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 capture 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 car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what some select few were thinking after the Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway.
“Oh man, I will tell you, I was driving like a wuss those last few laps trying not to make a mistake. Those guys with fresh tires were coming and Martin (Truex, Jr.) held them off just long enough to get us this win. I have to thank Jeff (Gordon), he could have gotten himself two (ten) more bonus points there, but he chose not to and I appreciate that. The two-tire call by Mike (Ford) was definitely what got us the win. Our FedEx Ground team was pretty good all day. We were a top-four car for the most part, but I knew all we needed was clean air for this car to be good. I just can’t thank everyone enough, Chevrolet, Coca Cola, Wiley X, the whole FedEx team, Joe Gibbs Racing, the pit crew for turning this deal around. It is amazing; finally, we got a win.” – Denny Hamlin
“I was driving this car about as hard as I could there. This car, you can’t overdrive it; the harder I tried to drive it, the slower I went. I raced so hard with Martin (Truex, Jr.) there, man that was a great battle and I had a lot of fun racing with him, that we used up a lot of our stuff. It took me a couple of laps once I got in front of him to get readjusted and back in my rhythm. We were running Denny (Hamlin) down and he was doing a great job. At the end, those last two laps, he started watching his mirror and I thought we had a shot at him. That was fun; that was a lot of fun. Congratulations to Denny, he drove a great race.” – Jeff Gordon
“Yesterday, I forgot about the Modifieds and the difference in the tire rubber that they put down yesterday. It took about 15 minutes to knock that off and get a coating of good ole Goodyear rubber down. Then we got to running and turning better. My car just came and we ran great all day long. We (just) didn’t adjust enough for the track change there at the end.” – Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
“We were as good as the leaders; we just needed track position. Two tires was the way to go for us.” – Jeff Green
“The good news is we had an awesome car. The bad news was it fell off the jack when we were leading the thing pitting under green, but everybody kept their composure. The car was still good enough. We finished 13th, but this is a race winner right here. It’s a huge step forward for us with the Car of Tomorrow. It’s just terrible…this is the same thing that happened to us at Pocono last year. We had a plan. We got the car back up and we only lost a lap, so it wasn’t the end of the world.” – Carl Edwards
“I guess they didn’t get the hose pulled back across the car and it got caught in the front of the car. We snagged it and that was pretty much the end of it. That was a penalty. That cost us a lot of track position. That cost us a good top five finish and potentially a shot at winning the race. It was a top five race car. We came out of the pits today with two tires at that point along with some other guys. We had a good top five car and we lost track position. It’s so hard to get it back here, especially with how the racetrack runs and having to pass the lapped cars.” – Ryan Newman
“Tight. We were tight all day out there. Just too tight. Seems like we got back there in the back and could never go forward enough to make any headway. We didn’t do two tires, which was okay. Our car was just too tight. We just rode in the same place most of the day.” – Bobby Labonte
“The car started really good and we tried to fix it all day. We threw everything at it, and it just got worse all day long. We started with a top five car and finished with a top 20 car. I think we made progress from where we were before with the CoT, but it still shows we have a long way to go. I think the short runs, we were really good. Long runs we were not strong as we need to be. Got some more season points and that’s important.” – Juan Pablo Montoya
“We were not great from the beginning, but then we came in and made a pit stop and right away the car was much, much better… and then a plug wire fell off. We run around there on seven cylinders and got a lap down and had to come in and try to fix it and lost a couple more laps there. On the plus side, that’s by far the best car we’ve had at this type of racetrack. When you’re having a bad day like that, you usually end up getting wrecked in the process, too [laughs]. We’ll take this thing and go somewhere else. Disappointing day but, hey, Daytona is next week.” – David Reutimann