CHASE FOR THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP
ROUND 9 OF 10
PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
TEAM CHEVY POST-RACE NOTES AND QUOTES
NOVEMBER 13, 2016
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 JIMMY JOHN’S CHEVROLET SS – Finished 4th
WHAT WAS LACKING TODAY? WHAT MORE DID YOU NEED TO GET IT DONE HERE TODAY?
“We just started way too far off on Friday. We never got a handle on the racecar. They made it a ton better in the race and we were in contention there at the end and just came up short. Just really proud of everybody for the effort that they put in. It was a very challenging Chase for us for all the mechanical failures and situations that we had going on. We kept rebounding and winning races and today we were a lap down and came back to have a chance at the end. That says a lot about the character of our race team and we just came up short this year.”
YOU NEVER GAVE UP AND THAT WAS KIND OF THE MARK OF THE TEAM ALL DAY.
“That’s a huge credit to the race team and the guys there in the end. We had a chance and could take a swing for it. We just didn’t quite have it all weekend. We made the car a ton better as we got into the race. So I’m proud of everyone for that.”
WHAT DID YOU THINK WHEN THE CAUTION CAME OUT?
“That was the hard part. The 42 (Kyle Larson) kind of dive-bombed everyone three-wide. You have three guys racing for the championship there. I know he wants to win but all in all it didn’t really make a race out of it.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 41 MONSTER ENERGY/HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET SS – Finished 5th
TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY AND ALL YOU WENT THROUGH TODAY:
“We got up to the front as high as third and sniffed the front to try to win because we had to win to advance. We didn’t get the job done. The long run speed is where our Achilles Heel was these last few Chase races. It’s a little disappointing, maybe we can pinpoint that as our exact problem and figure out how to fix that, but really proud of Tony Gibson (crew chief) and everybody that worked on these cars all year long from Stewart-Haas Racing. Thanks to Haas Automation, Monster Energy, Chevrolet, we finished fifth today we battled hard we just didn’t have enough. You’ve got to have it all if you want to be in that championship four.”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – Finished 3rd
HOW DID YOU SEE THE LAST TWO RESTARTS?
“On the first one, I saw the 88 (Alex Bowman) go down and try to block the 18 (Kyle Busch). I think the 18 might have clipped the 88, got him loose and shot him up the race track into the 20 (Matt Kenseth). On the last restart, I had a good initial takeoff. I tried to go to the inside of the 18 and just didn’t get clear off Turn Two and ended up third. So I was pretty happy with that result after all the trouble we got into early in the race.”
THAT WAS A PRETTY SOLID FIGHTBACK WHEN IT COULD HAVE BEEN GAME OVER EARLY.
“I made a big mistake on the first lap and got loose into Turn Three and got up into the 22. It obviously didn’t affect his race. Then we were coming in for a green-flag stop and all kind of had our hands full getting to the commitment line. I think the 31 (Ryan Newman) must have wheel-hopped behind me and had a lot of speed. He tagged me in the rear bumper and spun me around. So we went a lap down but we got the Lucky Dog pass-around later and fought hard the rest of the way.”
ALEX BOWMAN, INTERIM DRIVER, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET SS – Finished 6th
FANTASTIC RUN FROM THE POLE DESCRIBE YOUR AFTERNOON AND THE CONTACT LATE IN THE RACE:
“It was a really fun day. Greg (Ives, crew chief) and all the guys made great changes all day. We had the best car all day long. Really disappointed. I hate that we got into Matt (Kenseth) like that. Just really disappointing end to the day, but one of those deals. Just a racing deal. I don’t know if his spotter cleared him or what, but I was up against the inside wall when we made contact. It says a lot about Hendrick Motorsports and Greg Ives and the whole Nationwide Chevy team. We were so strong all day, fastest car, but the fastest car didn’t win the race this weekend.”
“Man, it’s just really disappointing. But everybody at Hendrick Motorsports, the Hendrick engine shop, Nationwide, Axalta, it just means so much for them to put faith in me. I don’t think I have ever led a Cup race before and to lead as much as we did and to run like we did today is amazing.”
