CHASE FOR THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP
ROUND 4 OF 10
BANK OF AMERICA 500
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY RACE NOTES AND QUOTES
OCTOBER 9, 2016
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – RACE WINNER
WERE YOU BEGINNING TO WONDER IF IT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN?
“No, I didn’t wonder, I just knew it was taking way too long. When you drive for Rick Hendrick and have all the great people at Hendrick Motorsports working for you, the great support from Lowe’s and everyone in their stores and Chevrolet…..there are just so many great people behind us and that support us to make this happen. We knew we would get back. Yes, it was slower than we wanted it to be but to be here today and have this victory is great. Thank you to Sprint, to the fans, to Gatorade, and to Valvoline. This is something very special to our team.”
TELL US ABOUT THE RESTART WITH THE 20 AND HOW YOU WERE ABLE TO GET THE JUMP. YOU KNEW THE OUTSIDE WAS GOING TO BE THE BEST PLACE BECAUSE YOU TOOK IT ALL DAY LONG:
“Yeah, I did. Humpy Wheeler passed out these million dollar bills from way back when and my daughter gave it to me and told me to put it in my pocket for good luck and there it is sweetie, it worked.”
IS THERE ANY WAY YOU CAN DESCRIBE THE WORK THAT IT TOOK TO GET HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS BACK TO VICTORY LANE?
“Really we just fell back on what we are made of at Hendrick Motorsports. There is a culture there and a belief. It was not fun to experience after all that we have been through but we have seen the cars get stronger, better and faster. We were able to execute all day long here. You were asking about that restart at the end and the track got so slick that I actually found that restarting on the bottom was a little bit better than what I had up top. I was able to throw it down to the inside of the 20 in turn three and make the pass, but restarts were really tricky today. I just really can’t thank everyone enough that supports us and for all the fans that were tuned in today.”
WHEN WE TALKED BEFORE THE RACE THIS CAR RAN AT DARLINGTON AND DIDN’T DO SO WELL. TODAY IT WAS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WHAT HAPPENED?
“At Darlington the car was pretty strong. I just spun out trying to get back from serving a penalty and was really frustrated with myself. I knew we had a great car. We brought this Lowe’s Chevrolet here and it was very competitive all day long. Once we got some track position we could really control the race.”
TALK ABOUT WHAT THIS MEANS TO THE TEAM NOW THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT KANSAS OR TALLADEGA:
“Talladega for sure. That is massive. I am so happy about that. So happy to be in Victory Lane with this guy with Chad Knaus (crew chief), we are a brotherhood on this No. 48 team and just so thankful for the friendship and the hard work. Same thing for everybody at Hendrick Motorsports we are really going to enjoy this.”
EIGHT WIN AT CHARLOTTE AND 78TH FOR THE CAREER:
“Not bad. Those aren’t bad numbers at all. I was praying for one when I was a kid. Now to have 78 of these things that is pretty wild.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 GREAT CLIPS CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 3RD
ON HIS DAY:
“It was quite the battle to get there. We had our work cut out for us. We got to where we were a lot better the first 30 laps of a run the last three runs there. That helped us get some track position and avoid a couple of those wrecks. That was tough on a couple of those teams. I know Chase (Elliott) was part of one. I didn’t see what happened, but that is tough for those guys that are battling for this championship. Congrats to Jimmie (Johnson) and the Hendrick Engines, No. 48 teams, those guys did awesome. Our Great Clips Chevrolet was strong the first 30 laps and then it would fall off a little bit. It was still a strong day. We did pretty good. We fought hard; the team had great pit stops all day also.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 4TH
WHAT DOES A RUN LIKE THIS AT THIS STAGE OF THE SEASON DO FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM?
“We had a good race car no doubt. The Caterpillar Chevrolet was strong, especially at the end of the run on top all day long. Just came up a little bit short there. I know some other guys had some problems, but I want to thank the fans that came back today and hopefully enjoyed a great race. We will keep digging. This is building for us for the rest of the year and starting next year.”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 5TH
ON HIS DAY:
“It was a good finish for our Target Chevy team. We had a right-front tire come a part there early in the race and was stuck a lap down for a long time, but we were able to get our lap back and finish fifth. I thought I was a little bit better than fifth out of the good guys that wrecked and cars that were left. I will take a fifth today it was a hard fought fifth.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 41 HAAS AUTOMATION/MONSTER ENERGY CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 8TH
REALLY GOOD POINTS DAY TELL US ABOUT YOUR DAY:
“We went through a lot today. The restart, I guess we survived it better than most when everybody had that trouble. We just missed on the set-up on the first five laps and then after 30 laps, man, she would just go away. We got what we could out of it and all-in-all an eighth-place finish, guys had trouble, it is one of those days where you just go ‘alright’ we will take it. It’s not the best, but with Haas Automation, Monster Energy, that is the finish we need to advance through this Chase.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON SO MANY CHASE GUYS HAVING TROUBLE PUTTING YOU IN THE POSITION WHERE YOU GUYS HAVE A GOOD RUN?
“It’s all wide open still. That restart kind of looked like Talladega when we all tried to get through that last year.”
