Michigan II: GM teams race quotes

Joe Nemechek -- ...

Joe Nemechek -- #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet
8th position

I definitely have mixed feelings about today. We took a gamble on fuel mileage and that paid off -- we finally got a break. I ran out of fuel just before the checkered flag. One side of me says, considering the problems we had an eighth-place finish is pretty good. But on the other hand, we had a perfect car -- very capable of winning today until I hit the wall after the right-front tire went down. The Army Chevy suffered damage to the front-end and we could never get it to work right. This is an aerodynamic-sensitive track and we were badly handicapped after the tire incident. Winning the pole and leading the race for a number of laps, and not have a shot at victory, is disappointing. But this is a crazy sport. We'll take the eighth-place result and go on to the next race.

Brian Vickers -- #25 GMAC Chevrolet
9th position

INTERESTING DAY HERE TODAY Yeah, interesting to say the least. I'll tell you what, this GMAC Chevy team has done such a great job and finally glad to have some luck on our side because that's all it was for us was luck. We were not anywhere near where we needed to be. But I'm still so proud of these guys, never gave up, stayed confident on the radio and good pit stops all day. Lance made a good call on a gamble with fuel at the end and it paid off.

HOW MUCH FUEL DO YOU THINK YOU HAD AT THE END? I think we had plenty. I wish I would have gone harder. I could have maybe got another couple spots out of it, but at that point we were going to be happy to have what we have, you know what I mean? We didn't want to push our luck any.

Jimmie Johnson -- #48 Lowe's Chevrolet
10th position

HOW WAS YOUR DAY? Not like we expected. You usually have this happen every three or four years at Michigan. It did it today, so we came in and tried to put four on and tried to come through the field. We were the fastest car there at the end, it's just that we gave up too much time. The guys that did two tires or fuel only really cycled out through. They still didn't win, but that strategy was probably a little better. We learned a lot of things and I am very happy with the race car. Indy was the start of some new things and new hope for us. Watkins Glen was good, you know, but it's a road course and then to be here today and run in the top 5 all day long, see the leaders, race with them and then understand where our cars are a little off, I'm very excited to go into the final 10. I think we're getting some momentum back and heading in the right direction.

YOU UNOFFICIALLY CLINCHED A SPOT IN THE CHASE TODAY Yeah, that's nice. It's comforting to know to at least be in the top 10 in points. It's a testament to these guys to clinch it with three (races) to go. I'm excited for it and it just means we've had a great season. We shouldn't be ashamed of anything.

WILL YOU ALTER ANYTHING NOW FROM RACE TO RACE? No, you keep going. I think it's more important to have the right mindset for collecting points and racing for a championship right now, so when you get in the final 10 you hit your stride and you're doing what you need to do. I would expect all the other teams in the same mindset and everyone else will be very stingy with points and smart on the race track from here on out.

ARE YOU HAPPY WITH A 10TH PLACE TODAY OR COULD YOU HAVE HAD A FEW MORE SPOTS? No, I'm definitely not happy with a 10th place today. We were sitting fourth before that thing cycled out and some guys gambled, some guys two-tired and fuel only and we just made the wrong decision, wrong strategy. We were very fast at the end and we were making up a lot of ground but we just couldn't overcome what was going on on pit road. But, great day, great race car. Chad's worked real hard to find some new stuff and I really think this is a start of things to come.

WAS THERE A DEBATE TO TAKE TWO OR FOUR? Not really. I really leave that up to Chad because he can see what's going on on the track. I knew when I had four that I was going to be lightning fast. Just kind of laps to take advantage of four tires.

RE: BRISTOL Just from the new news of being clinched in the final 10, going to Bristol is going to make that race a lot more enjoying. That's just a race where I love going there, I love racing there, and I love leaving there. Then it's behind me and the stress is gone. It's a tough track. Anything can happen.

Jeff Gordon -- #24 DuPont Chevrolet
15th position

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE DAY? It wasn't pretty, but it was a good points day for us. I'm not exactly sure what it did for us in the points, but I know that (we gained points).

It was not a good day for us, performance-wise. We've got a lot of work to do before we go to California, because we can't run like that. That part of it was disappointing, but you've got to play the game -- and we played the fuel mileage game and it paid off for us.

WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THE CAR? We were so, so tight the whole time -- even in practice on Friday we were really tight. We kept freeing it up (in the race) and freeing it up and then there at the end, we were so loose that I couldn't even drive it.

