The Frontstretch: Running Their Mouth: Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 by Brody Jones -- Monday April 4, 2011

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Running Their Mouth: Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500

Brody Jones · Monday April 4, 2011

 

Welcome to Running Their Mouth! Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all of our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what they all were thinking following the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 in Martinsville, Virginia:

Best Quote:

“Thanks to NASCAR and everybody that builds the SAFER barriers and these race cars and everything — they’re unbelievable. 10 years ago I wouldn’t be standing here. Thankful for that and thankful for everybody working on my NAPA Toyota. It’s a rough day right there. We started off pretty bad and we were working on it and getting better. We were just trying to survive. We sure didn’t need that, but it is what it is. We’ll go into next week and fight hard.” – Martin Truex, Jr., 40th, on how he feels about the safety measures NASCAR has taken over the years

Let all the criticism of the COT in terms of safety and looks go in one ear and out the other because, as today’s horrifying crash with Martin Truex Jr. showed, the COT likely saved him from very serious injury along with the SAFER barrier. A little over ten years ago, NASCAR lost Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin Jr. when their throttles hung at New Hampshire. Factor in the deaths of Tony Roper, Blaise Alexander, and Dale Earnhardt Sr., ultimately NASCAR came to their senses and made things safer for the drivers by creating the COT to absorb more crash impact and protect drivers better than the old car and the advent of SAFER barriers have also likely saved more than a few lives in NASCAR. But the sanctioning body still has work to do. While the top three levels of racing have safety advancements, some of the lesser touring series remain behind the curve, and in some cases, tragedy has taken place. So NASCAR’s work is far from over, but today proved that the COT, in terms of safety, was the right move to make.

Worst Quote:

“We need to work on who we’re going to have change tires for us I guess, I don’t know. Things like that, it’s pretty tough. Especially mid-season. You’ve got chemistry and stuff that you’ve got to deal with, but at this point you either work with what you’ve got or try to find someone that maybe can do a better job. You just don’t know right now and we don’t know what to do. As far as fuel mileage and that results and is the key to our bad finish so again, just go to TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and figure out why we’re getting such bad mileage. We had to stop a little bit before those guys and ultimately put us in a bad spot when the caution came out.” – Denny Hamlin, 12th, on whether any pit crew changes needed to be made

Note to Denny Hamlin: Throwing one’s crew under the bus, even in a round-about way, is not the ideal way to build team morale. It seems like ever since the Phoenix race in November, the harmony that had existed between Mike Ford and Denny Hamlin has just been shattered by pit-road miscues or bad strategy calls by Ford. It would not be a surprise to see a serious shake-up within the organization coming in a few weeks because it looks like the combo of Mike Ford and Denny Hamlin is likely headed for Splitsville with the population being Hamlin and Ford.

Funniest Quote:

“As long as we have it, we can put it anywhere. I am not going to get in an argument.” – Kevin Harvick, winner, on whether Delana will let him put this clock in the living room

After an early-season hiccup at Daytona, Kevin Harvick has managed to battle back and now finds himself in the thick of the championship chase. He, and wife Delana, are probably NASCAR’s version of a power couple with their hilarious banter and their Tweets on the social networking site Twitter drawing a few chuckles. It’s great to see this couple all smiles and having witty zingers at each other. Like NASCAR and manufactured debris cautions, this marriage is here to stay.

Hard-Luck Quote:

“I don’t know. I’m just happy to be running well. Happy to be in the mix. I’m thankful for the opportunity I’ve got. Thankful for the help that I’ve got from my team. I want to thank AMP and National Guard and all of our supporters, but the race team works hard. When I don’t have the speed they find the speed. It’s working real good together. I’m frustrated that I got close and I was out there leading and I’m thinking I’m going to try to take me home a clock. I hate it that I didn’t win.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr., second, on his day

One has to wish the race was four laps shorter if they are a Dale Jr. fan. To get so tantalizingly close to a victory yet having it snatched away was like a kid getting a new bike for his birthday then having it stolen. But Junior fans should be encouraged by today’s performance about his combination with Steve Letarte. Many were skeptical about Junior being paired with a crew chief coming off of a largely disappointing tenure with Jeff Gordon, but so far, Rick Hendrick’s crew chief swap is looking like a stroke of genius.