TONY STEWART CAME BY AND SAID HE WAS PROUD OF YOU WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT HIM THIS YEAR AND YOUR TEAM?
“We keep battling and we don’t give up. We have damage on our car, we have bad pit stops or today we just had an awful pit selection position because Danica was doing well today. She was on the lead lap and kept coming around us and it boxed us in. We don’t need that, but we weren’t the ones penalized, they were the ones penalized on their pit position it is just weird how some of the things play out, but all-in-all I’m really happy with these guys, (Tony) Gibson (crew chief) and all the things that have been thrown at us we will take an eighth-place today. We know we need to get better.”
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR YOU TODAY?
“Just getting speed out of the car from lap five to lap 20.”
IS THAT SOME OF THE ISSUES YOU HAD EARLIER IN THIS CHASE OR IS IT SOMETHING DIFFERENT?
“Yeah, this 1.5-mile we thought we would do better, but we finished fifth at New Hampshire, so we will see. We will go to the drawing board this week and dial up what we need for Kansas, because Kansas is real similar to this place.”
FIVE GUYS FINISHED 30TH OR WORSE THAT YOU ARE COMPETING AGAINST. HOW DOES THAT PLAY INTO HOW YOU GUYS LOOK AT THINGS?
“Lady Luck was on our side and we will take it. We know we want to be better, we want to be faster and we had luck on our side today.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 10TH
HOW DID YOU GET THROUGH THAT WRECK AND EARN A TOP 10 FINISH TODAY?
“I got lucky to get through the wreck. I thought we were torn up a little more than what it shows there. I don’t know we were really good the first 200 laps and then for some reason the last 100 we just couldn’t go on restarts, didn’t hang on very well. We just didn’t have the speed we did earlier in the day, but still pretty solid day for both (Chip Ganassi Racing) cars.”
AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 KROGER/STOUFFER’S/STOUFFER’S FITKITCHEN CHEVROLET SS – Involved in an on-track accident on lap 253
“I’m alright that was definitely a hard hit when you start from the bottom and get to the top not the way you ever want to hit. I’m not sure what happened. First off I can’t thank all my guys enough. Harris Teeter on the race car, Stouffer’s, everybody that is a part of this, built a brand-new race car it’s our first one since really the beginning of the year. It had a lot of speed in it. There is something weird that started to happen kind of I would say the first third of the race to where I didn’t like what was happening with the front end of the car. I couldn’t tell if it was just rubber build up or anything like that, but we kept having tire problems with 15 laps to go in the run. Had one start to delaminate and the same thing right there, I started feeling something go again and I don’t know if the tire went or something broke, but something was definitely starting to get messed up in front of cars when was costing us speed. We had a lot of speed early in the race, probably the most speed we have had all year at a 1.5-mile early in the race. There is something to be positive about just not the way we want to end it.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 VALVOLINE/MENARDS CHEVROLET SS – INVOLVED IN A MULTI-CAR ACCIDENT ON LAP 260
“I have no idea. We got behind early and just got back on the lead lap, making some gains with the No. 27 Valvoline/Menards Chevy. Excited to be back on the lead lap and then that next restart everybody just kind of checked up and I got pushed out to the outside wall and couldn’t see anything, I just ran into Chase (Elliott). I’m not sure what started it all. I guess some guys took two tires, probably spinning tires and bumping and shoving each other.”
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 3M CHEVROLET SS – INVOLVED IN A MULTI-CAR ACCIDENT ON LAP 260
AFTER THOSE PIT STOPS, IS THAT WHAT ULTIMATELY COST YOU?
“No, I think the No. 3 spun his tires. I think they put on just two tires. I think the No. 78 was trying to push him and ended up getting him out of shape and then I think the 18 didn’t see it and ended up getting into me. I tried to get off the brakes and get down to keep that from happening but definitely unfortunate. We had such a good car and I am devastated that we didn’t get the result that the guys deserved. They gave me such a fast 3M Chevy and that is all you can ask for. We just have got to go and do more of that next week.”
YOU HAVE THE SAME CONFIDENCE HEADING INTO KANSAS?
“I sure do.”
WHAT HAPPENED FROM YOUR VANTAGE POINT?
“I think the No. 3 they stayed out on tires and tried to get some track position. The No. 78 ended up getting him out of shape and then after that I tried to check up. I don’t think the No. 18 saw it, got into us and got us turned the wrong way. It happens we just got to go and try to have more runs like that next week.”
HOW GOOD A RACE CAR DID YOU HAVE TODAY?
“One of the best I’ve had I think throughout this year for sure. I was really proud of that. Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports, Hendrick Engine Shop, 3M, all of our partners, we have been working hard at trying to get better. This was definitely proving it today. Jimmie (Johnson) is having a strong run; hopefully he can hold them off.”
DO YOU HAVE TO BE AWARE OF THE STRATEGY IN FRONT OF YOU COMING TO A RESTART LIKE THAT?
“You are aware. You are definitely aware of what is going on. I think those guys were just trying to get some track position. You can’t blame them for trying to win a race. We recognize that. It’s unfortunate for us, but we just have to have more race cars like we had today and I think we will be fine.”
