JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Note: sidelined with engine problems: "We blew up, which is a rare occasion for Hendrick Motorsports. We're making such great power these days and we've got the reliability as well. Unfortunately...
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
Note: sidelined with engine problems: "We blew up, which is a rare occasion for Hendrick Motorsports. We're making such great power these days and we've got the reliability as well. Unfortunately that wasn't the case today. What a great race team and race car I've got right now. It's unfortunate we're not going to be able to take advantage of it. I was coming down the back straightaway and started to feel it vibrate. I saw the smoke and popped it out of gear and shut it off. I'm pretty sure it's something in the bottom end - a rod or something like that.
ON AN INCONSISTENT PERFORMANCE SO FAR THIS YEAR "I'm definitely not happy with the inconsistency and it's not necessarily inconsistency with the team but inconsistency with the finishes. All we can do is keep fighting and keep doing what we're doing and hope that things come around for us. When you've got a car and performance that we had today, it certainly makes my job a whole lot easier. And we'll just do all we can to bounce back next week.
"We've got great tracks coming up. We know this is going to be a disappointing day and something we're going to have to bounce back from and get some consistency going, and next week at Sonoma is the perfect opportunity for us to do that."
ON THIS FRUSTRATION "You never blow up with you're running 30th with no problems at Charlotte (laughs). It's always when you're leading or running up front and you've got a shot at the lead. We certainly had a great effort going today. You can't control those things. I'm so proud of Hendrick Motorsports and their performance and reliability in the engine department that you can't complain about it because it rarely ever happens."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 4th:
HOW BENEFICIAL WAS THAT LAST PIT STOP FOR YOU? "Really, the cautions were killing us. I lost third gear early in the race after the first green flag pit stop. And on every restart, I had to go from second to fourth (gear). And second gear didn't want to stay inside the transmission either. It was trying to find a way out. Every caution killed me. There at the end, we were coming on and that last restart really hurt me more than anything. I feel like I could have gotten to the No. 12 (Ryan Newman, winner) and put a good race on for the fans.
But all in all, it was a good day for the Lowe's Monte Carlo and to come out of here with all those troubles and hopefully the points lead is a good day."
CONGRATULATIONS, YOU ARE LEAVING HERE WITH THE POINTS LEAD "That's great. Perfect. That's what we're here for."
WAS SECOND GEAR GOING ALSO? "Second gear was not happy. It was trying to come out of there. Luckily it held together because it was not pretty. We definitely couldn't use third gear. So I had to go from two to four and killed it on the restart every time."
NOTE: Jimmie's Dad, Gary Johnson, won 25,000 in special Father's Day at MIS Program. Action Performance helped create the program as a vehicle for drivers to share the NASCAR experience and to thank "Dad" for all of his unending support in making their racing dreams come true.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: "Wow, let's leave with the points lead and give Dad a Father's Day gift of $25,000. I also need to say Happy Father's Day to Papa Joe and Rick Hendrick. I know they're watching at home and I'm sorry I didn't get the win. But this check award will work for you Dad, won't it?"
GARY JOHNSON: "This is unbelievable."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 21st:
"Where did we finish?" (21st) "Well, that's not too good. We were worse than that all day. We just ran in the back. The car wasn't any good. We didn't make it any better all day. We were all right in practice, I thought, but from the start of the race the car wouldn't turn. We changed things but nothing happened."
ON LOSING THE POINT LEAD - DOES IT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE RIGHT NOW? "Bragging rights is all it is. It was good to be in the lead. We may get it again, but not running like this. We're not too happy right now, but what can you do?"
WAS IT JUST ONE OF THOSE DAYS THAT NOTHING EVER GOT INTO SYNC? "Well, we just had a terrible race car. From the drop of the green flag the car wouldn't turn. It just wouldn't go. We tried to make it better but never could."
TONY EURY JR., CREW CHIEF, NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET:
We have tried everything. We've tested everywhere. Waltrip is running good and believe it or not, those cars are identical. Why that No. 8 car won't run, I just don't know."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
Note: Sidelined with engine problems: "We ended up breaking something there in the motor. I've got to thank Rick Hendrick and all those guys at Hendrick Motorsports that give us our engines and they gave us another awesome race car with an awesome motor. This U.S. Army team deserves a great finish. We've had great cars for the last eight weeks and we just haven't been able to finish the way we've run. We'll just have to go on to the next week."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 10th
"Now I get to go home and soak up all the love from Macy, Caitlin, and Buffy on Father's Day. It's really cool the way this NASCAR family honors the fathers and mothers on special occasions and I've just had a super day today. I'd like to thank all the folks at NAPA Auto Parts and everybody on our team for giving us a good run. I was real happy with the way the car ran."
BOBBY LABONTE, NO. 18 INTERSTATE BATTERIES CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Finished 8th:
"We had a good ending to a tough day. We started out pretty good, but the car just got really, really loose in the middle part of the race. I even brushed the wall at one point. We made a lot of adjustments on the car and during the final 30-40 laps, we were still loose, but drivable loose. That let us get in the top 10 and we're pretty happy with that, considering the day we had. I guess we're fourth in points now, so that's good for us. We're still looking for that first win, but we're happy to get out of here with what we got today."