Most Controversial Quote:

“I wasn’t speeding. They didn’t like how it looked. The way I managed my timing lines. Had this happened one other time where I do a good job with my timing lines to know exactly where I needed to accelerate and where I needed to stop. There is just know way. People will say whatever. But with the math and the way we know our timing lines, there is just no way. You accelerate real hard through your timing zone. A lot of guys get dinged for that. I’ve been dinged a couple of different times. Usually you get dinged when you pass someone or break the plane of the car in front of you. With no one there, I accelerated like I always so from my mark. There is just no way. There is just no way. It won’t do me any good to have a conversation; it isn’t going to matter. I guess I just can’t attack pit road like I know I can and like I did every single time before this.” – Jimmie Johnson, 11th, on the pit road speeding penalty

Has Jimmie ever heard the expression “Karma’s a bitch”? Last week, he was very clearly speeding through portions of pit road and this week as well, and when he finally gets busted for it, he blames everyone but himself. Granted, it can be argued that Jimmie maintained a legal “average” speed in prior situations, but in this encounter, it bit him squarely in his golden-horseshoed ass. No doubt, it was bad timing to get a penalty like that, but maybe this will stop some of Jimmie’s pit road shenanigans.

Crew Chief Quote Of The Week:

“Somebody brought it to my attention this week that this was my 100th start with Kevin, and I think what happens is he gets the opportunity to vent because the car was terrible and he needed to vent. I think in the beginning when he would do that, we would somewhat take it to heart and take it personal, and now, we just continue to let him vent. We go about our business and decide what we are going to do on the next change, and we feel good about it and so does he. So it works out good in the end.” – Gil Martin, Crew Chief for the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet of Kevin Havick on Kevin’s venting

Gil Martin has proven to be the perfect crew chief to put up with the talented, yet tempermental Kevin Harvick. At times, Harvick can be absolutely brutal to crew members, as he’s been known to fire his crew on the radio in the Nationwide and Truck Series, but Gil’s smart enough to be level-headed and let him vent before calming him down and the end result? A more poised and tenacious Kevin Harvick than in years past, who has been acquiring a reputation as NASCAR’s best “closer” as a result. And after his last two races at California and Martinsville, it’s hard to argue with the results.

Best Of The Rest:

“Yeah, I was holding him up. I sucked so it was good for him. He took the lead and no harm, no foul.” – Kyle Busch, third, on whether Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s late-race pass was fair

“My guys did a great job all day with the car. The good thing is we were so loose to start the race on that first run. I thought we were in trouble and they fixed it to where we were a top-five or top-seven car all day. At times, I thought we could win, but this sport just kind of kicks you in the gut every now and then. I don’t know. If we would have stayed out one more lap and then the yellow comes out, we probably finish fifth or sixth. I’m disappointed with the finish. I hate saying it and having to look at how we ran and take good knowledge that we were there, but it was an OK day.” – A.J. Allmendinger, 14th, on his day

“We had a really good car today until somebody got into me and shoved me into another car. That messed the front end up; it seemed to overheat at that point. We had to pull some tape off which made the car tighter. It was an OK day. We would have rather run better with the movie “Fast Five” on the car. When the No. 2 (Brad Keselowski) had the flat tire, if they (NASCAR) had thrown the caution, we would have been back on the lead lap and there were just a few cars on the lead lap at that time. We would have been in good shape, but overall, it was a good day. That last stop, we pitted a little too early. We pitted under green and the caution came out. That put us two more laps down. We finished 23rd. It could have been a better finish with any luck.” - Robby Gordon, 23rd, on his day

