Tag:Good Sam Club 500
Posted on: October 26, 2011 4:48 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2011 5:04 pm

Report: Knaus told Johnson to damage car

By Pete Pistone

It's not often you hear a crew chief instruct a driver to damage a race car but that's exactly what Chad Knaus did to Jimmie Johnson last Sunday at Talladega.

According to a report by SB Nation, Knaus told Johnson prior to Sunday's Good Sam Club 500 to damage the Lowe's Chevrolet in a post race victory celebration had the team won.

The article goes on to describe the conversation (here's an audio clip) between the crew chief and driver:

"If we win this race, you have to crack the back of the car," Knaus could be heard telling Johnson on the recording. "Got it?"

"Really?" Johnson replied, sounding surprised.

"Yes," Knaus said. "Got it? You don't have to have to hit it hard, you don't have to destroy it. But you've gotta do a donut and you've gotta hit the back end, or somebody's gotta hit you in the ass-end or something. OK?"

After Johnson responds with apparent silence (he can't be heard saying anything else), Knaus added, "You'll be alright. Can't take any chances."  

Johnson's car did pass inspection three times over the weekend including opening day, pre qualifying and pre race.

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Posted on: October 25, 2011 12:40 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2011 1:14 pm

Idle Thoughts: Can plate racing be fixed?

By Pete Pistone

  Clint Bowyer, Driver Of The #33 Chevy 100 Years Chevrolet, Leads
(For many the advent of the two-car tandem has negatively impacted racing at Talladega and Daytona)

Controversy and Talladega Superspeedway have been married to one another since the sprawling track was born back in 1969. 

Driver boycotts, lightning fast speeds, horrific crashes and since it debuted in 1987, restrictor plate racing, have kept Talladega in the headlines pretty much on an annual basis every NASCAR season. 

The latest chapter in the track’s stormy history was written on Sunday, but this one might not be very easy to brush off.

There was a distinct distaste in the air during and after the Good Sam Club 500 that more than likely will linger for some time – or at least until the tandem style of racing disappears. 

Which doesn’t appear to be anytime soon. 

While some drivers, crew chiefs and fans do like this next evolution of restrictor plate racing, they seem to be in the minority.

There’s a lot more opposition to the phenomenon and that’s even resonating with the sanctioning body itself.

NASCAR vice president of operations Steve O’Donnell took to his Twitter account after Sunday’s race to offer this assessment of the final plate race of the season: "Know we have work to do on superspeedway [racing] and we'll certainly stay after it.'' 

The response isn’t surprising when some of the sport’s biggest names have spoken out about their distaste for what has become of the racing at both Talladega and Daytona.

“Yea, bored,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr., who brought the crowd to its feet when he got to the lead for a lap before filing back to hook up with Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson as a drafting partner. “I'd rather race up in there and try to lead laps and do whatever but it's really not my style of racing. Being pushed and carrying on all day long. Trying to lead a couple of laps that are sort of meaningless really doesn't make a lot of sense either.” 

Even though all drivers understand the benefit of hooking up in the nose-to-tail formation and how it’s now become a necessary part of the equation, the practice is still not universally accepted. 

“From the driver’s seat, I’m not a big fan of it,” said Matt Kenseth. “There’s just not a lot we can do about it, unless the cars or the rules or something changes. There’s not really anything you’re going to do about it because it’s so much faster, but driving I’m not a real big fan of it.” 

Watching drivers ride around for three plus hours in two car pods until all try to make a mad dash to the checkered flag isn’t winning over many fans either. While Sunday’s crowd was announced at over 100,000, it was hard not to notice the chunks of unused grandstand areas around the at one time jam packed Talladega Superspeedway. 

"Most of them will say to us, 'It was kind of neat at first, but I'd really like to see what I used to see, which is the big packs,' " Talladega president Grant Lynch told The Roanoke Times of customer reaction he’s heard on the pairs racing. "I like that probably better myself.'' 

The strategy of hanging in the back of the field for the majority of the event and then making a move for the lead in the latter stages of the race has also come under fire. 

Fans pay to see drivers “race,” something that is not being done when they drop anchor at the drop of the green flag and simply go on a Sunday drive for most of the afternoon. It goes against what the sport is supposed to be about and that is to get to the front as fast as possible and stay there. 

