NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
KOBALT TOOLS 400
LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
March 6, 2011
Team Chevy Captures Two of the Top Three Spots in Today’s Event
Chevrolet Holds Three of Top-Five in Point Standings
LAS VEGAS (Mar. 6, 2011) – Driving the No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing, Tony Stewart dominated much of today’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS), leading a race high 163 laps. However, a pit road mishap at lap 155 of 267 cost him the lead and eventually the race. Stewart restarted at the tail end of the lead lap as the result of a penalty for the incident during his pit stop, but rallied to take the lead once again late in the race after pitting for two tires to earn valuable track position.
As the laps wound down under a long green flag run, Stewart would have to pit for four tires and fuel and ultimately gave back the key track position he earned under the earlier stop and would fall just short of running down the eventual winner – Carl Edwards (Ford). The finish was Stewart’s eighth top-10 finish in 13 races at LVMS and puts him in a two-way tie for the overall point lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Juan Pablo Montoya ran strong and up front all day in today’s race in his No. 42 Clorox Chevrolet. He came home in third position today and moved up an impressive five positions to fourth in the overall standings after three events. Today’s finish was Juan’s first top-ten finish in five Cup events he has entered at LVMS.
Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet started eighth and struggled for much of the race before rallying for a top-five finish of fifth. Newman also sits fifth in the point standings after three events.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet race team were searching for answers after the first practice but found their rhythm at the midpoint and raced their way to respectable eighth-place finish after starting in 33rd. “Junior” is 10th in the standings with 3 of 36 races in the record books.
RCR driver Paul Menard continued his impressive 2011 season by bringing his No. 27 Moen/Menards Chevrolet home in 12th and now is sixth in the overall standings.
Five-time and defending champion Jimmie Johnson and his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet race team struggled for most of the day, but continued to work on the car and brought home a hard-fought 16th-place finish. Johnson now sits 12th in the point standings through the first three races of the season.
Mark Martin also battled handling issues in his No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet and was only able to capture the 18th finishing spot. He currently sits 11th in the standings.
Last week’s race winner, Jeff Gordon experienced a tire issue and hit the outside wall late in the race while running in the top-ten, thus ending his day. Gordon finished in 36th position and fell to 19th in the standings.
After a weekend off, the Series heads for to the fast half-mile Bristol Motor Speedway on March 20, 2011
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 MOBIL 1/OFFICE DEPOT CHEVROLET – FINISHED 2ND
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 CLOROX CHEVROLET – FINISHED 3RD
POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
THE MODERATOR: We’re going to roll into our post-race for the 14th Annual Cobalt Tools 400. We’ve got our second place finisher and our third place finisher of today’s rate. Tony Stewart is our race runner up. He’s also our current points leader in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Tony drives the No. 14 Mobil One Office Depot Chevrolet for Stewart Haas Racing. And Juan Pablo Montoya is today’s third place finisher, driver of the No. 42 Clorox Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi, and he’s currently I believe sixth in points in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Tony, talk about your run out there, certainly some ups and downs, solid second place finish, but I know you’ve got to be disappointed.
TONY STEWART: Yeah, real disappointed. I honestly think we had the car to beat today, we just gave it away. I don’t know what happened on the pit stop there, but we had a miscue and had a penalty and had to go to the back, and unfortunately it kind of dealt our cards for us. Darian made a good call getting us the track position back, but it also showed everybody else that they could do it, too, and we couldn’t run two and a half runs on a set of left side tires.
Just shot ourselves in the foot two weeks in a row now.
THE MODERATOR: Actually, Juan, you’re fourth in points, I misspoke there, but talk about your run today, a solid third place showing at Las Vegas.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: It was good. As Tony said, he had the fastest car, but our car was very good all day. We battled between sixth and eighth place and then a little bit better and a little bit better. It was good; we were getting better, but we just never closed in. We could make the car turn through the middle, we just couldn’t touch the throttle and the other way around. It was just touch and go.
But it’s good. You know, we really needed a good result after last week, and it was nice to get it here.
Q. Tony, I know you’re disappointed, but can you take any solace in three races in a row you were in position, you may have had a shot to win?
TONY STEWART: I probably should, but that’s not in my makeup. I mean, I just it kills me to throw a race away like that, especially at a place we haven’t won at yet. This was a big deal today, and when you lead that many laps and have a car that’s that fast and you lose it, you I’m sure tomorrow when the emotion dies down we’ll look back and say it was a great weekend, but just man, it does not sit good right now.
THE MODERATOR: Tony did lead 163 laps.
Q. Can either or both of you talk about how difficult it was to run in traffic today? It seemed clean air was the only way, didn’t seem like a lot of close racing at the very, very end.
TONY STEWART: I don’t know what race you were watching. Juan and I raced pretty close at the end.
Q. You did catch him, yes.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I think his car was so good that he could pass anybody anywhere. I think mine was a little bit harder to pass in traffic. I don’t know, the cleaner the air but that’s normal; that’s not new, is it? Every time you’re in traffic, you suck; every time you’re in clean air, you look hike a hero. That’s normal.
Q. I meant after the pit stop, Tony.
TONY STEWART: I’m a driver, not a….
Q. Tony, two tires didn’t work here last year for Jeff and it didn’t work for you last week. Why did it work today? You went on two tires and took off. Was your car that much better it didn’t matter?
TONY STEWART: I just think we had a good car. I mean, my car was when we could get out front we were really good, and even when we weren’t out front, the guys that were at that time one of the fastest cars was the 16 car, and him and I ran through traffic together there. So guys could pass, it was just we had a really, really balanced car.
It didn’t seem like it mattered what we did. Our car was best on old tires. We were fast on the front, but the last half of the run we could just march away from everybody and leave them.
Q. Juan, as you go on season to season now in these cars, can you just talk about since you’ve been in here do you feel more accepted? What is your take in terms of being in this discipline?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I think I’ve been accepted from day one. I think actually before I could have gone and asked people and they would tell me anything, and now I don’t think they tell me as much, so that has changed. That’s a positive, I guess, in a way.
But no, for me it’s just more comfortable. I think the last two, three years have been very comfortable with these cars, and it shows. When we can get the car working, it works really good. I think last year when they went from the wing to the spoiler I think it really affected me and we really struggled, and we did a lot of work over the winter with the new nose to make sure that didn’t happen, and I don’t know, here we are. It’s good.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, thanks a lot. Have a good open week. We’ll see you at Bristol.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
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