Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing 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 a select few were thinking following the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway:
“It’s gonna be really wet out here because I’m crying like a baby, but I’ve just got to thank my team and thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity, first of all. Winning the Daytona 500 is definitely a dream moment. It’s just an unbelievable feeling. After last year, winning a race means a lot to me. I’m really proud of these guys.” – Matt Kenseth, race winner
“Our Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet was rough in the beginning. We realized that we didn’t have the speed we needed to [have]. That was good, because I was able to get pushed around a little bit and be able to be comfortable with my car and go where I needed to go.” – Kevin Harvick, finished second
“The Valvoline Dodge was really fast today. Felt really good to be there and be able to run consistent up front with everybody. I was hoping it was going to rain when Elliott was leading and Reed was second and I was fourth. That would have been a really great result for the team.
“I think you quickly learn in this sport that it doesn’t owe you anything. I mean, you got to earn everything that you get. You can sit back and feel bad about yourself or whine about everything that’s going on. But there’s a lot of people in this world that are a lot less fortunate than I am right now, even everything I went through.
“For me, it ultimately comes down to two decisions. You can quit… or work harder and make something happen. I’m never going to quit. I’m going to keep working harder. That’s my attitude.” – AJ Allmendinger, finished third
“[I’m] really proud of [crew chief] Shane Wilson and all the guys on the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet. They did a good job in the offseason building a team from scratch. The naysayers have already got us out of the Chase and everything else. I think this just proves first race out of the box that we’re [still] capable of getting the job done. Just real proud of the effort.” – Clint Bowyer, finished fourth
“On the one hand, I’m very happy; and on the other, I’m really disappointed. We got a top-five finish for Stanley, Dodge, and Richard Petty Motorsports, and that’s a great [Daytona] 500 finish for us. On the other hand, I was one lap from winning the Daytona 500, and that’s hard to swallow. I really wanted to go to Victory Lane. I just needed to hang on for one more lap to win the 500.” – Elliott Sadler, finished fifth
“We might have overachieved a little bit. We didn’t have too good of a car. To scramble and get in the top 10, I’m happy with that. We didn’t intend on setting it up to handle good — we intended to set it up to go fast, but it didn’t go fast. I might ought to just take what I can get.” – Michael Waltrip, finished seventh
“You can’t predict the weather. It is part of racing. It is not the first time we got rained on at a racetrack. Congratulations to Matt [Kenseth] and everybody at Roush Racing. They did a great job. I’m really proud of everyone at Stewart-Haas and real appreciative of Gene Haas and everybody at Haas Automation for giving us this opportunity. To leave here with a third, second, and an eighth, can’t say that is really that disappointing.” – Tony Stewart, finished eighth
“We ended up without a rear bumper, but with all the hard work that went into the preparation of this car, it feels good to have a top 10 finish with the Miller Lite Dodge and Penske Racing. I had nowhere to go in one of the wrecks. I hit somebody, somebody hit me, and I spun around. That tore the rear bumper off. It feels pretty good to be 10th after what we went through.” – Kurt Busch
“I got a run on [Brian] Vickers and the guy he was beside. I went to the bottom of ’em. Vickers drove me below the line. He shouldn’t have started that, it would have never happened. If he had held his ground, who knows? It was unfortunate, man. If he wasn’t so damn reckless, we would have never had that problem, that would never happen. As far as I am concerned, it is all his responsibility.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr., finished 27th
“I really hate it for the Red Bull guys. We had a good car all day. We’re all racing for the “Lucky Dog” there and my goal was to keep [Dale Earnhardt] Jr. behind me and I went to block him — I beat him to the yellow line and then he just turned us. To wreck somebody intentionally like that in front of the entire field is really kind of dangerous. That’s my biggest problem with it, but apparently he wanted a caution pretty bad.” – Brian Vickers, finished 39th
“One guy that had problems all day on pit road made his problems our problems, and then our problems a big problem. It was just unfortunate, and it was really uncalled for to have two lapped cars racing each other and bumping each other like that. It is what it is — I’m not going to change anything now.” – Kyle Busch, finished 41st
“Ole, ole ole ole. Ah… nothing better to do.” – Stewart during the competition yellow that flew on lap 25