BRIAN VICKERS , NO. 25 GMAC MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 3rd: ON HIS RUN: "It was a good run for us all day. The GMAC team did a great job in the pits (and were) consistent all day. We may not have had the fastest pit stops but we were definitely...
BRIAN VICKERS , NO. 25 GMAC MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 3rd:
ON HIS RUN:
"It was a good run for us all day. The GMAC team did a great job in the pits (and were) consistent all day. We may not have had the fastest pit stops but we were definitely consistent. There were times we gained spots but I don't think we ever came out of the pits losing any spots. That's really what matters when you can do that all day long so I was real proud of those guys. Lance (McGrew, crew chief) made some good calls. You hear Tony (Stewart) and it worked for him. He finished second. He was in the back most of the day trying to avoid the wrecks. We took a different approach. We felt like being in front of them was better. Both philosophies worked out. We tried to run up front all day. We were there most of the day. Once we got up through there, it was pretty calm most of the day. From where we were I know there were several wrecks. Then there at the end it got dicey. I'm sure we're going to have questions about teammates. We were racing for the win there at the end. All I can say is Jeff (Gordon), Jimmie (Johnson) and I worked great together all day long. We helped each other when the other was in trouble. We helped each other stay up front all day long. When it comes down to the end of the race, one, two, three is great but the problem is all three of us want to finish one. That's where the problem lies. All bets are off. I don't think there's any hard feelings about it. They did their job. Jimmie did his. He had an awesome run there on the last lap. We went high to block, went low. I just didn't get low quite fast enough."
DID YOU GET AN EXPLANATION FROM KYLE BUSCH ON WHAT HAPPENED ON SATURDAY DURING THE BUSCH RACE?
"We worked together all day yesterday. There at the end he chose not to go with us. Hey, I wish he would have went with us but the first move I probably made too early. The car behind him wasn't going to go with him so I can't say that that was the wrong call that he made. I think if we would have both went, we would have been fine. Who knows? There at the end of the race the last couple of laps, (it was) the same thing you saw today. We're all going for the same spot. When it comes down to the last two laps, we're all racing for the same position."
DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU ARE UNDER PRESSURE WITH YOUR CONTRACT AND KYLE BUSCH WINNING RACES?
"As far as the pressure, I'll be honest with you. I really don't feel any pressure. Rick (Hendrick) has made that clear that he's happy, everybody is happy. As far as the contract situation, we don't divulge that information. There's no way anybody could know what year we are in our contract. We're all set there, taken care of and everybody is happy.
"We definitely haven't had some of the (best) performances we've had this year, some of it due to so many different things. We've had three engine failures this year. We had a couple mechanical problems. I sped on pit road in California. We had a fast car. It's not like we're really that far off. We definitely are not where we want to be or where we could be. It's not one problem. It's just a couple little things we need to work on. Going back all the way to 2004, we knew going into the 25 team and it wasn't where it needed to be and it was going to be a long process to get it there and we're still in the middle of that."
DO YOU WISH YOUR TEAMMATES HELPED YOU MORE AT THE END SO YOU COULD WIN?
"Great question. I wish there were 42 guys out there that would help. I wish all of them would help. It's easy for me to sit here and say 'Hey this would have been my first win Jimmie, why'd you try to pass me?' This was a win for him too just like it was a win for us. I can't hold a grudge against him for that. If he wouldn't have tried to pass me for a win on the last lap, I don't know if I would have respected that. We worked great together all day. Jimmie and I came up all the way to the front. He stuck with me. At times he probably didn't have to or shouldn't have and I did the same for him all day long. After the last pit stop we were bumper-to-bumper hooked up and went straight to the front. It wasn't like two laps and we went from the 20s to second and third or third and fourth or something like that. Like I said, when it comes down to the last lap I can't expect anything out of those guys. If they go with me, great. I'm going to go give them a hug afterwards but if they don't I'm not going to hold it against them."
NEAR THE END JIMMIE JOHNSON SEEMED THE LEAST LIKELY TO WIN. HOW DID HE DO IT?
"If I've learned anything from a speedway race, it's that nobody is in a least-likely position to win. You see guys come from anywhere to win these races on the last lap. We ended up getting in front of the 24. The 24 didn't have a real big run on us but he had a run on us in (turns) three and four. I managed to block the right way and I think it broke his momentum. I would assume he took his eyes off the mirror and Jimmie took any opportunity to get by him. That's hard for me predict what happened but from my mirror that's what I saw. While the 24 was consumed with passing us the 48 took advantage of that and ended up passing him. When it comes down to the end, anybody can win these races.
"I don't mean to say anybody but you've still got to know what you're doing but more than anything, you have to have friends. It is a chess game but it's politics. Like Tony (Stewart) said, at the end of the race the biggest thing is momentum. You're going to go with the line that has momentum but there is still a little bit of politics to it. He's (Jimmie) doing the right thing. He is doing exactly what he needs to be doing, making friends, staying out of trouble. If there's an accident and he's involved, they're going to look at him first. He did a great job today and did exactly what he needed to do from his vantage point. That's what's going to get people pushing you. Two years ago, it didn't matter if I made the same moves I made today. The guys behind me probably wouldn't have gone with me. It was irrelevant if we had a good car or not. When I pulled out to the pass the 24, the 20 probably wouldn't have went with me when I was a rookie. You've got to understand that. It's just part of the game. The biggest thing you can do to get those guys to go with you at the end of the races is do exactly what he's doing and trying to get respect and staying out of trouble."
WHAT HAPPENED ON LAP NINE? DID YOU GET INTO CARL EDWARDS? WAS IT TOO EARLY TO BE RACING FIVE WIDE?
"I'm not sure. You're going to have to look at the replay. I know he (Carl Edwards) didn't get into me and I didn't get into him. I think there was quite a bit of room between us. Now what was on the other side of him, I can't see. When we went off the turn, I had been following the 2 on the yellow line for probably a lap or so. I was right behind him and I stayed right behind him. My left sides were on the apron going into the corner. I couldn't have gotten any lower. I held my line for the last couple laps. As for what happened on the outside of me, I don't know if it was four-wide or five-wide. My spotter said four and I'm not going to say he did anything wrong. It may have just happened so fast. I have not seen the replay. There's no telling how somebody could have gotten five-wide that quick. Unfortunately it didn't work out."
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF HOW JOHNSON HANDLED THINGS HERE LAST YEAR AND DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM WHAT HE DID IN RESPONSE?
"I have learned a lot from Jimmie that being one incident. Jimmie probably handles himself as good if not better than anybody in the sport when it comes to the uphills and downhills. He handles both of them like a gentleman. There's always opportunities for me to learn from my teammates."