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Earnhardt breaks 143-race victory drought

"It's no different than anybody else that does it, it's not a national holiday guys," he muttered when asked for his reaction to Junior's win after a four year dry spell. Stewart did however pay tribute to Goodyear for making the last minute decision to change tyres.

"It was a hard decision to make," he said. "There were a lot of guys that worked really hard yesterday just getting the tires inside the track. They had to load them in the back of pickup trucks because they didn't get here before qualifying started. They were trucking in tires, literally in the back of pick-ups, to get them in ... Without those guys' effort, we would not have had the show that we had today."

Matt Kenseth ended up working his way into third place over the final stint, and admitted that it had been hard work. "It was kind of a long day. We were pretty good in the beginning of the race and got shuffled back and it was tough to work traffic today. They got the setup good on the last two runs and had good pit stops and we were able to stand on the gas and work our way up there to third."

Biffle held on to fourth place ahead of Johnson, Gordon, Bowyer and Montoya, with pole sitter Marcos Ambrose ending the race in ninth ahead of Kevin Harvick.

“I am a little disappointed because we couldn't run the car as hard as we needed to," said Biffle. "The right rear kept coming apart on us. I could only run it as hard as I could."

"We were coming," said Johnson. "We were really flying. And then I blistered the right rear again and had to just hang on and let some guys go. And then I ran out of fuel going into turn 3 and coasted around and made it to the finish line."

"I knew something happened in that last run," said Gordon, who found heavy blistering on his right rear tyre after the race finished. "We took off and it was really good; and boy, it just went away fast. It got really, really loose."

"Our team has a lot of potential and today we showed a little bit of what we can do," said Montoya after his best finish of 2012 to date. "I think we still have a lot of work to do, but I'm happy, really happy ... I will tell you the truth, yesterday when they changed tyres I was really worried!"

"We will take the top ten, but we had a great car today and we lost a little bit of track position and it hurt us there," contributed Ambrose. "We led some laps and looked good up there. It was a strong day for us, not quite what we wanted, but we will take it and move along to Sonoma."

Carl Edwards ended up just outside the top ten, having started the race dead last after fuel pressure problems during qualifying on Saturday. Even so, he admitted that: "I am not very happy with the end result. I thought our [Ford] was one of the fastest cars here.




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