Each week, we’ll go through all the media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Nextel Cup race to 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 the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
“It was a great run for the Miller Lite Dodge. To be able to get the race underway was a relief. I thought we had a good car in practice, and it turned out to be true. We made one big adjustment at the end of Happy Hour, and three days later, we were able to put it to use. It really turned out great. To be conservative is our approach [to making the Chase], and so far, it’s worked out.” – Kurt Busch in Victory Lane
“We have an abbreviated week this week. Last time we won, we were able to get everybody together at the race shop and ordered over 100 pizzas and I said, ‘next time around, we might need to start this party around four o’clock.’ I’m sure Roger [Penske] will let us get out an hour early and we can have pizza and beer, and that way everybody gets to celebrate. I don’t think this team has any trouble celebrating.” – Kurt Busch
“Great day. I just got to thank all the guys on the Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. They did a good job. We had a little trouble… we got up to about eighth there, and our last green-flag stop, the clutch went out and I couldn’t get off pit road and lost a bunch of spots. [But] that was the best we’d been all day as far the car went, so I was happy with the car and it was an easy decision to stay out there at the end. I could smell the victory, but congratulations to Kurt [Busch]. He deserved it. It was a great win, but great run for us, real proud of all the guys.” – Martin Truex Jr., finished second
“It’s only our second [top 10] of the year. The guys did a really good job. We qualified in the top five and had a pretty good first practice. The second practice, we weren’t as good, and Doug made some good calls in the race. The car gave up a little bit throughout the day, but definitely not like it did here the first race. We made some headway on that, and had a really smooth weekend.” – Bobby Labonte, finished ninth
“I hit the wall a little bit early, chasing Kurt around, and he got sideways up there and I kind of lost track of where I was at and bumped the fender in. They’re just so aero-sensitive [the cars] that we could never quite get that fixed and get that back. But, overall, we had a good car all day, and I made that mistake and took us out of a chance to win.” – Matt Kenseth, finished fourth
“The car was just evil on restarts. It seemed like we were either on one side of the coin or the other. It would be loose where I was just hanging onto it, or it was too tight. It’s a top 10, but I think we all thought we would be better than that.” – Tony Stewart, finished 10th
“I would like to congratulate Kurt, but we gave one away. The guys didn’t do well on pit road. I had some sharp things come off and couldn’t hold a rivet in the racecar. It was disappointing, but we’ll do better next time.” – Ryan Newman, finished 16th
“I was having a lot of fun with the DuPont Chevrolet, and then there at the end, we just stayed out and I thought the car would tighten up – and man, I was just so loose. It’s my fault what happened with Matt [Kenseth]. He went to the outside and I was loose. I was sliding up the track and I saw in my mirror he was there. I was trying to get out of his way, and he just had too momentum so that may have just saved us. I don’t know, we might have had a tire going down, I’m not sure what was going on.” – Jeff Gordon, finished 27th
“It’s been a few races since we’ve been the best Raybestos Rookie, so that’s a good day today. I felt like we lost a little bit those last two restarts. It took our car a few laps to get rolling. Our car was really, really fast all day, but we were off just a little bit there at the end. They got the best of me, and I felt like we lost three or four spots that we shouldn’t have; but all in all, an excellent day for the AAA Ford.” – David Ragan, finished 18th
“I was a little frustrated. As I was walking the aisle of the truck, I hit it (the cabinet), and it broke the small bone in the back part of my hand. I hit it and I was like, ‘Well that’s good – a transmission, an oil cooler and now a hand.’ I knew it was broke as soon as it hit. It was just a freak deal. I’ve always been this way, ask my crew. Why do you think so many people quit working for me? Because I just scream at them all the time. I’m not a choir guy, I’ve done a lot stupider things. Believe me. I’m 47, so this doesn’t even move the needle on stupid.” – Kyle Petty on his broken hand
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