By Team Chevy
Kevin Harvick Takes the Points Lead Following Wild Daytona Race
With a seventh-place finish in tonight's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, Kevin Harvick took over the lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) point standings with 17 races in the books.
The race was scheduled for 160-laps but two late-race cautions as the result of multi-car accidents, extended the final distance to 170 total laps with two attempts at a green-white-checkered finish.
Harvick started the No. 29 Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet from the 31st position in the 43-car field and worked with his Richard Childress Racing teammate, Paul Menard, No. 27 Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet throughout the entire race.
Harvick and Menard were mounting a charge in the outside lane on the final restart when the caution flew again just after the white flag, freezing the field as they finished the final lap to take the caution/checkered flag. Menard finished eighth and sits 16th in the standings.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 PepsiMAX Chevrolet, finished sixth after recovering from a late-race spin that resulted in just minor damage. The four-time NSCS champion moved up one spot in the standings to eighth place.
Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Chevrolet, finished ninth to give Team Chevy four of the top-10 finishers. He sits 14th in the standings.
Five-time defending NSCS champion Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Summer Salute Chevrolet, leaves Daytona sixth in the standings after being caught up in the last-lap wreck that relegated him to a 20th-place finish.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard Heritage/AMP Energy Chevrolet, was caught up in the same wreck as Johnson, whom he had worked with in the two-car tandem drafting throughout the race. Earnhardt, Jr. remains seventh in the standings.
Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Wheaties FUEL Chevrolet, was also the victim of a multi-car wreck and finished 36th in the final order. He is now ninth in the points order.
Ryan Newman, No. 39 Bass Pro Shops/NRA Chevrolet, too was a victim in the last lap multi-car wreck and was scored 23rd at the finish. He remains 10th in points.
Two-time NSCS champion Tony Stewart, No. 14 Burger King Chevrolet, made some incredible moves to miss the final wreck and bring home the 11th finishing position. He is 12th in the point standings.
David Ragan (Ford) scored his career-first NSCS victory. Matt Kenseth (Ford), Joey Logano (Toyota), Kasey Kahne (Toyota) and Kyle Busch (Toyota) were the top-five finishers.
Chevrolet continues to lead the NSCS Manufacturers' Cup standings by 10 points at the conclusion of tonight's race.
The Series moves to Kentucky Speedway for the inaugural NSCS race on Saturday night, July 9, 2011.
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER FOLDS OF HONOR CHEVROLET – FINISHED 9TH
ON THE RACE: ENDED UP SEVENTH TONIGHT BUT BOY YOU HAD A STRONG CAR TONIGHT, WHAT HAPPENED ON THAT LAST RUN? "The initial green-white-checker we timed the restart well with our Budweiser/Menards Chevrolet there to get a good run off of (turn) two and the caution came out. The second one it took me a little bit longer to get up in front of Paul (Menard) and I didn't do a very good job of backing up to him to get us attached good and we didn't get as good of a run and a couple got underneath us. All in all the car doesn't have a scratch on it, Paul's has a couple of dents in the back of it so on a race night like this you just want you car - if you're still rolling and you can get a decent finish that's all you want but there's such a crap shoot at the end you just hope for the best."
“We had a plan to stick with the No. 27 (Paul Menard) all night and I think we ran every lap with him. The first green-white-checkered we had a great run and the timing was perfect. The second one, we just didn’t have quite the timing and got a couple of guys underneath us and then we just got a little bit too far behind. But still, everything worked pretty good.
“The initial green-white-checkered we really timed the restart well with our Budweiser and Menards Chevrolets there to get a good run off of (Turn) 2 and the caution came out. And the second one, it took me a little bit longer to get up in front of Paul (Menard) and then I didn’t do a very good job of backing up to him to get us attached real good. We didn’t get as good a run and a couple got up underneath us. But all in all, the car doesn’t have a scratch on it and I think Paul has a couple of dents in the back of his. On a race night like this you just want your car; if you’re still rolling and you can get a decent finish that’s fine; you always want to win but there’s such a crap shoot at the end that you just hope for the best.
“It’s just one of those deals where if you can survive a night like this and you can get a decent finish; you always want to win, but they’re a crap shoot at the end and you’ve just got to be rolling to see what happens.”
