They said it: Quote board from last night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards

13 Comments

In addition to new champion Kevin Harvick, the other 15 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders were also recognized during last night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards in Las Vegas.

Each member of the Championship 4, as well as each of the four drivers knocked out in the Eliminator Round, got their own time on the podium. As for the foursomes eliminated in both the Challenger and the Contender Rounds of the Chase, they shared their thoughts on the season together.

In case you didn’t get to watch last night’s festivities, here’s a little bit of what each driver had to say during the evening. We’ll start with the guest of honor:

Kevin Harvick – Champion

“The first time I was able to get in my No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet, we were fast. And it didn’t matter if it was at an open test at Charlotte last December, a practice session, a qualifying session, or a race – we wanted to be on top of the board. After 13 seasons at Richard Childress Racing, I made the move to Stewart-Haas Racing and I have to admit, I was scared to death. I tried to play it cool, but it was a pivotal moment in my career. I was venturing outside my comfort zone, and I had to make it work.”

Ryan Newman – 2nd Place

“I’d like to congratulate Kevin, [crew chief] Rodney [Childers], everybody at SHR, Tony Stewart – my buddy’s here, just got out of the hospital [after] surgery. I think if he hasn’t got the nurse’s phone number by now, he’s probably not going to get it. *Crowd laughs* Richard and Judy Childress, thank you for the opportunity to drive your race cars. It’s been an amazing year. I really appreciate the opportunity. We had a lot of fun. We didn’t win anything, but we did have a lot of fun along the way and that’s really hard to do, so thank you very much.”

Denny Hamlin – 3rd Place

“It was an up and down year with our No. 11 team. We won, we wrecked, we fought, we were fined, but with all that, we still had a shot with one race to go. And with this great new Chase format, that’s all you can ask for. I have to thank [crew chief] Darian [Grubb] for three great years together. You’re a great leader, a motivator, and I’m proud of the success we had together…However, I’m not so proud of the things we did bring attention to such as Macklemore’s haircut at the beginning of the year, Taylor Swift, and Brad [Keselowski].”

Joey Logano – 4th Place

“Thanks to the entire 22 team – what an amazing season we had. Five wins, 16 Top-5s, 22 Top-10s – you guys are the best example of teamwork I’ve ever seen. And what a great season for all of Team Penske with the Nationwide owner’s championship and the IndyCar championship…Brad, you’ve still got a friend in me, man. We’re alright. *crowd laughs* It’s great to have a teammate that really knows the definition of teamwork and for a two-car team to win 11 races, it takes real teamwork and I appreciate that.”

Brad Keselowski – Eliminator Round

“Tremendous season. I can’t really tell you how much fun I had. It might not have looked like a lot of fun at times this year, but I had a blast…It couldn’t have been possible without a lot of great people and when I think about a great team and a great year, I think about great people. That really starts with the Captain down there, Roger Penske, everyone in the leadership team. The guys stick behind me, seems like, every time I do something dumb [laughs], so I’m really lucky and very fortunate. Thank you for that.”

Jeff Gordon – Eliminator Round

“Even though we didn’t make it to Homestead to battle for the championship, I truly believe that NASCAR got it right this year with the new knockout format for the [Chase for the] Sprint Cup. I cannot begin to describe the pressure and intensity we faced week after week, race after race. And this year, we crowned a deserving champion…I think most would agree this was a successful season for the 24 team. It felt incredible to go into each race with a car and a team that was capable of winning, and that was certainly highlighted by some big wins – especially that fifth Brickyard 400, an amazing weekend for us.”

Matt Kenseth – Eliminator Round

“This is the most dreaded three minutes – or in the case of my speeches, one minute – of the season. *crowd laughs* But I got to think about it last night, and it’s so easy to lose sight of how fortunate we all are to do this. The group that gets to compete at stock car racing’s highest level is so small, and the ones that get to drive for top-notch race teams and enjoy the successes are even smaller. I’m so incredibly thankful to be part of that group, and it really starts with NASCAR. Thanks for creating the most competitive form of motorsports and allowing us to compete in it.”

