Team Chevy Drivers Notch Seven of Top-10 Finishing Spots at Richmond: Jeff Gordon Retakes Points Lead Richmond, VA -- With a runner-up finish, Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Impala SS, led Team Chevy to four of the top-five and...
Team Chevy Drivers Notch Seven of Top-10 Finishing Spots at Richmond: Jeff Gordon Retakes Points Lead
Richmond, VA -- With a runner-up finish, Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Impala SS, led Team Chevy to four of the top-five and seven of the top-10 finishes in tonight's Crown Royal Presents the Russell Friedman 400 at Richmond International Raceway (RIR).
Stewart, two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion, moved to third in the Series' point standings with his fourth top-five and seventh top-10 run in 10 races.
Jeff Burton, No. 31 Prilosec OTC Impala SS, came to the checkered flag in third position to jump two position in the standings to seventh. The run was Burton's second top-five and fifth top-10 finish of the season.
Ryan Newman, No. 39 U.S. Army Impala SS, finished fourth in race 10 of the 2009 season and jumped to 10th in the standings. Newman has posted two top-five and four top-10 finishes in the first 10 races of the year.
Mark Martin, No. 5 Cheez-It/CARQUEST Impala SS, was sixth at the finish of the 400-lap/300-mile race. He has one win, two top-five and five top-10 finishes.
Four-time NSCS champion Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, moved back to the top of the point standings with an eighth place run. Gordon has one win, five top-five and seven top-10 finishes thus far this season.
Casey Mears, No. 07 Jack Daniels Impala SS, finished ninth with Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Impala SS coming to the finish line in 10th position.
Brake problems relegated Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, to 36th place at the finish. He is now sixth in the standings.
Clint Bowyer, No. 33 BB&T Impala SS, remains eighth in points after finishing 18th in tonight's race.
Kyle Busch (Toyota) was the race winner.
Round 11 of the 2009 season will be Saturday, May 9 at Darlington Raceway.
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE IMPALA SS, FINISHED 2ND
WHAT STANDS OUT THE MOST ABOUT YOUR RUN TONIGHT? "Well, I'm really proud of our guys. They had awesome pit stops. But I think we backed into this one today. We got lucky and got a chance to get tires there with about 50 (laps) to go and then got that green flag run at the end, which we typically don't get. So that helped us. We had a lot less laps on the tires than those guys. But I'm really proud. We think we know what we missed tonight. We weren't really stout, but I'm so proud of the organization. Ryan (Newman) was really good tonight all night. So I'm glad he came up. That's the best we've finished there as a team, so I'm really proud of everybody, and this is for everybody at Stewart-Haas. I'm really proud of everybody on the Old Spice/Office Depot team and the U.S. Army. It was just an awesome night for us tonight. We're in a runner-up finish, so we'll take it."
TWO CARS IN THE TOP-FIVE, TALK ABOUT YOUR NIGHT: "Ryan (Newman) was better than we were, we got lucky to come in with about 50 laps to go and get tires. We kind of backed in to our runner-up finish, but Ryan drove his butt off tonight. Really proud of all our guys, we had really good pit stops tonight. Really proud of the pit crew. They have been working on it every week and really laid down some stops tonight and really proud of the organization."
TALK ABOUT RICHMOND HERE TONIGHT. "It was awesome. I'm not sure we had a second-place car but we got there at the end. We had the luxury of coming in, we were toward the back of the lead-lap cars and we got to come in and put on four tires on it. The guys did a really good job all night in the pits. They really made us up a lot of spots so that got us some track position there. We just drove our way back to the front. We had about 20 or 30 laps left on our tires than everybody else did and that gave us an advantage."
YOU ARE COMING IN TO THE PART OF THE SEASON WHERE YOU USUALLY START COMING ON STRONG, HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU ABOUT THE NEXT FEW WEEKS? "We are and nights like tonight make the organization that much stronger. Makes everybody at the shop keep their morale up. They are doing a great job. The fact that they come out on a night like tonight and have the night like we have had. You look up there and for the exception of Kyle (Busch) we got tires, Burton got tires. Ryan didn't get that luxury and drove up to fourth. I am really proud of Ryan. Felt like he did a better job than I did tonight."
IT LOOKED LIKE YOU AND JEFF BURTON WERE HAVING A GREAT TIME RACING ONE ANOTHER: "Yea, and that is the great thing about a guy like Jeff Burton. You trust him. There are a lot of guys out there I don't trust anymore after tonight and watching their antics out there out there on the race track. Jeff, Mark Martin, those are the guys you are used to running with. Trust me, he didn't let me have it today, he made me earn every bit of it. We ran with each other the majority of the night. Just glad that we both had the opportunity to come in there and get tires and race."
