Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala SS, Started 13th, Finished 7th - 11th in the standings of 12 drivers beginning the Chase. "Tonight we had our car going pretty good. We just had that one deal and had to come from the back. Still a...
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala SS, Started 13th, Finished 7th - 11th in the standings of 12 drivers beginning the Chase.
"Tonight we had our car going pretty good. We just had that one deal and had to come from the back. Still a good night for us. Everybody's back on the same turf now so it'll be fun." ON RACING WITH DENNY HAMLIN WITH 35 LAPS TO GO: "We were better first half of the run and the second half of the run we would just kind of maintain at best and some of those guys would get a little bit better but we made up some ground there at the beginning of that run. Just one of those things where you just get all you can and then take your time from there."
ON BUILDING ON NASCAR'S NEW GENERATION RACE CAR WITH FIVE RACES WITH THE IMPALA SS IN THE CHASE: "We have to race a little bit different. Obviously the engines will be better, everything will be better. You had to race cautiously tonight and just there at the end as the car started falling out, things started happening, I was able to get a little bit more aggressive with the 11 and got by him but just kind of burned my stuff up trying to get by him on the bottom."
Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Impala SS, Started 5th, Finished 6th - 6th in the standings of 12 drivers beginning the Chase.
ON HEADING INTO THE CHASE: "We need to pick up our momentum a little bit. We're not coming in with big momentum like the guys like the 48 and 24 are but I think for the most part we're solid and that's what it's going to take in the Chase to be consistent."
WHAT DID YOU LEARN OVER THE LAST SEVERAL WEEKS AND HOW WILL THAT BE AN ADVANTAGE IN THE CHASE? "Well what we did is we didn't hold anything back with our race cars. We've been running our good cars for the last six, seven weeks trying to learn more about them. That's the only way I feel like we can get them better. Really in the Chase when it comes down to it, it's going to be whoever has the least amount of bad luck." WHO ARE THE BIGGEST THREATS IN THE CHASE? "I think without a doubt it's the 48, 24 and 20. I think those three guys are going to be really tough. They're tough every year. Not everyone is going to have a silky smooth Chase so we just got to capitalize if one of them has trouble."
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN FOR YOU TO BE ABLE TO BEAT THE 48, 24 AND THE 20? "I think we're just going to have to keep running top five like we have been all year long. Yeah we're not winning races like those guys are but we're consistent and that goes a long way and you just can't go all out like everyone has been doing for the last eight weeks, the guys have been locked in. So really it's going to be all about consistency."
ON WHAT HE LEARNED IN LAST YEAR'S CHASE: "The biggest thing is not going to be to make mistakes. We know which race bit us last year and everyone seems to have a bad race so really we just got to concentrate on not making any mistakes like I made today on pit road. If we can do that we're going to be in good shape."
Rick Hendrick, Owner, Hendrick Motorsports:
ON ANNOUNCING THIS WEEKEND THAT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS RESIGNED WITH CHEVROLET AND SWEEPING THE CHEVY ROCK & ROLL 400 WEEKEND: "Man, it's unbelievable. I grew about 60 miles from here so it's unbelievable. I'm excited man. It's great."
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 8 Budweiser/Elvis Impala SS, Started 21st, Finished 29th:
WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE ENGINE? "I don't really know. We ain't really took it apart yet but it started locking up on the back straightaway. We was having a great race there for second with Tony. I was having a whole lot of fun up there racing with him and Gordon and I thought at the end we actually had a good enough car if we got by Tony that we could have raced the 48 a little bit. But we broke another motor and they seem to fall apart when they plug 'em into my car. I don't know what it is about it but we've had a good car all year long. It's just really frustrating. I'll get over it but my guys work hard all weekend and to see that thing go up in smoke like that, they're very disappointed."
OH HIS THOUGHTS GOING INTO THE FINAL 10 RACES: "Congratulations to all the guys who made the Chase. We'll try to get in there a couple of races and win some and we're going to have a lot of fun. We'll go race hard no matter who we're racing."