That's the thing with the cars these days, it's just so hard to get it right, and we're not getting it right, you know, on these types of tracks and we've got to figure out what we're doing wrong.

DID YOU HAVE A 15TH PLACE CAR? Heck no -- I think we had a 30th place car, so I'm actually pretty happy right now. I'm not happy with the way we ran all day, but I'm pretty happy with the way we finished because it seems like it's the first time in a long time that something's actually gone our way.

YOU LAUGHED ABOUT RACING WITH BOBBY LABONTE FOR 15TH, BUT IS THAT HOW CRITICAL POINTS ARE RIGHT NOW? Well, it could be -- you never know, and so you've got to get everything you can get. It's just funny because me and Bobby were riding around there, saving fuel and I was drafting off of him and he wanted to let me go one time and I was like, 'No, no -- I'll stay right here.

There at the end when I saw the white flag, I got inside of him and raced him off Turn 4 and beat him to the line (laughing).

HOW MUCH FUEL DO YOU THINK YOU HAD AT THE END OF THE RACE? Well, I had enough to drive all the way over here, so I guess I had plenty. I was running half throttle there that's why we lost so much time-that's why we finished 15th. One is we were pretty far back and we start playing that fuel mileage game pretty early in that run when the car was real loose. I just started backpedaling and letting off early and half throttle down the straightaway. You know, I just wanted to make sure if we made because if we made it, we'd finish ahead of guys that we're battling with in the points.

HOW DISAPPOINTED ARE YOU WITH THE WAY YOU RAN TODAY? Oh, it was horribly. Horrible. It's embarrassing, you know? And I don't know what we've got to do. We've got to find something because we've tried everything. And it's not working. And Kyle Busch was really good, so you know, we've got to figure out what I'm doing wrong, what we're doing wrong as a team and you know, we got fortunate on qualifying day but it certainly didn't pay off for us in the race. We've got to be better than that. My big concern is California. That's going to be an important race and very similar type of race track and we need to be better than we were here.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. -- #8 Budweiser Chevrolet
18th position

It's damn frustrating. I hate fuel mileage races where the fastest car doesn't win. We had a car that at a couple of points in the race was nearly perfect. It seemed like there were only a few laps when I wasn't racing with somebody. That's a helluva lotta fun to run three-wide with a lot of these guys, but it leaves you with a sick feeling knowing that once you make that last stop, you're just hoping the guys in front of you keep running out of gas.

We got better and better all afternoon, but we really began to stuggle with the last set of tires (on a lap 144 pit stop). It got tighter and tighter and then it got really, really bad at the end. It was almost like we might have had a shock go bad on us it was so bad.

Kyle Busch -- #5 Kellogg's Chevrolet
43rd position

Note: Busch brought his car back to the garage and retired after 81 laps due to an engine failure. He had led 28 laps during the race.

LOOKS LIKE YOU CAUGHT SOME DEBRIS ON THE TRACK AND IT OVERHEATED YOUR ENGINE, WAS THAT IT? Yeah, definitely think so. Hendrick Motorsports builds great horsepower and great engines and reliability and I think we just hurt it overheating it. It's really shame-the Kellogg's Chevrolet was awesome today and ran really well. It was going to take a few minor adjustments to make it better to charge back through there and get it back to the front. But, it's a short day here in the garage area.

HOW DISAPPOINTING IS THIS FOR YOU? It's tremendously disappointing. The guys work so hard and this is not the finish they deserve or what we all deserve as a team. It's just a shame the way everything can't come together this year. The team's done an awesome job, the driver's been decent. The crew chief's been really good. It's just bummer luck. I don't know what to do to turn it around. I don't think there's anything that we've done that's any different from last year.

IT MUST BE HARD, WHAT CAN YOU DO WHEN YOU KNOW YOU HAVE DEBRIS ON YOUR GRILLE? The first one we were able to shake loose-Kasey Kahne helped us out on that. When I let Kurt go by me, he didn't slow down in order to let me get up underneath him. And it wasn't any of his doing. He could have helped us or he could have went on. But, it's a shame we weren't able to get that second piece off. It got up way too hot and ultimately ended our day.

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Joe Nemechek , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Brian Vickers , Kyle Busch
Teams Hendrick Motorsports