JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS – RACE WINNER
THIS IS YOUR EIGHTH WIN HERE AT MARTINSVILLE. AFTER BEING SO CLOSE SO MANY TIMES THIS SEASON, HOW GOOD DOES IT FEEL TO BE IN VICTORY LANE?
“It’s hard to top what it feels like to win; especially when you’ve been through all of what this Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet team has been through. I’m just so proud of them for never giving up. We’ve shown it all year long. We’ve been through a lot, but boy, this is making it all worth it. To be able to get a huge win here at Martinsville for points, for the Manufacturers’ Championship, for all the Hendrick family and for all those that were lost several years ago; seeing Rick (Hendrick) here means a lot to all of us.
“Man, what a great race car. I thought we’d given it away a couple of times there; and I’m just so proud of how we fought. We had great pit stops and just that never give up attitude. I thought I got too loose there at the end, running with Matt (Kenseth). Every time he slip the tires I just tired to let off a little bit.”
MATT KENSETH SAID HE FELT LIKE HIS INEXPERIENCE AND YOUR EXPERIENCE AT MARTINSVILLE MIGHT HAVE MADE THE DIFFERENCE. WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND AS YOU WERE STALKING HIM IN THE FINAL LAPS?
“What would Jimmie Johnson do? (laughs), or better yet, maybe what would Richard Petty do? The tires really went away on us there at the end. I knew this car was good on the short runs, but he was putting a really good run together and we had freed my car up, and at the end there, I think it was a little too free. But every time I saw him slip a wheel, I just tied to conserve my tires and drive the car real straight into the corner and off the corner; playing with brake bias and everything else. I finally saw where he started struggling on the exit. I dove in there a couple of times, but I couldn’t quite make it. He drove in deep to protect his line and did a heck of a job. Matt drove a really first-class caliber race today and I didn’t know if we were going to get him. But it was awesome and we finally did. I was just hoping that no cautions were going to come out and they didn’t.
“I’m just so happy for this team. That clock, there’s nothing better than getting a clock at Martinsville!”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 5TH: WITH THREE TO GO, YOU ARE TIED AT THE TOP OF THE LEADERBOARD. HOW DO YOU SEE THIS THING PLAYING OUT? “Just like it’s been. It’s been a great battle with the No. 20 car (Matt Kenseth) and the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) is really showing that he wants to be a part of this deal, as well; and there are some other guys back there kind of close. So, it’s going to be a dogfight to the end. The way that I would want to go racing for a championship, and I know that’s exactly what the fans want to see. We’ll keep digging hard. We had a decent day today and see if we can’t get this Lowe’s Chevrolet to Victory Lane here soon.
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 RHEEM CHEVROLET SS, FINISHED 6TH: ON THE RACE: “It was interesting. We fought all day; got the nose banged up there and had a little leak in the radiator, so kind of nerve wracking there. They (Gil Martin, crew chief and pit crew) did a good job of adjusting the car to the little bang-up here. We came away for a solid day.”
TAKE US THROUGH THE PHYSICAL CONTACT TODAY. THE FRONT OF YOUR CAR IS PRETTY MUCH USED-UP
“Yeah, first thing I want to do is apologize to Ryan Newman. I tried to shoot in a gap there and just barely clipped the right rear of his car. It doesn’t make his day any better. But I’ve just got to thank all my guys on the Rheem Chevrolet. It’s all beat-up. And it’s leaking water so we didn’t have any water pressure there for about 150 laps, so it was a little bit nerve-wracking. Luckily it was a small hole. We battled all day and had a decent day and had a decent car. They adjusted for the damage and had the car really good there at the end and we lived to fight another day.”
