What Drivers Said: Phoenix Edition
Here’s what the drivers said after Sunday’s Ruoff Mortage 500 at Phoenix Raceway:
Chase Briscoe – No. 14 Ford Mahindra Tractors – WINNER: “It’s unbelievable. I cried the whole last lap. I mean, it’s definitely a team win. I have to thank everyone who got me to this point. Seven years ago, I I was sleeping on a couch, ready to give up. They gave me an opportunity and it led me to this. I’m so lucky to drive for the organization, the team, the car that was my hero growing up. To bring that 14 back to Victory Lane, to do it with Mahindra Tractors, their first year in the sport, everyone believed in me. It’s unbelievable.”
Question: You dreamed of driving your idol Tony Stewart’s race car. You looked a lot like Tony Stewart today.
“Yeah, those reboots, I mean, we were slipping, everything else. Hope the race fans enjoyed the race. It was amazing from my point of view. Thanks, guys, for coming. We’ve missed you for the past two years with COVID and all. So grateful to have the guys back. Without you guys we don’t have sports, don’t run, do what we do for a living. I wish my wife and baby were here. Definitely special and will be remembered forever.
Ross Chastain – #1 Chevrolet K1 Speed - finished second: How would you sum up your day?
“Like a day on the K1 track. It was so fun to race like that at this level. Trackhouse Racing believes in me and AdventHealth and The Moose, those people they believed in me at the start of the season when things weren’t going well. It’s so cool to race with Tyler (Reddick) and Chase (Briscoe). I mean it’s like everything I’ve ever wanted and my crew chief Phil Surgen like people don’t know how good he is. His adjustments this year have been so amazing and have given me exactly what I needed. I just ran out of a spot. I am so happy.”
Tyler Reddick – No. 8 Guaranteed Rate Chevrolet – Third: Tyler, good race car all weekend, all day. Just a bit short at the end.
“I think we had a good launch considering everything that’s going on there in one. I know how deep I could drive it in the first turn all day. I thought I had pretty good heat in the tires. I passed it again. I couldn’t have pushed it any deeper than I did. I always thought I was going to put it in the fence. Chase was able to chase him in there, clear, high, take the lead. It was very fun. Great for recovering from the hiccups we had earlier in the race. Everyone on this #8 Guaranteed Rate team did a great job all day. A small mistake that took us from second to 12th place. My pit crew did an amazing job, had a good restart at the end to get us into position. It was a fun day. Nice way to recover from a mistake at the end of the race, to fight for victory. Beautiful day. We’ll see what else we can learn from it and we’ll see what lies ahead.
Ryan Blaney – No. 12 Menards/Maytag Ford – Finished Fourth: What more did you need today?
“It’s hard to say. I lost my mind there on pit road and never got back. I don’t know. I just didn’t have enough speed and I was a bit too tight. I could ride through the peloton and make some good spots and nobody could really do that. You’d just be really tight behind people. Not a bad day. A good pick up from last week. We had a car fast, too bad we couldn’t fight for the win more, it’s cool to see Briscoe get his first win and we’ll move on to next week.
Kurt Busch – #45 MoneyLion Toyota – finished fifth: You fought for a top five, can you tell us about your day?
“It was a little loose coming out of the corner. That second corner was a battle – two guys spun right past me there. We have done our best. Once we settled that into turn two, some of the other parts of the track got tight for us, but my car really surprised me on the lights. We were ok with the older tires – generally I’m a sticker guy. My crew chief, Billy Scott, said, “No, you’re gonna stay out, mate.” Really happy with the race. Thanks to MoneyLion, Toyota, everyone who was on our team this weekend. This is a very good top five, box checked for 23XI.
Where are you from, Kurt?
“It was surprising, and it was fun. I’m normally a sticker guy. I need sticker tires and this car responded very well to scratches today, so it’s good for our laptop at 23XI “The restarts – I was able to find the good spots. Thanks to MoneyLion, Toyota. We were the best Toyotas today, which is somewhat of a surprise. We were just trying to get 10th, but we’ll take a top five.” That’s really cool for our program, that car number, number 45. To get a top five, check the box. It was a good west coast swing. Not so much on the points with first and second stage, but our finishes were there, and we will continue to chisel.
