FORT WORTH – Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, displayed a remarkable will to win on Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) as he scored his second NASCAR Sprint Cup series (NSCS) win in a row, and his fifth win of 2012. Johnson led seven times for a race-high 168 laps; and was able to pass and hold off his closest championship rival, Brad Keselowski, for the win in a furious battle in the final laps after a green/white/checkered finish.
The win marked Johnson’s 60th career win; and 700th for Chevrolet in the NSCS, and allowed him to extend his point lead to seven points with just two races remaining in his hunt for a sixth career title. Johnson also extends his “Chase” win record to 22 with his second career win at TMS.
Tony Stewart, No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, rallied from a 21st place start to finish in fifth place. Stewart won this race last year en route to his third NSCS championship.
Team Chevy driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., had a solid day in his No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet and finished today’s race in seventh position. Kurt Busch had his best finish to date behind the wheel of the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet and come home eighth while Kevin Harvick overcame a freakish start that saw his team make repairs to his No. 29 Rheem/Budweiser Chevrolet after being hit by a sky diver’s weight bag in the pre-race ceremonies to finish ninth.
Rounding out the top five were: Brad Keselowski (Dodge) in second place, Kyle Busch (Toyota) in third, and Matt Kenseth (Ford) in fourth.
The tour now moves to Phoenix International Raceway on November 11th, 2012 for Round 37 of 38 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET, RACE WINNER: YOU GUYS WENT BARE KNUCKLES THOSE FINAL TWO RESTARTS. YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING TO LET YOUR DRIVING DO THE TALKING WHAT KIND OF STATEMENT WERE YOU MAKING WITH THAT FINAL RESTART? “It was an awesome race. Great way to put it and the gloves are off and it’s bare knuckle fighting. I have a lot of respect for that No. 2 team. Those guys are doing a great job. Today I think our cars were pretty equal throughout the course of the race and at the end of the race we were on four (tires) had to take advantage of it. That second to last restart was pretty sketchy a couple of times how close we were and how hard we were racing. Luckily we brought the cars back, another caution came out and got a great restart and got by him. We knew that we had the speed if I could just get by him and got this Lowe’s Chevy to Victory Lane.”
BRAD SAID ON THE RADIO ON THE FINAL RESTART ‘I’M NOT GOING TO LOSE THIS CHAMPIONSHIP THIS WAY.’ WHAT DOES THAT MEAN COMING UP AT PHOENIX AND HOMESTEAD? “Well I expect a lot of hard racing. That is what we’ve seen all year long. All Chase long, you can’t count those guys out. There were times today late in the race where they were pretty far back and still worked their way up to the front. They are keeping us honest and pressuring us hard. I’m very proud of this Lowe’s team and everything they have done. Before we go off the air I just want to let everybody know that the Racing for Relief fund that Hendrick Motorsports and myself are matching what Lowe’s is doing. Thinking of everybody up in the Northeast and all the troubles they have had with Sandy. And 700 wins for Chevrolet so good day all in all.”
THIS IS THE WAY YOU WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP YOU LEAD THE MOST LAPS AND WIN THE RACE: “Did we do that did we lead the most laps?”
YOU DID YOU GOT MAXIMUM POINTS FOR THE SECOND STRAIGHT WEEK CONGRAULATIONS: “Awesome, it’s a great number too it’s 48. 48 points today, just real proud of the effort. We didn’t have it right off the truck. Got it right and won the pole. Today we had a really strong car all night long. There at the end being on four tires was a little bit of help. Some crazy racing at the end and we were able to rally around the top finally and get the win.”
TALK ABOUT THE LAST COUPLE OF RESTARTS: “Yeah there was a lot of hard racing and just a lot of stuff going on. Glad that we made it through with straight race cars and nothing was torn up. It’s just a solid day all in all. I just have to thank my guys on pit road all day long for getting that stuff done, just a great effort all in all.”
YOU HAVE A SEVEN POINT LEAD TWO RACES TO GO I’M ASSUMING STILL NOT ENOUGH TO BREATHE EASY? “No, there is not going to be any breathing easy until the end. Breathing a little bit better. I was two points and now we’ve got seven, but there is a lot of racing left. We are running up front, running one-two all the time it doesn’t mean it will be that way for the final two races.”
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET, FINISHED 5TH: TALK ABOUT SOME OF THAT ACTION ON THE RACE TRACK QUITE EXCITING: “Yeah, I think (Brad) Keselowski has a death wish (laughs), but man I’m proud of our guys. What an awesome, awesome come back. The set-up that we ended up running in the race we had six laps on at the end of happy hour yesterday. God I’m just so proud of everybody on the pit crew on the pit stops. The last two stops got us a lot of track position and really proud of Steve Addington (crew chief) he just kept digging away at it and kept tweaking on it making it better and better all day. Just really happy with the effort today.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR. NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/DIET MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET, FINISHED 7TH: ON WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END OF THE RACE? SEVENTH-PLACE FINISH YOU COULD HAVE HAD A TOP-FIVE THERE WHAT HAPPENED DOWN THE STRETCH? “Well we just restarted on the outside and it’s a little tough out there to make any ground. We had been on the inside all day making up time. We had a pretty good car at the start of the race. We dialed it way out and got real slow and made some great changes near the end. The pit crew really did a good job, they gained us about eight spots on pit road there those last two stops. Just real happy with the way we were able to rebound. I would have liked to have run in the top-five maybe been a little closer to the front, but we definitely run a little bit better like we should.”
