JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS -- Finished 11th: TALK ABOUT WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO HEAR ON THE RADIO YOU HAD THE PENALTY? "Ah, it kind of sucks. But it is what it is. Everybody on the Target Chevy did an amazing job. I thought I was on...
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS -- Finished 11th:
TALK ABOUT WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO HEAR ON THE RADIO YOU HAD THE PENALTY? "Ah, it kind of sucks. But it is what it is. Everybody on the Target Chevy did an amazing job. I thought I was on the speed. We got lights. I was on the lights every time. I was where I was on the previous one and they say I was speeding. It is what it is. We had a deal like that before and once it happens, you can't change it so it is pretty frustrating. It shows what we have done with the team.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO BE LEADING AGAIN AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY? "It actually reminded me of the last time I led here; it was kind of easy to be honest. I was cruising. The car was stupid fast."
YOU ONLY LOST ONE POSITION IN THE POINTS, WHERE IS YOUR HEAD RIGHT NOW? "Same thing. Top-10s. We have to get top-10s every week and right every week because things like that can really screw a championship."
BRIAN PATTIE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS:
"The car was fast. I'm proud of my guys, proud of my guys at the shop. We made one error. I guarantee the 48 and the 5 knew we were here. So, we'll go to Pocono and we still have to make the Chase."
WILL YOU DISCUSS THIS WITH NASCAR? "It's electronic. It's not like there is a lot to discuss. It's not like the old days where everybody is doing handheld (stopwatches). It's black and white. It is what it is. They did their job. Now we go back and do ours. We have six more (races until the Chase).
HAVE YOU SEEN A READOUT OF THE SPEEDS? "No. I can ask to see it later in the day, but I probably won't see (John) Darby today. I'll probably go see him next week."
FELIX SABATES, OWNER, JUAN PABLO MONTOYA NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS
ON MONTOYA CHARGED WITH SPEEDING ON PIT LANE UPON EXIT: "You can imagine we lead most of the race and with 25 laps to go they penalize us. I don't know if he was speeding or not. NASCAR said that he was. And they have the pictures of it, so I just want them to show it to me after the race and if they show it to me that he was speeding, I'll be happy with that."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS:
ON FAILED ENGINE, YOU SAID ON THE RADIO YOU THOUGHT IT WAS YOUR FAULT. HOW SO? "Well, just as the motor broke coming out of the pits under acceleration, so I just assume that the motor broke, could be in first gear leaving the pit stall; I could have possible over-revved it a little bit or something like that. But I had a great engine and we don't ever break them. But we ran good.
"The AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet was competitive today and we were making some gains and kind of adjusting back and forth trying to get the thing right; getting it too tight and getting it too loose. I was pretty happy with it at the end of that last run. We were just in our window to make it to the end and pitting early, and expecting NASCAR was going to throw a couple more cautions before the end of the race, but we felt like we were in good shape to get a good finish. I just hate it for my guys. They've been working really hard. This is a brand new car and we're going to take it to Pocono and keep working at it."
ANY INDICATION AT ALL? "Absolutely not. I have had not engine problems all year. Hendrick engines, we never have problems with them. I am assuming it was driver related, you know driver error somewhere around the race track. It broke the valve train leaving the pit stall. Probably broke a couple of tips off the valve springs. They went down in the bottom and eventually tore the bottom of the engine out. I hate it for the engine guys because they build some great motors. We had a good run going. It is frustrating for my team. We seem to be getting better. We seem to be running better.
"This car is a brand new car today and we're going to take it to Pocono and keep working. We have a little bit more racing left the rest of the year. It seems to be like if we can get one whole race put together we'll get us a good finish and keep working on it and keep working from there.
"I feel fine now. I was really, really feeling good this morning so I'm over it 100%."
EARLY IN THE RACE YOU SAID YOU NEEDED YOUR CAR TO TURN BETTER, DID YOU GET THAT? "Yes, that last run, we were really really loose. The last 10 laps of the run, I think we were the best car or one of the best cars on the track. I drove back to Jeff (Gordon) and the No. 9 (Kasey Kahne). I was feeling pretty confident about it then. We either started a run too snug or too loose.
"Me and Lance (McGrew, crew chief) are getting better on the communication and understanding each other. We are running better. We've had some poor luck and made some mistakes. We just have to keep our heads up. Hopefully at Pocono we can get it running as good there if not better."
HOW FRUSTRATED ARE YOU AFTER A GREAT QUALIFYING RUN AND RUNNING TOP-10 ALL DAY? "It is pretty frustrating. But after the year we have had, it feels good to have run better. I would really been in down spirits if we had run around the back all day and this happened. I would have liked to finish the race for sure. We had a good car all weekend and the guys did everything I asked them to do. We were working hard, they deserve a finish."
WHERE DO YOU FEEL YOU WOULD HAVE FINISHED? "We would have finished anywhere from fifth to 10th depending upon how we finished all of our pit stops. NASCAR was probably going to have a couple more yellows before the end of race. No way they were going to let that thing go green like it was all day. If we could have got us a couple more cars on pit road and maybe a couple more on those double-file restarts that are so much fun. (SMILES AND CHUCKLES) They are a blast."