“I was a victim. I don’t know what McDowell was thinking. I got stuck on the outside and lost 20 positions just trying to get to the bottom and he just jacked me up and put me in the fence around lap 100. We weren’t even a fifth of the way through and it was uncalled for and unfortunate for us. It made for a very long day.” – Marcos Ambrose, 29th, on his incident with Michael McDowell

“This is my only race of the year, and I’m not going to waste it.” - Michael McDowell, 32nd, after he wrecked Marcos Ambrose. He said the No. 9 came down on him. The No. 66 car ran the distance for the first time in 2011 today

“We are not really sure. It started blowing up. The water temp was fine. Came in and saw a hole in the radiator. The water pressure was ok. Not sure. I think the No. 7 (Robby Gordon) thought I got into him during that last run and he brake-checked me and I hit him. That is probably what put the hole in the radiator. So I owe Robby Gordon.” – Paul Menard, 38th, on what happened to his car

“From my hit, it was actually a lot harder than I thought it could hit at Martinsville so Martin’s (Truex) was probably even harder than that. I think you can hit pretty hard anywhere in a race car, it just depends on how it happens and what the circumstances are. Hung throttles are the worst. That’s where you usually hit about the hardest. Mine didn’t hang, but the other guys did.” – Kasey Kahne, 39th, on how hard of a hit it was for him when he and Martin Truex Jr. crashed

Contact Brody Jones

Monday on the Frontstretch:
Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Martinsville Spring Race Recap
Bubble Breakdown: McMurray, Logano Finally Get Some Breathing Room
Educating Earnhardt: What Martinsville’s Mayhem For Hendrick Could Teach Him
A Break from the Script: Harvick Throws the Latest Wrench in NASCAR 2011
Tracking the Trucks: Kroger 250
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Beyond the Cockpit: Alexis DeJoria On The 300 mph Women of the NHRA
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Pace Laps: Swan Racing’s Future, Fast Females and Dropping Out
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Keeping it REAL
04/04/2011 01:50 AM
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So Brody’s no JJ fan, eh? Nor am I, actually, but saying he has a golden horseshoe up his arse is a bit childish. Did Dale Sr? Did Jeff Gordon? Did Petty? Did Pearson? The guy knows what he’s doing – he knows the pit road rules and uses them to his advantage as every competitor should do. I wish my favorites would do it too, but they are not as good at it or are not aware of where they can pick up speed within the rules. There are timing lines, he’s right. They compute speed between those lines. Simple, speed = distance divided by time. If you have to stop in the middle of that distance, accelerate once you cross the first line, brake hard, get work done, then accelerate like crazy to just before the second line and jam the brakes. That’s the fast way between the lines but since you had a pit stop in there you are WAY, WAY under the limit but you must be careful to not break the limit in the zone prior or after which is why the timing of accelerating and braking is so important and JJ is a flat out master of that. He kicks the crap out of the guys who hold their speed constant right up to their pit stop. They are leaving time on the table and he’s beating them. It is not a shenanigan, disappointed to hear a clearly unbiased journalist state such, it is a calculation. Very simple. You are missing the point. Just wish my faves would figure it out so well. I absolutely do not, in any way despite not wanting to see him win again, see where JJ was speeding. Math doesn’t work. NASCAR wanted to make an example of him to uphold the intention of their rule. If they want that, they need to rewrite their rules. These are competitors, not sheep (well, some of them anyway). Just keeping it real, folks.

Keeping it REAL
04/04/2011 02:01 AM
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BTW … “clearly unbiased” … tongue in cheek, just wanted to be clear ;-).

Johnboy60
04/04/2011 08:01 AM
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I think I am going to be sick……..

Daddy wiltone
04/04/2011 08:57 AM
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Karma, sometimes good, can be a bitch and Golden-Horshoed ass was just plain hilarious. I dont think the name of the driver even matters. They all have a golden “something” to be able to drive in the series. HA

RamblinWreck
04/04/2011 01:09 PM
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Keeping it REAL-
That particular epithet for Jimmie was coined by Kevin Harvick in an interview last season, although I’m sure Brody would love to take credit for it.

