What drivers said after Watkins Glens race

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Drivers had much to say after Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen, won by Denny Hamlin.

DENNY HAMLIN – WINNER: “I was probably driving a little bit more conservative there after my last-lap shenanigans at Sonoma. I thought, ‘Look don’t overshoot the corner’ and it probably lent itself for them getting closer than they probably should’ve. Just can’t thank my Toyota teammates enough. They came here and tested and gave us a good baseline setup and allowed us to have a car that could win today.”

Joey Logano — FINISHED 2nd: “It’s just awesome, crazy racing, full contact.  Just insane out there.  So a lot of fun from the driver’s seat and I’m sure the fans loved it as well in front of a sold‑out grandstand.  It was pretty cool when I pulled over for the red flag in front of the grandstands and I could hear just fans screaming and yelling and loving it.  I thought, Man, this is really cool to be in the driver’s seat right now. Having those moments, I thought it was neat. Overall our car was really good today.  Driver shot himself in the foot a little bit with getting some damage in the Bus Stop when we were working our way back through the field.  Ripped the splitter up.  That was kind of the beginning of the end.’’

Brad Keselowski – FINISHED 3rd: “I thought we had a really good Miller Lite Ford Fusion and got pushed back on a couple of the restarts. I was trying to sort my way back to the front and just couldn’t quite get there at the end. I got right up to the bumper of (Martin Truex Jr.) and couldn’t do anything there and he made a move to get by (Denny Hamlin) on the inside and (Hamlin) blocked him. I went high and (Truex) went high and by then I was already deep in the corner and got into him and turned him. That was really unfortunate and the last thing I wanted to see. This track here, when you drive into the corner, you commit and sometimes you don’t know what will happen when you commit. The last thing I wanted to do was turn him.”

AJ Allmendinger – FINISHED 4th: “Our last corner there, racing with Kyle (Larson) I just… I can’t say sorry enough. It doesn’t help the case, I spun him out. I didn’t mean to spin him out. (Martin Truex Jr.) was spinning, and I was starting to get my nose under Kyle to try to drag race him to the checkered. He was turning to come back down, but it was my fault. It would be different if we were battling for the win, but I just hate it for him. It’s not going to help to say sorry, I know, I would be pissed off. He should be.”

Tony Stewart – FINISHED 5th: “Yeah, we got some breaks there at the end. But our Haas Automation Chevy was really good. It is so chaotic here. You get under 10 laps and get restarts; you know it’s going to be a crash-fest there. But we were able to survive and got through a couple of them and got a couple of spots there coming to the line. I’ll take a top five here in the last run.”

MARTIN TRUEX, JR. — FINISHED 7th: “Yeah, definitely unfortunate. I wish we could’ve seen what would’ve happened when we got to the start/finish line. I felt like I maybe had (Denny Hamlin) squared up a little bit off (turn) 11 and maybe could’ve drag raced him to the line. It’d have been fun to see, but it was all not to be with getting hit in the left rear. It’s unfortunate, but hard racing at the end, all of us going for a win and all of us locked in the Chase it’s – I guess he (Brad Keselowski) kind of races with that mentality that ‘Hey, it doesn’t really matter where we finish or if we finish,’ so just have to be mindful of that when we’re around him for the rest of the time.”

Jamie McMurray – FINISHED 8th: “We had a really good car. We qualified well and the first run I thought we had a fifth- to eighth-place car, pretty good. I got blocked in on my last pit stop and lost about 20 spots. We did fuel only and we were the 43rd stall. Somebody was coming in and I had to stop. We lost a lot of track position. Honestly, the last couple of laps I probably could have held off the No. 47 and No. 18, but you are kind of point’s racing right now.’’

Trevor Bayne – FINISHED 9th: “This is a good weekend. A fifth (in Saturday’s Xfinity race) and a ninth. That is a good road course weekend for me considering I am not a road course ace. The thought was to try to get better and I think we did that this weekend. We made progress and that is really good. We are excited. Hopefully we can keep getting better at these and contend for a win one day.”

Kurt Busch – FINISHED 11th: “We didn’t quite time the final pit stop to our advantage. We ended up behind and then too many restarts and yellow flags at the end. There is no way to get caught up.  I didn’t drive aggressive enough and the strategy didn’t play out, but the car was underneath us we just got put in a hole.”

Ryan Newman – FINISHED 16th: “Our team never gives up. I hate it that we got behind there when we spun out. I did everything I could and luckily, no one hit us. We stayed out and restarted 28th. We managed to dodge another close call with five laps to go. Our biggest challenge was that we battled tighter than expected track conditions with the new surface. Plus, all the pit strategies and cautions made for an interesting day for all of us. I’m just happy that we were able to battle back and get our team a respectable finish with all things considered.”

