NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
CAMPING WORLD RV SALES 301
NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
JULY 13, 2014
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – SIDELINED ON LAP 11 DUE TO TIRE ISSUES
WHAT HAPPENED?: “The first one (tire) I was able to drive the car all the way through Turns 1 and 2. I knew I had a flat and then got down the back and came in. The other one just blew on the straight as soon as I hit the brakes. I’m not sure what caused it. I’m sure there will be a lot of speculation and I’m sure finger pointing back to the teams or our team. But we saw some issues here especially with that particular tire the last couple of days. We will try to dig in and learn more, but I can promise you one thing is wasn’t low tire pressure. I’ve been out here for two days running around and haven’t had a flat.”
CERTAINLY NOT THAT QUICK INTO A RUN EITHER: “Well there are many ways to speculate and think what could have caused it and certainly after the first we could have had damage that allowed something to rub on the tire and blow the second one so quickly. But just a bummer, I’m expecting people to quickly point back at the team and say it’s our fault and I guess if it is we will accept it. But the car was fast, had a great day qualifying. We spent the time to come up here and test and get everything ready and prepared and just unfortunate that we are out so early.”
WHAT HAPPENED THE FIRST TIME?
“I’m not really sure. It just went soft on me. I don’t know why. But I can promise you one thing, it wasn’t due to low left rear tire pressure, which is what a lot of people are speculating. We’ve been here for two days running and I had no issues. It’s unfortunate, regardless. And then you can look at the second tire and think that maybe some damage was done from the first tire that caused the second one to go so quickly. That’s a good argument but I just don’t know at this point. I don’t know if we’ll ever know. Unfortunately, two tires went flat in a matter of laps.”
IN RELATION TO WHAT YOU HAD HOPED TO LEARN TODAY THAT WOULD HELP YOU IN SEPTEMBER, HOW BIG OF A SETBACK IS THIS?
“It’s definitely a setback. We had a good test up here. We had a very fast car. It would have been nice to get a race in here before we come back for the second one, so it’s definitely a setback missing out on track time.”
HOW WEIRD IS IT TO HAVE ONE ISSUE AND THEN ANOTHER ISSUE?
“Yeah, it’s weird when that happens. I didn’t expect it and I stood on the brakes into Turn 1 and it exploded and I’m like, oh boy; here we go.”
ON THE TEST AT NHMS EARLIER
“We were up here testing. And in the last two days here, Friday and Saturday in race trim, we never had an issue. We saw some others have left rear problems, but it’s something we didn’t expect at all.”
JEFF GORDON, NO., 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 26TH
ON RUNNING OUT OF GAS IN THE FINAL GREEN-WHITE-CHECKERED
“The whole race for us was just so up and down and crazy. There at the beginning, we had a leak in the right rear and went a lap down. I could barely hold onto it. I didn’t know what was wrong with it. I just knew it was really hard to drive. I was doing everything I could to keep from wrecking. And we thought we just missed the set-up, but it was that tire. So we made an adjustment that probably over-compensated and we had to come from a lap down. But, the car, once we were able to tune on it and knew what we had, was actually really, really strong.
“We were able to show that towards the end, which was great. We didn’t have the tires that those guys had, so they were a little bit better than us, but we held them off for a good while there in the Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet. We were looking good to finish third. I felt very confident we could finish third until that caution came out and then we just ran out under caution.”
WAS IT UNEXPECTED TO RUN OUT OF FUEL?
“We knew we were very close. That pick-up is in the right side and so I was scuffing my tires and think I just took enough fuel out of the pick-up and I could never get any back in there. I tried. I think if we would have gone green, we would have been fine. I think it was really just because under caution it wouldn’t pick-up the amount of fuel that was in there.
“We might have run out anyway. But, it was the best effort and chance we had at winning this race. And that’s what it’s all about for us in the points. Leading and where we’ve been, it’s all about wins right now. We got to go for it so I thought it was a great call even if we did come up short.”
WHAT DO YOU TAKE AWAY FROM TODAY THAT YOU CAN USE HERE IN SEPTEMBER?
“When the green flag dropped, I thought we were in big trouble. But as it turned out, we had some kind of issue with the right rear tire going do. So, we’ve got to work on it. We weren’t good enough, in my opinion, to win, but we weren’t far off. So that gives us something really good to work with and notes to take back and go over and debrief with our teammates and hopefully come back even stronger.”
