Sears Point: GM teams race quotes, notes

Sears Point: GM teams race quotes, notes
Jun 26, 2007, 9:36 PM

RCR Teammates Lead Seven Chevy Impala SS Drivers to Top-10 Finishes at Infineon Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer Finish Second, Third and Fourth Respectively in Save Mart 350K Sonoma, CA - Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala ...

RCR Teammates Lead Seven Chevy Impala SS Drivers to Top-10 Finishes at Infineon

Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer Finish Second, Third and Fourth Respectively in Save Mart 350K

Sonoma, CA - Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala SS, brought home a solid second place run at Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, California after heeding the advice of his crew chief to save enough fuel for one lap around the 1.99-mile/11turn road course.

The race came down to a battle on and off the track. While the driver's were doing all they could turning left and right, the crew chiefs were planning unique strategy and calculating and recalculating fuel mileage. The RCR fleet of Chevrolet Impala SS race cars were virtually the best cars on the track, delivering the performance needed as well as excellent fuel management.

Harvick's Richard Childress Racing (RCR) teammates, Jeff Burton, No. 31 AT & T Impala SS and Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS followed Harvick under the checkered flag of the 110-lap/350K race.

A total of seven Chevy Impala SS driver's scored top-10 finishes in this afternoon's race, round 16 of the 36-race NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Season. Just 10 races remain until the start of the Chase for the Championship.

Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Impala SS, Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS and Kyle Busch, No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Impala SS finished sixth, seventh and eighth respectively. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEX Express Impala SS finished 10th in the final order.

A total of 10 Team Chevy drivers leave Infineon Raceway in the top-12 of the NNCS standings. Gordon continues to lead followed by Hamlin and Johnson. Burton sits in fifth as the series to New Hampshire International Speedway for round 17 on July 1, 2007.



"Our whole Shell-Pennzoil team did a great job today on our Chevrolet. We knew were close, and Todd (Berrier) came on the radio and said I had 20 laps to give him one. I let the No. 42 go and really felt like I saved a lot of gas, Just tried to stay in front of the No. 5 and No. 99 by being just fast enough to do that. We saved enough and that was what we had to do. You always want to win, but in the big picture, that is what we had to do."



"This is just a great effort by everyone at RCR. They have worked really hard last year and this year on the fuel mileage. At Watkins Glen and these places, it paid off for us today. We certainly had a great car, probably at least a top-10 car. We got really loose the second run and really tight the third run. The first run we were really good. Good run for us, ran competitive all day. I spent couple days a couple weeks ago at the Kevin Harvick Institute of Road Course driving and that helped me a lot. I got my degree and everything. It didn't cost a lot, it was pretty cheap, anybody looking to go."



"It was tough. Man, I'll tell you, at the first of the race I was worried. I was going backwards faster than I'd ever seen anybody go backwards. But we made a good adjustment on the car. When we got going we got past some cars and got going the right way. And Gil made a good call there in the pits on the fuel mileage and at the end we were so far out we could just coast. And literally, we were all just talking about that. We were just pushing in the clutch and coasting as much as we could."



"It was a great run. I thought Steve Letarte and everyone on the DuPont Chevrolet just called this race perfectly to come from that far back to a top-10. We had a great car, once we got in to some clean air we made some good lap times. We played the strategy the best way we possibly could. We had some cautions fall our way, which was some good fortune for us to gain some spots. Those guys were able to make it all the way, we just weren't and had to come in for a splash and go. It was fun racing with Tony (Stewart), I think he is one of the greats out here. I don't mind if we bump and bang every once and a while as long as we don't crash. It was fun to be up there, to come from that far back. I will tell you what, it was tough. I thought there for a few times I wasn't going to be passing any cars, I just couldn't make any passes. Early on we were real tight, finally got the car freed up and that helped us."

HOW MUCH OF AN IMPACT WAS IT FOR YOU TO HAVE TO START AT THE BACK? "Oh, it was a huge impact. My gosh. This place is nearly impossible to come from that far back. Steve made some great calls again. We did everything we possibly could and I think a 7th is a great finish."

