PAUL MENARD, NO. 15 MENARDS IMPALA SS TELL US ABOUT THAT LAST LAP FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE. "It's plate racing. It's hard to make a move. I thought Regan (Smith) had it. That was cool to see him beat him to the line but I guess he went...
PAUL MENARD, NO. 15 MENARDS IMPALA SS
TELL US ABOUT THAT LAST LAP FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE. "It's plate racing. It's hard to make a move. I thought Regan (Smith) had it. That was cool to see him beat him to the line but I guess he went underneath the yellow line or whatever. DEI (Dale Earnhardt, Inc.) horsepower with ECR engines. Very cool day for DEI and I'm definitely looking forward to finishing out the year with these guys."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS
WILD RACING HERE AT TALLADEGA, YOUR THOUGHTS FROM THE DRIVER SEAT OF THE AT&T CHEVROLET IN THE FINAL LAPS AND FOR THAT MATTER THE ENTIRE RACE. "I thought we did a good job today. Had teammates that really helped me out a lot today Clint (Bowyer) there at the end and Kevin (Harvick) early in the race. I thought all three of us worked really well there together and helped each other a lot. We ran well. All of us ran well but more importantly we came out of here good. Any time you get a top-five at Talladega you've got to be happy with it. Certainly rather win but this was a tough place and just getting out of here with a top-five is always a good thing.
"We had a very good points day today. There is still a lot of good racing left. I am just really proud of my team and my teammates. We worked well together out there and showed some strength. It was a good day for our AT&T Chevrolet. Now we head to Charlotte."
ARIC ALMIROLA, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET IMPALA SS
"Let me tell you, we were much better than 13th today. I got shuffled out of the draft at the end and was left without a pusher (drafting partner). It's hard to swallow, because we had a really, really fast car today. All we needed was a strong drafting partner, but we never got one.
"This was a great day for DEI and I just wish I could have been up there at the finish with my teammates Regan (Smith) and Paul (Menard). I thought it was pretty cool that three DEI cars were running second, third and fourth for the final restart. I just had an awesome car today and our finish should have been much better."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET IMPALA SS
CAREER-BEST FINISH FOR FURNITURE ROW RACING "We had an awesome car, awesome motor and an awesome weekend of racing," said Joe Nemechek, whose 11th-place finish was a career best for the 3-year-old Furniture Row Racing team. "It was a fun race. We went to the back then to the front and fortunately we missed a couple of big wrecks. A very cerebral race. I had a shot at the end, but lost my position in the draft. I think I gave Tony (Stewart) too good of a push. We qualified strong (7th) and finished strong. We put it all together. This is the kind of weekend we've been working for. The performance will give our team a big morale boost for the closing races."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIEL'S IMPALA SS:
"The last 20 laps, you are just digging, you just keep getting closer and closer to the eye of the storm. Then right there the last five, it is wild. The green-white-checkered there just weren't enough cars to get bunched back up to have much of a race there. Regan (Smith) tried to make a good race out of it. I would like to say thank you to the ECR (Earnhardt Childress Racing) guy. They have really come a long way on our motors. They had a good show there at the end of the race and I am really proud of those guys for their hard work."
"This is big. This race can bog you down in the points big time. If you look at some of the Chasers that had trouble. Jimmie was one of the only ones up front that got through it. He padded his point lead. We did what we had to do. We were able to capitalize on some people's misfortunes. The Jack Daniel's Chevrolet lives to race another day."
DO YOU HAVE A SENSE OF RELIEF TO GET THROUGH THIS? "It is every bit of what you see on TV, it is wild. Just real proud of all these guys. Bringing a backup car out and working their tales off and had a good run."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE REGAN SMITH PASS TO TRY TO WIN? "I mean, what is supposed to do? Spin him out? He tried. Unfortunately they didn't allow that to happen. That is a judgment call and that is what makes this exciting."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS
A TOP 10 FINISH MUST FEEL LIKE A VICTORY "It does, especially with what took place with the No. 99 (Carl Edwards) and the No. 16 (Greg Biffle). But we had our fair share of problems today. We didn't have speed in the car like we wanted to. We've got to figure out what happened there. It started yesterday with qualifying. We weren't sure what was going on and today, the car was pretty flat still. I lost the draft at the start of the race because I couldn't hang on and then from there we got our lap back and dodged wrecks and raced really hard. We had great pit calls and all those things. It was a great team effort for all of us today. I'm mentally drained after today's performance. There were a lot of highs and lows and I'm very happy with a 10th place tools for this Kobalt Tools Impala."
ON HAVING A 68 POINT ADVANTAGE "We just keep racing. And we race smart and we do what we can. I've realized in the past that the whole sport falls into a comfort zone and thinks that 60, 80, or 100 points is a big gap. But truly, that can go away in a hurry. So, I'm happy that it is what it is, but I know there is a lot of racing ahead of us. If I had a 68 lead going into Homestead, I'd feel a lot better. But 68 with six to go, there's plenty of racing left."
