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 sneak peek at what they all were thinking following the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway:
“I mean, it’s one thing to have some success, but to continue to do it year after year, to find tracks that really are our weakest tracks, focus on them, then get stronger and better at them is a cool thing to experience. There’s a lot of work that goes into it.
“I wish everybody could see behind the scenes what effort goes into it from Chad’s side, everyone at Hendrick, building the cars, our engineers, the focus and dedication I have to drive this track better, the notes that we pour through, the conversations we have, trying to find the smallest details to make us better week in and week out at this track so we could finally win here.” – Jimmie Johnson, race winner
“I think it’s awesome. I’ve watched from afar before I was in the sport, and people would say, ‘Anybody but the [No.] 3, Anybody but the [No.] 24.’ I’m awfully proud to be in that category where they’re saying, ‘Anybody but the [No.] 48.’ I think it’s awesome.” – Jimmie Johnson on those who say “Anybody but the 48”
“Somebody said just a little while ago, ‘Your bucket is almost full.’ I said, ‘As far as I’m concerned, we dump it out every week and start out.’ That’s the mentality we have.” – Chad Knaus, winning crew chief, on keeping expectations in line
“I said this in victory lane a few minutes ago to one of the TV guys. If you look at the stats and you look at the talent and you look at the dedication, just look at his record: I mean, I don’t understand why it’s not written now he’s one of the best that’s ever done this.
“You look at Jeff [Gordon], and I’ve been around for a long time, I’ve watched a lot of guys from Richard Petty on up to the current day. When you look at the level of competition since he’s been in the sport, what he’s done, what he’s accomplished, I mean, I don’t know what he’s got to do, you know?” – Rick Hendrick, winning car owner
“I think Kurt [Busch] holds Jimmie and that team at such a high level that when he beats them, he feels he’s beat the guys that are the best right now. I plan to call Kurt just to congratulate him on his run because he has been very, very complimentary of our team and organization.” – Rick Hendrick on Kurt Busch’s post-race comments
“I’d rather lose to any of the 41 cars out there than the [No.] 48 car. I thought we had them beat. I gave it my heart today, but came up short.” – Kurt Busch, finished third
“If I would have been like I was earlier, or if the car had been driving like it normally did, I think I could have held them off – I really do – but I was just so loose I couldn’t put the power down.” – Greg Biffle, finished fourth
“My car just would not go on restarts. I’d be really tight. I had one restart all day where the car drove the way I wanted it to, so I would have rather had the track position and taken my chances. I’m really happy with how we finished.” – Matt Kenseth, finished fifth, on his late-race decision to go with two tires (Roush cars Biffle and Carl Edwards did the same)
“It was pretty cool there at the end to have the top-three guys there in Fords. I thought we were gonna be fighting for the win, but Jimmie got in there with four tires, shook it all up, and ended up getting the win.” – Carl Edwards, finished sixth
“I don’t know if it was the fumes or something in my drink bottle or what, but 60 laps into the race I felt like I was going to throw up. And it just seemed like it got worse every time there was a caution.” – Jamie McMurray, finished eighth
“We want to run better, but you need to make the bad days the best you can if you want to make the Chase and have a shot at a championship. We did what we needed to do today.” – Kyle Busch, finished ninth
“The tire deal definitely caught us off guard. Goodyear supplies tire data, and we knew that the balance would be a little bit different than last year, but we didn’t think it was going to be that much different. The first thing that caught our attention was how much it changed the balance. Then, in practice there were no indications of a problem. Our tires looked fine, our wears looked good, our tire temps were good.
“We heard that a couple guys had some small blisters, so we actually got pretty conservative and backed out some camber this morning, knowing it would hurt the turning of the car, but I didn’t want to damage the tire. We still had some issues. I’m not sure, it could be setup, could be tire, could be track – we’ll look at everything.” – Dave Rogers, crew chief for Kyle Busch
“We kind of messed ourselves up by taking two tires there at the end because everybody behind us took four, so we were kind of a sitting duck. All I know is that today could have been a helluva lot worse, that’s for sure.” – Paul Menard, finished 18th
“I think we broke a lower A-Frame. I’m not positive, but something broke and it fell over on that side and went up the track. We were pretty much done after that, so it’s pretty disappointing.” – Kasey Kahne, finished 34th
“I needed to go, I couldn’t be waiting around. I was waiting around long enough on them. I had a fast racecar and was going around the outside and just got pinned up against the wall.” – Mark Martin, finished 35th due to crash
“I owe an apology to Mark Martin. It sounds stupid because everybody makes an excuse, but I was having trouble with my radio. That whole run, I didn’t have a radio and I didn’t know he was on the outside of me and I ran him into the fence. I feel bad, but I didn’t know he was there.” – Greg Biffle on above-mentioned crash
“We pride ourselves on having no DNFs and things like that… and things happen. We are asking a lot of these engines. It is amazing they can do what they do. I feel sorry for BB&T, Cheerios and everybody involved. I thought we were going to have a good day.” – Clint Bowyer, finished 40th due to engine failure
About the author
The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.