Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR and all of 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 peek at what they all were thinking following the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway:
“I’ve got to thank the fans – everyone who’s wearing that number 11 hat or shirt. These are the times that I get so excited. I made sure I did everything I did at Pocono. I’ve only worn this hat two times, and the other one was at Pocono. I made sure I had my gold heat shields on. Everything from Pocono. I had my grandma’s St. Jude key chain in there [inside the car]. I was just making sure that I covered all bases when we got here today. This is my house. It has been for the last two years; we just haven’t got the win to show it.” – Denny Hamlin
“We did what we needed to do tonight to make the Chase. It was a conservative race setup-wise for us. We put ourselves up front to try and stay out of trouble. We finally found something that the car liked during the race and I’m so proud of our guys. It was really a good run for us tonight and exactly what we needed heading into the Chase.” – Kurt Busch, finished second
“Track position was so important; it takes the whole race to put ourselves in position to possibly win the race. Denny Hamlin was so strong tonight and I don’t think anybody had anything for him, but we were certainly going to give it our best shot. A great, great race. That was the best car we’ve had here in a long time. I am fired up, really fired up.” – Jeff Gordon, finished third
“We had a good car tonight. We kept making it better and better, kept making changes to it that kept waking it up. It was a great top five and a good points night, but unfortunately the No. 83 (Brian Vickers) ran really strong tonight too. It was a battle, and I knew it was going to be down to the end. My arms are sore, my back is sore, but it was fun to be able to race all these guys.
“Vickers put up a whale of a fight there at the end. We didn’t have the best of years to be consistent, and unfortunately, that bit us. We can always look toward the rest of the year to try to win some races and go out with a bang and try to build on something for next year.” – Kyle Busch, finished fifth
“Kyle [Busch] and I have had our differences. I have to give him credit. Kyle raced me very hard and very clean tonight. We had a great battle a couple times racing each other. He raced me with the utmost respect, and I appreciate that.” – Brian Vickers, finished seventh
“It was a good night for this Mobil 1 Dodge team. We had to come from the back and were able to get another top-10 finish. We had a tough pit stall and had a few problems getting out based on where people were running on track. The Mobil 1 crew did an outstanding job and I’m proud of our entire team effort tonight.” – Sam Hornish Jr., finished eighth
“Disappointed with tonight, for sure. I felt like we had a better shot tonight that where we finished. Started out decent and then just started getting really, really loose on the longer runs. We still salvaged a decent finish out of it. I really wanted to get 10 more points and give all the Lowe’s employee/owners something to cheer for, but we’ll have to save that for the Chase and get to work.” – Jimmie Johnson, finished 11th
“I don’t even know where I finished. I have no idea. I tell you what, that was a hard-fought battle. Our car wasn’t that good. If it wasn’t for my pit crew, I wouldn’t be standing here, plain and simple. They gave me four spots every single time – four spots – and I’d maintain, maintain, maintain, lose a couple and then a caution would come out and I’d gain four spots. It was quite a night.” – Greg Biffle, finished 13th
“This is good. At the beginning of the year, this is what you hope for, that on this night you’ll be sitting here and be part of the Chase. We’ve done it and that’s the first step, so now we just have to go seal the deal.” – Carl Edwards, finished 15th
“We certainly finished better than the way we started off tonight. We were down a lap early, but we knew our car was pretty fast. Sammy Johns and the crew did a great job all night. We were pretty good. I didn’t say much on the radio, just drove as hard as I could. That was a good night for us.” – Reed Sorenson, finished 16th
“Really since California, we went to Vegas, and broke in the second lap or first lap and everything has really been downhill since there. So I can’t say I’m really surprised we didn’t make it. I’m really disappointed we didn’t make it, but we didn’t run good enough to be in. And the way we ran the last three months, we didn’t deserve to be in there.” – Matt Kenseth, finished 25th and missed making the Chase by 38 points
“That was a frustrating night. We tried some pit strategy but a long green-flag run killed us because we had to come to pit lane. That killed our chances for a good finish.” – Elliott Sadler, finished 34th
“Two-and-a-half years ago, we started this program and we never would have believed that we would have been this far along – six poles, a win and now we’re in the Chase. I don’t know what to say – I’m so proud of everybody. This was a group effort.” – Brian Vickers on making the Chase
About the author
Content Director Beth heads up management of our 30-person staff, acting as Tom’s main assistant with technology and personnel while working as Frontstretch’s Truck Series expert. The author of Truckin’ Thursdays and the coordinator of the site’s pre and post-race coverage, she also runs a periodic charity column that spotlights when NASCAR gives back. A childhood transplant to Texas, Beth is a 15-year writing veteran who has contributed content to BRANDT and Athlon Sports, among other outlets.
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