PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 MENARDS/PITTSBURG PAINTS CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 10TH:
ANOTHER TOP-10 FINISH FOR YOU AND THE TEAM. TALK ABOUT THE DAY
“It was okay. It was really hard to pass. We’ve got some of the best pit stops in the business. My guys do a really good job on pit road. So, we gained a lot there. The pace slowed down, which really caught us off guard from yesterday a lot more than we thought. So, we missed it a little bit but you’ve just got to look back and utilize the tools and do a better job of starting the race because we always end pretty good.”
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 16TH
IF NOT FOR THAT FINAL CAUTION COMING OUT WHEN IT DID, HOW GOOD OF SHAPE WERE YOU TO GO THE WHOLE WAY?
“We were fine. We were running in the top five. We had good speed. I think we would have finished in the top five. We had a shot at it. The No. 17 had gotten his car really, really good; so (Ricky) Stenhouse was probably the strongest car that I saw at the end of the race. The No. 20 (Matt Kenseth) was pretty good too.”
WHAT POSITIVES CAN YOU TAKE OUT OF THIS AFTER HAVING THREE TOUGH RACES?
“Well, we’ve ran good in all of them. It’s just tough times. We’ve had poor luck; you can’t do much about that. We’ll just have to keep working. But the cars are fast. We know we can run well. I’m really happy about how the cars have been driving and the work we’ve been doing. I’m extremely happy with the engines today. The power in the car was just incredible.”
HOW WORRIED WERE YOU WHEN THE CAUTION CAME OUT AFTER YOU PITTED?
“I was real worried. I was a lap down. I just had an idea there that we was in big trouble and were going to have a hard time finishing as well as we were running.”
THERE WAS A LITTLE BIT OF CONFUSION ABOUT WHETHER YOU WERE GOING TO BE THE LUCKY DOG OR NOT
“Yeah, we were the Lucky Dog because we were ahead of the No. 17 (Stenhouse), a lap down; but NASCAR has a way of scoring it and they scored it the way they scored it. That’s the rules. It’s not a real big deal. If we were the Lucky Dog, we would have been able to have the advantage of coming down pit road and work on the car a little bit and take some tires. But we weren’t.”
AND SO YOU ENDED UP HAVING TO TAKE A WAVE AROUND?
“We took a wave around. We were still in the same position we were in, whether we were the Lucky Dog of not, but didn’t get a chance to work on the car a little bit. But I don’t know if we would have done anything to it. I’m just real happy with the speed. The car had a great engine. The car handled good. We did a good strategy. We just got bit by a caution there.”
ON THE PAST FEW WEEKS
“We’ve been doing that every week; running real good and not getting a good finish. But it’ll come around. We’ve just got to keep working and stay positive. You can’t really get down about it because it can affect how you can perform when things do get turned around. So we’re going to stay positive. The cars have been real fast. What we’re doing is working on the set-ups. It just seems like we’ve got a good idea of what we need to be doing. The cars are real competitive.”
WHAT DID YOU GET BURNED BY TODAY?
“We got bit by a caution that came out just as we had pitted for our last stop. We were good to go to the end. We were running in the top three there. So, we had lined-up a top-five finish for ourselves and the tail piece on the No. 2 (Brad Keselowski) came off and the caution came out and trapped us a lap down. We had to take the wave by and we were in 20th at that point.”
HOW DISAPPOINTED WERE YOU WHEN THAT CAUTION CAME OUT?
“As disappointed as you can be. We were a lap down and had tp take the wave by and that put us to the back behind a whole bunch of lead-lap cars. There was just no time left. It’s real hard to pass here. It’s a good race track though. This thing is widening out. But it was real tough to pass today. So, we’re going to have a hard time getting back to where we were. Chances weren’t very good.”
IS IT DIFFICULT BECAUSE OF THE HARD TIRES?
“Hard tires, yeah. The hard tires make the track really fast. Everybody runs about the same speed. You can’t really charge on people and get close to people because when the tires are hard, you just start slipping around in dirty air. But as the track ages, they’ll soften the tire up a little bit and we’ll be able to race a little bit closer and the racing will get a little bit better. This place has got a great future.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE 85TH ANNIVERSARY CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 2ND:
DID YOU NEED ANOTHER LAP OR DID YOU NEED A CLOUD TO COME OUT?
“I needed clouds. We tightened up a little bit on that final run and putting two on, and zero, I knew we were going to be a little loose but didn’t think it would be quite that bad. Matt (Kenseth) was fast and I just did everything I could and he would go to those spots and I couldn’t make any ground. It was still a good race and I want to thank Farmers Insurance and 85 years of Farmers Insurance, Chevrolet, Time Warner Cable, Quaker State and everybody on my team. The team has done an awesome job and we fought back after a little bit of a disappointment with last week of 11th and came back this week.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 3RD:
FOR HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS, A LOT OF PEOPLE SAID ALL WEEK ‘WHERE ARE THEY’, BUT HERE YOU GUYS ARE WITH TWO OF YOU IN THE TOP 5
“Yeah, Friday and Saturday weren’t fun. There wasn’t a lot of smiles around our group but everybody worked real hard to get the cars right and we had a great race car today. At times I felt like I had a shot to win with my Kobalt Tools Chevrolet and we just didn’t have enough for Matt and Kasey there at the end, but a very solid performance for our Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS.”
