The Frontstretch: Running Their Mouth: Kobalt Tools 500 by Summer Bedgood -- Sunday November 14, 2010

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Running Their Mouth: Kobalt Tools 500

Summer Bedgood · Sunday November 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 Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix International Raceway:

Best Quote:
“It’s unreal. It’s so neat. It still doesn’t feel like this really happened. We needed this win. This is very special. Once again, thank you Aflac. I really appreciate it. It’s just unreal and thanks to the fans.” Carl Edwards, race winner

It seems to be a case of too little, too late for Ford, winning only their third race of the year with Edwards in the Kobalt Tools 500. However, it’s very possible for the team to have had more than that after Greg Biffle led the most laps last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway and Edwards is adamant that they have momentum heading into the 2011 season. With their recent performance in the span of just a few weeks, I can’t help but agree.

Worst Quote:
“For me I guess as soon as I leave Phoenix, I have to leave Phoenix in Phoenix. That’s the thing is you can’t let this – I couldn’t control it. I did everything I was supposed to do today. Things didn’t work out for me. All I can do is concentrate on next week once Monday comes and put it behind me. So the thing is, it could have been a lot worse. We could have lost the points lead. But regardless, you never know what can happen in the final race. I hate that it boils down to the final race, but that’s what fans love and things like that. I felt like we’ve been the best car over this Chase and we might not win it.” Denny Hamlin, finished 12th

Hamlin seemed so depressed after the race that fans who didn’t know otherwise might have thought he lost the points lead. While I understand the overall frustration with losing the race and having less of a gap back to Jimmie Johnson than he expected to, I was surprised to see Hamlin lose his head afterwards when he’s still in the best position of any of his other competitors. I’m sure he’ll be fine next week, but Hamlin had done so well at keeping a level head up to this point you have to question the loss of composure.

Things are looking up for Jimmie Johnson following a pit crew swap that vastly improved his pit stops at Phoenix.

Controversy of the Week:
“The pit stops were great today. The guys really stepped up in a very tough situation and did their job and truthfully, their good pit stops kept us up front all day long because we struggled a little bit on track. We could run fourth to sixth but that was kind of it. And their stops really kept us towards the front.” Jimmie Johnson, finished fifth

ESPN very well documented the pit crew swap between the No. 24 and No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports teams and virtually everyone in NASCAR Nation — fans, media, and drivers alike — all had opinions on the incident. However, watching the pit stop times from both crews, it was clear that crew chief Chad Knaus made the right call … for the No. 48 team, at least.

Funniest:
“Yeah, I’m not going to lie to you. I was down. And they just kept harping at me and then I finally just kept at it and when I heard them say we were good on fuel, I knew we at least had a chance just for the fact that the race tended to have a lot of green flag runs today.” Kevin Harvick, finished sixth

Maybe that’s exactly what Harvick needs: For his team to harp on him as much as he harps on them. Because a team that is constantly poking at each other is usually the best performing one, right?

Crew Chief Quote of the Week:
“It wouldn’t have made that much of a difference — you weren’t going to save that amount of fuel. Had you pit when the other guys pit there, we were still short. Give up that track position and then try and save, you’re not moving forward anyway and you’re going to end up probably further back at the end. It was two bad spots for cautions to fall for us.” Mike Ford, crew chief for Denny Hamlin

This quote is coming from the crew chief who was trash talking the No. 48 team after their win at Texas last weekend. Just goes to show you how it doesn’t take long for this sport to humble a person…

Best of the Rest:

“We did have a good car – the U.S. Army Chevrolet was pretty good all day long. I have to apologize to Jeff Burton – I got into him there a little bit on one of those restarts. Veteran’s Day paint scheme – have to thank all the veterans out there, especially U.S. Army. Proud to represent them and thinking about my buddy (Michael) Schumacher over there in Pomona and we’ll go try to get them one more time in Homestead. A great run and great effort for the team today.” Ryan Newman, finished second

No wonder why Joey Logano’s smiling. If his finishing pattern in the Cup Series holds, he’ll end the year runner-up at Homestead and be in strong position to score a first ever Chase bid in 2011.

“These guys did awesome. Our last few finishes have been crazy — we’ve been seventh, sixth, fifth, fourth and third in a row, so that’s pretty crazy. I never thought [we’d have] that. The guys did a good job with the Home Depot Toyota today. We had a lot of things that went wrong during the race – we didn’t start the race very well at all. We fell back to further back than 20th. Everyone kept their head in the game and did a good job. We fought pit road with the No. 13 (Casey Mears) pitting right in front of us and we would get boxed in there a couple times and lost track position. The biggest thing we fought at the end of the race was track position. We were every bit as good to run up there. Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief) and the guys did an awesome job. It’s fun to be up here.” Joey Logano, finished third

“We’re just lucky, to be honest with you. These guys on pit road, they do a great job and just made a mistake. I was pretty down and thought, there it went. Richard (Childress, team owner) and Gil (Martin, crew chief) were just like, ‘Keep at it, you never know what’s going to happen.’ Then they told me that I could make it on gas and the car just didn’t handle very well in traffic. Once we got up towards the front, it was handling pretty good and the further towards the front that it got, the better the car got. We dodged one for sure and still have a chance next week, so that’s all you can ask for.” Kevin Harvick, finished sixth

“We’ll take the top-10 finish. Our Miller Lite Dodge was a little temperamental today. We did our job on Friday (in qualifying) to get a solid starting position (third) and we just weren’t able to capitalize on the early track position that we had. After the second stop, we kept working on the Miller Lite Dodge with air and wedge adjustments and the car didn’t react the way that we needed it to. Most of the middle of the race we just fought tight in, loose in the center and loose off, and it cost us too much track position. Around lap 235, we pitted for a second time after 10 laps or so to get back to an earlier combination that the car liked. From there, the car really responded and it was obvious that it may come down to fuel mileage. Steve (Addington, crew chief) said we were good to go to the end (of the race) and if it stayed green, we could make it on fuel. It was a solid day, but we need to get a better balance on the car. For us, it comes down to working on getting the front end to work better in the center of the corner.” Kurt Busch, finished ninth

Contact Summer Dreyer

Monday on the Frontstretch:
FREE NEWSLETTER! BREAKING NEWS ON JEREMY MAYFIELD AND BRIAN FRANCE! CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP
Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Phoenix-2 Race Recap
Fact Or Fiction: Can Denny Hamlin Recover? And Is Harvick Still In It?
Bubble Breakdown: Brendan’s Bad Day Gives A ‘Front Row’ Opportunity For Underdogs
Blast From The Past: Who Could Benefit From A New Nationwide Series In ’11
Nationwide Series Breakdown: Wypall 200
Tracking The Trucks: Lucas Oil 150

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Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…
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jerseygirl
11/15/2010 11:00 AM
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yeah, we all know it’s all about the 48 for HMS, so screwing Gordon over, too, no problem.

The thing is that the exchanged team working for the 24 didn’t do a bad job at all – but Logano boxed them in and LeTarte made a poor choice to go with 4 tires instead of 2 to get track position. I hope Hamlin pulls it out. I seriously don’t want to listen to another year of the Chad & Jimmie show.

DoninAjax
11/15/2010 11:35 AM
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If the 48 doesn’t win the cup all we’ll hear next year is Johnson getting the trophy back.