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 Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.:
“Real good day. There were points where the [No.] 42 (Juan Pablo Montoya) was better than us. I think a couple cars like the [No.] 11 (Denny Hamlin) for a handful of laps showed some really, really good pace. But it seemed like on the long haul for the majority of the race, we had what we needed. We had solid pit stops. Thankfully, it wasn’t down to a two-tire strategy or fuel only or something goofy at the end.” – Jimmie Johnson
“It was fun, fun on those restarts. Even when I would get the lead on him (Johnson), I knew how strong he was. On one of those last restarts, he just drove right by me on the outside. We are putting great efforts out. We had fun, but second is pretty much all I think anybody had today.” – Jeff Gordon
“It was fun. The Target Chevy was good all day. We were really good when it was cloudy. When the sun came out, we started sliding too much and couldn’t really find the balance between how much grip I wanted to have in the corner and how much I wanted the power there. I probably could have gotten more there at the end but just ran out of room. It was a good run for us.” – Juan Pablo Montoya, finished third
“This team never quits and never will. It was a long day, for sure. We never got to the top five there until the end. I’m really proud of our guys. Our car got better and better. In the run that we had the speeding penalty and had to come in and got a lap down, we were running lap times the same as the leader. We got the car better at the end, we just never got a chance to do anything until [then].” – Tony Stewart, finished fifth
“Certainly, that’s not what we want as the [No.] 6 car; we’re not celebrating like it’s a win, but a top 10 the way our season has been is certainly refreshing. We’ve still got to come a long way as a company in making these racecars better to win races, but we made some of the right moves today. The top 10s lead to top fives, and certainly they lead to wins. Hopefully, it’ll pump everybody up and everybody will forget about it on Tuesday or Wednesday when we get ready for Lowe’s.” – David Ragan, finished seventh
“It was a decent run for us. For us to limp home eighth after that damage is beyond expectations. I ruined a few Chase guys’ days, Kasey Kahne and [Greg] Biffle; I apologize to the both of them. I got off of turn 4, the car just jumped sideways on me, and then it just flung straight off the wall and back in the groove where everybody was.” – Kurt Busch
“We had a good Jack Daniel’s Chevy. We had good pit stops today, everything was pretty solid. We’ve had really good cars the last [few] weekends and it just seems like we make the wrong decision at the end. Right there at the end, we didn’t finish probably where we should have, but we had a good car all day. I am proud of everybody for working hard.” – Casey Mears, finished 11th
“We started off really good. We made one pit stop and it went to crap. I don’t know what happened. We went to junk and couldn’t fix it. Eventually, we swung for the fence and it was too far, so we went to the other side of the fence and we started backing it up from there. I don’t know why we went from good to complete junk like a light switch.” – Joey Logano, Raybestos Rookie of the Race, finished 14th
“I was not feeling well and I was coughing real bad out there. I’m going to go lay down for a little bit and see if I can’t get some fluids in me at the infield care center and try to get better. We’ve been fighting it for several days. The car was decent, so I’m real proud of the effort by these guys on this M&M’s team. I appreciate them sticking behind me. I’m sorry I had to get out.” – Kyle Busch after getting out of his car on lap 61 due to illness
“It was a little bit different – it was an experience, for sure. Without practicing it, we just never could get it right today. All in all, I’m thankful for the opportunity with M&M’s and Joe Gibbs Racing to come out and do this. It wasn’t a horrible day and could’ve been a lot worse. I’m glad I could help out, and hopefully Kyle [Busch] feels better soon.” – David Gilliland, finished 24th as relief driver for Kyle Busch
“We worked hard all day and got ourselves in good position. Some guys had issues. I think it was going to be a good points day, but NASCAR threw a debris caution for no debris which caused Kurt Busch to hit the wall and screw up, which caused me to go to the grass and then from there that caused the whole wreck on the frontstretch. It’s disappointing we had a bad race because of a caution to put a show on for the fans.
“I mean that’s a good part of the sport is we gotta keep the fans excited, but sometimes it ruins peoples’ days and today it was our day. Maybe next time it won’t be.” – Kasey Kahne, finished 34th
“I just made a rookie mistake. I thought I was clear of the [No.] 42 (Montoya) and he was getting a run. I think the [No.] 48 was pushing him and just came came right across his nose. I thought I was clear and just misjudged it. I gotta apologize to the team. They deserve better than that; they got me out front. Just a bad mistake.” – Denny Hamlin, finished 37th
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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