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 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H.:
“We got going on that restart and Kurt [Busch] knocked me out of the way. I thought, I don’t care if I win this race or not, I don’t care if I finish this damn thing; I’m running into him and getting by one way or another. I’m not good at doing that stuff. Usually, I crash myself in the process. So I tried once and moved him, but [thought] I’ve got to hit him harder.
“The second time, I moved him out of the way, got by him and was able to get going. It was just a great effort. We had one bad stop. I think something hung up on the left-rear hub early in the race and we fought back from that. We had great stops and were great after that and got back to the front.” – Jimmie Johnson, race winner
“It was my fault sliding into Kurt [Busch]. That cost him a second. But we just both sailed off in there and neither one of us was going to let the other one have an advantage going into [turn] 1 there on the last lap. It was my fault. It’s my responsibility as the guy on the inside to control my car and I slid up into him. So, I definitely owe him one on that.” – Tony Stewart, finished second
“I thought it was a great short-track battle. It wasn’t because he did something that I had to do something, or since I did something, he had to do it back. Driving down into turn 3, I saw my window and it was a perfect time to go for it, because our car was good on the short run, and once four or five laps got on the tires, I knew we were going to have a hard time holding them off.
“He was still going to be right there. So, just a classic, get in the corner a little bit deeper than the guy. We didn’t just flat-out wreck them. We didn’t cut his tire. We didn’t drive over him. It was just a nice nudge that we are all used to seeing and appreciating on short tracks.” – Kurt Busch, finished third
“Double-file restarts get really hairy and wild and crazy. It was a little bit eventful with us and the No. 42 (Juan Pablo Montoya) there, but we recovered. Again, we’ve got to work on the restarts a little bit. We had a really strong car early in the race, but lost that a little bit. So, we’ll go back, do our notes and try to figure out how we can be better when we come back here for the Chase.” – Jeff Gordon, finished fourth
“You definitely want to be solid for the next few weeks and then you can start doing some things that you normally wouldn’t do, trying things that you normally wouldn’t try. And even right now, we can be a little bit more aggressive because you do have a little bit of a cushion. But we want to win a couple of races or a race or two before the Chase starts and hopefully, hit our winning streaks in the last 10 [races]; that’s when it all counts.” – Kevin Harvick, finished fifth
“Probably the longest green flag we’ve had here in a couple of years. Just a good fight back. I think we dropped back to 14th there and when you can fight back from 14th to sixth at Loudon, it was some good strategy and a good racecar. We are proud of everybody at Stewart-Haas.” – Ryan Newman, finished sixth
“I hate it. Jeff Burton was the best car out there and he deserved to win it today. I just got loose. It is just getting out of hand with these cautions and these double-file restarts. The No. 42 (Montoya). Last week it was Jeff Gordon, now it was the No. 42. I’m glad he finally got what he deserved. Just beating and banging, kind of uncalled for. But it is the nature of the beast. That is the sandbox we have to play in.” – Clint Bowyer, finished seventh
“I was real glad the car run good. Drove it up there. The car was excellent the first half of the race and then we sort of struggled with it the last half of the race, but we still had a good finish. It still was a competitive car. But it was really good about the one-third mark of the race. I just want to thank National Guard and AMP Energy. I want to say hello to my cousin Stacy, who is battling leukemia. We are real proud of our run today and it is a good move for us in the points.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr., finished eighth
“It wasn’t bad. For this place, it’s great to get a top 10 and at other places it’s frustrating. That’s definitely good for us here, especially after practice and where I thought we were going to end up today when we started out. It was a good points day and we have to keep doing that so that’s good. I found some things out, a little bit about the place and we’re getting closer.” – Joey Logano, finished ninth
“It seems like most of the time the [No.] 39, when he just wants to run into you he will, but that’s how tight this racing is because there’s 20 to go and it’s basically near a green-white-checkered, so everybody is gonna get after it. I roughed some guys up too, so you can’t really complain that much about it. It’s just one of those racing deals. It’s what everybody gets excited about.