WAS IT A PHYSICAL RACE? "Yes. There were some guys that were less than impressive to be around tonight but I guess that seems like as time goes on there is less etiquette and less give and take and more idiots out there than we have ever had before. We survived it, got through it and had two cars in the top-four."
WHERE DID YOU COME FROM AT THE END OF THE RACE? "Four tires, that is where I came from. We had the luxury of coming in with about 50 to go and get four stickers. The guys had an awesome stop that time too. They had really good stops all night, really proud of them. Proud of Ryan and his guys but we had the advantage of having four tires and he didn't.
"Part of it was we had to fight our way through and part of it was we had to fight with Jeff Burton. That is a fun fight with him, he Is one of the guys you trust out there. There were a lot of guys I lost a lot of respect for out there watching what they were doing behind the wheel. The good thing we were around two guys we trusted."
TALK ABOUT HAVING TWO CARS IN THE TOP-FIVE: "I'm pretty excited about that. I am really proud of everybody at Stewart-Haas. Especially everybody on the U.S. Army team and this Old Spice/Office Depot team. I can't wait to get to the shop Monday and see the smiles on their faces. They have been working hard. This is a process that we continue to grow and build. Thanks to Hendrick Motorsports and Hendrick chassis and engines. All the guys that are turning our Mac Tools. It is just coming together, one piece at a time."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 PRILOSEC OTC IMPALA SS - FINISHED 4TH
IS WASN'T PRETTY AT CERTAIN TIMES EARLY, BUT YOU GUYS REALLY BATTLED TO FINISH IN THE TOP 5 "Yeah, it was a great call by Scott there; you know (Dale Earnhardt) Junior and I got together and after that my car took off. So I don't know, we got in the wall and I don't know what happened to make it better. So I'm really proud of everybody. Prilosec was on the car tonight and I'm really proud of them; and thanks for all the Cat's involvement. This team just fights really hard and that's who we are, right there. We just get down and never quit and keep fighting. I'm just real proud to be a part of this team."
WHAT ABOUT THAT RUN TONIGHT, YOU GUYS WERE FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT AND STAYED THERE. "Yeah, it was quite a night. We didn't take off very good and kind of struggled. Junior (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) and I got together there and hit the wall and then it took off. For now we're just going to hit the wall when we're not running well. There at the end Scott (Miller, crew chief) made a great call and we had on tires. We had a great race and Tony (Stewart) and I had a lot of fun. It was a hard-fought night. That's kind of us. We didn't have the best car tonight but we kept fighting. Sitting there spun out against the wall. I'm sure a lot of people thought that was it."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS - FINISHED 3RD:
YOU GUYS ARE MOVING UP, ARE YOU CLOSE TO THAT WIN? "I told the guys what I meant and that was if we keep doing this, we'll get what we want and it was a great run for the U.S. Army Chevrolet. Tony (Stewart) had a great run too, but we had the leader strategy, but we just got caught up when I turned the No. 5 car (Mark Martin) around there on that restart. We lost four spots and those were the four spots we needed to get back to the front."
YOU GUYS WERE CONSISTENTLY STAYING UP IN THAT TOP-FIVE, WHAT ABOUT THAT RUN TONIGHT? "Well we had a winning race car and I think the guy typically out in front had a winning car but the bottom line was we didn't get out in front when we needed to. We had the leader strategy when we got caught up in that restart behind the No. 5 car. Turned him around on accident but it was just because we got all jumbled up. Good run for the U.S. Army Chevrolet. It's a good points day for us. I told the guys if we keep doing this we'll get what we want and obviously we want to be in victory lane.
