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 and 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 Sharp Aquos 500 at the California Speedway.
“This is a special week for the Lowe’s team, for us to come back here and get a win at Fontana, my home track, I couldn’t be happier, couldn’t be more proud of this race team. It is nice to all these to see all these California fans getting rowdy for us on that cool down lap. I can’t thank you guys enough. It was just a long hot night, the track kept changing.” – Jimmie Johnson
“I thought he (Johnson) was going to be a sitting duck. I said on the radio that I thought it was going to be me and Kyle [Busch]. It’s immensely disappointing. Running second is terrible.” – Carl Edwards, finished second
“We had a good run. I thought at times we had a car good enough to win. We got a real aggressive on that last change and got too loose. But I am glad we got too loose, but I am glad we got too loose instead of stay too tight. I feel good what we did tonight, hopefully we can build on it.” – Jeff Burton, finished fourth
“It was fun, hot, sweaty and car was tight, loose, never perfect, but we worked hard. I am tired, real tired. I am so proud of my guys, they worked so hard and it was so hot this weekend, I am proud of them for sticking it out and giving us a good run. I would just like to thank my team, they worked so hard, you get kind of aggravated out there, never satisfied. I would like to think they could run just as good without me, I would never be able to run this good without them.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr., finished fifth
“I feel pretty solid [about making the chase]. You know there’s a guy behind us now to give us a little bit of cushion. We’re only 20 points out of the next spot and 40 points out of ninth, so it’s going to be an interesting race in Richmond, but for us we feel like our short-track program is where it needs to be. We finished fifth there in the spring and so we’re looking forward to a good race.” – Kurt Busch, finished ninth
“I don’t know much about the system [points], never have. Never cared to. I just go out there as hard as can. It doesn’t look like we are going to make it but we aren’t going to quit trying. Until they say we aren’t in the Chase. Just a long day out there, hot, real hot.” – Earnhardt Jr. when asked about being 128 points outside the Chase
“I was trying to get by Ricky [Rudd] and he moved over. That caved in our left-front fender. The tire rubbed and the left-front tire blew off. When it blew it took some oil lines with it and those caught fire. The car filled up with smoke and fire. I’m bigger than the car – if I try to get out of the car in a hurry it is disastrous – basically I have to take my helmet off to get out. It was a short day for the NAPA Toyota; it was pretty fast before this happened.” – Michael Waltrip, finished 42nd
“The Snickers Generation Max Ford was actually pretty good there once the sun set over the track. It’s hard to overcome track position when you start as far back as we did and with the competition being so close. We probably were going to be able to leave with a top-20 finish. I couldn’t tell you what happened. They started wrecking and the next thing I know we were spinning.”- Ricky Rudd after getting caught up in a wreck and finishing 40th in his 900th Nextel Cup start
“It was my spotter’s fault. He didn’t tell me somebody was on the outside and I drifted up. I had the No. 41 on the inside. I saw him, but I never saw [Clint] Bowyer come around the outside. About the time I hit Bowyer, he was like, ‘Somebody is on the outside.’ I was like, ‘It’s too late.’ I had a good racecar. It’s just unfortunate that we’re gonna take a big hit in the points like this today.” – Robby Gordon, finished 41st
“Alot of guys move from team to team to team and probably drive 6-10 different numbers in their career. I don’t think it’s a big deal. I mean you guys make it a big deal because it’s Dale Jr. He’ll pick something that he really likes and he’ll start over again with it.”- Matt Kenseth on the significance of a car number in NASCAR
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