CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ I survived Martinsville Speedway, and that's really all we were hoping to do.
We unloaded on Friday and just never could get the car good enough to really compete. We had a car that was about a 20th to 25th-place car, but we did everything else right and were able to pull out a good finish. Robbie Reiser called a great race and the guys were excellent all day in the pits.
If you would have told me last week that we would go to Martinsville and finish 11th, I think my reply would've been, ``I hope so.'' All we were looking to do on Sunday was break even and not lose any ground in the Chase. We ended up in better shape than we had planned on, that's for sure, by taking over the points lead.
It's all down to these last four races and after everything that's happened I feel that we're in pretty good shape and fortunate to be in the position we're in. It's been a sloppy Chase in general, especially for us. I don't think our performance has been near what it was in the first two-thirds of the season, but we still have the points lead and the next four tracks, historically, have been good to us.
Three of the next four races are on mile-and-a-half tracks, and in the past that's been one of our strengths. However, we haven't looked too good in the last two races on those types of tracks, at Lowe's and at Kansas.
At Kansas, we were just bad and at Lowe's we were fast but made too many mistakes. If we're going to have a shot at the title, we have to step up our performance on the 1.5 milers.
Everyone has had trouble in the Chase. I think the reason we're on top right now is because we've had less trouble than the rest. But, it's going to take more than that to win this thing.
Somebody over the next four races is going to step it up, go out and knock off several top-five finishes. Whoever can do that will probably win the title. Hopefully, we're ready to respond and be that team that can go out there, contend for wins, run up front and get the job done in these last four races.