MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/KELLOGG'S IMPALA SS, WINNER: DOES THIS YEAR KEEP GETTING BETTER AND BETTER FOR YOU? "Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) won that race -- that's all I got to say. He took a driver that can't drive Loudon and put a set-up...
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/KELLOGG'S IMPALA SS, WINNER:
DOES THIS YEAR KEEP GETTING BETTER AND BETTER FOR YOU? "Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) won that race -- that's all I got to say. He took a driver that can't drive Loudon and put a set-up in it that we could run along reasonable. Just like I said before the race, if they can stumble around and get me in the front then I might be able to stay there with it. That's what we did, but it was sure tough."
WHAT WAS RUNNING THROUGH YOUR MIND ON THAT FINAL RESTART? "I'm going to lose it. I'm going to mess it up. That's what was going through my mind."
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO STILL BE THE POINTS LEADER? "Gosh, it's one race. We won though. How about that?"
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS, FINISHED THIRD:
DID YOU THINK YOU HAD A CHANCE TO WIN THIS RACE? "Yeah, in practice we were probably the fastest car and we led the most laps today. He (Mark Martin) probably did a trick that we weren't expecting, but it's okay, he (Martin) deserved to win. It's racing and I'm cool with it."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS -- Finished 7th:
ON THE RACE: "Well, if we had a better qualifying effort with our U.S. Army Chevrolet I'm sure we could have had a better finish. We fought track position all day working our way up. We made a two-tire call there instead of four tires like a lot of guys and I felt that we had a really good car at the end, but that one restart there where the No. 00 (David Reutimann) got into the No. 88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) cost me about four spots; finishing seventh means we should have maybe finished third. But congratulations to Mark (Martin). He did a great job. We just didn't have the track position the entire day."
HOW MUCH DIFFERENT WAS THE AGGRESSIVE DRIVING COMPARED TO THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS? "It was more aggressive. There was a lot less giving and taking and you would kind of expect that. But everybody I thought, with the exception of the No. 00 drove pretty respectively."
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR FIRST RACE IN THE CHASE: "I'm happy with the first race. We're in the hunt. We're seventh in points and had a top 10 finish. The top 10 finish breeds for a good points finish and if we get to running like Mark (Martin) there, we'll be all right. There's one thing about Mark though is he's been strong like that but he hasn't been consistent and we'll see if we can play the consistency route."
HOW WAS YOUR FIRST RACE IN THE CHASE?: "It was a good effort. The guys did a good job on pit road and on the race track we had a very competitive race car, we just lost some track position. I had one bad restart there when the 00 (David Reutimann) took out the 88 (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) and that cost us about four spots. That was the difference between a top-five and a top-10."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS -- Finished 15th:
EARLY IN THE RACE YOU WERE TELLING YOUR CREW CHIEF STEVE LETARTE THAT YOU COULD WIN THIS RACE WITH THIS CAR
"Yeah, I know. I was really happy with it (the car). I was concerned about our restarts. The last time we fought that as well, being really loose on the restarts. If you're on the front row, you can get away with it a little bit but being fifth or sixth we just really struggled with the grip on the restarts. We'd lose three or four spots every restart and then we'd start not being able to gain it back. It just wasn't a good day for us. It's one we've just got to put behind us and go on."
AT THE END, NASCAR DIDN'T THROW A CAUTION UNTIL YOU WERE ALMOST OUT OF TURN 4. SHOULD IT HAVE COME EARLIER? "I've got to see it on the video. All I know is my spotter was saying there's a car in the middle or stopped down low on the front straightaway. I never heard him say caution, so everybody was still doing and then I saw the caution out of the corner of my eye and said I never heard the caution and they said that's because it didn't come out until jut now and I was surprised by that."
WILL YOUR PAST EXPERIENCE HELP YOU TO PUT THIS BEHIND YOU AND GO ON? "One hundred and two points back (102) is a lot of points to make up (laughs). But you know, it could have been a lot worse. I said last week it's damage control when you don't have a good run. But we should have finished better than this. We didn't. It wasn't our day as far as tuning on the car and as far as pit stops and just a lot of things. So that's why we finished where we did and all we can do it put it behind us now and go to Dover and try to rebound. When you get in a hole like this, it puts that much more pressure on you that you have to win."
WITH THE SET-UPS THAT EVERYBODY IS RUNNING ON THESE CARS, IS EVERYBODY GOING TO HAVE A DAY LIKE THIS WHERE THEY'RE GOOD EARLY AND TUNE THEMSELVES OUT? "No, not necessarily. This is a tricky place on restarts. It always has been. Double-file restarts I think is definitely going to affect the outcome of these races in the Chase. But no, this is a unique track. I don't know if restarts are necessarily going to happen. I hope it doesn't happen to us again I know that."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR IMPALA SS -- Finished 16th:
"We had a fast Caterpillar Chevy today. Obviously, tight-quarter racing produces contact with other cars and that was the case with us. Scott (Miller, crew chief) played the pitting game and that worked well but contact with the No. 42 prior to a caution left damage on the left-front quarter panel. Kevin (Harvick, RCR teammate) told us it was rubbing and we pitted too late and had to start at the rear of the field. It's tough to end the day like this but we'll keep fighting."
