Pocono II: GM teams race quotes, notes

Long Pond, PA - With a runner-up finishing position, Juan Pablo Montoya behind the wheel of his No. 42 Target Impala SS, led a contingent of five Team Chevy drivers to top-10 in the final order in today's rain-delayed race at NASCAR Sprint Cup ...

Long Pond, PA - With a runner-up finishing position, Juan Pablo Montoya behind the wheel of his No. 42 Target Impala SS, led a contingent of five Team Chevy drivers to top-10 in the final order in today's rain-delayed race at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Pocono Raceway.

The second place finish for Montoya jumped him two positions in the point standings following the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 to eighth position with five races remaining until the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Clint Bowyer, No. 33 The Hartford Impala SS, took the checkered flag in third place and pulled himself closer to the coveted top-12 in the standings. Bowyer sits 15th, just 115 points out of Chase standings.

Mark Martin, No. 5 Cheez-It/CARQUEST Impala SS, finished seventh in the 200-lap/500-mile race. The leading race winner this season, four victories to date, sits 10th in the points.

Four-time NSCS champion Jeff Gordon brought the No. 24 DuPont Impala SS to the finish line in 8th place and remains third in the standings.

Tony Stewart maintained his point standing's lead as he piloted his No. 14 Old Spice Swagger/Office Depot Impala SS to the 10th finishing position. The two-time NSCS champion started in the 43-position on the field after an accident destroyed his primary car in practice on Saturday.

Three time and defending NSCS champion Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, rallied back from three laps down due to an issue under the hood to finish 13th and remain second in the standings.

Ryan Newman, No. 39 Haas Automation/US Army Impala SS, dropped two positions in the standings to ninth after late-race contact shuffled him back to the 14th finishing position.

Chevrolet maintained his lead in the NSCS Manufacturers' Cup standings with 21 of the 36 races on the schedule in the record books.

Denny Hamlin (Toyota) was the race winner. Sam Hornish, Jr. (Dodge) and Kasey Kahne (Dodge) completed the top-five finishers.

The next event for the Series will be August 9,2008 at Watkins Glen International.

***

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OLD SPICE SWAGGER/OFFICE DEPOT IMPALA SS, FINISHED 10TH:

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR DAY:

"We were just really really loose at the beginning. Not where it was going to be a little adjustment to get us caught up, it was going to take big steps. We finally just made a huge, huge change and we got it closer but we never got it right. Once we got it tightened up, we were too tight and then couldn't get it freed up enough, but it was at least drivable. We made the best of a bad situation that I put us in on Saturday morning."

IT WAS A GREAT FIGHT BACK FOR YOU AND DARIAN (GRUBB, CREW CHIEF): "Yes, we never give up. Darian never gets wound up and it keeps me from getting wound up. He just helps you through it. It is easy to get down, but he is just calm and keeps you pumped up. You realize you have got a long day and you will get it better as the day goes."

***

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CHEEZ-IT/CARQUEST IMPALA SS, FINISHED 7TH:

"Just a hard fought day for us. Our team dug in and we fought it. We had a good car. We could have finished worse, but could have done better with it. It was one of those days where we had a few breaks go against us and a few go for us."

***

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS -- Finished 2nd:

ANOTHER GOOD STRONG FINISH AT POCONO. SEEMS TO BE YOUR TRACK. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS PLACE THAT WORKS WITH YOU? "I don't know. The two years in a row we came here, both years; last time we didn't have a good car, this time we had a good car. We were running like sixth and I came in and overshoot the pits a little. It wasn't a big deal you know, I lost a couple of places and went out running and felt like we had a loose tire. So we came in and fixed that. You know, to get the ground back, it's so hard to pass people. We were making ground, but we had a great strategy. We had good fuel mileage and everyone on this Target Chevy did an amazing job today."

***

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 THE HARTFORD IMPALA SS, FINISHED 3RD:

HOW IMPORTANT WAS THAT TRACK POSITION AT THE END OF THE RACE? "It was real important. The Hartford Chevrolet we were good we just kept loosing track position. (Ryan) Newman bounced off the side of me and stuck me in the wall and tore the car all up. We had track position but I felt like we had a lot better car if we could have had all four fenders on it. That's what we needed. We need these top-fives to try to fight our way back into this Chase. I'm really proud of Shane Wilson and all the guys for digging deep and sticking with it and making a good call there at the end."

YOUR 115 POINTS OUT OF 12TH RIGHT NOW, DO YOU SEE IT THERE? "You can see it. It's just a long way out. It's a long road to go yet but I feel like we can do it. We've got some good tracks coming up."

***

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS, FINISHED 13th:

CAN YOU TELL US EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR CAR? "I don't know yet but I assume it was a spark plug issue. That's the last thing we started changing. The car started running better so its just crazy how sometimes a little part like that can go wrong. I know our guys will look closely at it to make sure that something like that doesn't happen again. I'm just so proud of the fight this race team has. For us to come back from three laps down and get back on the lead lap and salvage a 13th-place finish means a lot to me. I think we are going in the right direction and it shows to me what my team is capable of and I know what I'm capable of going into the Chase."

