NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY RACE RAIN DELAY DRIVERS NOTES AND QUOTES
SEPTEMBER 15, 2013
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS:
109 LAPS IN WHAT DO YOU GOT?
“So far we have been a little bit too tight, just trying to get the car to turn which I had no issues with that yesterday. I think we just over adjusted for the weather conditions and things. Kenny (Francis, crew chief) and the guys are doing a nice job with adjustments. It was much better that last run we took off and we were close to the leaders speed the first 10 or 20 laps and then started falling off again. So we have a little bit of work to do, but we are back to ninth and hopefully going forward from here.”
YOU TALK ABOUT THE WEATHER CONDITIONS AND HOW THEY CHANGED FROM WHEN YOU PRACTICED TO WHERE WE STARTED TODAY. NOW WE ARE TALKING ABOUT SIGNIFICANT RAIN AND IT’S GOING TO BE DIFFERENT AGAIN WHEN YOU COME BACK AND RACE HOPEFULLY LATER THIS AFTERNOON OR THIS EVENING. WHAT CHANGES IN THE TRACK AND IN THE CAR DO YOU LOOK FOR THEN?
“Well I think you know more rain, probably the most rain that we have had so far. So it will wash all the rubber back off the track and it will be similar to how the race started I would imagine. Then it’s going to get dark and everything. I don’t know if it will free up tonight or not, but I’m kind of expecting it to be similar to how it’s been this afternoon. Once it does rubber back in at that point we just need to be a little bit looser. Hopefully we can get that done and go forward.”
I KNOW YOU’RE A SEATTLE SEAHAWKS FAN SO DURING THIS RAIN DELAY HAVE YOU BEEN CHECKING YOUR FANTASY FOOTBALL?
“Yeah, I may go check on my fantasy football. I don’t know how that is going so far. Yeah, the Seahawks are going tonight against the 49ers which is going to be a great game. Probably won’t be watching that I’ll probably be racing, but I hope the ‘Hawks win. They are pretty tough this year.”
YOU WON’T BE ASKING FOR ANY UPDATES DURING THE COURSE OF THE RUN TONIGHT?
“I don’t think so. I have enough to focus on right now. We need to get a good run in today at Chicago and get off to a good start in the Chase.”
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – Comment during red flag
EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENED DURING THE PITS STOP ON LAP 77 REGARDING THE RIGHT REAR. THE OFFICIAL ASSUMED THERE WAS A LUGNUT MISSING?
“Yeah, there was one hanging there. One had fallen off during the hand-in, so it was kind of hanging there; but the tire changer had taken the time. He did his job. He did a great job getting the other lugnut on there and making sure it was tight. The official thought there were only four on there. We all make mistakes. That happens from time to time. Hopefully we can get the Lowe’s Chevrolet back up towards the front and compete for the win.”
YOU WERE VERY CALM AND COMPOSED WHEN YOU TALKED TO JIMMIE JOHNSON ON THE RADIO, AND DIDN’T SEEM TO BE RILED AT ALL, EXTERNALLY. INTERNALLY, WERE YOU A LITTLE HOT?
“Well, the competitiveness side of me obviously didn’t want that to happen. We had a good opportunity to come in and retain the lead. But unfortunately fell back about five seconds because of that. So, we’ll just have to get out there and battle with them a little bit. But I think we’ll be okay. The car is running really good. Jimmie is doing a great job and the guys did a really good job of preparing the race car. We just have to get this rain out of our system. Looks like we might be racing under the lights, which might make it pretty exciting.”
YOU CALLED HIM IN A LITTLE BIT EARLY FOR THAT SECOND STOP. WAS THAT A STRATEGY MOVE TO MAKE A SECOND STOP BEFORE HALFWAY OR WERE YOU WORRIED AT ALL ABOUT A RIGHT FRONT?
“No, not worried about tires at all. Just wanted to get in here. We felt like we had everybody in a position where we could capitalize on it and catch them off guard and maybe get out there and pull all them down pit road. And all that worked perfectly! The only problem we had was we were a little slow on our pit stop (laughs).”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – Comment during red flag
WHAT WERE YOU HEARING WHILE YOU WERE WAITING FOR THE CUE TO GO ON THAT PIT STOP?
“I was definitely waiting. And I could see confusion. I saw an official waving and I saw my rear changer done and at the wall, arguing with Chad (Knaus) and telling him that the lugs were on. In the end, I guess the official thought all the lugs weren’t on the right rear. And that’s where there was a conversation and an argument. Chad didn’t want me to leave the box without all the lugs on because that’s a penalty and on and on it went. So, long story short, I saw there on pit road while the clock was ticking and we proved our case that all five were on there. I took off. We certainly lost track position but I think we have a strong enough car to get back up there. We just need to get this place to dry out and get my Lowe’s Chevy back on the road and we’ll be in good shape.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE TWO-TIRE CALL EARLY? HOW WAS YOUR CAR HANDLING?
“It was good. My car has driven the same either way. So, I’m really happy with how my car feels. It’s got plenty of speed in it. The motor is running awesome. It’s nice when you can get up and run the high line and can feel the rpm in the engine and the Hendrick horsepower running down the straight. So, all is good. I’m just looking forward to a nice solid finish today and a good run. Hopefully that’s the only hiccup for the afternoon and we’ll be in good shape when the checkered falls.”