Kevin Harvick – #4 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford – finished sixth: “It was a good day for us. Restarts weren’t 100% our strong point. We had a little problem with brake shudder which kept pulling the car to the right under braking so I couldn’t go into the corners the way I wanted. Another good day and the car ran well. I just couldn’t really connect all the corners throughout the day. Put an SHR car in the win lane and race in the top five all day for us is always a good day.
Daniel Suarez – No. 99 Commscope Chevrolet – Finished ninth: “It was a roller coaster, up and down. I don’t think we had the most speed, probably top 15 somewhere in there. I made a mistake on pit road, the speeding penalty. We had a few slow stops. I feel like it was just ups and downs. We were able to recover a little. Travis (Mack, crew chief) made a good call right there with the right side tires only and we were able to salvage a few spots. Overall it was not a good day, we have to learn and come back stronger.
Chris Buscher – Ford #17 IT SAVVY – Finished tenth: “It was a really solid day. Phoenix is definitely not my best piece, probably one of my worst. To have a day where we come out of here with a top 10 is a small win. I want to be better but definitely a strong Phoenix for us. I’m proud of everyone in this group. It was again a difficult weekend with only 150 minutes of training and not much time to work on it, but we were able to compose and be competitive in the race. I think we have learned some good things for our short track program and we have a lot to come soon.
Alex Bowman – No. 48 Ally Chevrolet – Finished 14th:
Cole Custer – No. 41 Haas Tooling Ford – Finished 16th:
Justin Haley – No. 31 Leafgaurd Gutter Protection Chevrolet – Finished 17th: “Our #31 LeafFilter Gutter Guard Camaro ZL1 started to build tight, but was able to make some positive gains on our first pit stop. The position of the track here is crucial. I think we had a strong race overall and learned some things that we can really build on for our short track program.
William Byron – No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet – Finished 18th:
AJ Allmendinger – No. 16 Action Industries Chevrolet – Finished 20th: “We had some other handling issues today – I was lacking grip and stability at the rear. We did some major swings on pit road but just couldn’t make it through. so that the #16 Action Industries Camaro ZL1 felt the way I wanted it to with the speed we needed. It was frustrating for sure, but we learned everything we could and grabbed a top 20 finish. It’s a track we’ve spent a lot of time focusing on, so hopefully the gains we’ve made today carry over the next time we come here in the fall.
Austin Dillion – No. 3 Get Bioethanol Chevrolet – Finished 21st: “This Get Bioethanol #3 Chevrolet team continues to work so hard. We had a top-five race today, so I hate that our day ended the way it did. During the race we battled a tight handling condition that slapped our tires and caused us to let go quickly on the exit of the corner in Turn 2. Solid adjustments all day had us running in the top five at the time. where we got to Stage 3. We were as fast as anyone in clean air. Our pit team made some great saves all day. On the last restart we were sixth when the field went down to three and someone tagged our right-back. We were picked up and that ended our day. It’s not how we wanted to end the race after such a strong run. It’s unfortunate to get tangled up in someone else’s mess, but we’ll regroup and head to Atlanta Motor Speedway with even more fire under us.
Brad Keselowski – No. 6 Violet Defense Ford – Finished 23rd:
Austin Cindric – No. 2 Autotrader Ford – Finished 24th:
Christopher Bell – #20 Rheem Toyota – finished 26th:
Cody Ware – No. 51 Nurtec ODT Ford – Finished 31st:
Garrett Smithley – #15 Jacob Companies Ford – finished 32nd:
Kyle Larson – No. 5 Valvoline Chevrolet – Finished 34th (Mechanical): Is there anything you’ve done to get there, to your knowledge?
“I don’t know. I felt it four or five laps before, well it only got worse. Hate it. Our Valvoline Chevy was pretty good, I thought we were a fourth or fifth place car. J “I was just hoping to be a little better than that. I know they’ll fix the problem we’ve had for the past few weeks with some engines. We’ll be back strong and reliable. The good thing is we have fast cars, fast engines and great drivers driving these Chevys, so we’ll have even more wins here.
Martin Truex Jr. – No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota – Finished 35th: What happened there?
“We had been getting really loose all day on the long runs. I was just out there trying to take care of it, and we moved up a few places on the restart and I was just trying to take care of the rear tires. Coming out of turn two there, I’m kind of neutral and free, and then all of a sudden he shot straight into the fence. I cut a straight front by running up there in glue or something.