KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS – WINNER
TALK ABOUT THOSE LAST RESTARTS:
“I ‘bout gave it away when Jeff (Gordon) got by me. And then I spun the tires a little bit and he got a great jump and Kurt (Busch) pushed me all the to Turn 1, which really helped; and then I had one opportunity. It was either to go for it and make it work, or not. And as good as our car was, our Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, all day long, I thought we could make that work on the outside. I just needed to clear him. And when we got to Turn 2, I was able to do that. It was a great race. We had a really fast car. Kenny (Francis, crew chief) called an awesome race and the whole pit crew did a perfect job. We needed this one to get in the Chase. We really did. It feels really good. We have a strong team and they’re doing a great job.”
TALK ABOUT THE LAST RESTART AND GETTING AROUND JEFF GORDON:
“Well Jeff (Gordon) was getting great restarts and he was fast once we got going. I was in a tough spot once I got behind and I felt like I needed at least five laps to get back by him. We had a better car. The Farmers Insurance Chevrolet was better once we were out there. Passing was…you had to work for it a little bit and work hard at it. That final one he beat me to turn one. Kurt Busch gave me a great push all the way down the front stretch which helped a ton. Once we got there I just had one shot. It was either make it stick on the outside or go home in second.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED SECOND
NOT THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT YOU WANTED. WHAT A RUN FROM 22ND TO 2ND. TAKE US THROUGH THE FINAL RESTART AND THE BATTLE WITH KASEY KAHNE:
“It’s funny how our emotions to go up and down in this sport. Before the race, if you told me that I’d finish second, I’d say that was a great birthday gift. But when you’re leading, and take the lead from Kasey (Kahne) the way we did you know, on that restart, I thought we had him. He was better than us but I thought getting out in front I could hold him off. I got a perfect restart that last one and probably jumped him a little bit and I moved up front of him and it looked like I needed to block the inside. I tried to protect the inside and he got out the outside and flat outdrove me through (Turn) 1. I’m disappointed that we didn’t get this win. This team has worked so hard to put ourselves in position. I’m really proud of all the efforts by Drive to End Hunger and what they do for the millions of older Americans who are hungry out there. And this is certainly going to contribute toward that. But I’m a little disappointed, but also excited. It was a good point’s day for us and we needed that.”
WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE AT THE END?
“Well first congratulations to Kasey (Kahne) he did an awesome job down there in (turn) one getting to my outside. We had a great restart the time before that. I don’t know maybe it was an advantage being second not first because we got inside and we were able to get by him the restart before that. Just an incredible effort by this Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet team. These guys were awesome in the pits, great calls by Alan (Gustafson, crew chief), and fast race car. I’m just having fun up there duking it out for the win. Kasey was the guy to beat. We got a good restart, got in front of him and then that last one I got the perfect restart. I thought I needed to protect the inside and man he drove right by me on the outside. Hats off to him and a little bummed for the team, but also got to look at the bright side a pretty good birthday and pretty good points day.”
HOW MUCH DID THE TRACK CHANGE FROM PRACTICE ON FRIDAY?
“I don’t know. We made so many changes from Friday to today that I know our car was certainly a lot better today than it was on Friday. It changed, but it mainly changed throughout the race. It was a little slick there at the beginning, but I was also in 22nd position. When you get out front there, boy, it is amazing how much grip it has. The further we got to the front the better the car drove and hung in there all day. We’ve had good cars here for a while we just haven’t started good and got that track position today things went our way.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING/DENVER MATTRESS CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED THIRD
A SOLID DAY, BUT AT THE END YOU SAID YOU FELT LIKE A FISH OUT OF WATER. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CAR?
“I was just right there in the mix, you know; on restarts I felt like we gained spots each time. The lap times that we were running before that final pit stop, we weren’t able to maintain those at the end. And so temperatures on the track increased. I don’t think we changed anything on the car, but I’ve just got to thank the guys. This was a phenomenal run today to execute and learn from what we did here in June, to post a Top 3, and to run with the guys that we have to run with to make it in the Chase. I’m just real happy with these guys and Furniture Row and our mattress brands that are with us and Monster Energy. It’s just good to run strong when it’s time. And right now, we’re getting that job done, even though we haven’t crossed the threshold to win. On that last restart, the only option I had was to push (Kasey) Kahne and I felt like we got hooked-up in one of those two-car drafts and got him clear of the NO. 24 (Jeff Gordon). I wanted to go to his high side, but I would have definitely been a fish out of water in the grey area in Turn 1. It would have been pretty big. So, I’m happy for this finish and this team and just the job we’re doing.”
