The Frontstretch: Running Their Mouth: Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500K by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Tuesday November 17, 2009

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Running Their Mouth: Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500K

Beth Lunkenheimer · Tuesday November 17, 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 sneak peek at what they all were thinking following the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500K at Phoenix International Raceway:

“What a great car. When we put new tires on, the car came to life, and then we had a couple of small adjustments that really, really helped it. I was trying to be smart through traffic and the No. 20 (Joey Logano). I am not sure if he was just trying hard to stay just two laps down or if he was really trying to help his teammate out, but either way the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) caught me. Once I cleared him, I got back going and everything was fine, but the No. 20 car wasn’t being all that friendly.” Jimmie Johnson

Of all of the sound bites this weekend, nothing topped those that came from the latest chapter of the Denny Hamlin/Brad Keselowski feud.

“Real proud of everybody on the CAT Financial team. Everybody has been working really hard. Todd Berrier has come in and done a great job. We are working hard. We’re getting there. We’re not 100% there, but we’re gaining and real proud of everybody’s effort. I lost this race for us on Friday, which is really disgusting to me. But we had a great car, and we’ll do better.” Jeff Burton, finished second after qualifying 36th

“We had a good day. We finished where we usually do at this race track. No matter what you throw at the car, I’m the best of the worst or the worst of the best, one of the two. Track position meant so much here. You got to try to push when you can, and my pit crew did an awesome job closing the gap on that last pit stop.” Denny Hamlin, finished third

“We had a great run. The guys did a fabulous job, and we had a really good race car. The car was awesome on the long runs. I really thought with that last long green flag that we were going to get up there and make it a four car race, but our car got tight and kind of fizzled out. I’m pretty proud of what we’ve done this season. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished.” Mark Martin, finished fourth

“It was a great day for us. I just have to thank all these guys here. They worked very, very hard today. This is one of my favorite race tracks here at Phoenix, and I really expected to have a good day. We struggled a little in the beginning, and the guys made it (the car) better all day long. I was real proud of them for their efforts. It has been a tough year, but they just keep fighting and they did a great job today.” Martin Truex, Jr., finished fifth

“It was a good start. We had a great car in the beginning, a good feel, but lost the handle. We wanted to be right up there in the mix going for the win. Sixth place, we’ll take it. We’re gaining points and we’re still doing a good job. (Jeff) Gordon is within distance going into Homestead for third place overall.” Kurt Busch

“It wasn’t a great day. I thought we were going to be a lot better than that. We started off the day great, and I don’t know, we just faded. We just didn’t have it. We fought hard for ninth and got that.” Jeff Gordon

“It was alright. We got behind in the middle point of the race there, and then we got pretty good until we overadjusted and got it bad. There towards the end, we got it decent again. We’ll have to try a little different approach next time we come back. The pit stops were awesome. The guys did a great job today, so I’m really happy with that.” David Reutimann, finished tenth

“There’s nothing worse than finishing 11th because we had a good car. We just burnt the right rear off there on the last run trying to stay in front of Jeff Gordon. It was just a strong day. Our team is learning, we’re growing, and we’re getting better and better. We’re going to be a contender next year, and that’s really exciting for us.” Marcos Ambrose

“We had a decent day in the No. 44 Ford. We were good early on and started working our way up through the field. So far, we’ve been pretty good in our Fords, and we’re gathering information that we can hopefully use going into next year. I’m just proud of the guys. I thought we could’ve been a little bit better, but I’m still happy about it.” A.J. Allmendinger, finished 13th

“I can sit here and bash him (Brad Keselowski) for the next 20 seconds or so and give you all a bunch of sound bites, but I’m just happy that I signed up for next week’s Nationwide race, and you know in turn, there’s a lot of guys that owe him. There’s a lot of guys that have a lot of chips that they’re going to cash in. I’m just going to be the first to the pay window.” Denny Hamlin following the Able Body Labor 200

“On the last restart there, Denny [Hamlin] got into the back of me and pushed me up the track. I was going to return the favor. When he did it to me, I saved it. When I did it to him, he didn’t save it. We just got into a pushing match. I don’t really hold any grudges. I don’t know why he wanted to do that. But whatever, that’s just how racing is, I guess. I haven’t put a lot of thought into [the rivalry], but apparently he has.” Brad Keselowski following the Able Body Labor 200

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