Kentucky MENC Quotes - Ford, Toyota and Chevrolet
Postrace Quotes from Toyota, Chevrolet, and Ford after the Quaker State 400 MENC race at Kentucky Speedway on July 8, 2017
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 78 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
When everyone else pitted, what were you thinking?
“I thought we were dead. 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. I got to say hi to Sherry (Pollex) back home. She didn’t make it this weekend, so I love you babe. And all these awesome fans, thank you guys so much for coming out. What an awesome crowd. I hope they enjoyed it and that was a whole lot of fun. “
When you have a dominant car like you did, how worried are you in those final 100 laps?
“Worried every lap waiting for a caution. Especially at the end. You’re counting them down – you know 30, the last 30, the last 20, the last 10 and then you get inside of five and you’re like oh my god, there’s no way there’s not going to be a caution and sure enough there was. Fortunately able to hold them off. This thing was just so stout tonight. A good push from (Kyle) Larson helped us a bunch.”
What were you thinking when everyone behind you went to pit after that last caution?
“I can’t say enough about him (Cole Pearn). This whole team and everybody back in Denver. Everybody at Furniture Row, Denver Mattress, all of our partners, Bass Pro Shops, WIX, Tracker Boats, 5-Hour Energy. Who’d I miss? Toyota, TRD – unbelievable engine obviously. Just got to thank all of those guys. Barney (Visser) - lucky we got an awesome car owner who lets us do our thing. This guy (Cole Pearn) runs one hell of a show.”
This wasn’t just a win, was it a statement?
“Yeah, for sure, it was awesome. Can’t leave out Auto Owners Insurance. We won one with them this year. This is the first win with Furniture Row on the car this year so thanks to everybody in Denver, all those folks. All the fans, they were awesome up there, screaming and yelling. I could definitely feel their energy. Most importantly hi to Sherry (Pollex) again. She’s back home. Couldn’t make it this weekend. We love you babe and can’t wait to see you again at the race track.”
You went from having a 16-second lead to having a green-white-checkered finish, what was going through your mind after that last caution?
“I thought we were done. Honestly, we had such a – just such a good race car I think my main concern was just trying to get out front. If I could get to the lead I thought I’d be okay. Got to thank (Kyle) Larson. He gave me a heck of a shove. I kind of waited until late in the restart zone just hoping I’d get a push cause I knew I was going to be struggling and then there was a lot of speed driving down on that bottom groove. I thought that might play into it and I think that helped us a little bit. I was able to clear Kyle (Busch) into one and then the rest was history.”
Were all the near misses this season going through your mind in the closing laps?
“You try to lap everybody you can, just so they don’t come back and beat you on tires at the end for some crazy strategy. For us tonight, the car was just so good. I got so worried that when that caution came out with two to go that we were going to be in trouble. I’m just glad I was able to hold on for these guys and everybody on this team that put so much effort into this and into what we do and gives me such awesome race cars to drive. Glad I could hold up my end of the deal and we’re going to celebrate a little bit here tonight.”
Is there anything stopping the 78 right now?
“Not right now there aint – other than luck.”
COLE PEARN, crew chief, No. 78 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing
The energy right now is all around the 78…
“Yeah, we’re a fun bunch. We work really hard and everybody enjoys it. I know everybody in the shop is probably yelling and screaming at their tv right now. It takes everybody. We’re real fortunate. It’s like a family and when you can win with family it makes it that much more special.”
This wasn’t just a win, was this a statement?
“I don’t know. I mean I think it’ll be a statement if we go to win Loudon next week and shut ‘em up about the mile and a half thing. Hopefully we’re holding some lobster next week, but we’ll enjoy this one for sure.”
FORD FINISHING RESULTS
11thDarrell Wallace Jr.
14thRicky Stenhouse Jr
JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil/Autotrader Ford Fusion (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, No. 4 Busch Light Ford Fusion (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, No. 21 , No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion (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., No. 43 Smithfield Ford Fusion (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 run for our Smithfield Ford. We had a lot of fun tonight. We just fell off a lot, a lot more than the other guys. We are trying to balance that out. We took a two-tire strategy there that kind of hurt us. We fell back on that one restart. We were able to manage and maintain and work out some track position on that green-flag stop and we were 14th and fired off right around there for the last restart and was able to hang on. It was a good day. I am having a great time in the Monster Energy Cup Series. Hopefully there will be more.”
