DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY / NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS -- Finished 4th in race, 4th in Chase to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, and is seeded 4th in the starting line-up for Loudon, NH, Round 1 in the 10-race battle for the ...
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY / NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS -- Finished 4th in race, 4th in Chase to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, and is seeded 4th in the starting line-up for Loudon, NH, Round 1 in the 10-race battle for the title:
WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE WITH YOU AND KYLE BUSCH BATTLING FOR THE LEAD? "He was leading, he had a pretty good car. I running real good on that restart, driving in on him real hard. Got in too hard into one and locked the left front up and pushed in to him and wrecked him. I could say something real smartaleck but I won't. It was an accident. Those things seem to happen. Not on purpose, as much as I would like to take credit for it.
"When I locked the left front up, at that point I got it slowed down as much as I could. I was going to go in there on top because I couldn't run the bottom, he was running real hard out on the top and trying to keep the lead. I was going to try and move up and get next to him and free my car up a little bit. We kinda came down in there and he turned in there a little sharper and I locked the left front up and that was that."
HE DIDN'T COME DOWN ON YOU AT ALL? "Even if he did, it is the guy underneath job to take care of you, you know what I mean. It is not his job to take care of himself."
IT WASN'T REVENGE LIKE 100,000 PEOPLE HERE THOUGHT? "No, but it certainly is ironic."
OVERALL ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE DAY? "Yeah, we fell pretty good, real good. We are working hard."
TALK ABOUT THE DRIVE TODAY IN TO RICHMOND AND YOUR THOUGHTS HEADING FOR THE CHASE: "We had a real good car. My guys worked hard. Start of the race, we were one of the best cars. We weren't making any adjustments every time we had a pit stop but we were losing the race track a little bit and get tight. We just didn't figure out what we needed to do at the end there to have a car to win the race. I was really happy with how things went and getting a top-five, we ain't had one in a while."
WITH YOUR RUN TODAY, DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR TEAM IS READY TO MAKE A RUN FOR IT? "We run good at all the tracks at the end of the season, we do ok at most of them, don't cha think? I feel pretty confident. We came here and ran like we should, like we expected to, we ran like we expected to in the summer. I don't think my guys did, but I did. I think they expected a little more. I feel pretty good."
IS KYLE MAKING LESS MISTAKES AND READY TO WIN A TITLE? "Kyle can win a title. He has got enough talent and a good enough race car and a good enough race team. He has just got to finish all the races and finish them good."
WHAT ABOUT THE NO. 48 TEAM, THEY ARE DOING THE SAME THING THEY DID LAST YEAR. "They are dialed in. I am feeding off of them as much as I can. It is good that they are running like that."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS IMPALA SS -- Finished 12th in the race, 12th in the Chase to the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, and is seeded 5th in the starting line-up for next week's race at Loudon, NH, round 1 of the 10-race battle for the title:
NOW YOU ARE IN THE CHASE AND CAN GO RACING NOW: "Man I tell you, I knew it was going to be a roller coaster day for us. You start up front, things are going good, you are in the top-five, things are looking good. Then all of a sudden, you are in the back and the car is tight and you are about to go a lap down and things are bad. I am just really proud of all the guys for sticking together and got the car back right and going forward."
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO RECAPTURE YOUR MAGIC AT LOUDON? "I think anybody can do that, this Chase is short, only 10 races and hopefully we can get started off on the right foot again. We are obviously a lot farther forward in the points going in to New Hampshire, so if we can come out of there with a good finish and momentum and on the right foot, the sky is the limit."
TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY. "We knew it was going to be a roller coaster going into this thing. You loose track position then you have it, two tires, no tires, staying out. Got behind there and our car was tight way back there in traffic where it was so good early. You know that's crunch time. The lead lap is coming and I'm about to go a lap down and that's pretty nerve wrecking but the caution fell at the right time thank God and everything worked out."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS, Winner of the race, finished 3rd in the Chase to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, and is seeded 3rd in the starting line-up for Loudon, NH, Round 1 in the 10-race battle for the title:
TALK ABOUT THE CLOSING LAPS. "The car was really strong at the beginning of that run. That's the first time it had been that. I knew it was going to get tight eventually and it did and he got to me and so I went to the top and made a big arc out of it and held him off."
TALK ABOUT THAT BATTLE YOU HAD WITH TONY STEWART AND IF YOU HAD THE PREFERRED LINE WERE YOU WHERE YOU WANTED TO BE? "Fortunately (Jeff) Burton and I raced our butts off for about 50 laps earlier in the race and I guess I learned a lesson through that whole thing. I was frustrated at the time but I learned that top lane, if you could get to the center well you're going to beat the other car off or at least be along side of him down the backstretch so just smart getting in and got to the gas early and was able to keep that outside lane."
FOUR WINS THIS YEAR, THREE OF THEM IN THE LAST SEVERAL WEEKS, TWO IN A ROW, HAVE YOU GUYS HIT YOUR STRIDE, HIT THE MOMENTUM RIGHT WHEN YOU NEED TO, YOUR THOUGHTS GOING INTO THE CHASE. "We worked hard to get to this point. We're doing all the things right. That doesn't guarantee us anything going into the Chase. We've got to show up and put in ten good ones. Very proud of the jury this year and where we've ended up as a race team, as a company and we'll just see what these ten races give us."
YOU LOOK AT THOSE TEN RACES, WHICH ONES DO YOU FEEL BEST ABOUT AND ANY THAT JUMP OUT AT YOU, WE'VE GOT TO GET THROUGH THAT ONE. "They are all starting to look pretty good right now. We won on a big track last week, we won this week. I think Talladega but that goes without saying, everybody is nervous abut Talladega. These guys on this Lowe's Impala have been working their butts off and I can't thank them enough."