“If you would have told me at the beginning of the day we were gonna finish 10th, I would have said, ‘Perfect.’ When you kind of run top five or top six all day and you finish 10th, it doesn’t feel quite as good. I’m just proud of everybody on this [No.] 43 race team.” – AJ Allmendinger, finished 10th
“We all saw it – I got wrecked. A product of good, hard racing there at the end of the race. A guy on no tires trying to make it all with what he’s got and we screwed up. We didn’t have the right front underneath the car there at the end, and I washed up the track. In the previous corner, Kurt [Busch] got by me. Went down into turn 3 and [Jeff] Burton got loose underneath me and we wrecked. That’s all there is to it.” – Kyle Busch, finished 11th
“Kyle didn’t have anything to do with that. That was all me. He got loose off of [turn] 2, I drove underneath him and I just underestimated the amount of grip I would have getting into [turn] 3 and the back came around and I corrected and he was there. So it was more of an incident with me and he paid the price for it. He didn’t do anything wrong.” – Jeff Burton, finished 12th
“We practiced 12th, qualified 12th and finished 13th so not too bad. Just a good day for us. We’re trying to build our team back and days like this help. We are just trying to get our team back on track and I feel good about how we performed today.” – Marcos Ambrose, finished 13th
“They’re (No. 48 race team) performing well at all the racetracks and that’s important. For us, it’s winning on the bigger tracks. Our strong suit used to be winning on the shorter tracks and with all the effort we’ve put forth with our cars in making them better on the mile-and-a-half tracks, because that’s the majority of the Chase races, we just haven’t had a whole lot of time to work on these type of racetracks. Obviously, it’s something we need to work on.” – Denny Hamlin, finished 14th
“We definitely need to be better when we come back here. Qualifying definitely hurt us because it was so hard to pass. It seemed as if nothing really worked out in our favor. I think that last caution really hurt us. If it would have stayed green, we would have been OK. I’m looking forward to returning to all the tracks now. Pat (Tryson, crew chief) and I have notes now to work off of, so I am hoping everything will work out.” – Martin Truex Jr., finished 22nd
“That long run really made it tough to gain any track position. I’m proud of the way that we held on during that long run and kept digging and digging. We weren’t that far off today, we just couldn’t seem to hit on what we needed to make the car really good. We put in a good effort and fought all day and got the most out of it that we could. I’m proud of my guys. I wish that I could have raced up inside the top 20, we just fell short.” – Brad Keselowski, finished 26th
“We really struggled a lot because within the first five laps we broke both throttle return springs, so that made for a long day. Every time you mashed the gas, it would go all the way to the floor. You’d have to pick it up with your foot and when you’d try to roll back into it, it would just fall to the floor. That long green run made it really, really tough. Once we got it fixed, we were running really good lap times, but we dug ourselves such a big hole that it was a pretty miserable day overall.” – Kevin Conway, finished 32nd
“The guy that really messed me up was the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon). Everything started with a bad stop. We had a bad stop and you end up a little bit further back than you have been all day. It was the end of the race and nobody gives you any room and that is what happens.… He just didn’t give me any room, he never does. He has it coming one day.” – Juan Pablo Montoya, finished 34th
“The right-front sway bar arm broke. It’s a real bummer because we made our car 100% better than it was in practice. We struggled to not be the slowest car in practice, but today we had a competitive car that we could definitely tune on and adjust. It’s unfortunate. That’s the first time I’ve ever broken a sway bar arm, but it happens, I guess.” – David Gilliland, finished 35th
“It was nice to drive, but we just had another mechanical failure. It’s tough. We’ve been doing pretty good points-wise and that hurts again, but we can keep going for it.” – Kasey Kahne, finished 36th
“I understand what they’re doing. I don’t care what [Matt] Kenseth‘s doing. He’s racing hard and trying to stay on the lead lap. That’s fine. [Paul] Menard raced me super hard and then Kyle Busch gets to him and he lets him go in the first corner that he gets to him. One corner and he lets Kyle go, so that’s what made me mad. What Matt was doing, Matt’s just trying to stay on the lead lap. That’s racing. That’s what we do. Paul just needs to do the same with each guy and not just with me for some reason. That’s all I said.” – Kasey Kahne on racing with lapped traffic
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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