Sunday, June 2, 2013

Tony Stewart wins Dover; Jeff Gordon third

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
FEDEX 400 BENEFITING AUTISM SPEAKS
DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY POST RACE NOTES AND QUOTES
JUNE 2, 2013

TONY STEWART, NO. 14 CODE 3 ASSOCIATES/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET SS - WINNER
IT’S DOVER YOU ARE IN VICTORY LANE CONGRATULATIONS:
“If somebody would have told me it was going to be that way yesterday I would have told them they were crazy.  This thing was not a car that could win the race.  Just great pit strategy at the end.  We had a car that was solid we just never got track position to get in clean air.  It felt a lot better up front.  Steve Addington (crew chief) made a great call there that last caution and gave us the opportunity to race for it up there.  It didn’t seem like the guys that took four tires had a huge advantage taking off there.  Just really proud of everybody on this Code 3 Associates Chevy.  Code 3 had done such an awesome job of getting everybody in Oklahoma back on their feet.  They have saved over 150 animals and helped reunite 40 pets with their owners.  Pretty cool what they do right now.  I couldn’t think of a better week to celebrate what Code 3 Associates does and their hard work.  Between them and Chevy and Bass Pro Shops, Mobil 1 all the Hendrick engine and chassis department everybody has been helpful.  Especially on the Hendrick side nobody knows how much they have tried to help out.  It’s greatly appreciated, but our guys at our shop have been digging.  None of these guys get down.  We have been down but they haven’t gotten down.  That is what carries you to days like today at the end of the day.”

TELL US ABOUT THE BATTLE WITH JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:
“When we noticed we were catching him we kind of got going on the bottom there and realizing we were making up even more time when we could stay right on the bottom.  He was smart he was watching and he picked up on that and moved down.  I couldn’t really make any ground there any more so I had to try something.  Jeff (Gordon) was coming behind us there.  I was willing to risk running third to battle for the win instead.  If it didn’t work out and I dropped back a spot it was worth it.  It’s fun.  It’s fun when you can battle guys like Juan Montoya and Jeff Gordon like that.  That is two pretty cool names to be racing for the win with.”

WHAT DOES SOMETHING LIKE THIS DO FOR A TEAM THAT IS TRYING TO GET THEIR FOOTING BACK UNDER THEM NOW?
“It’s definitely momentum.  We got two weeks of momentum under our belt now at two totally different race tracks.  That is big.  Momentum is huge in this sport.  We still got a lot of work to do.  We won’t sit… I guarantee you none of these guys behind you will tell you we are exactly where we want to be right now.  It’s a good reward for how hard they have been working to get that first win of the year.  Now it’s trying to be more consistent and stay in the top-10 more and make our program better.  It’s proof that no matter how bad it’s been this year none of these guys have quit and given up.  Just really proud of the effort this weekend; I think we probably made more gains from Friday to right now than any team in the garage did.  I’m really proud of that fact.”

YOU TOLD YOUR GUYS NOT TO GIVE UP. WE WILL FIGURE THIS THING OUT. WITH THE CHALLENGES THIS YEAR, DOES IT MAKE THIS WIN EVEN MORE MEMORABLE FOR YOU AND THIS ENTIRE ORGANIZATION?
“Oh gosh, yes. It’s been such a tough year. And we had, not new partners to us at Stewart-Haas Racing, but new partners on the No. 14 car with Code 3 Associates this week. And with all the tragedies in Oklahoma, to be able to showcase a great partner like that that’s done so much to help so many people. It’s them and Mobil 1 and Bass Pro Shops, Rush Truck Centers, Coca-Cola, and Sprint, and most of all; it’s all of our fans out there. We’ve let them down for a long time. Hopefully today we’ll be starting on building that momentum back up now.”