A YEAR AGO, TONY STEWART WAS LEFT OUT OF THE CHASE BUT HE PUT IT INTO A POSITIVE. DO YOU FEEL LIKE THIS TEAM IS CAPABLE OF DOING SOMETHING LIKE THAT IN 2007? "Yeah. Absolutely. We're running good every week. We just haven't been finishing races. We're running in the top five every week. We ain't in the Chase. We deserve to be in the Chase. I wish we were for my fans. But we'll give them something to cheer about. We race hard. We don't quit. We love racing. That's what we do. We'll be all right. It's just disappointing, man. These dang motors."
ARE YOU STILL ABLE TO FIND SOME POSITIVES HERE? HOW WILL THIS MAKE YOU AND TONY EURY JUNIOR AS YOU MOVE TO HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS? "Tony Jr. is really upset. They work hard. Us drivers, we've got it made. Those crewman are the guys who put in all the time and effort and they work real hard. Just to be running so good to make the car better all night, and to get up to the top five and to be sitting there racing with Tony (Stewart) like that, that was really, really fun. He's probably mad because I bumped into him a couple of times. To blow up at the end you know, it's real, really hard on them guys, personally, because they put so much into it. I get in there and drive the heck out of it and I do it for myself and for my cousin and we'll keep doing that. I've had a great group of guys this year. We've got more work to do. We've got a season to finish. Congratulations to the winner of this race and to all the guys who made the Chase."
EMOTIONALLY, WHAT ARE YOU FEELING RIGHT NOW? "I'm just really upset for my team, the guys who work all week to make that car work and to make it run like it did tonight. I'm upset for my team. They deserve better.
"I can turn anything into a positive. I always do. There ain't no reason to get all upset and bent out of shape about anything because there's cooler stuff right around the corner and there's all kinds of things to be excited about and I'm not just talking about next year. I'm saying every day in life, you know. We'll have fun and laugh and enjoy ourselves as we race for the rest of the season. Hopefully we can win some races there in the last 10 to put a period on what's been pretty much an up and down season. And I've been so fast and so good all year long and I'm just proud of my team. They make that happen. I would like to think that I run hard every time and they do the same for me."
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, Started 1st, Finished 1st - Sits No. 1 in the standings of the 12 drivers starting the Chase.
ON TONIGHT'S RACE: "We just had a solid effort all night. Parts of the race, especially the first two-thirds of it, we had a good car, maybe not the fastest car. We kept working on it and got the car right, great stops at the end, got me the track position I needed and we were really able to set sail there. I just can't thank these guys for never giving up and fighting all night long. We had a third or fourth place until the end and we made the right adjustments and got this victory."
ON THE PIT STOP THAT GOT HIM UP FRONT AND SEEING JEFF GORDON, DALE EARNHARDT, JR. AND TONY STEWART RACING AND PULLING AWAY: "First of all those three behind me, I'd be nervous all night. Those three are all real tough, this a great track for all three of those guys and then I was able to get a little daylight and I could hear that they were racing side by side and I knew that was good for me and I tried to take care of my tires in case we caught a late caution but luckily it stayed green and I was able to stretch it out and get this Lowe's Impala to victory lane."
HOW MUCH DOES THE MOMENTUM MEAN? "It means a lot, it really does. We've seen time and time again with different race teams. We're happy to be hitting our stride now. We had a great 26 and now it's about these last 10 and we'll just see what we can do."
J.J. Yeley, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Impala SS Started 36th, Finished 10th:
TALK ABOUT YOUR TOP-10 FINISH TONIGHT: "The entire Interstate Batteries team did their job tonight. It was awesome. Steve (Addington, crew chief) had a really good car underneath me from the get-go. We just tuned on it all night. Pit stops tonight were great. We had one bad stop that cost us a little bit but the way they cautions fell it was an awesome night. With about seven laps to go the 10 car (Scott Riggs) was down on the apron and I thought he was going to pull in the pits and he shot back out in front of me. I think he legitimately cost us two spots. I was just catching the nine (Kasey Kahne) and the two (Kurt Busch) and I lost everything I just gained. To be side-by-side there at the end fighting for ninth place was great. To start back as far as we did and end up 10th if was definitely a good night. "
IT SEEMS LIKE YOU THE CAR THE BEST IT WAS ALL NIGHT AT THE END? "We fought just being a little bit free in all night. I struggled with it at times. We were struggling with the center a bit but I didn't want to mess with the front brake because it was going to make the center much tighter. If you want to have a good run you want to have your car best at the end of the night. I would have like to have even two more laps. About 280 laps in I was complaining because the first 200 laps blew by so fast but then it was going by at a snail's pace. It's always fun when a car handles that good. When the car runs good you forget about everything else and enjoy the race more."