GOING INTO KANSAS A NUMBER OF CHASE DRIVERS HAVE HAD PROBLEMS TODAY WHAT IS YOUR MINDSET GOING INTO NEXT WEEK?
“Definitely this it seems like has been a troublesome day for a lot of guys. Hopefully, we can just try to have another car like we had today and not make any mistakes next week.”
ON PIT ROAD YOU WERE SLOWING DOWN ON PURPOSE TO TRY TO POSITION YOURSELF FOR THE RESTART DID THAT BACKFIRE?
“I was just trying to get into a safe spot. I didn’t want to get hit in my fenders or anything and cause a tire rub. It gets tight there on the exit of pit road. It’s a tough spot.”
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 DOW COATING MATERIALS CHEVROLET SS – INVOLVED IN A MULTI-CAR ACCIDENT ON LAP 260
YOU TOOK THE HARDEST HIT OF ALL, FIRST OF ALL HOW ARE YOU DOING?
“I am fine, it just sucks. We will have to work hard the next two weeks to get the points back. I felt like I got to third gear pretty clean and then the next thing – I feel contact and I am spinning through the grass. It’s part of it and we took two tires there and you know the risk when you get into it. You just hope that doesn’t happen obviously. I got to third without spinning the tires, and I felt like we got contacted. We will just go on to next week.”
YOU HAVE THAT BEFORE WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN IN MARTIN’S POSITION. WHAT DID HE DO THAT WASN’T RIGHT TO HIT YOU TOO HARD?
“I don’t know. I felt like I got hit more toward the right. But whatever happened there……I felt like I got to third (gear) pretty good. I don’t have a good vantage point because I haven’t seen the replay and what I would have done different. I would have just hopefully not wrecked, but it’s all good.”
FROM WHAT YOU SAW TODAY AUSTIN, HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU HEADED TO KANSAS?
“I mean there have been a lot of people that are in the Chase that have wrecked so far. Hopefully we can get back out there and gain a few more points. We just have to do a lot; we have to win one of the next two races.”
HOW HARD FOR YOU NOW MOVING FORWARD TO NEXT WEEK?
“It’s kind of a heartbreaker because we are good at finishing races and this isn’t what we’ve done all year long. There are a lot of guys out of it right here. Hopefully, we can get a couple more laps in with our car and get back out there to salvage a few points.”
WAS THAT THE ONLY CHOICE TO TAKE TWO TIRES TO GET TRACK POSITION?
“I think it was. We had 14 laps on our lefts and I got through the gears good. We had terrible pit stops all day. We really struggled on pit road. We probably lost that many that we gained on that one stop. We were just trying something to get track position and that is what you get. It’s part of the game.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 BUSCH HUNTING CHEVROLET SS – Sidelined by a mechanical issue on lap 154
WAS IT OIL PRESSURE OR DO WE KNOW EXACTLY WHAT IS GOING ON YET?
“That was just a guess. I think that by process of elimination we have narrowed it down to a few things and that is one thing that they are talking about, but don’t know for sure yet until we fire back up.”
WHAT HAPPENED? DID YOU HAVE ANY WARNING?
“No, I thought it was a power issue so I cycled through everything, so by the time I figured out what happened it just shut off. It looks like low oil pressure.”
ANY IDEA WHAT HAPPENED UNDERNEATH THE HOOD?
“No, it just suddenly shut off and the things that it points to are no oil pressure. It’s definitely not a power issue with the battery or anything like that. They are trying to diagnosis it. I hate it for everybody on our Busch team they made some great adjustments today and got our car back where we needed to be to run up front and everything was going fine. Lots of things can go wrong and today they did.”
ALEX BOWMAN, INTERIM DRIVER, NO. 88 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS – Involved in an on-track incident on lap 62
“Blew a tire I guess. It’s really unfortunate. I hate it for these Axalta guys. Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports worked so hard. They brought a great race car here, brand new and destroyed it. Really unfortunate, but it’s not anybody’s fault. We didn’t hit anything we just must have run over something.”
HOW DISAPPOINTING IS THIS?
“They knew we were here that is all that matters. There is nothing more I can do, nothing more anybody on the race team can do. They all do a great job and did everything right, just bad luck.”
IT LOOKED LIKE A TIRE WAS GOING DOWN. ANY IDEA WHY?
“Yeah, we didn’t hit anything and it’s nobody’s fault. We just must have run something over. It’s unfortunate and I hate it for all the guys. Everyone at Hendrick Motorsports brought a great car to the race track. Again, it’s unfortunate and we are going to try and get back out there and salvage some spots.”
CASEY MEARS, NO. 13 GEICO CHEVROLET SS – Involved in an on-track incident on lap 62
WHAT HAPPENED IN FRONT OF YOU THERE WITH THE NO. 88?
“I don’t know. I just was going into the corner and I saw him come up all of a sudden. I don’t know. It’s too bad he didn’t put us out of our misery there. We were having a rough start of it. We were just kind of hanging on and actually those guys were going by us. They either blew a right-front (tire) or had something come loose or something and came up into us.”