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WATCHING THE NO. 2 AND THE NO. 48? “That was pretty crazy. I was thinking I might have a shot to win if they kept on going like that. Somebody else might win the race, but I was glad to see Jimmie (Johnson) take it at the end. What a battle this championship is. Brad (Keselowski) is putting up an awesome fight. He hadn’t really run good here. His stats were terrible for this place and they came in and they did their work. They have been real impressive. But I’m a company man so I’m glad HMS (Hendrick Motorsports) is on top tonight.”
ON CHEVROLET’S 700TH WIN: “I’m proud of my Chevy heritage, and happy for the success that Chevy has had in the sport. I’m glad that Hendrick Motorsports was able to bring the 700th win. That is a big deal for Rick (Hendrick). He’s got a great relationship with Chevrolet, and he is proud to do that for them. We want Chevrolet to be on top. Milestones like that certainly put it there.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/FARM AMERICAN CHEVROLET, FINISHED 8TH: ON HIS RACE: “All-in-all a good day for Furniture Row Racing. We battled back to get a top-10. Considering that we had a top-five or top-10 car at the last two races but got nailed in accidents, it was important to come away with a solid finish today. We’ve made a lot of progress as a team in a short period of time which gives us plenty of optimism for 2013. However, we still have some handling issues to work out, but we’re getting there. This was only our fourth race together and I am really proud of how we came back after struggling for a good
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 RHEEM/BUDWEISER CHEVROLET, FINISHED 9TH: ON HIS RACE “The team did a great job keeping us in the game today. We had a tough time making the right adjustments to get the Rheem Chevrolet handling the way I needed it to be, but the pit crew was solid today and I have to thank them for all their hard work this weekend.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD’S CHEVROLET – FINISHED 18TH: ON HIS RACE: “We really worked hard for that 18th place finish today. The guys on our McDonald’s Chevy made a lot of adjustment during our pit stops today. We were lucky to get a few cautions to help us out with maintaining position on the lead lap, and keep us in a position for a top-20. Our car was back and forth on the handling all day both tight and loose at times, but the guys did a great job of adjusting along the way.”
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET, FINISHED 24TH: ON HER RACE: “We had a really nice first weekend. It was really steady from the beginning. The car unloaded and it had speed right off the get go. We just kept on improving with it. I felt like it was a nice progression of the weekend where I actually felt like I knew I why I went faster and I knew why I went slower. In the race we were creeping along. We spent most of the race tight, but there late in the race we finally got it freed up enough to start really running some good speed. Those yellows at the end I just didn’t do a good enough job on those restarts and lost a whole bunch of spots. I always feel so defeated at the end of the race when that happens. It was a really nice first weekend with the new GoDaddy crew. Tony Gibson (crew chief) did such a good job. I’m really looking forward to next year.”
TONY GIBSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 10 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET: ON HIS FIRST RACE AS DANICA’S CREW CHIEF: “It was a great day and a great weekend for the first weekend working together. Qualifying went really well and practice went really well. She had an awesome race and she did a great job. We did the wave around twice and got back on the lead lap early and she stayed on the lead lap. She ran with guys that she’s never run with before, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin. To come here and run on the lead lap and a shot at a top-20 was pretty impressive.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 HUGGIES CHEVROLET, SIDELINED ON LAP 119 DUE TO AN ON-TRACK INCIDENT. CREW MADE REPAIRS AND HE RETURNED TO THE RACE, FINISHED 34TH: WHAT HAPPENED FROM YOUR WINDSHIELD? “It’s kind of a tough break. We had a decent car and I don’t know. They all checked up on the restart and I saw that I was either going to pile into them or… you see the leader going you go and we normally go and they all checked up and you got on the brakes. These things don’t slowdown that well so I went left to go through the grass to avoid the wreck. I don’t know there is like a manhole cover there or something. The car took off like two or three feet in the air; same thing as the No. 51. The crazy thing is we are not even up to speed yet. I mean I went from second, shifted into third, got on the brakes, went left and the car just flew up in the air. I hit something; you look at the No. 51 and the same thing. There is something there like a big step there in the middle of the grass and it kind of breaks race cars in half.
ON HIS RACE: Not a good day for the HUGGIES team. I was trying to avoid the No. 47 in front of me so I turned left and ended up in the grass. We must of hit something in the grass the car jumped up and the front end received a ton of damage. The guys worked really hard to get us back together and we were able to return to the track. We just haven’t had any luck this season.”