KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S MONTE CARLO SS - Sidelined in crash: "We were just back there minding our own business, we aren't really very good today on the beginning of a run for some reason. That is kind of our own making there. What wasn't of...
KYLE BUSCH, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S MONTE CARLO SS - Sidelined in crash:
"We were just back there minding our own business, we aren't really very good today on the beginning of a run for some reason. That is kind of our own making there. What wasn't of our own making was Tony Stewart running in to the back of the No.26 for no reason whatsoever, just going down the front straight away, you can't see much anyway. McMurray looked like he was going to change lanes and get on the outside of a lapped car and Stewart kept his nose in there instead being his normal give-and-take self. Didn't give him any room there, McMurray bounced off outside wall back across the race track. You can't see much down the front straight away because of the sun anyway, but not much room for the Kellogg's Chevrolet to get through there. Tough end to this year, we are ready for next year."
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 9th:
"We would have been lucky to have a top-25 finish if we would have run like we did at the start of the race, but my guys really worked hard and did a good job of improving the car throughout the race. But, we really struggled worse and worse those final 50 laps because of all of those yellow flags. Our car would get tighter and tighter after the tires would cool off. I just couldn't turn in the middle of the corner to pass anyone for the first few laps on a restart - and then the red flag at the end really hurt us because the tires were really cold and we lost a few spots. I'm still proud of my guys - we still managed a top-10 finish despite all of that."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELESS MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 10th:
"We never ran quite as good as we needed to by any means. We just kept fighting and fighting and got a top 10 out of it. But it was never quite as good as we needed to be. But we kept working and fighting and got what we could get."
ON BEING MATHEMATICALLY ELIMINATED FROM THE CHAMPIONSHIP HUNT, YOU JUST SEEMED TO HIT A RUN OF THINGS THAT JUST DIDN'T QUITE WORK OUT: "We have to find a way to be good enough to overcome when things just don't go well. We're going to keep fighting and try to come out next year better than we were this year. I think we did a great job this year. I'm real proud of everybody. We made some huge strides this year. How we've just got to take the next step."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 4th:
"To come home with a top five, it's a really solid day and finish for us. We have to be happy with that. I really thought we had third there at the end, but I just couldn't stay ahead of Denny (Hamlin) and me and Carl (Edwards) kind of got into each other a little bit too. It was exciting. It was Phoenix. We're just glad to come home with a top five."
WHAT WAS YOUR CONVERSATION WITH CARL EDWARDS? "Well, I got into him on that restart. He got into me prior to that. We've been racing real hard a lot lately. Some of it has been fun. Some of it has been aggravating and we're just trying to talk to see how we can race one another in the future."
ON JIMMIE JOHNSONS RACE TODAY: "I thought Jimmie did an awesome job today. We all knew how fast his race car was - and Kevin Harvick's. For him to drive up through there and stay out of trouble and come all the way up through the field like that at a place that's tough to pass on is very impressive. I thought he was going to win that race. He knew what he had to lose there if he and Harvick got together and crashed, so I felt like they really needed what they needed to do there. He's in great position.
"Those guys have really been solid lately and doing a great job. One more weekend where those guys are solid like that and he's going to get his first championship and give Hendrick Motorsports another championship, that would be awesome."
TELL US ABOUT RACING WITH CARL EDWARDS AND TALKING WITH HIM AFTER THE RACE: "We were jus talking about racing one another in the future. Being in the Chase and trying to protect our position there and get as many spots as we can, I've probably been racing him a little harder than I normally would. But he's a great racer. He got in the back of me over there off of (Turn) 2 and on that restart, I got in the back of him. And I think everything is settled. But I'm happy with the DuPont Chevrolet and a top five. I thought we were going to be a little bit better than that today, starting on the pole, but we made the most of our track position. Steve Letarte and all the guys on the DuPont Chevrolet team just worked their guts out today. We got the car better there at the end, but it was better on the long runs than the short runs, unfortunately."
ON ALL THE CAUTIONS AT THE END, HOW TOUGH WAS THAT TO DEAL WITH? "Well there was a lot of stuff going on but it was all behind us. I really couldn't tell what the deal was. I just knew the caution kept coming out. I just kept trying to protect our position, and it kind of worked out for us."
