Chevy Racing–Charlotte–Post Race

OCTOBER 11, 2015


Three Chevy SS Teams Finish in Top-Five

CONCORD, N.C. – October 11, 2015 – Kevin Harvick earned his 11th runner-up finish of the season in his No. 4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS in the 30th race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, the Bank of American 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The 334-lap contest was scheduled to run under the lights Saturday night, but heavy rain in the Concord, North Carolina area forced NASCAR to postpone the event until the daytime hours of Sunday.

Harvick’s solid finish places him second in the point standings as he heads to the second race in the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

“We could hang with him (Joey Logano), but I would just lose him every once in a while in traffic,” said Harvick. “It was just extremely hard to pass. But all in all, we weren’t very good all weekend and the guys just did a great job on pit road and made our car better throughout the day and were able to make our Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet better as we went on. So, I’m just really proud of that. And if those are the off-days, we’ll be just fine.”

Fellow Team Chevy Chase contender Martin Truex, Jr. earned a third-place finish in the No. 78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, his sixth top 10 finish in 21 races at Charlotte. Kurt Busch, another Chevrolet SS driver in contention for this year’s title, came home fifth in the No. 41 Stat Water Heaters Chevy SS, giving Team Chevy three of the top five finishers overall.

After starting 22nd in his final race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the venue where he earned his first career win in 1994, Jeff Gordon drove his No. 24 3M Chevrolet SS to an eighth-place finish.

Two of the Team Chevy Chase participants had less than ideal days at the 1.5-mile track.

Ryan Newman, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, had contact with Matt Kenseth on the restart on lap 174. The No. 31 Chevy sustained right-side damage and was relegated to a 15th-place finish.

The No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, piloted by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. tangled with Carl Edwards early in the race and hit the outside retaining wall. The damage resulted in a tire going down. It appeared the No. 88 Chevy SS would be able to recover from going two laps down to the leaders by using pit strategy, when Earnhardt, Jr. hit oil on the track and hit the wall again. Once again Earnhardt, Jr. was forced to hit pit road for a flat tire and ended the 501-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the 28th position.

Joey Logano (Ford) was the race winner and Denny Hamlin (Toyota) finished second to round out the top five finishers.

The series moves to Kansas Speedway on Sunday, October 18.


THE MODERATOR: Let’s roll right into our post‑race for today’s 56th annual Bank of America 500, race No. 1 in the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup here at Charlotte Motor Speedway. We’re joined by Kevin Harvick. He drives the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Budweiser Chevrolet for Stewart‑Haas Racing. Kevin, very solid run for you, top 5 the entire day, contending for the win. You’ve got this one in the books. Just talk about how you thought things went out there for you this afternoon?

KEVIN HARVICK: I thought things went well. The guys did a great job on pit road and we were able to capitalize with their solid day and gaining track position. Car wasn’t great all weekend but we were able to make headway on it and make gains and to do the things we needed to do to make it better. In the end that’s what you want to do on a day like today, and we made a really good day out of it. Obviously you want to win, but with so many guys having trouble you want to capitalize on a top‑5 run, too. It was definitely one of those days that could have been better but could have been a whole lot worse.
Q. Kevin, was there any difference from how everybody you think was prepared for last night, and then actually running in the day today?
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, we definitely had to make some bigger swings at the handling of the car than what we were prepared for last night. I like racing in the day and especially here at Charlotte because it seems like the cars move around more and it’s harder to get a hold of your car. But we never were able to get the balance right on our car all weekend and just never really got comfortable in the car but kept grinding away, and it got better throughout the day today, and that’s a good thing on race day.
Q. You said on your radio at one point that I think after a restart you thought Joey had left a little bit early. What did you think about the longer restart zone? Did that have an impact?
KEVIN HARVICK: It doesn’t matter what I thought. At this point it doesn’t matter. I think the restart zones are better long. I think the leader has better control of the race, so I think that’s a good thing.
Q. How difficult was it to pass out there?
KEVIN HARVICK: You know, I think it was one of those days where the cars were so equal once you would get going that you had to make a lot of ground on the restarts.


THE MODERATOR: Kevin, thank you, and good luck at Kansas. We’ll see you then. Our third‑place finisher in the Bank of America 500 is Martin Truex Jr. He drives the No. 78 Furniture Row Visser Precision Chevrolet, and Martin, that had to be a solid performance for your race team with so many of the other Chase drivers having some difficulty out there, a third‑place finish, you have to feel pretty good about that out here today.

MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, for sure, feel great about it. Obviously honestly we had a tough weekend, and I thought after practice we’d be lucky to run 15th. So proud of Cole and my engineers and just everybody for sticking with it, and having a good game plan. You know, we had a good car today. We fought track position all day but once we got up towards the front we had good speed. I’m just proud of the guys for never quitting and never giving up and just fighting hard all weekend, and did a good job today during the race.
Q. Third place was great, don’t get me wrong, but what do you have to do ‑‑
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: It’s not? You sounded like that was a lot of sarcasm.
Q. Hear me out. Kyle was running third, I think, when he had his pit road issue. What is your game plan? What do you think that you need to do to make it into this third round?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I’ll be honest with you, Talladega is still there. Third is great and all, but it’s no guarantee. I felt like this round would be good for us. Charlotte and Kansas, we ran so good here in the first race this year, and then after practice I was like, oh, my God, we’re struggling. This was honestly the worst weekend we’ve had all season long as far as how I felt about the race car.

So I was like, okay, kind of damage control. Let’s just hopefully get a top 10 out of this thing, and to do ‑‑ to get third out of it was a huge step for us.

Honestly, I think going to Kansas, a win is huge. It would be so huge. It’s so critical to try to get that win out of the way. Logano is the only one that’s going to sleep for the next two weeks. You know what I mean? Kansas has been one of my best racetracks, and certainly one of my best since I went to Furniture Row. Honestly, we’re going there as hard as we can go with everything we have to try to win just because we know Talladega is that wild card.

Third is great, but yeah, I mean, our strategy is we still think we need to win next week.
Q. Martin, it seemed like there were some uncharacteristic mistakes by a lot of veterans today. Do you think guys were pressing a little bit like you said knowing that Talladega is looming, that it was important to get a good finish here, knowing that here or Kansas you’ve got to get your points?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, that and part of it was just, man, it was so hard to pass out there today, nearly just impossible. And with the cool temperatures and the speed in the racetrack and everybody pretty much running the bottom, I think that was part of it. You see a little bit of a gap and you’ve got to stick your nose in there and try to get next to somebody because if you don’t get them off the bottom they slow you down two, three tents. There were times when I was having trouble in lap traffic, guys that you run down really fast. I think part of it is that they know that every spot is super important, and if they get that chance to get in there and take a position, they’re going to go for it. That’s probably what it boils down to. I thought the restarts were as on edge as ever, guys just trying to get everything they possibly could, and that’s ‑‑ there was just so much on the line.
Q. Do you like what they did with the zone?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I think it’s great. I really do. We haven’t seen one instance where the leader was a sitting duck, where the leader wasn’t the guy who had the advantage. Before the second‑place guy had the advantage because he’d always go at the first mark no matter what. I think it’s been great. I think from what I’ve seen, I don’t think there’s been any question on the calls or anything like that. I think it’s been awesome.