Gordon leads Chevrolet drivers at Atlanta with a second place finish

Ryan Newman, No. 39 U.S. Army Medicine Chevrolet – Sidelined in multi-car accident on lap 269 “I think the 48 just ran out of room and it was unfortunate. We have one chore to do with the U.S. Army team and that is to go into Richmond and win. We have done it before and we can do it again.”

Big picture, what are your thoughts “It all depends. If Kyle (Busch) or Jeff (Gordon) wins tonight, then there is no chance. We still have a chance if they don’t.”

Trouble for Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Trouble for Ryan Newman, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet – Sidelined in multi-car accident on lap 269

What happened? “I think the No. 39 was on the outside the No. 22 was next to me; we just all converged at one spot. There is not a real good angle, all I know is I was riding down the road and left plenty of room on the outside of me and I got turned head on into the wall.”

How disappointing is this? I know you guys are trying to get as many bonus points as possible going into the chase: “Yeah, we just want to run good to. I think we had a top five night going and unfortunately ended up with a torn up race car. We will be back next week and try again.”

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet – Finished 2nd

How do you sum up that last restart? “We were pretty good on the short runs and the long runs are what hurt us. I got everything I could ask for. I got the restart I wanted, got to the outside and was just too tight and Denny (Hamlin) was good there but he made a mistake off of two and I got a run on him and made a bad decision. All night I was able to get to the other guy’s quarter panel and get to the outside and stay there.

Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

“I should have just run into the back of him going into three and move him up the race track and we would have been sitting in victory lane right now and counting another win. This Chase is too important for me to be in it and not to make a move like that….I wouldn’t have wanted to wreck him but I would have liked to have that one over again.

“I would like to thank DuPont for commemorating 20 years that I have been in the sport and this place has been very special to me and it was very close to being special to me again tonight. Still a great effort by the team and I mean there were times tonight when we were 11th or 12th so just to have a shot to win, I am thankful for that, but I wish we could do it again.”

Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Hendrickcars.Com Chevrolet – Finished 23rd:

On the race… “We just really missed it tonight. We tried hard. We had HendrickCars.com on the car. We just never got it. I was so loose. We could take off decent at best, and then I would get out of control loose and just couldn’t drive hard at all. The harder I drove, the worse I was. I just had to really take it easy and I still was about wrecking every lap. But we salvaged it and got back to 23rd and it was the best we could do tonight.”

You Are 11th In The Standings. Are You Feeling Good? “I can’t believe I’m in 11th. I felt like I probably lost about 10 spots. But we’re still in 11th and have two wins and I think we’re sitting decent. I’d image Tony (Stewart) is just a touch better, so he could fall out; so there are some things there that could still go on and we could probably miss the Chase pretty easily. Hopefully we won’t have another race like this and we’ll be all right.”

Are you looking forward to Richmond? Is that a good track for you? “I was looking forward to Atlanta (laughs). This is my favorite track and it didn’t work out very well. Richmond has been good at times. I think we ran pretty decent in the start of the year, maybe in the top 10 I think. It could be good. We’ll see.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet – Finished 7th:

What’s your take on the race? Can you learn anything from atlanta to use in the chase? “Steve Letarte (crew chief) is really experienced and did a lot of crafty stuff on the strategy to get us our laps back and get us back into position, and that’s about the only thing I think we can take away from that. This track, I don’t think is similar to anything else we run on.

The surface is real slick. There’s not another surface like this. We don’t run this kind of set-up at most of the other 1.5-mile tracks; so I’m not too worried about how we ran. I’m disappointed and worried about next time we come back here, a year from now; but for the future and the rest of the season, I feel pretty good.”

Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Rheem Chevrolet – Finished Fifth

Talk about your run a solid performance for you guys tonight:
 “Just a great night for our Rheem Chevy. We had a really good car in the first half. It wasn’t bad in the second half but about 150 laps to go we just got too tight getting into the corner and never could get that out of it. We led some laps finished in the top five and the last couple of months hadn’t been great.

I just have to thank Gil (Martin, crew chief) for coming back with everything we put him through it wasn’t a great situation. It takes a big man to do what he did and things are going in the right direction.”

Was that consolation of having a great car at the start at least getting in the chase locking yourself in?
 “That is really what our goal was over the two weeks here was to not make any big mistakes. It’s no secret that we haven’t run well over the last couple of months. We just really got tight about 150 laps to go and never could get that out of the car. We had a solid day and that’s what we needed.”

Do you feel like you and gil (Martin, crew chief) are working well together? 
“I feel like we hadn’t missed a beat. It took a lot of conversations and things to try to convince him to come back and do it. Obviously, for myself I learned a big lesson and it takes a big man to do what he did.”

Paul Menard, No. 27 Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet

Finished eighth can you assess your night? You came home with a really solid finish: 
“We kept making the car better. We started off in the daylight and it wasn’t that good. As the sun went down we got better, made the right adjustments and came away with another top 10. Always want more, but a solid night.”

Danica Patrick, No. 10 Godaddy.Com Chevrolet

Finished 29th
 bringing it home in one piece was the goal and you did that talk about your night:
 “Yeah, that was what we were supposed to do today. I think we picked up overall throughout the race and we were learning about the car.

Danica Patrick
Danica Patrick

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

I was a lot tighter than I thought I would be, but I was pretty afraid after last night at how loose I was in the Nationwide car to come tonight where I was in practice far looser in the Cup car than in the Nationwide car. I was afraid it was going to be just tank slapping the whole time.

Between that, the practices and me saying that I think Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief) wants me to be comfortable and there is nothing worse than a loose race car for early stages. He said that we were running a pretty conservative set-up and the changes he was making were not huge changes so it didn’t step over.

We are just in that phase of get the laps done, feel it out, run different lines, bring the car home, finish the race and try and learn a bit as we go. He said that I don’t know if it was the whole time or some of the time, but running top 20 lap times. I think that is a good step for me. This is definitely a challenging track.

I struggle most on tracks where there is low grip or they are flat. I would consider this a low grip feeling track. So we did what we meant to do.”

Source: Chevy Team

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Paul Menard , Danica Patrick
Teams Stewart-Haas Racing , Hendrick Motorsports
Article type Race report
Tags chevrolet, earnhardt, gordon, harvick, johnson, kahne, menard, nascar-cup, newman