Jimmie Johnson Takes Points Lead with Runner-Up Finish at Kansas; Team Chevy Drivers Capture Four of Top-Five Finishing Positions Kansas City (October 3, 2010) -- With a runner-up finish at Kansas Speedway, four-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup...
Jimmie Johnson Takes Points Lead with Runner-Up Finish at Kansas; Team Chevy Drivers Capture Four of Top-Five Finishing Positions
Kansas City (October 3, 2010) -- With a runner-up finish at Kansas Speedway, four-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup (NSCS) champion Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's/Johns Manville Chevrolet, took the lead in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings. After starting 21st, Johnson worked his way to second at the checkered flag in the Price Chopper 400, the third race of the 2010 Chase.
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, finished third in the 267-lap/400.5-mile race and led twice for a total of 16 laps. Harvick jumped two places in the standings, now in third place in points.
Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, led four times for a total of 76 laps on the way to his fourth place finish. The two-time NSCS champion is 10th in the standings, but only 127 points behind the leader with seven races remaining in the season.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, finished fifth and led three times for a total of 29 laps. The four-time NSCS champion jumped three positions in points to fifth place.
Ryan Newman, No. 39 US Army Chevrolet, finished ninth and maintained his 13th place in the standings.
Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, fought handling issues late in the race that relegated him to 18th in the finishing order. He now sits ninth in points, 101 points down to the leader.
Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, rebounded from fighting an ill-handling car to finish 15th today. He remains 12th in the point standings.
Greg Biffle (Ford) was the race winner.
The Series moves to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif on October 10, 2010.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S/JOHNS MANVILLE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 2ND: 21st STARTING POSITION TO RUNNER-UP FINISH, HOW EVENTFUL WAS YOUR DAY?
"That was a lot of work. It is just tough to pass here and to pass as many cars as we had to, I'm just really relieved that it is over and it is behind us."
HOW DOES IT SOUND TO BE THE POINT LEADER? YOU'RE IT! "That sounds awesome. To come through a poor qualifying effort and fight for track position all day long and get second at the end was really cool. We had some strategy work against us and started way back again and drove right on up through for a second time and got up to the front. I'm glad we had the finish we did. There's still a lot of racing left, but we're doing the right things. We're making bad weekends good weekends. Although we dominated and won (at Dover last weekend), we didn't have what we wanted leaving practice. We didn't have what we wanted yesterday leaving practice. We didn't have what we wanted for the first half of the race. But we kept working on the car and made it better. I can't thank (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) and all these guys on this Lowe's car enough for their hard work and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports for giving us the tools to go to the race track and we'll go to the next one."
IT WAS TRULY A TEAM EFFORT. THE WAY YOU ADJUSTED ON THE CAR. AND YOUR TEAMMATE, JEFF GORDON, YOU ACTUALLY HAD HIS SET-UP. HOW MUCH DID THAT AFFECT YOU TODAY? "He's been really good getting through traffic on these 1.5-mile tracks and that has been one of our weak spots. Although I didn't really love the feeling of the car; it was kind of on top of the track, it was stable in traffic. And with where I was starting, that's what we needed to focus on. I'm glad we had that set-up in the car today. So I've got to thank Steve Letarte and those guys for some help."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, FINISHED 3RD:
STRONG RUN AND A GOOD CAR TODAY: "The car was good from the drop of the green flag really. We just had to keep trying to gain track position and keep doing the things we had to do to our car to make it better and better. Great job by our Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet team today."
YOU PICKED UP TWO SPOTS IN THE POINTS AS WELL, GOOD FEELING? "Yes, it is all about maintaining that gap. Today we were able to beat the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) and maintain with the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and that is what we feel like we have to do. We feel like California is another good week for us next week."
YOU STARTED 24TH, BUT YOUR CAR WAS A ROCKET FROM THE DROP OF THE GREEN FLAG. WHERE DID THAT COME FROM? "The car was good all weekend. I've got to thank all my guys on the Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet. They did a great job. Track position is pretty important and it just took a little longer than we needed to to get back up through traffic again after our pit stop. So it was just a good day. The car was fast all weekend and we had a solid top-three run and I feel good about next week too."
ON HIS CHANCES IN THE CHASE "We feel good about where we're at. That's what got us here was those solid top-five finishes and the things that we did during the year. So we've just got to keep doing those things and keep our cars in contention to run up front and lead some laps and get those points and we'll see where we're at when we get to Homestead."
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 4TH:
WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE RACE TO THAT LAST RUN? "I just couldn't take off on restarts. I couldn't get going in traffic. My car kind of sat up on top of the track and took a little bit to go. We'd get about 10 laps into it and it would be fast. Just gave up too much time up front."
DOES IT FEEL GOOD TO GET BACK ON TRACK HERE IN THE THIRD RACE OF THE CHASE? "Yes, it really is. We've known we've been a better team than these last two weeks. We just had bad luck the first race and then just a bad day the second race. Hopefully, the upcoming weeks will be like today."
