Here’s what the drivers had to say after Sunday’s inaugural Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway near St. Louis.
Joey Logano—Winner: “It doesn’t get much better than that. Race in the lead like that with Kyle (Busch), one of the best. It was very fun. Crossing back and forth. I knew it was coming. I did it to him; I knew he was going to do it to me. We passed each other several times on the last lap. Good for Pennzoil Mustang for sure. It’s nice to get some wins this season here, to start putting up those points, playoff points… What a great car, though. Very fast. I missed qualifying a bit and (team manager Paul Wolfe) made a great call putting on two tyres. Blaney did a great job with the thrust in this one, which at least kept me close and able to do the move. Good race there.
Kyle Busch — Finished 2nd: “My car was better outside, but it took a few laps to get it rolling up there. Cold tires, gunshot on that restart – didn’t have help behind me. I was going to put my hand out the window and wave Kurt (Busch) to push me and Joey (Logano) was half a car behind my window trying to see him so the hand signal wasn’t going to be relevant, so I didn’t, which made Kurt back off too much. I entered Turn 1 alone and was too far back. When you’re the inside guy, you just chase the outside guy and that’s it. I had a crossover but threw it too far in (Turn) 3. It slammed all four tires. I just didn’t have enough grip to get out of the corner well enough to be on his outside, 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 was going to push the hell out of 18 (Kyle Busch). We did all the miscommunication from the brother. We would have Should’ve won that. Should’ve been a Toyota in victory lane, a Busch in victory lane. (Joey) Logano, he didn’t do anything smart – we just missed the launch.
Ryan Blaney — Finished 4th: “We had a very fast car. I had a good shot to win and just made a mistake in the pits and came out 17th and by the time we got back into the race with the lead I was out of tyres. I’m proud of the Dent Wizard team all day. The car was super fast, but just didn’t do a good job in that final pit stop.
Aric Almirola — Finished 5th: “It was a solid day for us. We really needed it. It kind of upset the last month. We raced in the top 10 and finished 20th or worse in the last month and a half. Really proud of the effort today. It was kind of an error-free day and ran in the top five all day. (Team manager Drew Blickensderfer) and the guys on the team did a great job. We’re so close to having what we needed to go challenge those guys for the lead.
Erik Jones – Finished 7th: “Our day was up all day. We lost a few spots there at the end with just the restarts and got tighter. We struggled with that during the day. It was a good day for us. We needed a top 10 and we got it today with the #43 Bommarito Automotive Group Chevy. I’m happy with that. Obviously we want to be a little better. I think we have things we can work on to get up there and be a little faster than some of these guys. We will continue, but it was a good day for us.
Ross Chastain – Finished 8th: “It was just terrible driving. It’s one thing to do it once, but I kept going for guys. At that level, I’m supposed to be better than that.
AJ Allmendinger – Finished 10th: “I’m really happy with today. I didn’t know what to expect without testing or qualifying and the car had to be fixed. The team improved the car all day. In the end, we needed a bit of track position, but we were really good at the end there. I’m proud of the start-to-finish effort to get a top 10 finish to cap off a great weekend (after winning Saturday’s Xfinity race in Portland).
Austin Cindric – Finished 11th: “Proud of the pit crew guys, really strong race for them and proud of their progress. Obviously a very strong weekend for Team Penske, great to get Joey (Logano) another win, we have a lot of strengths as a team. I feel like I adjusted too tight in the end. We lowered the hatch and it took away a lot of rear downforce and led me down the wrong road.
Justin Haley – Finished 14th: “We weren’t the best all day, but we had a good strategy at the end to recover for a good points day. I’m proud of everyone for the hard work to get us back into the top 15.”
Austin Dillon – Finished 15th: “Today was difficult, but this team n°3 of Get Bioethanol never gave up. We started the race much further down the peloton than we had hoped after qualifying didn’t go as well as expected, and that made the day difficult due to the aero dependency of this track. We just struggled in the dirty air all day. We made a big tweak to tighten up our Chevy’s handling late in the race, and it really helped. Looking back, if we had tightened our car sooner, we might have had a different day. It was great to be able to bring NASCAR to St. Louis, and especially to do it while celebrating 20 million NASCAR miles on e15.
AUSTIN DILLON – Finished 16th: “The speed is there in our Chevrolet 3CHI and we were able to show it today, especially at the start of the race when we raced out front and were able to battle for the lead at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. day for this RCR team. We overcame a spin on the track and also made a mistake on pit road which caused NASCAR to give us a penalty. We fought after one lap to finish 16th , which is saying a lot since we were as far down as 30th for parts of the race. We fight the guys who win these races every week, and it’s just a matter of putting it all together over an entire race. Once that we will have started to do it, we will do it.”