J.J. YELEY, NO. 11 VIGORO/THE HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: "It was definitely disappointing for the Vigoro Home Depot car. We were really tight before we made the last pit stop but the car still wasn't really that bad. I had a bad pit stop...
J.J. YELEY, NO. 11 VIGORO/THE HOME DEPOT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"It was definitely disappointing for the Vigoro Home Depot car. We were really tight before we made the last pit stop but the car still wasn't really that bad. I had a bad pit stop and I stalled the thing. I made some adjustments and the car was really good, we passed four cars in one lap and we went off into one and matt Kenseth was underneath me. I went into the same groove I had in the previous lap and the car got a little bit loose and chased up the race track.
"I thought I had that thing saved for a long time up against the wall. There was just a point there where I knew I was going to lose it and I definitely didn't want to spin down in front of other cars. This track doesn't have a lot of banking; it's not a real self-cleaning place.
"I locked up the brakes and tried to keep the thing against the wall. I spun around in the last second and I thought it was in the clear and ah still on the brakes and then here come the 77 and hit me in the front tire there and it just killed our chances of getting back out. You know I think if he might have been able to slow down and go to the bottom like some other cars we could have just fired up and put some new tires on it and gone back out."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Sidelined with engine problems - finished 37th:
"We are certainly going to have to figure it out, but we shouldn't have this issue. We didn't turn a lot of rpm. We had a rev limiter in there making sure we didn't. I don't think it's a valve train thing. I smelled something and they think it might be somewhere in a piston or something. But the guys did a great job on this DuPont Chevrolet. We had great pit stops in getting the car from the back to the front. I ran over something when Biffle spun and I'm real proud of these guys. We didn't have anything for the No. 9 (Kasey Kahne) or the No. 6 (Mark Martin), but we still had a solid effort. I don't know what happened yet, but the guys are going to look into it and figure out what it was."
(HOW FRUSTRATING IS THIS?) "Well, it could be a lot more frustrating, I can tell you that. It doesn't mean anything right now. We might drop a couple of positions in the points - at least one - but I was really proud of how well we were doing and how well the team reacted to the issue we had. Right now, it's just really about getting ourselves in gear for those last ten. I'm obviously not happy with the engine issues right now, and we're not trying anything crazy. So we've got to figure that part out. And we're not going to be a threat for those last ten (races) if we don't get that figured out. But the team is strong, everything is strong, and certainly the power is incredible but we've got to make sure it lasts until the end."
(REGARDING THE GLARE OF THE SETTING SUN AND THE TRASH ON THE TRACK) "This place it always really bad about trash. I blew a motor up here one time because we got some trash on the front grill. I don't know. It's coming from the grandstands. It's real gusty here. So we've got to find out about that. I'm not a big fan of starting at four o'clock in the afternoon. I'd like to see a Saturday night race and start a little bit later like around seven o'clock or something like that. But the lights are great. I love it. I think it's fantastic to see a track like this run in the lights."
(JIMMIE JOHNSON HAS HAD ENGINE PROBLEMS RECENTLY AND NOW YOU. DOES THAT WORRY YOU AT ALL?) "You're darn right it is. Yeah. Why wouldn't it? Even if we were testing stuff out - but we weren't. You know, we test things that we feel we're confident in that are going to make it to the end. But we're not even doing that. Randy Dorton and his guys are the best in the business. I have the utmost faith in him. I've won a lot of championships with those engines because they don't fail. And I'm still confident when it comes time for this championship that we're going to make it to the end."
(AT WHAT POINT DO YOU GET INVOLVED? WHEN DO YOU PICK UP THE PHONE?) "Never. Never. It's not an issue. There is nobody working harder to make sure these engines get all the way to the finish. There's nobody who analyzes it better and finds the problem and what it was and tries to fix it than Randy Dorton and our guys in the engine department. So, you can't say anything to them that's going to fix it."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Sidelined in an accident - finished 34th:
"I was real happy that (in the end) we had a better car than we started racing with. As it got darker I thought we were going to get better, but as it got darker the right front on my car started working better and I got looser. So it was kind of frustrating because the track changed so much, but we'll know better next time. It was just a real frustrating night. But the car started to get a little faster. The crew was working on the car. I was pretty happy and we were driving up through there. We got pretty good at one point. But the left rear tire went flat and I spun out on it. I got held in the pits a lap. I got back there behind Kenny (Schrader) when he blew up and got in some oil and tore the car up. It's not a real good finish for us, but I was really kind of pleased with the way the guys were working and how the car was getting better all night."
