The Frontstretch: Running Their Mouth : CARFAX 400 by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Tuesday August 18, 2009

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Running Their Mouth : CARFAX 400

Beth Lunkenheimer · Tuesday August 18, 2009

 

Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all of 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 peek at what the drivers were thinking following the CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway:

“He (Ryan Pemberton, crew chief) asked me to give him two laps [of fuel] and I gave him five. So he said, ‘Go get it and do what you did here last time.’ It was a great call. I don’t know what to say. It feels so good to be in Victory Lane. I know the economy is down, but I am so thankful to have these NASCAR fans here. Even in a bad economy, they just about sell the place out.” Brian Vickers

“I really thought we were going to win that race. Congratulations to Brian Vickers. I know how bad he’s been wanting to win, and he did a great job. He had a fast car all day. We weren’t sure we could make it all the way [on fuel]. I really thought the No. 83 (Vickers) was going to run out after the No. 48 (Johnson) ran out, but he didn’t. We will take another second place here at Michigan.” Jeff Gordon

“It was a good run for the AMP Energy / National Guard Chevrolet. I’m real proud of my team. They did a good job on pit road. Lance (McGrew, crew chief) made some good calls and it got the car driving really good at the end. I want to thank those guys and give them all the credit. They worked really hard all weekend and gave us a good car.” Dale Earnhardt, Jr., finished 3rd

“It’s not out of fuel, but it’s really close. Aflac’s motto is ‘We’ve got you under our wing,’ and Bob (Osborne, crew chief) definitely had me under his wing today. He really talked me into slowing down and saving all that fuel. Congrats to Brian [Vickers]. He’s worked really hard to get that win. That’s pretty cool.” Carl Edwards, finished 4th

“It was an eventful day, to be sure. We’ve got to go back and work on a lot of things. We got the car right when we needed it to be. We all kept our heads down working at it and saved enough fuel to get to the end. It was a good day for us. Obviously, we want to be a little bit better. I’m happy about it and proud of all the guys on the Mobil 1 Dodge.” Sam Hornish, Jr., finished 5th

“It was a good run. We had a really good Home Depot Toyota. We started the race up front, we were running up good in the Top 5, and track position was key as usual. Every time I got a restart, it seemed like somehow, one way or another, I was getting shuffled around. I’ve got to figure out what I’ve got to do there to keep us in the hunt a little bit better. Overall, a seventh place finish is good.” Joey Logano, Raybestos Rookie of the Race

“It ended up being a lot better day than we thought. We struggled since we unloaded, and the day went a lot better than I think we anticipated it going. I’m proud of my guys, and we just kept working all we could and rolled the dice this morning.” David Reutimann, WIX Filters Lap Leader of the Race, finished 9th

“Overall, bringing home an 11th in our Budweiser Dodge was a great effort by everyone on this team. It was a great finish considering where we ran all day. We got the best finish that we could. The pit crew did a great job. Considering we started 43rd, we had a lot of cars that we had to pass on a very slick track. We’ll take the points and be happy to head to Bristol next weekend.” Kasey Kahne, finished 11th

“We struggled today, and we had a problem at the end of Happy Hour that we found yesterday and didn’t realize it. But our guys were fighting back and fighting through it today. We just never got in a position where you could do anything, and we just missed it and had an off day.” Tony Stewart, finished 17th

Mark Martin and Alan Gustafson have had one of the best driver/crew chief relationships in Cup so far in 2009. But will Gustafson’s critical error in judgment at Michigan change their dynamic moving forward?

“I feel terrible about it because I blew it. I had a chance to top off [with fuel] there, and if I would have, we probably would have finished second at worst, if not won. So there’s no way to make it pretty or nice. It cost our team a lot of points, and it’s on my shoulders. I just hate it for all these guys because we had a race-winning car and Mark drove his tail off. I just made a blatantly wrong decision, and it cost us a lot.” Alan Gustafson, crew chief for Mark Martin’s No. 5 Chevrolet, finished 31st

“We’ve won only one fuel mileage race, and it’s just not what we’re good at. I think it’s a little too risky for us to even try it. We got lucky once at Phoenix, but outside of that we’ve always come up short. I did all I could running half throttle about 80 to 90 percent of the last run, and I don’t know how else I could have saved any more fuel. It sucks to run so good here and not get a victory.” Jimmie Johnson, finished 33rd

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