A NIGHTMARE TURNED INTO A DECENT DREAM. IT STARTED OUT WITH A VIBRATION IN PRACTICE, LOSING THE DRAFT, POSSIBLE POWERTRAIN ISSUES, BUT YOU WOUND UP SAVING FACE "We did. It was just a lot of hard work today to get a good finish out of the car. We were really puzzled as to why it didn't have more speed. You know the body and chassis and all the stuff is really good. Chad (Knaus) is great about that stuff. And even the engine department; they do an awesome job. I don't know why our car wouldn't pull up and suck up. I noticed it was flat on Friday and then again today in the race with that same characteristic. I'm glad it stayed running and made it to the end. But we'll get this baby on the chassis dyno tomorrow and take a look at it tomorrow. I'm just happy, truthfully, to have a straight race car leaving here. This is the first time I've had a straight race car leaving Talladega in quite a long time."
DO YOU FEEL A SIGH OF RELIEVE THAT TALLADEGA IS OVER? "Oh, without a doubt. When you look at the trouble that Chasers had today, that's what we all feared. And the two cars, the No. 16 and the No. 99 rode in the back all day long until it was time to go. You still get all these guys together at once racing for the win and stuff happens. And it certainly did. And you wouldn't think it would between two teammates, but it did. I don't know how I got through too, to be honest with you. But it was a solid day and an awesome finish."
WAS YOUR HEART IN YOUR THROAT IN THE END? WERE YOU WONDERING HOW YOUR SURVIVED THE WHOLE THING? "I was afraid the horseshoe was going to fall out at some point (laughs). I missed a lot of wrecks. We got our lap back. It was just a very emotional day, draining across the board. But this team has a lot of fight and we fought hard all day long to put ourselves in contention at the end and we got a good finish out of it."
AT THE END, YOU AND CHAD WERE DISCUSSING ON THE RADIO YOUR OPTIONS ABOUT GOING FOR THE WIN OR BEING CONSERVATIVE, WHAT DID YOU DECIDE? "I tried to go, and the car would just not suck up or accelerate all day long. And they dropped the green flag and I took off and the No. 31 (Burton) and the No. 07 (Bowyer) laid back and hooked up bumper to bumper and got a good run. But I couldn't even accelerate and hang on to the cars in front of me. So I was kind of in no-man's land and they came thundering by and the next thing you know, I'm the last car in that lead draft. And I was hanging on just to stay there, too. I don't know why the car wouldn't suck up and go.
"I felt comfortable being aggressive in the end with such a small group of guys. I had a feeling to stay single file and maybe if we get an outside lane going, I could get a top five or something out of it. But it just didn't accelerate on that restart. I couldn't go anywhere."
CAN YOU BELIEVE A DAY THAT STARTED LIKE IT DID FOR YOU, ENDS WITH A 68 POINT LEAD IN THE POINTS? "That's NASCAR racing. That's the Chase. That's each race. When you have 500 miles at any track, anything can happen. And that's why I'm happy that I'm 69 points up on the guys, but I'm still not comfortable. There is so much racing between now and Homestead. If we had 68 points going into Homestead, I'd be much more optimistic. But right now, I've got to keep my head down and keep digging for points."
ARE YOU LIVING RIGHT? "I hope so. I hope that I'm good for six more."
ON THE YELLOW LINE RULE, IS IT EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF OR IS THAT A NASCAR JUDGMENT CALL? "From what I understand, It's a judgment call. From what I understand before the race started, if you have the flagman in sight, you are able to go below the yellow. And I think that is an arguable point. If I was in the No. 01 car, I'd be arguing the hell out of it right now. If I was in the No. 20, I'd say no way, couldn't see him (laughs). So I'm sure there is going to be a lot of discussion about this one this week."
ISN'T THERE SOMETHING ABOUT THE LAST LAP? "There is, which I don't necessarily agree with. I think if there is a yellow rule line, there is a yellow rule line, period. We can have one hell of a mess and hurt some people with guys trying to get down on the apron and thankfully Regan did a good job of hanging onto it, but you could see the car was not comfortable coming through there. And if you had somebody bump-drafting him, it would have made it worse. But I learned before the race started that there was this deal where if you could see the flagman, it was a free-for-all. And I hope they consider changing that and just making the yellow rule the yellow rule."
HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT IT? "Oh, just the drivers were talking about it before the race started. People started talking about it and evidentially Regan heard it as well because he went down there to try and win the race (laughter)."
DID THAT COME OUT OF THE TRUCK RACE? "Yeah, I think it came out of the Truck race yesterday. There was a comment made. I think Phil Parsons made it about coming to checkered, if you can see the flagman, you can go below the yellow line. And evidentially a lot of people were watching the Truck race (laughs)."
-credit: gm racing