"It's no big deal but I'm glad we're clinched because it was a nightmare. Hopefully Richmond will be better."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 14th:
(ON JEFF GORDON'S ENGINE PROBLEM) "You're going to have problems. I thought we had everything fixed and addressed. I noticed the No. 5 (Labonte) and the No. 25 (Vickers) were still running at the end. Maybe it was some bad luck for them (No. 24 team) like we have had throughout the year. It's weird. We haven't changed anything and just want to build on what we have going into the final 10 and now stuff is breaking."
(THIS IS GENERALLY A GREAT RACE FOR YOU. WERE YOU SURPRISED YOU WEREN'T UP FRONT OR WERE YOU BEING CONSERVATIVE?) "No. We were in the top five for most of the day until that last pit stop. We had some problems that hurt us."
(DID YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS WITH TIRES OR DEBRIS?) "No, I didn't have any problems with that."
(HOW DID YOU LIKE THE LIGHTS?) "The lights were good. Before the lights came on, in the twilight time, it was really difficult to see. You could see the corner, but you couldn't tell where the cars were around you because of the glare. So it was pretty dangerous and pretty tough to see where you were going at that point."
SCOTT RIGGS, NO. 10 VALVOLINE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Picked up six positions in the final 10 laps and finished 7th:
(HOW WAS YOUR DAY?) "Not bad. We chased the track all day-- then we had to chase it all night. Early in the race we were free and fell back quite a few spots. Then the sun went down and we were too tight. We fell back into the twenties at one point but kept working on the Valvoline Chevy. We got better and moved back through the field. We were good on the long runs, so of course we wish we could've had more green-flag laps at the end of the race. But at the end of the day we came home with a solid seventh-place finish."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 28th and dropped out of the top 10 to 15th in the point standings:
"The car just got loose there at the end and I couldn't pick up any spots. We had a pretty good car all day and had good pit stops, but our motor just wasn't good. I'd get passed on the straight-aways all night off the corners. That wasn't fun at all. It just really sucks that we fell out of the top 10, but hopefully we can get it all back in Richmond."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 9th:
(ON THE RACE) "We pitted early there, and we were beating them by 1.5 seconds a lap. If that caution wouldn't have come out there on about lap 120 - 122, we were in a position to win the race. We were going to make one stop and go to the end. Everybody else had to still stop once too. We were good."
(AREN'T YOU KIND OF GLAD TO GET A GOOD RUN LIKE THIS AT YOUR HOME TRACK IN CALIFORNIA?) "Well, we ran up front at our last race here. I battled Kasey Kane for the lead and we ran out of gas and finished 11th. This year, we've had really good runs at California Speedway and it's always good to come back here and race in front of not only friends and family, but Cingular employees who work out here on the west coast that sometimes question maybe the NASCAR thing. But when you look up in the grandstands, you can see why we're involved in the sport."
(YOU CAME BACK FROM 35TH TO FINISH 9TH) "We came back from 35th to 9th in 15 laps or whatever. Tony Stewart stopped and put tires on too and I think he finished 18th. We had a really good run. The car was really good all day. It might have been our opportunity here at California Speedway, but we didn't have any luck. Maybe if we would have gotten the Lucky Dog that one time when they didn't give a beneficiary out, that maybe would have been the difference of four or five more spots."
(WAS THIS THE BEST CAR YOU'VE HAD AT CALIFORNIA?) "It was definitely a good car. Actually, I think it's the same car we brought here last time when we finished 11th here. It was good in both races."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY/USG CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 12th:
"We were one adjustment away from having a much better result. We got as high as seventh, but the car got real tight and I lost five positions in the last six laps.
"Anytime you finish 12th it's not that bad of a day, but this team is disappointed right now because we know the potential was there to for a top-five result. But I was impressed with the Army team on how we came back from a so-so happy hour practice Saturday. The U.S. Army/USG Chevy was pretty strong for the majority of the race."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 30 AOL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Started 34th, finished 15th:
"We just got way tight at the end and had to give up a bunch of spots. We just kept going from tight to loose and from tight to loose as the sun went down. We hoped to have a better weekend, but all things considered it wasn't that bad a day for us."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 WELLBUTRIN CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Started 37th, finished 20th, and drops out of the top 10 to 12th:
"Obviously, that's not the result we wanted tonight. It was just a really frustrating night because we couldn't get the car to do what we needed to do. We fell out of the top 10 (in points) and that's frustrating, but we've still got one more race to try and get back in and get in the Chase. It's tough, but that's where we're at. We'll do our best to get back in at Richmond."