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SONOMA -- Kasey Kahne (4th), Greg Biffle (7th) and Boris Said (8th) all posted top-10 finishes on Sunday in the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series road course race of the season at Infineon Raceway.
KASEY KAHNE – No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion (Finished 4th)
We were a little bit off at the start, but I just needed to settle in and we made the car a little bit better there. I felt pretty good the last 70 laps, so it was a good race. I’m able we were able to finish strong with our Budweiser Ford, and, hopefully, it was a good show. I know it was exciting from my seat and probably a lot of the other drivers’ seats.
GREG BIFFLE – No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (Finished 7th)
Q. YOU WENT THE LAST 43 LAPS WITHOUT PITTING, SO YOUR FUEL STRATEGY WORKED.
A. Yeah, we were getting good fuel mileage and I knew how I needed to drive it to make it to the end. I just took my time. We had a pretty good race car, but after about lap 25 I lost the rear tires and really couldn’t do a whole lot with it. We need to work a little harder at it, I guess. It’s probably partly driver, but the car was pretty good. I just didn’t have good enough tires to race those guys at the end. They had way better tires than I did. Robby Gordon is just a little bit better driver and he ended up second.
Q. WHAT WERE THE LAST FIVE LAPS LIKE TRYING TO HOLD ON?
A. Guys were running into each other. The 24 ran me off the track. Everybody is running everybody off the track and you either have to check out of the gas or you go for a ride. You can see both fenders got beat in there at the end, but we were doing all we could.
ELLIOTT SADLER – No. 19 Stanley Ford Fusion (Finished 17th)
It was a frustrating day. We got taken out by (Jeff) Gordon and it’s just frustrating. This is one of the best tracks for us and one of the good chances we had this year for a top 10. It’s a shame. He took out Martin Truex for no reason. The 33 and me were side-by-side and he got two-for-one there, so he was just kind of knocking everything out of his way. It’s just tough for my race team.
BORIS SAID – No. 26 Air National Guard Ford Fusion (Finished 8th)
It was exciting all day. The California National Guard car on the long run was as good as anybody, if not better. When we were leading there at the end, if it would have gone green like in previous years, we would have won the race because on old tires there was no one better than us. But as chaotic as those restarts were, the 12 got into me. I don’t know what happened, but he sent me for a ride and I was out of control. I can’t believe I didn’t wreck it. And then a couple of restarts later it was just chaos and Kevin Harvick got into me or something, it was just wild. It was just racing. It was double-file restarts. The only thing I was disappointed in is at the end of the race Tony Stewart just ran in and took the side of my car out after the checker. He’s one of my heroes, so that kind of upset me a little bit, but, all in all, a good day to come out of here with a top 10 after not racing full-time. I’m tickled. A top 10 for us is like a win.
Q. YOUR PIT STRATEGY WORKED GOING THE LAST 43 LAPS.
A. We were saving a lot of fuel and, basically, I was just really meticulous about saving the tires from the start of the run, just not spinning the tires and that made my lap times the same for the whole run, instead of trying to click off that one quick one. That really, really helped.
DAVID GILLILAND – No. 38 Taco Bell Ford Fusion (Finished 19th)
We had a great car today and a great car all weekend. I’m real proud of Randy and all the guys. They prepared a great Taco Bell Ford Fusion and the Yates motor was running really good. Everything was going well. We were in good position and then Carl got in the back of us and spun us. It wasn’t on purpose, but it just costs you so much track position that it’s hard to make up with 12 laps to go. We did our best and came back for a top 20 finish, so I’m real proud of all the guys. It was nice to be competitive all day.” YOU NEEDED THIS FOR POINTS AS WELL TO TRY AND GET BACK IN THAT TOP 35. “Yeah, it’s a good day for Front Row Motorsports and I’m just proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish.
AJ ALLMENDINGER – No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy Ford Fusion (Finished 13th)
We’ve been fighting forward bite all weekend with the Insignia/Best Buy Ford. We were struggling with that. There were times we got it pretty good and then there were other times we struggled a little bit, but, overall, I felt like we made improvements from the start of the weekend until the end. We were okay. At the beginning of the race we were terrible, and then we made it better and we just couldn’t get track position. I kept getting hit and ping-ponged around. I felt if we got a little bit of track position, we might have had a chance at a top 10, but to be 13th with a car that we struggled with all weekend, I’ll take it.
Q. EVERYBODY SEEMED OVER-AGGRESSIVE ALL DAY.
A. Yeah, that incident with Clint, he came off the corner and drove me like I was never there. I got back into him and, I don’t know, everybody is aggressive. Everybody is really close and I think it’s a good and bad thing because it shows how close the Sprint Cup Series is and how great a racing this is and how tough everybody is, but, at the same point, we’re just battling to death on lap one. It’s interesting out there in the race car, but it’s fun and that’s what the fans pay for.” SHOULD IT BE LIKE THAT? “I don’t know if it should be, but we’re race car drivers. We shouldn’t be out there riding around and just collecting money. We should be out there trying hard, so, hopefully, the fans enjoyed it. It’s great racing. At times it’s really fun and at times it’s frustrating, but that’s what makes the series so great.
KEVIN CONWAY – No. 34 ExtenZe Ford Fusion (Finished 28th) - RAYBESTOS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE
Today was wild. It was a huge learning experience for me because it was my first time ever on a road course in anything, let alone a Sprint Cup car. It was a very physical race. It’s more like bumper cars where if you can’t pass them, you just knock them out of the way. We got used up a little bit. That yellow stripe on the back of our ExtenZe Ford Fusion says, ‘Use me,’ I think, but I learned a lot. I lost a few spots there on the last lap when I got knocked off the track by the 31. We should have had a top 25, but we ended up 28th and the car is in relatively one piece. I learned a whole lot and kept all fours on the asphalt until the very last lap, and didn’t break any transmissions or rear-end gears, so we have a lot of momentum to head into Watkins Glen and a lot of experience gained.
DAVID RAGAN – No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion (Finished 25th)
We had a little issue with our ignition from the get-go, and that got progressively worse. We’ll have to take a look at that back at the shop. I’m not sure if it was something with our wiring or our ignition box, but it’s something that we didn’t have yesterday. I felt like our UPS Ford would have been okay after we made our last stop there. The thing that started our demise was really the 24 and the 83 wrecking us in turn seven, because that put us in the back and everyone from 15th place on back drives like idiots those last few laps. You have to drive very defensively to not wreck, but we came out with a 25th-place finish. It’s salvageable, but it’s not even racing out there those last 10-15 laps.