What drivers said after Kentucky race

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Martin Truex Jr. — Winner: “I thought we were dead (with the overtime). I thought we were done. It’s just – this is completely unbelievable. I’m so excited to win here. It felt like we had a shot last year and it got away from us on fuel mileage and just wanted to win here so so bad after that. This is sweet redemption.“

Kyle Larson — Finished 2nd: “Yeah, I sped on pit road there early.  At the end of that first stage, so it felt very similar to Texas earlier this year. Didn’t get to qualify, had a pit road penalty at the end of the first stage. Went from the back to the front and then we had scuffs on one run and got the balance off pretty bad, but were able to put stickers on and charge back to the front. The Target Chevy was good. Truex though, never got to see him that last run, he was upwards of 15 seconds ahead of us. That was pretty crazy. He has definitely been the fastest car all year. So, got some work to do, but if we can keep chasing him, I think we can beat him.”

Chase Elliott — Finished 3rd: “I had a really good roll there. Got to the bottom of the No. 77 (Erik Jones) and got far enough up next to him to get underneath him into (Turn) 1 and that got us a couple more spots there which was nice. From where we started the night to where we ended up was a big improvement with our Napa Chevrolet. Happy we could just execute well tonight.”

Denny Hamlin — Finished 4th: “We were seventh I think before the caution, but good stops, fast car all day. Had a speeding penalty early and was able to rebound from that, so pretty proud of it. Overall pretty good day for our FedEx Camry team. Just got to keep chipping away and keep knocking on the door and our opportunity will come.”

ERIK JONES — Finished 6th: “It was a good night for us. You know we just – we didn’t have the track position all night and it was kind of unfortunate. I think we had a car that probably could’ve ran up with the 78 and the 18 at times. We’re just kind of fighting from behind from all – from our starting spot. Just work from behind with that and finally got some track position at the end for that last restart. I spun the tires some and got split, so it’s unfortunate but it’s a good day for us. A good top 10.”

Jamie McMurray — Finished 7th: “I had a really good car. We got behind at the start of the last segment. I had a little bit of a slow pit stop and then I don’t know why, it seemed like it was not easy to pass at the beginning, but easier than at the start of that last segment. It was just kind of follow the leader for like 40 laps. But had a really good car on the long run. Had a good strategy there at the end and solid day… just needed a little bit more.”

Joey Logano — Finished 8th: “We got a P8 out of a car that was probably not much better than 13th or 14th. We just have to get faster. The 78 and 18 were just – we aren’t even close. What I am trying to say is that we were really slow and need to get faster. That is the biggest thing. We need to pick up some speed. We just were scrapping, trying to get what we can. The team did a good job at least trying to scrap up something out of it but we just have to get faster than that.”

Kevin Harvick — Finished 9th: “I guess I just tried to push it too hard on pit road and wound up getting a speeding ticket at the wrong time. Luckily there were only nine cars on the lead lap and we were able to salvage a top-10 finish out of the night.”

Ryan Blaney — Finished 10th: “It was a long night for sure. I thought we started off okay but we just lost the handling there pretty early and lost track position. I made it worse by speeding. We made a good call to stay out and get some track position back but we were falling off the pace pretty bad. We fought hard and never gave up though and ended up 10th. Not the night you want by any means. We need to go back and try to improve on it a lot. I think we battled back and the finish is not bad for how the night went.”

Darrell Wallace Jr. — Finished 11th: “That was cool. We kept improving. Each and every time on the race track, each and every race. We kept improving, I kept improving. I am getting more and more comfortable with these cars. When we fired off there and ended the race I was like, ‘Hell yeah, we are eighth or ninth!’ I forgot we were a lap down and was like, ‘damn’. I was pumped. It was a good day. I am having a great time in the Monster Energy Cup Series. Hopefully there will be more.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. — Finished 12th: “Well, it was good. We had some runs that were really good. We had some runs that we were kind of average, but for the most part we had a pretty quick car. We didn’t have anything for (Martin Truex Jr.) and the top five, but I kept all the guys from sixth on back in front of me within sight. Just didn’t really get great track position all night. We were trying a strategy with our pit stops and it was working against us completely. The cautions were coming out at such poor times for us. We needed a couple of those cautions not to come out. It cost us a little bit of track position.”

