Beth Lunkenheimer · Monday May 21, 2007
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 captures the story of how the weekend unfolded, straight from the driver themselves. This week, here's a sneak peek at what the drivers were thinking after the Nextel All-Star Challenge.
“Jimmie (Johnson) and I raced hard. He taught me a little something there getting into turn three… I was way over-driving it. I’ve just got to thank everybody on this Pennzoil Platinum Chevrolet team. To win a Daytona 500 and the All-Star race, that’s pretty cool.” Kevin Harvick
“I kept chasing him on the bottom, trying to force him to make a mistake, but he drove a solid race. On the last lap, I thought, ‘I’ve got a cushion behind me, let me just try it.’ After one and two, I got right to the 29’s bumper and I was like, ‘Why didn’t I try that a lot sooner?’ But that’s racing.” Jimmie Johnson
"That was the best we've run here in the last three years. We've crashed out the past few times. My goal was to run 80 laps tonight and I did. We started dead last because of the motor change and we got up to fifth, and we're really happy with that. That was a good run for the Home Depot team." Tony Stewart
“We got together. I was making a clean move on the 31 [of driver Jeff Burton], and then I had a car to my inside when I’m on the bottom lane. That was a bummer, to have my little brother pull that move on me. I just hate that I’ve got a wrecked racecar and so does he. We’ll see what he has to say about it, and we’ll see what we can do to discuss it — but right now I’m not eating any Kellogg’s anytime soon.” Kurt Busch
"I was speeding to come off pit road. It wasn't necessarily a tough break, it was a dumb mistake by me. It was real important to be up front tonight. When we were in the front, we were one of the best cars. When we were behind, we were just one of the guys for whatever reason. I just left pit road and there was a lot of traffic because we did a stop-and-go and I looked out of the mirror and looked back down and knew I was going too fast. I tried to jab the brake to correct, but it must have been a real short segment. It was just a dumb mistake that cost us the race." Matt Kenseth
“This was a learning experience for us and that was exactly what we needed. We need to get out there and compete to get some ideas as to how to make the cars better. We’ve made tremendous gains and tonight it helped a lot to get to run with those other fast cars. Now what we need to do is come here Thursday with a great qualifying package and get into the race. I think if we can do that, then we can run competitive for 600 miles. But the run here tonight definitely gives us hope for next week.” Dale Jarrett
"The way the cars were wrecking on the first lap, we made up all the track position that we lost from not having a great qualifying lap. It's a shame that there were so many caution laps, because we definitely would have been able to get to the front. And once we were up there, the clean air would have helped us out." J.J. Yeley after the Nextel Open
"I just got really loose in the middle of one and two. I was a little bit of afraid that the car was going to be really loose and it was. It was good, I was in the middle of the racetrack and as soon as I went and touched the throttle it just got really, really loose. I just went for the inside. I had a good start and that was it." Juan Pablo Montoya after a lap 1 wreck during the Nextel Open
"Rookie mistake on Juan Pablo's part, I guess. The start of the race these tires are so hard, they're cold, they’re not gripping and he made it three-wide and chased it up the hill and kind of jammed everybody up. A.J. and I got together and we all kind of met in the middle." Paul Menard after a lap 1 wreck during the Nextel Open
"We would have liked to have been better in the race. The start pretty much screwed us. Just another stupid mistake by the same guy. That just put us behind. I think I was getting some bad reads on the car because I was in all the traffic and we were just way too tight the whole time. But on a positive note, it's the first time I've been able to run a race on a mile-and-a-half in a Cup car. I got some experience, and the car we got coming back was the one we tested for the 600, so that's good." A.J. Allmendinger after the Nextel Open
Looking for how your favorite driver has performed during the first third of the season? Be sure to come back tomorrow and check out Matt McLaughlin’s Driver Report Cards for Nextel Cup, the first of a four-part series that can be seen only on Frontstretch.com.
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