The Frontstretch: Running Their Mouth : 400 by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Tuesday July 15, 2008

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Running Their Mouth : 400

Beth Lunkenheimer · Tuesday July 15, 2008


Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all 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 the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the 400 at Chicagoland Speedway:

“I have to thank these guys. I gave up on myself, and didn’t think I could do that. This M&M’s Toyota team is just phenomenal tonight. I have to thank the good Lord from up above. I don’t know where this is coming from, but he’s blessing us all at Joe Gibbs Racing this year.” Kyle Busch

“On that last restart, I should have given him [Kyle Busch] the inside. When I heard the spotter, I knew I was in trouble. For a two-lap shootout, the outside always wins. I didn’t make the best decision there on the restart. I apologized to my guys and to Lowe’s and to everyone. I just made a mistake there on that restart.” Jimmie Johnson, finished 2nd

Martin Truex, Jr., Kevin Harvick, and Jimmie Johnson battled up front all night en route to solid Top 10 performances at Chicagoland.

“We had a great car tonight. We kept our Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet in position all night, just came up a little short. I am so proud of all the guys back at the fab shop building new cars. The last month, the cars have been running really well; we just haven’t been able to capitalize on them with screwing up on the track or having things happen. It is good to have a whole night come together.” Kevin Harvick, finished 3rd

“We had a great car, but just [lost] track position again, unfortunately. This 3M Ford Fusion did a great job. We had pretty good pit stops. We just needed the track position. We took two tires and were gone, and we’re just going to have to figure out how stay up front.” Greg Biffle, finished 4th

“We weren’t bad. We just got in a situation where we got free there the last couple runs, and that’s when we needed to be really good … we just fought loose for some reason. We were just a little bit off — we were close though. We were just too loose — couldn’t get tight enough in and off to be were we needed to be — but we were close.” Tony Stewart, finished 5th

“We started the race pretty decent and made the car better during the first pit stops. We were really good on long runs, but not on restarts. The car was good, and we could have competed for the win with a little track position. We definitely had a Top 5 car. Unfortunately, the engine blew on the last lap. We were down a cylinder on the restart, so those guys got a jump on us. Then, the engine finally blew coming out of Turn Four, and we coasted across the finish line. [But] we ended up sixth, so it could have been worse. It was a good points day for us.” Brian Vickers

“We had a Top 5 car. It was my mistake. Bono (Kevin Manion, crew chief) wanted me to stay out, and I came down pit road. The car was a Top 5 car. We really needed [that run]; our finish was great, but it would have been even better if we could have made it a third or a fourth, because we were easily that good.” Martin Truex, Jr., finished 9th

“We just didn’t have enough race car tonight. We tried some strategy with our Kodak Dodge late in the race to gain some track position, but we just got a little too tight there at the end. It was a Top 10 finish that we probably didn’t deserve. I wanted to win one for my buddy Billy [Passwater], but just came up short.” Ryan Newman, finished 10th

“We got 15th. It wasn’t a 15th-place car, but with tires and things we did at the end, we made it a 15th-place car. The guys did a good job. I stayed in there. It was great teamwork. We just didn’t have that good a car tonight. We got everything we could out of the Budweiser Dodge.” Kasey Kahne

“It was a long night. We started off not handling good. We worked really hard and really didn’t make much out of the day. We will look pretty bad on paper, [but] we ran about 28th all day so I was pretty happy [with the finish]. We just missed the setup pretty bad.” Dale Earnhardt, Jr, finished 16th

“A lap down in 35th is not too cool. Got to keep doing our homework, man. I’ve done a lot of testing over the past two weeks, and it’s not helping. We can go to the test and be fast, and come to the racetrack and can’t go. I don’t know what’s going on.” Regan Smith

“Leffler just crashed us. It was just that simple. You never know until you see it, but I know he hit me. I don’t know if he got loose or what he did but it’s awfully convenient we’re racing the No. 66 for the Top 35 and the No. 70 takes us out. It’s all right…. We’ll just bounce back. If they want to play that way for the Top 35, then we can do the same. We’ve got three cars to their two. We can take care of it if we need to.” Michael McDowell, finished 43rd

Contact Beth Lunkenheimer

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