Clint Bowyer — Finished 13th: “Our night wasn’t all the best. We needed to be better. We struggled off the truck. I wasn’t exactly pumped about the handling but we fought hard. We got some track position there and showed some promise and then the start of that last run, those last two runs I was junk. Total junk. I just lost too much track position.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Finished 14th: “Track position was crucial. I would get behind a car and then couldn’t do anything. We will go back to the drawing board and try to improve some more on our intermediate program. We will take the top-15 finish and move on to Loudon which has been a good track for us in the past.”

Danica Patrick — Finished 15th: “We weren’t as good as we needed to be at the start, but by the end of the race, I was honestly wishing we had more laps, because I think we could have had an even better finish tonight. All in all, it was a great result for our team, so we’ll take it and move on to New Hampshire.”

Chris Buescher — Finished 16th: “We just got down a lap early and had to fight hard to get that back. Everybody did a good job to get that. We got back on the lead lap and I felt like we were contending for a, well inside the top 20 there. Kept it clean at the end, a little bit of craziness, but at the end of the night that was okay. Another decent run and something to build off of.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 19th: “It was a long night at Kentucky Speedway, but the Dow team definitely showed they have determination. At one point we were two laps down but we were able to come back onto the lead lap and into the top 15. We tried a little of everything – fuel mileage, big chassis changes, different lines around the track. No one ever gave up. We were able to post the fastest lap times for a few laps but the race leader was just unbelievably fast so I’m not sure what they are doing.”

Paul Menard — Finished 21st: “I have to thank Matt Borland and all of the guys on the No. 27 Sylvania/Menards Chevrolet. They worked hard on this car all weekend to put us in a position to race. We kept adjusting on it each stop, got the free pass once, took the wave around a couple of times and fought hard. Luckily, we avoided that wreck at the end and brought home a clean race car. We’ll take what we learned tonight and apply it moving forward.”  
Ryan Newman — Finished 22nd: “We struggled on Friday in practice and had to change a motor, forcing us to start from the back tonight. But, we battled back pretty quickly and got the car handling fairly well toward the end of the first stage. Luke Lambert got me the track position I needed with a good pit strategy, but unfortunately our No. 31 Caterpillar Chevy struggled to keep up. At the end during the long green-flag stretch I didn’t have the best handling car, but we’ll use these notes for the next intermediate track race.”

Kurt Busch — Finished 27th: “I sputtered off of Turn 4 and when I looked at the fuel gauge, it was fine. And then it was like everything was welding itself together. I was just trying to nurse it home and it just didn’t quite get all the way back. I think it just shucked the pinion and it had no power after that. It burned up a gear one lap from the finish. I hate that I’m that guy that jukes up the whole system with throwing a yellow with one to go.”

Ty Dillon – Finished 33rd: “After the brake trouble we had early tonight, this GEICO Chevrolet SS team ended up really on a different mission tonight. We made the most of our laps and gained some information for our mile and a half program. If we could come back and run this race again tomorrow, there would be a much better outcome for this team.”

Trevor Bayne — Finished 37th: “I hate that that happened. We were making our way forward with our Roush Performance Products Ford and were knocking on the door of the top-10 before we got all that damage. I hate that we won’t get the result we deserve but we will recover and rebound. This team never gives up and we will get after it again next week in New Hampshire.”

Kasey Kahne — Finished 38th: “It was just a restart, I had a run on the No. 6 and I got under him getting into Turn 1 down the front stretch and he just drove over my front end, pretty simple.”

Brad Keselowski — Finished 39th:  “I just got in an aero wake and it pulled me around. I knew I was in a bad spot. I was trying to lay up but there is only so much you can lay up here because you get ran over from behind. The air pulled me around. It sucks. I feel bad for everyone on the Miller Lite Ford team and I think I tore up two or three other guys and that sucks for them. I don’t know. It is kind of a tough spot to be in on these tracks where they are kind of one groove. You can’t just lay up every time. You give up too many spots or get ran over from behind. If you drive in with someone close to you the car just spins out. It just sucks but it is what it is. We have to find a way around it and we didn’t today.”

