What drivers said after Sprint Cup race at Richmond

(Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
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Here’s what the field had to say Sunday after the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway, which was won by Carl Edwards.

CARL EDWARDS — Finished 1st: “Man, I didn’t think we had anything. Kyle was so good there for that run. I was doing everything I could. He never spun his tires and if Dave (Rogers, crew chief) hadn’t screamed at me to just go get him that last lap I don’t know if I would’ve dove it in there that well. Just a team effort.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 2nd: “We were fast. Maybe not as good as Carl (Edwards) was on the long run but we did everything right. We did everything we were supposed to do and put ourselves in the right position. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) made some awesome adjustments to this car. We lost it there the second to last run and were fading a little bit but the guys gave me an awesome pit stop, got me track position and got us out front and we had a shot to win so that’s all that matters.”

Jimmie JohnsonFinished 3rd: “I think this tire was perfect for what we’ve been asking for. We had multiple lanes that laid the rubber in the race track and we didn’t have all those marbles build-up on the outside, where it really limited your opportunities up high. It was fun. The cars were slipping and sliding; there was a ton of fall off. I enjoyed the long runs. I really like sizing-up guys that I’m racing with and seeing how that works out.”

Kasey KahneFinished 4th: “The pit stops were awesome and just the communication with Keith (Rodden, crew chief) and the team all weekend long; same as last week and same as the weekend before in Texas. It’s been solid and we’re heading in the right direction. It’s been really nice. We got a good restart there at the end. I had pretty good starts all day. I screwed one up and other than that, we had good restarts.”

Kevin HarvickFinished 5th: “We started really loose to start the race and got into the wall there and we had to make some more adjustments after I self-adjusted it (laughs). And then, we had a couple of really good runs there in the middle of the race. As we started adjusting on it, we never could get the rear drive to go along with the turns. It’s kind of a balance of where the turn is good enough and you can still manage the drive, but everybody tried everything we could. We threw a lot at it and just never could find that magic balance for the car that we had there in the middle of the race.”

Denny Hamlin — Finished 6th: “Definitely the track was really slick. As you could see the line was all over the race track. So, fun race. The tire did a good job holding up there and had a good fall off. Proud of the whole FedEx Ground team. We fought back from the pit road penalty and good for our teammates there one-two and we were just right there behind them.”

Matt KensethFinished 7th: “I thought the track was okay. There was a little bit more room than there typically was. I never really went for it real far. I got back to about seventh, where we are, and that’s about what I was at the beginning when we had our problems so I could never quite get up there with the best cars. But, it was nice it widened out a little bit.”

Joey LoganoFinished 8th:  “I needed to find a different lane. Every lane I found didn’t work. At the end it started to and I felt like maybe a couple of more restarts and good pit-stops we could have track positioned ourselves to be closer to the front and maybe squeak out a top-five at the end. Taking a car from being the 35th place car to a top-five car throughout a race is quite impressive for what my team was able to do today. It was great teamwork.”

Martin Truex Jr.Finished 9th: “Everyone was fighting the slippery track. It was great for the fans and television viewers, but for the drivers it was a challenge. I was sliding all around with no forward drive. It was difficult to make up time when the tires got hot. At times we were pretty good, but didn’t have the consistency to run closer to the front.”

Brad KeselowskiFinished 11th:  “We were probably a 5th-10th place car and fell back from the strategy but drove up there into about 11th and honestly we just ran out of time.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr.Finished 13th: “We got tight at the end. I don’t know … we couldn’t keep our track position. The car wasn’t turning in the middle. I didn’t like restarting on the bottom that hurt me a little bit. We just couldn’t get the car to turn at the end. The last two runs were real tight. I’m not sure exactly what we should have done to the chassis, but we certainly didn’t keep up with the track there. We did a good job all day long. Greg (Ives, crew chief) was giving me some good adjustments to get the car better. We weren’t that good at the start of the race. We kind of finished where we started. The car was about as good at the end of the race as it was at the beginning. Right in the middle there we had it handling pretty well. All of those debris cautions hurt us. We didn’t have good short run speed. We needed the long runs and didn’t really need that. Those last several cautions kind of tightened the track up on me a little bit. I just wish it would have gone green, but it didn’t.”

Greg BiffleFinished 14th: “We certainly didn’t end up where we were running. We were running mostly around 11th or 12th most of the day and the last couple of restarts we got shuffled back. That happens though. I guess that is racing. I wish we were better than that but we definitely had a better car than 14th which makes you feel good.”

Trevor BayneFinished 17th: “We ran solidly inside the top 15 for much of the day and would’ve finished there if we had a few more laps. I just want to thank all my guys for their hard work. We’ll get after it next week in Talladega.”

Ryan NewmanFinished 18th: “This was definitely not the finish this Grainger team expected, or deserved. We raced solidly in the top 10 until a competitor made contact with us and it cut down our tire with less than 100 laps to go. At first I just thought we had a tire go down but then the team came over the radio and said someone got into us on the restart after watching the replay. At that point all we could do was pit and restart from the 22nd position. We obviously got some of our positions back but certainly not enough. We ran out of laps.”

Tony StewartFinished 19th: “Line them up again and let’s run another, hell, make it 800 laps. Line them up and I’ll run 800 laps right now and not have a problem. There will be a bunch of these guys falling out of the seat if they had to run 800 more laps, but I will not be one of them.”

Austin DillonFinished 20th: “We had a better showing at Richmond International Raceway than we have in the past but there is certainly room for improvement. As a team, we just made too many mistakes today and it affected our overall performance. We had a few issues on pit road but we can work on those. We made a wedge adjustment in the middle of the race that put us behind.”

Paul MenardFinished 22nd: “Track position was important today and we just didn’t have it until the end. The handling of our Chevrolet SS was loose into the turns and tight through the center and despite all the adjustments we made, we were still a little bit off in finding the right balance that we needed.

Danica PatrickFinished 24th: “The Nature’s Bakery Chevy was better on the longer runs today. It just didn’t take off on restarts. I couldn’t be as aggressive with it as I needed to be and ended up losing a bunch of ground each time. (Crew chief) Billy (Scott) made a really great call for us to take the wave-around late in the race. At the end of the day, the car wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either. Tough times don’t last; tough people do. And we just have to keep working at it hard to get to where we need to be.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Finished 26th: “Our Fifth Third Ford was one the fastest cars on the track late in the runs, but we struggled on the short runs,” Stenhouse said. “Our finish definitely didn’t reflect on where we ran for a majority of the race. Hopefully we can get rid of this bad luck soon.”

Ryan BlaneyFinished 28th:  “It was a struggle all day for us. We weren’t very good in the beginning and got a lap down early and short-pitted and that actually worked out well for us. We still ended up a lap down but kind of gained a few spots. We raced hard for the Lucky Dog all day and at one point I thought we had it but they gave it to somebody else which was unfortunate. That made us kind of be on equal tires the rest of the day as we were taking wave arounds. It was just a big struggle today.”