Ft. Worth, TX - Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont/Nicorette Impala SS, finished second after starting on the pole of the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. After battling handling problems through the middle section of the race, Gordon rallied from a...
Ft. Worth, TX - Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont/Nicorette Impala SS, finished second after starting on the pole of the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
After battling handling problems through the middle section of the race, Gordon rallied from a lap down to score the runner-up position which pushed the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion to fifth in the Chase to the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings.
Gordon's finish pushed Chevrolet's lead in the Manufacturers' Cup battle to two points with two races remaining in the season.
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Impala SS, endured handling problems and track position to finish 15th at Texas. Johnson's points lead in the Chase with two races remaining in the season stands at 106 points.
Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS, finished fourth in the 334-lap/500-mile race. The solid run pushed him to sixth in the standings.
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala SS, finished seventh in race eight of the Chase. He is now seventh in the points order.
Martin Truex, Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Track Boats Impala SS, had a solid run in the Dickies 500, finishing in eighth position.
Jeff Burton, No. 31 AT&T Impala SS, remains fourth in the standings with a 13th place finish today.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. lost ground in the standings, now in 11th place, after a 20th place finish in the 34th race of the year.
Carl Edwards was the race winner with Jamie McMurray and Greg Biffle completing the top-five finishers.
Round nine of the Chase is set for November 9 at Phoenix International Raceway.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY / NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS -- Finished 20th:
ON FUEL MILEAGE STRATEGY "I told Tony Eury Jr., you know, don't worry about that (being short on fuel). We all tried to win the race and we win as a team and lose as a team. We need to figure out the fuel mileage deal because Jeff Gordon stayed out as well, and just figure out what we need to do. We probably just should have started saving a little bit earlier."
STEVE LETARTE, CREW CHIEF 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS -- Finished 2nd
WHAT WERE YOU THINKING THERE AT THE END? "We just played the hand we were dealt. We didn't have a good enough car to drive up to the front. We got behind on that one run. We got the Lucky Dog. The guys did a great job. Jeff (Gordon) drove a pretty smart race. When our car was off, he kept it in one piece and we knew we were close on fuel. I didn't think anybody could make it. I thought we had it won, to be honest. But that No. 99 (Carl Edwards); with about six to go they started backing up. It was too late. We couldn't catch him. There was no way we could push the issue."
IN YOUR MIND, WERE YOU CALCULATING WHAT FUEL THEY HAD LEFT VERSUS WHAT YOU HAD? "Yeah, I knew we had everybody beat. My concern was the No. 99 because he was so far ahead of us on the track. He had no pressure. I was hoping the No. 88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) would have stayed out longer, because that was pushing him to run harder. But when the No. 88 ran out (of fuel), I knew the No. 99 kinda had it won then. He just backed off. We did what we needed to do. The guys on the Nicorette / DuPont Chevrolet worked hard. This would have been a big one. I hate it. We just fell a little short."
BRAD KESELOWSKI, NO. 25 GODADDY.COM IMPALA SS, FINISHED 19TH:
"It was a good start. I am very happy with that. I am real happy with everyone on the GoDaddy.com Chevrolet. Lance (McGrew, crew chief) did a great job with pit calls. A good day, I learned a lot. I drove over my head a couple and got myself in some trouble. It probably cost us a couple spots there at the end. All in all still pretty happy with that. A good top-20 finish, the car has nicks and scratches but nothing we can't fix up."
MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS, FINISHED 8TH:
"It was a good day for the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet. We have had good starts here before but haven't always been able to put together a good finish. We struggled with the car the first 2/3 of the race then Bono (Kevin Manion, crew chief) made a great call late when we took two tires and went a round up on the track bar, it got us a lot of track position on pit road. We were able to able to hold it for the rest of the race. Again, a good day for us and we will get ready for Phoenix."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS IMPALA SS, FINISHED 15TH MAINTAINS 106 POINT LEAD IN THE CHASE TO THE SPRINT CUP:
"That's racing. We got off on the first run or two of the race and got down a lap. Then with the lack of cautions, we could just never get back on the lead lap. I ran around No. 16, No. 18, No. 07 those guys all day long and they finished in the top-five. If things could have been different we could have been up there but we just got behind at the start of the race and could never get back.
"There are two races left. I have known all along we were going to have to fight every week for this thing. We had a nice big points lead and we still have a great points lead, but in racing anything can happen and usually does. Today didn't go our way; it went the way the No. 99 needed, the No. 16 and those guys. We will go Phoenix, one of our great tracks and do it again next week.
"I hate it, we are definitely disappointed with the performance tonight, the first couple of runs. After that we were comparable, we were fair, we were doing what we needed to. We could just never get back on the lead lap and that is the way it goes."
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DAY TODAY? "Not a day we wanted. Once we got to through the second and third run we got the car back where it was competitive. We could run the top-five, top-10 on speeds but just couldn't get to that first car one lap down. With the very few cautions that we had we were just kind of in the position riding for a second after the race, just riding where we were. Frustrating we thought we were going to be better than than. We were off at the start of the race and got down a lap and with the lack of cautions we just couldn't get back on the lead lap. This deal is still far from over. I've been saying it all long. We 've got to fight hard and continue to fight hard and we're going to a great track for us next week and we'll see what we can do then."
