NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER RACE NOTES & QUOTES
OCTOBER 19, 2014
LANDON CASSILL, NO. 40 CARSFORSALE.COM CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 4TH
TALK ABOUT YOUR RACE: “We wanted to win this race. We came here to win it. My team deserves it. Carsforsale.com deserves it. We don’t have a lot to work with. But what we do work with, we set out to run good at these four superspeedway races, and we proved that this year. Fourth place is just amazing. ”
THERE IS A LOT THAT GOES ON IN THE CLOSING LAPS OF THESE RACES: “Yes, there was. I’ll be honest with you, the only scenario that I was aware of was the No. 2 (Brad Keselowski) and the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson). I know the No. 20 (Matt Kenseth) had a lot of pressure but these guys build these cars for Hillman-Circle Racing, and we are out here to win. Today we came one step closer to that.”
RICK HENDRICK, TEAM OWNER, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS
INITIAL THOUGHTS ON WHAT HAPPENED WITH DALE EARNHARDT, JR. THERE?
“its just Talladega. We have been up front all day and I don’t know where we are going to end up. You just can’t avoid it down here when you are running that close together. It’s just what you have to get used to accept it and move on. It’s not easy.”
YOU’VE BEEN THROUGH A LOT OF TALLADEGA RACES. HOW DO YOU HANDLE IT WHEN IT IS IN THE FINAL LAPS AND YOU’VE GOT MULTIPLE CARS TRYING TO MAKE IT TO THE NEXT ROUND?
“You just got to do the best you can. The No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) led the most laps today.(Dale Earnhardt) Junior has been good. The No. 5 (Kasey Kahne) was up there in the top-five.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET SS FINISHED 5TH
DESCRIBE THE LAST FEW LAPS OF THAT RACE: “I didn’t know what was going to happen because there were a lot of guys who had some pent-up frustrations from last week. It ended up being a clean finish from what I saw there. We had a good Caterpillar Chevrolet. I caught a break on pit road there when that caution came out; it really gave us the lead. By the way everything lined up we ended up as a fifth-place car.”
YOU WERE IN THE FRONT LATE. WHAT IS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND KNOWING THAT YOU HAVE TO FINISH?
“Yeah, just a great result I guess in the end to make it to that next bracket for the Caterpillar Chevrolet. Everybody at RCR and ECR… just have to thank them for all their hard work and support. I think to me the next three races are the ones that are the most important to win. We have been knocking on the door here the last three. We will keep digging. I don’t know how to answer any questions on that last restart. I don’t know if I could have done anything better. I obviously could have done things worse, but just the way things line up happy to stay in the top five there in the last couple of laps.”
WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY FOR NEXT THREE RACES?
“I thinking winning in one of the next three races is the most important win that you could have – just to give yourself the best shot at Homestead.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS FINISHED 26TH
TALK ABOUT THE CLOSING LAPS: “We were in, we were out. We were in good position and bad position. Those last couple of laps were the most nerve-wracking laps of my life, so I’m glad they’re over.”
CAN YOU BREATHE EASIER NOW?
“If I never have to come back to Talladega, I’ll be fine with that. I’m just excited about our chances to get to Homestead, and those chances come in these next few races – Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix. Those are great tracks for us.”
WHAT DOES ROUND THIS SAY ABOUT YOUR TEAM?
“We ran great at Kansas and ran great at Charlotte. Today was not our shining moment. But our performance the last two races are what really got us in, and I’m very proud of that.”
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THIS DAY?
“I’m just mentally drained right now. It’s always tough racing here at Talladega trying to put yourself in position to win. But when you have that much on the line and you know that your championship hopes are right there in that final moment, it’s nerve racking. I’m proud of this team for the job they did. We had a great strategy. Unfortunately the caution hit us at the absolute worst time and put us behind there. We fought hard that last restart. The inside lane just didn’t go anywhere. I was just sitting there going backward and couldn’t do a thing. I’m just glad we made it. I can’t wait for Martinsville. I can’t wait for Texas. I can’t wait for Phoenix. All are great tracks for us. This team has done some amazing work this year. These next three are where we are really going to shine and show it.”
FROM THE HIGH OF YOU MAKING IT TO THE FACT THAT YOUR THREE TEAMMATES DID NOT MAKE IT. HOW DIFFICULT IS THAT FOR YOU AS A TEAM?
“Yeah, it’s very difficult. We knew that Jimmie (Johnson) and (Dale Earnhardt) Junior were in tough positions. But if anybody could win this race, either one of those guys could. I knew (Kasey Kahne) was going to race hard all day and he was in and out, in and out. I really thought he was going to make it, but I guess (Matt) Kenseth getting that late charge may have been the game changer there. It is very difficult. These are three guys that could be major factors in this championship. They are great teams, great drivers and friends of mine; I hate to see them not in there. But we are going to try to make Hendrick proud and go out there and get ourselves to Homestead.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS FINISHED 24TH
TALK ABOUT YOUR EMOTIONS:
“It feels relieving to go down swinging. The last two weeks were really poor. At least we went down swinging. I’ll take some pride in that.”
YOU’LL GO INTO THE FINALE WITHOUT HAVING A CHANCE OF WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP. “The last I can think of is with Carl (Edwards) and Tony (Stewart). I vividly remembered the lunch presser that took place with the champions and how much that ate at me to watch it on TV and not be a part of it. I get the pleasure of going through that again. Today I went down swinging, and I take pride in that. Am I disappointed in our Chase? Absolutely. In the last two weeks, people have tuned on the radio and there have been plenty of articles have been written this week. Frustration was high between Chad (Knaus, crew chief) and I and the fact that we haven’t been able to produce like we wanted to. Today we went down swinging. We had a chance and came up short. We have to make the best of ’15. We have a chance to finish fifth in points, which would mean the world to me. The worst I’ve finished is sixth in the points, so it’s not time to put our feet up. We need to finish strong and try to be in the top-five.”
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE THIS RACE TODAY?
“Two restarts from the end, I was trying to make something happen on the restart. I was in a weird position there behind the No. 2 (Brad Keselowski), and if I pushed him to the win, he moves on and I don’t. So I tried going to his outside. I looked up and I had no friends in the mirror. If I had known we were going to have a second green-white-checker, I would have stayed in line. That would have shuffled the order around and I wouldn’t have been behind him, and maybe we would have had another shot at it. We had a fast, fast Lowe’s Chevrolet today. Disappointed we didn’t advance, but truthfully the way the last two races went, today was an opportunity for us, and we were kind of playing with house money and just didn’t get it done.”
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DISAPPOINTMENT AS A SIX-TIME CHAMPION?
“It’s kind of an interesting thing because after the last two races in any Chase format, I wouldn’t have been able to win the championship. So last week and the week before the frustration and emotions that went with those weeks that was really the peak of it. Today we had a fast car. Today we ran up front. Had awesome pit stops. Had a shot to win. Just didn’t get the golden ticket to go on to the next round. Definitely disappointed but we’ll dig in deep and finish up the year strong and look forward to 2015.”
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE DISAPPOINTMENT OF NOT GOING TO THE NEXT ROUND?
“Truthfully, I showed up this weekend thinking I’ve been playing with house money and I’ve had a very unique opportunity to advance. In any Chase, after two bad races like we had the last two weeks, you wouldn’t have a shot at the championship. So, the frustration was kind of peaking over the last two weeks. This week’s been chill. We qualified second and ran up front all day. And it’s so hard to win one of these races. You can’t come in here and say you’re doing to dominate Talladega and win the race. We dominated it. We just didn’t lead the lap that counted.”
ON RUNNING POSSIBLY RUNNING OUT OF GAS LATE IN THE RACE, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?
“I knew that I’d been saving fuel pretty well, so he (Chad Knaus, crew chief) left the call on me and I drove around pit road and made it just fine. So, it’s hard for a crew chief to know how much you’re saving.”
YOU LED THE MOST LAPS TODAY AND LOOKED AS THOUGH YOU HAD A GOOD CAR, BUT ULTIMATELY WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE AT THE END?
“At the end, I guess on the next-to-last restart – assuming it would be the last restart – I was lined up in fourth. I really felt like I played things out in my mind and if I pushed the No. 2 (Brad Keselowski) to the lead there, there wasn’t enough time to get back by him. I thought my best opportunity was to get to his outside and hope that a fellow Hendrick car in the No. 41 (Kurt Busch) would kind of fall in behind me; I could tow the lane and get around the No. 2, have the outside lane and hopefully run down the No. 31 (Ryan Newman). I made my move, got to his outside, looked in the mirror and I had no friends. It’s how plate racing goes. If I knew there was a second green-white-checkered I probably would have stayed in line, but you just don’t know how those things are going to develop.
“I really wanted to enter today’s race feeling like I was playing with house money. I was given an opportunity today to get back in the championship battle after two bad races. We tried our best.They gave me a great Lowe’s Chevrolet today and unfortunately we just didn’t get it done. We were playing with house money and lost.”
WHAT IS THE DISAPPOINTMENT OF KNOWING THIS IS THE END OF THE RUN FOR YOUR THIS YEAR?
“Yeah, this year for sure there is disappointment. But to be honest with you, the disappointment has been the weeks leading up to right now. We just had a very competitive race and had a shot to win. So we have dealt with that. You are not going to win every championship battle you enter. We would like to. I’ve raced for 30-something years and I’ve really only won six big championships, so the numbers show that you don’t win a lot of championships. We will be back next year. The rules will change; we will start thinking about ’15 now moving forward and hopefully have our Lowe’s Chevy where we need to next year.”
DALE EARNHARDT JR., DIET MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 31ST
TELL US ABOUT YOUR AFTERNOON AND WHAT ULTIMATELY HAPPENED OUT THERE?
“I still really don’t know. I haven’t had a chance to look at it. Got with the No. 16 (Greg Biffle) a little bit. I don’t know if I came down on him or what it. I thought I was holding my line, but we were all kind of tight back there.”
INCREDIBLE SEASON, BUT NOW HEARTBREAK, DESCRIBE YOUR THOUGHTS NOW:
“The race is over, it’s time to go home.”
ON THE RACE IN GENERAL
“We worked real hard all day long trying to run up front. I knew we needed to be up front all day long. We got shuffled to the back. I made a move trying to get up front and it didn’t work out. So, we lost a lot of track position and never got it back.”
WAS IT TOUGHER TRYING TO COME FROM THE BACK?
“You need to be up front. You need to be in the top 4 the last few restarts. Those are the guys that have a shot at it. You know you’re not going to pass ten or 12 cars there in six or seven laps. We tried. It just didn’t work out.”
IT SOUNDED LIKE YOU WERE LOOSE-IN ON THE RADIO; IS THAT WHY YOU COULDN’T STAY UP FRONT?
“Well, we got shuffled to the back. I moved up to pass the NO. 48 (Johnson) and the No. 2 (Keselowski) went with the No. 48 earlier in the race and shuffled us to the back or shuffled us out of the top 10. We worked hard to try to get back into the top 5 or so, and it just didn’t work out. The car did get lose on one run. We made a good adjustment and it was driving good at the end.”
AS A RACE DRIVER, YOU CAN FACE A LOT OF DISAPPOINTMENT. HOW WOULD YOU RANK THIS DISAPPOINTMENT IN NOT MAKING THE EIGHT?
“There have probably been worse things (laughs). I’m not retiring or anything, so we’ll try next year. We’ve had a good season and have a lot to be looking forward to. We’re definitely not going to get too tore up about; we didn’t run well.”
WHAT HAPPENED ON THAT LAST RESTART?
“I don’t know. I would like to see a replay of it. We were just running along there behind the No. 5 (Kasey Kahne). I don’t think I changed lanes or anything. I was following him on the outside and just got hooked on the corner panel. We had a real good car with us today. We got real loose on one run and kind of shuffled out. (Looking at replay). I guess the No. 16 (Greg Biffle) moved up into us, or something there. I thought I was sort of going straight. I don’t know if we were four-wide or whatever there. It’s hard for the spotter to help me back there or if there was anything else I could have done. We were just sitting there running straight there, and it’s just hard racing. That is the way it goes at the end of these races. We weren’t in a good position there in the back. It looks like he (Biffle) kind of hooked me a little bit, but maybe I came down. I don’t know.”
THE CAR DIDN’T SEEM LIKE IT WANTED TO SUCK UP WAS THERE ANY ISSUE WITH THE CAR?
“I ain’t real sure really. We had some red gauges. There were different things doing some different stuff at the last probably 60 laps of the race. Some gauges weren’t really reading really good. I don’t know if that was costing us any power, but we had a good car when we could lead and be up front. It’s just so hard once you get shuffled to the back. I just tried to make some moves and just couldn’t really get anything put together to get back up there.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON NOT MOVING ON IN THE CHASE?
“Well we will just go try to win some more races before the year is out. That is all we have left.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMER’S INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 12TH
DESCRIBE WHAT YOU ARE FEELING AFTER JUST MISSING MOVING ON TO THE NEXT ROUND OF THE CHASE BY THREE POINTS: “You just try and get the best finish you can. Basically the restart before, they all checked up in front of me so I went high to get momentum and that didn’t work. I don’t know why that didn’t work, but it didn’t. Anyways, I’m in 20th and got back to 11th. It was tough if you weren’t in the top few spots. Once we were up there early on we could race. We had a great Farmer’s Insurance Chevy – led laps and ran in the top-three and back to the lead. Once I was 10th or eighth, it was just really difficult to get back to that point. I think we got back to fifth or sixth, but that was about it.”
KURT BUSCH NO. 41 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 7TH:
ON HIS RACE:
“I thought we were in a good position. We had good restarts. We had survived wrecks-well we didn’t survive all of them. We had that one mishap on pit road where everybody was pitting and you are supposed to be single-file and guys got to my inside and we had pitted early on pit road. I had to get to the left, and I was trying to yield my way over and nobody is thinking at that point that a car needs to pit. We cleaned that up enough to survive. Came from 30th with nine laps to go and had a shot at winning but didn’t quite cash in. It’s a shame that we didn’t cash in for a win; that is what we are all here to do. I felt like on the last restart there (Clint) Bowyer was going to be our catalyst but it ended up he didn’t stay attached to our rear bumper so I couldn’t get to (Ryan) Newman in time and that outside grove was going. So, I had to get to the middle to salvage what I could and that was seventh.”