The perception of the head to the rear philosophy is that drivers simply are not trying. Strategy or not, the idea is something fans don’t want to watch and its understandable if some who bought a ticket for Sunday’s race or watched on television felt cheated by the experience. 

The tandem racing also brought into light another major hot button topic over the weekend regarding team orders and drivers being told who they had to race with and weren’t able to help. 

Now it’s not the first time since the advent of plate racing that we’ve heard drivers accuse one another of reneging on deals to draft when it came down to nitty gritty time. 

The very nature of racing at Talladega has always been about wheeling and dealing and being on the lookout for drafting partners. More often than not those alliances disappear when the checkered flag comes into sight. 

But the process has seemingly become much more premeditated today with individual race teams and manufacturers dictating who their drivers can and cannot work with in the draft. 

It came to a head when Trevor Bayne agreed to run with Jeff Gordon in the closing laps only to bail in favor of Ford stable mate Kenseth. 

Bayne said he was the victim of being caught in the middle while his team co-owner Eddie Wood reiterated there wasn’t any pre-race plan in place for Ford drivers only to work with fellow Blue Oval mates.

And Jack Roush, despite the official Ford Racing website stating otherwise, vehemently denied any such plan was in place with a statement of his own. 

The bottom line is manufacturers and teams do dictate how drivers behave on the race track putting the men behind the wheel in compromising situations that certainly have an impact on winning or losing. 

So the laundry list of what’s wrong with restrictor plate racing today definitely outweighs what’s right, which is an odd statement in light of Clint Bowyer edging Jeff Burton by .017-seconds to win Sunday’s race.

However while the finishes of recent Daytona and Talladega races have been close and exciting, the journey to get there is fraught with troubles.

But what can be done to address these issues and “fix” the problems? 

Good question.

"You have to be very careful because the cure could be way worse than the disease," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition. "We're here to make things as even as we can across the board but we do understand that the likelihood of [two-car drafts] gaining popularity is not there.''

Pemberton is probably right, but that’s not a comforting answer to thousands of unsatisfied race fans in the aftermath of Sunday’s trip to Talladega.

For more NASCAR news, rumors and analysis, follow @ppistone on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

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Posted on: October 25, 2011 11:36 am

Jack Roush says no "team orders" for Talladega

Posted by Pete Pistone

Team owner Jack Roush issued a statement Tuesday morning denying he gave any kind of "team orders" prior to the weekend's race at Talladega:

Oct. 25, 2011- Statement from Jack Roush, co-owner Roush Fenway Racing regarding Sunday’s Sprint Cup Race at Talladega:

“At Roush Fenway Racing we expect our individual drivers to make decisions that put themselves in the best position to win each and every race. That is a philosophy that we have lived by for over two decades, and one that we will continue to abide by going forward. 

"Of course, as in any team, we would prefer for our drivers to work together when possible. However, to be clear, we did not micromanage or dictate to any of our drivers, nor any other Ford drivers, how to race with other drivers at Talladega last Sunday.  There are unique codes that all drivers establish and have to live by on the track.  How they manage their code is up to our drivers as individuals. This weekend, there were no team orders, from myself or anyone at Roush Fenway, given to any of our drivers as to whom they could or could not choose to run with or assist, nor did I give similar directions or suggestion to any of the other Ford drivers.

“I’ve spoken with Trevor (Bayne) and understand that he was put in a situation requiring a split-second decision on the track and in his response to questions justifying his actions afterwards, where it was almost certain that not everyone was going to be satisfied.  Trevor is extremely talented, but it is still very early in his career. Over time he will grow to understand that in such a high-paced, competitive and hostile environment it is unlikely that all of his decisions will make everyone happy. I’m confident in his decision making, his ability and actions on the track, and I'm excited as we continue to move forward with his development."


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Posted on: October 25, 2011 11:27 am

Owner Eddie Wood denies "team orders" given

Posted by Pete Pistone

Wood Bros. co-owner Eddie Wood denied any type of "team orders" were given at Talladega this weekend that may have led to the decision of driver Trevor Bayne working with Matt Kenseth rather than Chevrolet's Jeff Gordon in the closing laps of Sunday's Good Sam Club 500.

