The Frontstretch: Mouthing Off At Texas: NASCAR's Good, Bad, And Ugly From The Lone Star State by Brody Jones -- Monday April 11, 2011

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Welcome to Mouthing Off! Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all of our own stuff to give you a first-person account of the best reactions from teams, drivers, and all the major players after a given NASCAR race weekend. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what they all were thinking following the Samsung Mobile 500 in Fort Worth, Texas:

Best Quote:

“Thanks. I haven’t had something like this for a long, long time. It has been a long time. I am really happy for Jimmy and all these guys on the Crown Royal Black Ford. I have lost a lot of close ones at this track. It feels good to be able to close it out.” – Matt Kenseth, winner, on breaking his 76-race winless drought.

There’s no doubt that Matt Kenseth needed to lose another race about as much as a drowning man needs another bucket of water. Plus, one cannot help but marvel at the dominant performance Kenseth had at Texas. To win by eight seconds and clearly be the car to beat has to leave guys like Kyle Busch, who has dominated previous races this season only to fall short at the end, ringing up Kenseth’s cell number for some possible pointers on how to spank the rest of the competition to Kingdom Come. Jimmy Fennig and the No. 17 Crown Royal Black Ford Fusion crew were on their “A”-game, along with their driver, and the result is an impressive, long overdue victory for Kenseth.

Worst Quote:

“The No. 2 [Brad Keselowski] checked up in front of me, I checked up and got hit from behind. It’s just an unfortunate racing situation. You make mistakes, and you get back there and you get desperate and you take two tires, things like that. You just get yourself in trouble.” – Martin Truex Jr., 35th, on what caused his Lap 215 accident with Mark Martin and Regan Smith

Make no mistake, it has been a rough two weeks for Martin Truex, Jr. Between his throttle hanging open at Martinsville in a horrifying crash and another hard hit at Texas, it’s a wonder he’s still in one piece. But video evidence of the incident clearly showed that Truex Jr. was extremely loose and likely going to spin anyway when Kevin Harvick had nowhere to go and came up on him. For Truex Jr. to lay blame on another driver proved to be a bit premature, as it showed on the replay that his car was, as Dierks Bentley sings about in the FOX pre-race show, “a little bit sideways” already.

Funniest Quote:

“I hate to throw my mom under the bus but she cooked something last night that I don’t think was too good. I think we chose the wrong package, too. Bob and I were just talking about it. I feel good because Matt and those guys did a great job. Congrats to them. I have to thank Ford and Scotts and Aflac too. It was a Ford sweep and Matt and those guys were running great. The nice thing is that I know exactly what he was running.” –_Carl Edwards, third, on his race and his upset stomach_

An upset stomach really shouldn’t be a laughing matter, but Carl jokingly throwing his mother under the bus was a rather amusing note on what had to be a miserable night behind the wheel for Edwards. But, on the bright side for him, he did manage a third-place finish and he does have the points lead thanks, in part, to the misfortune of Kyle Busch having a loose wheel during the race.

Carl Edwards had to overcome an unusual obstacle to finish third at Texas-his mother’s cooking.

Most Controversial Quote:

“Yeah, that was my fault. I shouldn’t have stuck it in there. Track position is so big. You come up on those lappers and it hurts you so bad that it almost killed my chances to even have a finishing day. But hats off to Matt Kenseth. He was the class of the field. He deserved to win the race. We were definitely a second-place car. There is so much confidence and so much momentum I see with this race team. I’ve got to thank Cheerios and BB&T and Chevrolet and everybody that helps us with this program. I feel optimistic and with good runs like that, we’ll get it done.” -_Clint Bowyer, second, on whether his contact with Brian Vickers will haunt him for awhile_

Clint Bowyer had to be having a dirt track flashback during his encounter with the slower car of Brian Vickers as he had to, in the words of Doc from Cars, “turn right to go left.” The end result was his car was still in one piece. Where the controversy comes into play is how will Vickers respond to the contact? While he was unavailable for a post-race comment, if Phoenix was any indication, Vickers isn’t going to take the incident lightly. It could be interesting to see if payback will come at Talladega.

