Editor's Note : Each week, we'll go through all the media reports, interviews, PR, and our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Nextel Cup race that best capture the story of how the weekend unfolded, straight from the drivers themselves. This week, here's a peek at what drivers were thinking after the Subway Fresh Fit 500.
“It means the world to me, just to get a win at a track we never won at before. I drove my guts out. I never had to drive so hard for a win. I love racing Tony Stewart and Jimmie and all those guys that were racing there at the end. You know, holding that No. 3 flag certainly was by no means saying I am as good or we are as good or even close (to Dale Earnhardt, Sr.), but we just wanted to honor Dale in that way. It really means a lot to me (tying Dale’s record of 76 wins). I learned so much from him. To even come close to anything he had ever done in this sport is amazing to me. We just wanted to honor him. We’d been holding on to that flag for a long time…to get 76 wins is just incredible. It seemed like it was in the cards for us tonight. We didn’t lead a ton, but we had a good car. I would go for a long way and be one of the best cars, and then it would fall off a little bit. We kept adjusting and adjusting. Luckily, I had a radio when we switched that helmet out (at the beginning of the race). The yellow did fall in our lap, we got lucky getting off pit road when the caution came out but I thought we needed to keep going through and I almost drove through the pits. Steve made the call, and I love him as a crew chief. He is an awesome guy and as sharp as can be. He made that call, he talked to the spotter and talked to me and the team, he is so cool under pressure. Man, this is just an awesome, awesome feeling. It is great to get the Chevy Impala SS in Victory Lane. I don’t know what to say, I am just overwhelmed right now. It is just an amazing victory for us. I can’t believe we finally won at Phoenix.” Jeff Gordon
"It wasn't a bad run. Obviously, we got lucky when we caught that caution and some guys had already pitted. That helped us out a few positions. That was a gift that sometimes you get and sometimes you don't. We were lucky to miss that wreck, but our car worked pretty good all night. It was just hard to pass. Once you got going, you were the same speed as everybody else. That was kind of our first real run in the CoT. We didn't get to run Martinsville, and Bristol was just kind of Bristol. Our guys did a great job, and Paul did a great job yesterday making some changes. Things were OK. To come home with a Top 10 finish is good. We're only eight races in, so it's good to get it. We've got a few other things to try with the CoT, but look at who's winning and who's in the Top 5. They're all good teams." Bobby Labonte
“I was trying my heart out to bring home a win for everyone at Virginia Tech. I was trying. There is nothing else I could have done. I am so upset, we have a great car every single week and we just can’t a win. The pit road thing, I was running the same speed I ran every other time, we checked it the first time and I had two miles an hour to go before I reached the limit. I guess I was tonight’s entertainment.” Denny Hamlin
“I'll have to watch it on TV, but, in my opinion, I only saw what was around me, but it didn't look like a good race, really, to me. I didn't see a lot of side-by-side, I saw everybody sliding all over the place. And, NASCAR's claim to fame is they want them hard to drive. Well, it's not that they're hard to drive, it's just that they're not like driving a race car. They're like giving us Pinewood Derby cars and saying, â€˜Okay, everybody, this is what you're going to race.' We've got to work on it a little bit, I think. And our setup has a ways to go. But we need to work on it some more before we get to these mile-and-half tracks so that we can put on a better show. Maybe I'm way off, maybe the show was great. But I don't feel like they were real racy, you know? You couldn't race anybody - and that's what we want to do. It's our passion, it's in our blood - we want to race 'em." Greg Biffle
"We have a lot of work to do on our CoT (car of tomorrow). Everything we tried tonight failed to make a difference. Hopefully, we can make some progress between now and the next COT race at Richmond. It's certainly disappointing." Kasey Kahne, who finished 31st Saturday night
"You go in the corner and you try to stop from wrecking, and the splitter is dragging the ground and you can't stop. The 6 just spun and there was nothing I could do. I was on the brakes, but it was just a mess. This just hasn't been my weekend. It was like we never showed up. Our car was junk to begin with. But we were going into the corner and I was on the brakes. The splitter is dragging the ground because you're on the brakes so hard. You can't slow down. Our car just wasn't good all weekend. We've got to work on it." David Stremme
“I don’t know. I was coming to pit road and had my hand out waving down to the front straightaway to let everybody know I was coming. I guess they didn’t see me. They ran into the back of me as I came to pit road. We weren’t running that good tonight. We were a 25th-place car, but right now I’d take that. I think we just missed it a little bit tonight. What we needed to do was stay out of trouble and we couldn’t do that.” Dave Blaney
"It started pretty decent. We were not fast enough, but we were not that bad. It just got worse as the night went on. Everything. It [the car] was loose in, tight in the center and loose off. You tried to improve one thing and the other thing gets worse and so on, so there's a little bit of a vicious circle. You fix, it gets worse, it gets better, it gets worse, and it gets better. It's just terrible." Juan Pablo Montoya
“We’re real happy about the way the car ran tonight. Really proud of the way the team rebounded after last week while I made good decisions, and I was patient today. I’ll beat the traffic out of here for once.” Tony Stewart
“It was a decent night. The car was tight pretty much the whole race and we were better on the long runs. I think we could have finished a little better, but we’ll take it and move onto Talladega. We caught a break. A lot of those guys pitted before the caution came out and got caught out and lost a lap. It helped us gain a few spots. We restarted 13th, but lost a spot at the end. The car wasn’t real good at the start of a run – it was better on the long run – but it was still a good night for the DLP team.” Tony Raines
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