The Frontstretch: Running Their Mouth: Kobalt Tools 500 by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Tuesday March 10, 2009

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Running Their Mouth: Kobalt Tools 500

Beth Lunkenheimer · Tuesday March 10, 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 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway:

“This was big. I have to thank my Miller Lite guys, this car was unbelievable. Good things come to those who wait. We’ve waited over a year and a half for this CoT to find a good package, and we’ve had that to start 2009. Penske power is back! This feels awesome. I’ve got to thank guys like Carl Edwards for racing me clean at the end.” Kurt Busch

“You have to take it with a grain of salt, the guys I was partying with. They called it the Donkey. I don’t know if I want that to stick, but they said, push it, push for it. I’m thinking, we had a good Hot Rod today. Rusty Wallace would say that. We’re going to nickname this car Hot Rod, if that’s all right, TR? Sound appropriate? Let’s do that. This car is a Hot Rod. We’ll nickname our reverse victory lap Hot Rod.” Kurt Busch on doing a full victory lap while putting the car in reverse

“Certainly would have liked to have beaten that 2 [Kurt Busch] out of pit road. Even in third, I thought we had a shot. I was pretty sure we were going to get by the 99 [Carl Edwards]. I needed to be clear of the 99 [Edwards] to have any kind of shot at the 2 [Busch]. It was a great day for us, though. Those guys were a little bit stronger than us.” Jeff Gordon, finished 2nd

Jeff Gordon got by Carl Edwards in the closing laps, but could not get that elusive win, finishing second to Kurt Busch. Gordon is one of only five drivers to record three top 10s in the first four races in 2009, but his winless streak is now at a career-worst 45 starts.

“We just had two tires because we had a bad pit stall there. We were gonna be blocked in — the 24 [Jeff Gordon] and the 88 [Dale Earnhardt, Jr.] — I think we were the only three guys together, so we took two tires and did our best. I’m just real proud of the whole Aflac gang for making it run as fast as it did. It’s good to be in a Ford here at Atlanta… we just couldn’t pull it off.” Carl Edwards, finished 3rd

“Our Reese’s Chevrolet was good all day, and the guys just hung in there. Our car was decent enough to make up some ground there, and we were able to get those two laps back. To come back from two laps down and get a top 5 out of the thing just shows a lot about our race team. All in all, the performance has been good, and we’re where we need to be.” Kevin Harvick, finished 4th

“I was really hoping it would stay green, to be honest with you. It was going to be a great race to the finish with Kurt [Busch] and I. He was doing a great job. We fought all day, and lost it there at the end on the pit stop. Congratulations to Kurt [Busch] and that team – they did a great job. It was fun racing him down there at the end.” Brian Vickers, finished 5th

“It was a good day for the BB&T Chevrolet. We were definitely better when we had long green flag runs and the sun was out. Another sixth place finish at Atlanta. We can’t seem to shake that finish, that’s the fourth time we’ve finished there. We needed to be a little better on the short runs, but all in all it was a good points day for us.” Clint Bowyer, finished 6th

“We had a really good top 5-ish car all day, which was really nice. It was great to have a Dodge Charger that good; but then we got behind on that pit stop. I wish it had been a little better, but a Top 10 is good. It was nice to see Kurt (Busch) win in a Dodge. That’s good.” Kasey Kahne, finished 7th

“This was one of those days that is a little easier on you physically when you’re a little bit tight and you are doing the work with your feet instead of your hands. We got two laps down and fought our way back. At this place, that is hard to do. Jimmie Johnson did it last year and almost won the race because of it. There are not very many guys that can come back from two laps down like that, so I am really proud of the team.” Tony Stewart, finished 8th

“We kept taking swings at it, but we just battled a variety of conditions throughout the day in our Kobalt Tools Impala SS. The guys did a good job on pit road, and we wanted to get out of here with at least a top 10 finish … we were able to do that.” Jimmie Johnson, finished 9th

“It was a great run for everybody on this Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats Chevrolet team, especially after the luck we have had the past two weeks. It was just a really good comeback effort. I am really proud of Bono (Kevin Manion, crew chief) and all the guys. The car was really good on long runs. [We] probably didn’t need that last caution flag, but it’s a nice, solid run for us and we’ll take it.” Martin Truex, Jr., finished 10th

“We are doing about as miserable as we can do without being too upset about it. We struggled all day; we just can’t struggle. I look at my teammates and they are running better, we should run the way they run. It is frustrating for me and the team. The only thing you can do is keep working and show up next week with a new attitude. This weekend off will be good for everybody. We are repairing some damage we did early in the season, the first couple of races with these finishes, but running 11th and struggling all day doesn’t really do much for your confidence.”
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

“Maybe he’s new. Maybe he hasn’t seen us drive, but we tend to wreck a lot. I wouldn’t want to be out in the middle of that grass.” Matt Kenseth on Marcos Ambrose crewman Jimmy Watts, who wandered into the middle of the infield grass to retrieve a lost tire and ultimately cause a caution flag

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


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Neal Perry
03/10/2009 10:59 AM

It seems to me that JR.s problem may be caused somewhat by the friction that seems to exist between the Crew Chief and him. I am just not sure he has to be so critical all the time about his teams performance. He needs to take a look at Carl Edwards. His pit crew might have ultimately cost him the race, but still he stays positive. I do not think you need to go public with every little problem you might have in a race. Maybe he needs to take a look in the mirror.

03/10/2009 11:49 AM

Neal, if you had heard Jr’s in-car you would realize what all he went through Sunday. What you perceive as friction, his long-time friends see his distinct personality. He is one of the funniest (in a good way) guys on the track.

03/10/2009 11:37 PM

Jr and Jr are kin. They can say that stuff to each other. Nobody else had better talk about one in the presence of the other or there will be a monster of a fight ensue. Mess with kin, you mess with me.

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