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What drivers said after Sonoma race

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350

SONOMA, CA - JUNE 26: Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Code 3 Assoc/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 26, 2016 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

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Drivers had much to say after Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 won by Tony Stewart. Here’s what drivers said:

TONY STEWART — Winner: “I made mistakes the last two laps. I had just a little bit too much rear brake for Turn 7, and wheel-hopped it two laps in a row. But I felt a nudge when I got down there, and he knew where it was, and (Denny Hamlin) did the right thing doing it there; but if I could get to him, he knew what was coming. He told me he was proud of me. He knows what it means. We were teammates for a long time, and we respect each other a lot.”

DENNY HAMLIN — Finished 2nd: “Just like you heard Tony say, I thought with two or three to go, he pretty much had it, but he made a couple mistakes and allowed us to get pretty close, and then we just both wheel-hopped into (Turn) 7, and I just let off my wheel hop a little bit so I could get to his rear bumper and get him out of the groove just a touch. It was perfectly executed, but I was going through the esses knowing that I needed to get the biggest gap that I could … I didn’t run a low enough line in Turn 11 from wheel-hopping in Turn 7. I got the rears hot, wheel-hopped it a little bit again, got out of line and obviously gave him the inside line. We definitely had a car that should have won, but we were on the bad end of the deal.’’

JOEY LOGANO — Finished 3rd: “I thought I could win the race there at the last lap when you are watching those two going into 7 and 11, and you’re running third. You think you’re in a pretty good spot to win this thing. I’m thinking that they’re most likely going to crash each other. It was a fun race to watch. Going into Turn 11 I was 100 percent sure that Denny was not going to win just by watching it, and we were right there on the cusp of trying to sneak one by. It would have been a gift if we got it, but hey, take them anyway you can.”

CARL EDWARDS — Finished 4th:“I appreciate Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. giving me the space there. Joey (Logano) got loose, I got under him, and Dale was three-wide. It was fun to race. Congrats to Tony; I know he drove his heart out there. It’s pretty neat to see him in victory lane.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR. — Finished 5th: “It was a lot of fun racing out there today. Feel like we had the best car, we just couldn’t get track position. Every time we would get past the guys that we were racing on the racetrack, caution would come out, and guys would beat us out of the pits. Little frustrated with that. Thought we had the car to win, and then that last set of tires we just got in position, and we just got too loose.”

KEVIN HARVICK – Finished 6th: “I’m just really proud of Tony (Stewart). That is really the best thing. We didn’t have a lot of good happen today. We fought all day on pit road and got a decent finish out of it. But other than that we had a little bit of a struggle with getting it to turn.”

KYLE BUSCH — Finished 7th: “I don’t know what happened at the end of the race, but thought we had a shot to end up in the top four at least. For some reason there at the end, it blew the rear tires off there at the end on the last run when I was trying to race those guys for the top four. I couldn’t even gain on them. I was just trying to hang with them. We just burned the rear tires off on that last run just trying too hard and went backwards.”

KASEY KAHNE – Finished 9th: “We started off pretty good, and I just needed to be a little looser. We were on the tight side. So, we tried to loosen it up and for whatever reason it was the exact opposite. I got really tight then. So then we started going the other way with adjustments. We just kind of gave up the middle portion of the race. If we hadn’t done that I think we were maybe better like a top five, but ninth is OK.”

KURT BUSCH – Finished 10th: “We battled really hard, I was somewhat surprised by the lack of grip in the rear of the car. It showed a little bit of that in practice, and some of the other guys had the same issues as far as our teammates. We just didn’t correct it enough. It’s my fault that I didn’t relay the information well enough. Congratulations to Tony Stewart, this is a huge day for SHR. To have three cars in the Chase, to have Tony’s confidence up, to have him battle Denny Hamlin like that this is the best way for a champion like him to go out.”

JIMMIE JOHNSON – Finished 13th: “We were OK. We had the same strategy as the No. 14 going and then we were coming in the next lap, and the caution came out. It kind of hurt us there to leap frog those guys and the transition we were looking for. We just kind of rode from there.”

AJ ALLMENDINGER – Finished 14th: “Randall Burnett (crew chief) and all the guys Brain Burns, Tony Palmer, all my guys they did a great job. We weren’t very good. We were pretty junky on Friday. They worked hard to get this thing as good as it could be. Such a strange race. At one point you think the tires go off and then you find something and manage them again. I thought whatever it was, 25 to go, we were coming. So in the end just a bad pit stop and let the tire get away and penalty. That took away our chance to win the race.”

BRAD KESELOWSKI — Finished 15th: “It was a hot day. We had better speed than we’ve ever had before, but I just made too many mistakes.”

GREG BIFFLE — Finished 18th: “We had about a 16th-place car and that’s right about where we finished. We just fought all day and tried to hold our track position, but that’s just as fast as our car was. It was a really good call by Brian Pattie and the team on how to call the race. They did a great job. It couldn’t have worked out better for us, but that’s all we had.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR. — Finished 26th: “We just weren’t very good. We were really good on the long run, if I could save my tires, but I didn’t have any short-run speed. That really made the restarts tough to not lose any track position, but still not wear out my tires. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board for the road course here. We definitely struggled today.”

RYAN BLANEY — Finished 23rd: “It was a long day. Early on we short-pitted and got some track position. We had some good fortune (with the second caution), but I gave all the spots right back.”

TREVOR BAYNE — Finished 25th: “We just ran around 25th all day. We tried some different strategies, but none of them seemed to work, and we never got any track position. I feel like I learned a lot, and we had decent speed at the end. We had top-15 speed, but we just never had track position.”

CLINT BOWYER – Finished 40th: “It had to be the ignition. It was a wiring fire. I’ve had oil smoke and stuff like that before in the car blowing out but I’ve never had an electrical fire. Man it shook me out. I couldn’t breathe. I bailed out and the thing starts rolling, so I had to reach in and put it in gear. That’s a great start to the day.”

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