NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
5-HOUR ENERGY 400
TEAM CHEVY POST RACE NOTES AND QUOTES
MAY 10, 2014
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 AXALTA COATINGS CHEVROLET SS – WINNER
DID YOU KNOW THIS WAS GOING TO BE THE NIGHT?
“I knew we had a fast race car. We have been bringing fast race cars every single weekend. It’s just given me so much confidence in the race cars and the race team. I have got to thank Axalta Coating Systems they are an awesome sponsor. When the lights went out we could still see this thing out there. Of course AARP Drive To End Hunger, Pepsi Max, Valvoline and Chevrolet. You know Kevin (Harvick) was tough. He was so strong I did not know if I could hold him off. I almost didn’t there at the end. I caught traffic. The car just got extremely loose on me and he was just coming. Luckily that was the checkered flag. I’ve got to say Happy Mother’s Day. What an amazing Mother’s Day present this is going to be. I can’t wait to see my wife Ingrid and my mom tomorrow. It’s going to be an amazing celebration. What a huge weight lifted off this team’s shoulders. We have been leading the points but we needed to get to Victory Lane and they proved they were capable of it. Great job by them.”
WHAT WAS THE KEY TO WINNING THIS RACE?
“I think it was overcoming a lot of adversity. We had a lot of things in the first half of the race that did not go our way. We knew we had a fast race car. We weren’t sure if we had as good of a race car as Kevin (Harvick), but I thought if we got in front of him we could hold him off. Then that last pit stop I mean we cycled out in front of Kevin and it was confusing because there were guys still out there so we were in the lead. I pulled away from him. The car was just driving unbelievably and then all of a sudden I started getting extremely loose. He faded but then he kept coming back on me. Then my car would tighten up and I would go forward again and then he would fade. We just kept going back and forth, but the key was getting out front and this pit crew and Alan Gustafson and all these engineers, everybody at Hendrick Motorsports they actually won this race. We have been building up to this all season long.”
ON HIS RUN:
“I don’t know what it is about this team, this No. 24 car and us here at Kansas on inaugural nights or days but I love this place, such a great race track. Some of the best race fans we have, so thanks to them for coming here for a Saturday night race before Mother’s Day. What an incredible job by this Axalta Coatings Systems No. 24 race team. I’m just so proud of them. They have been giving me the best race cars all year long. I have been having so much fun. I’m going to be 43 (years old) this year and I feel like I’m 25 again. That is the way they make me feel. Credit goes to them not only for the race cars, but the pit stops and just sticking with it tonight. We had a lot of things that didn’t go our way in the first half and then in the second half we just stuck with it. We were just grinding it out and then that last pit stop got us out front and it was awesome.”
IT LOOKED LIKE FOR YOU GUYS THIS RACE HAD JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING IN IT:
“It really did. It was great to see the groove widen out and get a top groove going and a bottom groove and a middle groove. It was a lot of fun racing out there. Kevin (Harvick) was really strong. I felt like there were times that if I could get in front of him I thought we could keep him behind us and we had to prove that there at the end. I almost didn’t do it. Luckily we got to the start/finish line ahead of him, but congratulations to him.
“The relationship that we have at Hendrick with Stewart-Haas is a very tight one that we share a lot of information. Those guys have been so strong. We have been strong, it’s fun to go out there and race those guys for a win like that.”
NOW THAT YOU HAVE THIS WIN ALL THE FRUSTRATION FROM BEING SO CLOSE CAN GO AWAY NOW:
“Well that is where being coming up on 43 (years old) can pay off because I’ve got a lot of patient (laughs). To me, yeah there were moments of frustration like California when we were leading on the last lap and the caution came out and we finished deep in the field. That was frustrating. There have been a few moments this year where it has been frustrating but all in all it’s been more excitement and just pride in the team and just having fun driving fast race cars.
“I knew it was just a matter of time. I didn’t know if it was going to happen tonight I will be honest. We were kind of catching Kevin (Harvick) there before the last pit stop and then we took four tires and I didn’t know how it was going to all cycle out when we were out in front of them. I was like ‘boy this is not going to be easy to hold him off.’”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 JIMMY JOHN’S CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 2ND
REALLY STRONG CAR ALL NIGHT AT THE END DID YOU GO AWAY? DID JEFF GORDON GET STRONGER? WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END OF THAT RACE THAT PUT YOU IN SECOND?
