The Frontstretch: Running Their Mouth : Samsung 500 by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Monday April 16, 2007

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Running Their Mouth : Samsung 500

Beth Lunkenheimer · Monday April 16, 2007

 

Editor's Note : Each week, we'll go through all the media reports, interviews, PR, and our own stuff to find the best quotes from Sunday's race that best capture the story of how the weekend unfolded, straight from the drivers themselves. This week, here's a peek at what drivers were thinking after the Samsung 500.

“I'll be honest, I feel like a guy who's come back. I don't know how to describe it. When we came here in 1997 and were able to win that race, we were a fairly young race team. What Richard has given me an opportunity to do here and all the effort that Scott (Miller, crew chief) has put in, I feel like I'm new at it again. My enthusiasm is as high as it's ever been, my excitement is as high as it's ever been, and I hope that people look at me and say I can do it again.” Jeff Burton

“We were racing as hard as we could and still be clean, and so I really thought I had him, you know, I could pull away a little bit. Jeff's smart; he had what he needed to, just got through one and two really good. Me and Jeff, I probably could've pulled the bottom there that last lap. I was going to go to the bottom and make him follow me through one and two because I was okay there, but he was just under me enough where I couldn't do that. So, I did everything I could, and I got beat." Matt Kenseth

“Pig [Pigeon] is my buddy, and I have a couple other friends on this team. They asked me to do it, so I wasn’t going to say no. I could tell that it was a real nice car before we had the accident. I really appreciate them asking me. I was honored. It means a lot to me.” Dale Earnhardt, Jr. after going back out to finish 37th in Kyle Busch’s No. 5 Kelloggs Chevrolet, a car that had wrecked him 100 laps earlier

“It was a very sportsmanlike gesture, and it says a lot about Dale Jr. and the kind of person he is.” Alan Gustafson, crew chief for Kyle Busch, on Earnhardt’s fill-in role

“How’s that Miller Lite taste? Tastes great!” Kyle Busch, when brother Kurt took the lead from Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

“The car was evil all day.” Tony Stewart

“I had a decent run out of two, and then the 18 and I raced side by side into turn three. Got a little tight, and I thought that I had him cleared in the middle of the corner. He got a good run coming off of four, and he was there by the time I was commited to using up the whole race track. I saw that he was there and tried to get off of him as quick as I could, and then I just caused a big mess. If we could've cleared him, we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. But, he got a good run, nothing I could do. I was out of the throttle trying to get off of him as quick as I could. Sorry I caused that big mess and messed up a lot of people's days, including ours. We had a pretty good AAA Ford Fusion. It's just a disappointment." David Ragan

"That was a great Top 10 finish, and it's a career best, but I thought we were headed for a better finish today. Still, a Top 10 at Texas is pretty good, and we moved back up to 12th in the series standings. We've done what we set out to do in these first few races; we wanted to get Top 15 finishes and do the best we could in the points. We just need to keep doing what we're doing and we'll be OK." David Stremme

“If we had done to [Montoya] what he did to us, we’d be slandered in the media for life. I’m sure we’re going to get blamed for causing [Dale Earnhardt] Junior to wreck, but there’s no way I would ever do anything to put Junior in jeopardy. It’s disheartening when you’ve got 180,000 Junior fans booing you every time around the track. That’s what makes this stuff not fun anymore. When I make enough money, I’m going to retire. I’d be more than happy to step away. I’m upset. It’s not about the racing anymore. I’ve kind of adopted a Matt Kenseth motto. I’m going to race people how they race me. You earn respect by doing things that are smart out there and trying to pull out of line with 110 laps to go doesn’t make much sense. [Montoya] didn’t make any friends with me today, so he won’t get any help from me in the future.” Tony Stewart

“If he wants to race me hard, I’ll race him hard. We were side by side, and we just touched a little. That’s racing, and I’m OK with it.” Juan Pablo Montoya on Tony Stewart

“Our hearts dropped when we saw the yellow pop out, being in position for a real good run. Who knew where we would have ended up? Still, it's not as much of a hardship as Roy (crew chief McCauley) and (his wife) Amy are going through. That was in my mind when we were up front leading by about half a lap. It felt like we had everything in place for what we needed to do for the Miller Lite Dodge to win. Out front, the Dodge liked it. It liked the hot conditions today. It just didn't seem like we had the fuel mileage we needed. We had to pit a lap or two short, and that lap or two short killed us at the end. It bit us today, but we've still got great Penske-Jasper power. We're much better on the mile and a half tracks, and that was the big picture here today. It gives us motivation. It was bittersweet knowing we had a car that could have won today and didn't, but all-in-all, with the big picture it was a good day for us.” Kurt Busch

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