DESCRIBE JUST HOW DIFFICULT THIS RACE WAS WITH ALL THE CAUTION FLAGS AND RESTARTS:
“Lots of restarts today, but we had a really strong Furniture Row car. We ran up front and had great pit stops and put ourselves in position to win. The final restart (Kasey) Kahne actually got a poor restart and I had no option except just to push him. It was like we hooked up in one of those two car drafts driving down into turn one. He cleared the No. 24 and we couldn’t quite maintain and ended up coming home third. It’s exciting for us because we are in this mix of trying to race our way into the Chase. You have to do it with top five finishes like this.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION 30TH ANNIVERSARY CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED FOURTH
ON HIS RACE:
“It’s a good run not as good as it could have been. We struggled in the pits today but overall a good effort. Racing a lot of the guys around us it’s where it’s important to get the victory. Jeff (Gordon) was really close there and he’s fighting for his Wild Card spot. We have a win and we are fighting for a top 10 Wild Card spot, but none-the-less it was a good effort. Just a horrible day in the pits for us. We have to get that figured out.”
A COUPLE OF SLOW PIT STOPS TODAY, BUT YOU RECOVERED WITH A TOP 5 FINISH TODAY. TELL US ABOUT YOUR RUN:
“We had a really fast car. The Haas Automation Chevrolet was really good. We just struggled in the pits like you said and there is no doubt that hurt us. But it was good comeback.”
ANOTHER GREAT RUN FOR YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR AFTERNOON:
“Well it was a good run no doubt. We struggled a lot on pit lane. The guys did an awesome job too I had a good car. Just those restarts man they are so crazy. I was telling (Dale Earnhardt) Junior it seems like Martinsville restarts, short track restarts every time. A good run for us today. Big for Quicken Loans and their ‘Bring it Home’ sweepstakes. Go to qlracing.com about that. Obviously a ‘Bloomin’Monday’ so Outback on Monday.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD YOUTH FOUNDATION CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED FIFTH
TOP FIVE FINISH, THE VIBRATION ALL WEEKEND LONG HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THAT AND WAS IT STILL A FACTOR HERE TODAY?
“Well we changed every part on the car but the engine. I think we helped it a little bit today. We got it to where we could drive it. I want to thank Steve (Letarte, crew chief) and the crew they did a good job putting a good car on the starting line today that was competitive and had a good strategy to get us up front because we qualified so poorly. Just didn’t have the edge we needed. I felt good coming in here thought we might win the race, but come up a little short. I want to thank National Guard Youth Foundation for everything they do and helping us out this weekend, being a part of this weekend. I thought it was a good race. I really love coming here. The Mattioli’s do a good job; the fans love us coming up here. I would just like to win here one time.”
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE RESTARTS HOW INTENSE THEY ARE?
“Yeah, they are pretty frustrating. Those debris cautions can be quite unique and really change the complexion of the race. I think that it definitely makes it more exciting at the end. Sometimes they go for you and sometimes they go against you and you just try to be on the good end. You’ve got to get pretty aggressive in turn one down there and I’m sure it’s a lot of fun to watch.”
A GREAT DAY AND YOUR PIT STOPS WERE SOLID. BUT ON FRIDAY, YOU HAD A SERIOUS VIBRATION. YOU CALLED IT A ‘SHAKE’ ACTUALLY. THEY CHANGED EVERYTHING THAT COULD ROTATE. HOW GOOD WAS THE CAR TODAY AND HOW DID YOU GET IT BETTER DURING THE RACE?