THIS IS THE FIFTH STRAIGHT RACE THAT THE NO. 48 TEAM HAS BEEN SECOND OR BETTER "That's awesome. That's exactly what they need to be doing. I know they wanted a win, but Jimmie and that whole team were just so solid today to be able to come from where he started and drive up through there. He knew he had a good car. And to be able to finish second and take the lead at times, he was smart there at the end with Harvick. He could have gotten into racing him too hard and it could have cost him the championship and it just wasn't worth it. Those guys are in great position and we're going to do everything we can to help him win that championship at Homestead. I'm very excited for Jimmie. They've been so close. He and Chad (Knaus) and that whole Lowe's team and I want to see him get it."
JIMMIE DOESN'T SEEM AS NERVOUS ABOUT THINGS RIGHT NOW "It's hard when you've got a championship on the line. The Chase is tough. There are a lot of cars that can win it in the final race and it just adds pressure to it. And so I understand - especially as quickly as he came into the sport and was a part of a championship that he's been able to get great experience and know how to handle himself. But it's taken some time for them to just stay calm and do their thing. They're in position now and that's all that matters."
AND YOUR TEAM? "We're in great position. We're just not in position to win the championship. We've been fighting hard and doing great, but not good enough. If we hadn't had those three bad finishes, who knows where we'd be right now. But I'm just excited we're just improving it seems like everywhere we go. It's got me excited that we're heading in the right direction for next year."
TONY RAINES, NO. 96 DLP® HDTV CHEVROLET REGARDING THE INCIDENT WITH THE NO. 66 (JEFF GREEN), WHAT HAPPENED?
"I got into him. I didn't mean to, but that won't fix his wrecked race car. The sun was in our eyes. I had new tires on and he didn't. I was trying real hard, but I just over-drove it. He's mad and he should be. But, there are a lot of chances for it to happen the other way, I suppose. I didn't do it on purpose though."
JEFF GREEN, NO. 66 BEST BUY MONTE CARLO SS:
"We got dumped. It's pretty cut and dried. We were looking to get back into the top-20 after we got caught up in (Jamie) McMurray's wreck, and our car was still in pretty good shape. Then, the (No.) 96 just dumped us. Somebody told me the replay wasn't real definitive, but I'm willing to bet that's what happened. It's frustrating, because we were going to have an OK day before that. It was just uncalled for."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 2nd:
"Great battle all day long with the No. 29 he had a great car. He was one of the best cars and he did a great job. Being able to run here with Kevin at one of his best tracks says a lot about our Lowe's Chevrolet team so we are real proud.
"We had a great race car, I had a lot of confidence over the last couple of days after our qualifying effort knowing that we would be able to race strong today. We had a bad draw in qualifying and paid the price for that, but I took my time to drive a smart race to get up through the field and race for the win at the end."
DENNY HAMLIN, NO. 11 FED EX MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 3rd
"We battled back, got a lot of track position back on that first run. Had a real strong car on long runs, we just didn't get any of those long runs that we needed there at the end, they kept crashing. They weren't working with us, by any means. It was still a great run for the FedEx Ground Chevrolet I am proud of this whole team. We are going to go to Homestead and celebrate a good season.
"We had a great car and kept picking guys off one by one, Mike (Ford, crew chief) freed it up there on the last stop and it seemed to make it a lot better. We really struggled all year on the short go and always fast on the long go. It started getting dicey with the No. 48 and No. 29, you never know, we could have won it."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 REESE'S COOKIES MONTE CARLO SS - VICTORY LANE
"I didn't try to restart the car myself, I didn't want to take the chance of trying to turn it over. I just didn't to use any more volts cause one time I tried to put the fans on and it went from a little above 12 to a little below 12. I knew every piece of battery we didn't use was going to be good so we just waited on the wrecker and let him push us off.
"Anytime your alternator goes out, it felt like it was taking a partial charge here and there. It was down to 11 volts at the end but it wouldn't fluctuate up and down, it would hold steady. We will figure out what is wrong, these guys have done a great job, we have won five races this year. The flat track stuff has been really good. It was just a great day for our Reese's Cookies Chevrolet.
