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 Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:
“I also want to take the time to explain something — as the laps were winding down, I was thinking about Daytona and crying in Victory Lane. I don’t think I ever really got to explain that, why I cried and what was going on there. I had a tough year last year; I found out the power of prayer and what that can do for you. When you get to Victory Lane and you get to experience this, it just makes you a believer. And it’s something that is obviously very important to me and my family. And man, it’s just the stuff I was thinking about; honestly, it made the laps go by really quickly at the end. So thanks to God and all the things that He has blessed my family with.” Jamie McMurray, race winner
Religious or not, McMurray’s post-race interview touched a lot of people. If McMurray hasn’t already gained a ton of fans this year, he certainly did on Saturday night. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: no other driver is as real and genuine as Jamie McMurray. No rehearsed victory speech. No politically correct jargon. Just McMurray’s genuine emotions on winning the race. And thank God for that.
“I’m really happy. Everybody knows that [Charlotte] has been our big struggle. Our goal was to come in here and get a single digit finish and we did that. The guys fought all night. I screamed and complained and the pit crew had a bad stop on the first one, then they were great the rest of the night. Hopefully that is something we can build on going forward. To get out of here with that finish tonight, we’re really happy.” Kevin Harvick, finished eighth
I’m beginning to think Harvick is way too hard on his pit crew. While in this particular quote, he’s not overtly out of line, it seems he expects perfection from them but not necessarily himself. It’s OK to be frustrated with a mistake and still not throw your team under the bus (see: Johnson, Jimmie).
Controversy of the Week:
“I don’t know what the caution was for. You know, apparently there was a mouse that ran across the racetrack or something.” Kyle Busch, finished second
Again, NASCAR’s apparent generosity with the yellow flag was called into play on Saturday night. The final caution came on lap 309 for debris and no one really seems to know what it was for. Even NASCAR’s post-race report doesn’t say where the debris even was. However, it’s not like McMurray wasn’t already catching Busch without the added benefit of bunching up the field. McMurray was on his bumper as the yellow flew, and Busch just got beat on the ensuing restart. Maybe it was an untimely caution, but Busch would have had to race McMurray either way.
“Ah, that was just to get (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) to tighten the car up (laughter). Chad wasn’t listening to him. He thought he needed to keep it loose and so Jimmie showed him how loose it really was, and they tightened it up and he went to the front.” Jeff Gordon, finished 23rd
That was Gordon’s response to Johnson’s lap 35 spin. Thanks for taking the fun out of Johnson actually showing some humanity and making a mistake, Jeff.
Crew Chief Quote of the Week:
“We’re getting better and that’s the main thing. You have to get better every single week. You have to be able to prove that when you run 15th, that wasn’t good enough and you can run 10th. That’s what we’ve done. We’ve had top-15 cars in all but one of the weeks I’ve been here and of those top-15 cars, we need to be able to be at the top end of that and tonight, we were able to do that.” Drew Blickensderfer, crew chief for David Ragan (finished 10th)
Ragan probably had the best run we never saw, coming home with only his second top 10 of the season. Blickensderfer and Ragan are currently in the “honeymoon stage”, where everything seems to be perfect and expectations are raised back to levels where this driver nearly made the Chase in 2008. Ragan is still widely known among fans as the “dart without feathers,” which Tony Stewart so dubbed the rookie driver back in 2007. But keep an eye on the No. 6 Ford to see if Blickensderfer can continue to work some magic on this race team.
Best of the Rest:
“Yeah, I had a lot of fun racing with Kyle. I knew that I could race him really hard and we wouldn’t get into a situation where we’d have a problem. He ran his lane and I ran mine, and he wasn’t mirror driving me and I wasn’t trying to side-draft and screw him up, or getting in there compacting air to turn him around. We just raced really hard for that second spot.” Jimmie Johnson, finished third
“I’m happy with our day – a top-5. You look at our average finish over these last few weeks; we’ve been up and down and some people think mediocre, but that’s been good enough to win the championship for probably two or three or four of the last four years. He’s (Jimmie Johnson) going to do what he’s going to do and run up front, we just have to do what we have to do and try to win races.” Denny Hamlin, finished fourth
“We didn’t qualify very well, so we had to work our way to the front. Then we made a pretty big change and had to restart all the way at the back and got all the way back into the top 5. I’m just real happy for Jamie McMurray. He used to drive for us and was short on wins, but he’s doing a great job.” Greg Biffle, finished fifth
“The highlight was where we finished the last lap, because that was the best we ran all night. We started the race incredibly far off and had to make a lot of pit stops and adjustments. The guys did a really good job recovering from where we were to get a decent finish. I don’t know what they changed, but we were so loose when the race started that we couldn’t run at all. There were some other cars that were, too. The 48 obviously was when he spun out, and the 2 and some of the others were off, too. It took us pretty much the whole race to get enough adjustments to get it snugged up a little bit.” Matt Kenseth, finished sixth
“It was not a lot of fun. We had about everything go wrong that could go wrong. Track position being crucial at this place. I’ve never seen it so sensitive. We lost a little bit of track position and then we had the battery issue, which took me a little while to figure out. I’ve never had that happen before. I’ve had them stumble, but I’ve never had them just shut off. So, it took me a few seconds to figure that out. We lost a lap; and then speeding (on pit road) and a tire coming loose; we had it all happen.” Jeff Gordon, finished 23rd
“I’m just mad at myself. I had no warning – the car just jumped sideways. I haven’t had a racecar jump sideways that quick, that fast in a long time. There was just no saving it, and I backed it into the fence. I’m just mad at myself because I know we had a fast racecar. We still had a fast racecar when we came back out, it was just damaged.” Ryan Newman, finished 36th
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