After Ricky Stenhouse Jr. got by Kevin Harvick on a late restart to win the NRA American Warrior 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, there was, without question, plenty on the mind of drivers. Here's what the top finishers said after the race.
RICKY STENHOUSE JR. (Winner, No. 6 Cargill Beef Ford) – Man that 33 was fast. But these guys made great changes. The guys on pit road did an awesome job. I had to get everything I could on that restart. We got a good restart and I sucked down on him as hard as I could to slow him down and he started getting loose off of two and the 22 gave us a push down the front straightaway that helped us get to the lead.
BRAD KESELOWSKI (2nd Place, No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge) – I don’t know what’s going on, to be honest. I’m just starting to catch up. I don’t know if the yellow came out because of a water bottle; I don’t know what’s going on. I didn’t know there was a yellow for a water bottle to begin with, so it’s all news to me. I defer to NASCAR. I don’t know what the yellow came out for. Certainly the Discount Tire team did a good job. Down two laps, yep, all my fault, I sped on pit road. The guys rallied around and made a great effort; good battle there at the end. I’ll have to re-watch the race to see what everybody else is talking about. Obviously, yeah, I threw a water bottle out. Everybody in the dang garage throws a water bottle out and the tear offs off their nose; don’t know what’s going on. NASCAR doesn’t throw yellows for that usually. So if they say there’s another reason I’ve got to believe them.
If the water bottle would have been the cause of the yellow – it came out of my car 15-20 laps before the yellow came out. I don’t know verbatim what lap it was, or specifically what lap it was, I guess I should say. I don’t know why the yellow would come out. Yellows come out all the time without any explanation. That’s not a question for me, that’s a question for everybody that runs the show. I’m sure they felt like there was a reason and that’s their right. So any questions for that should go to them. Do I feel guilty for throwing a water bottle out of the car? No, everybody throws that stuff out of the car. I threw about three out during the course of the race, and I do every race. I don’t know how the two are linked together without NASCAR saying so. I can understand Kevin being frustrated, I’d be frustrated too. Sometimes in racing you do everything right and it just doesn’t work out.
KEVIN HARVICK (3rd Place, No. 33 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet) – Same thing he always says; he says all the right things to make you believe that everything is perfect for whatever he did. All in all, we got beat on the last restart there and unfortunately because of the 22 car that threw the water bottle out there, we weren’t able to push the 6 up and they hung on my quarter panel and you know I got a little bit tight getting into one and they got a good run. Our Bad Boy Chevy was good tonight, and it didn’t work out. (Frustrating to lead all night and not be in Victory Lane?) Been that way all year. (NASCAR said it did not throw the caution because of the water bottle) The caution came out when the water bottle went out. (Do you think the 22 threw the water bottle intentionally?) Yeah it was intentional. Sleep good tonight. We had a really good car and were able to get really good restarts all night. They just drove by me coming off of two and that was it.
ELLIOTT SADLER (4th Place, No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet) – Well it was a decent night for us, we finished fourth. We ran up front all night long and we made the car better all night long. A top five is a good finish but at the end of the day, we did actually lose some points to the 6. Those guys did a great job winning the race. But we’ll move on to Richmond. We’re racing at a pretty high standard when we feel like fourth and fifth place finishes are not where we need to be. But we were in the top five all night, I’m happy with that, and we learned some things that I think will actually help us for Richmond and Chicago, and we’ll move on.
There at the end, I needed long runs. If we would have had that, we would have been a little bit better shape, points wise and how we finished. It’s a shame for the 33. As fast as they were, and you just never know man, when the cautions happen and bunch the field back up, you just never know what’s gonna happen.
We were racing pretty rough, and we were able to make it to the end, then somebody told me that somebody threw a water bottle out to cause the caution, too. We’ll see what NASCAR has to say about that. I’m sure they won’t let that go, they’ll have to penalize whoever did that.
JUSTIN ALLGAIER (5th Place, No. 31 Brandt Chevrolet) – It was a great race for the Brandt Chevy. Obviously pit strategy worked wonders there for us. Wasn’t sure what Jimmy Elledge’s plan was there, but I knew if I stuck with it, he knew what he was doing, and I knew that we would have a good shot at least trying to win the race, maybe not having a fast enough car, but at least having a shot at trying to win. So hats off to him and all of these guys, they worked their tails off. And coming off of a race like last week, and getting crashed on lap six … I don’t know. It is what it is. We’re trying to make our program get better and we’re definitely doing that.
AUSTIN DILLON (6th Place, No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet) – Yeah we had a top three car and the guys did a great job on pit road to get us up there. Just didn’t go our way at the end on the restart. The 54 went below the yellow line, shoved us up, hit us. I don’t’ know. Drives like that every week. One day it’ll bite him.
Well it’s a heck of a race. It’s a lot of fun being out here driving these things. I’m very proud to be. That was Harvick’s race right there, that sucks for him. I know he really wanted it. It’s just a bummer man. We had a great car. We should have finished top-three, we had a third place car. Just didn’t work out, but love being here in Atlanta. It’s great to see AdvoCare out here and get a good run for them.
DANICA PATRICK (13th Place, No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet) – I pretty much was running the bottom all night, and then at the end when we got tightened up we could run up high and that’s kind of what led to that second-to-last restart. I went up high, was comfortable up there, got a really good run, I was following Brad – I knew he’d be going like crazy. We just got a really good run off and everybody’s trying to take their momentum as far as they can. Unfortunately some cars got crashed, definitely didn’t mean to, I was just using the momentum off the top like I needed to. We brought the GoDaddy car home; it’s not in good shape, but we got it home. The guys did a good job keeping at it.
TRAVIS PASTRANA (26th Place, No. 99 Boost Mobile Toyota) – Worst finish we’ve had, best result I’ve had as a driver – worst result as on paper. Everything is really coming together. It’s my eighth race in Nationwide. First race we had a legitimate shot at a top-10 and actually a pretty good shot at a possible top-five.