Ford Charlotte Cup Post-Race Quotes

Ford Finishing Order:

2nd – David Ragan

5th – AJ Allmendinger

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6th – Marcos Ambrose

11th – Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

13th – Greg Biffle

14th – Matt Kenseth

16th – Carl Edwards

25th – Travis Kvapil

30th – Mike Bliss

33rd – David Gilliland

36th – David Starr

DAVID STARR – No. 95 Jordan Truck Sales.com Ford Fusion – “This was a great weekend. I’m just honored and blessed to be driving this Ford Fusion. It was awesome out there. We just wanted to get to the end and learn a lot. We raced with a lot of good cars and made a lot of changes, but it was just hard racing out there. I think some of the other people out there weren’t running very good, and I guess they just took it out on us. Wally Rogers, Doug Yates, Bob Leavine, Sharon Leavine, all the people involved, are just awesome. We weren’t gonna win the race or run in the top 10, but we were learning a whole lot. The car was getting better every pit stop and the team was getting better every lap. Our goal was just to make sure we got to the finish and it’s just disappointing. It hurts my feelings that we’re sitting in here, but it was just one of those racing things. This is a great series with the best drivers in the world, but things like that happen. I’m just disappointed it happened to us tonight, but we’ll leave the race track with our heads held high and fix our cars and come back for the next race. I’m really blessed and excited to be here. It was a big honor to race in the Coca-Cola 600 even though it ended up like this.”

DAVID GILLILAND – No. 34 Taco Bell Ford Fusion – “Getting into turn three on the restart, Carl made it three-wide getting down into three. I was trying to give everybody room and Mark was on my right side. These cars are pretty aero-sensitive and I just got loose. I tried to chase it up the track and there was nowhere to go, so it’s an unfortunate ending to a long night. It’s just a bad deal that we’re tore up and they’re tore up, but we’ll just go on.”

AJ ALLMENDINGER – No. 43 U.S. Air Force Ford Fusion – “Our fuel mileage wasn’t that good, so that whole last run we were saving. It was funny because the fuel numbers kept changing because we were 10 laps short, then we were two laps short, and then we were gonna run out coming to the checkered. At that point, I was happy when it stayed green and made it on fuel, and then on that last restart we came in and were just hanging out that point. You just hope you don’t get into guys that run out of fuel. I had a great restart and split the middle. The 31 just completely ran out and the 99 got into him. I checked up and it was pretty insane.”

WHAT WAS THAT LIKE? “You were just hoping two or three more laps would be run at that point, but a top five is way better than we’ve been on a mile-and-a-half all year. The U.S Air Force Ford was quick all day. Track position was so key. We showed once we got up there and ran second or third that nobody could run with us, except the 9 and the 99, so we’ll take it.”

CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion – “We were great, but it was just a track position game. By chance, everything that we did ended up being bad for track position. We were loose at the wrong times and I made some moves out there that put us in some spots that set us back, but that’s racing. I thought there at the end with all the fuel I saved that we were gonna be in a really good spot, but somebody ran out of fuel on the restart and everybody just clobbered everyone. I think if we would have had a chance to race for it, we would have been looking pretty good.”

THAT LAST 100 MILES PLAYED A ROLE TONIGHT DIDN’T IT? “This is a neat race. I really like running it. At the end of the day, the guys we’re racing in the points had worse luck than we did and that’s racing.”

MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 DeWalt Ford Fusion – “I’m just really proud of my DeWalt team tonight. We had a really fast car. We really ran at the front and led some laps, so it was an awesome experience to be a part of, but it just didn’t go our way. We had a loose wheel and got off sequence, but we fought and fought and got ourselves back up into a good top-10 finish.”

WAS IT A LONG NIGHT? “It was a long night. That’s the longest race I’ve ever been a part of, I can tell you that, without switching drivers around. It’s just a big thrill to finish one. This is my third try and I hadn’t finished one, so I’m proud of my team and proud of our record.”