Jimmie Johnson — Finished 40th: “It’s just dicey on the restarts. But we had a strong Lowe’s Chevrolet. I hate it for the guys that we didn’t get a better finish. The car felt great. I feel like we were probably in the position for a good top five tonight with all things considered. But, the No. 2 car (Brad Keselowski) got into the corner and he was sideways before we got there. I feel like the car on the outside of him left him some room. But then, talking to Brad inside (the care center), he said he was just sideways before he ever got to the corner. And I thought I almost had him missed. I really thought I had him missed and I just clipped him with my right front. It broke something in the suspension and took me into the fence.”

What drivers said after Coca-Cola 600

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Kyle Busch – Winner: “It’s awesome. I mean I’ve dreamt of that – not only winning here and winning the Coke 600 as a kid and being in victory lane here for this race, but to just be a force that people got to be reckoned with, you know. I go across the country and race Super Late Models because I want to win at every single race track. I just want to show that there is no weakness. My guys have given me that chance here tonight and being able to get to victory lane with this M&M’s Toyota – it sure looks pretty in victory lane here tonight. I definitely want to give a shoutout to all of our men and women, all the service men and women across the world past and present, fallen and of today’s heroes – we had (SGT) Eric Toth with us here and his family riding along with us this weekend, so that was a pleasure. Got to meet up with them earlier and spend some time, so that was really cool.”

Martin Truex Jr. – Finished 2nd: “I mean we definitely gained some ground that last run, but I think (Busch) might have just been taking care of it. Just definitely just a battle-back night for us. The speeding penalty and then the pit road penalty right after that in just two stops. It really hurt us and it’s hard to pass – hard to come from behind with these cars right now with the flat splitters and everything they’ve done to them the past month and a half or so. It was good to be able to get back up to second. I thought we had the second-best car all night. I don’t think anybody had anything for that 18. He was stout. We gained a little on him that last run under green, but like I said, I think he was just taking care of it a little bit.”

Denny Hamlin – Finished 3rd: “We’re third or fourth best every week.  That’s frustrating.  But it could be 35 spots worse.  We’ve just got to ‑‑ we just need two or three tenths a lap.  It seems like that’s kind of what I’m off, and I just can’t get the speed out of the car.  I was just handling a certain way, and it’s just a razor’s edge for us.  We’re either really good or we’re average at best.”

Brad Keselowski – Finished 4th: “I thought the 78 (Truex) was really strong, him and the 18 (Busch) were probably pretty close. I don’t know, he had some kind of issues that kept holding him back, but they were just in another league. I ran as hard as I could tonight and the team did a great job the last few stops to put us in a position and that was just kind of what we had. We’ll go back to the drawing board and try to find some more speed. If we keep this execution that we had tonight, then we’ll get some wins, but we’ve got to have more speed.”

Jimmie Johnson – Finished 5th: “It feels good, but damn I want to win. I’m tired of running fifth, I’m tired of running whatever it is. We got off on some adjustments today and it was amazing how sensitive the car was with some minor adjustments the car just lost half a second. We had a hard time trying to grasp it and understand it and communicate about it. We put it back to the way it was and it took off and I drove right back up into the top three. Just a very small sweet spot with the car. Luckily, we finished in that sweet spot and got a good finish out of it, including a spin and we had a jack break on a stop. We had to overcome a lot tonight. Really proud of these guys. Wish that I could have got this special paint scheme into Victory Lane with the soldier we were carrying on the car today.”

Jamie McMurray – Finished 6th: “Yeah, I don’t know what was wrong with the tires we had two sets that they felt loose like it shook so bad that I pitted that one time under green and then we had a real short run and I had to pit again. I was just positive they were loose, but they said there was nothing wrong, but it was shaking so bad I mean I was scared so I went ahead and pitted. But, we had a really good car and we’ve come a long way, especially the Chevy’s from the beginning of the year 1.5-miles. I think in less than a month we will contend to win. That is a good feeling.”

