Tony Stewart Victory in DIRECTV 500 Increases Chevrolet Lead in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Manufacturer's Point Standings; Johnson Vaults Back to Driver Point Lead Monte Carlo SS Drivers Sweep Top-Five Finishing Spots at ...
Tony Stewart Victory in DIRECTV 500 Increases Chevrolet Lead in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Manufacturer's Point Standings; Johnson Vaults Back to Driver Point Lead
Monte Carlo SS Drivers Sweep Top-Five Finishing Spots at Martinsville Speedway
Martinsville VA - Chevrolet extended its lead in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings with Tony Stewart's, No. 20 Home Depot Monte Carlo SS, victory in the DIRECTV 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
The top-five finishers in today's race were driving Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS race cars. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS finished second, followed by Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS in third. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Monte Carlo SS was fourth and Kyle Busch, No. 5 Kellogg's Monte Carlo SS rounded out the top-five.
Johnson's finish shot him back to the top of the driver standings, moving him up two positions. Monte Carlo SS drivers currently hold five of the top-10 in NNCS standings. Stewart's win puts him in the eighth position.
Stewart led 288 of the 500 lap event that had a total of 16 cautions for 87 laps.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Monte Carlo SS - Finished 4th "I am just really proud of the whole effort everybody has given me this year. We had a hard year last year. This company has bounced back really hard and I try to do my job on Sunday. They give me great cars. I get to take credit for wheeling on it, but man, you can't do it if your car don't work and my car was working real good today. That is due to all the work back at the shop."
ON HOW BAD HIS CAR LOOKED. "I remember Harry Gant winning a race with a car that sort of looked like that. Beating and banging, man I was worried that my car was really tore up too bad to be competitive. I want to thank my team for working so hard to get me back on the race track, cutting everything away the way they did to be out of the way and working on it so the car still drove great. They didn't give up. Just proud of the effort they gave me today. It is just such a pleasure to drive that car when those guys work as hard as they do. I want to thank everybody back at DEI for their efforts. This company has really turned around. We still have a little bit to catch up on technology but the guys are working hard at the shop. In the engine shop, they are working some late nights. Martin's (Truex, Jr.) had a tough day today and at Bristol but the first time I came to Martinsville, I hit and ran over everything. It takes a while to learn how to go around here. Just a great day for us even if we didn't win, man, it really felt like it."
Kyle Busch, No. 5 Kellogg's Monte Carlo SS - Finished 5th
"It was a good day today. Any time you leave Martinsville with a top-five finish, it was a good day for our Kellogg's Monte Carlo SS. If we could have finished third it would have been even better, but we slipped a little so we will take fifth. The last three laps were pretty hard racing but that is what you are going to have at a short track with everybody going after it. I thought everyone was going to go to the bottom and try and protect it so I went outside and had a great run on Jimmie. I didn't want to screw him up too much in one and slow down too much and let Junior (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) hit him a little and move him out of the way. Trying to be nice guy, but it is still a good day."
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Monte Carlo SS - Finished 7th
"The car was good. I had a little trouble with lap traffic and just kind of got back there a little bit and lost couple of spots. All in all it was a good day for the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet."
Brian Vickers, No. 25 GMAC Monte Carlo SS - Finished 8th
"I am happy (with our finish). We really wanted to get a win here. It was a good run for us."
WAS IT PATIENCE THAT GOT YOU THE TOP 10 FINISH?
"One hundred percent. I was just trying to stay out of trouble and keep the fenders on it. It's real easy to get into somebody here and knock the grill in and start overheating. I just tried to be patient all day. We were loose all day and we really just had to work on it. We came in every stop. Lance (McGrew, crew chief) made some good calls and instead of trying to stay out there and get track position in a car that wasn't right, we came in and worked on it all day."
