What drivers said after Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard

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From the race to the heat to the wrecks, drivers had a lot to say after Sunday’s Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Here are some of their comments:

Kyle Busch – Winner: “No, I guess I didn’t. I hoped it would be like that and be that good. This Skittles Camry was awesome; I can’t thank everyone from Skittles enough and everyone from M&M’s and their 75th anniversary year this season with us. Of course, Interstate Batteries. This Toyota was awesome today; it was just so fast and able to get out front and stay out front. Not even some of my teammates could challenge. This thing was hooked up and on rails. I can’t say enough about Sprint and everything they’ve done for our sport. Of course the fans – thank everyone for being here and everyone watching on TV – you guys are awesome. We appreciate all of our partners at Joe Gibbs Racing. Adam Stevens (crew chief) and these guys are a phenomenal group, and I’m proud to be with them. It’s fun to come out here and have such a dominant piece at Indy. They don’t come along often, so I was just hoping I didn’t screw it up.”

Matt Kenseth – Finished 2nd: “It didn’t seem like it (if he had anything late in the race for teammate Kyle Busch). We never got in front of him all day, and the clean air is always really big here. It was a great day for our Dollar General Camry. We did not have a good Friday, did not have a good Saturday and pretty respectable Sunday. We were pretty competitive all day, just never got quite to the lead to see what we had.”

Jimmie Johnson – Finished 3rd: “It says a lot (rallying back to finish 3rd). We’ve been working really hard to get our cars where they need to be. We’re still not happy, but we’re getting closer. I’m very proud of the effort today. Unfortunately, a mistake on my part in that second segment, trying to get in the pits I got dinged for speeding and then rallied from like 24th back. So, I’m just very proud of this race team, and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports and I’m very proud to run this red car and represent all the men and women who work in Lowe’s stores all around the country. We got third, but I wish we would have gotten a win.”

Denny Hamlin – Finished 4th: “(Our race) was great, our FedEx Camry was great it got through traffic well as you saw going back to 20th with that penalty and driving to the front. Proud of the effort by our whole FedEx Camry team. It’s disappointing to just get a top-five. We had aspirations to come here and win. Like I said, you have to be perfect in every part of the race team, especially on race day to win these races, especially track position races, and we just had one big mistake on pit road, and we at least came back and got a top-five.”

Kyle Larson – Finished 5th: “I don’t know that I was expecting much more than a top five, really. I didn’t know we’d have that speed in our car. And we were probably a fifth or seventh-place car. But I was able to get some good restarts there at the end. It was just a solid day for the whole Target team. The Energizer Chevy was good from the start, which helps. We qualified good for once, and it was just a solid weekend. It was a good one.”

Kevin Harvick – Finished 6th: “Yeah, I thought I had a flat tire, and the car was just really tight.  I am kind of disappointed there at the end; I was in a pretty good spot and on the restart the pace car was consistently going way too slow.  It’s unfortunate they can’t correct small problems like that.  I just couldn’t get going and got the No. 78 (Martin Truex, Jr.) and the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) in front of us and wound up on the outside and then we were just treading water from there.  But, all-in-all everybody did a good job, we are definitely off a little bit.”

Joey Logano – Finished 7th: “It just was not good (his last restart) I had a decent restart the first time, and the second one I probably had just as good of a restart, but the 20 got underneath me and I was kind of stuck from that point and kind of fell into the clutches of the tires behind me. I was trying to stay down and be where I needed to be to get in front of them, but they just kept turning underneath me. I hate that we finished seventh, but it’s probably where we deserved to finish from a speed point of view. I thought our execution went very well today to give us an opportunity to win, but we couldn’t quite get it done when it mattered.”

Martin Truex Jr. — Finished 8th: “They were wrecking all over the place on those restarts and that was costly for us. Our Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota was fast all day, but being caught in the outside lane for those restarts at the end really hurt our chances.”

Austin Dillon – Finished 9th: “Solid day.  We struggled getting track position. We had one of the fastest cars during the middle of the race. We really had to work hard to get up through there.  Restarts … we struggle man. I got to get going on those restarts.  I tried something on that last one, but it hurt me a little bit. I was able to get a bunch of it back and finish kind of where we were supposed to finish. I’m proud of my guys. We can keep working on this and see what we can do going forward. Good points day, too.”

Tony Stewart – Finished 11th: “When we got the checkered, we just didn’t want to come in quite yet. I wanted to run one more lap, and Jeff was around us. Before that last green run, I told my spotter to go get his spotter and said after this thing is over, we needed to go a lap around here together because it’s likely the last time we’ll get both a chance to do that. I couldn’t think of a better guy to share that with than Jeff … This has been the most relaxing Brickyard I’ve ever had and probably the most fun I’ve ever had in the Brickyard. It was nice to win those two races, but it was stressful to do it. We really enjoyed it, had a lot of fun from start to finish … (As for his finish) I really did the team wrong here.  I got a penalty on the last stop, and that is a green flag stop that turned into a yellow and got us a lap down.  But we fought and got our lap back. So, fought back and got something respectable out of this.  Didn’t leave anything out there.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Finished 12th: “It wasn’t a bad day. This was definitely our best Indy performance across the board – qualifying, practices, the race. We still have a lot of work to do. We know where we need to work, we just have to make sure we get that and I think it will translate to all of the other racetracks we go to. The flatter race tracks we struggle at, so at Pocono next week we can hopefully get some ideas to help with turn two and turn three because that’s the biggest key for us is to get our car through the corner and off. I felt good with everybody on entry and through the center I just need to get a little bit better, but it was nice to come home with the Sunny D Ford in 12th.”