WE JUST TALKED TO CHAD KNAUS. HE SAID IT WOULD BE EXCITING RACING UNDER THE LIGHTS. DO YOU AGREE?
“Yeah, I just want to race today. I want to get home and see my girls. So as long as we can get it in tonight, today, or whatever it is, we’re ready to run.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET SS: YOU STAYED OUT A LITTLE LONGER THAN EVERYONE ELSE DURING THAT FIRST ROUND OF GREEN FLAG PIT STOPS TO LEAD A LAP. DISCUSS THE WAY STRATEGY WORKS ESPECIALLY IN THE EARLY PART OF THE RACE:
“My crew chief just walked away you should have asked him. He was the one that kept me out there. I think he was working on if the rain did stay and last a little bit longer we would be able to stay out longer than everybody else. Not knowing what the mindset is of everybody seeing if we might be able to get to halfway at that point. At the same time the tires aren’t falling off that much so it wasn’t going to hurt us. Either way we got a point I guess from what you told me, because I didn’t know. We stayed on the lead lap there after the cycle and feel like our Quicken Loans car is decent. We need some track position no doubt. We will keep working on it.”
DOES THIS NOW CHANGE THE WAY YOU GUYS APPROACH FROM HERE ON OUT WHEN WE GO BACK RACING?
“No, my goal is to get to the front. It doesn’t change any approach with respect to that. What my crew chief does and how we get to the front might be a different story.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER DESIGNATE A DRIVER CHEVROLET SS:
HOW IS YOUR CHEVY? I UNDERSTAND YOU WERE STRUGGLING WITH IT A LITTLE BIT WITH IT BEING REALLY TIGHT EARLY IN THE RACE?
“Yeah, we’ve just not been able to make it turn getting towards the center of the corner. Once we get past 15 or 20 laps the cars speed is really good we just have to get it going. We are going to make some adjustments on this pit stop after we had some time to sit and talk about it. For as off as I thought we were at the beginning of the race we are not in too bad a position here to make up some ground.”
WE JUST SHOWED THE FEATURE WHERE YOUR CAREER REALLY JUMP STARTED AT THE TRAGIC LOSS OF DALE EARNHARDT. I KN
OW YOU ARE LEAVING THIS TEAM AT THE END OF THIS YEAR. WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU TO LEAD THIS TEAM TO A CHAMPIONSHIP GIVEN THE FACT THAT RICHARD CHILDRESS BELIEVED IN YOU AND PUT YOU IN THAT SEAT WHEN THEY LOST DALE?
“Obviously there were some extreme circumstances. We have heard that a lot this week haven’t we. In that situation there were some extreme circumstances to fill a void for the company at RCR. I felt like we did what we had to do to make everything right for the employees and everybody to keep that car on the race track. Richard definitely gave me an opportunity and I will always be grateful for that. We are just going to race as hard as we can these last 10 weeks to get the best finishes we can and see where we wind up come Homestead.”
AS A LAME DUCK DRIVER DO YOU DO ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY? IS YOUR FOCUS STILL ON DOING WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR THIS NO. 29 BUNCH AND BUDWEISER?
“Yeah, you definitely have to be focused. I’m a one week at a time person. It’s focus on what we need to for Chicago and Monday morning we will be focused on what we need to be focused on for Loudon. Obviously during the week there are some conversations and things that need to happen for next year, but the biggest things that we have to worry about are already taken care of with crew chiefs and things like that. Those guys are all working hard and we are going to work hard as a team this year to finish these last 10 weeks.”
YOU ARE ONE OF ONLY TWO DRIVERS TO WIN HERE MULTIPLE TIMES. WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS TRACK IS GOING TO BE LIKE AND WHAT IS IT GOING TO BE LIKE ON THE RACE TRACK WHEN YOU GUYS GET BACK OUT THERE?
“Well the groove was pretty much on the bottom at the beginning of the race there until everybody started burning the track in. It took several laps for that to come in. We will have to go through that period again. I think that the cars are going to have more grip. I feel like they are going to turn better. They should turn better through the center of the corner, but the speeds are going to be up at the same time so hopefully the balance stays pretty close to the same just higher speeds.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS – Comment during red flag
YOU WERE RUNNING 6TH WHEN THE RAIN CAME. HOW WAS YOUR CAR?
“We started sixth and we were passing cars; and then we had some guys change-up the strategy with two tires, so we had to come back a little bit from that, but the car is really, really strong. We were a little bit tight on the longer runs, but we’ve got a really strong race car. So I’m excited about the rest of the race; get this rain out of here and get this Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet up a little bit further forward.”
WHAT’S THE DISCUSSION ABOUT THE STRATEGY MOVING FORWARD BETWEEN YOU AND (CREW CHIEF) ALAN GUSTAFSON AT THIS POINT WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT’S AHEAD OF YOU THE REST OF THE DAY?
“Well, we can use the conditions that we had when this race started. It rained earlier. So, we’re really just thinking about what the track conditions are going to be and what our car has been doing on our first run and each run after that. It’s really just about tuning the car to make it go as fast as possible; and keep the team warmed-up and ready to go and just keep that mindset to be ready at any time. Don’t get complacent. We’re fired-up. This day is going well for us and we hope it continues.”