DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 MOUNTAIN DEW KICKSTART CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 2ND
ON HIS SECOND-PLACE RUN AT LAS VEGAS:
“We weren’t going to run first or second had we not stayed out on that strategy. We knew we were a lap short. We tried to save as much as we could. We got it to about half a lap and it ran out off of (turn) two there. We took a gamble and didn’t win the race, but it still worked in our favor to run second. It gave us a chance to win. It sucks to lose like that, but we can’t let that be a negative. We have got to go to Bristol and try to win there. The only way to be productive is to be positive. We have got to look at the positives in today and keep working toward our goal of winning some more races. It’s tough, tough losing like that. That thing started sputtering off of (turn) two that was really disappointing.”
HOW DO YOU PUT THIS INTO WORDS?
“Well first I have to congratulate Brad (Keselowski) he had a good car all day. I have to thank Mountain Dew Kickstart it’s a great looking race car. Steve (Letarte) did a good job all day working on the car. We really were struggling with the balance and once we got clean air there we had good speed. We weren’t supposed to make it. We were a lap short. We tried to save as much as we can and make it work, but it didn’t work. We knew we were short. It’s not shock to us to run out. Steve said we were a half a lap short and that is about where it ran out. We wouldn’t have run second if we hadn’t of done that strategy. Got to thank Steve and the guys for using good strategy to get us a top three finish there. I would love to win here this is a great race track, a great town and I’ve had some fun here.”
THAT DOESN’T MAKE IT ANY EASIER DOES IT?
“Well I mean running out of gas that is tough, but the one thing you can’t do is let it get under your skin and get under your teams skin. We have got a good thing going, we’ve got to be positive. We’ve got to keep trying to win races. I know my fans are disappointed, but we got to stay positive. Look forward to Bristol and try to win there.”
PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 QUAKER STATE/MENARDS CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 3RD
STRONG ALL DAY LONG HOW BIG IS THIS PERFORMANCE FOR THIS TEAM THIS EARLY IN THE SEASON?
“It’s big for sure. We have had a really good car the first three races just missed it about halfway through the race in Phoenix. This is good redemption the guys never give up. Had a great car in Daytona obviously led a bunch of laps, but this Quaker State/Menards Chevy was hauling ass on long runs. Had a lot of those today and it kind of played in our favor.”
HOW QUICKLY DO YOU GET HOME NOW?
“As soon as possible.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 7TH:
ON THE RACE
“It was a good comeback for our Caterpillar Chevrolet. I think that’s about the race car that we had. There were times when we could be a little bit quicker toward the end of a run. It was a good effort for the team and it was a good points day. If we keep running like that, we’ll put it in the top 5 and if we do that, we’ll win. I’m just proud of the guys and everybody from Caterpillar and Chevrolet and RCR. Everybody did a good job.”
ON THE NEW RULES PACKAGE FOR THE 1.5-MILE TRACKS
“I can’t wait for the summer because they’re stuck too good right now.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 8TH
ON THE RACE CONDITIONS
“We missed it, set-up-wise so it’s hard for me to say. I don’t feel a lot different than any other time; if I would have been able to move around more and make more passes. Vegas is a great track. There is the outside, the inside, the middle; you can go all over. So if you have a good car you can race.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 9TH
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RACE
“Well, you’ve got to put things in perspective and looking at this race last year and the way that we were in practice yesterday, I would have given anything to finish ninth today. But we also got our expectations up a little higher than that because we were in the top 5 most of the day. So, the way that the pit sequences went there, they definitely didn’t work in our favor. But it was a really solid effort by this Axalta Chevy SS team. I’m proud of them. To come out of here with a top 10 is something to be proud of. It just took so long for my car to come in. About the time it came in, it was time to pit. So, it was just like that same way there at the end of the race. As soon as my car came in, the race was over.”
HOW WAS THIS NEW RULES PACKAGE ON THE 1.5-MILE TRACK UNDER RACE CONDITIONS?
“I thought it was all good. There’s a high groove and a middle groove and a bottom groove; and that’s all we can ever ask for. I knew today was going to be one of the most challenging races that we were going to have, possibly all year long. And so, I feel like this team did an incredible job. I think we were much better than ninth, but at the same time, this I think is one of my worst tracks right now. We’re off to a fantastic start. We’re very motivated by that. We’re excited.”
“We were better than 14th, no question about that. We ran in the top-10 for most of the race but lost track position at the end. We decided to take two (right-side) tires and fuel on the final pit stop. We felt that was the right call at the time but it didn’t turn out to be the right strategic decision. Some teams took a gamble and took fuel only and some didn’t even take fuel. It was a gamble for them but it paid off. Those are very tough calls to make. On the bright side this was our best performance as a team, much better than last week at Phoenix. We had good pit stops all day and I really like the gains we made this weekend.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 JIMMY JOHN’S CHEVROLET SS – EXPERIENCED A PARTS FAILURE ON LAP 193 – FINISHED 41ST
WHAT HAPPENED THAT PUT YOU IN THE GARAGE AREA?
“It’s hard to tell right now it looks like the left-front hub is locked shut and the car just kind of lost the handling the last 15 or 20 laps. It started to get really loose which makes sense with that left-front brake dragging like that. Just have to thank everybody on this team they have done a great job and our Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was ‘Freaky Fast’ again. Just got to keep doing what we are doing and everything will be fine with cars like that.”
I KNOW YOU LOST THE LEFT-FRONT HUB HOW DISAPPOINTING IS IT WHEN YOU HAD A CAR AS FAST AS THAT?
“It’s hard to complain. These guys on this Jimmy John’s Chevrolet have given me cars that are good every week. Just a little parts failure there and just we will figure out the cause of it and try to just keep that from happening. Every week is a new notebook for us. I really think as we get established and get some foundation for our set-ups and just the little things this team is going to be dangerous.”
THIS IS ONE OF THOSE TIMES I IMAGINE THAT THIS NEW POINTS SYSTEM WORKS OUT GREAT FOR A GUY WHO ALREADY HAS A WIN IN THE BOOKS?
“Absolutely, I think it’s going to be good.”