Chevy Racing–Talladega–Post Race

MAY 4, 2014
Jeff Gordon Maintains Point Lead
TALLADEGA, Ala. – (May 4, 2014) – Chevrolet’s AJ Allmendinger received a final push from Paul Menard during the three-lap dash to the finish at Talladega Superspeedway, to finish fifth.  The 188-lap NASCAR Sprint Cup race began with nine Chevrolet SS race cars leading the field to the green flag.  At the end of the 499-mile race at the 2.66-mile superspeedway, five Chevrolet SS drivers recorded top-10 finishes.  Allmendinger’s run was the first top-five finish for the No. 47 Bush’s Beans Chevrolet SS team this season.   
Menard backed up a second-place qualifying effort with a sixth-place finish at Talladega.  Having led 10 laps early in the race, the driver of the No. 27 Richmond/Menards Chevrolet SS was forced to the back of the pack after sustaining damage in a late-race crash. Menard made a charge to the finish to try and regain the top-spot and finished sixth overall.
Two-time winner in 2014, Kevin Harvick nearly recorded his third win of the season and second at Talladega.  On the final restart Harvick’s No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS was lined-up second in the outside lane, but the bottom line was the place to be.  With little drafting help, Harvick dropped back, but was able to surge ahead as the checkered flag flew to finish seventh.
Kasey Kahne was able to avoid most of the race mayhem in his No. 5 Farmers Insurance/ Chevrolet SS and earned a ninth-place finish. Kyle Larson, No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS, brought home top rookie-of-the-race honors with a 10th place run.
Despite being caught up in a multi-car accident on lap 138, Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS, remains the series point’s leader after the first 10 races.  Gordon maintains a three-point lead over second place.  
Gordon’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. also had disappointing runs and finished, 23rd and 26th, respectively.  Johnson’s No. 48 Lowe’s/Valspar Reserve Chevrolet SS was involved in a crash on lap 176, which thwarted his quest for a third victory at Talladega.  Earnhardt, Jr. in his No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS became mired back in traffic with too few laps in the race to make a charge back to the front after leading 26 of the 188 laps.
Denny Hamlin (Toyota) won the race, Greg Biffle (Ford) was second, Clint Bowyer (Toyota) was third and Brian Vickers (Toyota) was fourth, to round out the top-five finishers.
The series resumes May 10th for the first Saturday night race at Kansas Speedway.
KERRY THARP:  Let’s roll right into our post‑race for today’s 45th annual Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race here at Talladega Superspeedway, and our top Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate finishing in 10th place is Kyle Larson.  He’s the driver of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet, and Kyle, just talk about your run out there this afternoon at Talladega.
KYLE LARSON:  Yeah, it was good.  I think we were actually a little bit better than 10th.  I think the finish was when we crossed the stripe.  But I was really hoping for a top 20 just to stay out of trouble, and to get a top 10 is really nice.
I spent most of the day just ‑‑ well, pretty much all day just trying not to make any spectacular moves to put myself in a bad spot to get in a wreck, because like I said, the 42 hasn’t had much luck on superspeedways with Juan and myself at Daytona.  Just wanted to stay out of trouble.  We’ve been making up a lot of points throughout the year after Daytona, and to come back to another superspeedway, I was really nervous.  Glad to get a good finish and stay up there in points.
Q.  If you could just kind of talk about that last restart, I think you were third at the time the flag fell.  Talk about what happened there and how it all shook out.
KYLE LARSON:  I was fourth.  Yeah, I was able to get a decent restart behind Denny and push him to the lead before we got that last yellow, and just couldn’t do the same with Kevin.  He got a little bit far out in front of me, and then the 40 pulled out of line down the back stretch and I got stuck in the middle and killed our run for the middle lane and the top lane, and then just kind of had to hold on to what we had there.
I hated that I couldn’t help Kevin get a Chevy into victory lane, but it was still an okay restart for us.  We didn’t lose too many spots.  All in all, it was a pretty decent day.
Q.  What do you think you learned here today that you can only use two more times a year when we go back to Daytona and Talladega?
KYLE LARSON:  I learned that I was really slow on the bottom line, or I needed somebody right behind me to make any ground and help the inside lane.  I felt like when I was in the middle lane to top lane I could keep up without anybody behind me, but once I got down on the bottom, I had to have somebody within a half car length behind me to help the guy in front of me.  When I wouldn’t have people behind me I’d lose ground and people would keep shuffling down in front of me and hurt me there.
It worked out at the end, and I was far enough forward at the end to where I could be on the bottom and maintain.