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 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway:
“It was hard because we had a – we don’t like to sit back there and really just kind of protect our car the first part of the race. But the last four or five times here we’ve wrecked, and we did not want to wreck today. I know we finished on the stats sheet, but we had tore up racecars and we wanted to finish [this] race – not wreck the first half of the race and get way behind. So, that was hard. But we made a plan before the race, and I’m telling you, every piece of it played out exactly how we wanted to play it.
“We put four tires on the car when we wanted to, we pitted when we wanted to, we stayed out of the pack when we wanted to until it was time. And then, coming into the last lap, that’s exactly how we planned it out on paper. It’s hard to not pull out, but I could say that we were way in front of all the guys behind us with the push that I was able to give Jamie [McMurray] there. And when he made that dart to the right, I immediately went to the left.” – Kevin Harvick, race winner
“Well, I think the best part of it is that our sponsor is leaving… and the best part of it is that they can leave while we are winning.” – Kevin Harvick
“I remember Gil (Martin, crew chief) being kind of down in the dumps and telling Mike Helton… he said, ‘That rule sucks.’ Mike patted him on the back, and he said it’ll all come full circle. And today, it’s all worked itself out and we were able to finish it off.” – Kevin Harvick on the multiple green-white-checkered rule
“It’s extremely nerve-wracking because we were worried about trying to pass. We were worried about running out of fuel, and you’re also worried about running out of fuel with somebody right on your rear bumper, too, because that could have caused some kind of calamity. But the fact of the matter is, and I hate to show my age, but that was a tremendous pass just like the old days – like you would have seen Buddy Baker or Cale Yarborough or anybody do here. That was a tremendous pass, and it was timed perfectly.” – Gil Martin, winning crew chief
“This is a great win for Kevin and myself. You know, we’ve had good cars. You know, I think we won the Daytona 500 or 499 or whatever it was, and the 510 – we just didn’t win the Daytona 520. We’ve been right there, had a good shot at California and we got the cars running good. I really feel good about everything the No. 29 team has got going right now. We want to win that championship.” – Richard Childress, winning car owner
“I think most people thought that the spoiler and the plate were going to make the cars close up a little quicker than what we had had in the past, and when we talked about it in our meeting earlier in the morning we thought it would just be best to at least log some laps for the first 20. Then, when we got back there, it just – we waited until 50 or 60 laps to go, and then made a move to the front.” – Jamie McMurray, finished second
“I really thought that Kevin was going to go high. I felt like I was close enough to the yellow line that there was a lot more racetrack to the right, and it seemed like you could stall guys out more on the outside than you could the inside. So I was really guarding against the outside, and when he went left, it really loosened the car up. It’s hard to explain to you guys that aren’t in cars, but when there’s someone directly behind you and they pull their car out of line really fast, it’s like you pull a parachute in your car.
“It literally feels like you lose three or five miles an hour immediately, and when that happens, the car that’s doing the passing just has the momentum. Really, once he got underneath me, all I was doing was side-drafting and hoping I could stall him out and just get him back to the start/finish line.” – Jamie McMurray on his battle with Kevin Harvick
“He (Harvick) was below the yellow line. They either have [the rule] or they don’t have it. He was definitely below the yellow line. That’s just pure B.S. It’s just B.S. He was below the yellow line when he passed. He passed Jamie under the yellow line and the rule is very specific. You pass below the yellow line, you’re the last car on the lead lap.” – No. 1 co-owner Felix Sabates
“The way the season is going, I was actually surprised we didn’t wreck. I’m being honest with you.” – Juan Pablo Montoya, finished third
“It was the biggest yo-yo effect that I’ve ever seen as far as the front to the back to the middle. You just couldn’t keep your track position. As hard as you tried to stay up front, there’s nothing you could do to stay up there. From a competitive standpoint, I don’t know what else you can ask for. Anybody can win this race. There’s no doubt about it. Any car can win this race, and it’s just who’s going to put themselves in position with 10 to go.” – Denny Hamlin, finished fourth
