Joey Logano – No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford – WINNER:
You’ve got a knack for winning at places we go to for the first time, and here at Gateway, what does it mean to you to win the first time here in front of a packed house?
“It doesn’t get much better than that. Racing for the lead like that with Kyle, one of the best. It was a lot of fun. Crossing each other back and forth. I knew it was coming. I did it to him; I knew he was going to do it to me. We crossed back and forth there in the last lap there a couple of times. Good for Pennzoil Mustang for sure. Nice to get a few wins on the season here, start collecting those points, playoff points. I’m out of breath. Jamie, I’m way out of breath here. What a great car, though. Really fast. I kind of messed up in qualifying, and Paul made a great call putting two tires on. Blaney did a great job with the push down in the one, which kept me close at least and being able to make the move. Good racing there.”
We watched your crew chief, Paul Wolfe. I think he was sweating it out here when we had a couple of restarts there, but you mentioned it. What was it like? What’s going through your mind when you are deciding which lane to choose and if your teammate is going to be behind you to help you out?
“That’s what I was hoping, that Blaney would choose with me. He did a good teammate move there and then being able to push me and give Team Penske a chance to win the race. That was cool to see that Ford power lined up on the bottom lining that up. That was special to see. Like I said, it was a good race crossing each other. Who would have thought we had slide jobs like that here? I thought we would be running towards the bottom, and we were running way up top and crossing each other. It was a lot of fun to race here, and looking forward to coming back.”
Kyle Busch – No. 18 Snickers Toyota – Finished Second:
Can you walk me through the pass in the end?
“My car was better on the outside, but it took a few laps for it to get rolling up there. Cold tires, firing off on that restart – didn’t have the help behind me. I was going to put my hand out the window and signal to Kurt (Busch) to push me along and Joey (Logano) was half a car back out my window trying to see it, so the hand signal was going to be irrelevant, so I didn’t do it, which kind of made Kurt too far back. Got into turn one by myself and was too far back. When you are the guy on the inside, you just flush the guy on the outside and it’s over. I got a crossover though but threw it into (turn) three too far. It chattered all four tires. Just didn’t have any grip to get off the corner well enough to be on his outside, so I don’t know. Way better than Phoenix overall. We were more in the running than there for sure. The guys on this JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing), Toyota, Snickers, M&M’s, Interstate Batteries, Rowdy Energy, Breathe Right team did a good job to improve and it’s something to work off of.”
Kurt Busch – No. 45 Monster Energy Toyota – Finished Third:
What more did you need on that final restart?
“I thought there was going to be a hand signal on when it was going to be go time and I was going to push the hell out of the 18 (Kyle Busch). We did the whole brother miscommunication. We should have won that. There should have been a Toyota in victory lane, a Busch in victory lane. (Joey) Logano, he didn’t do anything smart – we just messed up on getting the launch. Then I wanted Kyle all on my own running 1-2, but what an awesome day for our Monster Toyota. We won a stage. I gambled on that, and then the team had my back.”
Ryan Blaney – No. 12 Dent Wizard Ford – Finished Fourth:
“We had a really fast car. I had a great shot to win and just made a mistake in the pits and came out 17th and by the time we got back to race with the lead I just had no tires left. I am proud of the Dent Wizard team all day. The car was super fast, just didn’t do a good job with execution there on that last pit stop.”
Aric Almirola – No. 10 Built Ford Proud Ford – Finished Fifth:
“It was a solid day for us. We really needed that. It kind of turned the last month around. We have been running top-10 and finishing 20th or worse the last month and a half. Really proud of the effort today. It was kind of a mistake free day and ran inside the top-five all day. Drew and the guys on the team did a great job. We are just so close to having what we needed to go challenge those guys for the lead.”
Erik Jones – No. 43 Bommarito Automotive Group Chevrolet – Finished Seventh:
“Our day was up all day. We lost some spots there at the end with just the restarts and getting tighter. We kind of struggled with that during the day. It was a good day for us. We needed a top-10 run and we got that today with the No. 43 Bommarito Automotive Group Chevy.
“I’m happy with that. Obviously, we want to be a bit better. I think we have some things we can work on to get up there and be a little bit faster than some of those guys. We’ll keep going, but it was a solid day for us.”
Ross Chastain – No. 1 Moose Fraternity Chevrolet – Finished Eighth:
You and the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) and the No. 9 (Chase Elliott). Take us back from your perspective.
“It was just terrible driving. It’s one thing to do it once, but I just kept driving into guys. At this level, I’m supposed to be better than that. It’s just a shame for Moose Fraternity, Advent Health, Jockey, and Worldwide Express. I have all these people believing in me with Justin Marks and Pitbull putting me in this car. They deserve better.”
Will you go talk to them?
“I will, yeah. I owe half of the field an apology. Words aren’t going to fix it, so I’ll have to pay for it on the track. I almost did today and I deserve everything that they do. I can’t believe I continued to make those same mistakes; overdrive the corners and drive into guys. I had time under caution to get reset; and we’d go green and I would drive into somebody. Terrible.”
What would you say to them right now?
“It’s completely unacceptable that I did that. For the No. 11, No. 9, No. 34, so many guys. I was just way off on my driving today. Running into people is not acceptable at this level. I cannot believe, standing here right now, that I just made so many mistakes back-to-back. It’s one thing for one, but I just absolutely drove over my head today. It’s unacceptable.”
Christopher Bell – No. 20 Rheem Toyota – Finished Ninth:
AJ Allmendinger – No. 16 Gold Fish Casino Slots Chevrolet – Finished Tenth:
“I’m really happy with today. I didn’t know what to expect with no practice or qualifying and the car having to be fixed. The team made the car better all day. Ultimately, we needed a little bit of track position, but we were really good at the end there. I’m proud of the effort from start to finish to get a top-10 to cap off a great weekend.”
Austin Cindric – No. 2 Menards/Atlas Ford Mustang — Finished 11th:
“Proud of the pit crew guys, really solid race for them and proud of their progress. Obviously a really strong weekend for Team Penske great to get Joey (Logano) another win, we’ve got a lot of strengths as a team. Feel like I just adjusted myself too tight by the end. We had the trap door come down and that took off a lot of rear downforce and led me down the wrong road.”
Justin Haley – No. 31 Leaffilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet – Finished 14th:
“We weren’t the best all day, but we had a good strategy at the end to recover for a good points day. I’m proud of everyone for the hard work to put us back into the top-15.”
Austin Dillon – No. 3 Get Bioethanol Chevrolet – Finished 15th:
“Today was hard, but this No. 3 Get Bioethanol team never gave up. We started the race much further back in the field than we had hoped after qualifying didn’t go as well as expected, and that made the day challenging with how aero-dependent this track is. We just struggled in dirty air all day. We made a big adjustment to tighten the handling of our Chevy late in the race, and it really helped. In hindsight, if we would have made our car tighter earlier, we could have had a different day. It was great to be able to bring NASCAR to St. Louis, and especially to do so while celebrating 20 Million NASCAR Miles on e15.”
Michael McDowell – No. 38 WISE Power Ford – Finished 18th:
Brad Keselowski – No. 6 Solomon Plumbing Ford – Finished 20th: