MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
O’REILLY AUTO PARTS 500
TEAM CHEVY RACE NOTES & QUOTES
MARCH 31, 2019
TOP TEAM CHEVY UNOFFICIAL RACE RESULTS:
5th Jimmie Johnson, No. 4 Ally Camaro ZL1
6th William Byron, No. 24 AXALTA/Primeline Camaro ZL1
9th Kurt Busch, No. 1 GearWrench Camaro ZL1
13th Chase Elliott, No. 9 Kelley Blue Book Camaro ZL1
14th Austin Dillon, No. 3 Realtree Camaro ZL1
TOP FIVE UNOFFICIAL RACE RESULTS:
1st Denny Hamlin (Toyota)
2nd Clint Bowyer (Ford)
3rd Daniel Suarez (Ford)
4th Erik Jones (Toyota)
5th Jimmie Johnson (Chevrolet)
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season continues next weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway with the Food City 500 on Sunday, April 7th at 2 p.m. ET. Live coverage can be found on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
TEAM CHEVY NOTES AND QUOTES:
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 5th
GREAT FINISH! “Yes, we are definitely moving in the right direction! Car was good in clean air and had a lot of speed in it, so I think we have found kind of center for our cars and what has to happen. It was a little evil in traffic, and I had a heck of a time on green flag restarts, but really worked hard to get it up underneath me and tightening the car up a little bit for us to race. Ended up having great pace and decent drivability, so are working in the right direction. I am just so proud of everybody on this Ally team. We’ve had a lot of pressure on us, and everyone has stepped up and getting it done.”
JIMMIE – DO YOU FEEL YOU MADE SIGNIFICANT GROUND? “For me, I was just trying to get a consistent weekend. It is one thing to have one-lap paced, we needed that and we did that on Friday. Then, Saturday went really well. So, in the back of my mind I was thinking we just needed to have a rock-solid day, and if we did that, then I could confirm to myself and to everyone else that we are moving in the right direction.
“For the No. 48, No. 24 and the No. 9 were all good. Not sure what happened with the No. 88 but the majority of our cars all ran really strong today, so I feel much better about things.”
DOES IT INSPIRE YOU? “Absolutely. This is what we’ve been looking for.”
WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU MADE GAINS FOR THIS TRACK TO BE AS STRONG AS THE THREE CARS WERE TODAY? “It is really wide-open throttle time. If you can be flat in 3 and 4, as well as 1 and 2, if you can be 5% more on the throttle through the corner, and carry a mile-an-hour through there more than the next guy, it makes all the difference in the world. With this low horsepower package, I think it puts more in the car’s hands than the driver’s. We don’t have that extra horsepower to get us out of trouble or the throttle control I grew up developing on dirt tracks as a kid. So I think the emphasis is much more on the car with this package and my guys did a great job and brought me a great car.”
DO YOU THINK THE FANS SAW A BETTER RACE TODAY? “There was a lot of excitement. I was thoroughly mad a couple of times, and I made others thoroughly mad a couple of times. So I don’t know how that translates to TV, but it was heated in there for sure. For 500 miles to race like that hard every single lap I hope it translates to good TV for sure.”
WHAT WAS DIFFERENCE IN THE CAR YOU HAD AT VEGAS VERSUS THIS CAR TODAY? “It is completely different to have a fast car in clean air and then one in traffic. That delta between the two environments, we’ve closed that up. So clearly had a fast car, we got the pole. But driving WAY better in traffic when you take the air off of it.”
IT’S NOT EASY TO DO THAT IS IT? “No it’s not. But I think we’ve found some really good direction and this is a great learning point for us. Vegas went so bad. we just scrapped it all and started over. Fontana was okay, but still not what we needed. Now that not only the No. 48 running well, but all the cars had speed in them we have great information to go forward with.”
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 AXALTA/PRIMELINE CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 6th
HOW DO YOU ASSESS THE DAY?
“Yeah, it was good. We had a gun break on the first pit stop. I felt like we were running in the top 5 at that point. And then we got back to the top 5 later in the race and I ran about fifth or sixth. It just felt like we were right there all day. It was a little bit free after that last green flag pit stop and that hurt us a slight bit. But, overall it’s good and it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”
IS THERE A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL DO YOU BELIEVE HERE? YOU SAW JIMMIE JOHNSON HAVE A FIFTH PLACE FINISH AND YOU WOULD HAVE HAD ONE HAD YOU NOT HAD CHALLENGES
“Yeah, we finished sixth and that’s good. We would have loved to have a top 5 for sure, but I felt like we were in the mix with the fast guys. We could see them pretty much the whole race, which was nice, and it was good.
KURT BUSCH, NO. 1 GEARWRENCH CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 9th
ON THE RACE
“It was tough today. We had a right front (tire) go bad. So, somehow we’re not getting enough heat into the tires to get a good qualifying run and not lose spots on restarts, but then the car comes alive once it has heat and then that was burning up right fronts going too far through them. So, it was kind of a weird day; really confused about a lot of different things with the dirty air and the grip level. But, all-in-all to be another top 10, I’m really happy for the GEARWRENCH Team and everybody that’s working on the car. We really need to get into some big detail and debrief and figure out what we can do to be better.”
WITH THOSE DIFFICULTIES, WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT THIS GROUP TO COME AWAY WITH ANOTHER TOP 10 FINISH?
“Yeah, it’s nice. I thought we were on the same strategy sequence as the No. 14 (Clint Bowyer) car and he finished second. We brought it home in 9th with that flat tire. So, we’ll just chiseling away. We’re right in front and we’re learning but we’ve got to like pinpoint what it is. We’ll see how it plays out. We’ve got a couple of short tracks coming up now.”
TY DILLON, NO. 13 TWISTED TEA CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 21st
“My team built a fast Twisted Tea Camaro ZL1. We had strong practice sessions and had a great qualifying effort. I was really proud of these guys for all of their hard work in earning the ninth-place starting spot. We were pretty good at the start of the race. I was just a little tight with being on the splitter. Our Stage 1 strategy ended up not working out the way we thought it would, and that put us behind a bit. We made up as much ground as we could, but unfortunately the cautions just didn’t fall in our favor. We didn’t get the finish that I know we deserved, but we’ll take the positives of having seen major improvements in our intermediate track program with this new package. We’re making gains and seeing results every week.”