Crew Chief Quote:

“This Interstate Batteries pit crew is the fastest pit crew on pit road, and whenever you’re pushing the limits in a performance-based sport, you’re going to make a mistake. Unfortunately, we left a left-rear wheel loose and after you do that, it just kills all the threads and the studs and from that point forward, you cannot get the wheel tight. We had one error, it looked like we had two to three errors, but it was really one error that caused the mechanical damage that we were stuck with for the rest of the race. I stand behind these guys. I’m going to encourage them to go to Talladega and be even faster. They’re fast every week and they make very few mistakes. I’m proud of them and I’m not going to knock them down tonight.” –_Dave Rogers, Crew Chief for the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota of Kyle Busch, finished 16th_

One has to feel at least some measure of sympathy for Kyle Busch, regardless of whether or not fans love him or hate him. Busch had a top-5 car until he had a loose wheel and, unlike his Joe Gibbs Racing counterpart, Denny Hamlin, Dave Rogers was quick to defend his crew for a mistake that just as easily could have happened to any team that was running up front. As the old cliché goes, it was “just one of those racing deals.”

Hard-Luck Quote:

“You know, it took almost the whole race to crack the top-10, so to be in the position we were in there at the end, I guess is a good thing, But when you’re in that position and you can’t capitalize, it’s pretty frustrating. Speeding on pit road didn’t exactly help the cause either.” – Tony Stewart, 12th, on not being able to capitalize on stretching his fuel mileage

Poor Tony Stewart. He tries to gamble on fuel for a top-5 finish, possibly even stealing away a win, and not only does he get caught on a pit road speeding penalty, he runs out of gas on the final lap. Granted, he finished 12th to have a pretty good points day with a car that truthfully wasn’t a top-10 car, but once again, along with the Las Vegas race this year, this is another race where Stewart has to leave just shaking his head and wondering what might have been.

Best Of The Rest:

“I am getting ready to go see him now. Man, it is awful good. I am really happy for him.” – Greg Biffle, fourth, on seeing Matt Kenseth win

“Yeah, I was getting frustrated there but he was doing what he’s supposed to do. I was getting mad, but I want the spot, man. The hell with running behind him. I want to be in front of him. My car was way faster than his. I just couldn’t get by him. He was running a good line and I was too loose on the bottom.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr., ninth, on racing hard with David Ragan

“We worked a lot harder for a 14th-place finish than a top 10 or top 5. This team is so much fun to be around because no one gives up and you know that no matter how bad things get you just work harder and somehow you’re able to salvage a decent result. Our brave Soldiers do it every day and we better do it as well since it’s their team and we wear the Army colors.” – Ryan Newman, 14th, on his night at Texas

“Yeah, I didn’t have any steering after the first hit, so I hit the outside and hit the inside twice. That’s what you have sometimes when you race, you know? But we were having a tough night and then it ended up short for us.” – Mark Martin, 36th, on the loss of control in an accident

“It’s the same old story. I have never been through a streak of bad luck like this before. Never. It’s been every race this year, even the Daytona 500 when we got shoved into the wall as we were contending for the win with a few laps to go. I just don’t know what to say except, we’ll just keep on fighting through this. That’s all you can do.” – Regan Smith, 37th, on his current run of bad luck

Contact Brody Jones

Monday on the Frontstretch:
Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Texas (Spring) Race Recap
Penske Problem: Kurt Busch’s Drive For De Facto Single-Car Team Taking Its Toll
7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Ford? Seven Races, Seven Reasons To Believe J.J. Has A Rival
Bubble Breakdown: Mears’ Texas-Sized Recovery Ahead Of Kvapil’s Killer DNQ
Nationwide Series Breakdown: O’Reilly 300
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Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
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rick
04/11/2011 09:54 AM
permalink

Is Jeff Gordon still racing?