CHEVY NSCS AT PHOENIX ONE: Post Race Notes and Quotes





February 27, 2011


MORE MEANINGFUL TO DO IT THE WAY YOU DID IT TODAY, LEADING THE MOST LAPS TO END THE STREAK? “I don’t really care how we do it, we just want to get to victory lane. But to do it that way and to see the fans reaction .. I mean we beat Kyle Busch. We were the only one’s to beat Kyle Busch this weekend and he’s so tough to beat. What a race car. Just so thankful. Alan Gustafson and this entire Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, gotta thank them. Pepsi and DuPont, man what an awesome, awesome feeling it is when you’ve got the car right like that and they give you 20 (laps) to go and its your job to go get it done and you’ve got what you need to go do that. I thought even if i catch him what am I going to do with him? We caught him, he got loose and I got underneath him. I didn’t know what to expect. I got into (turn) one and he was right on my door and I got loose and got up into him, they said clear, I went because I knew I needed to get away from him as fast as I could. God it feels so amazing. I can’t tell you how amazing this feels. So thankful to Rick Hendrick, all that he does. It’s been a long time I know. I’m going to savor this one so much, but I’ve got to say thanks to the fans. I mean not only the fans at home .. I’ve been tweeting lately for the first time and all of the stuff that people have been saying, the motivation has been unbelievably inspiring and then to see that crowd stick around to see my really lame burnout because i stink at them but they love that show. Man we hope we can give them some more shows like that this year. That was awesome, thank you so much.”

TALK ABOUT THAT LAST 20-LAP SEGMENT, THE PIT STOP AND GETTING AROUND KYLE BUSCH. “I thought it was going to be a green-flag run in the end and our guys had a good stop. I got held up a little bit getting to pit road and I saw the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) was coming and that he had a good head of steam. I didn’t know that the No. 14 (Tony Stewart) was out there. I was just trying to get the tires and get some heat in them to see if I could run the No. 18 down and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and then the caution came out and they said the No. 14 is on two (tires). But the caution came out and I knew Kyle would get a heck of a start against Tony’s two. I’ve got to thank Tony Stewart. He was very gracious. He could have fought me a lot harder. He knew that I think that me and Jimmie were the only ones that had a shot at Kyle. He let me get going and I just started clicking the laps off and just trying to see where Kyle was slipping a little bit and then off of (Turn) 2 we seemed really be able to make some gains and then we started making gains off of (Turn) 4 and eventually I was able to put some pressure on. That’s the thing you know. When you’ve got a race car like that and you can put pressure on a guy it makes the race a whole lot different and that’s something that I haven’t felt in a long time and I’m just so thankful to (crew chief) Alan Gustafson and this whole team and all my teammates and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports especially Drive to End Hunger. This is huge for them. I know that they took a chance coming here but I don’t think they ever had any idea that it was going to be quite like this.”

HOW ABOUT THAT PASS FOR THE LEAD? “Gosh, you know, I’m going to have to go back and watch it on TV. I drove in deep into (Turn) 1 and got to him and I could tell he was having to really get after it right then; and then I got underneath him and got off of (Turn) 4 and I knew coming down the front straightaway that he was going to kind of pinch me down into (Turn) 1 and he did and I got a little loose. Then I just drifted up the track and I didn’t know what was going to happen at that moment but when they said we were ‘clear’ then I just went. We had a great car and catching him was one thing and passing him was going to be a whole lot different deal. And it worked out.”

YOU HAD AN ACCIDENT EARLY ON AND THEN THE TEMPERATURES GOING UP. TALK ABOUT THAT. “I thought we were done. I went to the outside and saw all the wrecked cars. I saw Carl Edwards’ car torn up and I went to the outside myself and said, ‘I don’t think this is a good idea’; because I thought he really might have some serious and he did. Sure enough, when we got into Turn 3 he just drifted right up into me and put me in the wall. It wasn’t his fault. He had a left-front tire going down. But it was just wrong place, wrong time and I hit the wall hard. I thought we were done. But I hit it square. And these guys just did a fantastic job repairing the car and then we went back out there and then the track position and the pit strategy actually ended up falling in our favor. Here I found myself up there in the top three with a car that was capable of winning. It was unbelievable.”

