NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
DUCK COMMANDER 500
TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER RACE NOTES & QUOTES
APRIL 7, 2014
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – sidelined on lap 12
ON WHAT HAPPENED:
“Just didn’t see the grass. Didn’t know the grass was down there. With the way the A-post is on these cars you can’t really see that good to that angle. I just didn’t have a good visual of where the apron and the grass was and got down in there pretty good. You can’t run through there they way they have these cars on the ground like that. Just a mistake on my part. I just didn’t know I was that close to the grass, and made a mistake.”
“I drove the car down there. I didn’t know we were that close the grass and was following the No. 43 (Aric Almirola). I thought I was taking a decent line through the dogleg. We were going low around the No. 42 (Kyle Larson) so I was lower than normal and just misjudged it. It tears the car up pretty good when you run through the grass.”
SOME DRIVERS WERE COMPLAINING OF A WET TRACK AT THE OUTSET. WAS THAT A FACTOR?
“It was no factor. I just made a mistake.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 JIMMY JOHN’S CHEVROLET SS – Sidelined on lap 28 with apparent engine issue.
“Something happened with the engine right after that restart. The Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS was really fast. It’s frustrating. I don’t know what else I can say. I didn’t get any indication that anything was going wrong. Hendrick engines are among the fastest and most reliable engines in the garage. We’ll take it back to the shop and figure out what happened. But that’s a disappointing end to the day.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 AXALTA/TEXAS A&M SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 2ND
A TWO TIRE CALL PUT YOU UP THERE FOR THE WIN ON THAT LAST LAP:
“That was a great call. We lost the handling a little bit when the sun came out. We were looking at about a sixth place finish there. We were really happy to see that caution and I think we learned a lesson in California when we took four (tires) there that maybe we would have been better off taking two (tires). Alan (Gustafson) and the guys they were great in the pits all day long. Man I so badly wanted to get this Texas A&M maroon in Victory Lane today.
“I have to thank Axalta Coating Systems for being such a great coating company, one of the largest in the world for supporting us and for making this Texas A&M thing happen. Of course I want to thank AARP and Drive to End Hunger as well as Pepsi Max and all of our great sponsors, Chevy, everybody and for the fans for coming out on a Monday. That was a heck of a race.”
DID YOU HAVE ANYTHING FOR JOEY LOGANO AT THE END?
“No, we didn’t. We were really strong the first half of the race; then when the sun came out and some guys kind of lost the handle and got real tight. Great call by Alan Gustafson (crew chief). Everybody on this No. 24 crew did an awesome job today. I so badly wanted to get this Texas A & M Engineering maroon…get those Aggies a win here today. Got to thank Axalta Coatings Systems for making this possible. They are a great company, the biggest coatings company in the world. And then all of our sponsors – AARP Drive To End Hunger, Pepsi Max and Chevrolet. That was an awesome race all day. Have to thank the fans for coming out and watching, and the ones at home. That was a great battle. At one point I thought we had a shot at it. We got a pretty good restart. Joey was right on me and I was pretty loose in one and two, and I wish I had gone a little bit higher in three and four. But, he got that run off of four and he got in the back of me, and I thought I was going to wreck, so at that point I was like second would be good.”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 5TH
TAKE US THROUGH YOUR AFTERNOON: “We had a really good Target Chevy today. We were average on short runs but I thought we were the best car on a long run. Shine (Chris Heroy, crew chief) and everybody did a great job working on it after practice on Friday. We were terrible, so they worked their butts off all weekend and gave us a good finish. I can’t thank those guys enough and all the fans for sticking it out. I’m sorry you guys had to wait a whole extra day, but I’m glad we put on a good finish for you guys.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S SPRING IS CALLING CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 25TH
ON THE DAY:
“The Lowe’s team gave me a great car today. It’s kind of surreal what happened. Junior hit the grass there and something off his car like a splitter or something just destroyed my windshield and then something hit the nose of the car too. We were in a good position and were running decent lap times when the right rear blew. I’m glad Junior is alright and hats off to my guys today. We
played around with some strategy at the end. They never gave up.”
WHAT HAPPENED EARLY IN THE RACE WHEN DEBRIS HIT YOUR CAR?
“When (Dale Earnhardt) Junior when through the grass, it kicked up all this debris and mud. It ripped the windshield and ripped the left front.
“DID YOU FEEL LIKE IT DID A LOT OF DAMAGE AT THE TIME?
“There was a lot of noise. And I saw his car and then I instantly lost vision. I felt a couple of hard hits on my car and I knew that we had some damage. But I still think we were overcoming that. We recovered and had a fast car and we were okay, and then I don’t know if I ran something over on the track or what, but something really big hit the bottom-side of my car and that, I think, punctured our right rear tire. We had to come to pit road after that. And then we lost a couple of laps due to that.
“It was a day of bad luck. We had a fast race car, so there was a little silk lining in it, but it was a terrible finish.”
HOW WAS THE TRACK?
“Tire wear was high, but we expected that. This is a great race track.”