Tony Raines, No. 96 DLP®HDTV Monte Carlo SS - Finished 21st
ON OVERALL THOUGHTS ABOUT THE RACE: "It was a tough day. We started off OK, but it seemed like we could never get the car to handle the way we wanted it to. We worked on it and worked on it, but we just couldn't ever get over the hump. I probably drove more defensively then I should have, but that's what I wanted to do this first race -- run the race and finish. We wanted to take what we got, because Martinsville is not one of my best tracks. There are better tracks for me ahead. I think if that's our worst finish at Martinsville, I'll take that.
"It started off pretty good, the first 50 to100 laps, then it just kind of went away, and we couldn't ever get the handle back to it. Philippe (Lopez, crew chief) and the crew, they changed a bunch of stuff throughout the race, but we just couldn't get it to run out of the corners."
HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT TO BRING THE CAR HOME IN ONE PIECE AND FINISH THE RACE? "That was our main goal. We didn't have a notebook for here or anything like that -- being a new team. You've got to finish first and we need to get in the habit of that before we can start racing well and getting up in the points. It's not the prettiest 21st, but we'll take it and build on it to Texas. I felt like I put myself back there earlier in the race than I wanted to, because I was being extra careful. I wanted to make sure I didn't run into anybody and didn't catch a wrecked car, but I kind of felt like that hurt us a little bit track-position wise. I'm a little disappointed in that, but I just kept telling myself, finish, finish. It's not where I think we could have been, but we get to try it again in the fall and we'll see if we can do better."
Joe Nemechek, No. 01 U.S. Army Monte Carlo SS - Finished 23rd
ON THE BUMP AND PASS BY SCOTT RIGGS THAT SPUN HIM OUT: "I don't understand why he did what he did -- that was a low blow."
ON THE DAY IN GENERAL: "It was wild ride out there today. We took our licks, but nobody knocked us out, we fought like our soldiers right to the end. There is never any quit when you represent the Army."
Scott Wimmer, No. 4 AERO Exhaust Monte Carlo SS - Finished 28th Note: Wimmer retired from the race on lap 189.
"We were experiencing some brake problems and had a flat left front and broke the sway bar. We came back to fix the sway bar and we might as work on the brakes too because we're not going to do too much without any brakes out there. It's a tough day for the AERO Exhaust Chevy. We'll be back at Texas."
Travis Kvapil, No. 32 Tide/Downy Monte Carlo SS - Finished 34th Note: Kvapil was involved in a one-lap spin on lap 14 after crew had repaired minor damage from a multi-car accident on lap 2.
"I have no idea what happened. I had no wheel-hop, no signs of a tire going down, nothing from the earlier contact. I just ended up going around. It is disappointing for our Tide Monte Carlo SS team, we just need to get some racing luck going our way. We will get back out and do what we can for points."
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Ground Monte Carlo SS - Finished 37th Note: Hamlin was involved in a two-car incident on lap 307.
"I respect Mark Martin like no other but he's just racing us really hard. (He) got into our right side tires and (we) cut down our right rear tire. I understand he was trying to get his lap back but you got to give room to the lead lap cars and this is what happens."
Robby Gordon, No. 7 Menard's Monte Carlo SS - Finished 43rd Note: Gordon was involved in a multi-car accident on lap 2.
WHAT HAPPENED? "I got put in the old sandwich. I guess they all checked up in front of Reed (Sorenson). There were cars spun before I got there. Myself, Junior, a bunch of us got torn up. It's some kind of drivetrain problem. I don't know exactly what the final outcome is. We probably won't know until we get home and take it apart. When you're out this early, it's a huge disappointment. We had high hopes for this weekend. We felt this would be one of our best results and bam, we let another good one slip away from us but we look forward to going to Texas next week and to Phoenix next week. Those are some good race tracks that will be good for our No. 7 Chevrolet."
IS IT THE CHASSIS THAT YOU'RE HAVING PROBLEMS WITH? "I don't know exactly where it is. That's what we're trying to figure out right now. It's something in the drivetrain. They started checking up in front of me. I think Junior got in the back of me and bumped me into the 41. The guys got the car good and I was taking off there in front of the pace car and took off without the clutch and it just locked up."