Here’s what the riders had to say after Sunday’s Cup race at Pocono Raceway:
Denny Hamlin — Winner: “I pushed him all the way to turn one. I don’t know if he didn’t clean the tires and then wash the track. We stood side by side and he chose not to get up. It’s just one of those things when you’re out of aerodynamic position, I didn’t touch him. He just made the decision not to get up. … I thought we had the best car, honestly. We had the best car. The strategy worked well. (crew chief Chris Gabehart) kept pushing me further up the front.
Tyler Reddick — Finished 2nd: “In the final laps we didn’t get a lot of push – we really didn’t get a good push on any of the restarts and that left us in a vulnerable position. We did everything we could.”
Martin Truex Jr. — Finished 3rd: “We fought for track position all day and finally got it, and then we pulled away from the field until strategy brought us back some points. Overall, very good speed, good morning. I just couldn’t get the front row push to regain the lead.
truex jr. needed a bigger push from the inside line
Martin Truex Jr. admits his runner-up finish at Pocono was down to track choice and not getting the right push from the inside lane on the final restart.
Kevin Harvick — Finished 4th: “I would rather have won but I think we have to stay in the mix, keep doing what we’re doing and you never know how these things are going to play out. We needed the front with clean air and we never got that. Our car just struggled through traffic on that first lap of restarts to stay on the front tyres, but it was a strange race. I never thought this strategy would work the way it did, running where we were and then going full circle. You just need to keep going each lap. They know what they are doing up there and let it happen.”
Harvick beginning to chain performances
After his second straight top five finish, Kevin Harvick says the No. 4 car was not good in traffic during the restarts to fend off the leaders.
Ty Gibbs — Finished 5th: “It’s great to come home in the top five. Thank you to everyone who supports me at (Joe Gibbs Racing) and Toyota, TRD. What a great day. We stayed out front all day. Solid day with good track position. It was nice to get away from the mess back there. We just have to keep fighting.”
Ricky Stenhouse – Finished 7th: “It was an up-and-down day for the No. 47 Blue Buffalo Chevy. We had no track position at the start. We got there midway through the race, but it just wasn’t good enough to keep him. The guys made some really good adjustments and we improved. On the final stage, when we raced a lot, we were doing good lap times when we got some clean air. We took two tires and that gave us a very good track position for when the cautions came out. It was just a matter of timing those reboots towards the end. We screwed up all the resets there early on and then got them all right at the end. Overall, it was a very strong day for our team.”
Harrison Burton — Finished 8th: “It was a good finish for us. We were stuck in traffic all day and that made things difficult, and we struggled to control it, but we made some changes towards the end and that left the car feeling pretty good before the long green flag cycle and I could do a lot of racing. A lot of those guys got into traffic and we were able to get clean air and do faster lap times. We stopped and got out in front of a lot of these guys, which helped us a lot. Strategy in Pocono is always fun, so it’s fun to know what’s going on and to know that you have to do fast laps because the guys behind you are trying to do the same. It worked to where we stopped in front of them. The guys did a good job on pit road to do that and on the last few restarts I just tried to be aggressive and keep going and got a few more spots. It was a decent day for us.”
Erik Jones – Finished 9th: “It was a good day for the US Air Force’s No. 43 Chevy. I thought we had good speed. We capitalized a lot on the strategy and on some opportunities to go up there at the end. We’ve had a few reboots going our way and we’re glad it happened for us. It was a good day and I hope to keep improving.”
Kyle Larson – Finished 21st: “(Denny Hamlin and I are) friends. Yes, it makes things complicated and awkward, whatever, he’s always right. All friends know that he is always right. So I’m pretty sure he was right there too. It is what it is. I won’t let it stain on the track, but I’m upset. I feel like I should be upset.
Larson after Pocono: ‘Denny is always right’
A visibly frustrated Kyle Larson says it “cost a lot of good finishes” from Denny Hamlin throughout his career, despite never having to apologize to him before about anything he’s done on the racetrack.
Noah Gragson – Finished 22: “Decent day for our No. 42 Sunseeker Resorts Chevy. I just lost a lot on pit road and didn’t make good adjustments there at the end. It’s a step in the right direction, but we just need to be better. Disappointing, but we don’t have a brand on the car. We just need to be better.”
Ryan Blaney — Finished 30th: “This stinks. We got the lead and held it for two laps and then we had our problem. We’ll have to find out what it was, but overall I’m proud of the effort. We brought a really good car and we improved throughout the day. It’s just one of those things that happens every now and then. I essentially lost 100 horsepower. We’ll have to look at it, but it got pretty flat pretty quick.
Austin Dillon — Finished 34th: “I heard the replay of (Dale Earnhardt Jr.), said I went down a little bit. I felt like he was holding me. He was on my left rear going in there, I knew we were three wide. I think I have the right to at least keep my track. I mean, I have to turn around at some point to get down. Brad (Keselowski) is on the outside of me, maybe half a lane up. Tyler took him there. Obviously I feel like he drove deep enough that he had to come up the lane for me. We can look at SMT and see the fine little moves we make, but (I) felt like it wasn’t the time to do that.
Dillon suffers heavy licking and helmet whipping on Reddick
Austin Dillon slides hard into the SAFER barrier in turn 1, launches his helmet towards Tyler Reddick under caution and says he’ll have to start “destroying people” after being released from the inside care center.
Joey Logano — Finished 35th: “We’ve been fighting these cars for two years now, with four flat tires when a car spins, and you have a long, horrible journey back. It is difficult. Your head is bouncing around in there. It is stupid. It’s pretty silly that we can’t fit four tires on a truck. I saw a bunch of them earlier today. I did something for Verizon and saw at least 25 trucks. If we can put four tires on one of them with a jack and an impact that can just change the tires and let us go back instead of dragging the car two miles down the track, it’s just stupid.
Daniel Suarez – Finished 36th: “Definitely frustrated because I feel like we’re better than that. I’m also frustrated because I feel like the guys are tearing each other apart, and I’m the one who ended up out of the race without being in their mess. But what are you going to do – sometimes you’re on the good side of it and sometimes you’re on the bad side of it. Unfortunately today, I was on the short end of it.