EXACTLY HOW MUCH DID THE CAR AND RACE TRACK CHANGE TODAY? "I don't think it changed a lot. We were just a little bit off there at the end and that late in the race, everybody has their stuff right."
THIS LOOKS JUST LIKE WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED, A TOP FIVE FINISH AND YOU LED THE MOST LAPS TODAY "Yeah, I would have like to have stayed up there at least with Greg (Biffle) where we were at most of the day, but I'm really proud of our guys. It's hard to rebound after two weeks like we've had starting the Chase. But it shows how strong this Stewart-Haas race team is and everybody at Office Depot and Old Spice and (crew chief) Darian Grubb and the Hendrick chassis and engine department and everybody back at our shop has just rallied around and kept the team's morale up. Everybody is working hard so today is a result of that."
THE GUYS HAVE SAID YOU DO A GREAT JOB OF LIFTING EVERYBODY UP AND MAKING THEM BELIEVE YOU'RE NOT OUT OF IT. WITH THIS RUN TODAY, CAN YOU STILL THWIN IS CHASE? "Yeah, we're not out until you guys say we're mathematically out. Who would have dreamed we would have two weeks in a row like we had the first two weeks. So it's proof it can happen. Talladega is still on the schedule (laughs) so that can jumble everything up too. So, we've just got to go out and do what we did today and that's just go out and try to win the race and take what it gives us."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 5TH: TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY:
"This track has been good to us. We were hoping for a little bit more than that with the way things went all weekend long. The way the race started, was pretty optimistic but we were just missing a little bit there. We lost some track position. I just give a lot of credit to this DuPont Chevrolet team there at the end. Great pit stops. Good adjustments that brought us back up in the top-five so that was a great finish."
HOW MUCH DID THIS TRACK CHANGE? "Quite a bit. We were pretty good there those first two runs. Then Tony (Stewart) and (Matt) Kenseth and a couple of other guys got up there and they were really getting a hold of the race track good and our car just seemed to fall off a little bit. We got real loose and had to tighten it back up there at the end."
IT WAS AN EVENTFUL DAY. WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR CAR THREE-QUARTERS OF THE WAY THROUGH THE RACE? IT WAS ALMOST LIKE A DIFFERENT RACE CAR "Yeah, we started the race good but we were real loose out front. And when some of the faster cars got up there we could see where we were off. We fell back and lost some track position but I've got to give (crew chief) Steve (Letarte) and the DuPont Chevrolet team a lot of credit. We had a great pit stop there at the end to make up a bunch of spots under green, and some good adjustments to make the car a lot better. We finally got it tightened up enough and we could race with those guys and pull off a top five."
SOME GREAT RACE TRACKS COMING UP FOR YOU, WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS RIGHT NOW OF THE CHASE AND WHERE YOU SIT AS A TEAM? "Well, I'm happy we gained. We gained points overall and points positions. That's good. I felt like we kind of missed an opportunity here this weekend. I felt like we were one of the best cars and felt like we should have led more laps and had a battle for the win. We still have some work to do and we're going to try to make that happen with the tracks coming up. They are good tracks for us. But they're good tracks for our competitors too. It was a good day today. I just felt like we could have been better and we're going to have to do that in the races coming up."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 US ARMY CHEVROLET, FINISHED 9TH:
ON HARD-FOUGHT EFFORT TODAY: "Well, it was a short day. It felt like the race went by pretty quick. Just struggled a couple of different runs and that got us behind. We ran out of fuel and lost a bunch of track position and had to put ourselves at risk with no tires a couple of times. A top-10 for the US Army Chevrolet, I am proud of that. Proud of the No. 14 (Tony Stewart) guys getting a top-five. Good for their Chase hopes. We'll go on."
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET, FINISHED 11TH:
ON HIS DAY: "Well, it was a good day... We worked all day to make the right changes, and Bono did a great job playing the tire strategy out to put us in position to get a decent finish, and we did just that. Would have loved to get another Top-10 today, but the car just really tightened up there at the end of that last run."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET, FINISHED 15TH:
ON HIS DAY "We fought the Cheerios / Hamburger Helper Chevrolet most of the day. I'm proud of my guys for working every single pit stop to make it better. A top-15 finish isn't exactly what I had hoped for, but we'll take it and look forward to a strong run at Fontana next weekend."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET, FINISHED 18TH:
IT SEEMED LIKE THAT SECOND-TO-LAST RUN THAT REALLY PUT YOU OUT OF THE TOP 10 AND HURT YOUR DAY "Yeah, I don't know what happened. The run before that, the last ten laps of the run, we were the fastest car on the race track. They didn't put on tires and we went terrible. And then we went to (being) the slowest car on the race track. I don't know. It's really frustrating. I don't know if we had a bump stop fail or something, but we went from having a really good race car and being able to, I thought, contend for the win, to where we wouldn't have stayed on the lead lap if we'd gone another run."
-source: gm racing