Keeping it REAL
04/04/2011 01:19 PM
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Daddy, I’ll agree with that. I’ll never forget Gordon’s answer when asked who the best stock car driver was. He said it was probably some guy running a short track out there somewhere. They are all lucky to have gotten the breaks to be running there and making craploads of money. They’re talented, no doubt, but for people to assume these are the VERY best 30 or 40-some stock car drivers in the world is pretty naive.

I know KH said it last year, but I just disagree with the author. It’s pretty obvious that he, along with so many others, assume that JJ is just unusually lucky all the time. Either that, or they are cheats. Folks, he led the standings under the OLD points system as a ROOKIE! How many times have they been caught cheating in the last 3 years? How many championships have they won in the last 3 years? Has the scrutiny of their cars increased or decreased over the last 6-5 years? It is a competition. They are going to use any loophole in the rules to maximum advantage. I would too, that is not illegal. They are just better at it, and honestly he’s just a better driver, than the others. Pretty simple.

As for the luck, how many times in the last 9 years (his whole cup career) has he finished top 5? All of them. Does luck run 9 consecutive years without fail? And I can be spared the discussion about how he was average at best in Busch. He had limited experience there and ran about as good at Tony Stewart did there. Those are under-powered momentum cars. These are edge of your seat racy cars. Whole different ball game.

Anyway, I am not JJ fan. He’s not in my top 10 faves. But I respect and admire the talent. You should too. Someday you’ll tell your kids or grandkids about him. Just like you are/have with Dale Sr whether or not you were a fan of his. Same thing happened with Petty, etc. The author clearly doesn’t understand average speed and scoring lines, and for that he’s ripping a driver getting the most out of the opportunity. Guess he’s tired of JJ kicking the crap out of his favorite(s) ;-).

FS_BrodyJones
04/04/2011 02:06 PM
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Apparently the consensus is that I have an anti-Jimmie bias. Nothing could be further from the truth. I respect his talent and still think he should win his 6th straight championship this year and he’s a sure-fire hall-of-famer. But when Jimmie does something wrong and gets caught for it, I’m not going to be blindly loyal and say he did nothing wrong. Fact is he got caught speeding, basically doing the same very questionable stuff he had done at Cali. I would have said the same thing had Harvick or Kyle Busch or anyone else been doing that. Well, except the “golden-horseshoed ass” comment, but I figured since Harvick won and Jimmie didn’t, it would be a nice play on words, given their history. Never tried to take any credit for that and I’m not pretending to. BTW, thanks for all the comments, positive and negative. At least it’s showing you guys are reading my stuff. :)

Keeping it REAL
04/04/2011 03:38 PM
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Brody – thanks for the clarification, I respect your opinion (especially since you were man enough to get into the comments and contribute more). You may not have an anti-JJ bias, but your articles have read that way. We’ll agree to disagree that it is “questionable” what he does on pit road. He has done it for years and beaten people with it for years and has mastered the timing system. Nothing wrong with that, it really isn’t even questionable. Well, it is to those that haven’t figured it out or cannot time it right to safely do it. That much we can agree on ;-).

laxbro
04/04/2011 04:41 PM
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It is sketchy what he does because pit road speed is for safety purposes. So I don’t think it is necessarily a good thing to be bending the safety rules. Especially since he is accelerating into his pit box where the most people he can harm are.

Keeping it REAL
04/04/2011 05:00 PM
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Then the onus is on NASCAR to install GPS or some more accurate form of speed tracking (there are many choices here) to ensure that nobody ever exceeds the limit. Putting timing loops and scoring lines and calculating average speed? Who wouldn’t push that? He’s never spun a car on pit road without contact, that I’m aware of, so again I feel it is on NASCAR to rewrite the rule if they are that concerned about it.