Clint Bowyer Finishes Second To Lead Six Team Chevy Drivers to Top-10 Finishes in Wild LifeLock 400 Jimmie Johnson Retakes Lead in the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Championship with Third Place Finish at Kansas Kansas City, Kan - ...
Clint Bowyer Finishes Second To Lead Six Team Chevy Drivers to Top-10 Finishes in Wild LifeLock 400
Jimmie Johnson Retakes Lead in the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Championship with Third Place Finish at Kansas
Kansas City, Kan - Kansas native and Team Chevy driver Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Monte Carlo SS, finished second in what can only be described as one of the wildest races the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) in quite some time.
The runner-up spot was the fourth top-five and 14th top-10 finish for Bowyer, who jumped to third in the Chase for the Nextel Cup standings, only 14 points behind the leader.
Bowyer, who started 10th, was running second when the caution flag flew for the 12th and final time on lap 208 of the LifeLock 400 at Kansas Speedway. The field was frozen at that point but continued until lap 210 when the checkered flew due to darkness. Greg Biffle was the race winner.
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS, finished third in the race which was stopped twice by red flags due to storms, and eventually shortened by 57 laps. He was 24th in the order when the race restarted after the second weather delay and stormed his way to the field to capture his sixth top-five and 18th top-10 of the year.
Johnson, the defending NNCS champion, resumed the top spot in the standings of the Chase for the Nextel Cup by six points over Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) teammate Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS, who finished fifth at Kansas.
Fellow HMS driver Casey Mears, No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Monte Carlo SS, finished fourth. He continues his battle for the 13th spot in the year-end standings and now sits 15th.
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Monte Carlo SS and Bowyer's Richard Childress Racing teammate, finished sixth in the race and climbed four spots in the Chase standings to fifth.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Monte Carlo SS, finished 10th giving Team Chevy Monte Carlo SS drivers six of the top-10 finishers.
Other Team Chevy drivers in the Chase suffered setbacks in today's race that could be seen as the "Wild Card" in this year's Chase.
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Freight Monte Carlo SS, finished 29th after a multi-car crash on lap 183. Hamlin remains 12th in the standings with seven races remaining in the 2007 season.
Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Monte Carlo SS, was credited with the 39th finishing position as a result of damage received on lap 174 after leading three times for 13 laps. The two-time NNCS champion dropped to fourth in the standings, 117 laps down to Johnson.
Jeff Burton, No. 31 AT&T Monte Carlo SS, lost a fuel pump early in the race and finished 36th after spending several laps in the garage while the crew exchanged the faulty part. He now sits 10th in the standings, dropping two positions.
Kyle Busch, No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Monte Carlo SS, was involved in an accident on lap 29. After spending 47 laps in the garage getting repairs, he returned to the race however, the finish dropped him two positions in the standings to sixth.
Martin Truex, Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Monte Carlo SS, was also an accident victim finishing 38th today and dropped one spot in the points to eighth position.
Team Chevy heads to Talladega Superspeedway on October 7, 2007 for round four of the Chase and the 31st race of the season.
POST RACE QUOTES:
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT MONTE CARLO SS
"What a turn of events. Man, what a crazy race it was today. At one time we were really strong and we fell back a little bit and we fell way back, all the way to 30th, and I saw the rain and to be able to bring this DuPont Chevrolet from that far back, one lap down, to get our lap back and then to come up there all the way to a top five. I couldn't be happier. What a great job.
"We had to make some adjustments on the car there and they really paid off, not just the four tires, and we were able to really slice our way through traffic there at the end. It was awesome."
HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO KEEP FOCUSED OUT THERE WITH TWO RAIN DELAYS AND ALL THE CAUTIONS AND BEING IN THE CHASE? "Well when you have this type of an avid fan base, and the people at home that watch and the ones that stayed here, it fires you up as a race car driver. You want to go out there and do your job and put on a great show. To me, we weren't going to leave and lose our focus unless the fans did. They brought it back to all of us. I'm just glad we put on a pretty solid race there. Unfortunately it didn't go all the way to the end, but it was still a great race."
ON GOING BACK TO RACING AFTER THE LONG RACE DELAY: "I think that was an awesome call. I think NASCAR recognized what is going on in the Chase and what a disaster that was going to be. I think that as long as there is daylight, they are going to race. I am sure there are some guys that disagree with that, but because of the wreck and some of the things that happened, from hey, from where I was sitting, there was only one call and that was to go back racing. Certainly, we are glad that they did.
"I want the No. 16 to win for points reasons, I don't want the No. 07 to win because of that but, let me tell you what, he didn't win the race. You have to maintain speed, we know that, he slowed down; we don't know he was out of gas. Clint Bowyer is the winner of this race in my opinion, no offense to Greg Biffle, he drove the car to the win, but you have to cross the start/finish line at pace car speed at least.