Carl Edwards – Eliminator Round

“Jack Roush – you are a man among men. You have taught me a lot, you have given me opportunities that I’ve never dreamed of, and particularly this year, when I came and told you my plans for next year, you stuck your hand out and said, ‘Let’s go win this championship.’ And you said some other things that I can’t say up here. *crowd laughs* But that part, seriously, you lived up to it. You never quit. You never gave up on me. Thank you very much, sir.”

Kasey Kahne – Contender Round

“I don’t know why it’s happened that way, but we’ve been able to perform late before the Chase a few times over the years. To get that win at Atlanta this year was big, and to get all four Hendrick cars into the Chase was big for our team at the time. It was great to do that, and from there, we just tried to do the best we could for the rest of the season.”

Jimmie Johnson – Contender Round

“I definitely want to be back at the head table, and a big congratulations to everybody on the 4 team. A Hendrick chassis and engine won the championship, which we’re very proud of. But I definitely want to be back and I’d love to have the opportunity to tie the greats, Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. We’ll go to work hard, and get our Lowe’s Chevrolet tuned up, and hopefully, we’ll be back next year.”

Kyle Busch – Contender Round

“It was obviously an exciting season for us making it into the Chase and then having a great Chase going our way. To be here as an honorary member of the Hendrick Driver’s Club tonight in our elimination round is a bit awkward. But we’ll make it through and hopefully, we’ll get more success next year.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Contender Round

“Every [Chase] round was exciting with the elimination factor. I think the fans were pumped up throughout the whole thing. We had an awesome year. Thanks to [crew chief] Steve [Letarte] and the whole team. Getting back to Victory Lane felt great. We really enjoyed it, and we’ll try to do it more next year.”

Aric Almirola – Challenger Round

“[The highlight of the year] had to be the big win at Daytona. That was huge for me personally, but when I signed at Richard Petty Motorsports, I said I wanted to be the guy that brought the 43 car back to Victory Lane and we were able to do that this year – 15 years after the 43 had won its last race…Our Chase didn’t go exactly to plan, but we have a lot to be proud of from this year and I’m looking forward to 2015.”

Greg Biffle – Challenger Round

“We certainly had a tough season altogether with Roush Fenway and the 16 team, but we certainly made a charge there at the end [of the regular season] and got ourselves into the Chase. Like Aric, we didn’t make what we wanted of it, but we’re excited for next year.”

A.J. Allmendinger – Challenger Round

“A special year for us. I think it’s really cool that my team owners, Tad – and the real boss, Jodi Geschickter – are sitting here with us. To be able to share such a year – they’ve made me feel like family, so to be able to go out there and get our first Sprint Cup victory together was something very special. And to come here for my first time and be a part of Champion’s Week and see what it’s all about and be somewhat in the same breath of all the great drivers that we have – it’s an awesome year. Hopefully, next year will be even better.”

Kurt Busch – Challenger Round

“It means a lot to me personally to have Gene Haas select me to try and give all of Stewart-Haas a shot at a championship. Congratulations to Kevin Harvick and his team, everybody, Rodney Childers – they did a fantastic job. Thanks to Tony Stewart, Gene Haas, everybody at the whole program. You have to be competitive and you gotta do it week in and week out, and Daniel Knost did a great job as a first-year crew chief to lead us into this position. And now, with Tony Gibson taking the reins – we finished the season strong and we’re looking to build on that.”

NHRA playoffs kick off with Beckman, Crampton, Line, Savoie wins

Photos and videos courtesy of NHRA
Leave a comment

(NHRA media release)

MOHNTON, Pa. – It’s been over a year since Jack Beckman parked his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car in an NHRA winner’s circle but on Sunday at the 35th annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil he came out on top.

