What drivers said after Martinsville playoff race
Martin Truex Jr., winner: “I don’t think anyone expected that (performance). This racetrack in general, you don’t see that. Hats off to my guys. Pit crew was stellar today, and we didn’t make many adjustments. We adjusted on it early and it came to life, and that was a lot of fun. I don’t know, maybe now I’ve got this place figured out, who knows. But just really proud of everybody, and after last year, we talked earlier, everybody wants to keep talking about last year, and I’m like, we’ve got work to do. I’m just proud of everybody for giving me a race car like that and being able to put it all together today when it counted.”
William Byron, finished second: "(Truex) was really strong. I could work my brake bias a little bit in the car and gain a little bit, and then I’d get to him and I’d heat him up a lot and then kind of fall back. I don’t really know. He was super strong. Our car bounced a little bit on the short run, which was tough to kind of get around. But overall it was a really good day.
“This isn’t a place that I’ve loved coming to, and it just clicked this weekend, the things we did with the car going into qualifying and then obviously our race. Super excited, but second is not super fun, either. We’ll try to get one spot better next time.”
Brad Keselowski, finished third: “I think that’s about all we had or maybe a little more than what we had. We just kind of kept our head on our shoulders all day and made the most of what we had. I was really proud of our team for that effort ... Long green flag runs, a lot of aggressiveness, a lot of contact. It was really tough to pass. When you get behind somebody you’re way faster than that big spoiler would just kill you, but, all in all, a good day for us.”
Denny Hamlin, finished fourth: (What happened between you and Joey Logano?) “We were having a discussion, everything was civil, and then like Joey does, he does a little push and then runs away. So that’s Joey. Scared ‑‑ he said, ‘Do you want to go?’ I said, ‘Yes, I’m here.’ But then he runs away.
(What was the altercation on track that led to it?) “I got close off of Turn 4. It looks like we got together, and it looks like collateral damage. He blew a tire. I mean, he would probably say, ‘Oh, short-track racing.’”
Ryan Blaney, finished fifth: “We were in the top five all day and I thought we had a good shot at second. We weren’t good on short runs. We were terrible for probably 30-40 laps and then we’d come alive and be great, but just didn’t have the speed.”
Kurt Busch, finished sixth: “We finished (sixth) which was the highest we ran all day. Wow, what perseverance and an ability to make adjustments during the race. ... We were lucky with the right lane on the restarts. Thanks to Global Poker, Chevrolet, Monster Energy. We got a sixth. Really good day at Martinsville for us. Our teammate Kyle Larson got a top 10 as well.”
Kevin Harvick, finished seventh: “We got our car a lot better in the second half. We made some major adjustments when we got to the end of the second stage and made our car a lot better. We just didn’t quite get back up there.”
Joey Logano, finished eighth: (On his altercation with Denny Hamlin) “I just wanted to talk to him about it and was pretty frustrated. He just kind of came off the corner like there wasn’t another car on the outside of him and ruined our day. A shot at the win for sure. We probably weren’t going to beat (Truex), but we had a top five for sure coming our way, but we just were able to survive there.
“I don’t really know what happened because once he started hitting me he didn’t lift, he just kept finishing me off. We ran each other fine all day, so I don’t know. I don’t really know what happened. He just kind of sends me up there and keeps on going with it. Cut down my tires and fender rubs everywhere.
Kyle Larson, finished ninth: “This is my second best finish at Martinsville, so I’m really happy with that. We were able to steal some stage points as well, so we probably over achieved for how we usually run at Martinsville. I haven’t seen the points spread yet, but I would say we maintained from where we came in, so I’m happy about that.”
Ryan Newman, finished 10th: “We just out-tired there at the end. Those other guys had tires and we didn’t and it didn’t work out the best for us. It was a challenge. They did a good job. Our pit stops were awesome today. That made a big difference and just came up short.”
Daniel Hemric, finished 17th: “It was a solid day for us here at Martinsville Speedway. We were just too loose and didn’t have the rear lateral grip we needed early in the race. We kept adjusting and kept trying to put ourselves in position to get the free pass or take the wave around, and finally late in the race we had something go our way that got us back on the lead lap. (Erik Jones) and (Michael McDowell) got together behind us once we were back on the lead lap and turned this Chevrolet Accessories Camaro ZL1 around. I hate that because I thought we were going to drive up into the top 15 pretty easily. It just wasn’t meant to be. We got a little too much damage to move forward at the end. All in all, just proud of these guys, proud of the effort and proud of the fight. We’ll roll on to Texas.”
Austin Dillon, finished 22nd: “I’m really proud of everyone on this No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet team for working hard all weekend and giving us a really solid car at Martinsville Speedway. We put up a fight all race long, which really helped us to stay on the lead lap and battle competitively in the top 12 throughout Stages 1 and 2. Early in Stage 3, we were racing hard with another car when we cut a tire and made contact with the outside wall. Our Chevy was just too loose after that, making it really hard to earn back the lap we lost while making repairs. We had a good fight, but this is not the finish we wanted today.”
Daniel Suarez, finished 31st: “We had a good car in the first stage, and we ran solidly in the top-10. The car got tight in the second stage. Not the day we were hoping for, but we still have three races to go.”
Clint Bowyer, finished 35th: “That was so disappointing. Our BlueDEF Mustang was fast, and we were just cruising a lot today. We made contact with a lapped car, and I think that’s how we got the flat but I don’t know. The track bar broke at the end and ended our race. We had a great car all weekend, and we deserved better today.”
Aric Almirola, finished 37th: “We just got together. I got inside of him (Kyle Busch) getting down in turn three and he chopped me, and I got in his left-rear and moved him up a little bit and got inside of him, and then we hooked and got tangled up off of turn four. It’s disappointing. I had a really good Smithfield Ford Mustang and felt like we were maybe one adjustment away from being maybe a second or third-place car, so I’m proud of my guys, proud of the effort and we’ve got three more weeks.”
Jimmie Johnson, finished 38th: “I’m not sure what started those two cars spinning (No. 10 Aric Almirola and No. 18 Kyle Busch). While they were spinning, I made an early decision to go where I thought the road would be open but by the time I got there it was closed up. Wrong place, wrong time.