Jeff Gordon – Finished 13th: “Better than last year, it didn’t go very well and it was a fight, wow. The challenge to be out there against the best, especially on those restarts – I got my butt kicked on those restarts and it’s embarrassing – while I was filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and I hope he’s doing well, but I need a fill-in on restarts. … I’m going to need some practice on restarts for Pocono (next week’s race, where he’ll also fill in for Earnhardt). On one hand, I’m relieved that this is over. On the other hand, I would have liked it to go a little better. And a thank you to Tony Stewart, it meant a lot to me that he wanted me to make that last lap with him. … (Is Pocono his last race) “Whew!  It it’s this hot, I hope so!  My thing is that I can’t wait to talk to Dale Junior and debrief him on how today went and see how he’s doing. I want him in the car as soon as possible.  I’m too old to be doing this stuff. But to come here and do this race and finish a decent 13th, I think I can do better next week for him and then we’ll just go from there.

Chris Buescher – Finished 14th: “It was a good finish for us. We had a couple things finally go our way and stayed out of the wrecks in front of us. It is nice to have a little bit of luck and decent speed. We worked hard this weekend and got it close. It got better through the weekend and it is my first time in a Cup car here at Indy so we will definitely take that finish.”

Brad Keselowski – Finished 17th: “It was a long, hard day. We just weren’t quite as fast as the Gibbs’ cars, but we were competitive.  I had a shot at it at the end when we came in and put tires on, but got caught up when the 19 spun out.  I thought we actually had a shot at winning it and kind of stealing one on tires, but when that wreck happened it took away any shot we had.  There was too much damage, but that’s just part of it.  There was nowhere to go, but that’s definitely not the result we wanted for sure.”

Kasey Kahne – Finished 18th: “We had pretty good restarts throughout the race, but just real tight and we never really could get it out of it except after the tires would wear out it would free up just off tires getting hotter.  We were just tight all day.”

Carl Edwards – Finished 35th: “It felt like I just got tight. Got down there, and whoever was on the outside of me. If indeed that’s what happened, I apologize. That’s pretty frustrating. I don’t know if I came down or they came up, but it felt like I got in there and scrubbed that right front. I was having a lot of trouble the first corner on the outside. I thought it would stick when went down there. It’s hard for everyone who got caught up in it. That’s tough.”

Ryan Blaney – Finished 36th: “I didn’t really see much (his wreck). I unfortunately got back there, and I didn’t see who got together. I thought I was by it and then the 31 spun out and I didn’t have anywhere to go. I’ll have to rewatch it on replay, but it stinks. I thought we had a decent car. We kind of put ourselves in a hole and we were trying to fight back from that and this just made a bad day worse. We’ll just go to Pocono next week and try to get better.”

David Ragan – Finished 37th: “We just blew a left rear tire and slapped the wall. We were okay. We never just could get the track position. I felt like we had a top-25 car. We raced there in the mid-to-high 20s and just without a lot of cautions – a lot of opportunities to work on our race car – we were just kind of stuck. It’s really hard to pass here and felt like our Brandeis Toyota was okay. We could race around some decent cars, but just never could have the track position to really see what we could do. … Ran over something and cut a tire on the front straightaway. Tried to get it slowed down and just couldn’t slow it down quick enough.”

AJ Allmendinger – Finished 38th: “The No. 6 car (Trevor Bayne) was just kind of slow off Turn 4. I was trying to time it. He was just kind of in the way, so I just tried to time it a little bit and make the pass. I just nicked him as I went by with my right-front. Honestly, I didn’t think anything of it and evidently it poked a hole in the radiator when it did it. Barely had any damage to the car so I’m not sure why it got the radiator so bad, but lost water pressure and it blew up. … I think there are positives. I think we can get the back of our cars really good when we focus on that. Got to keep working on the front of the car. It would have been fun. I was finally having fun there working on the race car.”

Greg Biffle – Finished 39th: “We blew a right-front tire and went straight into the fence. We were either real loose or real tight, and we just couldn’t get the balance right. We’ve just got to get them to turn a little better. … I don’t know what happened.  The right-front went down at the end of the straightaway.  That’s the worst possible place, but unfortunately, it happened. We were a little bit tight on that run, and it’s just toast.” … (The heat) wasn’t that bad, really. I was doing pretty good.”

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