Not only did Beckman defeat John Force in the final round at Maple Grove Raceway, he also took over the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series points lead.

“Our Sunday, I think it was perfect,” Beckman said. “That car was consistent, and it was fast. It’s one thing to be consistent and be a 10th (of a second) off the field but to run numbers as good as any other car out here, up and down the race track all four runs on race day.”

Richie Crampton (Top Fuel), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were victors in their respective divisions at the first race of the 2019 Countdown to the Championship playoffs.

Beckman has been the runner-up four times in 2019 but it was his 3.958-second pass at 330.07 that gave him the holeshot win over Force’s quicker 3.952. One of the runner-up finishes was just two weeks ago at the U.S. Nationals against Force.

“In NHRA, you have zero control over what the car and driver in the other lane are doing,” Beckman said. “Did I want to beat him? Of course. Did it sting that he beat us in the Indy final? Duh. But none of that was going to help me be any better. Some fans came over before the final and said, ‘Hey, we’ll go razz John.’ And I said, ‘Don’t poke the bear.’ That guy, always seems to find a way to get motivated and win more races.”

It was a battle of Kalitta Motorsports in the Top Fuel final round but it was Crampton who raised the Wally trophy when he defeated his teammate Doug Kalitta with his 3.738 pass at 329.10 in his DHL dragster. Crampton now ties team owner and NHRA legend Connie Kalitta with 10 career wins.

Doug Kalitta snagged the Top Fuel points lead when previous leader and reigning champion Steve Torrence made an early exit in round one.

“It was definitely a great day for the whole team,” Crampton said. “All four cars are running good, particularly the dragsters, of course. But for Doug to take the points lead heading out of here, and we made a good jump in the points as well, that’s what we need to do. It’s that time of the year. It’s time to execute on race day and Connie and (crew chief) Kurt Elliott gave me the car to do it.”

Line earned his 50th Pro Stock title when he defeated Fernando Cuadra in the final round of eliminations thanks to his 6.553 pass at 210.60 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro. Line also took over the points lead from his KB teammate Bo Butner. Cuadra, who was completing in his first career final round, is also a KB powered car.

“It was a big victory, for sure,” Line said. “Not one of my shiner moments, but big victory, nonetheless. I was a little tardy (leaving the starting line) so not what you want to do in the final round. But 50 wins just means I’ve had some great race cars to drive and some great people I’ve gotten to work with over the years. It’s been a fun ride.”

Savoie picked up his second consecutive win on his White Alligator Racing Suzuki. He took down Steve Johnson with his 6.774 lap at 198.55 in the final round and went on to claim the Pro Stock Motorcycle points lead.

“It was just a great, great day for everyone. My whole team. I don’t take any of this credit. (Crew chief) Tim (Kulungian) and everybody on the team worked their butts off and here we are. At my age, I can do it. I didn’t count on making the top 10 because I took three races off. And, bam! Here we are. No one, not even myself expected this.”

The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues Sept. 27-29 with the second race of the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs, the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway in St. Louis.

********************************

FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1. Richie Crampton; 2. Doug Kalitta; 3. Austin Prock; 4. Brittany Force; 5. Clay Millican; 6. Mike Salinas; 7. Leah Pritchett; 8. Antron Brown; 9. Steve Torrence; 10. Jordan Vandergriff; 11. Dan Mercier; 12. Terry McMillen; 13. Todd Paton; 14. Billy Torrence; 15. Lex Joon; 16. Smax Smith.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Jack Beckman; 2. John Force; 3. Ron Capps; 4. J.R. Todd; 5. John Smith; 6. Tim Wilkerson; 7. Matt Hagan; 8. Robert Hight; 9. Shawn Langdon; 10. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 11. Jim Campbell; 12. Cruz Pedregon; 13. Jonnie Lindberg; 14. Mike McIntire; 15. Bob Tasca III; 16. Terry Haddock.

