CHEVY NSCS AT BRISTOL ONE: Post Race Notes & Quotes

By Official Release On Sun, Mar. 17, 2013

Food-City-500

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
FOOD CITY 500
BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER POST RACE NOTES & QUOTES
MARCH 17, 2013

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS – INVOLVED IN AN ON-TRACK INCIDENT ON LAP 391
YOU HAD 154 LAPS ON THOSE RIGHT SIDE TIRES, BUT YOU HAD A TIGHT RACE CAR. YOU MADE THE STRATEGY TO GET THE CLEAN AIR WAS THAT THE RIGHT CALL?
“Well we also wanted left sides (tires) because we heard left sides were helping the cars turn.  We saw some of the guys do that.  It definitely did that.  The car was really good out front there on the restarts and got clean air.  We were setting sail.  The right fronts (tires) never blow out when you are up against the wall.  I dove down to the bottom to pass the No. 32 car. As soon as I got into the banking I felt the right front (tire) go.  I really hate that we collected Matt Kenseth in that; he had a great car.  He was coming it was just a matter of time before it got us.  It was a great, great effort today up until then for this Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, proud of that.  We needed points.  This is definitely not going to get us many.

“I was fine. Was just riding along there, in fifth, sixth spot. We had a good race car. We were a little bit too tight in traffic, so Alan Gustafson (crew chief) made a great call there to take left sides there, and it really helped. The car was turning really good.  But, maybe we were just a little bit too hard on that right front. Not really sure there. Right fronts never blow out when you are up against the wall. I was up against the wall the entire run, and as soon as I went to go under a lapped car – boom – it popped down at the bottom of the race track and went all the way to the top, and we got the wall. Really hate that we collected Matt Kenseth in that. He had a great race car, and a great day going. We were really trying to get by with a top-five, top-10 and get some points. This is a bad way to end it.”

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 GREAT CLIPS CHEVROLET SS – WINNER
I KNOW HOW BADLY YOU WANTED TO WIN THAT RACE LAST WEEK DOES THIS MAKE UP FOR IT?
“Absolutely, this is a big win.  I love racing for Hendrick Motorsports, Rick Hendrick the opportunity he gives us, this whole team was flawless again today.  Last week, today, this whole season so far.  It has been a lot of fun.  Great Clips, I’ve been with them for a long time.  We have won a few races together it was great to win a (NASCAR Sprint) Cup race with Great Clips.  They were out cutting hair a couple of days ago.  It’s been a good weekend, Farmers Insurance, Chevrolet SS, Pepsi Max, but everybody has done a great job.  Just racing Brad (Keselowski), Denny (Hamlin) was tough and Jeff (Gordon) and Matt Kenseth was really good there.  I don’t know what happened to those guys.  It looked like Jeff (Gordon) might have had a tire problem.  It was a big win I’m really happy.”

ON THE COOL DOWN LAP YOU SAID IT WAS A BIG ACCOMPLISHMENT WHY IS THAT?
“I just feel like for myself it’s a really big accomplishment to win here.  This is a tough place.  It’s been a tough track for me at times, just for this whole team to step up and do it together we have prepared pretty hard this year and it feels good to win.  Trucker, our truck driver, he lost his dad last night so this is for him.  I have a great friend in Washington, JJ Arnett. He lost his dad about three weeks ago. So, this is in memory of him, Jerry Arnett. We had a lot of fun with him; he took care of us, got us out of a lot of trouble. I just want to thank all those guys and everybody that supports this team.  This engine was unbelievable again.”

ON HIS FIRST WIN AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY: “This is a tough track to win at, and we pulled it off today. This whole team stepped-up, and did an unbelievable job. The pit stops were flawless; the adjustments to the car; the preparation Friday-Saturday, and prior to that. The engine in the car is unbelievable. I had a great day. This is a lot of fun. I have always wanted to win a Cup race here. To finally do it feels really good.”

ON HIS BATTLE WITH BRAD KESELOWSKI: “Yes, Brad was battling hard. He definitely didn’t want to lose the lead. I got by him, and then I followed a lap car; one that was going really slow, and I gave it back to him. So I was pretty discouraged at that point in time. Got a good restart. I think Brad must have spun his tired a bit. I had Kyle (Busch) right on me. We were able to clear him there, and get going from there. I felt really good.  Thanks to Great Clips. Everybody that is part of this; this Chevrolet SS team, these guys have done a really nice job this week.”

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE AN EARLY WIN IN TERMS OF POINTS?

“We’ve already fought back a little bit. We were strong at Daytona. Strong at Phoenix. Had a shot last week in Vegas. We pulled it off this week. We got a little behind. Hopefully these points will get us up there again, and we can stay up there all season long. We just keep learning and getting better together because we have a great team here.”

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS– FINISHED 6TH:

ON TODAY’S RACE: “I have to give all the credit to Steve Letarte (crew chief). He made a couple, two, three great pit calls there at the end, and gave us the opportunity to get some guys on some old tires, and beat a few guys that we probably weren’t going to beat. Great call by him. We drove a pretty good race. He made a great couple of adjustments at the end. We were really getting behind on the race track; we were getting really, really tight and falling back. Made a couple of good calls on taking some wedge out and stuff like that to help the car. Give him and the team a lot of credit. They did a great job today.”

