RICKY STENHOUSE JR. – No. 6 Cargill Ford Mustang – “Our Ranchers Reserve Mustang was not as good as we thought it was gonna be for sure. We did all we could to finish ninth. That was a tough race and a tough race track when it gets rubbered in, and we just didn’t have any grip.
It’s not what we want because we always come to win, but I’ve got to thank Cargill Beef, Ranchers Reserve, Safeway, NOS, Nationwide Insurance. It’s a finish. We’ll go on to Charlotte.”
HOW DO YOU PUT THIS BEHIND YOU AS FAR AS BATTLING ELLIOTT FOR THE TITLE? “This hasn’t ever been one of our best race tracks, so I guess out of the ones left this was the one we didn’t think we would be the greatest at, but we’ve got some great race tracks left.
Last week might have been a disappointing finish, but we had a dominating car so we can hang our hat on that. Today, we can’t really hang our hat on anything, so we’ll just go on.”
THAT LAST RESTART YOU WERE IN GOOD POSITION BUT THE INSIDE LANE BACKED UP AND YOU COULDN’T MOVE FORWARD. DID THAT COST YOU A BETTER FINISH? “No, not at all. We were a ninth-place car and that’s where we finished.
I think a couple people got a little better finish out of it than they normally would have, but that’s where we deserved to finish. We probably could have got a couple more spots there, but, all in all, we weren’t very good.”
MICHAEL ANNETT – No. 43 Pilot/Flying J Ford Mustang – “We were fortunate on that restart with the way things played out. We would like to drive up there, but the run right before that caution we were probably the fastest car on the track.
I think we restarted 10th and were driving up to sixth and still pushing forward, but that’s another top five.
We’ll take it because our best finish up to this point was third at Daytona, so to get one here on a track where you really have to earn it is pretty cool and a testament to our team that we’re still getting better.
We didn’t level off there and be happy with consistent top 10s, we want these top fives and we just keep getting better.”
YOU WERE IN POSITION TO WIN AT THE END AND THAT’S THE KEY, RIGHT? “I get asked a lot when we’re going to get that first win and I always say you have to be in position.
If you get yourself in the first three rows of a late-race restart, then you have a chance for a win and that’s what we did. We had good pit stops and had a really good run leading up to that caution and put ourselves in that position.
We jumped on it and had a good enough car to hold off two other guys in the top five.”
ANNETT POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE – WHAT HAS BEEN THE KEY TO SUCH A GOOD SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON? “It was kind of fun, but also disappointing last week to go back to Kentucky and finish seventh and be let down by that.
I think that has really shown a difference to where our team was at the start of the year to where it is now, that we’re not satisfied unless we’re coming home with top fives.
Obviously, we’re still looking for that first win, but I just said that we’re still getting better while a lot of teams are leveling out. We just keep getting better and for a team that’s coming back next year to run for a championship this is the best thing we could have.
I know we’re gonna hate the off-season, but we’ve still got five left here to hopefully get into the top five in points. Obviously we came in, I think, about 36 behind the 31 car.
You hate to wish bad luck upon anybody, but to see a car pull off and know it’s the guy you’re chasing in points, we knew we were gonna have good points day if we stayed out of trouble.
Coming away with minus two on gaining the most we could is definitely a good day for us.”
MICHAEL ANNETT - COULD YOU TALK ABOUT THE FINAL RESTART AND BATTLING SADLER AT THE END? “On that last restart I thought I was gonna either lose three or four spots to the guys on the bottom or Elliott was gonna turn me because I thought I had my tires cleaned off as much as I could.
I think having hot tires since no one came in on that last pit stop our right sides went right through all the black.
I don’t know if you guys noticed how much the black would come off the track in-between cautions and pretty much start all over, but on that last restart all the guys on the outside our right sides went right through that rubber and really had no time to get them cleaned off coming to the start, so I basically spun them all the way down and had Elliott pushing me, but he stayed square enough to where we kept going and it sounded like the 38 missed a shift and everything just worked out our way to get to the bottom.
We worked on our car enough to where we were able to hold Elliott off. I knew I had a better car than him on that whole run before, so I knew if I just kept doing what I had done, obviously I knew he’s fighting for every point he can get so he’s gonna be tough, but we ran real smooth, consistent laps and were able to hold him off.”
WHEN DID YOU KNOW THE 18 WAS THE CAR TO BEAT? “I didn’t know that until the last restart because that was the only time I could see him. I think we knew before we even got here that he was the car to beat just looking at his performance here last time.
Every time you come to Dover you know the Gibbs cars, whether they bring two or three, and just like today they were definitely really strong. Joey obviously was the best. We’re chasing for fifth in points and it doesn’t matter where the leader is if we can see a car in front of us that we know is a points-paying position, we’re gonna drive as hard as we can for it.
Even there at the end when I was trying to hold the 2 off I could still see the 33 and knew that would be one more point, but we just weren’t as good as he was. We always know when we get here there are certain cars to watch in practice.
Obviously they’re gonna qualify well and we just need to get our cars as good as they are and maybe it will come down to a late-race restart like we saw and Joey makes a mistake on that last restart and you get a jump on him or something like that.”
WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP AS FAR AS GETTING TO VICTORY LANE? “I think each time I get a race up there with these guys. I might think I have a winning race car at the end of practice or halfway through the race I might think I’ve got a car that can win this race, and then you restart up there with the 18, with the 33 trying to run them down there for the last 20 laps of the race and realize I can’t catch them.
I could see where they were beating me, so it’s just things like that. Obviously all year I’ve been saying we need to qualify better. We were kind of stuck in the 16th-20th and now we’ve kind of bumped that up to about 8th-12th and it’s making our days a lot easier and we know what kind of car we have earlier, so if we can keep improving in qualifying and just get more and more experience in laps up there in the top five, six and seven, I’m gonna know what kind of car I need rather than just trying to guess for it.”
WERE YOU SURPRISED BY THE LACK OF CAUTIONS AND DID IT HURT YOU AS FAR AS NOT BEING ABLE TO ADJUST MORE ON YOUR CAR? “We always have some long green flag runs here. I really wasn’t expecting a green flag stop and wasn’t looking forward to one.
This is probably the hardest pit road we have all season, so to see that caution come out about two laps before we were coming was good to see. Normally there at the end when we had that restart with 20 to go something always happens like it did and somehow we were able to get through it.
Normally we see them stack up and guys are on their sides going down pit wall and things like that, but things worked out. Today, if you’re out there making laps and looking at the rubber and how it was darkening up the track, it looked a lot like we’ve been seeing at Bristol with how it widened out and we didn’t really have to root and gouge on guys to get past them. There was just a ton of track and a ton of grip everywhere, definitely more than I’ve seen here in the past.”
Source: Ford Racing