Each week, we'll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Nextel Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It's the most original commentary you'll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and the car owners themselves. This week, here's a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway:
"I have a great race team. I really feel like I let these guys down [all season long]. We lost a lot of close races this year, so it feels great to win one … and win a close one. Congratulations to Jimmie and Rick Hendrick and those guys. I want to thank DeWalt, USG, R&L Truck Carriers, and all of our sponsors that make this happen. It was an awesome run today." Matt Kenseth
"It was a great run tonight for the Miller Lite Dodge. We feel like we went out with a bang with this good car. We came up just a bit shy, but overall [it’s] just a great season for us, to win a couple races and be in contention at a lot of race tracks. We finished seventh overall [in points]; this team deserves it. We worked really hard, and hopefully, we will carry this [momentum] right on in to Daytona." Kurt Busch, finished 2nd
"It was a good effort. We had to, in order to stay in the Top 10 in points with the way guys were running … so it was a good effort by my guys. I'm proud of everybody, and I'm excited about next year." Carl Edwards, finished 5th
“I had a little bit more in the car, but I don’t think I had anything that could have won the race. It was a long night, but after what I experienced last year, coming in to this season and even this night just went so much smoother for me. Great support from these crew guys, great support from my loving wife, and it all came together. We are rocking now.” Jimmie Johnson, finished 7th and won the Nextel Cup championship
I’m so glad we ran good tonight. That’s the only thing that was really going to eat at me over the offseason is if we came out of here like we did last year and finished 25th or whatever. I would have been pretty disappointed. We gave them a good run and had a pretty good car there at the end.” Jeff Gordon, finished 4th
“We just fought tight all night. Then, I hit the wall a couple of times and damaged the front and that made it worse. We kept working on it; we took two tires the last stop and that didn’t work out for us.” Martin Truex, Jr, finished 6th
“This was just a great effort by (crew chief) Ryan Pemberton and the U.S. Army team. I’m very proud to close out the season with a Top 10. These guys have been through a lot this season. They wore the Army uniform with pride, and like our soldiers, they never quit. I am really excited about racing with these guys next season.” Mark Martin, finished 9th
“I had a great car, I got up to 11th. Did ya’all see that? I got run over by a veteran on a restart. I don’t know what the hell that was. I am so disappointed. Jeff Burton is one of the guys I would expect that from the least. He said that the sun was in his eyes. Kyle [Busch] was being a jerk. I don’t know why he spun me out on pit road. I guess he was blinded by the sun too. Or, he just can’t see at all.” Dale Earnhardt, Jr., finished 36th
"Well, I have twice as much Cup experience as I had last week. Every time I go out is that much more. I'm really happy that the team gave me the opportunity to do this, this year and get started. It's going to be a long uphill process, but we've got a goal in mind, and hopefully, we get there.” Sam Hornish, Jr, finished 37th
"We wanted to get up in the pack and race some this weekend … more than what we did in Phoenix. [But] I didn't expect the No. 83 to check up that late [and wrecked both of us]. The guys did a great job of repairing the car to where we could run competitive times and learn the rest of the race. That's what we did, but I also wanted to be respectful of the Championship contenders. “ Patrick Carpentier, finished 40th
“There was a bit of everything - up and down. I think everybody at Ganassi did an amazing job. For the record books, it will look pretty good that I won the Raybestos Rookie of the Year." Juan Pablo Montoya on his first season in Cup
“It took us all year to do it, but we did it. It was hard work and determination. I’m really proud of all of these guys – and this team. It certainly wasn’t what anybody wanted, but we made a lot of gains, and that will be beneficial down the road for this team. I’ve been very fortunate to have a great career and be associated with a lot of great people. I’m just very blessed.” Dale Jarrett, finished a season-best 17th
“Right now, it's probably starting to sink in a little bit that this is the last time I'll be in Miami in a race car - at least in a Cup car for sure. Who knows what the future holds, but I've got no regrets. I've enjoyed it for 32 years. A lot of people ask me, â€˜What's that special moment? Any special moments that highlight that career?' And I have to go back and the Brickyard 400 win was a pretty neat deal as an owner and a driver, but, really, I think the bigger picture is all the people I've met in the garage over the years and racing against the best drivers in the world. The young guys, the old guys, I've seen a lot of guys and a lot of race car drivers and guys that I've had a lot of respect for over the years, and I've had a chance to race these guys. It's time to hang it up and call it quits … but as far as emotional, not really. I'm glad this chapter is closed, to be honest." Ricky Rudd, after finishing 21st in the final Nextel Cup race of his career
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