Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint 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 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway:
“The car was really strong at the beginning of that [final] run. That’s the first time it had been that good. I knew it was going to get tight eventually, and it did — [Tony Stewart] got to me, and so I went to the top and made a big arc out of it and held him off.” Jimmie Johnson
“We just couldn’t get by him [Jimmie Johnson]. We did everything we could — we raced him clean, we raced him the way he would have raced us. I wanted to race him with respect — the way he would me — and we just came up short.” Tony Stewart, finished 2nd, after cooler heads prevailed
“Good job, guys… we gave another one away today. Great job.” Tony Stewart, to his team over the radio, before cooler heads prevailed
“10-4. Great attitude there, Smoke. We stalled it a couple of times on pit road and gave up spots. Remember? We win and lose as a team. It was a great effort, OK? So, enough of that crap.” Greg Zipadelli’s response
“The difference is, I got my [positions I lost back].” Tony Stewart’s response
“Three thirds in a row after that problem in Michigan — you can’t ask for much more for a ‘Chase’ run. We have momentum, I feel like, and it’s a way to hopefully start off the ‘Chase’ on a good foot by having these strong finishes. That’s what this FedEx team needed.” Denny Hamlin, finished 3rd
“He [Kyle Busch] was leading, he had a pretty good car. I was running real good on that restart, driving in on him real hard. Got in too hard into one and locked the left front up and pushed in to him and wrecked him. I could say something real smartaleck, but I won’t. It was an accident. Those things seem to happen. Not on purpose… as much as I would like to take credit for it.” Dale Earnhardt, Jr., on contact with Kyle Busch (finished 4th)
“This was a great effort by this U.S. Army team. We had poor track position most of the day and then got behind on a bad pit stop, but these guys just dug in and we fought back for a Top 5. We had a really good Chevy Impala SS today, but it was really hard to pass in all the traffic. Qualifying getting rained out on Friday really hurt us, as we would have probably started closer to the front and had a lot less traffic to deal with.” Mark Martin, finished 5th
“Well our strength wasn’t on short runs for sure, but we were our best on old tires when we could run on the high side. I didn’t want to be there, but that’s where my car was better. We came in and made a change and we got to be an eighth-place car; then, we got to be a fourth-place car, then there at the end I don’t know what we were. I hit the wall; we were OK until I hit the wall.” Jeff Burton, finished 6th
“We were just tight off the center and we tried to fix that and we just made it loose up off the corner. We got that back and there toward the end of the race we lost so much track position it just took us awhile to get back up there. Still, a good day for our Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, and all the guys have done a great job. I felt like we had a top-three car today, and we just lost a little track position there and just couldn’t make it up.” Kevin Harvick, finished 7th
“It’s a short track, so there’s always a lot of hard racing and slipping and sliding around here during the day — and it was pretty hot. All in all, a pretty good day for this DuPont / Nicorette Chevrolet. Good effort, good race car. I’m real proud of this team, and I’m looking forward to starting this Chase.” Jeff Gordon, finished 8th
“We had a good run today in the Miller Lite Dodge. Everything was satisfactory. I think we can give ourselves a B+ all the way through. We just need to get an A for handling one day and make sure we follow that up with the right adjustments during the race. We went from seventh to 15th and then back into the Top 10 in the pit stop shuffle… we’ll take it.” Kurt Busch, finished 10th
“Man I tell you, I knew it was going to be a roller coaster day for us. You start up front, things are going good, you are in the Top 5, things are looking good. Then all of a sudden, you are in the back and the car is tight and you are about to go a lap down and things are bad. I am just really proud of all the guys for sticking together and [getting] the car back right and going forward.” Clint Bowyer, finished 12th
“I feel like I drove everything I could all day. I tried to take chances. I tried to be smart at the same time, to get what we could get. We couldn’t get four tires on the track. We would push getting in [to the corner] and slide the back getting off [the corner.] We would slide in and slide off. Track position hurt us all day. I was trapped in between a couple of Roush cars on pit road, and it didn’t matter where I came in [to the pits,] I was trapped. It was a long day in the pits. I came out about last every single time, it seemed like. That didn’t help; but either way, we weren’t going to beat Clint.” Kasey Kahne, finished 19th
“It’s very disappointing. I felt like the first 100 or so laps we had a Top 5 car, and the AAA Ford seemed to be pretty quick. [But] it just seemed to turn a corner sometime after lap 100 there — we didn’t have the speed. We’ve got ten more races to try and get a win and certainly to finish 13th in points is our goal now, but running back there 30th and 25th, you don’t deserve to make the Chase running like that.” David Ragan, finished 32nd
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