TALK OUT THE PROGRESS YOUR TEAM HAS MADE? "Well we are running better. I think people can see it. At least people who are pulling for us to run better can see it. We'll keep working. It is frustrating to have these kinds of things happen but it isn't our fate, you know. It is all in our control. Maybe I could have done something different on that pit stop, left the stall easier or something. I feel don't feel like I did anything different than I normally do but, you know, we don't break motors for no reason."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/KELLOGG'S IMPALA SS -- FINISHED 2ND:
HECK OF A POINTS RUN AND HECK OF A POINTS DAY FOR YOU TOO, TALK ABOUT THAT BATTLE WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON. "He's the best man. That guy is superman. It was a great race. I want to thank Kellogg's, Carquest, Chevrolet and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports, all our teammates especially Alan Gustafson and the No. 5 team."
YOU HAD A COUPLE OF RUNS AT JIMMIE DID YOU JUST NOT HAVE ENOUGH TO GET BY? "He was better than I was off of (turn) four and I was better than he was off of (turn) two so I knew I had to make it happen off of two but wadding it up wasn't a great idea either. Both of us are driving for all we are worth and I couldn't get him."
YOU ANTICIPATED A BATTLE TO THE VERY END, CAN YOU GIVE US AN IDEA OF HOW THE RACING WAS OVER THE COURSE OF THE 160 LAPS? "I asked for a chance and Alan (Gustafson) and all our No. 5 team, Kellogg's, Carquest and all the guys that support us, everybody at Hendrick Motorsports gave me a chance and that's all I ask for."
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OLD SPICE/OFFICE DEPOT IMPALA SS -- FINISHED 3RD:
A GREAT RUN TODAY JUST NOT QUITE ENOUGH FOR THOSE FIRST TWO. "No, we just got tight the last half of the race and never could get it to cut the middle through the corner. It would turn in good and get off the corner good but we couldn't get it to rotate the center through."
TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY. "We had just one minor hiccup where we lost four spots in the pits but we got half of those back in the first 10 laps after the restart and got back where we wanted to be toward the end there. We weren't fast enough to run with Mark and Jimmie. We were just a little too tight in the center but really proud of Darian Grubb and everybody on this Old Spice, Office Depot team. Our Chevy was awesome and I'm really proud of our organization. It's awesome to be able to come here our first time and finish in the top-three like this."
YOU LOVE THIS STATE AND YOU LOVE THIS TRACK, WAS THIS WHAT THE FANS NEEDED TO MAKE UP FOR LAST SEASON? "Yeah. I really have got to give Goodyear a pat on the back. Not once did any of us in the field have to worry about the tires. We were able to run as hard as we wanted to run off the bat and not have to worry about that and that's through a lot of hard work and effort from Goodyear and the teams and drivers that came here and tested to get ready for this race. There were a lot of laps put down by a lot of teams and it cost a lot of money to do that. It shows the commitment that NASCAR and Goodyear and the teams made to make sure the fans had a good show today."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS -- Winner:
THAT WAS PROBABLY THE MOST HARD-FOUGHT BRICKYARD 400 YOU'VE EVER HAD. "That was unbelievable. I hope the fans enjoyed that race. I can't say enough about this race team and all of Hendrick Motorsports. It was a fun battle with my teammate Mark Martin. Damn is he fast. For an old guy he had me pretty worried. It's great to work with him and work with Alan (Gustafson) and work with all my teammates at Hendrick Motorsports. This Kobalt Tools Impala in victory lane.
"Those last 15-20 laps we had to drive it so hard to stay ahead of the five. I was better in (turns) three and four than he was and he had me beat in (turns) one and two and it was kind of a give and take thing that was going on. Luckily we held him off."
YOU GOT HIM ON THE LAST RESTART AND THAT SEEMED TO BE ONE OF THE KEYS BECAUSE THEN YOU HAD THE CLEAN AIR. "Yeah clean air was everything. You could only get so close to the car in front of you. I got that restart and put on a great show for the fans. I hope they enjoyed it. I thank Sprint for all that they've done, NASCAR, Goodyear for a great tire. That's the way to go racing."
YOU SAID YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD WIN, CHAD (KNAUS) SAID HE WOULD BE HAPPY WITH A TOP-FIVE, I GUESS YOU WERE RIGHT? "I was. I was thinking before we got on the race track we had some issues through race practice yesterday. He made some great changes to the race car over night and we were one of the few cars that could work through traffic and pass cars and we passed the last car at the end and won."
HOW MUCH RESPECT DO YOU HAVE FOR MARK MARTIN? "It's hard to put into words to be honest with you. He's such a perfectionist. He loves driving these race cars, loves working for this race team. I think he's opened the eyes of all of us at Hendrick Motorsports and how we can love our jobs a little more and try a little harder. So it's great to work with him."
