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MARTINSVILLE -- Drivers AJ Allmendinger, David Stremme, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, David Ragan and Crew Chrief Slegger Labbe discuss how the race at Martinsville went.
AJ ALLMENDINGER – No. 43 Charter Ford Fusion (Finished 38th)
When you’re at Martinsville the double-file restarts aren’t the most fun thing to have, especially when you’re starting mid-pack all day, because you’re bound to get wrecked. It was really nobody’s fault because everybody is fighting for the same space, but I got hit in the back and shoved into all the cars. That just tore the nose off of it. All of the oil lines were pinched and when we tried to go back out there we blew up.
DAVID STREMME – No. 26 Air National Guard Ford Fusion (Finished 37th)
We were about 50 laps in and I was already having issues with our brakes. We had to pump the pedal a lot, and then when they all stacked up in front of us in three and four, we were on the brakes and the car just wasn’t slowing down. The car drove fine. It was pretty good, but we had some brake issues and that escalated, and then we broke a gear, so it stinks for the team because they’re trying to stay in the top 35. I think we had a car that we could be closer, but we have to thank the Air National Guard, Ford and everybody. If we keep this deal going, we’ll be fine. We show a lot of speed, but putting these things together is hectic at times.
MATT KENSETH – No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion (Finished 18th)
I guess it looked like it was my fault. I did go in there and I did get into Jeff a little bit, really not that hard, and I got under him and everything was fine and he just took a left as hard as he could take one and ran me down all the way into the marbles. I’ve got all the marbles on my rear tires and I slowed up to try to get in the corner real slow and I kind of got hit from behind and I got hit in the side and started wheel-hopping. I couldn’t hang onto it when I got to three. It’s nothing Jeff wouldn’t have done or hasn’t done to me, expect he’s wrecked me all the way out, so it was just an aggressive race for the end. We were gonna be side-by-side going into three and four, and the outside lane has actually been an advantage anyway, so it wasn’t gonna be that big of a deal, but, instead, he decided to run me down as low as he could because he knew I’d wreck when I got to the corner. That’s the way it turned out. It was a dumb move on my part. I should have just finished third and collected some points and got one of our best finishes at Martinsville, but I figured I’d go for the win, which, I guess in hindsight, was probably a mistake.
CARL EDWARDS – No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion (Finished 8th)
We fought hard all day and fell back a little bit in the middle of the race, but we made that back up. Considering that we stayed out on our tires it was a really good finish. We were just in a bad spot because all the guys behind us came and got tires and I was just holding them off at the end but it worked pretty well.
Q. CRAZY WERE THE LAST COUPLE OF LAPS?
A. It got crazy out there in the last couple of laps. Everybody was just bunched up and pushing one another. There’s not a lot of room out there for a two-lap sprint. It was fun though. It was a good race.
Q. WHAT WERE YOU AND CLINT (BOWYER) TALKING ABOUT AFTER THE RACE?
A. I had a guy pushing me and I was pushing him and almost got both of us. I just wanted him to know that I was the meat in the sandwich there. It’s good though and he was cool with it. We had a good laugh about the whole thing.
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 U.S. Census Ford Fusion (Finished 10th)
I tell you what, it was kind of a spectacular day for us. We were up and down, up and down. I don’t know how I got caught speeding in pit road. I didn’t think there was enough distance to get going that fast. That really hurt us because we spent the whole rest of the day getting our track position back. I feel like we had a top-10 car probably at best today, but that is a great run for us here, unbelievable.
Q. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU DODGED SOME BULLETS OUT THERE TODAY?
A. I dodged some huge bullets for sure. They were pushing and shoving and running into each other all day. I was just trying to stay out of everybody’s way and keep the fenders on. I knew if I just finished I would be in the top 15 and that is all I needed to do, really.
DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion (Finished 16th)
I felt like we were gonna sneak a top 10 out of it. Our UPS team did a good job on pit road. We had a top 12 to top 14 car and we just had to fight all day long starting there in the back and track position was very important. It’s just one of those hard-fought days at Martinsville. I don’t think we got the finish we deserved, but it could have been a lot worse. Things got a little crazy there at the end.”
SLUGGER LABBE, Crew Chief – No. 98 Menards Ford Fusion (Menard finished 14th)
We got caught up in that one wreck and had to pit. I think we ended up pitting 19 times today and to come back and finish in the top 15 shows the character of this team. Not many people expected us to be where we’re at and we don’t quit. We work and we work smart. We decided to get two tires there at the end for some track position and it paid off. That’s just the way it is – it’s Martinsville. All of the fenders and the whole body is beat in, but that’s what you expect at a short track.
Q. THIS HAS BEEN A BREAKTHROUGH YEAR SO FAR. AT WHAT POINT DO YOU START THINKING THIS COULD BE YOUR YEAR?
A. I hope so. I think some of the drivers aren’t really happy that we’re up here running this good. Obviously looking at the body, we got beat to death today. Right there towards the end, Paul made it three-wide for a lap-and-a-half and he stood up for himself. That’s what I’ve been telling him. I’ve told him, ‘You deserve to be here. They’ll give you the respect, but you’ve got to go out there and get it. If you keep moving out of the way, they’ll keep doing it to you.’ So he stood up for himself and we had a good finish. The points will keep coming and as long as we keep running in the top 15, we’ll be fine.