YOU HAVEN’T WON HERE AT DOVER SINCE YOU SWEPT BOTH RACES IN 2000:
“Yeah, it’s been a while. Honestly, we tested here, which I thought would be an advantage coming here. And yesterday we took two steps backwards it seemed like, and yesterday it didn’t seem like we were much better. But I’m so proud of all of our guys and our engineers. They worked hard late into the night last night and never gave up. They kept working today. Addington’s pit strategy gave us the opportunity there at the end. It’s pretty cool. Not many times you get to outrace Juan Montoya. He figured out where I had been gaining ground and he made the adjustment and got going there and so we had to move around again, so found a little something on the top there. Everybody at Chevrolet has been helping us doing everything they can to help out and most of all, Rick Hendrick and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports and the engine department and the chassis department and Doug Duchardt. Just everybody has dug deep to help us to get back to where we are today.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 ENERGIZER CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED SECOND
DESCRIBE THE CLOSING LAPS WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE?
“Our car was just a handful at the end.  We had a really quick car all day.  This Energizer Chevy everybody did a really good job.  I was just too loose.  I didn’t have enough drive off the corner.  I was too loose in.  It was hard I was trying to do the best I could.  The more you try and you stop using the tires the worse it is.  Then if you back off them it’s as bad.  It’s one of those deals where we were just not quick enough.”

HOW MUCH DID THE TRACK CHANGE THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
“It changed a ton.  We kept tightening the car up and it kept getting looser.  We kept making it tighter and tighter.  We really did two tires on mistake there.  He (Chris Heroy, crew chief) said two and then I guess when I was coming down I was on the radio and he said four, never heard him and left at two.  It actually worked out pretty well.”

A GREAT BATTLE! TELL US ABOUT THE END WITH TONY STEWART:
“He was way quicker. I don’t understand where he came from. He wasn’t that good all day, and he was good when it mattered. Our car, on that last run, it was a little tight the first few laps. I thought we were going to be good and then we started losing the rear really quick and never had any speed. It seems like you normally have like 10 or 15 laps where you can really mash the gas. I think our left tires were way too old. But everybody on the Energizer car this weekend did a really good job. I think that win is coming. It’s just good to be running this good every week.”

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 AARP CREDIT CARDS FROM CHASE CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED THIRD
TELL US ABOUT YOUR DAY:
“I thought we had a really good race car.  We just never could get the track position.  We kept adjusting on it.  We weren’t going anywhere.  We were making changes to the car, some were helping, some weren’t, but we still weren’t really making any ground.  We got fortunate we kind of stayed out under one green flag run; had pretty fresh tires then we were able to stay out on that one.  Great call, great pit stops, really proud to have Chase credit cards services, AARP reward card on this Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet.  It was a fun day there at the end.  We were struggling and fighting hard all day, but came out with a good finish.” 

WERE YOU WONDERING IF THE CAUTION GODS WOULD SMILE ON YOU AT THE END?
“Yeah, we needed some things to go our way and that’s something that’s been hit or miss for us this year. Finally things went our way. We made a call to stay out, which obviously paid off and gave us some good track position. Our car drove pretty good up front there. And then we needed a caution. You hate to see what happened to Denny (Hamlin), I think it was Denny, happen, but it certainly paid off for us. So, then we had a car there with four tires that really took off. They pumped the air pressure up on them and it took off. I was able to get by Kyle (Busch), but it started getting pretty loose on me as I caught those other two and all I could do was watch at that point. So, we almost got Montoya on the last lap, but it almost cost us another position too, so it was a great top-three. Don’t forget to get your AARP Rewards Card from Chase. It was pretty cool having a unique paint scheme this week with a local company here from Wilmington that supports such a great cause with Drive to End Hunger.”

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 JIMMY JOHN’S CHEVROLET SS- FINISHED 8TH
ON HIS RUN:
“Our Jimmy John’s Chevy was good one run, really loose one run and really tight the next run.  At the end we were just loose and tight.  Then the run before on two tires really loose.  We hung in there and got a solid top-10.”

