CHEVY NSCS AT CHARLOTTE 2: Post Race Notes and Quotes

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
BANK OF AMERICA 500
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY POST RACE NOTES AND QUOTES
OCTOBER 11, 2015

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 JIMMY JOHN’S/BUDWEISER CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 2ND
“We could hang with him (Joey Logano), but I would just lose him every once in a while in traffic. It was just extremely hard to pass. But all in all, we weren’t very good all weekend and the guys just did a great job on pit road and made our car better throughout the day and were able to make our Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet better as we went on. So, I’m just really proud of that. And if those are the off-days, we’ll be just fine.”

HOW MUCH PRESSURE, IF ANY, DOES THIS ALLEVIATE GOING INTO KANSAS?
“It doesn’t change anything. We’re just going to go to Kansas and keep our head down and grind away.”


American Muscle

MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/VISSER PRECISION CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 3RD
HOW DID YOU GO FROM STRUGGLING WITH THE BALANCE ON FRIDAY TO A TOP 3 FINISH TODAY?

“It was just hard work and a never-give-up attitude. I’m just really proud of my guys. They stuck behind me and we worked really hard on it all weekend long.  From the time practice was over on Friday until this morning, we were texting about the set-up and what we were going to do and what we had to do and what to focus on. I’m just proud of those guys for what they did. It was a true team effort and a testament to this team and their fight. I honestly, this morning, I was really nervous going into the race thinking we’d be lucky to run 15th with what we had in practice. And Jeff Burton asked me before the race what I thought about my car. And I was like I don’t know; I don’t feel too good about it. So, I’m just really proud of the guys for working hard. The pit stops were great on pit road. This was a big hurdle and now we go to our best track at Kansas; and hopefully getting two more.”

DOES THIS MEAN YOU GUYS ARE STEPPING IT UP?
“We did today. We need to do it two more times. Talladega still looms. It still makes us nervous. But next week could be a really good race for us and we’re looking forward to getting that win that’s been eluding me at Kansas for a couple of years.”

KURT BUSCH, NO. 41 STATE WATER HEATERS CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 5TH
WAS THAT EVERYTHING YOU HAD CONSIDERING PASSING WAS AT A PREMIUM?

“Yeah that is all we had.  We fought hard and we ran fifth, eighth, we were back as far as 12th – 15th, but all-in-all I thought we were a competitive car with the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) he finished right in front of us and the other (Joe) Gibbs (Racing) car right behind us, so that is a solid day for our State Water Heaters Chevrolet.  I fought hard I’m kind of out of gas here myself.  Thanks to Hass Automation and all our crew guys.  The pit strategy side that (Tony) Gibson (crew chief) called was good.  All-in-all there were a few guys faster than us, but we played to our strength and we brought it home fifth.”

ON HIS DAY:

“It was an impressive day because we had to work on strategy and manage our car that was not quite performing well on restarts to gain the sports early in the run.  Our State Water Heaters Chevy was good.  It just didn’t do anything perfect.  It didn’t do anything terrible so I’m real happy with this effort.  To be top five, you know there are some quality cars that are running here for the Chase.  If we keep doing our homework like this we are going to have great days.  Thanks to Haas Automation, Monster Energy, State Water Heaters, it’s great to have them on board for a weekend and have them all come down and have a good time at the track and sell more water heaters.  That’s what it’s all about.”

THE RESTARTS ARE SO CRAZY WHAT WAS IT LIKE HAVING YOUR CAR NOT BE AT IT’S BEST AT THAT POINT IN EACH ROUND:
“It was confusing because our car showed real good speed in practice.  Then once we got into a little bit of traffic we lost the aero handle and I had to be very patient with it.  Sometimes you would run three-quarters of that run stuck back there in traffic and never really jump back in to where we were running.  It feels good to finish with a couple of Gibbs cars around us.  If you do that you are doing your homework.”

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 3M CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 8TH
YOU HAD A STRONG RUN FROM STARTING 22ND

“It certainly was. I’m really proud of this 3M Chevrolet team. We didn’t even start the race off very good, let alone starting 22nd didn’t help us out. But they made some incredible adjustments and our pit crew was rock solid on pit road. I’m so appreciative of that. So, overall, it was a great team effort. Everybody wants to be sitting there where the No. 22 (Joey Logano) is. That’s a great place to be; especially with Talladega looming, but I couldn’t be happier with the entire effort that we put out there today. Alan (Gustafson) made some great adjustments to get us back in this thing. I’m real happy with 8th. The problem is you’ve got six of the guys we’re racing in the championship right there ahead of us. But we didn’t lose much to them and I thought it was a really strong effort.”

HOW THANKFUL ARE YOU THIS RACE WAS RUN IN THE DAY VERSUS THE COOL OF LAST NIGHT.
“The day race helped us starting 22nd. At night, it’s so grippy and fast and it’s hard to get multiple grooves; where during the day with the sun being out and heating up the track, losing a little bit of grip, I think it helped. It didn’t move around a lot, but it moved around enough where we could maneuver through some traffic and work our way up there; a little bit on the track and a little bit on pit road. I certainly liked that it was a day race. I thought we had a heck of a crowd here for a rain-delayed race that was not supposed to be run today. You’ve got to be happy about that.”

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 15TH
ON HIS DAY:

“Yeah, we got stuck in the fence there by the No. 20 car.  That definitely hurt our No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet.  We had a top 10 car before that.  The guys had a good day in the pits.  Just not the day we were hoping for.”

KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET PLAID CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 21ST
ON THE INCIDENT WITH KYLE BUSCH ON PIT ROAD:

“They told me to do what everybody around me was doing and the No. 22 (Joey Logano) was staying out, so I was committed to staying out and as soon as I turned right to stay out they said pit, pit, pit.  I hung a left and Kyle (Busch) was there.  I feel really terrible to ruin their day and hopefully it didn’t hurt their chances of transferring through this round.  I know they deserve a top three finish for sure.  I felt awful immediately and still do.  I hate it.”

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 28TH
DESCRIBE THE DAY THAT HAD YOU IN THE WALL A COUPLE OF TIMES.

“Yeah, I lost count of how many time we hit it (the wall) today. I don’t know. We had a pretty decent car. Carl (Edwards) got a great run on me down the front straightaway and just drove in there and the left-rear quarter-panel, I have to look at that to see whether that was a racing deal or whatever. But, that put us in the wall the first time. And they didn’t clean-up the oil and we hit the wall again. A lot of oil up there. They put Speedy Dry where they thought there was oil, but I don’t know. I went around the Speedy Dry where they laid it on the track, and man; I flew into the fence and ran over all kinds of fluid out there closer to the wall than where their Speedy Dry was. I couldn’t see it and maybe the shadows were giving them a hard time also, so they could clean it up.

“We tried everything we could to get laps back because we had a good enough car to run in the top 20, even after smashing it into the fence after all them times, we still had okay speed; but we just couldn’t get an opportunity to get those laps back. Other guys had trouble. And it ain’t over. Don’t worry about that. I mean, we don’t have to go to Talladega and be nervous like those guys that are going to have to play it safe. We can just go hard. So, we’ve got a great car that can win that race. We can go to Kansas and run great. I like that track and don’t see why we can’t run great there and maybe win the race there. It ain’t over. It certainly didn’t help the day.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S RED VEST CHEVROLET SS – Sidelined with an oil pump issue on lap 257
YOU WERE RUNNING THIRD WHEN YOU HAD A PROBLEM. WHAT HAPPENED?

“Well, we noticed a little bit of smoke from time to time and wasn’t sure if it was just rubber on the headers or what it might be. Then coming down the front stretch, the engine basically went into ‘protection-mode’ and wouldn’t let the engine have any rpm. Coming around, it thought it was some kind of electrical issue and I knew from all of our discussions that it had some protection-mode stuff, and it was in that function. The issue is that we lost oil pressure. We had a problem with the oil pump. The oil pump finally seized-up, and then the engine tried to protect itself and only let me have 2,000 rpm.  So, we’re done. It’s unfortunate. We had a race car. I really wanted to get to Victory Lane with this Red Vest Chevrolet. A big shout-out to the 265, 000 people that work in the stores every day. And we’ll come back and go again next week.”

TERMINAL DAY FOR YOU?
“Yeah, we had something with the oil pump and lost oil pressure and the engine shut itself off and went into protection mode at that point.  Unfortunate, we had a great car.  Ran in the top three or four most of the day there and really wanted to have a great run for the 265,000 people that put on a Lowe’s Red Vest every day and get this Red Vest car to Victory Lane.  But a mechanical failure there that knocked us out.”

ON THE RESTART EARLIER IN THE RACE WHERE SMOKE WAS DETECTED IS THAT ANYTHING RELATED TO WHAT HAPPENED NOW?
“I would have to imagine it’s all related.  The oil running out of it now with the oil pump being broke, so I think it was starting to fail slowly and losing some fluid for sure.”

WHAT PUT YOU OUT OF THE RACE?
“We ended up having an oil pump issue.  We were smoking a little bit as the laps were winding down there.  I guess it was relative to the oil pump starting to fail.  Eventually it failed going down the front straightaway.  When that happened the engine went into engine protection mode and would only let me have 2000 RPM’s.  For a while there I thought I had some kind of electrical issue or an issue with the EFI (electronic fuel injection), but the engine has a protection mode that it goes into and it did.  I made it to pit road and the guys could see the oil running out of it then.”

HOW FRUSTRATING IS THIS?
“Yeah, it’s a bummer.  We had a fast racecar.  I certainly hope we are the only Hendrick related engine that has the problem.  We have a lot of guys right in the championship hopefully they don’t have a similar issue, but it is frustrating.  We know we were fast and we had a good weekend.  Unfortunately, just didn’t get the result we wanted.”

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 HENDRICKRIDEALONG.COM CHEVROLET SS – Crashed on lap 60 due to right front tire issue:
YOU HIT THE WALL NOT ONCE, BUT TWICE. WHAT HAPPENED?

“The first time, I was just coming out to the wall to enter the corner and I felt m right front drop a little bit. It didn’t explode, but it started going down so I just hit the brakes full-on and didn’t hit the wall too hard. And then the second time, I knew I needed to get by Matt (Kenseth) to get one of those laps back and just right in the center of the corner I was just going back wide-open throttle and it popped that time. Obviously, we’re doing something wrong to have two tire failures like that. I don’t know what happened. We had no issues in practice or anything like that. This HendrickRideAlong.com Chevrolet was really fast. It’s discouraging, but that’s the way it goes.”

WHAT HAPPENED?
“The first one I had a tire go down on the straightaway right before I turned into the corner so I felt it just in time the right-front dropped.  I was able to get on the brakes and not hit the wall hard.  The second one happened in the center of the corner.  We were just going back to throttle.  I was pushing hard, we had a great Hendrickridealong.com Chevrolet.  I knew I needed to pass Matt (Kenseth) to get my second lap, one of the laps back, and be eligible for the lucky dog after that.  We were coming, we had a good car both runs.  Just didn’t work out.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHY THE TIRE WENT DOWN?
“We don’t know why either one of the tires went down.  I would say they are very similar on both of them. To me it all happened at once and I just was more fortunate the first time it was on the straightaway so it didn’t affect us as bad.”

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