RICK HENDRICK, OWNER, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS:
"This is what we wanted to do, we haven't been as good all year as we would like compared to last year. I think we are peaking at the right time so we are pretty excited about it. So, lets go to Loudon and see if we can't go back to New York."
TALK ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT DALE, JR. MAKING THE CHASE HIS FIRST YEAR WITH HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS: "We are just going to get better there. Using all the tools we have and figuring out what he needs. I am really tickled with what we have done this year.
"The laps we have led, we should have won two or three races and got one. We will get some in the Chase and run for that championship. He is a lot of fun, we have a lot of fun. We are just going to keep getting better. Looking forward to it."
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS:
YOUR TEAM IS ON A ROLL AT THE RIGHT TIME: "Yup! Obviously! (LAUGHS) It is going well. We have been working all year for the championship. We are fortunate that the opportunity is out there for us to run at these tracks that we are real confident in. Jimmie is really doing a good job, it is all about the driver right now."
TALK ABOUT HOW INCREDIBLE YOUR TEAM WAS ON PIT ROAD TODAY: "We had incredible pit stops today, incredible pit stops. That last pit stop, if we hadn't beat the No. 20 out, I am not sure we would have beaten him on the track just because track position was important, you could really hold someone up if you wanted to. My guys are on it. Greg Moore came on as pit coach this year and he has just done a great job."
HOW IMPORTANT ARE THE ADDITIONAL 1O BONUS POINTS YOU GOT TODAY FOR THE CHASE? "Yes, I don't remember how many the No. 18 has, but it puts us 10 closer. Forty extra points going in to the Chase gives you a little bit of cushion, a little bit of push to catch those guys in front of you."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS -- Finished 6th in the race, 5th in the Chase to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, and is seeded 7th in the starting line-up for Loudon, NH, Round 1 in the 10-race battle for the title:
TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY HERE AT RICHMOND YOU CERTAINLY HAD A PRETTY GOOD RACE CAR IN THE MID STAGES, TALK ABOUT THE LAST STAGE OF THE RACE. "Well our strength wasn't on short runs for sure but we were out best on old tires when we could run on the high side. I didn't want to be there but that's where my car was better. There were times today when we were really good and there were times today we were terrible. The first run of the race we were awful. We were a 30th-place car. We came in and made a change and we got to be an eighth-place car then we got to be a fourth-place car then there at the end I don't know what we were. I hit the wall, we were okay until I hit the wall."
WHAT ABOUT YOUR CHANCES NOW AS YOU LOOK AHEAD TO THE FINAL TEN? "Well if you look at how the twenty-nine has been running, I know our results don't show it but we've been running better lately. I feel like we can make some noise.
"We're all working really hard together and we're trying to make each other better and I think we can do that. That's what we're going to have to do. We haven't shown the speed that those three cars have shown but that's not to say we can't we just have to go make it happen. I think we can."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS -- Finished 7th in the race, 7th in the Chase to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, and is seeded 11th in the starting line-up for Loudon, NH, Round 1 in the 10-race battle for the title:
YOU HAD AN AWFULLY GOOD RACE CAR TODAY, HOW ABOUT THE HANDLING IN THE LATE GOING? "Yeah we were just tight off the center and we tried to fix that and we just made it loose up off the corner. We got that back and there toward the end of the race we lost so much track position it just took us a while to get back up there. Still a good day for our Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet and all the guys have done a great job. I felt like we had a top-three car today and just lost a little track position there and just couldn't make it up."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT / NICORETTE IMPALA SS -- Finished 8th in the race, 10th in the Chase to the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, and is seeded 10th in the starting line-up for Loudon, NH, Round 1 in the 10-race battle for the title:
LETS TALK ABOUT TODAY'S RACE IN RICHMOND, HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT OUT THERE TODAY? "It's a short track so there's always a lot of hard racing and slipping and sliding around here during the day and it was pretty hot. All in all a pretty good day for this DuPont/Nicorette Chevrolet. We were really strong at the start of the race and just seemed like the adjustments we made we lost a little bit of track position. Just couldn't never make up that ground. Good effort, good race car. I'm real proud of this team and I'm looking forward to starting this Chase."
LETS TALK ABOUT THAT CHASE AS WE GET READY TO START, WE GO TO NEW HAMPSHIRE FIRST, TALK ABOUT YOUR CHANCES, YOU, STEVE LETARTE AND THIS TEAM AND HOW THINGS ARE GOING TO BE IN THESE NEXT TEN FOR YOU GUYS. "We take every race one at a time. Obviously it hasn't been the best of year for us up to this point. We're searching; we're working hard and come together as a team the best we can. We put out that best effort every single weekend thinking that we can win and our teammate Jimmie Johnson is obviously on a role here. These are two good tracks, these last ones. We've got to take advantage of the ones that are good for us.
"Try to learn what we can and work together with our teammate and hope that we surprise them in this Chase."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET IMPALA SS, Finished 5th in the race and is not in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship:
"This was a great effort by this U.S. Army team. We had poor track position most of the day and then got behind on a bad pit stop, but these guys just dug in and we fought back for a top-five.
"We had a really good Chevy Impala SS today, but it was really hard to pass in all the traffic. Qualifying getting rained out on Friday really hurt us, as we would have probably started closer to the front and had a lot less traffic to deal with."
-credit: gm racing