Tony Stewart Captures Centurion Boats at The Glen; Third Win in Four Races for Home Depot Chevrolet Team and Fourth Cup Career win at Watkins Glen International Chevrolet Impala SS Drivers Score Seven of Top-10 Finishing Positions at Watkins...
Tony Stewart Captures Centurion Boats at The Glen; Third Win in Four Races for Home Depot Chevrolet Team and Fourth Cup Career win at Watkins Glen International
Chevrolet Impala SS Drivers Score Seven of Top-10 Finishing Positions at Watkins Glen International
Eighth win of season for new generation Impala SS race car
WATKINS GLEN, NY: Tony Stewart continued his traditional late-summer surge by capturing the win in today's running of the Centurion Boats at The Glen, Round 22 on the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) tour of 36 races. It was the third victory of the season for Stewart and the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet team, having scored back-to-back wins at Rounds 19 and 20 in Chicago and Indianapolis. This is Stewart's fourth career win at Watkins Glen International and the 32nd of his NNCS career.
With just two laps remaining, the two-time NNCS champion was in second place behind leader Jeff Gordon,No. 24 DuPont Impala SS, when Gordon spun out in the first turn. Stewart took advantage of Gordon's uncharacteristic mistake and held off the competition for his third win in four races. "Trust me, I was the most shocked person," said the two-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) champion. "Our only shot of getting by him was to keep the pressure on him and hope he'd make a mistake."
Stewart's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Fed Ex Impala SS finished second and defending NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS finished third. Ace road racer, Ron Fellows, crossed the finish line in fourth place behind the wheel of the No. 96 DLP HDTV Impala SS.
Martin Truex, Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Impala SS, finished sixth followed by Kyle Busch, No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Impala SS, in seventh. Gordon righted himself and brought home the eighth-place finishing position.
Chevrolet also extended its lead in the Manufacturers' Cup title run, scoring its 17th win in the 22 NNCS events thus far in 2007.
A total of nine Bowtie drivers continue to hold spots in the top-12 in the standings with four races remaining until the Chase for the Nextel Cup Championship begins September 16 at New Hampshire International Speedway.
The next event for Team Chevy will be at Michigan International Speedway on August 19, 2007.
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER IMPALA SS - sidelined with motor failure:
ON WHAT HAPPENED: "We ended up having an issue with the motor. I think it was due to some of the downshifts I was doing during practice. We didn't turn anything over 10,000 (RPM) during the race, but during practice all weekend, I was having trouble with the car and struggling, I was using the downshift to slow the car down and get some speed out of the thing. We might have beat on the motor too hard this weekend, but they (engines) have been really good this year. We have had a lot of gremlins, but as far as failure in parts, rods and things like that, we haven't had them.
"I am real proud of my team. We were terrible all weekend but that car was good during the race. It was fun to drive. I thought we were putting on a show, we were working really hard and had something to be proud of and now all kind of disappointed but we will come back next week.
"We just beat on the motor too hard. I think we was just too rough on it. The motor was good. The car was really, really good. We were terrible all weekend and they just threw something underneath it this morning and look where we were running. We were jut as good as some of the cars out there. We were equal to the No. 24 if I wanted to really push the issue. I don't think I could catch him, but he could have made a mistake or something and I might have been able to get a win. But I think we had everybody else beat. So I'm pretty proud of that."
ON MAKING THE TOP 12: "It won't be easy, but we've done a whole lot harder stuff than that. I can handle it. We'll jut come back and try again. I'm going to make sure that I show my confidence in my team and make sure that I show them that I'm not giving up and they'll follow suit. And they'll show me a thing or two. We'll get something out of this.
ON BEING ABLE TO OVERCOME THIS IN POINTS: "I am sure we can. We have overcome a whole not worse than this, that is saying a lot, but I think we will be able to overcome it quite a bit.
"I think we have a couple races left and there is no telling what is going to happen in those races. I'm ready for Michigan to start right now.
