What’d they say? Best post-race comments from Harvick, Gordon, Truex

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While Kyle Busch stole the show Sunday, winning both the Sprint Cup championship and the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

And while they came up a bit short, the three other championship round finalists deserve recognition for giving it their best efforts.

Speaking of their best, here’s some of the best post-race comments from Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon and Martin Truex Jr.:

Kevin Harvick:

* “You always want to win, but I’ve learned not to get greedy. After last year, I felt like we had everything go our way, and tonight, it didn’t go our way. But, just congratulations to the No. 18 team and everything they did and all of our guys; they’ve done a great job all year.”

* “We just weren’t very good tonight and we were having a little trouble with the rear end getting up off the corner and just wound up too tight there at the end. … Proud of everybody at SHR because we kept fighting. We were just a little bit off all weekend.”

* “We had a great year. We just ran second today and unfortunately needed to win the race. Kyle had a really strong car and we really never had anything for him all night. We kept working on it and working on it but we just could never get the back of the car hooked up through the corners. But all-in-all, everybody stayed in there and kept fighting because it’s never over till it’s over.”

* “It’s been a great couple years, and I know we’re disappointed about finishing second tonight, but it’s kind of the theme of the year, finishing second.”

* On Kyle Busch and how he’s matured as a racer and person: “I think as you go through time in general, as a person, you mature and you get more mature through time, whether you’re doing dumb things at the racetrack or not and learning from those things. Those obviously are unfortunately part of our life lessons, some more than others, and I think Kyle and I have definitely been on that side of it. But I think you see that little guy that he holds in his arms, and you know, it puts things in a different perspective.  It used to be you didn’t want to have kids because it took the fire out of you from driving the car, and now it seems to have calmed a lot of us down to the point where we can focus and do the things that we need to do to concentrate on our jobs. He’s overcome a lot, but man, he’s still pretty young.  When you really look back at it, I think he’s 30 years old?  Yeah, so I mean, it seems like he’s matured a lot, and he has, but he’s still pretty young.  I don’t have that excuse (said with laughter).”

Jeff Gordon:

* “Nothing could have topped the way my day started. I woke up ‑‑ I was planning on sleeping in, and I was too excited, so I woke up a little earlier. Pulled up the shades on my bus, and my mom just happened to be walking by, and so that just made my day start so amazing, to be able to sit down with her on that day, first thing in the morning, and all the emotions and everything were just able to come out, and then we just had a great conversation. And then my stepdad came in and then a little bit later Ingrid and the kids showed up. It was just perfect.  Just missed a little bit on the race.”

* “We all know nothing would have been quite better than that and the win.  But I’ve learned a lot in life, and there’s no such thing as a perfect day and a perfect life.  Just like there’s no such thing as a perfect race car.  They’re really close and good and at times better than the rest, but it doesn’t mean that they’re ever perfect. I think had I won this race and this championship it would have been perfect, and I don’t think I could have accepted that.  I wouldn’t have known how to.”

* “To drive for one of the best car owners, if not the best, and drive the best race cars and work with the best people, that’s why I have the wins and championships that I have and why we did what we did here today in the final race battling for a championship.”

* “Ingrid, she goes through so much all the ups and downs and what goes along with this sport. We both said going into this race what an amazing experience this has been this year, the last nine years of our lives together and this day, surrounded by friends and family and the people that matter most and work hard on this race team and all the love I’ve gotten from the fans and everybody in this sport, there’s nothing better than that.”

* “I’m not going anywhere. I had such a blast knowing that we had a good race car and could battle with these guys. Me and Martin (Truex, Jr.) had a heck of a battle there; but unfortunately it wasn’t for the championship. Congratulations to Kyle Busch. What a great driver. What a great champion. And with all he’s been through this year, nobody is more deserving than him.”

* “I’m a little disappointed that we weren’t more of a threat for the championship. Beyond that it’s absolutely been a dream come true. To get an opportunity to race at this level, to have the success that I’ve had, to have the sponsors that we’ve had and to have the fans that we have. The first one to the car was the team and Rick Hendrick and then my family. That is all that really matters to me. Those people are so important to me and make this all worthwhile. I told everybody before the race that no matter what we are going to be happy and celebrate. That is exactly what we are going to go do.”

* “I was relaxing in the bus after that conversation with my mom this morning, and I said, oh, I’ll look up Twitter, see what the fans were doing. Little did I know my competitors were going to be tweeting out things, and man, the emotions started going all over again.  That’s just unheard of. That’s just to me unheard of that you’re going to be going out competing against individuals, even the ones we were competing against for the championship, when Kevin Harvick took that picture next to my car, that to me ‑‑ I don’t know if it gets much better than that.”

* “Today ‑‑ the thing is, you’ve got to understand, even though it was my final race and everything and I wanted to be as gracious and give all that I could back to the fans, I just ‑‑ I had to hold back a little bit because I did want to stay focused and stay on my schedule and my routine that I normally go through because I wanted to put the best out on the racetrack that I possibly could.  So it was very cool and I enjoyed it very, very much, but at the same time, in the back of my mind I’m blocking out some things, getting ready for the race.”

Team owner Rick Hendrick on Gordon:

* “People are not going to really understand what Jeff Gordon meant to this sport until a few years down the road when you really look back and you think about all the doors he opened and TV and sponsors and brought this sport to a whole new level. What he did for me and my family and our company, it’s obvious, 93 wins and four championships; he brought along Jimmie Johnson and drove his cars first and he’s just a special person.”

* (On Gordon’s retirement) “Yeah, it’s real now. I think that’s what it is. Until right now when he got out of the car and gave me his helmet and said he wanted me to have it; that is real. And until right now, it wasn’t over. I’m very thankful that he has been a part of our company and a part of our racing deal and I’m just glad I saw him and got him in the car and didn’t have to race against him.”

Martin Truex Jr.:

* “It was a big deal for us and for our team, for our owner, and for me personally to get this car this far and to have a chance to come in and battle for this championship. It was a big deal for us and I wish we could have performed better today.”

* “We struggled all weekend with this car and it definitely wasn’t for a lack of effort. The guys put a ton of effort into this car and really all weekend we just kept throwing stuff at it and we just could never get it where we needed it. I am not sure what we were missing, but we were missing something. Proud of my guys for the effort and proud of my pit crew as well but we just didn’t have the car when we needed it. Little disappointed, but proud of our season.”

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