Race Weekend Central

Running Their Mouth: 2008 Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix

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 car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil at Phoenix International Raceway:

“[Saturday], we were a little confused. We had such a good car in qualifying trim, and then [Saturday], we were OK, but we just didn’t have the car that we needed. The thing I love most about this team is it might take a while, but we’re going to take a deep breath and look at things to get it dialed in, and we certainly did. I’m just so proud of these guys for keeping their heads down when it counted.” – race winner Jimmie Johnson

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Bowles-Eye View: At Phoenix, out With the Old, in With the Who?

“We did have three or four opportunities to go for Jimmie [Johnson]. I have to thank my crew. Pat Tryson, great adjustments all day. I love working for Roger Penske. The Miller Lite Dodge was fast. We really put up a fight. I was proud to finish second today. We thought we were on our game. We thought we had most of the group covered, but we just got beat and we got beat by something special.” – Kurt Busch

“It’s been fun. When the race started, I really thought that we might have the car to beat. I got by Jimmie [Johnson] on the outside and was able to somewhat check out. They (the No. 48 team) just did a better job on adjusting on their car and getting it better as the race went on. Still, it was a really solid weekend for our team.” – Jamie McMurray, finished third

“We could’ve won the thing, that would’ve been better, but Jimmie’s doing a great job. If he would have some real terrible luck in Homestead, we still have a chance. But, they did their jobs tonight, we did the best we could – it’s just too big of a spread right now. It’s possible, not probable, but possible. My guys did a good job and we’ll see what happens.” – Carl Edwards, finished fourth

“It was a good run, for sure. We just struggled to find what we needed in this FedEx Ground Toyota. It was just a little bit off all day. It was a good points day for us and we got ourselves back in the top 10 – that’s what it’s all about.” – Denny Hamlin, finished fifth

“We worked on the car all day and made little adjustments. Real proud of my team. You have to give the No. 26 [Jamie McMurray], Jimmie [Johnson], and the No. 2 [Kurt Busch] a lot of credit. They really had good cars. I think we improved on what we ran here the last time. I was pretty happy.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr., finished sixth

“The car was really good all day. The pit crew did an awesome job and Todd (Berrier, crew chief) did great. On the restart, we just couldn’t quite get our Shell/Pennzoil Chevy going and we lost a few spots there on that one restart, and then we were able to get up to seventh. It was a good day for us; lapped cars were a little problem out there. But happy with an overall good day for us.” – Kevin Harvick, finished seventh

“We battled tight-loose all day and never really got it right. We’ve got a lot of work to do.” – Kyle Busch, finished eighth

“We were really tight at the beginning of the race. Toward the end of the race we had a pretty decent car. Our pit stops were fantastic; the guys gained us spots on pit road all night long. We got hung up behind a lapped car, but Scott (Miller, crew chief) and the guys did a great job working on the car all race long and allowed us to get a top-10 finish.” – Jeff Burton, finished ninth

“It was a good run for us. We started out average, and our AAA team just had good pit stops all day. It seemed like every run we picked up a spot here and a spot there, and then at the of the race we were 12th or 13th and our car was as good as it had been all day there at the end – and things just worked out. We didn’t have the best car, but we put in a good effort and the results show.” – David Ragan, finished 10th

“It was my fault. I feel bad for getting into Matt [Kenseth] who got into Tony [Stewart]. You just can’t go three-wide in that position, and I needed to be a little bit more patient in that situation.” – AJ Allmendinger, finished 16th, on his late-race wreck

“Whatever could go wrong there at the end, did. We went from running in the top 10 to getting wrecked – twice.” – Tony Stewart, finished 22nd

“On behalf of the men and women at General Motors, it is an honor for Chevrolet to clinch our 32nd NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers’ Cup title. It is a proud achievement based on a comeback run for the title given the tough competition we face every week on and off the racetrack. We look forward to carrying the momentum of achievement in to the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.” – Chevrolet Racing Manager Terry Dolan

About the author

Content Director Beth heads up management of our 30-person staff, acting as Tom’s main assistant with technology and personnel while working as Frontstretch’s Truck Series expert. The author of Truckin’ Thursdays and the coordinator of the site’s pre and post-race coverage, she also runs a periodic charity column that spotlights when NASCAR gives back. A childhood transplant to Texas, Beth is a 15-year writing veteran who has contributed content to BRANDT and Athlon Sports, among other outlets.

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