DARRELL WALLACE JR. CONTINUED: HOW IMPORTANT WERE THE RESTARTS? “So big. I learned my lesson at Michigan running halfway aggressive. I didn’t give anybody any breaks on these restarts. I may have pissed a couple people off but oh well. I needed to do what I needed to do to keep our track position. The repaves make it really tough for passing so you want to get all you can on restarts.”
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS NOW? “I am going to drive up to Michigan in the morning. Amanda is having a family reunion in the morning. It will be cool to hang out with them. I don’t know what is next for next weekend. I might get a call, I might not. If not, best of luck to Aric and the 43 team. I will play a lot of golf and try to get better at that. I will be on some phone calls trying to get something. I won’t be gone too long, at least I hope not. It is a bittersweet moment.”
CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion (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. Bugga and all the guys worked hard to get me fixed up for the race. We got some track position there and showed some promise and then the start of that last run, those last two runs I as junk. Total junk. I just lost too much track position. It is like you adjust to be up front in the clean air and free up and get better and keep freeing up to get better and get in better air and then all of a sudden you get in the back, adjusted to the front and you are in big trouble.”
KURT BUSCH, No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford Fusion (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 now 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. It was long green flag run and I thought we were going to be okay with our Haas Automation Ford. Just a bummer. We didn’t need that one.”
TREVOR BAYNE, No. 6 Roush Performance Ford Fusion: Accident on lap 94
“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.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion: Accident on Lap 87
WHAT HAPPENED? “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 everytime. 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.”
“I just wrecked it. It stinks. I got loose into three. I was underneath the 14. I was trying to lay up and give room but just spun out as soon as I got anywhere near the corner. I wrecked myself and a bunch of other guys. It is part of it I guess, but not a part that you have to like. It is part of the deal when you race at these types of tracks where it is one groove with this car and the way it is designed. You have to find a way around it and I didn’t find a way around it.”
YOU SEEM VERY FRUSTRATED: “It is frustrating. We weren’t as fast as we wanted to be today. That is always frustrating. I am probably as much frustrated with myself as I am frustrated with the situation and frustrated with the sport that we can’t design a better car than this that you can race without having to do everything on the restart. That is all part of it I guess. It is where we are right now.”
YOU SAID ONE GROOVE, DID THE TIRE DRAGON HELP AT ALL? “They made a good effort. It was better than nothing but there are limitations. The way this car is, it needs a lot more help than a Tire Dragon. It is a poorly designed race car and it makes racing on tracks like this very difficult to put on the show we want to put on for our fans. You do what you can to gauge and claw on the restarts and get everything you can get. You have to put yourself in bad situations to do that and that is where we were. If you don’t make those moves on the restarts, then you run in the back. Or you have a bad day. The scenario that the car design, more than the track.”
WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST? “It is time for the sport to design a new car that is worthy of where this sport deserves to be and the show it deserves to put on for its fans.”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – Finished 2nd
YOU PASSED A TON OF CARS AND STILL CAME HOME WITH A GREAT FINISH:
“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.”
HOW MUCH MORE DID YOU NEED TO CATCH MARTIN TRUEX, JR.?
“Yeah, I don’t know what we could have done to beat him. He was obviously pretty fast with the lead there. It would have been fun to get to race him because I felt like I had the second best car today; and it would have been interesting to get a restart with him earlier and get to hang with him that last run there. But, we brought the Target Chevy home second after not being able to qualify and having to start last in the race and then having my speeding penalty there. I guess I was just a little too fast leaving my stall and got a penalty. So, I’ve got to clean that stuff up. I’m mad at myself that I made that mistake I don’t really know if it affected the outcome, but you never know.”
