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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Running Their Mouth: 2008 Auto Club 500 at Fontana

Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all 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 the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the rain delayed Auto Club 500 at the Auto Club Speedway in California:

“It was fun to race here in the sun. If we have a 55-hour red flag, we’re still going to go out there and race as hard as possible. We’ve all had to wait through rain delays when the anxiety builds up. I was lucky that [Jimmie Johnson] was a little bit loose, because it would have been really, really tough to get by him if he wasn’t loose.” – Carl Edwards

“We had a great day today. We were just a little too loose off the corners to really run with the No. 99 [Carl Edwards] there. I would really have loved to win in my home state again and we have had a tough week at Hendrick Motorsports this week, Jimmy Johnson (former HMS general manager) passed away. He helped me throughout Hendrick Motorsports and I am really going to miss him, so I wish I could have won today and taken that trophy back in his honor.” – Jimmie Johnson, finished second

“If you don’t think we have any luck, we blew up right coming off turn 2 just as the caution came out and we were done. I coasted to the line. We got very lucky today. I couldn’t believe it; I kept saying, this is it, right? I thought when we took the white flag, it was over. So thank goodness we got a little luck on our side today with what happened.” – Jeff Gordon, finished third

“It’s a good championship points day. It was pretty cool out there to run the way we did in our Interstate Batteries Toyota. Unfortunately, we didn’t have quite the car to get up there and contend with those boys at the end, but overall a good day – and that’s all we can ask for.” – Kyle Busch, finished fourth

“It feels like we’ve been here for two weeks! I tell you what, I feel for NASCAR. They’ve had their hands full. They got ripped pretty hard for [Sunday night’s race delay due to rain], but they were trying to get the race in. They got everything possible thrown at them this weekend. But it is what it is.” – Martin Truex Jr., finished sixth

“We had pretty much the same balance from last night to today. It didn’t really seem like the change from night to day affected our car too much.” – Tony Stewart, finished seventh

“The car was just okay. At times, we were a seventh-place car, and at other times, we were a 15th-place car. If you average it out, I think we did a little bit better than we could have. The Alltel/Samsung Dodge just held its own. We spent an extra day and an extra 168 laps and ended up in the same spot, so it’s alright.” – Ryan Newman, finished 10th

“We’ve definitely had some good runs. A lot of it is just not giving up and overcoming adversity. Truth be told, we probably had a 20th or so place car, but through great pit strategy, the guys made great calls and adjustments on the car to get it the best we could. We made it the best we could, and came out with a solid finish.” – Brian Vickers, finished 11th

“The car just wasn’t as good in the race as we had hoped. I have to take the blame for that. I would have liked for a little more with the 700th start, but you don’t pick the races you want to run well in. I do want to thank all the fans and everyone out there who have made it possible for us to do this all these years, and I want to thank the Principal Financial Group for riding on the car with us this weekend.” – Mark Martin, finished 16th

“It was a good run. We just didn’t keep up with the car. The motor was good. The car was good. We just didn’t keep up with it – if that makes any sense. The track got loose when the sun came out, and we just kept trying to tighten our car up and we never got it tight enough. It was just too loose on the gas. We easily had a top-10 car and we finished 18th, so we’ll take those points and go to the bank. We are definitely better than that.” – Robby Gordon

“I think we were too excited. We got going a little too soon. The racetrack was a little dirty, and everybody was losing grip and there were a lot of wet spots out there. When you run over all them wet spots and do the best you can; everybody is just trying to ride. But once you slip up, sometimes you don’t save enough. And Casey (Mears) got up there and into some water or dirt or something and ended up out of the groove. And way out of the groove is just terrible. It’s like a dirt track up there. There was a lot of speedy dry and he just lost it. I didn’t have anywhere I could go to miss him.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr., finished 40th

“It looked like the No. 77 couldn’t see because of the smoke, or couldn’t stop, or just had to scatter because of what was going on in front of him, but, we were almost stopped and had it slowed down and then he run in to me. I can’t say anything there, you never know what was happening or what he could see, but he hit me, I rolled over and was upside down. I saw the fire then, and it seems like when you see fire it takes an eternity for someone to get there to help you out. Fortunately, everybody is OK. I just hate that now we are pretty bad in the points, so we have to rally back here.” – Casey Mears, describing the wild ending to his lap 21 wreck

“The racetrack really wasn’t ready to start with. There was water running out of the track down in [turns] 3 and 4, I think there were a lot of us telling them that and it is worse now. Just a little bit wet.” – Kevin Harvick, on Sunday during the red flag for a four-car wreck on lap 21

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