Kyle Larson – Finished 7th: “I’m bummed I gave up some track position when I got into the wall, but I was glad to see our team stay with it and come back for a top-10 finish tonight. Our DC Solar Chevy was pretty good all night, but we had to adjust on it throughout the race to stay ahead of some vibrations in the rear of the car. We had a shake to start the race, and I think that’s what upset me when I got into the wall, but we were able to work around it. This hasn’t been a great race for me, so glad to see us come away with a good finish tonight.”

Kurt Busch – Finished 8th: “We just didn’t do anything spectacular tonight. We had one really good restart, but we were positioned for restarting fourth. We struggled on pit stops the first half of the race, but the second half they cleaned them up and we kept up with the track as best we could. We just didn’t have any short-run speed that was stellar. We didn’t have any long-run speed that was stellar. We kind of just did everything as a top 10 team would do and I’m glad we put the Haas Automation Ford in eighth. We’ll have to keep fighting.”

Alex Bowman – Finished 9th: “Yeah, for sure, to qualify 27th and finish ninth it was definitely a good night. I feel like it was way more pit crew than anything. My pit crew they killed it on pit road all night. They did a great job and got us a couple of spots on that last green flag stop. Extremely proud of those guys. Greg (Ives, crew chief) made good calls from on top of the box and our car was much better than it had been all week. Happy for that. I really like this place, so hopefully when… well I guess we are coming back to the ROVAL, so it doesn’t really matter, but hopefully next year we run a little better here.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – Finished 10th: “I’m real happy. I think we were a little concerned, even though the package wasn’t the same as the All-Star Race, I feel like we made some gains for the 1.5-mile program this year. I felt like this is about where we were last year at this time, so for us to start the year off from where we did last year, I feel good that we’re headed in the right direction. It’s never as fast as you want. It was a tough battle for us out there. We were really good the first two stages and made an adjustment and was off for two runs – a full stage and had to fight back to get that track position. All in all, it was a good day to come back.”

Chase Elliott – Finished 11th: “Thought we were better than we have been lately, which is nice. I just hit the wall towards the end and it ended up costing us, I think, the finish we deserved.”

Clint Bowyer – Finished 12th: “It’s frustrating. You come here and it’s a long race, and what a weird race. It was like we had track position and cars were way back and laps down and then all the wrecks opened the door for them to get the laps back. Then we lost track position on tires there and kind of halfway got it back, but it was just a frustrating weekend altogether, really.”

Aric Almirola – Finished 13th: “We just missed it. The first half of the race was pretty good for us and then we missed an opportunity to pit there when we kind of stayed out on older tires and we were one of the last couple cars on old tires, and we went from running in the top five or six to finishing that third stage in 17th and then that’s kind of the end of the night. That last run went green, so I hate it. We had extra tires laying in the pits, but they didn’t do us any good.”

Daniel Suarez – Finished 15th: “It was a decent finish with our Interstate Batteries Camry. The guys did a good job working on the racecar, but the car didn’t have a lot of speed. We had a 14th- or 15th-place car at times. We had issues with a vibration and lost two laps, but we were able to overcome that, but it took us a long time because we didn’t have a lot of speed. We have to go back home, work hard and try to get better and see what happens at Pocono.”

Ty Dillon – Finished 21st: “I’ve been telling everyone all season that we’re constantly growing and improving as a race team, and we certainly showed everyone that this weekend. We had speed on Thursday and had our best qualifying effort of the year. We worked hard in practice on Saturday and felt really good about our chances in the race. There were definitely challenges throughout the night, but it was a good race for us in comparison to other mile and a half tracks we have run this year. I ran on the lead lap for most of the night, even battling back to get our lap back in Stage 3, and our GEICO Military Camaro ZL1 had a pretty good balance under the lights. There is obviously still more work to be done, but we’re going to keep digging and getting stronger every week.”

Ryan Blaney – Finished 36th: “We had a cylinder let go maybe around lap 150 and we were just trying to limp it home. When they go that early you don’t expect it to last all race, but it lasted a lot longer than I thought and then it finally let go into one there. That stinks. I thought we had a really good car. I would have liked to see how the race would have progressed for us, but we won’t see that anymore. Hopefully, we can go out and have a good run at Pocono and then at Michigan.

William Byron – Finished 39th: “We just were really loose and just trying to make the top work. I just got loose, the car came around and hit the wall and then we had a bunch of damage. It started rubbing on the tire and then it wasn’t rubbing on the tire, it was cleared, but it just felt like something broke going into (Turn) 3 and we just hit the wall again and then we had an electrical issue. Unfortunate, but we will go to Pocono and figure it out there.”

Kevin Harvick – Finished 40th: “We stood in the garage and looked at it and I can’t tell if we ran something over. There’s enough things that could have happened right there, but I’m just really proud of everybody on our Mobil 1/Busch Ford. The car was really, really fast. We came all the way through the pack and made it up into the top three there and sometimes those things happen. I can’t complain about anything that’s happened this year. We have to take the good with the bad. The guys did a great job in basically guessing at where the car needed to be today with all the penalties, no practice and starting in the back. To come out and have the fastest car again was quite an honor to drive and they’re doing a great job. It was just bad luck.”

Martin Truex Jr. charges to second place in Coke 600 despite pit issues

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CONCORD, N.C. — The only reason Martin Truex Jr. didn’t get a shot at celebrating his second Coca-Cola 600 win was because the guy who finished in front of him – Kyle Busch – was “flawless.”

That’s how Truex’s crew chief, Cole Pearn, described Busch’s night.

Truex’s 600 miles were anything but.

The No. 78 Toyota finished second in Sunday night’s race despite qualifying 15th and suffering consecutive pit road penalties, for speeding on Lap 203 and an uncontrolled tire on Lap 227.

The speeding penalty came after Truex entered and exited the pits in second.

Then there was the pit guns.

Pearn told NBC Sports the team went through three pit guns during the 400-lap race. One mishap resulted in the second penalty.

“The gun screwed up on the right rear and the front (tire) changer left and left the tire sitting there, cause usually the rear carrier comes to get it,” Pearn said. “But we went through three guns tonight … The whole reason we got the uncontrolled tire was cause the gun screwed up.”

Truex said the pit gun problem was “one of those freak things” where it reversed on the changer as he was hitting the fifth lug nut and he had to manually switch it back.

The No. 78 also had one unsecured lug nut following the race.

Even with the issues, Truex said it was a “solid day overall” for his team, which earned its third consecutive top five.

As for the speeding penalty?

“I can’t wait to see the time,” Truex said. “It couldn’t have been much. But I just hit some of those bumps a little bit wrong and got going a little too fast and tapped the brake just a split second too late. I typically don’t get a lot of speeding penalties, so Cole won’t ride my butt too hard this week about it.”

Truex said his team “cleaned it up well” after that.

The final restart came with 93 laps to go and Truex restarting eighth. With 55 to go he was in second, but lost multiple spots during green flag stops.

But he was back in second with 34 to go.

That’s when Pearn and his team started “praying” for a restart.

“I thought we were really equal to them the last few runs of the race,” Pearn said. “It was just a matter of track position and chasing from behind.”

Two years after Truex led 392 laps to capture his Coke 600 win, Busch led 377 while sweeping all four stages.

It was also the first time Truex hadn’t led a lap in the race since 2014.

“At the end of the day, we ran second,” Truex said. “He kicked everybody’s tail. That’s just the way it goes.”

Points after Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

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Kyle Busch padded his NASCAR Cup points lead by winning all three stages of the Coca-Cola 600 and the race.

Busch added eight playoff points to his total as a result of this performance and now has 25 playoff points to Kevin Harvick‘s 24.

Joey Logano is second in the standings – 67 points behind Busch.

The battle for the final transfer position into the playoffs got even tighter as Chase Elliott and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. have 296 points apiece. Elliott finished 11th in the Coke 600; Stenhouse finished 10th.

Click here for the full points report.

Results, stats for Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

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Kyle Busch dominated the Coca-Cola 600 and became the first driver in NASCAR history to win on every track where he has competed.

Busch won all three stages and paced the field for 377 of the 400 laps.

Martin Truex, Jr. finished second and was able to close the distance slightly during the final stage as Busch seemingly managed the gap between the two.

Denny Hamlin finished third to score his third consecutive top five at this track and his 14th top 10 in the last 16 Charlotte races.

Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top five.

This was the second top five earned by Johnson this season.

Click here for full results.