"Our race car was really good. It would take off really good for the first 50 or 60 laps then it would fall off a little bit. As we got in to the day, we got better and better. We kept loosening the car up and the car would last longer and longer, we made great adjustments. We didn't make any huge adjustments, just small ones here and there. The biggest thing we had to do is to deal with the brake temperatures from no fans and stuff up front."
"He (Jimmie Johnson) was racing as hard as he could. All we can do is win races at this point, we knew he had to finish behind us. So we did what we had to do."
"Jimmie (Johnson) got a good run on me but I wasn't going to lose the race at that point. We did what we had to today. We led the most laps, won the race, he was right there behind us. We will keep doing what we can do and have fun.
"My biggest concern was the alternator shut off and we didn't have any fans so the brakes would get hot and kinda go away. I knew if I stayed behind him very long, I was going to be in trouble because the brakes would get hot and then the tire would get hot and it would start pushing. It all worked out, we had about 11 volts left on the battery and everything kept going so it was pretty cool.
"The only thing going through my mind was what is the vicinity of the restart and how far can I push it. I knew we had a lot more area to play with than I normally thought we did. It all worked out.
"I am just proud we get to give away 29 Chevrolet Avalanches so that is pretty cool for our fans.
"I wish we were a little closer than we are in the points, but we did everything we could do today. However it falls, it falls. We have had a good year.
TODD BERRIER, CREW CHIEF, NO. 29 REESE'S COOKIES MONTE CARLO SS:
"My hats off to everyone at RCR. We were really lucky today. We are living a fortunate life. It pretty awesome to have won five races this year. Let the cards fall where they may, we came here to win the race and obviously that worked out pretty well for us.
"I was a wreck but I knew Kevin would do what he needed to do."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 14th
YOU FINISHED IN THE TOP-15, BUT IT WASN'T THE FINISH YOU WERE LOOKING FOR. AT TIMES THE CAR IMPROVED, BUT YOU REALLY STRUGGLED AT TIMES AS WELL. "Well as bad as it was, it got better. It was still bad no matter what we did. We just haven't been able to get our car to cut the whole weekend. But I'm proud of Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief) and all of the guys on The Home Depot team. They kept fighting, but we just couldn't get the Monte Carlo SS to turn today. It's something we've been fighting a lot this year at the intermediate tracks, mile tracks and three-quarter mile tracks, so we just didn't get it right this weekend either."
IT SEEMED LIKE A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE STRUGGLING WITH THAT TODAY. WAS THE TRACK CHANGING A LOT TODAY? "This compound tire that we run - I think this is probably the one track of the three tracks that we run this compound tire that has the least amount of grip anyway, so I think it just makes it that much worse to try to get your cars to turn. It's just one of those variables that we, for some reason, can't figure out how to make our car turn. Denny (Hamlin, Stewart's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate) did a good job and I think they found something that we couldn't get or maybe just a difference in driving styles. No matter what we did, all we could do was just free the entry up too much and free the exit up. We really couldn't get the center freed up enough."
THERE WAS AN INCIDENT WITH JAMIE MCMURRAY. HE WAS A LITTLE UPSET WITH YOU. WHAT HAPPENED THERE? "I don't know. He kind of changed lanes. The sun was down, and it kind of caught me off guard. I didn't even realize I had him picked up until he got sideways. It's a weird deal, for sure. It stinks because Jamie was having a good run. That's the best run he's had all year. Jamie's a good guy. I'll call him and talk to him about it, but it was just a weird situation. I saw him dart across at the last second and then I thought I was just following him. The next thing I know I had him picked up. It was kind of a weird deal today."
NOW YOU'RE HEADING TO HOMESTEAD, ONE OF THE BEST PLACES YOU RUN AND ONE OF YOUR MOST FAVORITE TRACKS. THAT'S A GOOD WAY TO END THE SEASON ISN'T IT? "Yeah. It is. We had a good test there. It's a place that I'm looking forward to bringing my new favorite car back to. We've got three wins in a row with the car that we're taking over there and looking forward to bringing it home with a fourth one."
-credit: gm racing