The Frontstretch: Running Their Mouth: Coca-Cola 600 by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Monday May 28, 2007

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Running Their Mouth: Coca-Cola 600

Beth Lunkenheimer · Monday May 28, 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 the Nextel Cup race that best captures the story of how the weekend unfolded, straight from the drivers themselves. This week, here's a sneak peek at what the drivers were thinking after the Coca Cola 600.

“My uncle won four races on this day, and what a special day (this is) just because of that. My family has had an unbelievable history of racing, and I’ve always wanted to make my mark with my family. We’ve got a long ways to go, a long ways to go, and a lot of races to run, but it sure feels good to win today. Actually, let me look at this for a second. I can’t believe I’m sitting here right now.” Casey Mears

“I’m feeling pretty worn out, but running 600 miles with no power steering is rough. The Team Red Bull guys did a great job in the pits, and we definitely had the car to beat. We struggled through so many tough times tonight with the power steering problem, the starter going out, and cutting down the right-front tire. If we could’ve just had power steering, I really think we could have won this race. But, nobody on the team gave up all night — we just kept going after it all night. But, right now everything hurts, my arms, my elbow — 600 miles is a long night and it’s even longer without any power steering. This is probably the hardest race I’ve ever run.” Brian Vickers

“I don’t know… I’m just a driver. I don’t calculate fuel.” Tony Stewart on being forced to make a stop for gas at the end of the race

"Kyle had a good car yesterday in practice, and he got a lap down tonight. I think he had a little trouble in that wreck. He was able to come back and stay out there at the end and make up a few spots. That was good for him. We were terrible all night long. We just missed all the wrecks. We just weren't good enough." Bobby Labonte

"I couldn't be more excited for Casey Mears if his name was Adam Petty. I can tell you that. I'm tickled to death for Casey Mears. That kid is a great race car driver. He's very underrated. People don't pay a lot of attention to him. We just kind of hung in there all day. We had some really good pit stops. We've really struggled with our pit crew and they stepped up huge today. They're the ones that put us in position to have the Lucky Dog. They're the ones that put us in position to have a good run there at the end. I can't say enough about that. The fuel mileage was good." Kyle Petty

"We knew we had a good car. We obviously didn't have a winning car, but we knew we had a Top 12, Top 15 car. Even when we got here, we qualified seventh with it. It's been quick all along, but I'm really proud of our guys on this Snickers Dark Chocolate team. They kept chasing the race track. I was having to save gas so much the last couple of laps. We were lucky to finish. We've got two batteries, and the second battery had 10 volts in it. As a matter of fact, I stalled it in the garage area and it wouldn't start back up. We were just glad we were able to finish, really." Ricky Rudd

"It was just a right front tire. It's unfortunate. I hate to talk bad about anybody or bash anybody, but I just have to tell you that I think we've got the worst tires in racing - period. Nobody can drive on these things. They're so hard. Nobody can race side-by-side. It just doesn't put on a good race. We just need to soften the tire up, use some technology and get downforce or horsepower out of the cars - whatever it takes - to where we're not doing stuff like this. The tire is so hard that it just does that for a period of time and blows out." Greg Biffle

"We had a really good car early on and every time I came in, it was like roulette. What tires are we going to get? How's the car going to handle? I was in position for the Lucky Dog and the car just jumped out from underneath me. Truex was on us, but I just lost it, I guess. I just can't wait to get to Dover. I thought we had a really good car early on. It just didn't stick for us when the track got better for everybody. It's funny how we just ran the same lap times all night. We were really good in the daytime but horrible at night.” Kurt Busch

“I think it looked worse than it really was. I was gearing up for it to be a really hard hit, but it wasn’t as severe as I thought. With all the safety things that we have [like] the soft wall, I was very, very pleased with the impact and how it absorbed. It looked nastier than it really was when the No. 84 [of Allmendinger] was right there because it sent the car airborne. I tell you what, when the car is driving like that and you drive from 32nd to the Top 5 the way we did, I was liking it. Hopefully we come back here in the Fall and win it. We know we are capable of it. But I’m fine, and I want to say ‘Hi’ to Ingrid at home because I know she’s probably a little nervous right now. But I’ll be home soon.’‘ Jeff Gordon

“My spotter was doing a great job. He told me the No. 99 was having a problem and, of course, I could see that. I really hated to get into Carl. I just thought he would come up the track a lot faster. ... I thought I could squeeze through the middle. I was just trying not to wreck myself and turned it down the hill and — guess what? — I wrecked myself.” David Ragan

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Glenn Heard
05/29/2007 02:09 PM
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I think Kyle Petty is (or has become over the last few years) ONE CLASS ACT! Even as old and jaded as I have become, it was almost impossible to keep a dry eye when I read his comments about Adam and Casey Mears.

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