Here’s what the drivers said after Sunday’s inaugural Cup race at the World Wide Technology Raceway near St. Louis.
Joey Logano – Winner: “It doesn’t get any better than that. Run for the lead like this with Kyle (Busch), one of the best. It was very funny. Crossing back and forth. I knew he was coming. I did it to him; I knew he would do it to me. We crossed back and forth there on the last lap a couple of times. Good for Pennzoil Mustang for sure. Nice to get some wins in the season here, start reaping those points, playoff points … What a great car, though. Really fast. I made a mess in qualifying and (crew chief Paul Wolfe) made a great call putting on two tires. Blaney did a great job with the push down in that one, which he at least kept me close and able to make the move. Have a good ride there.
Kyle Busch – Finished 2nd: “My car was better on the outside, but it took a few laps for it to get up there. The cold tires, firing in that restart – didn’t have the help behind me. I was about to put my hand out the window and motion for Kurt (Busch) to push me forward and Joey (Logano) was halfway out of my window trying to see him, so the hand signal would be irrelevant, so Not the I did, which made Kurt too far behind. I entered Turn 1 alone and was too far behind. When you’re the guy on the inside, you dump the guy on the outside and that’s it. However, I got a crossover but threw it in (Turn) 3 too far. He hit all four tires. He just didn’t have a grip to get out of the corner well enough to be on the outside of him, so I don’t know. “
Kurt Busch – Finished 3rd: “I thought there would be a hand signal when it was time to go and I would push hell out of the 18th (Kyle Busch). We made the mistake of communicating all the brother. We should have won it. There should have been a Toyota in the victory lane, a Busch in the victory lane. (Joey) Logano, he didn’t do anything smart – we just got it wrong to get the launch.
Ryan Blaney – Finished 4th: “We had a really fast car. I had a great chance to win and I just made a mistake in the pits and went out 17th and when we got back to racing with the lead I had no tires left. I am proud of the Dent Wizard team all day. The car was super fast, it just didn’t do a good job running there in that last pit stop. “
Aric Almirola – 5th place: “It has been a solid day for us. We really needed it. It has changed a bit in the last month. We have been in the top 10 and have come in 20 or worse in the past month and a half. Really proud of today’s effort. It was a flawless day and she was in the top five all day. (Crew chief Drew Blickensderfer) and the guys on the team did a great job. We are so close to having what we needed to challenge those guys for leadership. “
Erik Jones – Finished 7th: “Our day went on all day. In the end we only lost some points with the restarts and getting tighter. We struggled with that throughout the day. It was a good day for us. We needed a top 10 run and we got it today with the No. 43 of the Bombarito Automotive Group. I am happy with this. Obviously, we want to be a little better. I think we have some things we can work on to get up there and be a little bit faster than some of those guys. We will go on, but it has been a solid day for us ”.
Ross Chastain – Finished 8th: “It was just terrible to drive. It’s one thing to do it once, but I kept driving towards the guys. At this level, I should be better than that. “
AJ Allmendinger – Finished 10th: “I’m really happy today. I didn’t know what to expect without testing or qualifying and the car needed to be repaired. The team has been improving the car all day. In the end, we needed some position on the track, but in the end we were really good. I am proud of the effort made from start to finish to get a top 10 to cap off a fantastic weekend (after winning Saturday’s Xfinity race in Portland). “
Austin Cindric – Finished 11th: “Proud of the crew guys in the pits, a really solid race for them and proud of their progress. Obviously a really strong weekend for Team Penske, great for Joey (Logano) to win another win, we have a lot of strengths as a team. I feel like I just fit too tight at the end. We dropped the hatch and that took off a lot of rear downforce and got me on the wrong track.
Justin Haley – Finished 14th: “We weren’t the best all day, but in the end we had a good strategy to recover for a good day in the points. I am proud of everyone for the hard work they have done to bring us back into the top 15 ”.
Austin Dillon – Finished 15th: “Today was tough, but this no. 3 of Get Bioethanol never gave up. We started the race much further back in the field than we hoped after qualifying didn’t go as planned, and that made the day challenging as much as this track is aero-dependent. We just fought with dirty air all day. We made a big adjustment to improve the handling of our Chevy towards the end of the race, and that was really helpful. In hindsight, if we had made our car tighter earlier, we could have had a different day. It was great to be able to take NASCAR to St. Louis, and most importantly by celebrating 20 million NASCAR miles on e15.
Tyler Reddick – Finished 16th: “The speed is in our Chevrolet 3CHI and we were able to show it today, especially at the start of the race when we passed the front and were able to fight for the lead at Gateway’s World Wide Technology Raceway. It has been a crazy day for this RCR team. We spun on the track and also made a mistake on the pit road that caused NASCAR to inflict a penalty on us. We reacted from one lap less to finish 16th, which speaks volumes as we were 30th in some parts of the race. We compare ourselves to the guys who win these races every week, and it’s just a matter of putting it all together for an entire race. Once we start doing it, we’ll do it. “