ARE YOU OKAY AND DID YOU HAVE ANY WARNING THAT TIRE WAS GOING TO BLOW?
"No, I really didn't have any warning. I knew I was hard on the brakes, but the run before we didn't have any issues reported back. So, I felt like I was kind of doing the same thing. Unfortunately, with so few laps to go to the end of the Stage, as soon as I went in the corner and touched the brakes, the right front just blew. So, I hate it for this team. They've worked so hard all year long and I'm very proud of their efforts. It's obviously not the result that we want, but we're Hendrick strong and I'm proud of my Team 48 and very thankful for this sport that Lowe's and Kobalt gives us, and Chevrolet. Unfortunately, we won't have a chance to make eight (championship titles) this year, but we'll come back next year and try real hard."
HOW DISAPPOINTED ARE YOU NOT TO HAVE THAT CHANCE TO GO OUT THERE AND CHALLENGE FOR THAT EIGHTH TITLE?
"Yeah, I'm disappointed for sure. The last couple of months we've been staying alive and at this stage with the Round of 8 and then the Round of 4, you can't just stay alive. You've got to be hitting on all cylinders and we just haven't been there, unfortunately. Again, I'm very thankful for all the hard work that's gone into this and all the efforts from (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) and the team, but we just can't get there right now. We'll try again next weekend and then do some good changes over the off-season and come back next year and be ready to go."
"Blew a right-front tire going into Turn 3. No warning, this track is hard on brakes. I felt like the run before reports back were that the brakes were good and we didn't have anything to worry about and unfortunately, I just got them a little too hot trying to charge hard and put up a lap time that was needed. Such a bummer, it really is."
SUM UP THE PLAYOFFS FOR YOU AND THIS NO. 48 TEAM:
"We have been staying alive and that is not going to cut it for the Round of 8 and then the Round of 4. We put a lot of effort into the whole season, especially the last couple of weeks and I just feel terrible that we didn't get better results than what we have had. A huge thanks to everybody at Hendrick Motorsports for their efforts, support from Lowe's, KOBALT Tools and Chevrolet. We will go to Homestead and try to win one more and then get ready for next year."
TELL US WHAT HAPPENED AND HOW DISAPPOINTING IT IS NOT BEING ABLE TO MOVE ON?
"Yeah, to blow a right-front like that is pretty disappointing. I didn't know it was coming. Clearly just got the brakes too hot and popped that tire with like a lap to go or two laps to go before the stage was up. We weren't leading, we were having a decent day, but we were going to need a great day today. I wish we were still out on track to still have a shot for it. You never know how these things unfold at the end, what kind of opportunities might come for us, but hats off to everybody at Hendrick Motorsport, although we haven't had the performance everybody has been working really hard. Thanks to Lowe's, KOBALT Tools and Chevrolet for all they have done."
DID YOU NEED TO MOVE UP THE TRACK?
"Yeah, the line didn't have much to do with the problem it was really just brake temp. Some guys were making it work higher up, Chad (Knaus, crew chief) was just feeding me some information on different lines on the race track. Just one of those days, one of those years."
IS IT REALLY DISAPPOINTING OR DID YOU KNOW AT THE START OF THE DAY IT WAS GOING TO BE TOUGH?
"No, it's disappointing. I anticipated this being a really scrappy race until the end. We had good speed. I know I wasn't leading the race, but my lap times compared to the leaders was respectable. With some strategy or opportunities and we had clean air on the front, I think we had a shot at it. So, that is what we were really trying to position ourselves for."
--- Team Chevy ---