Sunday, May 5, 2013

Johnson extends points lead

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
AARON’S 499
TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY RACE NOTES AND QUOTES
MAY 5, 2013
  
Jimmie Johnson scores top-5 finish at Talladega

TALLADEGA, Ala. - (May 5, 2013) – In a wild scramble to the checkered flag, Jimmie Johnson led the way for Team Chevy by powering his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS to a fifth-place finish in the rain-delayed Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.  It was Johnson’s fifth top-five finish of the season, boosting his lead in the current point standings to 41 markers over second. 

In a battle with Mother Nature, the 499-mile race was red-flagged for three hours and 36 minutes due to rain and resumed with 63 laps remaining. While vying for the win in the closing laps, Johnson held the lead during the final green-white-checkered finish; but a mad scramble at the front shuffled him back to fifth place overall.  The race went into overtime, ending in near darkness at 511-miles and 192 laps.

Several Team Chevy drivers were sidelined in two multi-car crashes in today’s event including Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Farmers Chevrolet SS who was hit from behind in the first major incident early in the race, and dropped three spots in the standings from third to sixth.  Kurt Busch was looking at a possible top-five finish when his No. 78 Furniture Row/Beautyrest Chevrolet SS went airborne in a late-race crash and landed on the roof of the No. 39 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS driven by Ryan Newman. 

Looking for a weekend sweep, Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race winner Regan Smith, No. 51 Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet SS, came home with a solid sixth-place finish. Hendrick Motorsports driver Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Imron Elite Chevrolet SS, rallied from early issues to finish 11th.  Gordon’s teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS, posted a 17th place finish and moved up one position in the standings to third.

David Ragan (Ford) scored the win and his teammate David Gilliland (Ford) was second. Carl Edwards (Ford) was third and Michael Waltrip (Toyota) was fourth to round out the top-five.

The series heads to Darlington Raceway next weekend for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 on Saturday night, May 11th. 

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED FIFTH
AMAZING RACING HERE AT TALLADEGA. WHAT WAS IT LIKE DURING THE LAST FEW LAPS FROM YOUR SEAT?
“Well, I thought that between the No. 99 (Carl Edwards) and the No. 20 (Matt Kenseth) and ourselves and the No. 51 (Regan Smith) that we would settle the race between us. And then, the No. 34 (David Regan) and the No. 38 (David Gilliland); I was racing the No. 38 earlier and he had plenty of speed, but they came up on us so fast that I could see Carl (Edwards) trying to block and he finally said there’s no real way to block the speed that they’re bringing. Those two had blown by and David had made it back to the checkered flag. So, it’s really cool for that team.  It was obviously a very good day for our Lowe’s Chevrolet. We had a very fast car and I felt like we were a player all day long, and that’s awesome.”

REGAN SMITH, NO. 51 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED SIXTH
TAKE US THROUGH THE LAST FEW LAPS THAT YOU SAW:
“Well the last few laps I didn’t see much it was pretty dark.  Happy for the guys on the Hendrickcars.com Chevy Phoenix Racing, it was a good day for them.  A little disappointed.  That last restart we were on the bottom and our car just didn’t work on the bottom at all for whatever reason.  It just kept stalling out.  I stayed down there to try and help Jimmie (Johnson) and give him a shove so we could get up there and battle it out.  I just couldn’t give him a big enough push to clear guys at the right time.  I kept getting stalled out by the cars on the outside.  Still a good day, still proud of the effort by the team and you know go to the next one.”

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 17TH
ON THE GREEN-WHITE-CHECKERED RESTART AND FINISH:

“We were on that inside lane and weren’t going forward. We were going backwards. Everybody was going by on the outside, and when it’s three- and four-wide, you can’t really go up. I don’t know.”

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE RACING?
“I don’t really know. We didn’t have a car that I felt comfortable with. We just didn’t have a good car all day, but – I don’t know – I thought it was alright I guess. What did you guys think?

WAS THIS ONE OF THE LONGEST RACING DAYS THAT YOU CAN REMEMBER?
“Nah, I’m sure there’s been some longer ones.”

THE DAMAGE ON YOUR CAR, DID IT HAVE ANY IMPACT ON THE WAY IT RACED?
“No, I don’t think so. I think a couple guys that finished in front of us had worse damage than we did. They seemed to finish okay.”

KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 30TH AFTER BEING INVOLVED IN A MULTI-CAR ACCIDENT ON LAP 183
ON ACCIDENT: 
"We just got hit from behind, and along for the ride we went."

ARE YOU OKAY?
"Yes, lovely."

JJ YELEY, NO. 36 GOLDEN CORRAL CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 31ST AFTER BEING INVOLVED IN MULTI-CAR ACCIDENT ON LAP 183
ON ACCIDENT:
"My car was really bad on the bottom all day long, so I just stayed to the outside. Everyone kept getting jammed up in the middle. I could carry a ton of momentum, and pushed the No. 51 (Reagan Smith) to the lead there. Thought I was going to take the lead there myself down the back straightaway. I just kind of stalled out there from a side draft from Reagan, and the No. 17 (Ricky Stenhouse) thought he could stick it on the outside there, and there wasn't enough room. He hit me in the right rear, and got me lose, and sent me back across the field. Very disappointing. I definitely thought we had at least a shot at a top-five, but we were definitely going for the win."

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 32ND AFTER BEING INVOLVED IN MULTI-LAP ACCIDENT ON LAP 183
ON THE ACCIDENT: "I am doing this interview to let everybody know I'm alright. They can build safer race cars, they can build safer walls. But they can't get their heads out of their asses far enough to keep them on the race track, and that's pretty disappointing. I wanted to make sure I get that point across. Y'all can figure out who 'they' is. That's no way to end a race. Our car was much better than that. That's just poor judgment in restarting the race, poor judgment ... I mean; you got what you wanted, but poor judgment and running in the dark and running in the rain. That's it, thank you."

DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 33RD AFTER BEING INVOLVED IN A MULTI-CAR ACCIDENT ON LAP 183
WHAT HAPPENED FROM WHERE YOU WERE?
"I'm probably sure the most common answer is 'I have no idea'. It happens out here; it is frustrating. I know this is plate racing, but...I'm watching the replay right now, so let me see what happened here. I was running the middle lane...yes, yes...that's about what I saw. Ricky (Stenhouse, Jr.) was trying to make it four wide, and the No. 36 (JJ Yeley) came up to block him, and it turned him. Then the No. 78 (Kurt Busch) was spinning, I went high. and somebody came up and clipped me and put me in the wall. I'm not sure which car it was. The No. 32 (Terry Labonte) it looked like.  Honestly, it is just the way it goes. People forcing the issue. It is late in the race, I get it. But that's what causes these accidents that makes speedway racing speedway racing."

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