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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Running Their Mouth: 2008 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte

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 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway:

“Really, really a special race, special weekend. We were there all night… we put our Budweiser Dodge where it needed to be. Everything was great! We were better on four tires than we were on two or no tires – but we were still pretty good on those. I was thinking second [and then] I saw Tony slow up. I thought he was out of gas. At that point, I couldn’t believe it. From there, I just tried to hit my marks and make sure I brought it home.” – Kasey Kahne, race winner

“Oh, man. I tell you what. That’s probably the toughest car I’ve ever driven – temperamental, stuff was going on with it that I don’t have any idea [what it was]. Obviously, we have something going on with our front bump-stop stuff, and something is not happy. [But] we had run good all night. We needed that long green run at the end because my car, I was just mowing guys down. I passed the No. 18 [Kyle Busch] on the last lap down there in [turns] 3 and 4, but the No. 9 [Kasey Kahne] had a lot of track position on us.” – Greg Biffle, finished second

We just didn’t have the car capable on the long runs to run up front tonight and win this thing. It’s just unfortunate for us, but we’ll take it and go on with a good points night. I don’t even know what happened to Tony [Stewart], to be honest with you. I didn’t even see him fall out. We gave our all, but our all wasn’t good enough. We’ll figure it out.” – Kyle Busch, finished third

“It was a crazy one for us. I guess you get them any way you can. You know, at the beginning of the race we were a little bit too tight. We freed it up too much one run and got way behind and lost our lap. We had to fight really hard to get it back from that point on. Steve Letarte made some great calls and got the car better. If we just had good track position, I think we had a top-five car. As it turned out, we ended up getting good fuel mileage.” – Jeff Gordon, finished fourth

“We got lucky at the end. Got gas and made it last. Casey [Mears] won in kind of sort of the same way [last year]… I don’t know what happened getting in turn 3 [when I hit the wall]. I think we blew a right-rear tire. I hate it for my guys. We were running really strong, I sure want to get me a win here. [But] congratulations to Kasey [Kahne] and his team, they were really strong and deserve the win. Had a fun night.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr., finished fifth

“We had a great run tonight. Finishing sixth in a 600-mile event just says a lot about the AT&T team. Everyone from the fab shop to the engine shop to the crew guys here at the track – they came together and put together a great car. I knew fuel strategy would play a hand in tonight’s race, so I have to thank Scott [Miller, crew chief] for the great calls in the pit box tonight.” – Jeff Burton

“It was a good effort for everybody at Michael Waltrip Racing, and Toyota did a great job. Thanks to UPS for sticking with us through this whole program; we haven’t really done much to deliver any good finishes. I think this is maybe a start for things to come, and I appreciate them sticking with me and everybody at the shop. I enjoyed it – the guys did a great job and the pit stops were good. All in all, our team’s coming together, and I can’t wait until the next race.” – David Reutimann on his career-best 10th-place finish

“Early on, we were a lap down on lap 62. We were at the tail end being a lap down, almost two laps down, and we got a lucky break with the caution coming out. That kept us one lap down and Jeff [Meendering, crew chief] made a great call to get our lap back. We stayed OK after that, but track position meant so much all night. We had to put tires on the car at some point, and that cost us some spots and dropped us to 11th. We’ll take it.” – Bobby Labonte

“I’m really happy with the way that the guys performed tonight. It took us a long time to get back on the lead lap. I told the guys this is like a win for me. I wanted to come here and finish all 600 miles. It took me seven tries at Indy before I finished the whole race, so I’m pretty happy that I was able to do that tonight. And not only finish the race… but finish on the lead lap.” – Raybestos Rookie of the Race Sam Hornish Jr., finished 13th

“You saw what happened. A wheel came off and just hit me and put me out of the race. It’s too bad because we had a good car, but we’ll get it fixed and get out there to collect some points.” – David Gilliland, finished 40th

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