DARIAN GRUBB, CREW CHIEF, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE IMPALA SS -- Finished 14th:
"It was a really good effort. We had a mechanical problem with the assembly of the race car. We had a bolt come loose and the axle cap came off and we had to fix it. We gave up all of those positions on pit road."
HOW DO YOU PUT IT ASIDE AND GO FORWARD? "We are a new organization. We are going to have to fix all those problems and keep getting stronger."
WHAT HAS THE BOSS SAID TO YOU POST RACE? "I haven't seen him yet. I'm sure he is upset, just as much as I am. He should be. We let him down. We have to assemble that car to the utmost of our abilities and we missed it."
WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THE LACK OF CAUTION AT THE END OF THE RACE? "That was absolutely stupid? The No. 44 was sitting there the whole lap. They could have called it way earlier; they just wanted to let the race play out."
TALK ABOUT THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF TODAY: "We had some definite lows because of the mechanical issue with the car. Something got missed when we assembled it. The car came apart and we had to fix it so we gave up all that track position on pit road just to fix that and after that we struggled the rest of the day to get half-way through the field."
WHAT WILL YOUR APPROACH BE THIS WEEK? "Same as always. We are always trying to do everything the best we can and go to Dover and try and go out there and get the win."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS -- Finished 4th:
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE LACK OF CAUTION THERE AT THE END OF THE RACE? "I don't know where the fault lies on it because coming through three and four, I saw the lights flashing that the caution was out and my spotter had told me that there was a car spun on the front stretch. Technically in the middle of three and four, I knew and kind of slowed down and pulled out of the way. The guys in front of me were pretty occupied with racing each other and went flying down in there. I don't know how we can have a better way to relay a caution to the drivers. I know in some forms of racing, they have little lights inside the car that flash yellow when the caution comes out.
"That would have worked really good in this case, because there is such a short distance from where we were to where the problem was. I saw the caution and checked up myself."
WAS IT A GOOD DAY FOR YOUR TEAM? "Yeah, good day for us. Strategy got a little weird there in the middle part of the race. Cautions at the end really wasn't working for us, we were starting to catch the 2 (Kurt Busch) and the 5 (Mark Martin). The way the tires were cycling around. It worked out well. We were running strong all day long and I'm glad we got a good top-five. Great start to the Chase -- very happy with things."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS -- Sidelined in crash on lap 283 and finished 35th:
DAVID REUTIMANN SAID HE GOT INTO YOU AND IT WAS HIS FAULT. "That don't mean it's alright now. My car is tore up and he ain't got enough talent to run in the top-five I guess. He run down into the side of me and spun me out late in the race. I mean we're all running real hard but you've got to know how much race car you've got and you've got to know how much talent you've got before you go down in the corner. He never knows. It's disappointing. We had a good car. We run hard and worked hard all day long and we had the best car at certain times in the race. I felt like we had a top-three car. The AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet ain't got no finish. I hate it for my guys that worked real hard. We worked hard all day trying to get a good finish out of it."
A SIGN OF GOOD THINGS TO COME MAYBE FOR THE LAST NINE RACES? "Well we're pretty ticked off about how we've been running. This definitely makes us more upset. We've been driving in the middle of the mess all day long and rooting on being and having fun. We didn't slap drive down in the corner and knock anybody out but it happens to you sometimes. You've just got to know who you can race and who you can't."
WHAT HAPPENED? "Well if you saw it you knew what happened. The No. 00 can't hold his line and went down in the bottom of the corner and lost it and run up the side of my car and spun me out. I know that he can't hold his line and I should have known that but I gotta run hard and try to win. Some people you just can't race side-by-side with. We're disappointed. We had a good run and I want to thank my guys and AMP Energy and Mountain Dew and National Guard.
"We had a real good car. A fabulous car all day long. Probably one of the best car here. Working real hard all day just trying to run the best we can. David (Reutimann) just run out of talent there."
CASEY MEARS, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS IMPALA SS, FINISHED 13TH:
"We hung in there tough all race and it was a long day. Todd (Berrier) made a great call about mid-race to stay out and gain track position which really worked out well. Track position is so important at Loudon.
"We were able to keep the Jack Daniel's Chevy in the front pack from there and come away with a top-15.I'm proud of the entire team for all their hard work. I know our rear tire carrier Clint Pittman was injured on a pit stop (hit on the first stop by the No. 11) so I hope he is going to be ok."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER IMPALA SS, FINISHED 10TH:
"We struggled with a tight car throughout the day. Shane Wilson (crew chief) and the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper team really made some good adjustments to get us a top-ten finish. Proud of everyone for not giving up."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, FINISHED 32ND:
"Not the best day for the Shell-Pennzoil team. The car was night and day from practice. It was hopping all the way through the turns today. I had to use the brakes so much to get it to turn, we wore them out. After the past few weeks, it's a very disappointing finish."
-credit: gm racing