Michael McDowell – FINISHED 17th: “The team did a great job all weekend. We had a good qualifying effort with an 11th-place starting spot for the race. The race result was solid but not entirely what we wanted. We’ve progressed a lot in the past few weeks as a team and the results are starting to show.”

Paul Menard – FINISHED 22nd: “Today isn’t what we wanted, but I’m proud of my team for not giving up. We didn’t have an ideal starting position. We tried some things during qualifying that just didn’t work out, so we knew going into today that we had a battle ahead of us. (Crew chief) Danny Stockman and the guys worked hard to get a new setup ready for today. Handling didn’t feel right at the beginning of race, so during the first caution we made a few big changes that really helped. We decided to take a chance and went with a pit strategy that got us to the front. It was a lot of fun to be up there and play the strategy game. The brakes started to give me some trouble near the end, so guys were beating me in the braking zones. It’s something we will go back to the shop and work on.”

Kyle Larson – FINISHED 29th: “We were about a 10th-place car and we were going to get a top five day out of it. We were running sixth coming to (Turn) 7; (AJ Allmendinger) was behind me. He is always aggressive. I figured he would be smart. Obviously, (Martin Truex Jr.) was spinning in front of us. That is a free spot for both of us and just dumped me. He had already ran me down to the front stretch wall once with about 15 to go or so. Pretty dumb move right there too, but I was the smarter one racing for points, lifted, could have wrecked him, but didn’t. I don’t know.  He wrecked me earlier in the year at Vegas. He has ran me hard, but we always race pretty well, but today was flat out stupid.”

Chris Buescher – FINISHED 30th: “That is not how we expected that one to go. We got down to it at the end and were racing through the bus stop and came out of it and I am not sure who but a couple guys went through the dirt and caused a wall that we couldn’t see through. I came through the other side of it and (Kevin Harvick’s) car was sitting there backwards. I tried to get down to avoid it and hooked the splitter in the mud, tucked it under, and got stuck. I was trying to get it where I could drive back around but I had to get out and go through all that. These CSX guys, they worked really hard to get this fixed quickly and got back on track and took the green flag with everybody else there. I am proud of them for that. They did a good job and we were still running there at the end. In the grand scheme of things, from a points standpoint, it was a little bit of a gain but we definitely don’t want to do it like that anymore.”

Austin Dillon – FINISHED 31st: “This definitely wasn’t our day. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up with some damage on the Dow Chevrolet that required a trip to the garage in the middle of the race. When you’re in a tight Chase battle like we are, you have to do everything you can to get back out on track. This Richard Childress Racing team knows how to keep digging. With all the repairs, we only lost four laps. Every lap counts in this championship battle. All the cautions at the end of the race really helped. We made up all but one of our laps. We won’t give up. We’ll regroup over the off weekend and be ready for Bristol.”

KEVIN HARVICK — FINISHED 32nd: “Yeah, I started getting checked-up and I think (David Ragan) hit me from behind and we all just kind of piled in there. I was battling some brake issues and just trying to maintain the brakes, but they got me great track position and up in the front. And then, coming to the yellow that one time, I got into the Speedy Dry and the front tire locked-up and we had to pit. But, we had it where we needed to be. We just got back there and we got tore up.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — FINISHED 38th: “We were just hustling hard on that restart and got loose over the curb and just kind of spun. From that point we were just along for the ride. It looked like everybody scattered and it was probably pretty hard to see. We got hit pretty hard. The guys had a fast car. We had some issues yesterday in qualifying that put us toward the back and we were fighting all day to get back up there.”

Greg Biffle — FINISHED 39th: “It just looked like (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) started wrecking up in front of us. I started slowing up to avoid it. I remember the 24, a vivid memory of him going up and hitting and coming back across. I started slowing up because I wasn’t sure where (Stenhouse) was going. I thought he was coming back across so I started slowing up and got wrecked from behind. They were on both sides of me. They hit me from behind and both sides to send me spinning. It is tough. You can’t see up there.” 

Jimmie Johnson — FINISHED 40th: “Yeah, we had a rough first pit stop and then we were just kind of biding our time and trying to get on a fuel strategy that could benefit us. The cars started checking up in front of me and they all moved out of the way and (Ricky Stenhouse) was sitting there, stopped. I remember seeing a door number and I was so thankful it was the passenger-side door and not the driver-side door because I plowed him. I really hit the car hard. I was afraid that I might have injured him. But, thankfully he’s okay and everybody is all right.”