YOU DOMINATED AND WITH ALL DUE RESPECT DID YOU THINK THAT YOU HAD THIS KIND OF CUP PERFORMANCE IN YOU?
“Yeah, I think there are 40 guys in this garage that do. If this says anything about this garage it says that equipment is everything. And you look at the race cars that Hendrick Motorsports brings to the race track every weekend. That is just what I needed to be able to show this. I am very thankful for that opportunity but there are plenty of other guys that are good enough to drive stuff, but they just don’t get the opportunity to show it.”
DID MR H SAY ANYTHING AFTER THE RACE?
“I don’t think so. I was kind of tearing my stuff off because I was a little upset, so I don’t believe so. I am flying home with him and I am sure we will get to talk a lot. I just wish we were standing… we were a heck of a lot better than the 22 was. So I wish we were standing there today.”
WERE YOU MOST UPSET ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED ON THAT LAST RESTART, OR JUST NOT WINNING THIS RACE?
“A little bit of both. The last couple of restarts I just didn’t do a good job and we should have been leading that last restart to begin with. That part of it is unfortunate and yeah, what happened to the 20, I just hate taking somebody out of the Chase. It ruined our day too. There is no way we should have finished sixth or whatever we were. That is the worst we were all day. It’s just frustrating.”
WHO IS GOING TO HAVE TO TALK TO WHO ON WHAT HAPPENED THERE?
“I mean, I will go talk to the 20 and explain what happened. I feel bad, but there was really nothing I could do. You get defensive there into turn one and his spotter cleared him because he just drove across the nose like he thought he was clear. It’s unfortunate and I hate that. Maybe I just got in there too deep but I was against the inside wall when we made contact.”
DO YOU THINK YOU HAD MOMENTUM TO RUN LIKE THIS BECAUSE ITS YOUR HOME TRACK?
“Absolutely. It really means a lot to run like this and I am just very happy, excited, and just glad to be here. I just have to thank everybody that gave me this opportunity. I am just really appreciative.”
DO YOU THINK YOU PROVED THAT YOU COULD RUN WITH THE CHASERS AND THAT YOU COULD HANDLE IT SO WELL?
“Yeah, I think so. You just have to put yourself in position to win and we just didn’t capitalize on a few things or do a good enough job to put myself in that position. Race car was amazing, but pretty much anybody could have driven it. It was that good. It opens my eyes, and hope it opens some doors to something.”
WHAT WERE YOU FOCUSED ON WHEN YOU WERE GETTING READY TO DO THE RESTART?
“The 20 spun his tires and I had a pretty solid run and the 18 hit me and I spun the tires. I tried to get a little low and the 18 just turned me sideways and I was up against the inside wall and I think the 20 thought he was clear. We were just focused on getting a restart and we didn’t get a terrible restart, it wasn’t the best but we were going forward until the 18 got into us. It’s just hard racing at the end and you know that happens because you are racing for the win in a Cup race. On that last restart I think we knocked the toe out pretty bad. And it is what it is.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 KOBALT CHEVROLET SS – Finished 38th
NOT THE DAY YOU WANTED. WHAT HAPPENED OUT OF THE RACE TRACK WITH THE INCIDENT WITH AUSTIN DILLON? AND GIVE US YOUR THOUGHTS AS YOU PREPARE TO RUN FOR ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP:
“The thing there was just kind of a minor wreck in front of us and got into the back of the No. 16 (Greg Biffle) and it knocked the fitting off the oil cooler and we started leaking some oil. I think before that was the penalty I received for pulling up to pit, which was mind blowing. In the 15 years I’ve been here that has never been officiated that way. The leader has always had the ability to pull up and maintain whatever gap they had to the cars behind them. They have never penalized the leader and make the leader stay alongside the pace car. On the majority of the tracks we compete at you just naturally progress in front of the pace car. So now to all of a sudden officiate this is mind blowing to me. As long as they continue to do it from here on forward I will bite my lip and won’t say another word, but it just seems a little odd to be quite honest with you.”
IS THIS SOMETHING YOU ARE GOING TO FOLLOW UP WITH NASCAR ABOUT?
“I will do the due diligence. I’m not sure I will get an answer I want, but I will definitely go try.”