ON THREE UPCOMING TRACKS FOR CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE: “Good tracks in three weeks. We just have to do what we have to do.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS, FINISHED 8TH: YOU GOT AN EIGHTH PLACE FINISH AND LOOKED LIKE IT WAS A TOUGH BATTLE OUT THERE TODAY:
“We worked really, really hard all day and just…….we had a decent car and didn’t do everything exactly like we needed to. It was a pretty good car, maybe a fifth place car. This tire was a struggle for us last year, and the last time we were here and we felt like we made a lot of good gains on it in practice and had some good speed. I don’t know what we have to do to get that extra bit. I think the race could play out a little bit differently and give us a little better track position. We tore the right front off and I think that hurt the aerodynamics quite a bit.”
WAS IT TYPICAL MARTINSVILLE RACING OR WAS IT SINGLE FILE RACING LIKE LAST WEEK?
“Well, its hard to pass. If you can’t drive under them, you can’t drive under them. You saw everybody trying to get to the bottom on the restarts because the bottom is so much better than the middle. Trust me, if guys could drive up under people they would. Everybody has got the same race cars, everybody is running the same speed, and all these teams are so competitive. If you get 35 cars out there running out there within a tenth (of a second) of each other, then you aren’t going to have side-by-side no matter where you are at.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE YOUR TEAMMATE JEFF GORDON WIN AT A PLACE LIKE THIS THAT HAS BEEN HOME TO HIM? “I don’t know. I would rather win the race, and I have missed a lot of opportunities to win here. We finish alright, we run alright. I am really happy for my teammates when they do well, but right now we are just worried about ourselves. We have two or three races to go and we want to get as close as we can.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET SS, FINISHED 10TH: ON HIS RACE: “An up and down day for our team. We chased the balance on the car both loose and tight throughout the race. We raced near the front and the back at different times through the race. Our guys worked hard to make adjustments and put us in contention for a top-10 finish, all-in-all a good day for our McDonald’s team, on such a tough track.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS, FINISHED 13TH: ON HIS RACE: “The Target Chevy started out strong and then we fell behind and struggled keeping up with the changing track conditions. The guys kept working on it and we were able to get back on the lead lap and run up in the top-15 for the end of the race. I’m proud of these guys. They never gave up and we had a decent finish today.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY BREAST CANCER AWARENESS CHEVROLET SS, FINISHED 17TH: ON HER RACE: “I’m really proud of what our GoDaddy team accomplished today. For pulling out the backup car on Friday and having to start so far back in the field, it was a really good run. We started in the back and made our way through, and we didn’t have quite the car that we had here in the spring but we got a similar result and that’s something I’m proud of. The guys did a great job in the pits. They were on their game each stop. Our adjustments were good all day. It was just a really solid day for our team, and that’s what we want to do these next few races and end our season on a strong note. Today was the last race for our pink car. I’m really proud that we were able to give GoDaddy and .ORG a good run because I’m very proud of what they do to help promote breast cancer awareness and I’ve been honored to help them with that through the month of October.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/DENVER MATTRESS CHEVROLET SS, FINISHED 18TH: ON HIS RACE: ”We didn’t qualify well, didn’t practice well and obviously didn’t race well today,” said Busch. “I don’t know what it is but there’s something about this track that doesn’t suit me. A very disappointing performance today. For a Chase team we should have been much better. Our Furniture Row Chevrolet got banged up early when it took a big hit to the right side. But no excuses, we just didn’t have it.”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 51 TARGET CHEVROLET SS, SIDELINE WITH MECHANICAL ISSUE ON LAP 165: “I started out too tight. I don’t know, we just can’t seem to catch a break in these two Cup starts that I’ve had. We blew up in Charlotte and not sure we had a rear end blow up here or what. I just want to thank Target for the opportunity to get some experience this season…Chip Ganassi, Felix (Sabates) and everybody that put me out here and let me get a little bit of laps. I would like to finish one of these races that I have run. Who knows, might gt a couple of more races this season, so hopefully we can have those go a little better. I learned that I have to get my car a little bit better in the center of the corner during practice the next time I come back. You see the leaders and how much better their cars work in the center of the corners which helps them off the corner and all the way down the straightaway. I just need to get a better feel for these things and help my career out a little bit.”