Summer Bedgood · Monday June 14, 2010
Welcome to Running Their Mouth! 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 Heluva Good! 400 at Michigan International Speedway:
“I knew a caution was coming, so I might as well just back off and save my tires. I knew that debris caution was coming. I understand this is show business. We’ve got to do what’s right for the fans, and they need to see a great race at the end. The best car won, and that’s all you can ask for.” Denny Hamlin, race winner
“Towards the end of last season where I said the best is yet to come, I strongly feel that way because towards the end of last season, we closed out strong. I knew that was a catalyst to really turn up the team, to get a little bit more out of everyone. We come into this season, and we do [just that].” Mike Ford, winning crew chief
“All the guys have been together for quite awhile. I’ve watched them grow week in, week out. Don’t panic if things don’t go well. They’re able to rally and have a great weekend. This is another encouraging… notch for those guys.” J.D. Gibbs, winning car owner
“That is good to have five Fords in the top-12. Five of the guys had this engine last week, and I didn’t have it. Last week, I couldn’t draft. I could get a run off the corner but when I got to the straightaway, they would pull away from me. That shouldn’t happen. You should be able to get the draft and suck up. They have been working hard on this engine, and it was nice to get it because I was able to suck up to the car in front of me, which is how it is supposed to work. It was nice to get on a level playing field. Now, we just have to work on the car and on other things that matter to win the race. I didn’t feel like we were at a disadvantage with the engine. I can go back to my Dodge years. Last year was one of the worst years our engines ran at Richard Petty Motorsports. It felt really good in practice when I sucked up to Kyle Busch on Friday. That made me feel like we had something, which was a good feeling.” Kasey Kahne, finished second
“This is tough. There isn’t any other racing in the world where, if you’re off a little bit, people are going to go by you. Hats off to my guys, especially the guys back at the shop building these great cars. We keep advancing every time we bring our car to the race track. It was a good day here at Michigan. We qualified on the pole, led laps, and finished third.” Kurt Busch, finished third
“I’m not as panicked about the top 12 right now [compared to how] I think some of the guys close to that bubble [are]. We’ve just got to keep going out and if we keep rifling off top 5s like this, we won’t have to worry about it. We’ll be there. We may not have been the best car out there today, but we were definitely a top six or seven car all day long. I’m really proud of the effort. I feel like we’re starting to make some ground. There’s no reason to panic; it’s not going to make us go faster. It’s just a matter of trying to figure out what we’ve got to do to get what we’re missing. So I feel like we’ve made some steps in that direction today.” Tony Stewart, finished fifth
“We didn’t run as well as we wanted to run, obviously, but we did learn some stuff that we can use later on in the year. The No. 11 certainly can be the champion at the end of the year. I think it is too early to really form an opinion for anyone; we still have 10-11 races before the Chase even starts. But you can’t deny the victories, laps led, and what they have been doing.” Jimmie Johnson, finished sixth
“I enjoyed the car all day. Lance (McGrew, crew chief) and the AMP Energy team did a good job all weekend. We were happy in race trim. We just didn’t have any speed in qualifying. It was fun to drive. Matt Kenseth was better and there were a bunch of cars, obviously everybody in front of us was better, but we felt like we had a top 10 car and we were able to show it today. That caution come out and got me worried; what the hell is going to happen here? But we were on the good end of it for a change. I just want to thank all my sponsors, the team, and everybody back at the shop. The engines are great, and the cars are bulletproof. This is the kind of run we want to have. We can do it. The guys taking it to the race track have just got to get it right. We did pretty good today… I feel happy. Ready to go home. I’ve got a buddy that’s got a birthday tomorrow, and [we’re gonna go] drink some beer and have a good time. It’ll be a good day.” Dale Earnhardt, Jr., finished seventh
“We just didn’t have enough. We struggled all day, we really weren’t ever good enough. Either too tight, too loose, or a combination of the two. Probably the worst we have run all year, but we made something out of it.” Jeff Burton, finished eighth
“We definitely have the power now. The power is there; we just need to work, and get the car handling better. If we do that, we should be able to get things figured out.” Greg Biffle on the new Ford FR9 engine, finished ninth
“This place confuses the heck out of me sometimes. The Insignia Best Buy Ford was awesome. We drove from 26th to 15th in two laps at the beginning. I thought we were getting on the right track, but we got behind on pit stops and got in the back of the pack. From there, we were massively loose. I haven’t been that loose in a long time. Luckily, the yellow came out at the end and Mike Shiplett and the guys made a good adjustment. We tightened it up knowing there were only 15 laps left, and I just drove my butt off. I am proud of the guys. We worked hard, and it was my best career finish here. I am looking forward to Sonoma next week.” A.J. Allmendinger, finished 11th
“We had a sixth-place finish going there before NASCAR threw that caution to bunch up the field, and that cost us at the end. I had a pretty strong car and Kasey had a strong car. That was the most competitive I have been for awhile, and it felt good. Hopefully we can build on that for when we come back here soon. Man, I want to win a race here again so bad. We had a good day on pit road, I am proud of my team for that. We will move on, and I really look forward to coming back here in August.” Carl Edwards, finished 12th
“We hit that piece of sheet metal or bond or whatever it was that was rolling across the race track, it jacked the front of the car up and never came back down for whatever reason. With two laps to go, I heard a pop down there between (turns) three and four. It acts like a spring came out of the bucket or something like that. The craziest things happen to us with our U.S. Army Chevrolet. We are still trying to find out what happened to it. But it just sucks. The one piece of debris out there, and we hit it and it does something to the race car that I have never had happen to me in 10 years of doing this, so it is frustrating.” Ryan Newman, finished 32nd
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