Wood was a guest on Sirius/XM NASCAR Radio's "The Morning Drive" and provided his perspective of Sunday's controversial finish:


However there is still confusion around the weekend's directives based on a story posted prior to Talladega on the Ford Racing website, which would indicate team owner Jack Roush did indeed mandate drivers from within the manufacturer stable to work with only one another.

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Posted on: October 25, 2011 11:14 am
Edited on: October 25, 2011 11:16 am

Trevor Bayne explains Talladega decision

Posted by Pete Pistone

Trevor Bayne explained what happened in the closing laps of Sunday's Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway when he made his weekly appearance on Sirius/XM NASCAR Radio's "The Morning Drive" on Tuesday morning:


Trevor, let’s cut to the chase, you have been the focal point of headlines and conversation since the checkered flag flew at Talladega and we need your help.  Walk us through the end of the race when you committed to go with Jeff Gordon in the last couple of laps there and then all of a sudden bail out and go with Matt Kenseth, Walk us through the arrangement to go with Jeff Gordon and why the decision to leave him and go with Matt Kenseth.

Yes Sir.  Well it starts early in the week when everybody’s arranging with who they’re going to work with and what they’re going to do when they get to Talladega.  Every team out there has a plan when they get there, that’s why you see some teams in the back of the field and you see some teams leading and you see teams working together.   With us being a singe car team and being the 9<sup>th</sup> man out we knew we could be put in a tough situation at Talladega, not having someone to work with and having to find someone when we got there.   So Eddie Wood and Lynn and Donnie, we were kind of talking about it when we got there, we don’t want to work with anybody in the chase because we don’t want to get in the middle of it, we’re just going to stay out of the middle of everything and lay low, we have nothing to gain either way.  So the whole race long  I was working with Robby Gordon, because he’s not a chase driver, even though he’s a different manufacturer.

I had to work with somebody because I would have went a lap down if I rode around by myself.  So we worked with Robby Gordon and ended up pushing him up to the front actually.  It was pretty wild to see how fast our 21 Ford Motorcraft Quick Lane car was, it could go with anybody and just drive up to the front.  At one point we were 12 seconds back and drove up to the lead, so it was pretty cool to see our car was that fast.  And in our plan, all week long we talked about being the 9<sup>th</sup> man out, it was just, if a Ford needed help, if anybody needed help that was in our same kind of camp, then we’d help them.  Just because, if that’s how it came down and somebody needed us to work with them that’s in the same camp, then we’d work with them, so before the race started I told Robby Gordon that, I was like, “hey man, I’ll work with ya, but if Marcos Ambrose, Greg Biffle or anybody needs a teammate, then I gotta go draft with em”  He was like, “That’s awesome man, that’s cool, I’m good with it, I appreciate you working with me.”

So, when Allmendinger crashed I worked with Ambrose, I was really fast with him, drove up to the lead, car was really really good pushing, so uh, let me see here… where do I go from there…  this is when the mayhem starts breaking loose.  We’re coming through 1 and 2 and Marcos Ambrose gets in the crash with the 78, when he gets wrecked, we lost our drafting partner, we get to the restart and I’m behind Jeff Gordon.  So, at this point, Matt Kenseth has David Ragan, Greg Biffle has Carl Edwards, Allmendinger and Ambrose are at the back, the 34 and 38 are somewhere else working together, so when I lined up behind Jeff Gordon I was like, man this is perfect.  Everybody’s got partners, I don’t have to worry about a thing, we can go with Jeff here.  I started talking on the radio, at the time we actually thought Casey Mears was going to line up in front of us, so Casey is on the radio and is like, hey man can you work with us, I was like yeah, I think we can do that if you line up in front of us and we’ll see how it shakes out, and then the lineup changed and they put Jeff Gordon in front of us, and that’s when we started talking to Jeff, he got on the radio when I was still talking to Casey and I was like, who’s this, and he said it’s Jeff Gordon man are you going to work with us or what? And I was like, yeah sure, this is going to be awesome, since I was five years old I’ve dreamed about pushing Jeff Gordon or racing with Jeff Gordon going for a win and trying to beat him, so, I’m like, pumped about it, I’m thinking, this is awesome, I’m going to work with Jeff Gordon and I’m going to push him to the end.  So, I talked to him and I’m like , yeah we can work together, but obviously if a Ford needs help I have to go with them.