“What put us in second is I just didn’t get down pit road very good there coming to the pit box the second time. I kind of ran out of gas and I was paying attention to the fuel pressure gauge instead of the pit road speed light. I lost some time there, but everybody on our Jimmy John’s Chevrolet did a good job. I found a groove that worked really well there at the end. I slipped with about eight or nine laps to go. Just was able to make the ground back up, but not get by. Congrats to those guys they have been running good all year and glad to see a Chevrolet in Victory Lane.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE/THANKAMILLIONTEACHERS.COM CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 3RD
ON HIS RUN:
“It was good. We had a fast Farmers Insurance Chevrolet. We got third so that is good it’s the best run we have had in a while. Felt really good about it, led some laps. Congrats to Jeff Gordon those guys have been good all season long. That is awesome that a Hendrick Motorsports car won. My engine was unreal all night. My car was really close, we got a little loose there, a little tight before. It’s a fine line. It’s so close with everybody that you have to be perfect. We were pretty close.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 5TH
STRATEGY AND SOME HARD RACING TONIGHT WHAT WORKED FOR YOU TO GET INTO THE TOP-FIVE?
“We had a real good car the first half of the race and was working the top. I don’t think anybody had any speed like we did up there. As it got cooler the bottom got faster and we sort of leveled off and we were too tight at the end of the race. We had been working on front grip all weekend. I knew it was going to be tough to run well tonight because of how bad the car pushed all weekend. That really kind of bit us there at the end. Real happy with the result the guys worked really hard. This is a brand new car. I’m happy for Jeff (Gordon) and the whole No. 24 team, Alan (Gustafson) and all the guys they do a great job.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 7TH
WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING PART OF THIS FOR YOU WITH JUST RUNNING UP FRONT ALL NIGHT LONG AT KANSAS?
“Honestly the most rewarding part of my night was probably when I drove around the outside of the No. 48 on a restart. That was probably my most rewarding thing of the night. I say that with all the respect in the world. It’s a big deal because he is Jimmie Johnson. Aside from that I was really just overall proud that w
e stayed up front all day. That was the biggest thing.
“When the race started it was about finishing the weekend off right and just staying up there. You know you are going to go up, you are going to go down a little bit and we sure enough did that, but we more than held our own through the whole race. I’m extremely proud of this crew for building a new car that was just awesome. It was so good on restarts and long runs and tires getting old. Hard work pays off and they definitely put the hard work into it. Obviously really happy for days like today to give back to GoDaddy who has always been behind me and get on TV a little bit.”
ON THE RACE AND TOP FINISH
“Honestly the most rewarding part of my night was probably when I drove around the outside of the No. 48 on a restart. That was probably my most rewarding thing of the night. I say that with all the respect in the world. It’s a big deal because he is Jimmie Johnson. Aside from that I was really just overall proud that we stayed up front all day. That was the biggest thing. When the race started it was about finishing the weekend off right and just staying up there. You know you are going to go up, you are going to go down a little bit and we sure enough did that, but we more than held our own through the whole race. I’m extremely proud of this crew for building a new car that was just awesome. It was so good on restarts and long runs and tires getting old. Hard work pays off and they definitely put the hard work into it. Obviously really happy for days like today to give back to GoDaddy who has always been behind me and get on TV a little bit.
“Gibson (Tony, crew chief) did a good job in making changes for the race and it was good from the get-go. And I think what says even more are two things: It was really good on restarts and it was really good when it wasn’t quite right, and really good on long runs. And I think that just goes to show that this is a new car and they built a great one. And we’ve got more of these coming. That’s the even better news. But overall, I’m just proud for the team.
Kevin (Harvick) has been a great teammate in helping me out and obviously he was very fast tonight. I am surprised he didn’t win, but congrats to Jeff (Gordon). And I’m happy for GoDaddy who has always been a big supporter of mine, no matter what. And it’s days like today that hopefully it makes them smile and makes it all pay off a little.”
YOU SAID KEVIN HARVICK IS A GOOD TEAMMATE. HOW MUCH CREDIT DO YOU GIVE TO THE CONVERSATION YOU HAD WITH HIM THIS WEEKEND TO YOUR PERFORMANCE TONIGHT?
