The Frontstretch: Running Their Mouth : Auto Club 500 by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Tuesday February 24, 2009

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Running Their Mouth : Auto Club 500

Beth Lunkenheimer · Tuesday February 24, 2009

 

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 car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway:

“Just great team, great crew, great, great engines. You need everything to go right, really, to win these races. Our car handled really good all day, and we had excellent pit stops. Drew and Chip came up with changing a couple of things, and got it just good enough at the end. It wasn’t easy — but it was just good enough to hold them off.” Matt Kenseth

“Well you know, you’ve got to take your hat off to the No. 17 and Matt Kenseth and all those guys. They did a heck of a job. Congratulations to them on the win. They were awesome in the pits. We were awesome in every way tonight with this DuPont Chevrolet. We tried to put on a pretty good show there and I thought it was one of the best races I’ve seen in a long time. I want to thank them for that.”

“This is a new team, and they showed it. We still got a little bit of work to do, though. I’m so excited on one side, because we ran so good and we’ve started off the season so great — but I’m still mad on the other because I felt like we had what it took to win.” Jeff Gordon, finished 2nd

“It was a good run for us. The whole Interstate Batteries team did an awesome job. It was a great weekend. We wish we could have been a little bit better, but a third-place finish isn’t too bad. We wish we could have won the race, that’s for sure, and pulled off the ‘triple,’ — but we’ll take that. Never thought it was a winning car… but all the guys on the team did a great job working all weekend trying to get it there for me.” Kyle Busch, finished 3rd

“This was a pretty fast car. I just screwed it up. Trying to get greedy. You know, it was so hard to pass out here, and I was hoping to beat the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) out and I was trying to give my guys every advantage I could. But they didn’t do anything wrong, it was my fault.” Greg Biffle, finished 4th, on running over his air hose during the final pit stop of the day

“It was a good night for us. I felt that our car had a great setup in it. Our crew on pit road did a great job on our stops with the Miller Lite Dodge. We’re happy. A top 5 finish is good. An excellent turnaround over the offseason. We ran in the top 5 all day and came home fifth. That’s more than we expected. Still, we have to keep working on it, making good adjustments and putting ourselves in position to win.” Kurt Busch

“We were loose the entire race — we fought it and fought it. The longer the run, the harder it was on the right rear tires and we ‘d just roll away. Even without testing, we are really starting to put ourselves into a good position this season. Mike Ford [crew chief] and the FedEx guys worked hard all weekend… and it paid off at the very end for us.” Denny Hamlin, finished 6th

“They made a good job of making it better from yesterday – it was terrible, it was about 25th place, so that’s a good finish for us. It’s not what we wanted — but it’s OK.” Carl Edwards, finished 7th

With two top 10 finishes to start off his career as an owner/driver in the Cup Series, Tony Stewart is off to a promising start behind the wheel of his No. 14 Chevy.

“I’m not really that good here, so it tells you the car is probably better than I am. I really think we are capable of doing it [putting ourselves in position to contend]. I mean, we have done it two weeks in a row. It is still a little early to test, but I thought this week was a truer test than last week was and I was satisfied with the results. This is about where I would normally finish here, really. I am just not good here.” Tony Stewart, finished 8th

“This was a great finish for the Target Team. We led a lap under caution to earn the points. We raced a clean race, and our pit stops were solid all day long. Our Chevy doesn’t even have a scratch on it. We head to Vegas with this momentum, which is great.” Juan Pablo Montoya, finished 11th

“I wish I learned half this stuff before we started racing. I think everyone did a great job. I’m happy with this. I think we definitely needed this for sure, just to kind of get the season rolling, get everything going. We’re going to take it and improve from it — and I feel a lot better. I know we can do this, and coming back here next time, I’ll feel a little bit better, too.” Raybestos Rookie of the Race Joey Logano, finished 26th

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Rosemary C.
02/24/2009 08:10 AM
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In one of his post-race interviews (VL), 3rd place finisher Kyle Busch said he had the best seat in the house watching the two superstars battle it out out there.

Contact Beth Lunkenheimer