“I thought it was a lot of fun. Certainly, the cars drive really well. I think NASCAR made the right decision on allowing guys to push a little bit more and be a little more aggressive.” – David Ragan, finished sixth
“To escape a bad situation like what we had today (damage to the right side, near the door in a 10-car mishap on lap 83), we could have gotten hit four feet further back on the car and been put nose first into the outside fence. We didn’t get wrecked there. We didn’t do ourselves any favors by speeding on pit road, but we finished eighth. These are the type of days you have to bounce back [from]. I [just] hope we didn’t use up too much luck.” – Kurt Busch, finished eighth
“It seemed like I could give help, but no one seemed to really want to give me any. The [No.] 11 (Hamlin) worked with us really good, and there was a couple other guys that would. A lot of guys would work with you and then hang you out. That’s just how it goes – no big deal. We should have finished a whole lot better than 14th today. We had a good car. At least we didn’t tear anything up, and we have something good to bring back.” – David Reutimann, finished 14th
“There at the end, I don’t know what happened to Tony on that restart, but he wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened to him, but that’s what happens in restrictor-plate racing. If you don’t have a guy pushing you, you’re a dead duck. He couldn’t go on the restart, and I had a huge gap. I don’t know if he air-locked or what he did, but that’s the way it goes.” – Greg Biffle, finished 17th
“I was right in the middle of the last two wrecks and made it through. That was a great job by my spotter and my team for giving me a good car. We kept it out of trouble and kept it clean.” – Travis Kvapil, finished 18th
“To me, NASCAR let us do our thing. It was pretty wild and pretty crazy. There was a lot of pushing, but not too many wrecks. It was no worse than any other time and they just left it up to the drivers, so I actually thought it was pretty cool.” – Kasey Kahne, finished 21st
“The No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) is testing my patience, I can tell you that. It takes a lot to make me mad, and I am pissed right now. You know, when a car is going that much faster, I don’t know what it is with me and him right now, but whatever… I don’t think it was a very smart move. These cars get such a shove, and sometimes, you get so much momentum it’s just more of a coincidence that it was him.
“But I mean, you turn the wheel left like that when a car is coming and somebody’s going to have a problem. I did everything I could to keep from wrecking him. I did. I saw what he was doing and I know I couldn’t go underneath the yellow line to pass him. So I did everything I could to check up, but somebody was still pushing me and turned me and I actually got into him. He’s been testing my patience and it’s about reached its boiling point.” – Jeff Gordon, finished 22nd
“I don’t care what rules you bring here, [the Big One] is gonna happen. It’s Talladega and you can’t change it. You just wish that one day you’d be on the good side of it instead of the bad side, so I hate that we got in the wreck.” – Elliott Sadler, finished 33rd
“I just got hit from behind. I think the No. 20 hit me. I had a run on the outside, we were four-wide. He just hitting me, hitting me, hitting me, and just turned me around. I would have done the same thing to him… I’m not mad. It is just the way it works… I was thinking about when I was out there, these shouldn’t be points races.
“If they want to have these races for the fans, just let us come here and do this but don’t let it affect our championship, because it’s not racing. If it is NASCAR racing, we should be here for Talladega Event Marketing or something like that. Something different besides racing.” – Ryan Newman, finished 35th
“It stinks, because I wish we could do a 100-lap race instead of running around for 500 miles and then going. It kind of makes it a tough deal. You could see it was all going to come. Everyone just rides around and feels out which cars they work well with, and then at the end it just comes to pushing people. You’re pushing, pushing, pushing until someone spins out I guess. It’s a tough deal. It’s my fault, and I just felt so bad for all the cars that wrecked.” – Joey Logano, finished 36th
“Honestly, at one point I looked up and it was me and Dale [Earnhardt] Jr. leading the race and I thought, ‘This feels great!’ I hope the fans are enjoying it. The car was fast. Kyle [Busch] just messed up and ran into a guy and crashed him. When you set yourself to the standards that he does, he’s really good and he’ll tell you about it, but when you set yourself to those standards and then you make a mistake like that in front of the field, it’s kind of disappointing.” – Michael Waltrip, finished 39th
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.
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