AN UP AND DOWN DAY BUT YOU GUYS SEEMED TO GET THE CAR CLOSER TO THE FRONT THE MORE YOU COULD ADJUST ON IT
“We had a vibration at the start of the race and we had to come in and put four tires on and we lost…..well we didn’t have the best starting spot to begin with, but we lost more time. But from there on, I drove right up through the field and got to the front and at times felt like my Kobalt Tools Chevrolet to win. The last two runs we were a little too tight but other than that, a really strong performance with a car that drove through traffic, which is hard to do in today’s world of racing. So happy to be able to do that.”
DID THE SECOND LANE EVER REALLY COME INTO PLAY TODAY?
“Oh yeah, that second lane was there for sure. A lot of guys would get to it maybe 10-15 laps into a run, but the third lane wasn’t there yet. There wasn’t anything that high, but the second lane was working real nice.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 CODE 3 ASSOCIATES CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 14TH:
We struggled a little bit today with our Code 3 Associates Chevrolet. The guys made good adjustments, and we used pit strategy to get some track position towards the end of the race, but we didn’t have the speed we needed to keep it up there. A good effort by everyone on this No. 39 team. We learned a lot today. We’ll head to Richmond next week and see what we can do there.
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 15TH:
“From the start of the race we never could get the handling right. The car was loose then it was tight then it chattered — we just never had any consistency to work off of. We also had a loose wheel early in the race to deal with and that knocked us to the back. After our practice sessions we were looking for a better finish than 15th.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED SEVENTH
YOU HAD QUITE A MOMENT TODAY THAT YOU WERE ABLE TO COME BACK FROM. I SAW ALL THE GUYS CONGRATULATING YOU, TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAY:
“We just started off way too loose. I honestly thought we had one of the better cars in happy hour. From the drop of the green flag it was just extremely loose. We had to actually come in twice and lower the trackbar and make some adjustments. Then I thought we finally had some track position and I got turned sideways on the restart and went all the way to the back again, but it was a good recovery. We just had a fast car all weekend so really happy with that. Good job by our team.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 13TH
HOW BADLY WERE YOU HURT WHEN THAT FINAL CAUTION CAME OUT WHEN IT DID?
“It cost us probably a good six positions I think. We weren’t the best car, but we made some great improvements throughout the weekend. The race pace just kind of came to us and the conditions in the race. Really kind of brought us to life compared to the competition. We are still lacking a few things, but all in all I thought it was a great effort. We just cannot catch a break. That last caution that definitely hurt us being on pit road when the caution comes out it’s never a good thing unless you are on a road course (laughs). We were looking pretty good up until that point, but we weren’t the only ones that it hurt.”
WHAT ARE YOUR OVERALL THOUGHTS ON THE RACE FINISHING 13TH WITH HAVING TO START LAST?
“Well, I mean if you would have asked me when the race started or before the race started ‘hey you are going to finish 13th today’, I would say ‘hey that is not bad’. When you find yourself where you are a sixth or seventh place car and you think you can finish there then 13th is a little disappointing. You are constantly changing your expectations throughout a race. That is kind of how it was for us today. Starting 43rd I was not looking forward to that. It actually went a little bit better than I anticipated. We were able to make our way up through there and actually had some cautions fall our way at the beginning of the race. That last one just didn’t fall the way we needed it to.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 25TH:
“We started out pretty good, but we just got tight in the second half of the race. We had a tire rub at one point and issues with the splitter from some contact we made. The trash on the grille was what really hurt us today. The temps went way high and we had to pit to pull it off. That put us two laps down. It’s disappointing because I think we could have had a much better finish with the Go Daddy car, but it’s one of those things that’s out of our control. The pit crew was awesome, I think they did a 12.1 (second stop), which I didn’t even think was possible. They did great today.”
TONY GIBSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 10 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET SS:
“We got in the back of somebody and knocked the splitter into the ground. From that point on, it was just too tight taking off until the tire pressures came up. Up until then it was good, the changes we made overnight were good. We had a good racecar, it was balanced good. She did a great job and it was definitely a top-15 car. We made improvement and the pit stops were good, but you can’t do anything about the trash on the grille. It’s just one of those things we just can’t control. That’s just part of it. But, the bright side is that we finished again and got a lot of laps in and we made some improvements and made a lot of gains. I felt like today was a positive day.”