“It definitely paid off in qualifying for sure. And it does pay off in the race, too. But the little things that he gave me advice on for qualifying really worked. That’s the kind of stuff that I was really excited about having when Kevin and Kurt (Busch) came on to the team and having Tony (Stewart) back full time was being able to get those little tidbits from those guys and fast-forward my learning curve instead of having to learn it all myself. So, it’s really cool when you have teammates that are unconditional like that that want to help you. And when everyone is better and we all get better, it pumps the team up and everybody wants it even more.
“I guarantee you we’re going work even harder now. It’s not just sitting back. We’re going to work harder because we love where we’re at and this is what we work for. When you taste it you don’t want to let it go.”
WHAT DOES THIS DO FOR YOUR CONFIDENCE MOVING FORWARD?
“I’ve always believed in myself. I’ve always believed that in the right situation, that I can do it. And it’s with all respect that these little moments like when you drive by Jimmie Johnson on the outside, stuff like that, that makes me really proud of myself and little moments like that that give me a little bit more confidence.”
WHAT WAS THE RACE TRACK LIKE FOR YOU? SOME DRIVERS SAID IT WAS TRICKY
“Oh, it was tricky and you really had to be careful how hard you went into the corner. It was easy to get it to step out on entry. So you had to be a little bit careful. But that’s all part of the game. Turns 1 and 2 are pretty good. For me, I could run any lanes and that really helped me out.”
WHEN YOU GOT UP TO THIRD AT THAT ONE POINT, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?
“I was like, no yellow! When I was fifth I was thinking this is good, you know? I feel faster then them. They got caught up in traffic in (Turns) 3 and 4 and got checked-up and I got underneath them. But when I’m running third, I’m honestly trying not to think about the fact that I’m running third, and the fact that I’ve been looking at that car in front of me the whole race and I need to go pass that car.
“So, it’s probably best really to think about it more like pass the next car for me than being in a place that I’m not normally in. When you just think about it car by car, I think it’s a little bit more calming. The last thing you want to do is get excited out there and start overdriving it and making mistakes.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 10TH
YOU HAD A LOT GOING ON TODAY, BUT CAME OUT OF IT WITH A 9TH PLACE FINISH. WHAT STANDS OUT THE MOST ABOUT THE RACE?
“Overcoming adversity (stands out the most); we didn’t have a clutch in the car so pit stops were limited and track position was a big key. You just really had to grind it out today and then we did and we got a decent finish.”
DO YOU THINK THERE WAS ANY WAY YOU COULD HAVE MADE IT TO THE FINISH WITHOUT THE SPLASH & GO STOP FOR FUEL ON LAP 255?
‘Yeah, it didn’t sound like it. I don’t think so. We just didn’t have that optimism on the radio, so I don’t think so. By doing that we were able to get a top ten (finish).
JUSTIN ALLGAIER, NO. 51 BRANDT PROFESSIONAL AGRICULTURE CHEVROLET SS – INVOLVED IN A MULTI-CAR CRASH ON LAP 186
HARD HIT, WHAT HAPPENED AND ARE YOU OKAY?
“Yeah I’m fine first of all. I’m not exactly sure what transpired in front, but the No. 47 (AJ Allmendinger) I think was coming down the race track. I saw him coming and I tried to squeeze as much as I could to the inside and almost got into the grass. As soon as he got me I turned back across and I guess David Gilliland is the one that I collected him. Really unfortunate we had a really strong Brandt Chevy tonight and felt like we had a top 10 car for sure. I can’t thank all the guys back at HScott Motorsports enough and the guys at the Hendrick chassis shop. I took a heck of a hit. I feel good now. I got the wind knocked out of me a little bit. Definitely not how I wanted to give my wife her first Mother’s Day present or my Mom her Mother’s Day present, but Happy Mother’s Day to them and all the mother’s out there. We will come back again next week. We know what we can build on from this week and we had a really fast car like I said so should be good at Charlotte.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET SS- INVOLVED IN A CRASH ON LAP 150
“I’m not 100 percent sure. I just entered Turn 3 and I heard a small pop and then just lost all the steering and got into the fence and then knocked the oil lines and everything off which caused the fire. I’m not sure we didn’t really have any tire issues all weekend. Keith (Rodden, crew chief) had been kind of reporting to me what the tires looked like after each stop and hadn’t seen any really wear issues at all. I don’t know if it was just a bad tire or if I ran over something. Just lost all the air and ended up crashing.”
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES