Beth Lunkenheimer · Tuesday July 29, 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 Allstate 400 at The Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
“I knew what we were setting up for, but I was worried the stop before that maybe we had to go two laps to win this thing. Chad called it perfectly… we had a great stop at the end. Hendrick Motorsports, the engine department, the whole company, we’ve been working really hard to get back [to the front] and we’re getting there. This is a good sign of it.” Jimmie Johnson
“That’s a long day. Everyone’s trying to do their best. I, personally, want to say to the fans that everybody was doing their best to make that a race. Second place is not what we came here for. Just thanks to Aflac and everybody, and the fans for putting up with this. It’ll get better.” Carl Edwards
“I applaud NASCAR for putting safety first. They don’t want to see us tear apart race cars, and they don’t want to see us be put in danger. So, they did what they had to do with the circumstances that they were given. I’m happy with the outcome.” Denny Hamlin, finished 3rd
“This is a great weekend for us to bring a new car here and qualify sixth, and run in the top seven or eight the whole day. It’s pretty cool to come out with the new car, and get a good run in a Stanley Dodge. We’ve had a lot of bad luck this year. I’m proud of my guys to finish a good race here at the Brickyard.” Elliott Sadler, finished 4th
“I think all of us are disappointed in what went on here today. It was a great eight lap shootout there at the end. I hate that we didn’t get the track position that we really needed there at the end. That hurt us from having an opportunity, and I felt like we were as good as Jimmie [Johnson] — but we were really a second-place car because they had the track position.” Jeff Gordon, finished 5th
“It’s just frustrating. They said the track was getting better in Happy Hour, but we didn’t see that and it never really did take rubber. I got really mad in the middle [of the race] because they were letting us run until the tires were blowing up, and I’m like, ‘You can’t put us in that situation.’ You’ve got to throw the caution before we blow a tire because if someone gets hurt, we could have prevented that.” Jamie McMurray, finished 6th
“The problem was just we never saw any evidence in practice [tire wear] was getting any better. Maybe a lap difference between when we started practice on Friday versus when we ended on Saturday — maybe got a lap more, but just not enough cushion. Goodyear builds the tires and Goodyear has done a much better job, I think, this year. This wasn’t a good day for them, for sure. I think it is hard to put it on NASCAR’s shoulders… Goodyear is the tire provider.” Jeff Burton, finished 9th
“Nobody is to blame, as everybody did the best they could. It was just an unfortunate circumstance with the tire wear out here today. I hate it for this U.S. Army Race Team. We had a monster motor and a great race car today. We definitely had a Top 5 car.” Mark Martin, finished 11th
“That was the most bizarre race I have ever run. It was bizarre. I have never seen nothin’ like it. I was glad we got finished with relatively no true chaos. NASCAR did what they had to do. I am ashamed but there wasn’t much we could do, besides load them up and not run at all. I helped tire test here [so] blame it all on me if you want to. But when I was here [testing], they were wearing out in five laps, too.” Dale Earnhardt, Jr., finished 12th
“That wasn’t a race today. It’s ridiculous. That’s a lack of preparation from NASCAR to Goodyear to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to put on a show like they did for the fans today. It’s disrespectful to the fans, and I wish that it didn’t have to be that way. That’s not the way NASCAR racing is supposed to be.” Ryan Newman, finished 13th
“That was the weirdest race I’ve ever been in. To conserve tires and think about stopping that often, and it was just kind of a different strategy than we’ve ever been a part of — and we learned from it. I think we had a good car. We had a Top 10 car, but everybody just played strategy all day long.” David Ragan, finished 14th
“Stupid — we just had to do what we could in order to [finish]. Everybody was out there battling the same thing. You’re trying to do what you can.” Kyle Busch, finished 15th, on the tire situation
“That was a sorry excuse for a race. It was what it was and everybody had to deal with it. We played the game and thought we were in good shape with that. Dale [Earnhardt] Jr. hit my tire carrier — hit the tire, knocked it into him, knocked him up under the car, and we just couldn’t [come back from that].” Steve Addington, crew chief for Kyle Busch
“It’s frustrating when you run ten laps and the right rear and right front tires are worn out. You just want to scream and hope that you could stretch out your runs. Ten laps and a caution, ten laps and a caution, that’s not racing.” Bobby Labonte, finished 16th
“Just a tough day. I mean, there’s really no other words to describe it. Just an unbelievably tough day.” Tony Stewart, finished 23rd
“The first 80 laps, I had to idle around to keep from wearing the tires out. Whoever tested the tires here made a big mistake. We couldn’t run seven hard laps. We corded the right rear and I had two flat tires. We did pretty much all we could do.” Robby Gordon, finished 33rd
“This is one of the two biggest races of the year, and to never have this tire here before and not come and do an open test and to work on these things and work on the tires, it’s pretty darn disappointing. We had a great car today. I feel bad for the fans; we’re running three-quarters speed because we’re worried about the tires blowing out, and they got blown out every eight laps.” Matt Kenseth, finished 38th
“You need to go talk to Chad Knaus [winner Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief]. He said [there] wasn’t going to be a problem with this tire. He and Goodyear have something figured out that the rest of us don’t.” Jack Roush on why he thinks his team wasn’t invited to a tire test at Indianapolis
“We’ve got to really sit down and see [if the problem could have been prevented]. Obviously, the tread wear didn’t improve as we thought it would over the course of the afternoon [and] we don’t have an answer to why that didn’t happen, so we’ve got to go back and look at it and try to figure out how to make it better.” Greg Stucker, director of race tire sales for Goodyear
“I don’t think you need to be shooting a lot of arrows at Goodyear until you’ve walked a couple miles in their shoes.” Chris Carrier, crew chief for Sam Hornish, Jr.
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