Sprint Unlimited Post Race Notes and Quotes
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing - Finishing Position: 1st
How strong was your car?
“The best car won, that’s for sure. I can’t thank this FedEx team enough. Thank everyone from FedEx Express, this is good. We’re two in a row now. We’re building on something. Still we had a great car all weekend and got to thank FedEx and Toyota and Sprint. Thank the fans for coming out. That was survival of the fittest for sure. With three (laps) to go we’re at the tail end of a very small pack and it’s really hard to get runs, but this car was just phenomenal and you saw it those last couple laps.”
“It’s a great win. You love starting Speedweeks like this. In 2006, it kind of spring-boarded my career into a great year. 2009 winning Homestead spring-boarded us into a great 2010 and a championship run. There’s no negatives that come out of a day like today.”
How big is this win?
“It’s big. Every little win, it doesn’t matter whether it’s practice, if it’s happy hour, if it’s qualifying -- every little accomplishment goes a long way with the team moral. I think we’re building on something big here.”
What was the racing like in the closing laps with such a small pack of cars?
“I was actually surprised, once the pack got widdled down to five or six cars, I was thinking there’s no way you’re going to get a run. It’s extremely hard to get runs and pass the leader, but we made a three-wide move there and we pushed our teammate up there for a battle for the lead. Coming to the white flag I have to do what I have to do to try to get the win.”
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing - Finishing Position: 3rd
How were the closing laps of the race?
“Just about trying to make the right moves and not having a whole lot of help to do any of it. There’s so little cars out there that you’re just kind of on your own trying to figure things out. That’s kind of the way the race played out tonight. It was the same race for everybody there at the end. All in all, the M&M’s Camry was fast and had to save it again -- another Sprint Unlimited where we don’t end up backwards, but we got somehow, somewhat crashed. I made it through it and come home third. We’re happy with that, great for our teammate to close out last year with a win and start out this year with a win. Back problems what?”
Did you need help in order to make passes?
“You need a lot of help. That there early, I got a good run off of turn four and I don’t know if he was on the brakes to kind of back up to me, I think he got out a little too far and I made an educated decision there to just pull alongside him and side draft him, slow him down, get by him and get back in line. It worked, but those are few and far between probably. With only six or seven cars, whatever was there at the end, you can dive bomb each other, you can switch around and all that all you want just because there’s not a big pack of cars where you’re going to get swallowed up and back to 30th if you do something wrong. It was interesting there at the end and I don’t know that we’ve ever had so few cars at the end.”
MATT KENSETH, No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing - Finishing Position: 10th
What happened from your vantage point?
“The replay tells a lot more than I knew. Honestly I had no idea anybody was inside of me or had that run and I was watching my mirror, but I was also watching Denny (Hamlin) and I was, in hindsight, probably too focused on trying to help my teammate there. I probably just should’ve stayed in the top lane and kept going, but anyway I was just kind of easing my way down there and had no idea Joey (Logano) was that close to me and our cars got hooked together. I just feel bad all of those cars got wrecked. That’s not the way you want to start a season for sure.”
Did Brad Keselowski slow down in front of you?
“I don’t know. I was just trying to watch both lines for which momentum they had and obviously if you got a teammate up there you were going to try to help him and I was trying to watch the momentum of their lines and try to get back with Denny (Hamlin) and get him out to the lead and also try to watch my right side so I could stay in-line. Like I said, I just didn’t know that 22 (Joey Logano) car was down there that close. I thought I had a good half a car length to three-quarters of a car length and by the time I looked away from my mirror and looked back the other way he must’ve got a run and got in there and didn’t see him.”
How was the racing?
“It was okay. It started off single file on the top, which I didn’t think was going to make a real good race. Then Tony (Stewart) and Jimmie (Johnson) and some of the guys really committed to the bottom and worked really hard at it and made it work and made it a real good race. Really unfortunate that so many cars are torn up, especially when it appears that I probably triggered it. I feel bad about that and feel bad that all this stuff is torn up.”