NICE TOP TEN RUN TODAY, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE RACE?

“The track was really tightening up fast and caught us off guard and we weren’t really ready for it but we made some great changes at the end and Steve (crew chief, Letarte) had some great strategy on the tires and we were able to salvage a good finish.  We got the car running better and I have to give the car a lot of credit, but Steve deserves the most credit because the strategy that he ran there in the last 150 laps really got us our track position.”

COULD YOU HAVE DONE ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY?

“Well, we knew that the track was green when the race started and we didn’t loosen the car up enough as the race went on and just…. I don’t know if I, or Steve (Letarte) could have done a better job there.   Steve saw what was happening there and the last couple of adjustments really helped me.  I was able to take a little better tires and made some ground, and got around some guys and salvaged a good finish.   Lot of credit to Steve because that was a great call on his part and all the last 150 laps he made a lot of good pit calls.

“There were two or three that really allowed us to get in position to get a decent finish and we had a lot of attrition today too as a lot of guys wrecked out and that certainly makes your day easier when you aren’t racing the whole field out there.  So we have to do a little bit better and I am not real satisfied with the overall performance but what Steve does on pit road is magic every week.  He is pretty sharp.”

PAUL MENARD, NO. 27 SYLVANIA/MENARDS CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 9TH

THIS IS YOUR SECOND CONSECUTIVE TOP-10 FINISH SO FAR. HOW WAS THE RACE FOR YOU?

“It was a wild one. It was all about track position again. We had it at the start and our biggest problem all day was that we couldn’t go on restarts. It took us 20 laps to get going on new tires. So, when we got to the point where we could stay out on fuel, we just stayed out. We stayed on old tires that were pumped-up and so we could actually half-way get going.”

KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 4TH:

ON THE RACE:

“We had to battle back from a couple of loose wheels and luckily when we came back out, we were two laps down. And when you’re two laps down, it’s almost like your day is over. But luckily, the leader was right in front of us and we got one of our laps back and then did the wave-around and then just started over (as) the last car on the lead lap and battled back from the mid-20’s, and we made good changes. We had a very fast car today and to come home with a top five is exactly what we needed. The poor No. 78 car, she’s used up.

“We had damage with (Joey) Logano with 50 (laps) to go and that put us in the pits for four tires. And that was a call we never would have done unless we had the damage. So we fixed the damage and got the four tires on and raced our way to a top five finish.”

YOU WERE FLYING THERE AT THE END; NICE FINISH:

“Yes, we really poured it on at the end. We just had some damage from getting into Joey Logano. But, all-in-all, I’m just real proud of the effort today. We had some loose wheels. We fought through that; got back on the lead lap with some lucky breaks. You just have to keep fighting. So, thanks Furniture Row and Barney Visser (team owner). This whole team. This No. 78 Beauty Rest Chevy was fast at the end. Had a little bit of damage. I knew I was going to be racing Kyle (Busch) and racing (Brad) Keselowski; I was just hoping it was for the win.  (Kasey) Kahne was checked out. Congratulations to him. But a good run for us.”

WHAT A RUN FOR YOU.  A LOT OF PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT STRUGGLING WITH THE TEAM OR A NEW TEAM, THAT WASN’T THE CASE TODAY:
“No, we did have our struggles though.  We had some loose wheels and off on some of the sequences.  Luckily enough we had a fast enough car.  Thanks to all of our guys for just digging in.  I told everybody slap some high-five’s because we have areas that we can still polish up on, but a top-five at Bristol and to be the fastest car on the track with less than 10 to go.

“When I caught Kyle (Busch) and when I caught (Brad) Keselowski if it was for the lead it would have been a lot different, but (Kasey) Kahne was checked out.  Congratulations to him, but I’m really happy with our Furniture Row Chevrolet today.  Barney Visser and the guys we all can do a little bit better here and there and I can do better.  The poor No. 78 car is used up today and it’s just good that we got everything rolling this weekend like we needed it.”

MATT BORLAND, CREW CHIEF, NO. 39 QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET CC – FINISHED 7th

“It was a good day for the Haas/Quicken Loans Chevrolet. Ryan (Newman) did an awesome job driving the car. The guys did a great job of making some changes to the car overnight. And we had great stops today in the pits. I can’t say enough about the team. They did an awesome job, and hopefully we can keep that rolling.”

DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 28TH:

“We’ve been really loose the last couple of races so we wanted to make sure we were tight. So we decided that was our accomplishment today was to aim to be tight, and we were. So, we probably didn’t need to and in fact, we probably kind of knew we were over-compensating. But we just never really got it completely freed up like we needed to. It was better later in the race but by then the damage is done.”

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO FIX GOING INTO THE NEXT RACE?

“A whole bunch of things. I mean, I’ve never been there in a Cup car at Fontana, so just get up to speed, be smart and there are a lot of things that I have to work on at this point in time. So for us, the most important thing is to find a decent balance to start off the race so that we don’t drop back.”

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