NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY POST RACE NOTES AND QUOTES
SEPTEMBER 29, 2013
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET SS – RACE WINNER
IT’S YOUR EIGHTH VICTORY AT DOVER TODAY. TALK ABOUT THE LAST RUN. I’VE HAD CREW CHIEFS TELL ME THAT TWO TIRES WILL NOT BEAT FOUR TIRES. HOW DID YOU HOLD OFF YOUR TEAMMATE, DALE EARNHARDT, JR.?
“Two (tires) worked good for us in practice. And believe me; I wanted to see four tires line-up in the fourth or fifth row. When they lined up right behind me, I thought I was going to have my hands full. And I really did. Junior drove a whale of a race and track position really gave me the advantage I needed to hold him off. It’s good to get this KOBALT Tools Chevrolet in Victory Lane. I’m very excited. I’m very happy to have Mr. Hendrick here. I wish that I had my family here. I want to say hi to my girls at home. Thank you to all the fans and to Sprint. This is just an awesome day and awfully timely in the scheme of things.”
YOU ARE ONLY EIGHT POINTS BEHIND MATT KENSETH NOW. HOW STRONG IS THIS TEAM, GOING FORWARD, FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
“It’s good. All these things are great. When you put the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) and No. 20 (Matt Kenseth) up there, it’s going to make it a very difficult deal. And I think it’s going to be fun for the fans to watch. We came to a good track and we got what we needed to, done. I know that No. 20 is going to be awfully strong for the rest of the stretch, and I look forward to racing with him.”
TALK ABOUT YOUR PLACE IN THE RECORD BOOKS NOW. IT USED TO BE YOU AND RICHARD PETTY AND BOBBY ALLISON TIED FOR THE MOST WINS AT DOVER. NOW IT’S JUST YOU:
“It’s incredible. To do anything that Bobby or Richard has done is quite an accomplishment. We’ve had a few sneak away from us here, too, over the years. I’m just so happy to get that done and be the sole leader of race wins here. It’s a very special day.”
TALK US THROUGH YOUR DAY AND THIS DOMINATE RUN THAT YOU HAD:
“Just a very fast race car. I think we were a little vulnerable on stickers and new tires to get going for five to eight laps. Then after that this KOBALT Tools Chevrolet was really strong. I was fearing cautions at the end. Of course we had one. I felt like two (tires) was good for us. We knew that it was going to work well for us. I wish that four (tires) was going to start further back. When I saw four was the car right behind me I knew I was going to be in trouble. (Dale Earnhardt) Junior drove a whale of a race. He kept me super honest there at the end. So a very strong day.”
GIVEN THAT YOU WEREN’T AS GOOD ON THE SHORT RUNS AND YOU HAD TWO TIRES WHAT MADE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND DALE EARNHARDT, JR. RIGHT THERE AT THE END OF THE RACE?
“I think really just track position. He had a great race car all day long. I think really between the No. 88, the No. 20 and the No. 48 we seemed to have all the speed to be the three fastest cars. I saw him miss pit road early in the race. I’m sure that was tough to rebound from. He finally got back up to the front there and was awfully strong. It has just been a track that I’ve adapted to since the beginning and I’ve really enjoyed running at. The longer the run the better I perform here. This track isn’t easy to drive. You’ve got to be up on the wheel for four hundred laps around here and I enjoy that aspect too.”
10 POINTS THAT YOU KNOCKED OFF OF MATT KENSETH’S LEAD IS THIS THE POINT THAT JIMMIE JOHNSON AND THE LOWE’S TEAM STARTS TO MAKE THEIR MOVE?
“I still think it’s too early to say somebody can make a move. You just don’t want to give points up. Today we got max points so we didn’t leave any on the table and we will go to Kansas next week and see what we can do.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED SECOND
YOU CAME UP ONE SPOT SHORT WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE AT THE END?
“Well, Jimmie (Johnson) was just that good. I thought that four tires were going to be enough to get to him and get him out of the way, but he is just that fast around here. That track position is really important and I gave that up early in the race with that mistake coming onto pit road. And it cost us a shot at the win there. We still had it. My crew gave me a good enough car to get us back into it, so I’ve got to thank them, National Guard, Diet Mountain Dew, Time Warner Cable and all of our partners.”
HOW DID THE RACE TRACK CHANGE THROUGHOUT THE DAY TODAY?
“The balance moved around a little bit not quite as much as we have seen here in the past, but I think we just brought a better race car this time. That is why we had a better time of it.”
YOU WERE THE FIRST CAR WITH FOUR TIRES ON THAT LAST RUN. DID YOU THINK THAT WOULD BE ENOUGH TO GET IT DONE?
