All top five finishers expressed their thoughts before the green flag and after the checkers for race 31 of 36 in the long but fast NASCAR season.
Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Chevy)—finished first
“I’m truly excited to be returning to Charlotte,” McMurray said. “We’ve got Bass Pro Shops on the hood, and so far this season, we’ve had some great finishes with them. It is always fun to come back to Charlotte!”
“It was just our night,” McMurray said. “Our car was unbelievable those last like 25 or 30 laps. It was effortless to drive and it had a lot of speed in it. It was just a really good night for us.
“I've grown up a lot in the last eight years. I'm married and expecting a child. My life has changed a lot. I feel like I'm a lot smarter of a racer.”
Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota)—finished second
“Charlotte’s a tricky track because we practice during the day and then we race at night so all the practice time you get, the track’s really hot, it’s really slick and pretty slow.” Busch said. “A lot of stuff changes when you go into the night time—the way the track is, the way the loads are, the way the speed is. For us, it’s fun, I enjoy Charlotte.”
“It’s very, very disappointing,” Busch said. “Had the best car all night and gave it up. Just flat out gave it away and it’s real, real frustrating to not come out of here with a win at a track that I have yet to win at and have been so fast at. Then again tonight was really fast. It’s my job to come out here and get a win for these guys and I’m the one behind the wheel ultimately and didn’t make the right adjustments and gave it up.”
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet)—finished third
"I'm looking forward to Charlotte,” Johnson. “I always like racing there. We looked at the balance of the car and the directions we were working on; there was enough that went wrong that we knew not to go down that road any longer."
“I'm optimistic and I feel that we've come to a good conclusion with things. But we've got to get on the track and really prove it and be in the hunt. There are only six races left, but that's a lot of racing."
“We had a really loose race car and I was trying to run the middle lane down in one and two and lost it,” Johnson said. “Then I had to drive backwards and out the side window and everything to keep it off the inside wall and luckily I did that. We stayed on the lead lap and just went to work from there. The track slowly started coming our direction and that is when we got fast and was able to drive up to the front."
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Toyota)—finished fourth
“We do have some great race tracks coming up for us,” Hamlin said. “We’re putting those guys in a position where if they make one mistake, we’re going to be right there. At California our car was definitely better than what the finishing position was. I go to Charlotte thinking I can win the race and lead the most laps. I feel pretty good about that.”
“I’m happy with our day—a top five,” Hamlin said. “You look at our average finish over these last few weeks and we’ve been up and down and some people think mediocre, but that’s been good enough to win the championship for probably two or three or four of the last four years. We just have to do what we have to do and try to win races. I’m not disappointed at all—I’m proud of our FedEx team for fighting today.”
Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ford)—finished fifth
“This is our last night race of the season and it would obviously be awesome to win in Charlotte,” Biffle said. “I feel pretty confident that we should have a good run this weekend with the way we’ve been running at the mile-and-a-half tracks.”
“It was a really good night,” Biffle said. “We didn’t qualify very well, so we had to work our way to the front. We made a pretty big change and had to restart all the way at the back and got all the way back into the top five.”
FYI WIRZ is the swift presentation of pertinent motorsports topics compiled and condensed by Dwight Drum @ Racetake.com. Quotes provided by NASCAR and Sprint Cup team media.
Photo credit: Dwight Drum @ Racetake.com