Soutehrn 500

What drivers said after Darlington

1 Comment

Brad Keselowski — Winner: “I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my pit crew. We were running second and that last stop they nailed it and got us out in the lead. I thought Kyle was really good, and he was flat-out flying. I know how it goes. In 2015 we led a bunch of laps and lost it on the last pit stop and today my team won it on the last pit stop. Then it was just about me hitting all my marks and not screwing it up. How cool is this winning in Rusty Wallace’s Throwback car, the Southern 500, Throwback Weekend.”

Joey Logano — Finished 2nd: “We had a good car. We were like a third-place car and whether it was a short run or a long run it didn’t really matter. We made some adjustments there at the end to take off a little bit better, but I didn’t get by the 42 in time to try to run down the 2. We were just matching lap times, so I couldn’t catch him enough. I was just hoping lap traffic would screw it up enough to try to catch him, but one-two for Team Penske, that’s pretty cool. Brad sweeping the weekend, that’s awesome for him to do at Darlington. That’s no easy feat, so congratulations to them. I just keep going back to two restarts to the end. I didn’t have the best of restarts and if I got to second our pit stop was good enough to get us to the lead and give us control and that’s what ultimately won Brad the race was his pit crew that got him out in the lead. Once he was out in the lead, he was gonna be hard to catch. I had a lot of fun on the Throwback Weekend. It’s really cool to drive Steve Park’s car and give it a good run. I wish I got to celebrate with him in Victory Lane and hold up the 1 that he used to drive.”

Kyle Larson — Finished 3rd: “It’s always important to come out the leader off pit road or be the control car on the restart. I felt like if I could have been in clean air, I would have been all right. All day when I would get in traffic I’d get loose. There on that last run I was just really loose and allowed Joey (Logano) to get by. I knew the only really weakness we would have throughout the race was a short run and that’s what it kind of came down to. On long runs, I was just really, really good all race long. That was good. Hat’s off to everybody back at our race shop. This car was extremely fast. We had the dominant car and we proved it. We just came up a little bit short. Thanks to DC Solar and everybody, like I said. It’s nice to show some dominant speed like that and a 1.5-mile like this leading up to the Playoffs.”

Kevin Harvick — Finished 4th: “Darlington just has a lot of ups-and-downs in general just because of the fact that it’s a tough old race track. As a driver, it’s a challenge and a lot of fun. For us, we just could not make the front end of our car work all night and everything we did to try to help it just undid the back and just never could get it right. Track position was bigger here than I’ve ever seen, so we all got to figure that out as a sport.”

Chase Elliott — Finished 5th: “I thought we got it better as the night went along and got to a pretty decent place there and we just so happened to get into a decent place when we had track position as well. Circumstances were pretty good for a course of that run when we ran second and was trying to pace Kyle (Larson) and just felt like I was probably having to work a little too hard to pace him and was really hard on my rear tires and then by the end fell off pretty bad. Have a little work to do, but mistake free night, which is nice and we just got to find the next little step to keep up with that crowd.”

Kurt Busch — Finished 6th: “We’ve got sixth through tenth covered. We had a good car, we just got pinned a lap down with 80 miles to go and that’s happened to me a lot here. We just end up on the wrong sequence and we got pinned a lap down. Then we had some overheating issues. I guess our grille screen – there’s an outer and an inner – and the inner got clogged, so we had to come in. Luckily, the engine held together over 300 degrees, so thanks to Doug Yates and those guys for building the durability and being able to salvage a top-10 finish. Otherwise, engines like that blow up, so thanks to Doug Yates and Ford.”

Kyle Busch — Finished 7th: “We never are very good here. I don’t know what the problem is. Just fought a lot of things and tried to make the most of the effort. We made some good changes on pit road, but just nothing there at the end could free us up for the short run to make our Camry very fast. Hard to make lap time at the end.”

Erik Jones — Finished 8th: “We had a really good car. It’s funny, you look at the last lap time and we were the first or second-fastest car. We just needed a long time to come in. I mean we needed 15 laps to get going and that’s just kind of how it was. I knew if they came down to some short restart stints, it was going to probably hurt us quite a bit unfortunately. The Sport Clips Camry was good. You can’t complain. We worked hard on it all night and had a fast car – had a car that I think if it would’ve stayed green, maybe we could have contended with (Kyle) Larson. You know Larson didn’t win either, so sometimes it’s just not your night to have a shot and tonight wasn’t ours.”

Jamie McMurray — Finished 9th: “I missed the commitment line I guess on one of the green flag stops, so we had to fight to get back on the lead lap like two or three times, but had a really good car. Both of our cars were… Kyle (Larson) was really fast tonight. We had a great car too we just could never get the track position that we needed, but yeah, a really good day.”

