Chevrolet's Jeff Gordon wins the NASCAR Winston Cup race at Kansas Speedway for the second consecutive year; and rookie teammate, Jimmie Johnson, takes over the Series point lead. JFFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - (Winner -...
Chevrolet's Jeff Gordon wins the NASCAR Winston Cup race at Kansas Speedway for the second consecutive year; and rookie teammate, Jimmie Johnson, takes over the Series point lead.
JFFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - (Winner - takes his 3rd win of the season, his 61st Winston Cup career win)
"I've got to thank everybody at Hendrick Motorsports - and this entire team. What a great effort and pit stops by this team. The chassis department and body department at Hendrick Motorsports - the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson), the No. 25 (Joe Nemechek), and the N. 5 (Terry Labonte) - all the guys did a great job. The guys in the engine shop did a heck of a job too bringing us the great horsepower."
ON THE FORDS AND DODGES DURING THE FIRST PART OF THE RACE: "At the beginning, we were moving forward but we could only get so far. It was pretty tight in traffic. I thought we had a good car. We did a two tire stop that we thought would work out and I got blocked in the pits so I didn't get track position -and I had two tires. We fell backward. From then on it was just four tires. The car was just so awesome on four tires that once we had long enough green flag runs to pass people and maneuver though traffic to get that track position, then my guys just busted off a great stop and put us out second."
WERE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT THE RED FLAG STOP & THE RE-START? "Anytime you see a red or a caution or something you don't want to see, you hope that nobody is injured. But at the same time, you don't want to stop the race or slow down your momentum - especially when you get a great re-start like I did. But luckily, I got another one after that and it was smooth sailing from then on. You know, after the re-starts when the tires cooled down and the pressures were up, the car handled great."
ON JIMMIE JOHNSON TAKING OVER THE POINT LEAD AND GORDON MOVING UP IN THE STANDINGS "That's great. Coming in here, I said that if we didn't make up some points, we would be in trouble. We couldn't have done anything any better than we did here today. Some of the guys had some trouble. It was a great points day for us and I'm really excited for Jimmie and that team to have the points lead. It's just so exciting to see a rookie driver - and to know that he's my driver - leading the points. It's awesome." (more to follow)
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Note: finished 10th, but takes over the points lead for the first time in his career.
"I was wondering why everybody was standing around. There's more media people here probably than there are in Victory Lane with Jeff (Gordon, race winner). That's great. Unfortunately we had a flat tire. It cost us and we got down but we had a great race car and a great team and we weren't going to let it get us down. I want to thank everybody at Hendrick Motorsports and Lowe's for their support. Who knows? It's been a bad place to be leading the points these days. Everybody keeps having trouble. But hopefully we can take it and hang onto it."
GOING INTO TALLADEGA, DOES LEADING THE POINTS MEAN ANYTHING? "No. It just scares you (laughs).
DID YOU KNOW ABOUT STERLING MARLING AND MARK MARTIN DROPPING OUT OF THE RACE? "I didn't know Mark (Martin) dropped out, but I knew Sterling (Marlin) got in a wreck. It looked like a pretty violent one when I saw it in the mirror. I am just glad that we were able to finish. When you see people have trouble, you almost try not to look because you know you're kind of jinxing yourself. I just minded my own business and it all worked out."
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO THE NO. 24 TEAM WIN TODAY? "The things that have happened to them have been weird things. They've had the speed and really turned the switch on at Bristol and I'm glad to see them back in Victory Lane. This championship is far from over. Jeff Gordon knows how to win these things and it's going to be a battle to he end."
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
WERE YOU CALCULATING THE POINTS AT THE END? "You're not going to see a guy win seven or eight championships again. The only guy that's possibly going to do that is Jeff Gordon because he already has four under his belt. The competition is too close. If you don't go out there every week and try to win the race and try to lead the most laps, you're not going to win the championship. I don't even know where we're at (in the points) right now. I don't care about that. If we lead the points and we win the championship, we'll celebrate in New York. Until then, we're just going to go out there and race."
