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 TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway:
“We were one of probably two or three cars that were really strong. And we had a great pit stall and great pit stops. We were going for maximum points, and thankfully, we did that today. I’m just very proud of this race team and the composure we’ve shown over the year, and the work that’s gone on to get this Lowe’s Impala back in Victory Lane.” Jimmie Johnson
“Well, I wanted to go green the rest of the way after we got tires with 112 [laps] to go, but you’re not going to have that here. Even if you did, NASCAR is going try to get some cautions near the end of the race to pack them back up and make it pretty exciting… I didn’t have a good enough drive up off the corner to catch Jimmie [Johnson]. They had such an excellent race car. We have torn up a lot of race cars in the last few weeks. Had a lot of bad luck, and we needed a good finish. I love short track racing, and this is a good track for me. My team did an awesome job building a heck of a race car. I don’t got any marks down the right side.” Dale Earnhardt, Jr., finished 2nd
“For us, this is almost a win. We’ve never run this well here, so that was good for us. It’s just that Jimmie is doing an unbelievable job. We obviously had some misfortune last week that really made this race important. I felt like we could come here and if we ran like we did today, that it keeps our hopes alive and if we didn’t, it would really put us in a hole — so it’s a great day for us.” Carl Edwards, finished 3rd
“If you had a Hendrick car, you had a superior car over everyone else. It’s just been like that ever since we’ve been here at Martinsville. Those guys have just got something figured out. They’re building something into their race cars. We’ve had a rough start [to the Chase], and a realistic goal for us is to try to get to the top six or seven in points. I think that’s very feasible.” Denny Hamlin, finished 5th
“We were racing hard there at the end. Our car got better and better as the race went on. We were running Jeff [Gordon] down there, and I was thinking about what I was going to have to do to get by him. Obviously, we wanted to do it as clean as possible. Fortunately, everybody ran well today, and Jimmie [Johnson] did what he needed to do.” Casey Mears, finished 6th
“The Shell-Pennzoil Chevy was just a little loose all day. We were never really able to get track position to compete with the leaders. Todd [Berrier, crew chief] made some really good adjustments on the last pit stop, and we were able to grab a few spots in the final 50 laps to finish seventh. To get out of Martinsville with a Top 10 is a good day for our team.” Kevin Harvick, finished 7th
“I’m happy with where we finished. I messed up early in the race and wiped out Nemechek and myself, and we were able to come back from that and get a good finish. We just had to be patient and try to get the car to handle a little bit better, move up in the pits — and we were able to do that. [Still,] from our standpoint, if we weren’t mathematically out [of the championship race] before today, we are now.” Matt Kenseth, finished 8th
“The Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet was decent, but we fought tight all day. I’ve said all along that Martinsville is a track where I need to get better as a driver, so it was frustrating from that standpoint, but it was still a pretty good day. Gil [Martin, crew chief] made a good call at the end to get four tires, and that helped us get a couple more spots. We’ll take ninth at Martinsville and go on to Atlanta.” Clint Bowyer
“After practice, we thought we would be able to come through the field. We really struggled today — we had brake issues all day long. This is a really long day when you have 500 laps to complete. The good thing is that we picked up some spots in the points and we completed all 500 laps.” Scott Speed on his first Sprint Cup Series race
“There’s no explanation for that, anybody that would misjudge it that bad. That’s probably the hardest hit I’ve ever had in racing. It’s just a shame we couldn’t run the whole race. I don’t know what he [Aric Almirola] was thinking. We all know that he is a weapon every week and we try to stay away from him, but that time I just didn’t give him enough room.” Elliott Sadler, finished 41st
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