NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
PEPSI MAX 400
AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER POST RACE NOTES AND QUOTES
October 10, 2010
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE CHEVROLET, RACE WINNER: TALK ABOUT THE GREAT TEAM EFFORT THAT WENT INTO YOUR WIN TODAY: “Oh man, they did an awesome. They did an unbelievable job in the pits that got us an opportunity again. Both races we have won, we have won because the pit crew gave us a chance and that is all you can ask for.”
WE SAW SOME FOUR, FIVE WIDE RACING, WHERE WAS YOUR CAR THE BEST?
“I don’t know, I was all over the track today trying to find different spots. It seemed like at the beginning of a run, and the later the day got, the more we could stay down on the bottom and be decent. I know Jimmie was running about a little over half way up in three and four. It depended on how long we ran; if we ran long enough, we were all on the top in one and two. It is just having the confidence to hunt around when you need it to and then get out of your comfort zone and move to a different spot.”
WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND WITH THAT LATE RACE CAUTION? “I wasn’t sure whether I was happy about it when I saw the caution or worried about it. I think more worried than anything because Jimmie (Johnson) was coming. I just knew the restart was going to be critical and if I could get through one and two and still have the lead off of two, then I would have a shot at it. We got a good restart picking the top there, Good thing Clint Bowyer was there to keep Jimmie honest and keep him busy and that just let us do our own thing the last lap and run our lines.”
DO YOU WORRY ABOUT POINTS AT ALL BEHIND THE WHEEL OF YOUR RACE CAR? “Nope!”
HARD FOUGHT BATTLE TODAY, BUT HOW DID YOU BEAT JIMMIE JOHNSON AT HIS HOUSE? “I knew we were going to have our hands full with him and thank goodness Clint Bowyer got up there and mixed it up and broke his momentum. I tell you, this is kind of the best of highs and the lowest of lows this week—thinking about Shane Hmiel and our buddy Eric Saunders. Eyers, I don’t know how you knew we were going to win this race buddy, but he called and told us yesterday that we were going to win. I didn’t think we were good enough to do it, but man they did an awesome job. To finally win for Gene and Margaret Haas at home here, this is their home race. Man just glad to finally win one at California; I can knock this off the list of tracks I haven’t won at now.”
YOU GAINED FIVE POSITIONS IN THE POINTS TODAY, WHAT DID THIS WIN MEAN AS YOU LOOK FORWARD TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP? “We’re doing everything we can do. We’re going to need some help, but we’re doing everything we can do. I’m proud of these guys, and just so thankful. Thank Hendrick Engines and Chassis, and everybody at Stewart Haas—they refuse to give up, they refuse to back down. We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing here. I’m glad to get Chevy the Manufacturers’ championship and to lock that up today. Like I said, just thinking of Eric and Shane and guys back in Indianapolis.”
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 THE HARTFORD CHEVROLET, FINISHED 2ND: TALK ABOUT YOUR RACE, SOLID SECOND PLACE: “Yes it was. I didn’t need that caution to come out there. That piece of debris was back there the whole run, but finally a mysterious caution came out. Tony (Stewart) just beat us there at the end. The Hartford Chevrolet was good. It was a good day for us. We will regroup and hopefully get us another win.”
DISAPPOINTMENT BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU HAD A FEW LAPS AGO—THE LEAD—OR HAPPINESS WITH WHERE YOU FINISHED? “Both. I’m happy for The Hartford Chevrolet, I’m happy to get things turned around. After the last two weeks we had. I’m frustrated. I want to redeem myself. We’re a race winning team and we need to go out and prove that that last one wasn’t a hoax. You know, that mystery caution came out. That piece of debris was out there the whole run. It’s a shame, but I guess it made a better race out of it.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/JIMMIE JOHNSON FOUNDATION CHEVROLET, FINISHED 3RD: YOU MAINTAINED THE POINTS LEAD, WAS IT AS MUCH FUN ON THE TRACK AS IT WAS WATCHING? “Yes it was. Especially if I would have been in victory lane. But, just an awesome race today. I think if it had stayed green at the end, we had a shot to get the No. 14 (Tony Stewart), But it didn’t turn out that way, there was a caution at the end with that wreck. Starting on the inside was kind of a problem for me. I just didn’t get going like I needed to. The No. 33 (Clint Bowyer) got there. Very proud of the effort today and for the finish. I can’t thank Lowe’s enough for letting the Jimmie Johnson Foundation on the car.
“One race down, still in the points lead, but a lot of racing left.”