A GOOD NIGHT FOR RPM? “Awesome. AJ and I are getting on great. We’re racing well together. It’s our best finish as a team this year and I think it’s a sign of things to come.”

RICKY STENHOUSE, JR. – No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion – “That was interesting. We were really tight to begin with and just lost a lot of track position and got down a couple of laps. I hit the wall a couple of times and then Donnie made a good call and got us to take the wavearound when we were two laps down, the caution came back out and it worked out great for us. After that, we just kept working away at it. We kept freeing it up and it finally started coming around. We were really good for 15 laps and we could especially pass guys on the outside. Then we’d kind of taper off and slow down, but we were close on fuel and decided to come. We only lost three spots by coming and then we gained a lot with everybody running out, so it worked out. Donnie definitely did a great job and I’m just glad I got this opportunity.”

HOW DID THIS LIVE UP TO WHAT YOU THOUGHT? “It was everything I thought it was gonna be. The 600 miles didn’t seem too bad. I still feel pretty good, so that’s good. Our trainer at the shop must be working me out pretty good.”

 

DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion – PRESS CONFERENCE – “I thought it was gonna get ugly there at the end, which it did for everyone else and not us. We had a top three or four car, I think. That last caution came out we were gonna be like a lap or two short. If we would have been leading, we would have stayed out. You can’t pit when you’re leading that late, but we were running fourth or fifth at the time. I thought Drew made a pretty gutsy call to come in and pit and when you’ve got four fresh tires and you’re full of fuel, you can be aggressive on those restarts and I was just very lucky to get through turn one without getting wrecked. It was either the 4 or the 83, I don’t know which one of the Red Bull cars was on the outside, but he ran out getting into one. There was just barely enough room. We clipped the right-front fender and bent it in, we probably couldn’t have made many more laps, but we were just in the right place at the right time. We had a strong car all day. That’s a finish that we deserved, but we just went about doing it the hard way.”

WAS THAT BIZARRE? “We could have done all that in 40 laps and been at the house a couple of hours ago. That’s just how competitive the Sprint Cup Series is today. We can race for 600 miles and there’s still 15 cars that have a shot to win it at the end. I think that’s something that is good about our sport. Some strategy finally came into it. There were some guys on old tires, I think two tires a lot during the night, four tires, so it was a very, very fun race to drive and to work out. A lot of times we took fuel only a couple times, and two and four and I can’t remember doing that variation of stuff here in a long time, so I thought that was cool.”

DID YOU THINK NASCAR WOULD BE A CAUTION AT THE END? “I guess they made the right call because my spotter said they’re wrecking in one but no caution, so I just assumed that we’d get to the back straightaway and they’d throw the caution, but I guess everybody kind of got sorted out and kept going. You never can tell what would have happened if they would have thrown another caution – we probably would have had another wreck and maybe would have gotten involved, so we’re glad that what happened happened and we’ll take it.”

DAVID RAGAN CONTINUED – ON HIS EARLY CAREER. “It’s fun to race with guys that you grew up racing with. A lot of guys in the Sprint Cup Series today have come from all around the U.S. and even though Joey is that Yankee guy from up north he did come south. It was fun racing a lot. We shared a little race shop for a few years, so it’s cool to be able to get to race with him and certainly when we’re both competitive that makes it even more fun.”

THIS MUST BE A BOOST. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE REST OF THE SEASON? “I feel great about the rest of the season. We’ve just been inconsistent. We’ve had some fast cars. We’ve run good. Certainly this race is a great race, it’s a great momentum builder, but if we go to Kansas and blow up and finish last and go to the next race and wreck and finish 30th, we’re gonna be back where we were at. We’ve got to put some finishes together. We’ve got to string some top fives and top 10s week after week after week and that’s what’s gonna turn our season around. This is a great race. I’m very, very proud of our team. Hopefully, we’ve moved up a few spots in points and gained some momentum, but we’ve got to let it do its thing from here on out. We just can’t look back at this one and hopefully this is gonna carry us. We’ve got to go get it done next week and the following.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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