DID YOU SEE MUCH WRECKING OUT THERE? “Well, we were in the front all night and I didn’t see any wrecks. They were all behind us so the front was definitely the place to be tonight.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 BURGER KING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 12TH:
TALK ABOUT HOW CRAZY IT WAS OUT THERE LATE IN THE RACE: "That last wreck we were caught about eight back behind where it all started trying to dodge all the guys that got wrecked."
YOU WERE BACK IN THE BACK WITH ABOUT 15 TO GO AND SEEMED TO BE WAITING TO MAKE YOUR MOVE: "Well, I guess the guys ahead of us took two tires and we all took four tires. We were slow on the stop compared to everybody. So we just lost a lot of track position and we didn't have a pack of cars to pull back up to. We were kind of stuck where we were at."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO 88 NATIONAL GUARD HERITAGE/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET, FINISHED 18TH:
TALK ABOUT THAT RACE: "Oh man, I don't know. I am really ticked off. The No. 1, Jamie McMurray, just drove down into the side of me and drove me to the apron, I don't know where he was going, if he was getting run down the race track, I haven't seen the race track. Damnit. I was just trying to get to the finish line. We weren't racing for the win. I were lucky to get out of that one big wreck over there in (turns) one and two). Congratulations to David (Ragan) race winner. I don't know. It is weird racing."
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU COULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY? "I was running round (turns) three and four underneath the No. 1 (Jamie McMurray) and the No. 29 (Kevin Harvick) was on the outside of him. The No. 1 just drove into the side of me and turned me into the apron. I had it saved and then he came on and got himself another shot. He brought the KO punch the second time and spun us around."
IT LOOKED LIKE EVERYONE WAS MAKING A MOVE THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN, ESPECIALLY WITH 10 LAPS TO GO: "What kind of move can you make? I mean, man. What kind of move can you make in racing like this? There ain't no move you can make. You just hold it on the mat and try not to wreck into each other. You see how good we are at that."
IS THIS ANY DIFFERENT THAN THE OTHER STYLE RACING? "I've already told you that. Go back and look at your stuff that you wrote down a couple of weeks ago. I don't like this kind of racing and you know it."
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN JIMMIE CAME DOWN PIT ROAD AND YOU DIDN'T? "I don't know. I'm driving my car, doing what I am told and they decided to do something different. I can't run the whole damn thing from the seat of the damn race car. I'm just doing what I'm told out there. I don't know how that affected us, if it did at all. It probably didn't. It was just a foolish race. I don't know. I don't know what to say. I don't know. You guys need to get your own opinions and write what you all think about it. I think it is probably pretty damn close to mine. Stop putting my damn mouth with y'all and getting my [butt] in trouble. Y'all write what y'all think, man. Come on, y'all are good. Y'all have an opinion about it. I read y'all's stuff. You put us in the damn crow's nest."
IS THERE ANYTHING MOVING FORWARD THAT PEOPLE CAN LEARN FROM THIS? "I don't really know. I am trying to think about what is around the corner. This is what we can do to do better. Be better. We had a caution at the end and we are plate racing. We are all going to run into each other. That is how it is going to go. That is just how it is going to go. The guy in front, man, is trying to get on out there and the rest of us are going to crash into each other."
ANY FEELING FOR A GUY LIKE DAVID RAGAN? "I'm really happy for him of course. Proud and happy to have him as part of the sport. His Daddy put a lot of years in this sport. They are a racing family. It is a great deal for him. He worked his butt off to win this race. It's not easy out there. This kind of racing, man. Real proud and happy for him. He's a good guy you know. He's a really nice guy. Plays by the rules. He runs hard and trying to do the best he can and keep himself a job, man, so this ought to help him out."
WALK US THROUGH THOSE LAST LAPS: "Well Jeff (Burton) was helping me and we were trying to get up through there but I kept losing him and I knew if I backed up to him...so I just stayed in the throttle and we got another run. We went under the No. 1 and the No. 29 was on the outside of him. The No. 1 just came down on the side of the car and drove me into the apron and I saved it and he came down and hit me again and I spun out. I couldn't save it the second time. You can only run over a guy so many times. It was a tough race man."
