Team Chevy Holds Five Spots in Top 12 Following 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway Brooklyn, MI - With three races remaining until the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Team Chevy continues to have five drivers in the ...
Team Chevy Holds Five Spots in Top 12 Following 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway
Brooklyn, MI - With three races remaining until the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Team Chevy continues to have five drivers in the top 12 point standings.
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala SS, jumped three places in the standings, now in eighth, after a solid eighth place finish at Michigan International Speedway (MIS).
Jeff Burton, No. 31 AT&T Impala SS, remains solidly fifth in the points after battling from the 28th starting position to finish 11th in the 3M Performance 400.
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Impala SS, recovered from a flat tire early in the race that put him one lap down after contact on-track to finish 17th. Johnson remains third in the standings.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Impala SS, remains fourth in points after today's race. He fought a loose race car that resulted in contact with the wall late in the race relegating him to the 23rd finishing position.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, blew a right front tire and made heavy contact with the wall that put him in the garage for numerous laps as the crew attempted to make repairs. Gordon would finish 42nd in the race and drop to ninth in the standings.
Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS, sits 13th in the standings, just 26 points from making his second consecutive Chase.
Mark Martin, No. 8 US Army Impala SS, finished sixth in today's race that was won by Carl Edwards. Kyle Busch, David Regan, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth complete the top-five in the final order.
MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS -- Finished 6th:
NICE RUN WITH A 6TH PLACE FINISH, IT WAS REALLY CLOSE THERE AT THE END "Yep, it was really close. Our car liked short runs and we got a bunch of them at the end. So we did a lot better. And (crew chief) Tony (Gibson) did a lot better at the end than we did on the long runs. We got those short runs and everything worked out pretty good for us. Tony Gibson made great calls today in the pits. He was really on it.
"That was just an awesome effort by this U.S. Army Team," said Martin moments after the race. "We had a great car today and the team really did a great job on pit road. Tony made a great call to take four tires there at the end and the car really liked fresh tires today."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, Finished 8th:
"Our car was really good in practice and all day here. Just want to thank all my Shell-Pennzoil guys for putting this thing together and having a good day on a track that has been historically not so good for us. It has been a great few months and we are looking forward to keeping it going. Definitely a good day that we needed. A couple guys had some bad luck. We will just keep at it, that is what we have to keep doing, prevent those bad days.
"To finish eighth at Michigan is almost as good as a win. We have been pretty consistent the last couple of months and hopefully we will be able to carry this momentum into the Chase. I just want to thank all my guys for all the hard work and extra hours they have been putting in to make these are so fast"
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS, Finished 11th:
"We just weren't as good as we needed to be there at the end to gain anymore spots. But all-in-all not a bad day for our AT&T Chevrolet. It was pretty tough to get the car with the right handling today. But a good points day for us heading to Bristol next week."
"We didn't run our best but it was definitely a step in the right direction. We typically don't run well here but the AT&T Racing team certainly did their homework and I'm real proud of the effort we all put in today."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY/NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS -- Finished 23rd:
WE HAVE LOTS OF VIDEO OF YOU TURNING COMPLETELY SIDEWAYS OFF OF TURN 4 "Yeah, I can drive 'em man, they're just hard to drive like that all day (laughs). I ran fifth all day and maybe better than that at some parts of the race and I'm a good enough driver. I should have finished somewhere around there with that car."
IS THIS A LITTLE MURPHY'S LAW STRETCH FOR HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS? "I don't know what Murphy's Law means."
WELL IT MEANS IF ANYTHING CAN GO WRONG, IT WILL GO WRONG "I don't know. For me it ain't. It's been the same old story. We show up fast but we can't put a whole race together. So we've got to do some homework. We've got to science it out and figure out what the heck is going on, because we are sure fast when that race starts. But I've been like that my whole career."