And I probably should have said that to him at the time, I think I took it for granted because we had 2 laps to go and everybody had a teammate, so I was just ready to go with Jeff and work with him.  Then we took the green flag and the 6 car blew up.  When the 6 car blew up, Matt Kenseth pulled up to our bumper and then there’s a Ford in need, which we had committed to all week, we said, If a ford needs us, we’re going to go help them.  That’s just common sense that any team would do, its not us saying, don’t work with anybody else, its not a team saying, go make arrangements with a team and then go leave somebody, its not premeditated, its not like Jack Roush came on the radio and said, hey go tell Jeff you’ll work with him then leave him.  You know, it was none of that, its just the fact that, all of a sudden with two laps to go there was a Ford on our bumper and he didn’t have a drafting partner and at that point, it’s a tough decision because I gave Ford my word all week long and now I have Jeff Gordon in front of me who you want to work with, who you just talked to about working with and then everything changes in the matter of a lap.

It was probably the hardest thing I had come up in my whole career to be between two drivers and you can’t keep all three cars together.  I mean, for the last two days I’ve been trying to think about how I can keep all three cars attached and when I talked to Jeff Gordon about it, he kind of laughed and was like, man there’s nothing you could do, you know, I mean, Jeff and I are fine, talking about everything we’ve been through.  He just said, hey man, my fans are going to take it hard on you, you know, you and I are good, you’re a good kid, I understand the situation you were put in.  Honestly I believe that if it was a ten lap shootout,  and we got five laps into it and our teammate blew up, we would have had time to say hey man, we gotta go and he’d have understood, just like when there’s one lap to go and you have to help your teammate, it’s the same thing it just happens a lot quicker and you don’t have time to talk about it and work through it.  So, really really tough situation and I just hate how it turned out because, I would have loved nothing more than to go up there and try to win that race with Jeff Gordon.


We understand that you have a boss and a team and a manufacturer, and I understand the way you put it, the situation you were put in,  Is that a tough situation, is that a fair situation Trevor to have drivers be put in on the race track in the middle of trying to the bottom line is, win the race?


Well, if you don’t have a plan going into a superspeedway race, you’re going to be in trouble.  If you don’t have teams saying, hey, we’re going to work together and this is our plan then you might as well not go to the racetrack, that’s just a product of the racing we’re in right now at the superspeedway.  If we don’t have that kind of racing, if it’s a big pack, then you don’t have to make those arrangements, but if you don’t then you’re left in the water dead.  You gotta have some kind of plan, it is a very very tough situation, because you don’t want to be out there and have to help somebody and choose who you’re going to help or make deals with people or whatever it is.  And uh, I care a lot about what people think, and that’s been the hardest part about this whole deal.

I think that’s what God’s really working on my heart in, He knows that, when I go on twitter and I see people sending hate mail or this or that, it goes straight to heart.  That’s something that, through this process, I’ve learned to numb it down a little bit.  When I was talking to Jeff Gordon yesterday he said, hey man, my first year was my hardest year that I’ve ever been through for that exact reason.  People are going to say stuff, things are going to be said and you just gotta take some of it and you gotta throw some of it out.  Just learn from it, and that’s what I’m doing here, You know, just, man, that’s some of the toughest stuff I’ve ever been through. 


It looked like if you stayed with the 24, you guys were going to win the race, either Jeff or you would have won,  it appears that that commitment to Ford ultimately cost you a chance at victory, are you ok with that?

It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had come up in my career to be between two drivers and can’t keep all three cars together. For the last two days I’ve tried to think about how I could keep three cars attached. When I talked to Jeff Gordon about it, he laughed about it. He’s like, “Man, there was nothing you could do there.

Jeff and I are fine, talking about everything that we’ve been through. He just said that, “Hey, fans are going to take it hard on you, but you and I are good, you’re a good kid, I understand the situation you were put in."