“It was better as far as the vibration goes. The guys worked really hard. We changed everything in the car but the motor. I’ve got to thank the National Guard Youth Foundation for everything that they do and for being a part of this weekend for us. We didn’t have a good car. It was not as good as we needed to be. We changed it a little bit from the last time we were here to try and get it better. I don’t think we did. It was a little bit loose-in all day and a little tighter in the center and just didn’t have the edge that we needed. But I felt pretty good coming in here this weekend; real confident. But the weather set us back and then all that vibration stuff; we never got to work on the car real good on Friday. So we just had to shoot in the dark today. I’ve got to thank my guys. They gave me a good car and did a good job on strategy and great pit stops.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED NINTH
ON HIS DAY:
“Good strategy by the crew chief because the driver screwed up today. I got us the pit road speeding penalty and put us back there. Steve’s (Addington, crew chief) pretty keen on the pit strategy and what to do to get us back up there. Got us back the track position I just was a little too tight to stay there. Definitely didn’t need the last two cautions there. We were going to run sixth or seventh there. If it went green we would have stayed there instead we end up with a ninth. A long day, but glad to have a good day for GoDaddy, Mobil 1, Chevrolet and Bass Pro. I don’t know how it was with the point’s day, but we had a solid day we’ve just got to keep clicking them off like this.”
YOU HAD AN IMPRESSIVE DAY AFTER THAT PIT ROAD SPEEDING PENALTY. YOU LIKE TO TALK TO YOUR CREW CHIEF AFTER THE RACE WHEN THINGS ARE FRESH ON YOUR MIND. WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND NOW?
“Oh, we were just a little bit tight on entry versus where we were in the spring. I’ve got a very short memory, so I’m better off staying an extra couple of minutes and talking to these guys on this GoDaddy Chevy after this race. We just talk about it while it’s fresh on our minds and it gives them something to think about while they’re on the plane ride back and have our debrief tomorrow morning. But I was pretty happy. Steve Addington (crew chief) did a good job and the pit crew did a good job getting us some track position after I made a mistake. So, they definitely carried me today.”
YOU ARE KNOCKING OFF THOSE TOP 10’S. THIS IS THE THIRD ONE IN THE LAST FOUR RACES. HOW MUCH ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT THE BIG PICTURE AND THE CHASE? OR, DO YOU FEEL SOLID WHERE YOU’RE GOING?
“We’ve been running good. It’s just we still need to be a little bit better. There are cars that are still a little bit better than us right now that we’re trying to get caught-up to. So, I think our focus is more on that than making the Chase. It’s one thing to make the Chase, but it’s another thing that once you get there, you’ve got to have something you can contend with. So, we’re staying focused on just taking it one week at a time and working on our program and Bass Pro and Mobil 1 and we’ve got GoDaddy this weekend on our car. Everybody is working hard; all of our partners are excited, especially after Ryan’s (Newman) win at the Brickyard last weekend. We’re proud of him for that and we’ve just got to keep plugging away. Everybody at SHR is doing an awesome job and Hendrick engines and chassis have done a great job too. So everybody is working hard and doing a good job and we’ve just got to keep clicking them off and just keep getting a little bit better each week.”
IS THE TEAM NOW THAT WE ARE HITTING AUGUST WHERE YOU WANT IT TO BE HEADING TOWARDS THIS CHASE PUSH?
“Well it’s hard to say. We tested here. This is one of the places we used to test and we ran good in the first race here this year. I think we are still reaping the benefits of that test. Definitely Indy last week we both ran well and this week. It gives you some confidence for sure going into the next couple of races.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S PLANES CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 13TH
NOT THE DAY YOU WANTED BUT NOT BAD CONSIDERING WHERE YOU WERE 20 LAPS AGO:
“Yeah, my day kept needing to be calibrated as the day went on at first. I really felt like we had a shot to win, unfortunately blew a tire off of turn one and ended those hopes there. We worked on the car and got it better. Then I hit the wall so hard that it knocked a spark plug wire off the spark plug. They were able to find the right plug and get everything hooked back up and the engine took off. Off we went and salvaged a very nice finish.”
TALK ABOUT THE TEAM IN GENERAL BECAUSE WHEN YOU WERE OUT THE OTHER GUYS WERE ALL UP FRONT:
“From a Hendrick (Motorsports) stand point I was kind of focused on our issues trying to get stuff worked out, but I knew on the last restart my three teammates were sitting there one-two-three and I’m not sure how they finished, but I know it was a one-two. Really proud of Hendrick Motorsports and what they continue to give us week in and week out.”