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO TIE CALE YARBOROUGH FOR 5TH ON THE ALL-TIME WIN LIST? “Oh, my gosh. I’m such a huge fan of Cale’s. And one of the first conversations I ever had with anybody when they came to the Cup series was Cale Yarborough. He wanted me to drive his car and I actually tested his car. A lot of people don’t realize way, way, way back. He’s just an amazing race car driver. I’ll be honest. I didn’t know if we were ever going to get pas2 82 (wins). The way things have been going the past couple of years you lose a little bit of that spark and you wonder what it’s going to take to get to victory lane. But I can tell you after today that it takes a team like this and a race car like that and we’re having a blast man. I cannot wait. We qualified 20th and I thought we were in trouble. But boy after today, I am really excited about this season. We are going to enjoy the season and savor this one because of anybody out there, we’ve won a lot of races over the years but it’s been a while and when you go through that kind of a run without winning, it makes you appreciate it that much more.”

ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET – RACE WINNER: CONGRATULATIONS! IT TOOK TWO RACES AND YOU GUYS ARE GOING TO VICTORY LANE “Whew, I’m speechless! That was a tough day, man. The guys on this Drive to End Hunger Chevy did an unbelievable job getting wrecked early and all kinds of problems. We lost the gauges half-way through the race and Jeff (Gordon) just drove the wheels off it. Kyle (Busch) got in front of us and Jeff ran him down, man. That was Jeff Gordon right there. So we’ve got to thank Drive to End Hunger, AARP, DuPont, Pepsi, Chevrolet of course; the best cars in the world man. What an awesome day!”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S / KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET – FINISHED 3RD: TELL US ABOUT YOUR DAY: “It was a good day for us. We didn’t get the pre-season testing in that we had hoped. We had some weather hold us off and I’d say we’ve been working hard this weekend just to understand our new equipment. And throughout the day today we pitted often and early and Chad (Knaus, crew chief) made some great calls on pit road and got the car back underneath me and from there things went well. So I’m happy to see Jeff (Gordon) in victory lane and the more of these Hendrick cars that are running up front, the smarter we’re all going to get as a company.”

YOU WEREN’T VERY FAST IN QUALIFYING, PRACTICE OR THE BEGINNING OF THE RACE BUT HERE YOU ARE FINISHING THIRD, WHERE DID THE SPEED COME FROM? “Well we worked on a lot of new stuff over the off-season and we tried to test but we had some weather keeping us from testing. With that and the way our sport is now, not having any preseason testing, we’ve been testing all week and even the first half of the race. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Chad (Knaus, crew chief) being aggressive, coming to pit road often, big changes to the car and we woke it up. I’m happy to get this finish. needless to say I’m happy for Jeff (Gordon), happy for Hendrick motorsports to win. The more we all run these new car and the new style set-ups we’re developing the better we are going to be and one of them won today and one finished third. We’re off to a good start. Very happy for Lowe’s and Kobalt, Chevrolet and we’ll go to the next one.”


SEEMS LIKE YOU WERE BEAT-UP AND TURNED AROUND EARLY IN THIS RACE. “Yeah, we had a great Jimmy Johns Chevrolet today. Like you say, we got ourselves a little bit behind and then got in a wreck and just had to fight through there at the end. So it was a good day for everybody. Everybody did a great job keeping the fenders off the tires. I wish we could have had the car straight there at the end to race with those guys, but we’ll take a top five and get out of here.”

YOU HAD TO STRUGGLE THROUGH SOME ADVERSITY, HOW BAD WERE YOU SMELLING AND SNIFFING THAT WIN KNOWING THIS TRACK IS GOING TO CHANGE NEXT TIME WE COME BACK HERE? “First off I’ve just got to than everybody from Jimmy Johns and Budweiser and Chevrolet and everybody from RCR for everything they do. We had a weird day. We wrecked once and about wrecked again and then got into it with a couple of cars and caved in both front fenders. I wish we could have raced the car and not been tore up. All-in-all everything went good. The guys on the pit crew can do it, we just got to get the consistency there and we’ll be right where we need to be.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 TORNADOS CHEVROLET – FINISHED 5TH:HOW WAS THE DAY FOR YOU TODAY? “The restarts were crazy to start with but it was a good run for the Tornados Chevrolet today. I’m proud of all the guys. We didn’t have the greatest stops but we fought back and fought hard and came home with a top five finish. It was a good points day for us and we’ll go on. But good, consistent finishes for us and the next few races will really make a big difference for our season.”