PRO STOCK: 1. Jason Line; 2. Fernando Cuadra; 3. Matt Hartford; 4. Jeg Coughlin; 5. Deric Kramer; 6. Bo Butner; 7. Erica Enders; 8. Alex Laughlin; 9. Aaron Stanfield; 10. Kenny Delco; 11. Chris McGaha; 12. Bob Benza; 13. Greg Anderson; 14. Wally Stroupe; 15. David Miller; 16. Val Smeland.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Jerry Savoie; 2. Steve Johnson; 3. Matt Smith; 4. Karen Stoffer; 5. Angelle Sampey; 6. Eddie Krawiec; 7. Andrew Hines; 8. Hector Arana Jr; 9. Angie Smith; 10. Ryan Oehler; 11. Kelly Clontz; 12. Jianna Salinas; 13. Michael Ray; 14. Scotty Pollacheck; 15. Hector Arana; 16. Ron Tornow.

********************************

FINAL RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: Richie Crampton, 3.738 seconds, 329.10 mph def. Doug Kalitta, 3.779 seconds, 331.28 mph.

FUNNY CAR: Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.958, 330.07 def. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.952, 328.78.

PRO STOCK: Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.553, 210.60 def. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, 6.594, 208.78.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.774, 198.55 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.805, 196.59.

********************************

FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Austin Prock, 3.698, 331.61 def. Jordan Vandergriff, 3.757, 322.34; Mike Salinas, 3.818, 252.80 def. Billy Torrence, 4.727, 163.53; Brittany Force, 3.691, 326.79 def. Todd Paton, 4.265, 207.98; Leah Pritchett, 3.731, 326.40 def. Lex Joon, 4.858, 152.73; Doug Kalitta, 3.722, 330.96 def. Smax Smith, 8.356, 74.14; Richie Crampton, 3.733, 329.26 def. Dan Mercier, 3.892, 310.63; Antron Brown, 3.743, 328.30 def. Terry McMillen, 4.130, 237.59; Clay Millican, 3.752, 329.67 def. Steve Torrence, 3.741, 330.15; QUARTERFINALS — Crampton, 3.781, 324.44 def. Brown, 9.080, 81.48; Kalitta, 3.740, 329.83 def. Salinas, 4.354, 196.39; Prock, 4.735, 219.51 def. Pritchett, 5.736, 105.48; Force, 3.784, 306.67 def. Millican, 3.927, 266.42; SEMIFINALS — Crampton, 4.656, 164.57 def. Force, Broke; Kalitta, 3.740, 333.91 def. Prock, 4.015, 295.66; FINAL — Crampton, 3.738, 329.10 def. Kalitta, 3.779, 331.28.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — John Smith, Dodge Charger, 4.280, 245.05 def. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 6.422, 144.74; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.926, 320.36 def. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 10.025, 83.22; Ron Capps, Charger, 3.909, 327.51 def. Mike McIntire, Toyota, 5.898, 119.98; Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.908, 331.45 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.204, 249.21; John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.938, 326.40 def. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.752, 172.94; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.919, 331.04 def. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 5.774, 127.88; J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.915, 329.58 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.977, 327.66; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.899, 332.02 def. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.961, 329.91; QUARTERFINALS — Force, 3.944, 331.61 def. Wilkerson, 7.140, 133.20; Beckman, 3.927, 331.61 def. Hight, 9.203, 83.25; Capps, 3.916, 329.18 def. Hagan, 8.623, 79.91; Todd, 3.949, 324.75 def. J. Smith, 4.013, 313.80; SEMIFINALS — Beckman, 3.916, 331.12 def. Todd, 5.501, 167.26; Force, 3.929, 329.42 def. Capps, 4.262, 240.25; FINAL — Beckman, 3.958, 330.07 def. Force, 3.952, 328.78.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Fernando Cuadra, Chevy Camaro, 6.588, 209.75 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.578, 209.75 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.622, 211.06; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.549, 210.21 def. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.557, 210.54; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.552, 210.08 def. Bob Benza, Camaro, 6.593, 208.10; Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.564, 209.92 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.587, 209.30; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.540, 210.44 def. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 17.922, 45.55; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.554, 209.36 def. David Miller, Dodge Dart, 19.609, 36.81; Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.568, 210.44 def. Val Smeland, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; QUARTERFINALS — Hartford, 6.591, 209.75 def. Laughlin, 7.169, 205.82; Cuadra, 6.578, 209.56 def. Enders, 6.581, 209.07; Coughlin, 6.568, 209.65 def. Kramer, 6.571, 209.92; Line, 6.549, 210.41 def. Butner, 6.575, 210.41; SEMIFINALS — Cuadra, 6.598, 208.46 def. Coughlin, Foul – Red Light; Line, 6.572, 210.57 def. Hartford, 6.604, 210.73; FINAL — Line, 6.553, 210.60 def. Cuadra, 6.594, 208.78.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Matt Smith, 6.843, 198.15 def. Scotty Pollacheck, 7.109, 192.91; Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.807, 195.11 def. Hector Arana, Foul – Red Light; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.891, 196.36 def. Angie Smith, 6.902, 196.19; Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.837, 194.72 def. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.971, 193.18; Hector Arana Jr, 6.897, 197.19 def. Ryan Oehler, 6.946, 194.46; Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.822, 197.31 def. Ron Tornow, Buell, Broke – No Show; Angelle Sampey, Harley-Davidson, 6.865, 195.03 def. Jianna Salinas, Suzuki, 6.976, 191.40; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.871, 197.31 def. Michael Ray, 7.009, 189.71; QUARTERFINALS — M. Smith, 6.862, 199.58 def. Sampey, 6.857, 196.07; Johnson, 6.854, 195.42 def. Arana Jr, 6.967, 192.08; Stoffer, 6.847, 196.96 def. Krawiec, 6.878, 196.70; Savoie, 6.818, 197.10 def. Hines, 6.904, 196.44; SEMIFINALS — Johnson, 6.834, 195.70 def. M. Smith, 6.847, 198.64; Savoie, 6.818, 196.42 def. Stoffer, Foul – Red Light; FINAL — Savoie, 6.774, 198.55 def. Johnson, 6.805, 196.59.

