BACK: "A lot of racing left."
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF NO. 48 LOWE'S/KOBALTOOLS CHEVROLET, RACE WINNER:
TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY, PRETTY GOOD: "Yes, it was an awesome. Guess he wanted to put some smoke up here for our interview (referring to Johnson's burnout). Man what a great job. We showed up and we were a little bit off. We had to work on the car pretty hard. We really relied on Jimmie awfully hard for qualifying and he did a fantastic job qualifying. We had to work hard on the KOBALT Chevrolet to get it where we needed it to be but man it was fast all day today.
"It wasn't easy on Friday and Saturday. It looked like it was pretty fast today, but we were pretty far off when we got here. A lot of hard work by all the guys. Can't say enough about all the guys at the shop, prep and everything, so we had the information we needed when we got here. I am glad Mr. Hendrick came here. I wish his Mom was here with us. I sent her some flowers a couple of weeks ago, so I hope she is still enjoying those. Just couldn't be prouder of this whole team."
RICK HENDRICK, TEAM OWNER, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS, RACE WINNER:
TALK ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE OF THE NO. 48 TEAM TODAY: "I think a lot of people were counting them out. Boy, we were counting on Loudon and this race to really give us that spring board we needed. The man (Jimmie Johnson) knows this place really well. It is a great day, great day. I'm so proud of them. Good job!"
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET, FINISHED 2ND:
ARE YOU LOOKING AT THE POINT STANDINGS AFTER TODAY'S GREAT RUN? "Well, everybody is looking at the point standings for sure. Our goal at this point is just to keep going. We're not going to leave a race in the next few weeks with the points lead. We started far enough behind where that is just not going to happen. Last week was really, really frustrating. We had a great car, well we didn't have a great car, we had a really good car last week and we weren't able to capitalize and ran out of gas with two to go. We got lucky to finish 15th. Today, we did a good job. The No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) was a little stronger. I thought he had the class of the field. But we put some pressure on him."
HOW MUCH DID THE TRACK CHANGE DURING THE RACE? "It changes a lot. This track, it is crazy how much this track changes. We really struggled for grip early in the race and by the time the race was over, we were just way too tight. The track always does that. You see a lot of people early here, they can't run well late because they got their cars tight enough so it drives good and then later in the race they can't go any good. We kind of sacrificed a little bit at the start of the race. A little more than we wanted to. None-the-less, it was a good day for us, we got right at the right time."
HE HAS SOME BLISTERS ON HIS LEFT HAND BUT HE HELD ON AND DID A HECK OF A JOB: "Just really proud of everybody. We had a good car all weekend. I just didn't do a good job qualifying. I just cannot get qualified. Here especially for some reason. But we will keep working on it. Proud of everybody. Proud of Caterpillar and SKF and Prilosec OTC, just everybody that helps us. It has been one of those years where we have been really good but haven't been able to capitalize. We have eight more chances and hopefully we can start pulling the trigger."
A DIFFERENT LINE WORKED FOR YOU TODAY, TALK ABOUT THAT: "You know, at one point there, I started driving the car like straight in the corner and running right at the race track. Just diamonding the corner really weird, I've never done that before here and that got us going. When we were at our best, I could arc the corner like I needed to.
"The No. 48 was just really really fast, he was the class of the field today. We put some pressure on them, we could match them but that wasn't good enough from where we were."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT/LAW ENFORCEMENT MUSEUM CHEVROLET -- FINISHED 11TH
"You can't give up those positions; especially when you come to a place like this where most of the Chase guys are going to be up front, really at most places, the Chase guys are going to be up front. The first half of the race went pretty good. The second half, when the rubber laid down, man we just really struggled. It was everything I could do to just hang on to it, let alone finish 11th. So things didn't go our way there at the end. We lost some extra positions and just held on for 11th. That's all we can do."
ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO KANSAS? "Definitely; I love Kansas. We knew coming in here that this was going to be a struggle for us. But we were up there in the top five and we were maybe about a 7th place car and we were wanting to at least maintain that, but we didn't. So now we go to Kansas and some other places that I think are much better tracks for us and we've got to capitalize on that."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL CHEVROLET -- FINISHED 15TH:
"We drove up to the top 10 nicely, but our Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet just went too loose on the last three runs, and we couldn't get it dialed in. We will regroup and be ready for them next week at Kansas."
GIL MARTIN, CREW CHIEF, NO. 29 SHELL/PENNZOIL CHEVROLET -- FINISHED 15TH:
WHAT HAS HAPPENED THE LAST TWO RACES, IS THAT INDICATIVE OF WHAT YOU WILL SEE THE REST OF THE CHASE? "I think all the guys in the Chase are going to run up front obviously. We had a pretty good day going there. We got up to ninth and on the last two runs something didn't agree with us on those last two runs and we got very loose. But I don't see anything that is going to change going into the next few races. Same guys are going to run up front each week and its going to be difficult for everybody every single week."
YOU GUYS WORKED YOUR WAY UP PRETTY GOOD. CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT HAPPENED THERE AT THE END? "Well we thought we had a pretty good drive. We drove from 33rd up to ninth I think and then we just kind of......the last two runs I don't know what happened. We just lost the handle on the car. I don't know if something went wrong with the car itself and we will just have to get back to the shop and look at it but up until that point we had a pretty good drive going."
-source: gm racing