Martin Truex Jr. — Finished 11th: ““It’s really disappointing to have a car that good to be up front and have that many troubles on pit road. It’s pretty disappointing. We have to clean it up. Playoffs are coming. We do that in the playoffs and we’ll be out in the second round.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Finished 12th: “Overall, it’s our best career finish and really running the whole race at Darlington. I kept it out of the fence, which was goal number one. We got off two or three runs, which was a bummer because I felt like we were really good the rest of the race. Those three runs just caught us off-guard. That’s a little lack of laps here because I haven’t run many, but it was a good finish for us. I was real happy we were able to get back on the lead lap and pass some good cars and race some good cars there at the end. All in all it was a good weekend.”

Chris Buescher — Finished 13th: “That is a good day for us there. I’m proud of this team and everyone on this Bush’s Best Since 1908 Camaro ZL1. I mean that was a good race. It’s a long race and it’s always fun when you get to run the whole thing and be there at the end. Kind of a wild one with the way it played out with everybody all over the place, but we had a good run. We had one set of tires that corded on us really early and that was strange. Got a little behind there. I think we should have had a better day. Everybody did an excellent job. Everybody with Kroger Clicklist, JTG Daugherty Racing they are putting solid efforts in and we are starting to get some results and even though Bristol didn’t end up the way we wanted to they knew we were there and we were definitely fast. We are sneaking up on it.”

Austin Dillon — Finished 16th: “First, I’d just like to say it was a privilege to drive the ‘Silver Secret’ and honor Dale Earnhardt for NASCAR Throwback weekend at Darlington. The No. 3 American Ethanol e15 Camaro ZL1 showed solid speed today even though we finished 16th. At one point during the first stage, we were the fastest car on the track. Near the end of the stage, I battled to stay on the lead lap and managed to do so even with some contact before the stage break. I battled a loose car during Stage 2. And again, near the conclusion of the stage, I was touched by another car as I fought to stay on the lead lap. Even though I missed staying on the lead lap by a nose, I got the Lucky Dog to start the final stage. Our guys did a great job making repairs to the minor damage. The final stage proved to be a bit more difficult. Unfortunately, we were assessed a penalty for an uncontrolled tire during a pit stop halfway through the stage. Even though we went a couple laps down, we didn’t stop fighting and eventually found ourselves back on the lead lap with less than 25 laps to go. In the end, our finish didn’t represent the team’s effort. We had a better car than 16th and will look to get back on track next week at Indy.”

David Ragan — Finished 18th: “I felt like we struggled a little bit when they dropped the green flag. Our car just wasn’t balanced as good as it could have been, but as the track cooled off we made some pretty good adjustments. We had a little different strategy too and I think it all played out. I’m proud of our Citgard 700 team for overcoming some adversity in practice. We didn’t get a lot of practice, but that was a good recovery and a top-20 finish. We would have liked to gotten a little bit more, but that was a lot of fun.”

RYAN NEWMAN — Finished 19th: “We had another strong start to the weekend by leading final practice and qualifying sixth. When the race started, our Caterpillar Camaro ZL1 was extremely tight so we needed to use our first stop to free us up. For most of the race, we fine tuned our No. 31 with wedge adjustments. Turns 1 and 3 were my biggest issues while we ran loose on longer the green flag runs. Regardless, we raced the majority of the event in the top 10. There were two pit strategies going and we were on the more favorable side with the No. 42. We had an extra set of tires compared to half of the front runners. With about 55 laps to go, it was time to pit. But, before we made it to pit road, we got wrecked. It’s a shame. The Cat Racing team brought me another fast car. We found ourselves three laps down after addressing a tire rub under green, and from there, we hoped for cautions so that we could take the wave around. We got two laps back, but it wasn’t enough. Our bid for the Playoffs comes down to Indy. We have to win, and I’ve done it before when it mattered most.”

William Byron — Finished 35th: “I mean it’s hard to hear, but they don’t really know what happened yet. Overall, we were trying a couple of different strategies out there. The track was really slick. I felt like our car was capable of finishing probably 10th or 11th, which was kind of where we were running. Overall some good positives, tough race track, but wanted to definitely finish this one.”

Clint Bowyer — Finished 36th: I hit the 31 really hard. I don’t know. I guess he was pitting or something and it’s a product of this place, I guess. There are lapped cars that are 50 laps down all over the damn place. That’s pretty frustrating. I’m about tired of that. This track is too narrow for cars to be that far off the pace. You’re in and out of those guys, diving all over the place, trying to navigate around them, trying to figure out where the hell they’re going, and then you come up on somebody trying to actually compete in the race and you’re not on the game — he’s pitting or something and I run over him. I didn’t see him wave, but, like I said, when you come off of two and you pass 37 lapped cars and you get your bearings and everything else – maybe he waved, maybe he didn’t – I didn’t see it. He just stopped right in front of me and I hit him hard. I’m obviously pissed off and frustrated, but it seems to be that way for me every time I come here. We run decent. We had a frustrating night, just mistake after mistake and obviously we ended up wrecked.

Jimmie Johnson — Finished 39th: “Our engine shop is so rock solid, if anything I would be a little nervous for my teammates out there right now that have the same stuff. Sometimes we have material issues and things out of our control that we have seen when one engine goes a bunch go. So, fingers crossed that it doesn’t happen with my teammates. These guys are the best in the business we will be fine next week.”