Polesitter JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVY MONTE CARLO (NO. 48 finished 37th), was hit by second-place Mark Martin on the pace lap, causing damage to the right front of Jimmie's Monte Carlo. Johnson pitted on the first lap, came out still on...
Polesitter JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVY MONTE CARLO (NO. 48 finished 37th), was hit by second-place Mark Martin on the pace lap, causing damage to the right front of Jimmie's Monte Carlo. Johnson pitted on the first lap, came out still on the lead lap, but was passed by the field on the third lap.
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF: "The damage is pretty extensive right now. Hopefully we can get a caution and get a chance to work on it a little bit. Jimmie's doing a great job. He's really learned how to draft pretty well. It's unfortunate that a mistake made by the 6 car there, whether it was a steering wheel (that) came off or whatever happened, cost us a chance to win this race. It's a terrible thing. I hate it for all the Lowe's employee/owners out there because they pour their hearts and souls into it just as much as what we do. It's just sad."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVY MONTE CARLO (42nd finisher), dropped to the back of the field and pitted on lap 126, with a valve-train problem. He is out of the race.
"Lost a retainer in one of the valve springs and dropped a valve, and probably some more things went from there. That was probably the first thing to go. I felt it lose power there and drop some rpm; it didn't seem the same. That thing was pretty strong; I was having a lot of fun. I could go to the back and come right back to the front. Man, I was just having a ball. My guys were just cranking out great stops, but that's unfortunate. That's been our misfortune all year long. We can't seem to get back-to-back great finishes and wins and kind of carry the momentum. This is a big bummer today."
"It seems like once we get something going our way we can't back it up. Either a problem or a crash. When the fortune's there, we're going to be on top^ÊI hope this doesn't knock us too far out of the (points)."
TONY EURY SR., CREW CHIEF, NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVY MONTE CARLO, ON LAP 171:
CAN YOU MAKE IT ON FUEL? "Yeah. Dead on it. Computer says we're going to run out when we take the checkered flag. I feel sure it will make it. We ran that far all day. We figured it up this morning what we had to do; we figured we could stop one time less than the rest of the guys. Richie Gilmore and all those guys did a great job on the engine this week. We thought we were beat yesterday in practice; we had some fast cars out there. The ones that were beating us are all in the garage right now. Hopefully ours will make it to the end. We'll make some woman up there a millionaire today. We're just hoping we'll go caution free here."
JEFF GREEN, NO. 30 AOL CHEVY MONTE CARLO (fifth): "We had an awesome AOL Chevy. Just got beat around by the 97, when we made a run on 97 there for third or fourth; he pushed me all over the wall, about wrecked. That's what he's supposed to do. I don't like this kind of racing. It's just very mentally draining; it works on your mind too much. When you've got a great race car like this you can't let the guys down; we had to go for it. We got close to getting that million. We're up again for Daytona; so we're happy about it."
YOUR OPINION ON THE FUEL CELL: "I don't think it did anything. Well, I don't know, it might have split them up a little bit for the first couple or three stops, it didn't do nothing. We got great gas mileage with this Chevrolet so that worked in our benefit today."
WHY SO CLEAN A RACE TODAY, NO YELLOWS, NO WRECKS? "I think everybody was cautious with what they were doing. Every body allowed everybody enough room. That's what it takes. That's what these Winston Cup guys are all about. They know they've got to get to the end; that's what we did today."
YOU HAVE TO THRILLED FOR YOUR TEAM: "I'm pretty happy. They give me great race cars every weekend. It's up to me to take care of them. They did that today. Just got great fuel mileage and the car handled well all day and the motor ran really good. My hat's off to RCR and AOL. Everybody gives me this opportunity; I couldn't do without them."
STEVE PARK, NO. 1 PENNZOIL CHEVY MONTE CARLO (sixth): ON THE FUEL CELL:
YOU GOT TO ENJOY SOME OF THAT DALE JR. RESTRICTOR-PLATE SUCCESS: "Yeah. It was great. I'm just real happy for Junior, he did a great job. It's good to see Dale Jr. win, he was going for the million bucks. He had a strong car. I don't know what happened to Michael; he had a strong car too."
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR WIRELSS CHEVY MONTE CARLO (12th):
YOU WERE LEADING, WHAT HAPPENED? "Nothing happened. We just knew we were going to pit, so we could afford to stay on the left side, the bottom groove, and we stayed there for a long time. Probably pitted one or two laps early the time or two before. We had a good car. The guys worked hard all weekend, led the race for a while. Just didn't get enough fuel mileage."
WHAT ABOUT THE FUEL CELL? "I don't know. I think it made it kind of interesting; there wasn't any wrecks, maybe that made it interesting for the fans as well. Strategy was different there; when to pit, not to pit. I had fun for a while."
MICHAEL WALTRIP, NO. 15 NAPA PARTS CHEVY MONTE CARLO (eighth): "We had it going on today. We're really proud of our effort and we're just prepared when we get here. They throw a new rule in, with the fuel cells, and we're able to take advantage of it to get as good gas mileage as anybody. And that's the key to being able to win the race today. We've just got a great team that is right on top of everything."
IS THE FUEL CELL DEAL MORE OF A PAIN FOR YOU? "I didn't really see where it made any difference. It was pretty cool, though, pitting more often. As good mileage as we're getting with these restricted engines I think that it was a good deal."
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE PIT STOP? "I don't know what happened. I stopped, did my normal deal and it fell off the jack. We'll just have to try to figure that one out."