GOOD YEAR SAYS YOU LOST AIR THROUGH A BEAD. HAVE YOU EVER HAD THAT HAPPEN BEFORE?
“I know I lost air. There is no doubt about that (laughs). I don’t know why. I wouldn’t think brakes, brake temps sometimes the bead issue is relative to brake temp when you melt a bead. I don’t know I haven’t really heard much.”
AS GOOD AS YOU WERE EARLY IN THIS RACE YOU TALKED FRIDAY ABOUT NOT WANTING TO LEAVE ONES ON THE TABLE. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS COMING OUT OF IT?
“It wasn’t late enough in the race to have that same feeling as other events we’ve not capitalized on. Today was just racing. You have that happen from time to time and it got us today.”
AFTER HAVING YOUR HEART BROKEN LAST WEEK AT THE BRICKYARD, YOU HAD ANOTHER TOUGH DAY. BUT YOU MADE SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING AFTER THAT FLAT TIRE TO FINISH 13TH. YOU’VE GOT TO BE PROUD OF THIS TEAM:
“I’m really proud of the efforts of the whole crew. The damaged race car; and I guess I hit so hard it knocked one of the spark plug wires off and I was running on seven cylinders. We finally figured that out and put the spark plug wire and then the car ran good again. And I don’t know how with all the trouble we had today that we salvaged a 13th. It was just a team effort. I’m very proud of everyone involved. Unfortunately we had that flat after leading the race, but stuff happens. It’s racing.”
DID YOU HAVE ANY INDICATION AT ALL THAT YOU WERE HAVING RIGHT-FRONT TIRE PROBLEMS BEFORE IT LET GO?
“No, the way it went, it just exploded. So, I’m not really sure what caused it. But late off of Turn 1 it just exploded and that was it.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY CHEVROLET SS – Sidelined in an on-track accident on lap 110 – FINISHED 35TH
ON THE INCIDENT:
“These cars rely on side force, so when someone’s on the outside of you, it always makes you a little bit looser. But, I didn’t feel like I went in any more hero-like that time. We were tight in the race and so we had freed it up a little bit and it was better. But then, when they’re outside of you, you just get loose. So, just chased it up and it spun around and unfortunately it ends the day for the GoDaddy car. And it was a good day, you know? For me, I have to sit in my car and say, ‘Today’s going good if it’s a Top 20; it’s a good day for me.’ So, that’s what was happening. Unfortunately we won’t come away with that. But we were better off today than what we’ve been a lot of other days. So, that’s about all there is to say.”
“There was a car outside of me and when there is a car outside of you going through fast corners it takes the side force off of it and the car gets looser when someone is there. It hadn’t been a problem all day. I didn’t do anything different that time. I even kind of told myself going into the corner ‘it’s fine just run through the corner’. I don’t know if he was closer than other cars had been to my outside or not. We had freed the car up just a little bit, but not drastically just a little bit because we were tight. I don’t know if that was enough to just tip it over the edge from where it was. It’s never as much rear grip when someone is outside of you. I feel bad for the team because we were having a good day and I know it’s nice to finish those days off and it would have been nice to finish in the top 20. That is just my goal. It’s simple, it’s nothing crazy, but it’s been a challenge this year. It would have been nice to do that and we were just having a steady race and a good race and it’s over. We were way better than we were last time. We were competitive and we were making good calls in the pits. Everything was going just it’s just it happens.”
JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 FXI GUTTERCLEAR 365 CHEVROLET SS – Sidelined in multi-car accident on lap 110 – FINISHED 36TH
ON WHAT HAPPENED:
“They just got together and by the time I got there, they were wrecked. It’s just kind of how the year’s going. We had a good car today but we just kept getting in trouble. We kept getting ourselves out of track position. When you’re in the back of the pack like that, you’re more likely to have things happen. I thought we had about a top seven or eight car, and then we had one run where we weren’t so good and we lost track position and then we went three-wide into the tunnel and got the quarter panel tore up and we had to fix that. And that just kept putting us further and further back. So, it’s just kind of the way the year is going.”