Long Pond, PA - Jeff Burton, No. 31 AT&T Impala SS, pulled within 21 points of the lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings after posting a strong fifth place finish in the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. Burton started the ...
Long Pond, PA - Jeff Burton, No. 31 AT&T Impala SS, pulled within 21 points of the lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings after posting a strong fifth place finish in the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway.
Burton started the 200-lap/500-mile race in 20th position and steadily worked his way through the field to capture his fourth top-five and 10th top-10 finish in the 14 races run to-date.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Impala SS, finished fourth, his sixth top-five of the year to remain solidly in third in the NSCS standings.
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS finished sixth to move up one place in the standings to sixth.
Mark Martin, No. 8 Steak-umm Burgers Impala SS, brought home 10th place in the final finishing order.
Joining Burton, Earnhardt, Jr and Johnson in the top-12 standings after 14 races are Team Chevy drivers Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS; Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala SS and Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS. Harvick finished 13th today followed by Gordon in 14th. Bowyer was involved in an early race incident and finished 39th.
Kasey Kahne was the race winner followed by Brian Vickers and Denny Hamlin.
The next NSCS for Team Chevy will be June 15 at Michigan International Speedway.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS, FINISHED 6TH:
DID YOU KNOW WHAT CHAD'S STRATEGY WAS? "I knew he was up to something. Unfortunately it didn't pan out like we needed and that last caution really hurt us. That was a working mans sixth place today, we worked really hard for that one. I can't thank these guys enough for working hard to give me these great cars. We will take the sixth but we thought we could have been in the top-three.
YOU LOOKED A LITTLE SHAKY WHEN YOU GOT OUT OF THE CAR. "I feel great, it is just those first steps after 500 miles in a car, the belts are so tight and you are trying to get the blood back to your feet. I was pushing the gas pedal so hard trying to catch the guys in front of me, my foot is asleep."
"We were really in a great situation until that last caution came out and hurt us, but all in all it was a great day. That was a workingman's sixth place. Strategy worked against us there and we still got a top 10 out of it. I'm very proud of the team and very proud of the efforts and the pit stops. We've made a lot of progress with this Lowe's Impala.
HOW WAS THE PATCH TO RACE ON? "I was surprised. I made a couple passes on the bottom, but it's still single file. You're going to have that with low-banked tracks. It's just kind of the way it is. Instead of chasing the curve, you're chasing the patch."
STEVE LETARTE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS -- Finished 14th
"This has always been a creative place for pit strategy. This car, track position, and the way we race now make it even more so. If you have a spectacular car like the No. 9 (Kasey Kahne, winner, had), it's not that important, and they proved it. But if you have average cars, like I think we had today, we had to get creative on pit strategy. I think I just made a poor decision on lap 100. We lost our track position and raced from the back the rest of the day.
"We had an opportunity (to get back up front) on fuel. The last prayer I had was fuel. We were close. We went a lap short, but we were going to try, but when that last yellow came out; some of those guys like Junior, stayed out, but my job is to be the realist. And realistically, we didn't have a car good enough to stay out. We had to come just get tires and takes our lumps and get our cars better."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS, FINISHED 5TH:
"At the start of the race we weren't real good; we struggled a little bit. We made some changes about half way. Seemed like we kept losing our track position, but we got our car really good. There were times when we were the fastest car on the track and that is a good sign. We came here and experimented with some stuff and think we can move forward with it."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO 88, NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY IMPALA SS, FINISHED 4TH:
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DAY? "Fun wouldn't be in there. We were pretty good at the start of the race; then I got a little bit loose, then a little bit tight there in the middle part and lost a lot of track position. But we gained it back with a little bit of strategy in the pits. It was pretty hot out there today and but is going to get hotter in the car the next couple of months.
"We worked the gas mileage to our advantage."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, FINISHED 13TH:
"This is a great finish for our Shell-Pennzoil Impala SS team at Pocono. We had to fight our way back all race after we had to go to the back at the start of the race for having to change a battery. Todd Berrier (crew chief) and the guys kept making the car better and better until we were pretty good there at the end and we could fight back to a solid finish."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 STEAK-UMM CHEVROLET IMPALA SS- Finished 10th, his 30th career top-10 result at Pocono:
"These guys just never stop fighting. They just dig in and they never give up. (Crew Chief) Tony Gibson employed a great strategy and we were able to beat a lot of cars today that might have been a little better than us on speed.
"The Steak-Umm Chevrolet was good all day," added Martin. "But it just drops off there at the end of a run. We'll keep plugging away at it and keep getting it better and better. It really is a pleasure to drive this No. 8 team's race car each week."
-credit: gm racing