“Yeah, I did. That’s real disappointing there; but Jimmie (Johnson) is really that fast. He’s that good around this place. I thought we might be able to get to him and I was definitely going to do whatever I could to win if I could get within reach. But I just couldn’t get to him. So, I’m just real disappointed. We’ve had a couple of good weekends. These are two of the best cars I’ve had all year. I’ve got to thank the team. But, running second is no better than running 10th. I’d like to get a trophy here soon.”
YOU HAD A COUPLE OF ISSUES ON PIT LANE TODAY. DO YOU THINK ULTIMATELY THAT HAD ANY AFFECT ON WHERE YOU FINISHED?
“Yeah, I take responsibility for getting a little too eager coming onto pit road for that green flag stop. We’re lucky we didn’t have more trouble through that whole deal. I didn’t know what the heck the rules are for that, so I was figuring we got off pretty light. But I had a fast enough car to get back to the leaders, but you’ve got to be the leader on that last start. You see most of these races are won by the guy leading it at the last restart or after the last round of pit stops. That wasn’t us today. I’ll take responsibility for that mess-up coming on pit road for sure.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED FOURTH
DESCRIBE THE WAY THINGS WENT THIS AFTERNOON FOR YOU ON THIS TOUGH RACE TRACK:
“It was definitely tough. Our Axalta Cromax Pro Chevrolet was very good. We had moments where I felt like we had the best car and there were moments where I felt like we were one of the worst cars. Man, I did not want to see that last caution. I felt like we were really in the perfect position fuel mileage wise, tires, speed of the car, we were just sitting there riding trying to get to the end. Then we had to make a decision on two tires, four tires. I felt like two was going to be the right thing. It worked out for Jimmie (Johnson) to win it. Congrats to him, but just didn’t work out for us. Our car just didn’t take off very good there.”
YOU HAD A GREAT CAR AT TIMES. IF THIS RACE HAD STAYED GREEN THE REST OF THE WAY, WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU HAD FOR THEM? YOU WERE ALSO SAVING FUEL FOR A WHILE:
“I think we definitely had that strategy nailed. We came in; stretched it as far as we could and the team did an excellent job getting it full of fuel. I was saving (fuel) most of that run. So, we were four short. But it doesn’t matter. The caution came out and we just did not have a short run car. We took two (tires) to get track position, which won the race. But it just didn’t work for our car. All in all, it was a great day for the Axalta Chevrolet. I was very happy with just the overall performance of everybody. And I was having fun. Congrats to Jimmie (Johnson). He’s so tough here. It’s no surprise that he won. It was a great job by (Dale Earnhardt) Junior, too; that was fun to watch.”
GAINED IN THE POINTS AND TECHNICALLY TIED FOR FOURTH, BUT YOU ARE IN FIFTH. LOOKING AT THE BIG PICTURE AND MOVING ON TO KANSAS, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT YOUR CHANCES?
“Oh, well, if we keep performing the way we’ve been performing; a driver can’t slide into the pit stall too far, and we’ve just got to keep knocking out good pit stops and having good race cars like we’ve had. I’m very excited and motivated by how well this team has stepped-up ever since the Chase has come around. I can’t wait to get to the next race.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED SIXTH
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RACE:
“That was a long day. All in all, all the guys on our Budweiser Chevy did a good job of just kind of keep pounding away. That is what you have to do here at Dover as you get towards halfway it just kind of seems like you can make up positions by just staying in the game. We just kept ourself in the game today. We didn’t have a great car, but we still have some work to do to get the performance a little bit better. We have got to fix pit road.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHERE YOU STAND AT IN THE CHASE RIGHT NOW?
“We beat the points leader so we probably didn’t gain any points, but we didn’t lose any either.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 STATE WATER HEATERS CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED EIGHTH
“Our day started out really well, the car was great for the first 100 laps or so. It got tight after that and we never could make the right adjustment to get it handling like I needed it to. I think we finished eighth, but I know a lot of the guys we’re in the chase with finished ahead of us. All in all, it wasn’t a bad day for the State Water Heaters Chevrolet. We got another top-10 finish, which means everyone can go to Outback Steakhouse and get a free Bloomin’ Onion, and we paid 10 mortgages with Quicken Loans’ “Bring it Home” promotion.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 13TH
HOW WAS YOUR CAR TODAY AND WERE YOU GUYS HAVING A MECHANICAL ISSUE?
“We don’t know yet. Something was wrong and we lost a lot of power. Didn’t seem like the engine, maybe it was something else like tail pipes or something. We are not real sure. We just salvaged a good finish and we didn’t pit there and got a top-15. So that was good for what we had and what we were dealt with.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/DENVER MATTRESS CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 21ST
ON HIS RACE:
“A loose wheel did us in. We were way off at the start, but after the first pit stop we made some good changes and started to make a move. But once again we had an issue with a loose wheel (right rear, Lap 156) and that put us a couple of laps down. And with the lack of cautions we couldn’t make it up. This is the Chase and you can’t afford to have these problems. We need to regroup and get it together for Kansas next week.”