CHAMPIONSHIP POTENTIAL? "Yeah, we're doing things right. The last four or five weeks we've had a shot at winning races and just came up a little short the way things have been shaking out at the end. I feel we've got our form. We've led a lot of laps in the last 10 races. Probably the most of anyone and now that we're getting close to the Chase we're going to buckle down and focus on the fourth."
YOU JUST GAVE RICK HENDRICK HIS SEVENTH BRICKYARD 400 CHAMPIONSHIP, HOW ABOUT THAT? "That's pretty special. This track has been so tough on me over the years and to be able to win here now three times means the world to me. I wanted to race Indy cars as a kid growing up and some day hoped to race here and now to take three trophies out of here and go kiss the bricks is awfully special. Mark (Martin) made me work for that one. There was nothing easy about that. I was better than him in (turns) three and four and he had me beat in (turns) one and two and it was just kind of a back and forth deal lap after lap."
YOU SAID YOU THOUGHT THE OUTSIDE LINE MIGHT BE THE QUICKEST AND YOU MADE IT WORK FOR YOU. "I knew if I could stay along side of him through one in the short shoot that I was going to come out with the lead off of turn two. I had a big power slide through one and was doing everything I could to hang on to it and stayed next to him and then through two get going. If he had got out in front I would have just chased him and we wouldn't have had anything for him.
I'm just very proud of this Kobalt Impala and all the efforts that have gone into this team. Thanks goes out to Goodyear and the hard work they put into this tire. It's just a great day across the board."
HOW MUCH WERE YOU LOOKING OUT THE FRONT VERSES THE REAR VIEW MIRROR THOSE LAST FEW LAPS? "I was probably looking 80 percent out the mirror. One lap the No. 5 would be back in my mirror and on another lap all I would see is his windshield so the range of emotions inside the car was a roller coaster."
SEVEN TIMES IN THE LAST 11 YEARS THAT GUY THAT'S WON THIS RACE HAS WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP, YOU'VE DONE IT TWICE IS THIS A PRECURSOR FOR BETTER THINGS TO COME? "I hope it is but there's a lot of racing between now and then. We have to get to those final 10 and see what happens. I don't want to be the guy that ruins that I want to be the guy that keeps that streak alive so we'll do everything that we can."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS -- Finished 9th
ON THE DAY "I don't know. It was a decent day. I finished in the top 10 but not good enough to win."
ON THE TIRES: "I'd say they worked out pretty good. We didn't have any tire issues. The grip would definitely go away. You couldn't really push the car real hard except for the first couple of laps. But it was a pretty typical Indianapolis if you throw out last year."
ON TEAMMATES JIMMIE JOHNSON WINNING, AND MARK MARTIN FINISHING SECOND: "Yeah, I would have been up there battling with them and seeing it. I don't know what happened to Mark on that last restart, but it looked like Jimmie got the best of him and got out front. You put Jimmie and that No. 48 team out in front in the closing laps of any race, let alone the Brickyard 400, and it's going to be tough to ever get back by them.
DID YOU GET SOME SATISFACTION OUT OF SEEING JIMMIE JOHNSON DO WELL HERE AGAIN? "Not really (laughs). I mean I think it's great for them, and they guy is so talented. The team is so good, but we're competitors. We want to be the ones up there getting the wins. I'm proud of Hendrick Motorsports and I'm proud of those guys. But satisfaction is not exactly how I would describe it."
HOW DOES YOUR BACK FEEL? "It's fine."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 PRILOSEC OTC/WALMART IMPALA SS -- Finished 25th:
"Our Prilosec OTC - Walmart Chevy handled good today. We cut a tire on the last restart and had to pit under green, which cost us a lot of valuable positions. It's just another case of bad luck for this team. But, we'll keep swinging. We're not putting down our bat just yet."
CASEY MEARS, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS IMPALA SS -- FINISHED 19TH:
"It was a long day for us in our Jack Daniel's Chevrolet. It was hard to get up front and fight our way through the field. But, the guy's did a great job on pit road with stops and making adjustments. We were able to lead a lap by staying out there in the middle of green-flag stops. We were four laps ahead of everyone on fuel when that caution came out (lap 128), which would have been good at the end. But, we hung in there and got a top-20 out of it all."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, FINISHED 6TH:
YOU ENDED UP WITH A GREAT FINISH TODAY: "It was a good day all. We had a little bit of trouble on pit road for a few stops. The last stop was good. The car was good all day. The Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet has run like that the last few weeks, we just haven't had anything to show for it. The guys did a good job all day and the car was fast all day.
"This particular team, the No. 29 team has been running better for the last four or five weeks, like I said the finishes, we have just had stupid stuff happen, wrecks and things like that.
"So, it is going in the right direction for us."
SO IT WAS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION TODAY FOR YOU GUYS. "Yeah our car has run good the last four or five weeks, we've just had a lot of stuff go wrong and accidents and things like that. The Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet was really good all day. I thought I had the No. 83 (Brian Vickers) there but he was a little bit better down the straightaway than we were. All in all it was a good day."
-credit: gm racing