By Matteo Marcheschi
While Sunday’s race at Sonoma seemed rather tame, especially during the third and final stage, it certainly left some drivers (as well as crew chiefs and spotters) with ruffled feathers. Only a single driver seemed satisfied at the end of the day. Here are the five best quotes from Sunday’s Toyota-Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.
Busch Locks ‘Em Up
- “Get ready, get ready. Need tires, left front locked up, got stuck. No grip, front or rear.” – Kyle Busch, after locking up his brakes entering turn 11. Busch would have to pit off-sequence, but bounced back to finish in fifth place, despite receiving front-end damage after contact with David Ragan later in the race.
Kahne Gets Wiped Out
- “[Kevin O’Connell] just drove into our (expletive) door, he never turned.” – Kevin Hamlin, spotter for the No. 5 of Kasey Kahne. Kahne was involved in a wreck on the final lap of Sunday’s Toyota-Save Mart 350. Kahne’s Microsoft Windows sponsored machine apparently (although only the end of the incident was captured on TV) had contact with the No. 15 car, driven by road-course ringer Kevin O’Connell, sending Kahne into the Jersey barriers that lined the racing surface. Kahne finished 24th and recorded his fourth DNF due to a crash in five races. Keith Rodden, Kahne’s crew chief, also expressed displeasure towards O’Connell, in the form of a flurry of expletives.
Bowyer Feels the Pressure
- “Let’s face it: Yeah, we gotta win, we need to win in a big way, and today would have been a great win, but after everything that happened, you know, to get second place is, I guess, really good, as a matter of fact.” – A disappointed Clint Bowyer after finishing a distant second behind teammate Kevin Harvick. Bowyer has yet to win this season, and sits 11th in points. If the playoffs began today, he would be the 16th seed, the final one in. A win by Matt Kenseth, Erik Jones, or anyone else behind Bowyer in points would be devastating for the No. 14 team. Even if there are no more new winners, Bowyer still doesn’t have much security, as Matt Kenseth sits only four points behind him. Being passed by Kenseth would mean being knocked out of a provisional playoff spot.
Smoke’s Satisfied…For Now
- “It was nice to see that the race actually got to play out. It was interesting listening to some of the [Joe Gibbs Racing] drivers and the gamesmanship they were playing. They pitted and then came back out and then immediately started screaming debris on the racetrack, so I thought that was real convenient on their part, but you know, it’s gamesmanship, and, you know, they’re smart, knowing how to try to play the game, but I’m glad NASCAR didn’t bite on that one today.” – Tony Stewart, owner of the top two finishing cars on Sunday. Stewart had been very unhappy after NASCAR put out a debris caution with less than 20 laps remaining last week at Michigan. The several wrecks that followed involved three of his four cars.
And Harvick’s Happy
- “This is worth the wait. You know, to come to Sonoma for so many years, and to win yesterday coming back to the K&N series and come back here today. I guess we’ll have to do that again because it worked out pretty good.” – Kevin Harvick, winner of the Toyota-Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. Harvick captured his first win of the season on Sunday, as well as his first career win at Sonoma in the Cup series. Harvick’s team, Stewart-Haas Racing, made the switch to Ford in the 2016-2017 offseason, and have two wins so far in 2017.