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET, FINISHED 7TH: “Once that caution came out we were done. The two tires gave us good track position, but we took them under green and once that caution came out there at the end, any advantage we had was gone.”

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET, FINISHED 10TH: TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY: “We still have a little ways to go but we had a pretty good car. The biggest problem we had was qualifying poorly, trying to overcome that all day. We had a good enough car to run with them guys and kind of proved it in a couple of instances. But, you have to get by them. You get stuck behind them and it’s hard to really show how good the car is. Every time we passed somebody, we just left them. The car was pretty good. I want to thank AMP and National Guard and all of them. Steve (Letarte, crew chief) did a good job. The guys did a good job in the pits. Everybody helped prepare the car all weekend. We did pretty good. We just have to keep working hard and thinking like we are and just try to do better. But, definitely, a step in the right direction. We had a lot of cars wreck out of this race too that we would have obviously been fighting with for track position. I was real happy with last little run and the competitiveness of the car.

“I’m really happy with the way we finished and the way we were able to finish the race off. The guys worked hard and gave us a good strategy to keep us in position all day long and did they best they could. They gave us a good opportunity to get a good finish. We worked with the car all day long and Stevie improved it. The guys had great stops and worked hard on pit road. They prepared hard for this. We would like to do a little bit better but for the National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet we will take a top-10 today.”

DID YOU HAVE A LOSE WHEEL LATE IN THE RACE? “One of the wheels got real bad. It was about to come off. I tried to hang on as long as I could, but going through the tri-oval, I didn’t know if it was coming off or not. We had to come in and get that fixed.”

LAST YEAR THAT WOULD HAVE DOOMED YOU, YOU HAD BAD LUCK AND MAYBE WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO OVERCOME IT: “Oh, I know. I had a little bit more comfort with this car and was able to get out there and run hard and hope for the cautions to swing our way and they did. We really didn’t undo that mess by ourselves. We had a little help there with that caution there. We were good to go to the end and I don’t know where that would have ended up. We would have probably finished around 13th or 14th with those old tires and those guys coming in and getting new tires, they would have probably run us down pretty quick with 30 to go. The car, we worked on the car and there were some times when it got better and there were some times when I didn’t like the way it felt and the adjustments they were doing. But, right there at the end, I think we had it the best. It had good grip and even though those guys had just put tires on so we didn’t have too much tire on them at the end. I think we were faster than the No. 22 (Kurt Busch), the No. 43 (A.J. Allmendinger) and those guys in front of us. You have to be there to race them all day long and can’t expect to pass them in the last five laps as hard and competitive as it is.”

WITH WHERE YOU QUALIFIED AND HAD TO WORK YOUR WAY UP THROUGH THE FIELD FROM, HOW DID YOU MISS ALL THOSE WRECKS? “I don’t know, just luck. I just got through there luckily. A lot of guys didn’t. A lot of good race car drivers didn’t make it through there, we were just lucky.”

JEFF (GORDON) BROKE HIS WINLESS DROUGHT TODAY, HOW FAR AWAY DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? “I was nine spots behind him. That is about how close we are. (LAUGHS) I don’t really know, you know. We need to keep doing this. We need to do this a little bit better, we have to keep making up big ground. We have to keep this up. I haven’t run good here for awhile, I really haven’t. So I was pretty happy with the way the car worked. The car can always better. We ran a little bit different than the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) so we will look at what he did and talk to him all week and see what’s up. We really studied hard trying to do good and we had a result. We will try again next week.”

About Chevrolet: Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates its centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of about 4.25 million vehicles in more than 140 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. The Chevrolet portfolio includes iconic performance cars such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers such as Spark, Cruze, Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers “gas-friendly to gas-free” solutions including Cruze Eco and Volt. Cruze Eco offers 42 mpg highway while Volt offers 35 miles of electric, gasoline-free driving and an additional 344 miles of extended range. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models can be found at ce5&> .

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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