AT ONE POINT YOU WERE PIT ROAD WITH YOUR HOOD UP AND YOU COME BACK AND FINISH 13TH:

"We dealt with a lot today. I have to thank my guys for working so hard and trouble-shooting some different things. We finally found the problem there at the end. We were three laps down and able to get some cautions there at the end. For a while there I thought we would get a Top-10 but I pounded the wall off (Turn) 2 and tore up the right side of the car and lost a couple of spots. Just a lot of fight in this race team. I'm very proud of them."

EVER FIND OUT WHAT THE PROBLEM WAS? "I don't know for sure, but I assume it was a spark plug. We started changing spark plugs and after that it ran."

YOUR TEAMMATE MARK MARTIN HAS CALLED YOU SUPERMAN FOR THIS VERY REASON, THE TEAM'S RESILIENCY. WHAT KIND OF STATEMENT IS THIS? "To our team, it means a lot. We're all a little bit bummed out because we thought it should have been a Top-10. I hit the wall off (Turn) 2 with about five (laps) to go. I hurt the car pretty bad at that point. When we leave here and the dusts settles, there's a lot to be proud of. What I was hoping to see from the No. 48 team is coming around right now. This is what we need going into the Chase."

WHAT WAS IT LIKE INSIDE THE CAR WHEN YOUR TEAM WAS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT WAS GOING ON? "When it came to changing the spark plugs, I knew we were about of stuff to try. We lost a lap trying to get the plugs changed because it's a time-consuming process and we could only get to a few of them. I was hoping the problem was in one of the few we were able to reach. Luckily it was and then the car started running."

***

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, FINISHED 12TH:

"I'm really proud of the way the Shell-Pennzoil team performed. We had a fast car, but we got bit when the caution came out while we were pitting. It was all about track position today, so that cost us. We're making progress over the past few weeks, so that's encouraging."

***

CASEY MEARS, NO. 07 JACK DANIEL'S IMPALA SS, FINISHED 25TH:

"Frustrating; just very frustrating is the word I can think of to describe our race here at Pocono. We went from one extreme to the other in regards to how we got through the different turns. The Jack Daniel's Chevrolet was good at the start of a run, then fall off the longer we ran. Mr. Jack's Crew did their part on pit road, I just wish we had a better result."

***

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS, FINISHED 8TH:

TYPICALLY WHEN YOU FINISH WELL HERE, IT SEEMS TO BE WITH AN AWFUL CAR AND GREAT STRATEGY. BUT TODAY IT WAS A GREAT CAR "It was a good car; definitely the best car we've had here in a while. I'm really excited about that and that we've been able to make those kinds of improvements. The strategy and the track position didn't go our way today, so we ended up eighth. But it's nice when you're passing cars; good cars even toward the end of the race."

HOW WAS THE RACING DIFFERENT AT POCONO WITH THE DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS? "Oh, I can't even explain to you how insane it was out there. And when you get guys that have no tires that have stayed out, or two tires, against guys that have four tires, it just shakes it up so much because you've got such a speed difference and guys trying to hang on to position and guys fighting hard to get 'em and I mean it was just nuts. I saw so many guys rubbing, banging, smokin' sideways, three-wide, four-wide, and I was right in the middle of it at times as well. It's not the most fun, but when you make it out of it, you're like whew, and you know it's awesome racing to watch on TV and from the grandstands."

LAST WEEKEND, MARK MARTIN CALLED JIMMIE JOHNSON 'SUPERMAN' BECAUSE THAT NO. 48 TEAM IS SO RESILIENT. THEY DID IT AGAIN TODAY. HE'S THREE LAPS DOWN AND FINISHED 13TH. WAS THERE A TIME WHEN YOU GUYS WERE RACING FOR POSITION WHEN YOU WONDERED IS THIS GUY ON THE LEAD LAP? "Right there at the end I knew he was back on the lead lap and I wasn't expecting him to pass me, that's for sure. But you know, these guys, you can never count them out and that's what makes them a championship caliber team and Jimmie's a great driver. So, it's unfortunate that they had a car that was probably capable of winning, or at least battling up there for the win, that it kind of took them out of it there. But they fought back and still had a pretty decent day out of it."

YOU ARE SOLID WITH FIVE RACES LEFT GOING INTO THE CHASE, DO YOU SAY YOU'RE GOING TO BE MORE AGGRESSIVE THAN YOU TYPICALLY WOULD BE? "Yeah, I was being aggressive. The set-up, I think, was a little bit more aggressive for us, which paid off. Steve (Letarte, crew chief) was real aggressive on the pit strategy. He probably is going to beat himself up a little bit over that last one, but all day long we were pitting early and taking two tires, and doing the things we needed to do to get ourselves in position to win. And there at the end, you can't always factor in guys that are going to be on pit road when the caution comes out. And that cost us probably another three or four positions."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams HART