BROOKLYN, MI – On lap 68 of the 200-lap Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, Kasey Kahne and his No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet avoided a multi-car wreck and slid through the infield grass of Michigan International Speedway. A fast race car, minor repairs by the crew, and 132 laps later, Kahne and the No. 5 team had rallied back to the fourth position as the field roared to life for a final green-white-checkered finish. Kahne was able to gain one position before the checkered flag fell to come home third. This was his fourth top-10 finish in the last seven races.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who had started the race in the rear of the field in a back-up No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, also rallied back from a rough weekend at MIS to take a fourth place finish behind his Hendrick Motorsports teammate. Kahne and Earnhardt Jr. led Team Chevy by taking two of the top five finishing spots.
Ryan Newman, No. 39 WIX Filters Chevrolet had another solid run finishing in the eighth position. Paul Menard, No. 27 Menards/Pittsburgh Paints Chevrolet ended the day in the ninth position recording his fourth top-10 finish of the season.
It was a disappointing day in particular for three Team Chevy drivers who were plagued with engine problems. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet finished 28th, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet finished 27th and Tony Stewart, No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet finished 32nd
The next race on the tour will be held at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, August 25, 2012.
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET – FINISHED THIRD:
ON HIS RACE: “We had one of the best cars here. Our Farmers Insurance Chevrolet was great. Spun there. A couple of slower guys spun and then we got caught up in that. But it is this team. The guys had the No. 55 car (Mark Martin) basically land in our pit, and they all survived that fortunately. They fixed my car; I had some right front damage there. They patched it up pretty nicely. It didn’t drive perfect after that, but it did drive pretty closely to how it was, which was really nice.
“We had a lot of trouble today, but a great Farmers Insurance Chevrolet. The guys fixed it, and we were able to pass some cars and get back to third which was a pretty good day after all of that. But I really felt the Farmers car was really good.”
THAT WAS REALLY A GOOD RE-START. TALK ABOUT THAT: “Yeah we had a good last restart. The Farmers Insurance Chevy took off well. My engine ran great and we had a really fast car all day long. But we weren’t able to get to the leaders. We kind of got up there, but the restarts were big today. Crucial points were either getting passed or trying to pass in restarts.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/DIET MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET – FINISHED FOURTH:
ON HIS RACE: “Great strategy. First off, my team put together a great race car last night and this morning that was comfortable and competitive. We didn’t have any laps on the race track so a lot of credit goes to the guys on the car. Steve (Letarte, crew chief) did a great job on strategy, getting us a lot of track position. We were able to maintain most of it. We lost a little bit there at the end. I think that last set of tires didn’t agree with us quite as much as it was in the middle part of the race. Real happy to be able to run well today.”
WITH THE SPIN TODAY AND THE CRASH IN PRACTICE, HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT TO COME BACK AND HAVE THE DAY YOU HAD HERE AT MICHIGAN? “I feel like I was under pressure to just not make any more mistakes. I spun out twice in the last two weeks on my own and that’s something I try not to have happen and try not to have that kind of reputation. I felt real bad last night about wrecking the car and all the work the guys had to do to get this car ready for today. They just poured through so many documents and notes on that car to try to put it on the start grid this morning. They did an awesome job. So, thanks to my crew and I give all those guys all the credit for today. Steve (Letarte, crew chief) did a good job getting us some track position with his pit strategy in giving us an opportunity to get a good run. We may not have quite enough to win, but a good finish position.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 WIX FILTERS CHEVROLET – FINISHED EIGHTH
HOW ARE YOU FEELING AFTER THAT DAY? “I’m better. I’m actually better now than I was getting into the race car. I think adrenaline takes over for most of that part. Good run for the WIX Filters Chevrolet we need to win no doubt but if we can manage those others guys we are doing a good thing. We were the benefactor of their misfortunes today. We will go on. Still a win is going to answer a lot of questions and we are all trying real hard. You saw the No. 99 on the restart and other guys. The No. 16 had a really good car. The No. 48 did too but we had about a 10th-place car and finishing eighth I think we’re proud of that.”
TELL US ABOUT THAT LAST RESTART: “I don’t know if there was an advantage on the inside or the outside all depended on who got the best start in front of you. A couple of guys got jumbled up and sometimes there is a good run down the back straightaway on the high side. We didn’t have that, but we didn’t need that that time. Just a good run and I’m proud of the guys everything was good we just got to get great.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/MERCURY CHEVROLET – FINISHED 14TH
ON HIS RACE: “We had a really good car today. We were able to run with the top-10 cars most of the day. We cut a tire near halfway and were still able to cycle back onto the lead lap. Then when we got caught by the caution right after pitting, that put us at the tail end of the field. We spent the rest of the day just battling to try and get back to the front. Our Bass Pro Shops Chevy was really fast, so I am encouraged by the effort of this team to give us such a good car.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – FINISHED 26TH
ON HIS RACE: “Well anything that could go wrong today did. We finally got the car handling better and then we had an incident with the 47 and then the 20. I hated seeing that happen to Mark (Martin), he had a great run going and the 47 just got loose in front of me and I checked up. Mark had nowhere to go. It was a rough day.”