HOW CHALLENGING HAS IT BEEN THE PAST TWO WEEKS COMING FROM ALL THE WAY BACK TO MAKE SOMETHING GOOD OUT OF WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN SOMETHING REALLY BAD? "That's what this team is really good at. In racing you have expect anything and everything and we had that last week and that came back to us and we were able to get a second. This week we could only salvage 15th but that's racing. Stuff happens and you just have to deal with it week to week and two more to go."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT/NICORETTE IMPALA SS, FINISHED 2ND:
"That Lucky Dog really played in our favor because we able to roll around there quite a few laps and come in later and top off, I conserved a little bit under yellow. When they said we were one lap short, I really wasn't that worried. I was still letting off real early. We didn't know the No. 99 was going to go for it, obviously a great call by Steve Letarte on the DuPont/Nicorette Chevrolet. Great team work all day. It was a heck of a fight for us. Started on the pole, the car was good. But we got off, kind of a typical Texas for us but fought our way back on the lead lap. Great, great strategy by Steve Letarte. Second is like a win for me here at Texas."
THIS MUST FEEL LIKE A WIN FOR YOU. "It sure does. What a crazy day for this DuPont/Nicorette Chevrolet. Real proud of Steve Letarte and all the guys on this team for not giving up. We struggled. We were good when we were out front at the beginning and fell back to fifth and we just kept trying to free it up through the middle and one time I got too loose and lost all the track position. Lost a lap. Had to fight our way back to get on the lead lap. I give them a lot of credit for being patient with everything all day and Steve Letarte for making that great call to come in and not only work on the car but get as much fuel in it as we could and go for it there at the end."
IN ALL HONESTLY HOW MUCH OF A GAMBLE WAS THAT CALL AT THE END TO GO FOR IT ON FUEL? "The Lucky Dog actually worked in our favor because when we got the Lucky Dog they closed the pits so the leaders had already come in and we had to ride around for quite a while and that gave us the few extra laps. Then when we pitted we just took our time with it. We were the only car that had to be at the tale end anyway and plus I saved on the caution laps. I was turning the engine off so I felt pretty confident that we could make it if we were only one lap short."
HOW CLOSE WERE YOU PULLING OFF THAT RUNNER-UP FINISH? "Well you know that Lucky Dog really played off in our favor because we were able to roll around there quite a few laps and come in later and top off. I conserved a little bit under yellow. So when they said we were one lap short I really wasn't that worried but I was still letting off real early and we didn't know the No. 99 (Carl Edwards) was gonna go for it. Obviously a great call by Steve Letarte on this DuPont/Nicorette Chevrolet. Great, great teammwork all day. It was a heck of a fight for us. We started on the pole, the car was good but we got off. Kind of typical Texas for us and fought our way back on the lead lap. Great, great strategy by Steve Letarte there at the end. Second is like a win for me here at Texas."
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS IMPALA SS, FINISHED 4TH:
"We were better in the heat of the day. Once it cooled off, we were hitting the splitter and the bumps were upsetting it off of four pretty bad. Kinda fought that throughout the whole race. But the Jack Daniel's Chevrolet was good. Had a lot of fun out there. It was a good call by Gil (Martin, crew chief). Those guys out-guts us, they had a little more guts than we did. Nonetheless a good run for us."
THAT TWO-TIRE STOP WAS OBVIOUSLY KEY TO YOU GUYS TONIGHT, BUT YOU WERE SOLID ALL NIGHT LONG TOO. "Yeah it was. We were better in the heat of the day. Once it cooled off we were hitting the splitter pretty hard and the bumps were upsetting it off of (turn) four pretty bad. Kind of fought that throughout the whole race but the Jack Daniels Chevrolet was really good. Had a lot of fun out there. That was a good call by Gil (Martin, crew chief). Those guys out guts us, they had a little more guts than we did but none the less that was a good run for us. Solid run."
FOURTH IS YOUR BEST FINISH IN THE CHASE, LED 36 LAPS TONIGHT AND YOU GUYS MADE A GUTSY CALL AT THE END AND GOT THE TRACK POSITION,WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT THIS TEAM AT THIS POINT IN THE SEASON? "Yeah it's go time. We want to get in the top five and (Jeff) Gordon you know he stayed out there. We'll run them down. I want to really finish the year off good with these guys, Gil (Martin, crew chief) and all the guys. Had a lot of fun with these guys on the Jack Daniel's Chevrolet and we want to finish strong."
YOU GUYS GAINED ONE POSITION IN THE POINTS, YOU'RE SIXTH NOW AND i KNOW THE GOAL IS TOP FIVE, LOOKING AHEAD TO PHOENIX WHAT CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO FROM THE NO. 07? "We gotta go. Phoenix is a good track for us. That's our type of race track so hopefully we can grab another top-five there and have a good day in the points."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS, FINISHED 12TH:
"That was just a great effort by this U.S. Army Team today. The car wasn't that good and we needed a little more speed, but I'm extremely proud about how we battled back to finish 12th. We had excellent pit stops and that really helped to save the day."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS -- Finished 13th:
"The AT&T Chevy wasn't good today. Luckily, we were able to overcome our poor qualifying effort but we weren't able to find the right combination to help our car's handling. It's disappointing because Texas has been a pretty good track for us. We weren't able to master it today."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS -- Finished 7th
"The Shell-Pennzoil Chevy was pretty good all day. Todd made a pretty good adjustment on the last pit stop and we were able to work our way up to seventh. I am looking forward to phoenix next week."
-credit: gm racing