Coca-Cola 600 Notes:

Kevin Harvick (Winner, No. 29 Budweiser/Armed Forces Chevrolet) – “I’ve been on the other side of this fence a lot with the fuel mileage stuff, and this year it seems you have to be even more aggressive. It seemed like they wanted to pit, and I said we didn’t come here to run 15th. So we stayed out, and I just shut my car down. We ran probably 10 to 15 laps probably a second off the pace and got some good savings under the caution. [Is this your year?] It’s great to be part of this team because everybody knows who I am, and they don’t get down on me, and they don’t get down on each other. The chemistry and the way everybody is on this race team – money can’t buy that. It’s not about having the fastest car all the time. It’s about putting your car in the position to win, and we’ve been doing that an awful lot. [Fuel] There’s no gas gauge in the car and there’s really no rhyme or reason. There’s no way to tell. [Debris caution vs. no caution at end] I think when you’re the recipient of the caution and it’s not falling your way, you’re gonna be mad. I don’t know if there was debris out there or not, but all the guys who were the beneficiary were not frustrated. One thing I have learned is there has to be a judge, somebody making those decisions. And I’m glad I don’t have to make ’em. [How does it feel to beat the 88 tonight as he’s running out of fuel?] I feel like complete crap, to tell you the truth. I think everybody sitting up here would say we want the 88 to win. Today it all just worked out strategy-wise that we won the race, but I feel so stinking bad for him. I know how bad he wants it, but it’ll happen. If they keep running like this, it’ll happen. [How did you know the 88 was out of fuel?] My spotter was going crazy. He was yelling, ‘He’s out of gas, keep going, keep going.’ I was like, I’m not gonna let off.”

Richard Childress (Winning Car Owner) – “It’s really great, especially on Memorial [Day] weekend to let everybody understand what Memorial [Day] weekend is all about. It’s not about celebrating racing but honoring our fallen troops. I couldn’t be prouder of [crew chief] Gil [Martin] and the whole team. One of those deals, we started saving and just ran hard enough to stay in front of… at the time, it was the 31. Kevin is as good as anybody at saving fuel, and I knew if anybody was gonna be there at the end, it would be Kevin. [Teamwork of Richard Childress Racing cars at the end] That was probably as competitive a 600 as I’ve seen. Our cars were all working together, and that’s what you want to see as an owner. [Were you starting to celebrate an Earnhardt win?] To be honest, with 10 to go I went to the condo. I said, ‘I don’t think we have much of a chance to win, so I’m gonna get a jump on getting out of here’ … I said, ‘Dale Jr. is gonna win,’ and then I heard our spotter yelling and I said, ‘No, we’re gonna win it. Great!’”

Gil Martin (Crew Chief No. 29 Budweiser/Armed Forces Chevrolet) – “With 100 laps to go, we had our minds set on what we were going to need to get to lap 348 to be able to make it on one last stop. When that caution came out on lap three-what-ever-it-was, we started with our engineers crunching numbers as hard as we could go. We had crunched it that we were a lap and a half short. And amazingly, Kevin did a good job of saving it [fuel] the whole last run. There was no way we were going to make it, and he did it. He didn’t really lose any time on the race track. So, he was able to save fuel and maintain speed at the same time. And that was hard to do. The last 40 laps, we watched what the other guys were running. We knew all night we could get a little more. We knew with the pace they [the leaders] set, they were dead in the water because they didn’t pace themselves early. I came to RCR in 2000 in the Nationwide shop and worked hand-in-hand with Kevin and that group. We had good chemistry with Kevin all along. We are able to sit up in the truck and throw punches and take them too. You can’t wear your feelings on your shoulders here. This was one of those nights where we worked our way through it. The chemistry is working pretty good right now.”