Dodge Motorsports press release
STEVE ADDINGTON (crew chief, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T)
CONGRATULATIONS ON MAKING THE CHASE? "It feels great. Our first year with Shell/Pennzoil and get in the Chase. It's just a great effort by everyone that puts a hand on these race cars. I want to thank everyone back at Penske Racing who helps with these race cars that work behind the scenes and don't come to the race track. They work their butts off to put us in this position."
HOW MUCH DID THIS RACE TRACK CHANGE SINCE WHEN YOU WERE ON IT ON SATURDAY? "It was unbelievable. The change the track went through today was incredible. How the car changed and the phases that it went through was really incredible. We just kept working on it trying to make it better as the race went on. I think that our race car got pretty good after the halfway point of the race. I have to thank everybody that supports us. Dodge gives us incredible support and everything that we ask out of them. We really appreciate those guys doing all the work behind the scenes and working with our engineering group to give us what we need to go racing. A great effort by everyone involved."
KURT BUSCH (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) "A great day for Penske and the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge team today. It was a great run, a Chase-type effort. To come home fourth, Tony (Stewart) was coming out of nowhere. We somewhat surprised ourselves. We made great adjustments as the race went on. Good adjustments during the race and solid a pit stops during the race. A great run for our Shell/Pennzoil Dodge. It's great to be locked into the Chase. Just all of our sponsors, AAA, Lennox, Snap-On, and Coca-Cola. A good, solid season. Now it's go time. We've got Richmond as a buffer, but we've got 10 weeks ahead of us that are the most important 10 weeks of the season."
NOW THAT YOU'RE LOCKED IN, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? "Richmond was fun race last May, it was well documented. I can't have people not stop talking about it. Maybe we can bounce back and get that behind us and go and attack Chicago, one of my favorite race tracks, and go and get in the groove of the Chase. Every position counts. Everyone needs to click on all eight cylinders on our team. Just our Dodge's right now, Keselowski's in. We're in. We're a two-team effort for our Dodge's and here we are with our Dodge Chargers running with the big boys. We're right in this mix. I feel really proud of my guys today."
BRAD KESELOWSKI (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T):
“We were just a little off all weekend. The run next to last I felt like we were close. We were a second or third-place car there and just kind of got stuck behind some track position. I think we were running fourth or fifth and got back off on the last pit stop. All in all it’s good to come out of a race where we felt like we were off all weekend and get a sixth out of it, that’s what we need to do. That’s what we need to do going into the Chase, bring home cars without scratches on ‘em and get solid finishes when we’re not at our best. I’m proud of my guys and everyone on the Miller Lite Dodge team.”
A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO YOU GUYS WERE TRYING TO BE A TOP 15 TEAM EACH WEEK. NOW ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU’RE A CHASE CHAMPTIONSHIP CONTENDER. HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU THAT YOU CAN WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? “Well today was a huge confidence booster because we took a bad day and got a good finish out of it. That’s exactly what you’ve got to do in the Chase and today was a huge confidence booster, as big as any of the other races.”
YOU HAD A SOLID RUN TODAY. “Yeah we were just a little bit off all day. It seemed like we got really close the next to last run and drove up to fourth there and then that last run got back off and ended up sixth. It was just really good to have solid finish like we did in sixth. I wanted another top-five and it would have been great but I’m just really proud of my guys.”
DO YOU FEEL REALLY GOOD ABOUT YOUR CHASE CHANCES TODAY? “Yeah really good. I think this locked us in today. We’ve got something to look forward to. I think days like today are what you’ve got to have. You’ve got to have days where [when] you’re not as fast as you want to be and you’re off all weekend but you still get a solid finish out of it. It’s going to be weekends like this, like we had today with the 2 team, that make our break you in the Chase. That’s a good feeling.”
CAN YOU PUT INTO PERSPECTIVE WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU AND YOUR CAREER TO HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? “It’s amazing. I was thinking about it this week. I’ve lived my whole life wanting to have a shot at a Cup championship and here I am. I’ve got a legitimate shot at it. I’ve got a team that’s firing on all eight, so to speak, and now a Chase birth here today. It’s a very amazing feeling. Just want to make sure that I’m ready to go for that Chase. We felt confident about it [clinching a spot in the Chase] but still you can blow up our first lap the next two races or do something dumb and put it in the fence. The actual clinch is still a good feeling.”
WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WERE CHASE MATERIAL? “You know it’s hard to say. I felt like we had strong runs that we just weren’t able to execute. It’s got to be the last few weeks. I’d hate to say it’s been anywhere than that.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE ABLE TO USE YOUR BONUS POINTS IN THE CHASE? YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO PUT YOURSELF IN EVEN BETTER POSITION. “I think we’ve got to make up 23 points on the 14 [Tony Stewart]. I haven’t seen where the 88 is in points. I’m sure we gained a bunch on him because I don’t see him on the board so it’ll be interesting. It’s going to be tough on us. We’re still 20-some points back but we’ll just have to see how Richmond plays out. Richmond was not very kind to us in the spring. But a lot of these tracks we’ve been successful at we’ve been successful because we’re going back to ‘em for the second time. And we’re coming back to Richmond for the second time so I have a fair amount of confidence going there.”
HOW DIFFICULT WAS THIS RACE FOR YOU TODAY? “The starting and stopping makes it hell on everybody and it’s no different in the seat. You just want to go, like c’mon, make this thing happen. There were a couple of times I was ready to race in the rain just to get going. That’s the way it is but glad that we’re all able to survive out a long week. Really happy and proud to get this race done for all the work everybody has put in from the track to the teams to the fans that came back.”
DESPITE THE CHALLENGING CONDITIONS YOU MADE YOUR CAR BETTER DURING THE RACE. “We did a great job all up until the last stop. We were backwards on the last stop. Like I said that’s what you’ve got to do to be a Chase caliber team or at least a championship contending team in the Chase. You’ve got to take your days when you’re a 10th to 15th-place car, made good adjustments and get solid finishes. We still ended up sixth but that’s not a bad day.”