"We're going to have our work cut out for us. This engine trouble here is going to make it much more difficult than what we were looking at last week. But we're going to keep trying. We've got to keep trying. If we don't try, we'll be pretty damned ashamed of ourselves. So we've got to keep working."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL IMPALA SS:
ON WHAT HAPPENED WITH JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: "You just got run over. I guess the No. 1 ran over the No. 42. It's one of those things where our Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet was really good there at the end and it just felt like we'd saved our car enough to have a chance to win there and it all just goes up in smoke because some people get impatient. But I just hate it. I'm frustrated with the No. 42 (Montoya). It just seems like he runs over somebody every week."
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS:
ON THE CRASH: ""The No. 42 was trying to block the No. 1 and the No. 1 got in the back of the No. 42 and it all went downhill from there. I thought we were clear, but the No. 42 didn't hold the brake. He let his foot off the brake and let it roll back across the track and I had nowhere to go. Pretty disappointed. We didn't run very good today but we were going to salvage a top-10 out of it, instead, we will get 40th-whatever."
ON AFFECT ON POINTS: "We go to the race track every week trying to do the best we can do. That is all we can do. I am not going to get caught up in the points. I didn't get caught up in them last year when we were leading with four or five to go, I didn't get caught up in it then and I am not going to get caught up in it now. We will just keep going to the race track taking car of business, keeping our nose to the grindstone so to speak. Keep building better cars and me do a better job of driving it. This situation doesn't change the way we are going to try and prepare ourselves for a race weekend."
TONY STEWART, NO. 20 HOME DEPOT IMPALA SS - Winner
ON WHAT HAPPENED TO JEFF GORDON WITH TWO LAPS TO GO: "Basically it was the same thing that I lost it in turn one. It was both of ours (Gordon) to lose today. Jeff and I by far had the best two cars. I just made a mistake and wheel-hopped it, was the biggest thing. We just had to keep fighting back; it was a hard job fightin' back through there.
"We just had to keep the pressure on Jeff and hope he made a mistake and that is what happened."
ON HOW DIFFICULT TO GET BACK THROUGH THE FIELD AFTER SPIN AND GETTING BACK ON TRACK IN 19TH "This thing was terrible 10-deep in traffic. The further forward we got, the better it was. The Good Lord was with us today. I gave it away and I got it back the same way I lost it.
"The further forward we got, the better off we were. I didn't want those cautions late, I wanted to run a long green flag run. I felt we had a shot at it if we could run them down. But Jeff, was tough, he was very strong. Carl (Edwards) caught me off guard even at the end there. I had my spotter tell me about Blaney going up the hill there and lost a little momentum, gave Carl a run there.
"But this thing was awesome the last lap."
ON WHAT HAPPENED WHEN HE SPUN IN TURN ONE: "The driver just screwed up. I wheel-hopped it going down in to turn one. Should have just used up more race track than I did, but I just made a mistake. It was pretty bad knowing you had the best car out there and give it away like that. Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief) and Mark Robertson (spotter) kept me calm. We just took them one at a time from there.
"When I went through the inner-loop there later in the race, it was just hard to turn when you can't see the race track. I had Carl (Edwards) right along side of me and Denny in front of me and I just never saw the corner. I knew where I thought it should be, but never did see it. That is the cool thing about running with Denny and Carl, all three of us were hanging on there for dear life and never touched each other. That was pretty fun.
"I didn't want that caution to come out there because we had got to second, the caution put us back to third, but we made it back around all right."
ON PASSING DENNY (HAMLIN): "I just got a good run on him there. Track position is so important with these cars and it was hard to pass so if you got a run, you had to do everything you could to take it. But I made sure I gave him room off of one there. I tried to give him enough room to not get him in a bad spot. He was racing Carl too. Just trying to keep him from getting passed by Carl."