********************************

UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

TOP FUEL: 1. Doug Kalitta, 2,180; 2. Brittany Force, 2,147; 3. Steve Torrence, 2,133; 4. Antron Brown, 2,127; 5. Richie Crampton, 2,126; 6. Mike Salinas, 2,104; 7. Austin Prock, 2,094; 8. Leah Pritchett, 2,093; 9. Clay Millican, 2,092; 10. Billy Torrence, 2,032.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Jack Beckman, 2,179; 2. John Force, 2,160; 3. Robert Hight, 2,155; 4. Ron Capps, 2,136; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,105; 6. Matt Hagan, 2,092; 7. J.R. Todd, 2,089; 8. Bob Tasca III, 2,072; 9. Tim Wilkerson, 2,057; 10. Shawn Langdon, 2,043.

PRO STOCK: 1. Jason Line, 2,194; 2. Bo Butner, 2,155; 3. Alex Laughlin, 2,139; 4. Erica Enders, 2,116; 5. Matt Hartford, 2,103; 6. Jeg Coughlin, 2,099; 7. Deric Kramer, 2,095; 8. Greg Anderson, 2,092; 9. Chris McGaha, 2,041; 10. Val Smeland, 2,031.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Jerry Savoie, 2,166; 2. Andrew Hines, 2,160; 3. Matt Smith, 2,143; 4. Eddie Krawiec, 2,134; 5. Karen Stoffer, 2,120; 6. Hector Arana Jr, 2,117; 7. Angelle Sampey, 2,083; 8. Angie Smith, 2,062; 9. Ryan Oehler, 2,042; 10. Hector Arana, 2,032.