"We had a winning racecar and I think the guy out front typically had a winning racecar but the bottom line was we didn't get out front when we needed to. We had the leader strategy but got caught up on that restart behind in the No. 5 car. I turned him around in the accident because we all got jumbled up and I lost four positions. Overall it was a good run for the U.S. Army Chevrolet and a good points day. I told the guys if we keep doing this we'll get what we want and obviously we want to be in Victory Lane. We showed that we could lead and we had a car that could race with Kyle (Busch) no doubt. We persevered and made it home with a strong finish. A great effort for Tony Stewart and everybody at Stewart Haas Racing. We got two cars in the top five which was a first for us, and hopefully it's a first of many. It's been a long time for me with two straight top fives."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CHEEZ-IT/CARQUEST IMPALA SS, FINISHED FIFTH:
SOLID RUN HERE TO NIGHT, PERSEVERANCE HAS TO COME TO MIND. "Well this race team fought hard. We want to thank Cheez-it and Carquest and everybody at the No. 5 team and Hendrick Motorsports. A pretty spectacular race car I had all night. I had some bad luck but it wasn't something that we couldn't rebound from. This team just dug in and got it done. I'm proud of them and I'm glad that one is over with. We'll straighten this thing back out and bring it back out."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS, FINISHED 8TH, TAKES POINTS LEAD:
ARE YOU HAPPY TO STILL BE ON TOP IN THE POINTS, OR MORE FRUSTRATED WITH THE WAY YOU RAN? "No, I'm more frustrated with the way we ran. It's important to be up there in the points so that we don't get ourselves in jeopardy getting out of the Chase you know. That helps us stay solidly in the Chase, but we've got to be racing that No. 18 (Kyle Busch) for the wins. He's the guy to beat. I thought we were going to be better than that. We started so good and I really thought we were going to have something for them, but it wasn't the case."
DID YOU THINK YOU HAD A CHANCE TO WIN? "No. I knew we didn't. We were just trying to get the best finish we could and then once we were out there, we were pretty much stuck with that strategy. That long run just killed us. I knew we were struggling and we kind of just put ourselves in that position to see what maybe clean air would do. It was a good try, certainly, but we weren't good enough tonight. We missed it. We started good and couldn't adjust it from there."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS, FINISHED 36TH:
WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE TONIGHT? "We lost the brakes. We had a brake problem with the left front and lost some laps trying to get the brakes back on the car and then I got caught up in a wreck. So we had a very fast race car, we just had a brake problem."
WAS THERE ANYTHING YOU COULD ADJUST ON ONCE IT STARTED TO KICK IN OR ANYTHING YOU COULD WORK ON? "We were losing fluid in the left-front brake line, the front master cylinder, and once I started losing brake pressure and the pedal was going to the floor, it worked for a few laps until I pushed all the fluid out of it and then I went into Turn 1 and all I had was rear brakes and I spun. At that time, we had to pinch off the left front line and pour fluid back into it, which just gave me the right front tire. And we ran there and unfortunately got caught up in some other stuff and tore up our car."
CASEY MEARS, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS IMPALA SS, FINISHED 9TH:
GOOD RUN TODAY: "Yeah, it was a good day for us. This is really what we needed. We started out the weekend pretty rough and I think just trying to learn what the No. 29 (Kevin Harvick) guys did versus what the No. 07 guys did and we kind of had a trend of things that we were doing for the last couple of weeks and the No. 29 was doing something different. So, I think it just took a little bit of finding out what I wanted versus what Kevin was needing with (crew chief)Todd (Berrier). We had a couple miscues in the race that really held us back, but at the same time when we didn't have problems, the pit crew was amazing over the wall guys were fast and Todd made a lot of good decisions as far as getting the car better throughout the race. So it was a great day for us. From qualifying 40-something and ending up where we did was real good and we needed it. All the changes that happened to come out of here like this is a real positive for us."
BRIAN PATTIE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 42 TARGET IMPALA SS, FINISHED 10TH:
"This is a great finish for our Target team and the Earnhardt Ganassi organization. This is a race track that we don't usually see good results at, so this is big. We have solid Chevy's. We didn't practice strong or qualify where we needed to, but in the end Juan raced hard all night and brought home a top-10."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS, FINISHED 34TH:
"I'm not sure what happened on our wreck. Somebody hit me on the backstretch and it cut down my left rear (tire). We had a good car, and really had a pretty good run going until then. We were a little tight and were working on our front grip, but we definitely had at least a top 10 car. I hate it for Gil (Martin) and the guys. To have someone ruin your night like that just stinks. On the positive side, I enjoyed working with the new crew this weekend, and I'm looking forward to Darlington."
MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS, FINISHED 22ND:
"I can't thank all of my guys enough. They really gave me a great car, good stops, but the luck just wasn't on our side tonight. We've worked really hard the last few weeks and I just hate that we haven't gotten the finishes that we should have."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD-DRIVE THE GUARD/AMP ENERGY IMPALA SS:
"I'm just frustrated with how our car ran tonight."
-credit: gm racing