Honestly, I believe if it would have been a 10-lap shootout  and we got five laps into it and one of our teammates blew up, then we would have had time to say, “Hey, man, we’ve got to go,’’  and he would have understood. Just like with one lap to go and somebody blows up and you’ve got to help your teammate.  It’s the same thing, it just happens a lot quicker and there’s no time to talk about it and work through it. Really, really tough situation. I hate how it turned out. I would have loved nothing more than to try to win that race with Jeff Gordon.

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Posted on: October 24, 2011 12:06 pm

Around the Circuit: weekend web wrap

Posted by Pete Pistone

News, notes and nuggets from around the Worldwide Web in the aftermath of Sunday's Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway:

RACIN' TODAY - "A Sad View from the Grandstands"

VIRGINIA PILOT - "Restrictor Plate NASCAR Offers Two-Car Pairings, Crashes and a Double Cross"

MOTOR RACING NETWORK.COM - "Rough Day for Chase Contenders"

USA TODAY - "Clint Bowyer Wins Talladega in Race of Broken Alliances"

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER - "Bowyer Breaks Away for Talladega Win"

SCENE DAILY - "Team Orders Lead to Controversy, Confusion at Talladega"
Posted on: October 23, 2011 9:16 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 6:35 am

Trevor Bayne and Jeff Gordon feud

By Pete Pistone

Restrictor plate racing and its new tandem drafting style claimed another pair of drivers who don't see eye to eye in the aftermath of Sunday's Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Jeff Gordon and Trevor Bayne, who famously worked together back in Daytona at Speedweeks, were also hooked up in Sunday's final plate race of the year. That is until it mattered most.

Ford driver Bayne bailed from Chevrolet driver Gordon in the final dash to the checkered flag leaving the Hendrick Motorsports driver high and dry. Without a drafting partner Gordon sunk like a rock and finished 27th, a long fall from what looked like it would be a promising day.

"The unfortunate part is that we made a deal with somebody and they reneged on it after we took the green,” Gordon said after the race.

Gordon said at first he was a bit surprised Bayne had even agreed to draft with him given the manufacturer difference between the two. But once the deal was in place, Gordon believed it would stick to the checkered flag.

“I didn’t expect him to agree," Gordon said. "I came on his radio and asked him and he said, 'Yeah man, I’m pushing you. We’re good. Let’s go, let’s go."

Bayne didn't formally comment to the media in Talladega but took to his Twitter account to explain his side of the story.

“I'm not happy about what this has become ... It's too premeditated. We should be able to go with whoever is around is,” Bayne tweeted.

“I would have rather pulled over and finished last than tell (Jeff Gordon) I would work with him and then be strong armed into bailing.”

The controversy comes in the wake of several team owners specifiying that their drivers assist only teammates or others within manufacturer camps.

Jack Roush was the most vocal over the weekend reportedly instructing his drivers to not assist anyone outside the Roush Fenway Racing or Ford stable.

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Posted on: October 23, 2011 8:01 pm

Bowyer, Wilson and Childress post Talladega

Posted by Pete Pistone

CLINT BOWYER:  Yeah, the last lap, really to tell you the truth, going down the back straightaway, I wasn't even looking at him.  I already felt bad for him.  I knew we had a 12-, 14-car lead.  I was looking in the mirror, waiting for the smoke to fly, move ahead of him before the caution came out.           

That's kind of what was on your mind.  We had a moment.  He told me, Bet you were thinking you were going to pass me on the front straightaway.  I was chuckling.  That's exactly what I was thinking.  He kind of moved up off of four.  I knew it was too early to go, but it was going to be a drag race, give us both a shot at it.  I felt like it did.           

He worked so well with me all day long.  You hate that it comes down to that.  It is what it is.  You owe it to your team, to your sponsors to go out and win the race.  Unfortunately it came down to that situation.           

But trust me, I was prepared to push him to the win no matter what the cost was if we would have had people breathing down or necks, too.  Just wasn't meant to be for him.  He's been a great teammate.  Learned a lot from him.  He's already won a lot of races.  I think he's won like 20 some races, I've only won five.           

KERRY THARP:  This win today also gets you in next year's Sprint All-Star Race.           

CLINT BOWYER:  I want to thank Richard for helping me out next year, that's a big race for us.  Thank you, Richard.  Thank you, Shane.           
It's just so important to me to be able to cap off such a good relationship with Richard.  Everybody at RCR, it's like family over there.  Meant a lot for me to be able to win before we end this deal.  The stars were lined up today with having the hundredth anniversary of Chevrolet on the racecar.  If I won the race, it was going to be Richard's hundredth win.  Too many things meant to be for it not to be.  I'm excited that it was.           

