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 the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway:
“It’s pretty awesome. Darlington obviously showed again tonight that it is one of the hardest places – always has been, and always will be. Even with the fresh asphalt, this place is tough. I just can’t thank this M&M’s/Joe Gibbs Racing team enough. They did an awesome job. We’re going to go through a lot of Mac Tools this week fixing this thing, but that’s OK. It’s an awesome win for us.” – Kyle Busch, race winner
“First of all, my hat’s off to Kyle. Man, I wanted to beat him bad. I wanted to beat him so bad. Now we’re tied for wins. I wanted to keep him down a little bit, but he did a great job. This Claritin Fusion was good. I tore it up just a little bit on the left front, but I definitely had a good time – a lot better time than last night. The new surface is growing on me. It’s alright.” – Carl Edwards, finished second
“We are definitely making big strides… I am real proud of this DuPont Chevrolet team. Tonight, Steve Letarte just did an awesome job. I am happy that we have a top five and we are third, but also how frustrated I am because of how far off we are from winning races right now. The No. 18 was in an unbelievable class of his own. Carl [Edwards] and his crew got their stuff better there at the end. So, we just had to settle for a car that was a third-place car, and hope we could get track position… and we did.” – Jeff Gordon
“Well, we had a real good car all weekend and when the race started, I knew we weren’t exactly like we had been. We were off a little bit all night, weren’t really that good. Track position was everything; you could not pass, period. That was the worst I have ever seen it as far as trying to be able to pass. But, I have to hand it to my team. They worked hard… when you are off and you run fourth, I guess you got to be happy.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“That’s an awesome run. Whether we were at Daytona, Talladega or Richmond or Bristol, that would be great; but to do it at Darlington is just something special. Darlington is an awesome track. You’re running laps out there and you think about the guys that made this place famous, like Cale Yarborough and [Bill] Elliott and David Pearson and people like that. It just makes you realize how fortunate we are to come out here and race at such a cool track.” – David Ragan, finished fifth
“This is a brand new car, and it was really good all weekend. It was really solid. They kept getting it better and better all night. That is the run that this team needed. If we can get our act together, we can do this. That’s a huge gain from what we’re used to. On tracks like this, we’ve been three laps down. They built the new car for here, and we’ve finally done some testing here the last few weeks. We learned a lot. Good all around as a morale booster for the driver and everybody else.” – Dave Blaney, finished ninth
“The Miller Lite team did a great job tonight. The Charlotte test paid dividends. With this right sides being the same as Charlotte here at Darlington, we just kept the same frame of mind for four days straight, which really helped us. It will be nice to do that again at the All-Star Race and the [Coca-Cola] 600 and try to stick with the same tire and give our team some continuity. Hopefully, we’ll benefit from it.” – Kurt Busch, finished 12th
“The car was really tight throughout the night between turns 3 and 4. The car got real hot; there was a problem with the interior cooling system and we had to come in and pit to try and cool me off. I just appreciate the opportunity that the Ganassi team gave me this weekend.” – Sterling Marlin, finished 34th
”I just made a huge mistake. I just went in too low into turn 1. I was actually trying to give Tony [Stewart] more room and I just got loose under him and spun up into him. I’ve never had any problem with Tony. I know he’s pretty upset with me right now. It’s my fault. I apologize to all of his fans. I apologize to McDonald’s. There are a lot of McDonald’s people here tonight and I didn’t give them much of a good show.” – Elliott Sadler, finished 42nd
“It is really frustrating, but, you know what, I’ve just come accustomed to expecting it because it’s just week after week it’s something. Something breaks. Something falls off. We’ve got wheels loose. We had wheels loose twice tonight. The guys are digging their hearts out, but the fact of the matter is in this sport – in this day and age – you cannot leave the wheels loose – not at a place this fast. I give it 110% as a driver all the time and you just want your equipment to last and be able to win these races. They’re so hard to win these days.” – Greg Biffle, finished 43rd
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.