EVERYONE IS ACCUSTOMED TO WATCHING YOU WIN HERE. A STRONG TOP-FIVE FINISH FOR YOU TODAY, WHAT POINT WAS THE DIFFERENCE? “I think if it stayed green, this 48 car would have been in victory lane. We were really catching Tony [Stewart] fast on the top side. I just didn’t have anything on the bottom down in three and four; and on the restart that is what allowed Clint [Bowyer] to get inside of me and get by me. Just a great performance. Great day overall. We certainly wanted to be in victory lane, but if we can finish in the top three week in and week out you’re going to have a shot come Homestead and that’s all we’re after.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 TORNADOS CHEVROLET, FINISHED 5TH: A VERY GOOD DAY FOR YOU TODAY: “First off, congratulations to Tony (Stewart and his entire team. A great day for Stewart-Haas Racing. Can’t really complain a whole lot. The Tornados Chevrolet was really good. We started off tight and got it loose and then got it good at the end. Had a little beatin’ and bangin’ there with the No. 29 (Kevin Harvick) car, not sure what his deal was. He caused us a little bit of damage and we had to fix that. His car was better down the straightaways that he was.”
HOW MUCH DID THE RACE TRACK CHANGE AS THE RACE UNFOLDED? “Not a ton I don’t think. Track position was definitely key because having clean air on the car made some more downforce and kept the tires a lot cooler.”
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST AUTO PARTS/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET, FINISHED 6TH: ON HIS RACE: “It was nice to really be strong. I am really proud of how we ran today. We had a great car. Would have like to have seem more racing at the end instead of all that, but I’m not going to complain. It’s been a long time since I had a race car that could win a race and that one could have won today under the right circumstances. So kudos to Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and everybody at the No. 5 car and Hendrick Motorsports for getting us back in the hunt. We hadn’t been in a while.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL-PENNZOIL CHEVROLET, FINISHED 7TH: ON YOUR RUN TODAY: It was a good day for our Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet team, but it wasn’t great. Our car was good on the long runs, but we struggled a little on restarts, and we had a couple of pit stops that hurt us. I got busted for speeding on pit road, so all of us contributed to that finish. But still, at the end of the day, with all of that, we finished 7th. We need to stepit up, and we are still in striking distance in the points battle.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT/PEPSI MAX CHEVROLET, FINISHED 9TH: “It wasn’t the kind of day we were hoping for. Thinks are going pretty well for us and we’re hanging in there but honestly I think we were anywhere from a third to a fifth-place car, so to come home ninth, there’s no doubt, we need to get better. There’s no doubt. We’ve got to get better.”
WHEN THAT RED LIGHT GOES ON, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?
“The red light I was fine with. We have some leeway in the system. Two red lights, and I would have been letting off. One red light, I do it all the time. Usually the way we have it is if it flashes two, then you’ve got to back off. But at one, you’re fine. We were just obviously too tight in the tolerances and I pushed it too far.”
YOU HAD A STRONG CHARGE THERE
“Yeah, I got through (Turns) 1 and 2 there on that last restart and there were guys who not come in and we took two (tires) and I just went to the top side but I had the No. 19 (Elliott Sadler) coming on the outside and the car stuck; I got in the gas and drove around some guys and just stuffed it in a hole that I really didn’t even think was there and we were all playing bumper cars down the back straightaway. It was pretty crazy. I kept hearing four or five wide and I just stayed in it. When we got into (Turn) 3 they spread out and gave me a hole and I had the better tires and I just shot right through there.”
20 LAPS TO GO AND YOU WERE 24TH. YOU FINSIHED EIGHTH—HOW’D IT HAPPEN? “Well I didn’t think it was going to happen. We restarted and we tried to free the car up because we were back in traffic, and that was definitely not the thing to do. I was really loose just hanging on and we were not going forward. Cautions fell right for us. We put four tires on and Steve just made great adjustments and boom we were driving right through up there. Then at the end he did another great call to get two tires. I think we were five-, six-wide or something off of turn two and it got really narrow and hairy down there. I got up behind my teammate Dale Jr. and made sure that he didn’t wreck, pushed him down the back stretch and drove by some more guys through three and four. That was a really good finish. It was totally my fault. I just pushed it on the limit just a little bit too much coming down pit road and it was speeding. It wasn’t by much, but it was enough to make us go to the back of the field and by that point in the race I thought we were done, so a great comeback by this entire DuPont / Pepsi Max Chevy [team].
REGAN SMITH, NO 78 FARM AMERICAN CHEVROLET, FINISHED 12TH: ON TODAY’S FINISH: “Two tires worked for us. Pete (Rondeau, crew chief) made a really good call at the end. We had a good Farm American Chevrolet early but got back in dirty air and bad traffic. It was so tough back there. When we took the two tires (following caution on Lap 193) the car was pretty good. I was just lacking a little bit of grip to hold it for much more than that one lap. But to still maintain 12th was pretty good. I was pleased with that. It was just frustrating when you’re that close to a top-10 and not get it. We’re working hard as a team with Furniture Row Racing to get the company’s first top-10 monkey off our back and move on to bigger and better things. The last caution helped us. When we made our (two tire) move we knew we needed more cautions to make it work. We did get the cautions and it played out like you draw it up in a book. When I went into (turns) three and four and the car stuck pretty good I said ‘maybe the clean air was going to be enough to do it for us’. Then went I went down into one and two I couldn’t hold the bottom like I want to and lost ground. A good effort all-in-all for Farm American.com and Furniture Row Racing.
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