KERRY THARP:  Crew chief Shane Wilson, talk about the victory here today.           

SHANE WILSON:  Just means a lot for our team.  We worked so hard.  Everyone in the garage works hard.  We're a team that we expect to win.  We expected to be in the Chase.  It's good to get the win.  It's big for our team.  All the guys work so hard.  We've been so close this year and let it slip away, so it was nice to seal the deal.           

KERRY THARP:  Richard, congratulations not only on today's win but also the hundredth win for your racing organization.  Talk about the win here today, but also talk about a hundred wins as a team owner.           

RICHARD CHILDRESS:  It was a great win.  Once I seen the gap they had, Clint and Jeff, I knew there was going to be a move.  They did what they were supposed to.  All of us hate it for Jeff.  But when you're in this business, you got to do what you got to do for yourself and the team.           

I was really proud of RCR cars all day.  These fans pay a lot of money.  I hate it for Kevin, but he was doing what he was supposed to be doing.  All of our RCR cars race to give these fans a show.  We didn't sit in the back and ride till the last minute.  Our cars ran all day long.  We don't get paid to ride in the back.  I'm proud of every one of 'em.  I'm proud of Clint getting the win.  Clint, thanks for getting us on winner's circle next year.           

KERRY THARP:  We'll take questions.            

Q.  Richard, could you reflect in two ways on a hundred wins.  30 plus years ago when you were an independent driver, you used to talk about plowing your money back in the operation, put somebody in the car, make something out of that team.  Can you talk about whether back then in your wildest dreams you expected to win a hundred races?  Can you also talk about winning this hundredth one with a guy everybody thought you were going to half bake it on the rest of this season when he's leaving, yet getting that win with a guy even when he's leaving?           

RICHARD CHILDRESS:  It all started here for RCR in 1969.  It's nice to come back where I got my big break, 1969 when they boycotted.  I went ahead and ran the race and I got money on Saturday, got money on Sunday, got deal money from Mr. Bill France, Sr., more money than I'd ever seen in my life.  We went back, built the shop started racing.          

That was a big break for me in Talladega.  Today to get our hundredth win with Clint, only in America could a kid with a $20 racecar do what I've been able to do, myself and my people working with me.  It started with an old $20 racecar and a dream.            

 Q.  Where was the first win?           

RICHARD CHILDRESS:  Riverside, California, with Ricky Rudd, 1983.            

Q.  Clint, what was the key in you and Jeff moving away from everybody else so quick those last couple laps?           

CLINT BOWYER:  We talked right before the race.  Right after the drivers meeting we talked.  Just had a game plan what we wanted to do, what we were strong at, what we needed to improve on.  One of those was the restarts, being able to bunch up and get together, make that connection before the rest of them, get up through the gearbox better than the rest.  I think that's what ultimately won us the race.  We were able to do that on virtually every restart.           

I was really, really worried.  You're looking in the mirror.  I know I've got to let him down, then get back together.  I knew that the Red Bull cars were already going to be together as soon as the rag dropped.  27 and 14 formed a partnership.  I didn't think never in a million years we'd come off of two with a lead.           

As luck would have it, and I'm telling you luck has a lot to do with these races, it always does, right at the split second I touched his bumper, one of the Red Bull cars hit me in the butt.  It just launched us out there.  The rest was history.  I was able to get up through the gearbox, shove him.  It got us away.  At that split second, they came to a halt and split up and were racing two- and three-wide.  We were able to drive off into the sunset.           

Q.  Richard, you've won a lot of races here, I think 12, with a variety of different guys.  Why are you so good as a team here and why are you always one of the cars to beat here?           

RICHARD CHILDRESS:  I don't know.  We just got great people working for us.  We plan for this.  We work hard for the restrictor plate races.  Daytona, we had some good shots to win there, we've won there, and racing here.  I think it goes back to some of the philosophy that Dale and I planned many years ago.  We still use that same philosophy.  That's race as hard as you can, run up front all day.            