ON END OF THE RACE: "We couldn't do anything with Jeff there near the end. All we could do is what we did there which was keep the pressure on. There were parts of the track that I was faster, and there were spots of the track where he was faster. We definitely had the best two cars all day. The bad thing for Jeff is he didn't have the number of laps I had to recover from it. That was our only shot to keep the pressure on him. These things are so aero dependent that you have to work really hard to get a run there."
ON RECORD ON ROAD COURSES NOW WITH RICKY RUDD, RUSTY WALLACE, RICHARD PETTY, BOBBY ALLISON: "That is awesome. That is a pretty impressive group of drivers to be included in. Those guys were all great champions and all great Nextel Cup racers. To be in that group is something we are pretty proud of. This whole team has always taken a lot of pride in our road course program. We always know what we need and how I need the car to feel on race day. Once we get it there we leave it. Like yesterday, we stopped like 20-25 minutes left in practice. I knew we were where we wanted to be. It was just adjusting to today's conditions. We just parked it and waited for today and if it weren't for the fact I screwed up and lost it for us early, we all wouldn't have had to work so hard today."
RON FELLOWS, NO. 96 DLP HDTV IMPALA SS - Finished 4th:
"This is awesome. We continue to step on, well whatever, I apparently sped down pit lane, so that cost us and we had to go to the back of the longest line. But Brandon Thomas and all of the guys here at Hall of Fame racing did such a good job.. I want to thank Bill Saunders for the opportunity.
"Man, I would have liked that race to go another five more laps. It just helps to have a really good piece. The Impala these guys provided for me is just terrific. Thanks to Texas Instruments for the opportunity. This isn't a win, but we have had a little bit of bad luck, so this is cool."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS - Finished 3rd
"Great day. The last two weeks we have been able to finish where we have been running. That is really all you can ask for. Just really proud of this whole Lowe's team and all the hard work they put in week in and week out. Next week we are excited, we will have Chad (Knaus) back and look forward to getting a win here real soon.
"At times, it was pretty wild out there today. I was caught up in a few things. I think at times, some guys just take it for granted that they have bumpers. The No. 42 finally has a bumper and he is running people over, ran me over and spun me out which was unfortunate, but at least we recovered from it. But all in all a good day for us. It is just short tracks and road course, everybody gets hot and heavy and you have this kind of stuff and it puts on a good show for the fans."
DENNY HAMLIN, NO. 11 FEDEX IMPALA SS - Finished 2nd:
"I was just too busy trying to fend off the No. 99 and couldn't concentrate on my own marks to try and get around the No. 24. I felt like I should have probably just nudged him a little bit there at that one point, that let Tony get by me. If I had nudged him (Jeff Gordon) and got out in clean air, wow, this race could have been ours. It was still a great one-two finish for Joe Gibbs racing.
"I couldn't believe it when I saw Carl (Edwards) go straight there on the last lap. I knew there was dust out there in turn six, my spotter told me so, so I took it a little easier, but it looked like he hit it."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS - Finished 9th:
ON WHAT HAPPENED: "Pretty much the same thing that happened to Tony (Stewart) earlier in the race in the braking zone getting in to turn one. Just stupid. I knew I had to push, Tony was really good. I wanted that win really bad. Points don't mean anything. I pushed and I pushed too far. What happened is the team deserved to win and the driver didn't get it done.
"I'm just disappointed because we were terrible yesterday in practice and this team worked so hard to get us a good race car today. I was driving the wheels off of it and they were doing an awesome job in the pits and making good calls and put us in position to win that race and I don't like giving up wins. I don't like making mistakes. That mistake is not a difficult one to make. That corner is ridiculously difficult and we were having brake issues all weekend. I saw Tony do it and I knew I needed to make sure I didn't do it and I didn't do it all day until it came down to when it counted. I'm just disappointed."
DOES THIS HURT WORSE THAN ANYTHING YOU'VE DONE LIKE THAT IN A LONG TIME? "Hey, anytime you do something like this; it's not the first time I've done it. It's always something different. Anytime you've got a shot at winning a race; it was just like at Texas earlier this year when I brushed the wall. I was extremely disappointed in myself then and I'm disappointed now. I'll get over it and actually I'm so angry right now. I told the guys last time I'd make it up to them and I plan on doing that again."
EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE CAR GETS AWAY LIKE THAT: "The track ripples down into (Turn) 1 and it's downhill so you're hard on the brakes. You really can't even get close to maximum brake pressure on the pedal going into Turn 1 because it's a little bit rough and the rear tires just start bouncing. You have to be very careful with how much speed you carry in there. Late in the race when Tony was pushing me, I pulled away from him a little bit and I felt pretty comfortable that I wasn't having to push that hard into (Turn) 1. But he started gaining back on me a little bit and I didn't feel like I could give up at any spot, so I was just trying to take advantage of every area I thought that we could make up time."
DID YOU HAVE A GOOD BRAKE PEDAL AT THAT POINT? "Oh, yeah. My brake pedal was awesome all day. Stock cars in general, the type of driveline and weight and that it's just a big car and a little tire, it's always been an issue. You talk about wheel-hop; nobody knows exactly what causes it. Is it just the brakes? Is it driveline and brakes? But it's probably one of the biggest challenges that we have in road racing. It's not difficult to do. We saw Tony Stewart do it earlier in the race and I did it too. I hate to give that win to Tony. He was strong. He was probably the car to beat. We were probably a second-place car. But I saw an opportunity to try to take advantage of it and it didn't work out."
WHAT WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE, THE BONUS POINTS OR THE TROPHY? "The bonus points."
ON THE IMPACT ON THE CHASE: "We gave up 20 (points) because I didn't get the 10 that would have kept him from getting the 10 (laughs). Had I won, I would have gained 10 points so I would have been 20 points more ahead of him than I am now. So, I'd probably take that back. I'd probably rather have had the trophy than the bonus points. I think we can beat him in the final 10 races so, whether we're ahead or behind in the bonus points. The whole thing is, I was shocked that we ran as good as we did today. We were terrible yesterday. I didn't think we were going to have a car anywhere close to those guys when I looked at the timesheets in practice. So I'm extremely proud of this team. I think that's what makes it more difficult is how good of a job that Jeff Meeandering and this team did while Steve (Letarte) wasn't here and I just feel like we gave up a win. That's the disappointing part."
WITH YOUR 9TH PLACE FINISH, YOU CLINCHED A SPOT IN THE CHASE: "I hate to act coy like that but we're in a different position than other guys are. For us, we're just looking at things differently. That's not even an issue for us right now, it's about trying to win races and get bonus points and get ourselves ready for that Chase. It's an interesting battle back there for 10th, 11th, and 12th; and I know that's a story, but it's not our story."
ON TONY STEWART "He's been strong here for a long time and he's going to be tough in the Chase. It's going to be interesting. The thing is you definitely can't make those kinds of mistakes in the Chase. Right now, I'm not points racing so I probably mentally push myself harder than physically because I know the points aren't on the line. It's more about the win. In the Chase, I'll make sure we don't make those kinds of mistakes."
BUT HAD YOU WON, YOU SAID YOU WOULD HAVE HAD 20 MORE POINTS THAN TONY: "That's true. No, you're right. In a way, I guess we are (points racing), but the Chase hasn't started yet. It's just going to be a different mentality. Like you say, it's a bonus. You're not actually focused on it. Right now, it's hard to think of it as the difference between the championship, but it could be I guess."
ON HOW WILD THE RACE WAS BEHIND HIM AT THE END: "I know; I didn't really see a whole lot of that. I didn't know what was going on. I saw a replay of it on TV and it was kind of nuts back there."
DOES IT SEEM LIKE IT WAS YOUR TURN TO HAVE BAD LUCK? "That wasn't bad luck. Trust me. When you drive in the corner too deep and you step on the brake pedal too hard and you wheel-hop, it's not bad luck. That was all my foot."
-credit; gm racing