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont/Nicorette Impala SS, Started 2nd, Finished 4th - 2nd in the standings of the 12 drivers starting the Chase.
ON THE LAST 50 LAPS: "We got off just a little bit there and we were making some adjustments to try to free the car up through the middle and I thought that would really hit on it. The 8 car and the 48 took of there and we were able to run the 8 car down. Finally I made a couple efforts to get inside him. I thought I was faster and I got in front of him and I couldn't get away from him. He was all over me. I don't know if I wore the tires out or we were just way too loose, especially with him behind me. We got racing there so hard that the 20 came up there and after that it was just holding tight making it to the end. I wish we were battling up there for the lead but Jimmie and those guys, they made the right adjustments. We were the car to beat the first half of the race but if you're not the car to beat at the end it doesn't matter."
Earnhardt, Jr., No. 8 Budweiser/Elvis Impala SS - continued.
WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE ENGINE? "I don't really know. We ain't took it apart yet. It just started locking up on the back straightaway. We was having a great race there for second with Tony (Stewart). I was having a whole lot of fun up there racing with him and (Jeff) Gordon. I thought at the end we had actually a good enough car if we could have got by Tony that we could have raced the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) a little bit, but we broke another motor. They seem to come apart when they plug them into my car. I don't know what it is about it but we've had great power all year long. It's just really frustrating. I'll get over it. But my guys worked hard all weekend to see that thing go up in smoke like that, they're very disappointed."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AS YOU GO INTO THE FINAL 10 RACES? "Congratulations to all the guys who made the Chase. We'll try to get in there and win a couple of races. We're going to have a lot of fun. We're going to race hard, no matter who we're racing."
DURING THE RACE, YOU TOLD THE CREW YOU NEVER WANTED TO DRIVE THAT CAR AGAIN. THEN YOU CAME STRAIGHT TO THE FRONT. WHAT HAPPENED? "The seat was messed up and hurt my back."
WHAT COULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY? "Seriously. Just not break. Obviously, not break motors. We run in the top five every week. I do."
DOES THAT MAKE IT MORE DISAPPOINTING FOR YOU? "Yeah. If I'm running 15th and 20th and blowing up, you can get over that."
TONY EURY JR. CAME OVER AND YOU GUYS HUGGED AND HE TOLD YOU THAT YOU WERE A CHAMPION. HOW ARE YOU FEELING? "I'm just upset for my team with Tony Junior being the leader and the rest of them guys. They work so hard all year long. I'm just disappointed for them that we didn't make the Chase because they work harder than anybody to make it happen for me and for them. They're just very, very disappointed about it. I'm upset for the fans because I'd like to keep it interesting. Them guys pay a lot of money to come see us race. But I don't know. We had a great car and Tony Junior made some great adjustments. We were about a 10th place car to start and he dialed her into about a second or maybe even a first place car, depending on the circumstances. But he was working so hard tonight and he's just really disappointed."
YOU'RE LIKE THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD. YOU NEVER GAVE UP TONIGHT "Yeah, I'll take that (laughs). That's a good analogy. That engine just wouldn't hold together. It's very, very frustrating not for me, I think for everybody at DEI to have the spoils that we've had in our engine department this year. I know those guys have worked very hard to give us great power. And we overcame so many obstacles to have the best power in the series and I think that what we accomplished was awesome. We're just very disappointed for the engine failures to take us physically out of the Chase. We've run in the top five every week and my team is very upset and disappointed and bummed out about it. We've got 10 more races to run together before we may never race together again. And we'll just try to have fun and enjoy the kind of cars we put on the track and see if we can't win a race or two."
THE CREW IS STILL SMILING "There is a lot of pride in how well we ran and how hard we raced and what kind of battle we put forth and the effort we've put up. We've run in the top five every single week, just about. I'd say 90 percent of the time we run in the top five in this series and we weren't doing that three years ago. So I'm very, very proud that we've established the ability to bring great race cars to the race track. It seems like every time we fix one thing to get somewhere in one direction, something else creeps in and this year is just seemed to be the untimely engine failures."