IF ANYBODY TOLD YOU IN FEBRUARY THAT THIS SEASON WAS GOING TO HAVE AS MANY BUMPS IN THE ROAD AS IT HAS, WOULD YOU HAVE BELIEVED THEM? "It ain't had that many bumps, you know. Last year had a lot of bumps."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS -- Sidelined when he cut a tire and hit the wall as a result of contact while running three-wide with Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart, finished 42nd:
YOU JUST LOOKED AT THE REPLAY, WHAT DID YOU SEE? "Originally I thought that I ran right into him (Johnson). My spotter didn't say anything until the last second and he said two cars on the outside instead of three-wide but ultimately we're responsible because our pit stops have just been terrible today. You know we finally had an awesome race car and just didn't have the total package. Its disappointing because that is the way our season has gone. We get the pit stops awesome and we can't get the car right. So, you know, what are you going to do? I just hate that that got the forty-eight involved. We always try to have a lot of respect for one another out there and it got really dicey there on that restart, and we got three and four wide and my car was really good rolling through the middle there and I guess Tony (Stewart) got to the outside of the forty-eight. And even when my spotter didn't say anything till late, I still gave him I felt like enough room, but it just got so narrow off of (turn) four."
JUST THREE REGULAR SEASON RACES LEFT AFTER THIS WEEK AND NOW YOU HAVE TO START THINKING ABOUT POINTS. WHAT TYPE OF SITUATION DOES THIS PUT YOU IN? "I'm relieved because we've been going every week going 'well we can't take too big of a risk but we got to push hard enough. I'm relieved and now we just don't worry about anything. We can just drive as hard as we can, do anything we possibly can, and just go all out and that's all we can do and we'll see where we end up.
WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE? "Well, the first thing that happened was we just had a bad pit stop that put us back there, and we shouldn't have been back there to begin with. So we just can't seem to get it all lined up this year. We finally had a great car. And when we've had great pit stops, we haven't had the car to back us up. It's a pretty disappointing day. That got us back there to begin with. They were three wide and I came off of (Turn) 4 there and my spotter at the last second said you know, two cars outside of you and it was too late. But in looking at the replay there was still enough room. It just looked like Tony (Stewart) kind of came off the wall and touched Jimmie a little bit and Jimmie came down and there was just no room to move there because we were all so tight coming off there. I'm just more upset that we were back there to begin with."
IS THIS A MURPHY'S LAW STRETCH FOR HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS? "I don't know; it just looked to me like an incident. Everything that I look at, I isolate it and break it down to that one incident. I know Jimmie's car wasn't as good as he wanted it and on that last run, he faded. We had a bad pit stop and that's all I can tell you.
"We shouldn't have been back there to begin with. I rarely ever look at the actual incident itself and try to blame anything. I usually go much further ahead to the fact that we were back there to begin with because we should have come out of there in the top five and been up there just running our own race. Instead, we're back there in the middle of the whole mess and trying to run three and four wide and that's what happens."
IS IT A SITUATION WHERE THE HARDER YOU TRY, THE FARTHER BEHIND YOU GET? "No. Not at all. We're doing our thing like we do every weekend. We work hard, drive hard, and try to do the best job we can. There is no pressing anything. If the car has got it, if I've got it, if the pit crew's got, then we show it. And when it doesn't, it doesn't. I mean, you just go to work when it's not."
YOU SAID YOU ARE SOMEWHAT RELIEVED, IRONICALLY ENOUGH, THAT YOU CAN YOU JUST PIN YOUR EARS BACK NOW "Well, yeah, I feel like we've been in a situation where we've kind of been just stuck in the middle and I don't want to be where we are in the points right now, but in some ways, this is an easier position to be in because we just go out there and run hard every weekend and we can take changes and do things that can maybe get us that win. We've been stuck in the middle where we can't take too big a risk. You can't risk fuel mileage, you can't risk putting two tires on. We've got to stay with four tires. And we can't get too risky with our set-ups, all that stuff. You're just trying to ride along there and not make mistakes. And now a mistake is made and I'm just glad we were running good finally."
IS THIS THE DAMNEDEST YEAR YOU'VE EVER HAD? "No. I've had crazier years. But this is definitely been a frustrating year, up and down, and one that only challenges our whole team to see what we're made of and I don't see that as a bad thing."
THE BEST THING IS THAT YOU KEEP YOUR HEAD ABOUT YOU AND YOU ARE VERY CALM. YOU'RE NOT ONE TO GET FRUSTRATED, SO NOW YOU GO TO WORK "That's all we can do. As another option, if my having a temper tantrum was going to fix things, I'd do that too, but I know that's not going to fix it. All we can do is go out there and focus and do our jobs. We've had one of the best weekends we've had in a long time and that was just really unfortunate."
-credit: gm racing