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 the Nextel Cup race that best capture the story of how the weekend unfolded, straight from the drivers themselves. This week, here's a peek at what Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Tony Stewart, and others were thinking after the Aaron’s 499.
“I never caused a riot before (by) winning. The only marks I have on my car are from all the cans thrown at it. I thought Junior had a lot more power (to get these fans under control). I saw maybe one roll (of toilet paper). It’s an interesting feeling. On one side, I want to jump up and down and just be fired up here at Talladega, knowing how many people pull against us and how many people up there (in the stands) would have loved to have seen Dale Jr. win that race. Hopefully, nobody got injured with what happened. I wanted to break that record today, but why did it have to happen at Talladega? I go back and forth. There are a lot of fans out there who are Earnhardt fans who don’t want to see [the record] broken. I appreciate the enthusiasm and the opinions of all the fans out there. There’s nobody I have more respect for than Dale Earnhardt. I learned so much from him.” Jeff Gordon on breaking Dale Earnhardt, Sr.‘s record…while being littered by beer cans in the process
“I told him this week, I said, ‘You win this one and I ain’t coming into Victory Lane this time. That caused too much trouble.’ He’s a great race car driver. I knew years ago he would eventually pass my old man. I think he has the opportunity to pass a couple more.” Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
“That’s terrible. They’re going to hurt somebody. I just can’t believe that people who love this sport would take the chance to hurt a kid or hurt another person. I’m sure there are cans that didn’t make it to the track that fell into the stands. A full beer can hitting somebody in the back of the head; on one level, that’s disrespectful. The other side of it, throwing them at racecars and damaging our racecars, that’s not a way to show that you support our sport and our racing. I was just disappointed to see that.” Jimmie Johnson
“I still think NASCAR needs to start penalizing people for causing wrecks. The people that cause them never get in them. This stuff will go on forever. The only thing that makes drivers do the right thing is the fear of what happens to them if they do the wrong thing.” Jeff Burton
“We were really close on gas and they told me I needed to weave back and forth to get to the box in there that holds some fuel. It took off (on the last restart), and it ran until about third gear and it just quit. The 48 kind of got me lifted up and those guys got underneath me. I was trying to get down in front of the 38 and I couldn't. He kind of squeezed me up and then the 20 was on the outside and when there's a green-white-checker you just have to go. I didn't think the 38 was gonna shoot me up so far and I ended up getting into the 20 and, obviously, he's mad. Before with Denny in the lead I wasn't that worried because I had Reutimann behind me and I felt like he would push me. I didn't feel like he was really gonna try to go for a win. He acted like he was pretty content just where he was at…I didn't really understand what he [Tony Stewart] was mad about. I think when you go back and look at it, anytime you come out on the short end of that deal you get upset. I was trying to stay in between him and the 38, and the 38 kept coming up and we got together. If I was in his shoes, I'd be mad, too. You're mad when you're in that situation." Jamie McMurray
"Our M&M's Dark Ford Fusion was good all day today and we were just able to come in at the end there. We were just trying to hang out and stay on the bottom. I tried to learn as much as I could and at the end; anytime there's a green-white-checker, I remember at Daytona we were sitting fourth and it got real wild. Right there we were fourth, I think, when the caution came out, so we'll see where we end up. Like I said, I'm real proud of all our guys and M&M's; our Roush-Yates Racing Engines ran strong all day. I'm just real proud to be a part of this team. This is where the bar is set for Robert Yates Racing to get the rest of our program. I think we've got our restrictor plate program right on track and we've been working very hard to get our Car of Tomorrow and intermediate programs fixed up as well. We had a great run at Texas, and I'm really proud of Robert Yates Racing and the direction they're headed right now." David Gilliland
“(Watching replay) the wreck’s behind us too but that’s part of it that gets us in the wall and then we get hit a second time. We’ve already crashed here (at a point in the replay). And then the No. 38 car just plows us for no reason, so I guess he’s still mad for the Busch race yesterday but. No talent there, I guess. There was absolutely no reason for that to happen. He’s just taking it out on us for yesterday when he turned down across the nose. Lucked into his Cup ride but I don’t know, we’ll see.” Tony Stewart
“I thought we had pretty good communication and we were all going to come in that lap. I was waving off down the backstretch and thought it was pretty clear that I was coming in. Jimmie is probably my best friend in the world and I know that he wouldn’t do something like that. We are too good of friends for that.” Casey Mears
“To be honest, I was sitting up there just waiting for something to happen. I didn’t know if somebody was going to run over me or if something was going to break. Things were going too good all day long, you hate to look at it that way, but that’s Talladega. I’m thankful that today was a pretty safe race, but I’m disappointed I didn’t get to race for the win there at the end. I hated to oil the track down like that, but I couldn’t see to get down to the bottom of the track. All I was doing was looking out at the wall. I’m so bummed out. I had a chance to run pretty good today, I thought. That stuff happens and I’m just disappointed for the whole team. The way we ran out there today had nothing to do with the driver — it had everything to do with the car this team built. I’m proud of everybody at TRD and within Toyota’s organization — I’m not disappointed with that at all. Today was just a situation where stuff breaks no matter how hard you work on it. We’ll regroup, and we still have a good speedway car for Daytona, so we’ll go from there.” David Reutimann
"I can't believe we finished third, but we'll take it. I don't know if that's much fun to watch, but it's great when we get to three-wide racing and that's what the fans pay their money for. I'm glad they got their money's worth today. It was a good overall day for us. We want to break through and win one of these, and we're knocking on the door. I enjoy the restrictor-plate races now. When I was a rookie, it was very difficult to understand which lane to be in and which veteran to follow. (For example) When you get kicked out of line, how are you supposed to get back in line? Over the years, you just learn every time you make a mistake, and it's helped having a defensive frame of mind, just following the guy in front of me." Kurt Busch
"Something broke in the steering, in the suspension, and it went straight into the wall. I thought we run pretty good. I thought we had a good car. I think we had at least a Top 10 car, but you know how Talladega is. It was exciting." Juan Pablo Montoya
Have you seen the all new Frontstretch newsletter yet? If you haven’t, well, you’re missing out … today, Sonya Grady told us how NASCAR censorship is ruining the sport we know and love, and trivia held the answer to the only drivers who’ve started every race on Richmond’s current 3/4 mile configuration. Tired of being left on the sidelines? Well, click here to sign up today!
©2000 - 2008 Beth Lunkenheimer and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!