ON WANTING A VICTORY THIS YEAR "Yeah, if it ain't one thing you guys (the media) want out of me, it's another (laughs). I'm going to go out there and try really, really hard. My fans deserve it. My team deserves it and I would like to enjoy it. That's our goal."
WERE YOU TAKING ANY MORE CHANCES WITH THE MOTOR? "No. None that I was aware of. I would be very surprised if ours had turned into the Guinea Pig over the last five weeks. I don't think that's what happened. I'm just hoping that it's just $2 parts. Things like small stuff that are out of everybody's control. Most of the engine failures have been sort of freakish. Little stupid things that have happened. Ten more races and we're going to enjoy the hell out of that. And then the season will be over."
WHEN YOU MISSED THE CHASE A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, YOU SAID THAT THOSE FINAL 10 RACES WERE KIND OF LIKE TAKING A BREAK. DO YOU NEED THAT NOW? "I'll take it. I wouldn't turn down any time off. I don't think anybody would. I'm going to work really, really hard with my guys. I promised them that these last several races through the last half of the season, no matter what, that we owed it to ourselves to race hard and work really hard. It would really be foolish and uncharacteristic for my team to sort of skip along the rest of this year and ride it out. I want to race hard and I want my guys to race hard and no matter what the results are, I want us to feel like when we turn the last lap at Homestead that we worked hard and we had good integrity."
DESPITE THE ENGINE FAILURE AT THE END, YOUR FANS WERE HOPEFUL "Yeah, I was actually surprising myself. I couldn't get by Jeff (Gordon) and I didn't want to rough him up too much. I think I scared him on the front straightaway. It kind of scared me a little bit. And I was like, well, I can't figure out a way to get around him and I'm trying all kinds of things and Tony (Stewart) sneaks up in there and drives right by us when we're banging on each other."
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Impala SS - Continued
ON IT BEING AN EVENTFUL NIGHT WHEN A LOT OF THINGS COULD HAVE GONE WRONG:"It was a definitely eventful for the Shell Pennzoil Chevrolet. We had a lot of things happen that normally don't happen. I got the splitter filled up with grass there and the car started overheating. But all in all everybody did a great job and did what we had to do. We had a good car just it kind stinks having to race with one eye at the scoreboard and one eye on the Chase there. Not really my style but we were able to kind of get up there at the end and race the 11 pretty hard."
ON COMMUNICATION WITH HIS SPOTTER AT THE END OF THE RACE: "Nobody every said anything. I kind of saw how much carnage there was, how many cars there were tore up and not running so there at the end we just kind of figured we'll just go for it and race."
Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Impala SS, Started 7th, Finished 2nd - 3rd in the standings of the 12 drivers starting the Chase.
ON THE FINAL LAPS OF THE RACE: "Man, Dale Jr. and Jeff Gordon were having so much fun I felt like I was missing out on the party so I wanted to get involved in that. It worked out good for us because we got them guys racing real hard and wearing each other down. We were about 10 laps behind that cycle so we got to get up there. Junior had a better car of the three of us I believe if he could have cleared both of us but we were able to get by him then get by Jeff but I don't know what happened to him at the end. But it was fun, it was fun racing. It's fun when you race around guys like Jeff and Dale Jr. like that, that you trust and you know you can run that close to and not having any problems with."
ON THE FINAL 10 RACES: "I'm excited about it. I feel like we're not exactly where we need to be but as close as anybody else is. We just got to do what we do best and that's make a charge at the end of this thing."
Martin Truex, Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Impala SS, Started 40th, Finished 15th - 7th in the standings of the 12 drivers starting the Chase.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO BE IN THE CHASE? "It means a lot to us. It wasn't the greatest night here but it was respectable. We'll have a lot to look forward to the next 10 weeks so we're real excited, real happy for everybody at Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Boats and Chevrolet, just everybody that's been part of the deal all year. My guys have done an awesome job. I'm real proud of them. It's just a shame Junior isn't going to be in it with us. We could really use his help but those guys had a little too much bad luck but hopefully we can hold up the banner for DEI and give them a run for their money."