DID ANYONE HAVE ANYTHING FOR RACE WINNER, BRAD KESELOWSKI TODAY? THEY SEEM TO BE VERY STRONG
“Yeah, I don’t know what they’ve got but they’ve got something that’s really good right now and we’re playing catch-up.”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 3RD
ON HIS DAY: “It was a really good day for the Target Chevy team. We ran up front all day long. We got to lead some laps there. Shine (crew chief Chris Heroy) made some bold calls on pit road to get us some track position and really paid off. We didn’t have enough forward drive there at the end, but was able to get a good restart and get up to third. I will take it. It’s been a rough three weeks leading up to now. Just have to get back up there in the points. We were really good and then we had two DNF’s and then a bad race at Sonoma. Just got to get back to how we have been doing and that is consistent. All in all a really good day.”
YOU AND YOUR CREW CHIEF MADE A PRETTY CRAZY CALL EARLY ON AND GOT YOU THE TRACK POSITION AND YOU WERE ABLE TO STAY UP FRONT THE REST OF THE DAY: “Yeah we talked about it in our team meeting that it is going to take a really dumb call or what would look dumb, but hopefully work out. It did. We got to lead some laps and maintained our track position all race long after that. Great pit calls by Shine (Chris Heroy, crew chief). The Target Chevy was really good. I thought we definitely had a capable car to run top three. The last restart worked out for us.
“Just hats off to everybody on this team. Once again thanks to Target for letting me come out here and do what I do and Chip (Ganassi) and everybody at the shop. These race cars have been a lot faster this year than they have in the past. Just really want to thank those guys and I’m sure having a blast right now.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 5TH
WAS IT JUST ONE OF THOSE CRAZY RACES FOR YOU TOO? “No, we just finally got to where we should have been running all day in the last little bit there. Good run for the Caterpillar Chevrolet team. The guys did a good job today. Thank all the fans for coming out. I enjoyed the modified races as well as this Cup race. We had a really good long run car we just never got the track position we needed to really show it. The longer runs there at the end paid off and that restart was obviously to our advantage.”
WHAT DID YOU AND CLINT BOWYER TALK ABOUT POST RACE? “I just told him I didn’t have a scratch on it the whole day and then we bounced off each other the last corner. Great effort for the Caterpillar team, everybody at RCR and ECR. Just not the end that we wanted, but we ended in the best position we were all day. You can’t argue a whole lot with that. Guys did a good job we just got off the one time there when we stayed out we were the last car on old tires. We had guys coming with fresher tires and it just hurt us. Good hard fought back finish.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 10TH
YOU HAD A GREAT CAR TODAY. TALK ABOUT YOUR RACE: “I think we worked real hard to finish where we finished. The guys worked their guts out every practice. We changed a lot of stuff on the car. It was real disappointing not to have the speed a lot of those other guys had. The No. 2 (Brad Keselowski) and the Gibbs guys they were all real fast. Hats off to them because they surely got their cars figured out. It’s just real frustrating all day long to be playing second fiddle. We worked really hard all day to finish 10th. Pretty disappointing we will go home and work on it and try to do better.”
YOU DID CLINCH A SPOT FOR THE CHASE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP HOW MUCH PRESSURE DOES THAT TAKE OFF OF YOU? “You could say it was an afterthought, but we worked hard to get to where we are to be able to run as well as we have and win some races. It feels great. It’s an accomplishment. I’m proud of our team for that. Hopefully we can improve though before we come back here. This is an important race track so we need to run better than this and I know we will work hard to figure that out.”
ON HIS DAY: “That was frustrating. That was the hardest I’ve ever worked for a 10th place finish. But we have been off all weekend. It’s been a real frustrating weekend to be honest. The guys worked real hard. Steve (Letarte, crew chief) and the engineers did their best to try to get the car more competitive. Just to be lacking that much speed against a lot of those guys. I had to drive so perfect every lap. That was really frustrating. I had a good race with the No. 42 Kyle (Larson) at the end there. He was real loose, I was way too tight, so that was a mixture for us just to get stuck together and not be able to work around each other. But I had fun racing him. I don’t know I wish we were better. We are going to have to come back here and run better than that to have a shot in the Chase. We will keep working. 10th place I’m really disappointed, but I remember when we used to like these.”
MARTIN TRUEX, JR. NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/DENVER MATTRESS CHEVROLET SS – Finished 12th:
“The biggest reason we gained 12 positions on the final restart is that we had fresh tires and got in the right lane. Never had good restarts all day. But once we settled-in and had a decent car, we made a move at the end. You have to keep fighting — you never know what can happen. We dropped back late in the race (to 22nd) after getting involved with a couple of cars. I then put myself in a bad position, which was costly in regards to track position. However, we came back but still not where we want to be.”