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 NAPA CHEVROLET SS – Finished 3rd
HOW DID YOU SEE THE FINAL RESTART AND HOW DID YOU GET UP THERE?
“I had a really good roll there. Got to the bottom of the No. 77 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. I don’t think we were as good at Martin (Truex, Jr.) or Kyle (Larson), but we did our jobs on pit road and I made the most of a good car.”
YOU CAME IN AND GOT FRESH TIRES. TAKE US THROUGH THAT FINAL SHOOTOUT OF OVERTIME
“Yeah, it was unexpected I thought we had two to go there and thought for sure we were going to go to the end. But, I’m really proud of our NAPA Chevy team. I felt like we just executed the night well and had really good pit stops and made the most of a good car, but we weren’t perfect. We weren’t as good as Martin (Trues, Jr., race winner) or Kyle (Larson, second place) I didn’t think. But we made the most of what we had. And, that’s a step in the right direction. If we can just keep putting top 5’s together and we’ll see what we can do.”
YOU HAD PUT TOGETHER A STRING OF TOP 10’S BEFORE DAYTONA. WHAT DOES IT STAY FOR THIS TEAM TO BOUNCE BACK IN THIS FASHION?
“I feel like we’ve been solid. We haven’t been phenomenal and we haven’t been perfect, but I feel like we’ve been really solid, and those are the types of days you have to have. Our pit stops have been incredible over the past three or four weeks. We’ve gained, if not maintained, on pit road and that’s huge. That’s what we have to do. Our race strategy has been nice and all the guys deserve a lot of credit for that. I’m looking forward to down the road these next few weeks and get a little better.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 CESSNA CHEVROLET SS – Finished 7th
ON HIS RACE:
“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.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL CHEVROLET SS – Finished 12th
ON HIS RACE:
“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 the No. 78 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.”
CHRIS BUESCHER, NO. 37 BREYERS CHEVROLET SS – Finished 16th
“That was a tough start with our Breyers Chevrolet. 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.”
TY DILLON, NO. 13 GEICO CHEVROLET SS – 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.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – Sidelined in multi-car crash on Lap 87
THAT LOOKED LIKE RIGHT PLACE, WRONG TIME
“Correct. 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 5 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.”
“Yeah, thankfully I can’t really blame myself on this one. The No. 2 car (Brad Keselowski) lost it pretty early on entry into Turn 3. And he fought it for a while and then just got real close to the No. 14 and was in a really bad aero situation and his car came around. I saw it all happening and was trying to get slowed down, but in a low air situation I was in I could only push the brakes so hard. I honestly thought I had it missed and just caught the No. 2 car with my right front. Pushed the fender in or broke the suspension, something happened where the car was pulling real hard to the right and took me up into the fence and finished her off there. Bummer day for the Lowe’s team, but we will be back next week and go get a trophy.”
IS THIS PAR FOR THE COURSE HERE AT KENTUCKY WITH THE REPAVE?
“Yeah I mean the track has characteristics that are still true. Stage racing and all these restarts, the fact that it is so hard to pass there is just an environment that is created with this style of racing. You’ve got to get everything you can on a restart and everybody is at ten tenths. The old days of pointing someone by or maybe letting somebody go until your tires came in are long gone. All of this breeds a lot of cautions.”
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 MOUNTAIN DEW CHEVROLET SS – INVOLVED IN A MULTI-CAR ACCIDENT ON LAP 94
“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.”
HOW IS THE RACING?
“The racing is fine. I mean it’s not easy to pass. It’s tough to pass for sure once you get strung out, so you’ve got to go on restarts and try to get position. I had one good restart, one I lost a couple of spots and that one I had a position and he just ran me over. It’s tough because you need to do that on restarts, you know you need to be aggressive.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI SAID HE THOUGHT THEY NEEDED TO REDESIGN THE CAR THAT HAVING IT SO MUCH BASED-ON RESTARTS…
“I mean the track is to me, it’s just really lane sensitive, so you have to be right on the bottom it is pretty much the quickest way. So, the restarts are all you’ve got. I mean it’s Kentucky. It was like this last year if I remember.”
RIS NASCAR Editor. Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.