Q.  Clint, when you make that move coming off of four, did you have a little sense of relief knowing that it was Jeff, that he was going to race you hard, but it was going to be clean?           

CLINT BOWYER:  I was going to make sure it was clean.  I wasn't going to put him in a situation where we were going to wreck.  We've been through too much.  I'm telling you, I have a ton of respect for Jeff Burton.  He was still going to have a shot at it.  If you waited till the tri-oval and snookered him at the end, there wasn't going to be a shot at it.  You would have been able to pull by him, the rest would have been history.  Starting the move that early was going to enable him to have a shot.  I knew we were far away ahead and nobody was going to be able to catch us and it was going to be a drag race till the end.  It pretty much was.  Glad it worked out.  Probably a pretty risky move on my part.           

Like I said, he wasn't expecting it.  I know he was expecting for me to wait for the tri-oval because we talked about it.  I felt like it was an opportunity to catch him off guard.  It did, but it about bit me in the butt, too.            

Q.  Richard, you don't like to sit back.  How disappointed would you have been if those two had been that far out and decided to ride?  How disappointed would you have been in him if he hadn't tried?           

RICHARD CHILDRESS:  I knew going down the backstretch, once you seen they had the lead they had, that he was going to.  Paul was racing with the 14.  I told him on the radio, I said, Win the race.  You can't just push somebody, you got to go up there and try to win the race.  He did just what I told Paul to do.  That's what you're in this business for, race hard, put on a show for the fans.            

Q.  Clint, did you ever think about riding in the back?  Did you ever talk about, Maybe we should?  Is that not even a thought?           

CLINT BOWYER:  No.  Two things.  First and foremost, I think Richard is right.  These fans pay a ton of money to watch these races and we owe it to them to put a show on them from rag to rag.           

Second thing is it's great practice.  We don't get a lot of practice.  Used to be you'd come to these tracks, you'd have tons of practice, working on the drafting, working on cowling, air cleaners, so many different things to see if your car would pull up to the next car better or worse, headers.  Now you got what you got.  You come here, run three or four laps in practice.  As long as nothing falls off the thing, you're not just completely slow, you go on to the race.           

So I feel like it gives you an advantage being able to race up there, slice and dice all race long, that you're not caught off guard, go up there and make a mistake.  I don't mean to say anything bad, but when those guys come up there on that one run, I looked in the mirror, I knew they were going to wreck, and they did.  It just puts you in a situation that's unfamiliar territory, and they wreck every time.  It happens every single time.            

Q.  Richard, what were you thinking when Harvick was told he had to go to the garage to fix the smoke?  What do you think of his championship chances being 26 points out with four to go?           

RICHARD CHILDRESS:  I mean, we're not done.  I told him a while ago, Don't stick a fork in the shit.  We're definitely not done.  We're going to race, take no prisoners, do a deal, race as hard as we can.           

It's unfortunate that Kevin got in that crash.  He was doing what we all talked about doing, running up front.  It just happened he got hung up in it.  It may have cost us the championship.  We may have been able to ride in the back and wait it out.  But that wasn't what Kevin wanted to do.  We had all of our sponsors here today.  That just isn't what we wanted to do.           

It may bite us, but I'm proud of him getting the car fixed anyway.            

Q.  RC, there was a lot made about Ford didn't want to work with Chevrolets, something with the 21 and the 24.  The 27 was working with the 14.  Did you tell him to back off because you got the points?  Is there something about the points deal that makes Talladega a little more difficult for a car owner to deal with if he has a lot of teams?           

RICHARD CHILDRESS:  No, actually all the teams know they're supposed to come here and try to win the race, never wreck each other.  They know that.           

I went on Paul's radio and told him go up there and push Tony and try to win the race.  I wanted him to win the race but I also wanted him to push Tony.  That was just the way it was.  He knew what he was going to do.  If he came down to the end, he would have tried to make a move like Clint did on Jeff.            

Q.  Would you have gone with a Ford, too, if you had a chance?           

CLINT BOWYER:  I know the answer to that.  He wouldn't have opted for that option, no.        

RICHARD CHILDRESS:  We were going to help Chevy try to win.  I've been Chevy all my life.  We've been GM for 40 some years, I think 45 years now.  It's kind of hard to change an old dog.

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