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 LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway:
“It feels great. Glad that part is over with, for sure. We had a really good car from the time we unloaded till now. The worst, we got really free that last run. The No. 99 (Carl Edwards) started gaining on us. We kept pedaling. Thankfully, he didn’t have enough time to get to us. Rodney (Childers, crew chief) made some great calls. Our team engineer, they just gave me a good car all weekend.
“Thank Tums for coming onboard. More importantly, Toyota and Toyota Racing Development, we’ve been beating up on those guys pretty bad this year. They hunkered down and gave us some really, really good horsepower here, good fuel mileage and everything we need to win races. My hat is off to them, they did a tremendous job.” – David Reutimann, race winner
“We had a good car right off the truck. Really, we just tried not to do anything during practice that would get us off base. We tried a few things and knew that the track would come to us at night. We never touched the track bar or the jack bolts. That tells us how good it was from the get-go. You just got to have track position. Kept fighting our way up there. You know, we struggled a little bit on pit road, but those guys did a good job.
“Our jackman (Tony Cardamone) had a little tumble on his bike this week, had a concussion, [so we] had to have some guy fill in. Anytime you have one person change, it kind of gets everything off-kilter. It was just a fun night and David [Reutimann] did a really good job. Probably had the worst interview ever after the race. He doesn’t know that yet.” – Rodney Childers, winning crew chief
“One of the biggest things, I’ve been around for not as many years as most, but I’ve probably not seen anyone have to walk around for a year-and-a-half and apologize about winning a race. Winning that Coca-Cola 600 because of rain, everyone sort of like had the asterisk next to that win. Tonight was a huge statement… when they were able to step up the package and come here, the car was right, the driver was right, the engine was right.
“It takes all three of those things to beat Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson, that crowd. I think, more than anything else, it’s redemption for David [Reutimann]. I’m probably most proud of that.” – Ty Norris, Michael Waltrip Racing General Manager
“It is great to run up front. Guys are so nice and quiet up there in the front of the race. It is just fun. It is good to have a fast racecar and it felt good to focus on little things like my line and how I was driving the car rather than how I was going to stay on the lead lap. Hopefully, we can apply what we learned tonight, go forward and be faster more often, because that is a lot more fun.” – Carl Edwards, finished second
“You know, at times it looked like our DuPont Chevy was the car to beat, but I knew David was really, really strong. We got the lead that one time, he ran us down and I knew we were in a little bit of trouble. We made some adjustments in that last pit stop, but unfortunately it didn’t go the right way for us so we fell back to third.
“We are trying some new and different things, trying to get to victory lane, trying to get ourselves ready for the Chase – so to come out here with a third-place finish and have a solid car like that all night is something that we are all very happy with.” – Jeff Gordon, finished third
“We just kept working on it a little bit, kept getting it better and better. Shane (Wilson, crew chief) made some great calls. All weekend long, the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet was good. This is exactly what we needed to do. We need to string together a bunch of these and we’ll find ourselves in the Chase and have a shot at this championship. We just got way too loose there at the end. We tried to adjust on it to get to the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) car, just couldn’t do it. Got just a little bit too loose, but we’ll get them next time.” – Clint Bowyer, finished fourth
“I thought we had one of the best cars at the beginning and as the sun went down, the track just got tighter and tighter. Bono (Kevin Manion, crew chief) did a really good job adjusting on the car and getting it tighter. We just didn’t have the grip that we did at the beginning. When I saw the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) miss pit road and get in the accident, I thought we had a legitimate shot to win.
“But the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) and the No. 00 (David Reutimann, race winner) really came on there the second half of the race, we just didn’t have the speed we needed. We practiced and really worked hard to make my car work on the bottom and 10 laps in I was up against the wall.” – Jamie McMurray, finished fifth
“Our goal first was to win. We didn’t feel like we had a race-winning car at the end of practice yesterday. Our general objective is, if we’re not going to win, we needed to learn something. Obviously, we tried to put a setup in that we thought was going to be faster than everyone else. There were certain parts of it that were better than what we’ve been at other tracks like this. At one particular part of the corner it was worse. It’s a building process.” – Denny Hamlin, finished eighth
“I am so happy for David [Reutimann]. We should have been up there with him. At night, our car just got really loose off. We could have been better than that, so maybe we missed it a little on air pressure. Regardless, we got a decent finish and our teammate got the win. I hope he enjoys the celebration tonight. He deserves it.” – Martin Truex Jr., finished 11th and teammate to race winner
“Our UPS Freight Ford was pretty fast and I was pretty happy with it. We just ran and ran and ran and passed cars and passed cars and we were still 15th each time, so that was a little frustrating.” – David Ragan, finished 12th
“There were a lot of long faces yesterday after we qualified 41st, but tonight is different. We made a nice recovery to finish 20th. Pete (Rondeau, crew chief) and the guys made a lot of changes overnight. I also looked at everything that I was doing and even watched last year’s race about 25 times. We’re not overly happy with the result, but considering the tough times we had the past three weeks, we are feeling a lot more upbeat.
“We’re kind of back to where we were three weeks ago. We’re building and this Furniture Row team will get better during the second half of the season.” – Regan Smith, finished 20th
“We had just a really (crappy), (crappy) driving car all night. We made it worse at times and made it better at times. We just weren’t very good. There aren’t any excuses, we just weren’t very good.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr., finished 23rd
“It (the incident with Martin Truex Jr. on lap 137) was really just a racing thing. He was trying to squeeze his way in between me and the white line. I came up off the white line a little bit and the air flow changed as he got close to me. I could feel it when he got close and it just started my car into a slide and at that point I was just hanging on and it finally turned around on me.” – Jimmie Johnson, finished 25th
“It was just a tough night for our Miller Lite Dodge. This one has us scratching our heads a bit since we’ve been so strong on the mile-and-a-half tracks. We just missed it tonight. There was just something off on our Miller Lite Dodge and we couldn’t get to the bottom of it. We were tight, loose; there was so much drag in the car that it was just slow.
“I told Steve (Addington, crew chief) that we need to put this car on the chassis dyno and back in the wind tunnel to figure out what went wrong. It’s just strange. We got bad loose and everything that we threw at it didn’t make it better. We threw wholesale changes at it, including front shocks midway through the race, and that’s about as good as our car was all night. We’ll take our lumps.” – Kurt Busch, finished 26th
“We had a fuel-pressure issue and we had to go to the garage to repair the fuel pump assembly, so that ended our chance at salvaging a good finish. But we missed the setup on our Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet, too. We were just extremely loose for most of the race. Tough night for us, but we have a strong race team and we will bounce back at Indy.” – points leader Kevin Harvick, finished 34th
“We blew the engine. That is what happens when you have a brand-new product. There is a little trial and error. We don’t have a lot of miles on these engines. It seemed like we broke something in the valve train or something. It is unfortunate. That will hurt our chances in the Chase, you know. We had a great car and coming into tonight I was really excited about it, so this is really disappointing. I guess tonight just wasn’t our night.” – Greg Biffle, finished 35th
“I cut a tire, and from there I was just along for the ride. I feel bad for the guys. We have worked hard but we have missed something, whether it is the spoiler or whatever, we just can’t get where we need to be. We are just OK out there. Everybody is really working hard and trying to help us out, then something like this happens and it is just really unfortunate.” – Bill Elliott, finished 37th
“I guess Bill [Elliott] popped his tire and I started to go around on the bottom side and I thought I was going to clear him and he slid down at the last second. We don’t have many cars, so that’s going to hurt us bad. We weren’t running good anyways. We thought we could at least bring the car home, but didn’t get to do that either.” – Robby Gordon, finished 38th
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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