NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
QUAKER STATE 400
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER RACE NOTES & QUOTES
JULY 9, 2011
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET – Sidelined with engine failure on lap 200:
WHAT’S IT LIKE INSIDE THE CAR WHEN IT PACKS FULL OF SMOKE LIKE THAT?
“Yeah, I got a little bit freaked out because I felt the motor start shaking and blow up and the smoke came in the car so fast I couldn’t see. And I was more concerned with getting the car stopped and trying to get the spotter to help me drive the car than put it in neutral; so it was getting worse as I was going into the corner. That’s the first time that’s ever happened to me. So it was really odd.
“Normally you put it in neutral but it filled the car full of smoke so fast that I was more concerned with getting the car stopped. I didn’t know if I was going to hit the outside wall or the inside wall. I couldn’t really tell where I was at. So I was trying to get the spotter off the radio to tell him to drive the car for me because I couldn’t see anything.”
ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?
“Yeah, I’m fine. There was just a lot of smoke. I’m really frustrated. I can’t believe we broke three engines in 18 races or however many we’ve run so far. I don’t know that I’ve blown up three engines in the last five or six years. So it’s unbelievable that we seem to keep getting the engine that breaks.”
WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO GET OUT OF THE CAR AND THERE’S THAT MUCH SMOKE, WHAT’S GOING THROUGH YOUR HEAD?
“Initially I didn’t know if I was on fire. I knew that there was a lot of oil and I was scared that when it got on the tailpipes is would ignite and catch on fire. But I didn’t know I was stopped. To be honest with you, I was still pushing on the brake trying to get the car stopped and I realized I was sitting still. And then I was just trying to get out and I didn’t really know if I wanted to undo my seatbelts just yet because cars were still going by me. It was like what if somebody is not paying attention or what if I’ve laid a bunch of oil down and they can’t get stopped and they run into me. So, I was having a lot of thought going through my head in that short amount of time because I was trying to get out but I didn’t want to get out too quick and get run over.”
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON RACING HERE AT KENTUCKY TONIGHT?
“Well the track is really slick on the restarts, especially being in the back. Everybody is fighting to get to the bottom and then as you run a few laps it widens out and it gets two grooves wide. I just wish the tire would fall off a little bit more. It doesn’t seem that it falls off as much as it needs to. But I wasn’t a fan of the track in our test. I didn’t really care for the layout because it’s different. But once the race started it raced really well. So yeah, I liked it.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET, FINISHED 3RD – “I think Kyle’s (Busch, race winner) car was a little bit better than us at the end. The run before that it seemed like he was just a touch better, but I was going to try as hard as I could and got a good restart, was inside of him. My car really didn’t fire off on that last set of tires like I had seen earlier in the day. So a little disappointed in that but still a great run. We were up front all night long, this Lowe’s Chevy Impala was really running good. I think the test session on Thursday helped us out a lot and helped us get prepared for race weekend. Hats off to the team, there was a lot of hard work this weekend and a very solid finish.”
FINISHED THIRD TONIGHT, DID YOU NOT KNOW THAT WAS THE LAST LAP OF THE RACE? “I thought we had one more. The No. 00 was coming and got by me so i was hoping I had a shot just to fight for second. I felt like the win was kind of gone at that point. But I didn’t see the white and I came around and everybody let off and I was still on the gas and going and I was like wow I guess its over. Great night for the Lowe’s Chevrolet. We had a a very solid race car. Drove up through the field a few times and raced for the win. The No. 18 was a little better than us and we were on equal tires there at the end. We had a shot at him on new tires. That restart went good for me. If I could have stayed along side of him going into turn three and been side-by-side off of four I could have a shot at it but just didn’t work out that way. If there was another lap I think that No. 00 was going to go right by that No. 18, he was coming awfully fast.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 TORNADOS CHEVROLET, FINISHED 4TH: “It was a good restart. We struggled today with the Tornados Chevrolet. Got a lap down and finally got it back. Just made the best of a good situation. We got lucky when the caution came out there and gained a lot of positions due to that. We proved that we had a decent race car, just took forever for us to get there.”
SEVENTH TO FOURTH IN THOSE CLOSING LAPS, NICE RUN RYAN: “It was a good last restart. We struggled today and got a lap down. The Tornados Chevrolet was a little off balance wise but Tony Gibson and the guys did a good job getting it back right. Then we got a really good break there when the No. 1 car blew up and got us back in a better cycle. Just had the right strategy from there on out. We had better tires and better fuel opportunities. Just proud of the last restart, I did what I had to do, kept it clean and a good points day for us too as well.”
DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 DIET MOUNTAIN DEW/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET – Finished 30th:
“We were okay. We were as fast as everybody in front of me and behind me, too. I’d move around and try to find speed and it would just go slower. So I had this one line that I just ran over and over and over; and I didn’t catch anybody, and if I was lucky, nobody caught me. And that was pretty much how it went.”
DO YOU FEEL IT WAS LIKE THAT FOR EVERYBODY AT THIS TRACK?
“Yeah, I guess; I really don’t know. We have that kind of racing a lot but we just didn’t have a real good car; not as good as I thought. When we showed up we were real happy and we dialed ourselves out from there. We didn’t ride the bumps good. The car didn’t cut the corner good. We could change the balance but it wouldn’t make us go faster; when we were too loose and we would tighten it up, we wouldn’t find any speed in that. So we just didn’t have a good set-up in there for whatever reason. And we would have finished well if we could have gotten some track position; but damn, we would never get it because it’s too hard to get. We were just so slow all night we could never take any chances on track position and stuff like that. We were just too slow. I don’t know. I was real disappointed though, overall.”
DID YOU RUN OVER SOMETHING?
“No, I slid the left front tire real bad coming on to pit road. It was all my fault.”
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET – FINISHED 10TH:
ON THE RADIO YOU SAID THIS TRACK WAS A REAL HANDFUL. WERE YOU SURPRISED?
“A little bit. When the green flag dropped I was surprised with how little grip there was because we had so much grip throughout the weekend. So that caught us off guard. We were off a little bit. But we mainly just needed track position and we had some great things go our way there towards the end to catch a caution and came back up there to a good position and then we were actually able to maintain. Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) made a great call to take a two-tire stop and if you just picked us up and put us in the top, maybe seven or eight, we could stay there. It was so impossible to pass here.”
ON THIS FIRST CUP RACE AT KENTUCKY
“I think the only thing that made this a great race today was the green-white-checkered and the excitement and energy of the fans. I think when Bruton (Smith) is looking at how to get the traffic in here he’s going to have to look at the race track as well. It’s rough. It’s really hard to pass. The layout needs a little help; but the surface most importantly, to give these fans what they really deserve. You never know how it’s going to go. It was certainly exciting there at the finish, so that’s cool.”
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