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 10TH
ON HIS RUN:
“Yeah, it was real hot, but we knew that going into the race.  We made our car better.  I felt like we had a real strong car the last half of the race.  We just couldn’t get track position, couldn’t pass.  We were faster than the guys in front of us at the end, but just couldn’t pass.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/MONSTERS UNIVERSITY CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 17TH
BACK HERE IN THE GARAGE WITH A DISAPPOINTED JIMMIE JOHNSON. DID YOU THINK YOU JUMPED THE RESTART?
“No, I was half-throttle for the whole front-stretch. And at some point, I gotta go. And in this situation, NASCAR has the judgment to decide if you jumped it or not. But I’m like, he’s (Juan Pablo Montoya) is not even going. So I’m not sure if his car broke or if off power or spun the tires. I don’t know. So I’m running half-throttle down the frontstretch waiting for him and he never comes. So at that point, we got back going. Chad (Knaus, crew chief) even told me on the radio that something that had happened and that I should just take off and not worry about it. And then we were called on it. So, a bummer way to lose a race. We certainly had the winning car. Would have loved to have this Monsters University Chevrolet in Victory Lane today, but we’ll have to come back and do it in the fall.”

EXPLAIN TO US WHAT YOU SAW THERE:
“Well unfortunately it’s in the towers hands at that point.  The tower can choose to decide if it was a legal start or not.  I didn’t know if he (Juan Pablo Montoya) broke or what…. I just don’t know.  I’m running half throttle down the front stretch waiting for him and he doesn’t come.  My vision is so limited inside the car.  I’m really a sitting duck.  They decided to call me on it.  I totally disagree with the call, but it is what it is and come back and try to win in the fall.”

DID YOU TRY TO GIVE JUAN PABLO MONTOYA THE SPOT BACK AT SOME POINT RIGHT AFTER THAT?
“I ran half throttle for the first half a lap waiting for him. Then at some point you have to go and you have to race.  That is when I got back in the gas and took off.  Went so long and I tried to give it back and I was hopeful they would look at the telemetry and see.  They have all that ability.  I was hopeful they would see I was trying to give them the spot back.  Again, I didn’t know if he broke, I didn’t know if he had contact, spun the tires and hit the outside wall.  I have no clue.  At some point I had to go and unfortunately they called me on it.”

ARE YOU SURPRISED THEY MADE THE CALL?
“I am.  Whatever happened he just did not go.  For me to run half throttle for half a lap and not get caught, I tried to give it back and he just wasn’t coming.  At a certain point I didn’t know if he was even still on the road or under power or whatever it was.  Wish they would have seen it a little differently.”

WHAT COULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY? WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF YOU JUST DIDN’T GO?
“I would have been passed by at least the No. 42 if not two or three others.  Once you get up to speed and the pack gets rolling it’s real hard to give it back and have it be fair for everybody.  Again, the issue that he had was so big.  I didn’t know if he lost power or what.  Eventually, I just had to get going and was called on it.”

WHAT DO THE OFFICIALS NEED TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT THIS SITUATION IN CASE IT HAPPENS AGAIN?
“I would just be wasting air talking about it.  There is always a judgment call in pro sports it doesn’t matter what the sport is.  Our sport doesn’t have many opportunities for that, but today we did and the call didn’t go my way.”

WAS IT MORE DISHEARTENING BECAUSE OF THE WAY YOU CAME BACK UP THROUGH THE FIELD?
“Yeah, you never want to lose especially when you have a chance to win. We could have made history today so that stings a little bit more.”

WHAT DO YOU DO THINK IF YOU ARE IN THE SAME SPOT AGAIN?
“Just go talk to them and try to find out what… help me better understand what I could have done is really how I’m going to enter that conversation.”

YOU WENT A LAP DOWN EARLY AND WERE ABLE TO TURN THINGS AROUND:
“I was really puzzled what was going on with the car.  Must have been that set of tires because after that the car came to life and was great.  We were really bad at the start of the race.”

WAS CARL (EDWARDS) RELATING BECAUSE HE CAME OVER AND TALKED TO YOU.  WAS HE RELATING WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM LAST YEAR?
“He didn’t say anything he just couldn’t believe I got called on it because the No. 42 took off so slow.  He said he felt for me.”

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