HOW WAS YOUR CAR ALL NIGHT LONG BUT NEVER GOT THAT LATE CAUTION YOU WERE LOOKING FOR: "We got that late caution. They were there, man. We had two. We were fine. We weren't too worried about it. I knew there was going to be a wreck at the end, there always is. We have restrictor plates on these cars and we run over the top of each other. We are going to wreck each other trying to win these races. That was what happened there at the end. I knew we still at a shot at it, it isn't over until the last lap."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S SUMMER SALUTE CHEVROLET – FINISHED 20TH
“I really couldn’t see who it was but someone got inside the No. 88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and forced their way in there and turned him down across the apron coming off of (Turn) 4. And that was the big wreck that we had coming to the start/finish. I think there was a spin behind us that took place. And then someone got into the No. 88 and got him turned sideways and then it just kind of took off from there.”
IS IT FRUSTRATING JUST TO HAVE THAT TIME AND TIME AGAIN AT THE END OF THE RACE?
“Well, it’s just normal plate stuff. We do have the two-car tandem so it’s a little bit different, but at the end we’re in a big pack and it’s still restrictor plate racing and it’s so hard to see how many hours these guys put into these cars to have it torn up in the blink of an eye like that. But it is what it is and we’ll just go on to the next one.”
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – FINISHED 33RD
HOW DO YOU EVEN SORT THIS OUT MARK, THE FINAL LAP? "I have no idea, didn't really see it. The accident that I was in, you know, I lost my partner there with Jeff (Gordon) and knew it was going to get crazy. Then on the restart I thought (Joey) Logano and I were going to hook up. He didn't have a partner and I didn't either. I must have been four inches not ahead of him and I was trying to get in front of him so we could go. It was still okay. I felt him touch me and I was trying to save it but then - I don't know how, I haven't seen it. You know cars were hitting everybody. From there I probably could have saved it, I thought I could save it but cars were just going everywhere."
JEFF GORDON, DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET – FINISHED 8TH:
YOU GUYS HAD A WILD NIGHT GOING THERE, WHAT HAPPENED IN THE BIG PACK THAT GOT YOU TURNED AROUND? "Everybody was just really getting anxious and it was time to go and somebody got outside of me and Mark (Martin) coming off of (turn) two which made it three wide and had the No. 83 and No. 4 on the inside, just went into (turn) three and I don't know somebody got in the back of the No. 4 and pushed him up into me and I had nowhere to go. Then the car came around and luckily I straightened it out somehow and came back and fixed it and got four tires on our Pepsi Max Chevrolet. Miraculously there on those last two restarts avoided two more wrecks and was pushing Kyle Busch and he made some great holes on that last run. I don't know. It was awesome and how we finished sixth is unbelievable.”
HOW WILD WAS IT OUT THERE? "You know in the closing laps here with the two-car draft it is going to get wild and crazy. We got really far back, too far back, me and Mark (Martin) did. We had fast race cars. Alan (Gustafson) and Lance (McGrew) made a great call and did a two-tire stop there at the end. I don't know if that is what everybody did but maybe we did. But, I felt like from that point we started gaining on the field. We got ourselves really in a great position and started making some good passes. We got caught three-wide there in the middle going into three and I knew if anything happened, we were in trouble. And sure enough, the No. 4 (Kasey Kahne) got a shove and slid up into us and there was nowhere for me to go. Miraculously we saved it and came in and got four tires, fixed the damage. There at the end it was just about getting to be on Kyle Busch's bumper and go. He made some great holes. So we were able to come back to finish well, pretty amazing."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 WHEATIES FUEL CHEVROLET – FINISHED 36th
“Tough night for the No. 33 Wheaties FUEL Chevy. We got some damage in the beginning of the race and laid back in the field with our RCR teammate, Jeff Burton until about 30 to go. That last caution came out at the wrong time as we were making a run at the leaders. Nothing we could have done there at the end. That's just restrictor-plate racing for you I guess.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 QUAKER STATE/MENARDS CHEVROLET – FINISHED 8TH:
“It was a solid night for the No. 27 Quaker State/Menards team. I had a lot of fun running the two-car tandem with Harvick (Kevin, RCR teammate and driver of the No. 29 Budweiser Folds of Honor Chevrolet). We had great runs going after those last two restarts and the cautions just didn’t go our way. I really think that if the race had stayed green for either of the final cautions, one of us would have had the win. These RCR Chevys are just built great and the ECR engines are unreal. Unfortunately, as you know, it’s always a crapshoot here at Daytona (International Speedway). Our car was a lot better than eighth but, then again, there are a lot of cars that got destroyed on those final laps. We were lucky to stay out of the mess and head home with a top 10. It should have helped us a little in the points, too.