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 the drivers were thinking following the Toyota / SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway.
I would not have expected the road course in Sonoma to be the site of rookie success, but it nearly was on Sunday. In fact, at one point, all three ROTY candidates – Logano, Papis and Speed – along with almost rookie Ambrose were running in the top 15. The most impressive of those runs in my mind goes to Logano, who is the only one out of the four without extensive road-course experience. Ambrose certainly got his redemption after breaking a transmission while running up front last year at this venue and continues to hang within somewhat reasonable distance from the final chase position, quite a feat for this first full-time season. Logano and Speed meanwhile, can take considerable amount of confidence away from their Sonoma runs for the second road-course event at Watkins Glen, even though their finishes are not reflective of how they ran in the race.
Had you watched qualifying on Friday, you may have been asking yourself, “why did Scott Speed have to qualify on time while John Andretti had a guaranteed spot? NASCAR’s website has Speed in the 35th spot in points and Andretti in 36th.” The answer is simple; you were looking at the wrong standings. The Top-35 …
“Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire,” may very well have been the lyrics Jimmie Johnson was banging his head to as his dominant No. 48 Chevy sputtered to the finish of Sunday’s LifeLock 400. The three-time champ absolutely dominated at Michigan, only surrendering the lead after the final pit …
If Joey Logano fans can be patient for just a few more weeks, they may start to see the results they expected when their young driver was named as the driver of the No. 20 Camry. The rookie has consistently improved in the second half of each race since the middle of April, enough to safely speculate that adapting to the track in these new cars are his biggest challenge at the moment. Once Independence Day weekend rolls around, Logano will start seeing tracks for the second time this season, and I fully expect him to be much faster at the start of the race – which should translate into consistent top-15 finishes at the end.
You can definitely tell how far Joey Logano’s season has progressed when during the final rain delay, he commented on his disappointment about not having a chance to compete for a top-five finish. Just a few short months ago, this team was disappointed about not being able to finish in the top 30. It appears that Logano and Zipadelli are starting to get on the same page as the rookie driver now has top-10 finishes (all ninth place to be exact) at one of the most treacherous tracks (Talladega), one of the most challenging venues (Darlington) and during one of the most bizarre events (Charlotte) on the schedule.
No one will argue that the 2009 rookie contenders have not done much this season to get anyone excited. Sure, there were a bunch of top 10s recorded at Talladega, which were impressive in their own right; but still, as Logano said himself… it was Talladega. After Saturday night, though, Logano has taken one giant step forward in illustrating that the Class of ’09 will in fact make some noise this year. Not only did he tie his best career finish at Darlington, but he did it at one of the most difficult circuits on the schedule. The No. 20 team has a history of not “waking up” until later in the season; and if that still holds true with their new driver, we may be seeing just the beginning of several impressive runs from this teenager moving forward.
Joey Logano’s success at the 3/4-mile track on Saturday night should really come as no surprise. This team has a long history of success at Richmond, giving his predecessor, Tony Stewart, three wins – including his first career victory in 1999 – as well as three runner-up finishes. Don’t forget that Logano was also slated to make his first Sprint Cup start at this venue last September, and was very quick in practice before rain canceled qualifying and sent the Joe Gibbs entry home. And while it was only his third best finish in the record books, this may be the rookie’s best run of the year.
What a difference a half a year makes! A little over six months ago, we had a lot to write about after the race at Talladega. Seems that a mostly unknown rookie almost won a Cup race at Talladega. That man was Regan Smith. Without rehashing the whole ordeal, in short, Regan was forced below …
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 special Nationwide Series peek at what the drivers were thinking following the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.