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 CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway:
“Win or wreck — that was the only thing I was thinking. We’re in a situation where winning is everything. I tried everything I can and almost wrecked a couple times. I could only drive the limits of the car, and that’s all we had.” Denny Hamlin, finished second
I could just hug Hamlin for saying that. This close to the Chase, you hear way too many people claiming, “We just need the points.” Nothing drives me crazier than hearing a driver say they are racing for a championship … when the playoffs don’t even start until September! So I’m glad that Hamlin is not satisfied with second and doesn’t care about the good points day he had. Let’s hope that winning attitude continues even after the Chase starts. Also, a bonus to Mark Martin for saying: “I don’t know what [my Chase chances] are. We’ll keep digging. I don’t know. Every race is a new race.”
“The engine just let go in Turn 3. It was a big surprise for the Miller Lite Dodge. We’ve had great reliability with the Penske engines over the years. I thought that I had the conservative motor this weekend, the 12 and the 77 had a bit more power. We just needed a nice, smooth run today and nothing big to happen. It’s unfortunate. We’ll bounce back next week.” Kurt Busch, finished 40th
It’s the conservative motor, so you thought you would abuse it? I wasn’t in Busch’s car, so I don’t know what exactly he was doing, but he sounded surprised that it didn’t hold up. Maybe they have some more work to do… Kurt clearly wants to race!
Controversy of the Week:
“He (Ryan Newman) races me way too hard, he races everybody too hard. I’m not the only one that complains about it every week. And he just went in there and door-jammed me. I was down there trying to save it and trying to save it. When someone is right on your side, it takes your air off. I’m down there just hanging on and hanging on. I saved it three times before I’m like, ‘I can’t save this one, he should have given me room by now.’ I will have to call and talk to him about it because I know I’m not the only one that complains, but I don’t know why he races everyone so hard. I hear it from too many people.” Joey Logano, finished 10th
Joey Logano is ruffling quite a few feathers for this only being his second year of racing the full Sprint Cup Series schedule. It definitely shows some aggression from Logano, which is usually hidden behind his ever-present grin. It’s kind of refreshing because for the first year or so, everyone wondered if he actually had a backbone. And, no, Krissie Newman does not wear the firesuit in the family!
“Oh, yes; [I’ll be] finding a golden horseshoe out there somewhere.” Jeff Gordon, finished 27th
This was Gordon’s response to what his strategy was going to be heading into the Chase; obviously stemming from Kevin Harvick’s comment earlier this season that Jimmie Johnson had a horseshoe shoved up his “you-know-what.” It’s great to see a sense of humor from a guy who has arguably the worst luck in the Sprint Cup Series!
Crew Chief Quote of the Week:
“Well, we came to our decision by what we’ve done in the last 21 weeks. We came in with an 180-point lead. We could gamble staying out, hoping that clean air was the way to go. And, it was, because if you get in the back, you got mired in. The tires just didn’t send you up there like we needed to. We knew if we could get the clean air, we’d be OK. I would like to say hello to my mother-in-law; her sister just died. I want to tell her I am thinking about her, I love her, and love you guys at home.” Gil Martin, winning crew chief
How sweet of Gil to remember a grieving family member in the midst of a victory! Our thoughts and prayers are definitely with her.
Best of the Rest:
“It has been a great year for us. Last year was a tough year. To start the year off with winning the Shootout, then win three more races, and now to win on a downforce track where we have been so close to winning so many times this year is important. At the end of the year, we have got to make it happen in the last ten weeks, and that is what we are trying to prepare ourselves for.” Kevin Harvick, race winner
“We had the fastest car at the end; we just didn’t have enough time. Our Fords ran really well; we had three in the top 5, and I’m glad to have Jack back here at the race track. I wish we could have got a win for him. We are making a lot of ground up in the points and getting stronger. I love racing at this race track. It is fun. You slide all over the place here. We are getting pretty close to everyone, which is good.” Carl Edwards, finished third
“We overcame a lot today. We started the race good, faded a little bit, and in the middle of the race, when things started to slip from us, we did a good job of keeping our heads in the game and not letting it beat us down and start making bad decisions. It’s definitely not the finish we wanted, but I think it was a big victory in a lot of other areas. At a few races this year, we’ve had some struggles, and you can all get frustrated and start making mistakes… but we kept our head in the game.” Jimmie Johnson, finished 12th
“We had a great run going; I was really excited about how good the car was to be able to drive up from 36th, and I really thought we were going to give those guys a run for the win there. But, everything that could have happened did happen. We cut the front tire and got damage to the right rear (tire)… the vacuum system, we had a problem with that. I don’t know if we caused that or if the system failed or what. We’ve never had a problem with it. Everything just went wrong there at the end.” Jeff Gordon, finished 27th
“I ran into the back of the No. 82 (Scott Speed). He lifted for Juan (Montoya), I didn’t know it was time to lift yet and I pounded him pretty hard — that really messed it up. But I put us behind anyway earlier in the race getting up against the outside wall. So we got a little behind because of that, too. It was, oh, I’ll call it my mistake but we are racing hard. And that was a case of me racing too hard, too early for sure. But that would have been too hard even late because it messed me up; it would have messed me up late or early. I was charged up and excited and amped up when the race started and had to hammer down a little bit more than I control.” Mark Martin, finished 28th