ON WHAT ARE THE RULES AS HE KNOWS IT: "They don't freeze the field. You have to maintain a reasonable pace. And that is in NASCAR's judgment if that was a reasonable pace. Everybody was slowing down trying to figure out what he was doing. We were almost at a stop to run his pace and the pace car was driving away so we all just started going by him. In my opinion, he didn't win that race. Clint Bowyer won the race.
"He is the one who maintained the pace. I say that knowing want him to win because of the points, no offense to Clint, I like him. It is all the Chase and the championship. I don't want to give up those points."
"If I were Clint, I wouldn't put too much fight up, I would let NASCAR make the decision. I definitely would argue it and give them my point. And see where they went with it from there."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS:
FROM A DARKNESS STANDPOINT, DID NASCAR MAKE THE RIGHT CALL? "Without a doubt. It was really tough to see out there. The biggest question mark right now is what goes on with the No. 16 (Biffle) car. He clearly ran out of gas and I feel terrible for those guys. He had the car to beat and was up front. But if you can't maintain pace car speed, then the guys that can finished ahead of you, it just depends on where you crossed the start/finish line. And I'm being all about me right now in order to be second (laughs).
"He was clearly out of gas. I feel terrible for Greg (Biffle). He's been working so hard to win a race and he was up there in position to win it. But if you don't maintain pace car speed, you don't hold your position. And it was clear to everyone that he couldn't do it. If he could have, he would have stayed on the bumper of the pace car to the finish line. So in my opinion, where he coasted across the finish line relative to the other cars that could maintain pit road speed is where it should finish."
AND THEREFORE, THAT WOULD PUT YOU SECOND INSTEAD OF THIRD SINCE THE 07, BOWYER, WAS IN FRONT OF YOU? "It would. I'm all about me right now (laughs). It is more points. From where we were before that rain came down to where we are now, we had a great car, but we had some troubles throughout the day. We had a strong enough car where I could race my way up. I can't thank the engine and chassis shops at Hendrick Motorsports and these guys on the No. 48 team. I've run them through a lot of hard work this weekend. And we rebounded nicely."
HOW ABOUT YOUR CAR TODAY? YOU STARTED 43RD AND RAN ALL THE WAY UP TO THIRD. "Yeah, we had a really good race car. We were in the back a few times. We got caught a lap down with the rain when it came. All in all, we had a great car and I feel very good about second or third, wherever we end up."
CASEY MEARS, NO. 25, NATIONAL GUARD / GMAC MONTE CARLO:
"That was a really good run for us. We were very, very tight at the beginning of the race and the guys and everybody on this team just hung in there and did a good job. They stuck it out and we came home with a great finish. Nobody on this team ever gave up. We were running 30th or 25th there at the end and we made a lot of huge adjustments to try and free the car up and got it to where it was competitive there at the end. Real happy with that.
"I had to run with my visor up those last few laps. I had a tinted visor on. I couldn't see at all that last five ten laps, I just had to turn my visor up and then I could see pretty good. Obviously it got dark quick, so it definitely was the way to call the race.
"The momentum of our team has just been great. The last ten races, excluding Dover, we have had a couple top-fives, and a top-ten before that. We have just been really consistent; the guys did a great job and made a lot of great adjustments today. I am proud of them, we came back and had a good finish."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS MONTE CARLO SS:
"I don't know where we finished. I thought you had to finish under your own power across the finish line. We maintained the pace car speed. I don't know what the deal is. The bottom line is the Jack Daniel's Chevrolet was good and we had a lot of fun today.
"On that restart, I definitely think we could have gotten closer to him. The No. 48 and No. 24 were coming behind us. But definitely, I think we had something for him if we would have went back green.
"It was almost perfect today. Just very, very weird day all together. To win a race and not be able to go to victory lane I thought that was weird. I don't know what is going on. You want to win when you come back to your hometown. It's been a long day. It's been pretty wild. The radio quit there at the end and it's just been wild.
"I told the guys just before that last caution that it was getting hard to see. It was dark out there; I think we had something for the No. 16 on a restart. He was really tight up off, and kept getting in the wall a couple times in front of me. I know the No. 48 and No. 24 were behind us on new tires and were catching but I think I at least had something for the No. 16.
"This team is strong and we are just starting to show our potential. I think over the years to come, we are going to have a lot more fun. It was a wild day with two rain delays, and then there at the end. What a crazy day.
ON WHAT HE KNOWS RULES TO BE: "I don't know, but it didn't look right. I don't know what the rule is. It is just weird, very weird.
IT DOES SOUND LIKE YOU ARE QUESTIONING THE FINISH: "Well, it's kind of weird he couldn't make it across the finish line. I don't think anybody knows. I don't think Jimmie (Johnson) or Jeff (Gordon) or anybody behind me knew either. I don't know what's going on."
JEFF GREEN, NO. 66 GARMIN/BEST BUY MONTE CARLO SS:
"It's our first top-20 finish in awhile, so we have to look at that as a positive. The car was way too tight for most of the day, but that 's something we've dealt with for most of the year with this car."
-credit: gm racing