WHEN THE TIRE WENT DOWN AND YOU FELL BACK A LAP IN THE RACE, DID YOU HELP TO KEEP JIMMIE FROM OVERDRIVING THE CAR? "We came in and changed those two tires and Jimmie went out there and he was busting off some laps that were just incredibly fast. I got backed him down a little bit. I said, 'Hey look there, buddy - there's no way you're going to catch the leader. You're 15 second behind him. You're catching him four-tenths a lap but that's not going to do us any good. There's not enough laps even in the race to get that lap back.' He needed to settle back down and pass as many cars as he could and gain as much track position as we could so that if it did come down to a green flag stop - like it did - so that we would still have a chance to get a good track position at the end."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW/DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (finished 4th)
"I've got to thank all the guys on this crew - especially all the guys back at the fab shop. They tuned this car up and they know who they are and they know what they did. And, I've got to thank the motor shop for an awesome motor. They picked up the horsepower and the thing just ran strong all day. Peter Sospenzo (crew chief) and this entire UAW/Delphi team gave me what it took to run in the top five. I kind of told everybody a couple of weeks ago that by the time we come to Kansas, our season would be turning around. And it is."
DALE EARNHARDT JR, NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET (Finished 6th) Quotes provided by Jade Gurss, PR Rep: "Somehow we took a first or second place car and finished sixth... NASCAR needs some sort of award or stat for passing the most cars, because I think we would have won that award at the last five or six races. We had a nice little race car - a great car -- today. We were never too far off of the set-up all afternoon. At times, it was really easy to pull up and pass cars in traffic. We had a disaster of a stop when I didn't mash the brake pedal hard enough and the left front hub was spinning, making it tough for the guys to put the new wheel on. We fought back and seemed to have them beat on fuel mileage. Then, we had the red flag, and I didn't know if I was going to win the race, but I knew I was gonna drive my butt off to pass those three guys in front of me. Matt (Kenseth) laid back on the start and tried to get a run on me, but ended up ruining the start for both of us."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, POLE SITTER FOR SATURDAY'S MR. GOODCENTS 300 BUSCH SERIES RACE - Note: Waltrip was sidelined on lap 155 of the 200-lap event. According to Goodyear engineers, the right rear tire was cut.
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"I was passing Tony (Stewart) and when I got to turn one the car just wouldn't turn. It went dead straight into the wall like it had a flat. Tony and I had a little contact as I was passing him. I had already made the pass and he hit me in the back. But I think that's because when I got to the turn I didn't turn left. I just kept going straight. He didn't know I had a flat. Neither did I. This is disappointing. We had a lot of optimism for this race. Goodyear makes great tires -- the best in the world. There's nothing wrong with the tire. You can't run over metal at 200 mph no matter what. We just seemed to find metal in both races this weekend."
GIL MARTIN, CREW CHIEF, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH SERVICE CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Note: After being diagnosed with acute bronchitis Saturday afternoon, martin traveled home to Concord, NC. Driver Kevin Harvick, car owner Richard Childress, car chief Scott Naset, and crew chief of the No. 21 Busch Series entry Butch Hylton will assist in calling the race. Martin is expected to return to the series next week at Talladega.
MIKE SKINNER, NO. 4 KODAK CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"Man, we've had some bad luck. This is a good engine. About a three or four-dollar rocker arm adjusting screw broke. It was jumping around in there. We'll probably fix it and go back out and just ride around for our sponsor, Kodak. But I'll tell you, we've had some back luck. But we're not going to give up. This team is going to get it's act together and things are going to be just fine."
STEVE PARK, NO. 1 PENNZOIL CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"The guys are racing too hard. I was inside the No. 40 car (Sterling Marlin) for what seemed like 10 laps. It was a racing deal, but there's a lot of laps left in the race and we probably shouldn't have been racing that hard. But what am I supposed to do? I should just pull over and let those guys go I guess. Who knows? We had a good race car today and now we're in the garage again - fixing the Pennzoil car. It's just not what we want to do."
-team monte carlo-