ON LIKING THE TRACKS THEY START THE CHASE ON: "Yeah I love the two tracks we're starting out at but there's a lot of other ones in there I like too so I think the only place we haven't really ran well at that we're going to in the Chase is Martinsville and we need to figure that place out. If we can do that we'll have a great shot at this."
Jeff Burton, No. 31 AT&T Impala SS, Started 11th, Finished 18th - 10th in the standings of the 12 drivers starting the Chase.
"Obviously we didn't get done tonight what we wanted to. We were experimenting a little bit and it didn't work out for us. We're proud that we got all three teams in the Chase. Game on now. It's time to get going and we certainly need to try to find a way to step it up a little bit if we're going to beat some of these guys but I have a tremendous amount of confidence of what our team can do and we're just going to go and mash the gas and see what happens. Nobody's picking us to win which is fine and we'll be persistent and try to make some good stuff happen.
"We stunk it up tonight but we were trying. We were a little bit different than we normally are. We did some things tonight that I think will make us better. Sometimes you learn about things not working out but at the end of the day we were lucky enough to be able to experiment a little bit and our experiment gone bad but I'm proud of our effort. To have all three teams in the Chase is a really cool thing. We'll all fight hard and see what we can make happen here in the next 10 weeks."
Kyle Busch, No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Impala SS, Started 3rd, Finished 20th - 9th in the standings of the 12 drivers starting the Chase.
ARE YOU GLAD THE CHASE IS FINALLY HERE? "I guess. Tonight was one to forget definitely. We definitely ran our worst here tonight and didn't have a very good showing. Those kind of performances aren't going to do you well in the Chase so we got to turn something around and make sure that we run better next week. Just a bad day for us but hopefully next week when we start up at Loudon again we'll be back on our game where we need to be."
Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS, Started 20th, Finished 12th - 12th in standings of 12 drivers starting the Chase.
CAN YOU BELIEVE YOU'RE GOING TO BE RACING FOR A NEXTEL CUP CHAMPIONSHIP? "Of course I can believe it. I'm with a good organization, a good race team, Gil Martin and everybody on the Jack Daniel's Chevrolet do such a good job and give me good race cars so absolutely I can believe it. But I'm just kind of bummed out. I was going to go for it when I showed up here tonight and just went a little too hard.
"I'm really proud of everybody at RCR and everybody on the Jack Daniel's Chevrolet. Gil and everybody worked so hard and everybody's families and everything else to put a lot of effort into this so I'm really proud to be here but I promised the guys I was going to go for it and went a little too hard."
Martin Truex, Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Impala SS - Continued
ON HAVING ONE VICTORY GOING INTO THE CHASE AND HOW THEY FEEL HEADING INTO THE CHASE: "I feel pretty good. I was a little disappointed in the way we ran tonight. We kind of struggled all weekend but this is a whole different deal with this car that we've been running. I'm looking forward to it. The next two races are two of my favorite tracks, ones we ran very well at here this year, and one of them we got our first win at. So I'm looking forward to them for sure. I'm real proud of all these guys on this Bass Pro Chevrolet team. I'm proud to get them in the Chase and just looking forward to it. It's going to be a lot of fun. I think there's a lot of tracks that we really enjoy and run good at throughout the Chase so hopefully we'll keep all the bad luck from striking and have 10 good races and we'll see wh at happens."
Johnny Sauter, No. 70 Radioactive Energy Drink/Yellow Impala SS, Started 36th, Finished 5th:
"First I am always excited to come Richmond. I have had some great runs here. We were good here in the spring; we had a strong car at that race. We were fast right off the truck this weekend and fast in practice.
"We qualified terrible, but I knew it was just a matter of time before I could make my way to the front, the car was that good. I made it up to the top-10 then we made a mistake that got us back to 31st or 32nd. I tried to be patient and worked my way back to the top-10 and then finished in 5th.
"I think the COT has been instrumental in part of growth of our team. We have run good all year in the COT races and Loudon was one of our best runs of season. It is the consistency we are lacking with both the cars and on pit road. The potential is there, just have to build on this momentum and keep having these good runs."
-credit: gm racing