ON FAILING INSPECTION FRIDAY "What happened to us on Friday was huge. I think it had a trickle affect through this garage area that they are coming down this hard on this type of infraction. All of us are blown away and we don't know what's coming next. We are at the mercy of NASCAR and I hope they are light on us, but who knows?

DO YOU THINK THEY WERE FAIR IN THEIR TREATMENT OF YOU? "This is a new car and things are different. I think the punishment on Friday fit the crime. I think that anything further than that is going to be extremely disappointing and really kind of a jaw-dropper. But really, I've seen crazy things happen this year so I'm not wishing or expecting anything less than anything else."

ON MONTOYA'S WIN "He's just like what we all expected him to be. He's talented and extremely aggressive. When he calmed down and was smooth, he was extremely fast. They obviously played a great pit strategy. I don't think he had the car to beat for the win on speed-wise, but the fastest car doesn't always win. I was expecting him to be a little faster, I'll admit. But hey, he won the race. He's extremely talented and has a tremendous amount of car control."



"We lost a little time on pit road. I think I was in the wrong gear on pit road and that ended up costing us track position, which ended up costing us from getting up in the top-10. We had a good strategy. Maybe just a little too loose but still I ended up passing a lot of cars. I was running with the No. 7 at the end. I think we had the speed. We just unfortunately didn't get up as high in the finishing order as we wanted."



"It wasn't what we wanted in the end, obviously. But we finished in the top 20. We thought we were going to do a little bit better than that. A lot of guys could stretch their fuel mileage a lot further than what we could. We wanted to make sure we finished, so that's what we ended up with. The car was decent. We thought we were going to be able to get a top 10, but things just sort of fell apart there."



"We did exactly what we planned because our fuel mileage was what it was. That's what dictated our race. Sometimes you catch the cautions and sometime you don't, and today the last caution fell about six laps too soon. If it fell a little bit later, it wouldn't have been a big deal. We would've been in really good shape. But what it did was give all of the slow cars an opportunity to come in and put tires on and save fuel. And there's no way in the word we could've saved that much (fuel), unless there was another caution. It's just disappointing."



"The DLP guys had a decent strategy and a good plan. We were running in the top five and then led a little bit. Then, as is my luck, the lap that we were going to pit (Lap 43) it went yellow and we pitted and went all the way back to 38th. We never really recovered from that. We raced our way back to 15th. There was debris in (Turn) 10 and apparently there was debris in the front straight. I saw what was in (Turn) 10 and I should have pitted. That's a call that a driver sometimes has to make and I should have just dove into the pits, but oh well."

HOW SURPRISED WERE YOU THAT THERE WASN'T A CAUTION IN THE LAST 40 LAPS? "I don't know how many of these I've done, five or six maybe - I have never seen it go green that long. Usually you can't count on at least four cautions in the last dozen laps. But, we just didn't get one. It was a long time on that last set of tires."



"No question we had a top-five car today. It's the best car I've had here (at Sonoma), and I also drove better than I think I ever had before on a road course, so I'm damn proud overall. We weren't the fastest car on the restarts, but after four or five laps, we could out-run almost anyone. I felt really racy and it was exciting to make a lot of passes on guys that are considered some of the best in the world. It's frustrating to end up without a finish that shows how good we were. But we did what we had to do. We had a two-stop strategy for the day - and we stopped on the laps we believed were the best strategy. We really didn't think any of those guys who stopped before we did could make it to the end on fuel. If we had a green-white-checkered finish, we would have seen a lot more guys run out of fuel and we would have been cruising to the finish. But, they made it somehow and we ended up - again - without a top-10 here. But, no matter what the finishing order says, this is the best we've ever done here from start to finish. The way the car performed and the way this team is working together - whether you wanna talk about pit stops or preparing a car that qualified third - I'm excited about next week and the week after that. We're really improving all the time. I'm real proud of everyone at DEI for the cars I've enjoyed driving the last few months."

-credit: gm racing

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