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 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
“Honestly, when Juan [Pablo Montoya] was leading and I was in second, I am a big believer in fate, and I just thought this is the way it’s meant to be. I thought, well I won the [Daytona] 500 and Dario [Franchitti] won the [Indianapolis] 500, and then Juan is going to win this race. I really thought this was his day, but it just shows you that you never give up and you just drive your heart out every lap.” – Jamie McMurray, race winner
You have to love McMurray’s genuine emotion. In a time when many drivers are accused of being politically correct robots (some more than others), McMurray is always very sincere in his comments when he pulls off a victory. Though not as dramatic as his teary-eyed press conference following February’s Daytona 500 win, you could clearly hear the passion in McMurray’s voice standing in victory lane at the Brickyard.
“I don’t know what happened there on the opening lap. I just lost it, I guess. It just went around. I had trouble every restart really trying to get going, especially through [turns] 1 and 2. I had trouble getting going on restarts. All in all, we came back and bounced back solidly, so that was good. We needed a good run — it’s been a while.” – Kyle Busch, finished eighth
Some interesting comments from the self-proclaimed “King of the Restarts” following the Nationwide Series race on Saturday night. In case you missed it, Busch claimed after his win at O’Reilly Raceway Park, “I know they call Ron Hornaday the king of restarts, but I smoked him tonight.”
Guess that kingdom only lasted just one day.
Controversy of the Week
“Man, you just never know each week. It doesn’t matter if the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) car has been on a roll at times, and we’ve been on a roll at times and the No. 29 (Kevin Harvick), whoever it is, nobody seems to be able to sustain for a long time. So the only saving grace I see right now is that no one has been able to link together a long stretch outside of the No. 29. He’s been awfully tough. Good thing this race isn’t in the Chase. That’s a good thing I can look at. But we’ll move on and we’ll be stronger. There’s no doubt about it… We didn’t expect it to be [a struggle]. We had a good practice session and slept well last night, really. I had high expectations for today. So at this point, I’m a little confused.” – Jimmie Johnson, finished 22nd
It wasn’t as much of a controversy as it was confusing. The two favorites coming into the weekend were clearly Jeff Gordon and Johnson, both going for their own slice of history. With both drivers having a combined seven wins at IMS, many people were left scratching their heads when neither one proved to be a strong contender for the race win.
“Wish we hadn’t been unlucky. Cut a left-front [tire]. Then, there at the end, ran into everyone checking up on pit road. We got caught in one of those slinky deals and tore the front up. Just a little bit unlucky. But, at least things are running better.” – Scott Speed, finished 21st
I don’t think I’ve ever read a Speed quote that didn’t make me do a double-take.
Crew Chief Quote of the Week
“Bad call. Crew chief error. We should have taken two tires.” – Brian Pattie, crew chief for Juan Pablo Montoya, finished 32nd
This, I do not understand. It would make sense if Juan Pablo Montoya had been involved in a wreck due to his position on the track, but that wasn’t the case. Montoya just flat out lost control of the car while navigating through traffic. Meanwhile, Greg Biffle, who also took two tires, worked his way up to third and made a hard case for second. Pattie is being much too hard on himself here, though I can’t imagine the entire team isn’t feeling the sting of defeat after seeing yet another dominant victory slip through their grasp.
Best of the Rest
“It’s pretty hard to put it in perspective, just for the fact that last year we were at best, a midpack car on a good day, and this was kind of the turnaround where it started. Last year, we got our new cars, and even today, when I say we had a top-five car and were capable of winning, because we took a chance and were able to run fast enough to have a chance… with our cars last year, we couldn’t even take that chance because they weren’t fast enough and we would wind up in the way. But good job to Gil and all the guys.” – Kevin Harvick, on the resurgence of RCR, finished second
“I’m really proud of the guys and this engine program. This engine ran really good today, but I want to win one of these things. We had the fastest car, but the fastest car doesn’t always win. We’ve just got to take some chances to win some of these races, I guess. Taking chances with two tires, I guess, is what we’ve got to try.” – Greg Biffle, finished third
“That feels like a win compared to where we were yesterday. This car has been terrible all weekend, but I am really proud of Darian Grubb, these guys, and how hard they worked to make it as good as it was today. I am happy we had a good solid run for Old Spice today with their headquarters in Cincinnati. We are losing them at the end of the year, but we had a great run with them for 11 years, so I am happy we got this run for them.” – Tony Stewart, finished fifth
“We just didn’t take off as good as we needed to in the beginning of the race. That first wreck — I didn’t get in it, but I ran over a brake rotor. It popped up over there and hit the front end. Had a bunch of scratches on the grill. Took two tires. Learned a lot about having to be on the bottom [of the racetrack]. That will definitely help next time we come here, for sure. Finally got the car the best it was at the end. Maybe one more little adjustment might have helped. We about finished where we ran. That’s about as good as we were there at the end.” – Joey Logano, finished ninth
“We really had to grin and bear that one. The car was good early on and we came up through the pack. We got some damage on one of the restarts (second to last). These double-file restarts are tough. I didn’t know how bad the damage was. We might have finished better, but under the circumstances, that’s all we had today. Two tires was the way to go, but somebody apparently checked up in turn 1, I got into the car in front of me and got hit from behind. They were square hits to the front and back, but there was enough damage that I couldn’t be aggressive at the end. The car wasn’t handling. We’ll take it. All we had at the end was a 10th. That’s probably the hardest 10th we’ve had all year.” – Kurt Busch, finished 10th
“Frustrating to run one lap down — one position all day long. We had a good FedEx Camry, we could run with pretty much any car out there, but never had a chance, really. Every time we were close to the “Lucky Dog” we just missed it by a lap or two. It was a good call at the end, and we made up a lot of spots to finish 15th.” – Denny Hamlin, finished 15th
“Track position is so important here. We see that all the time. We’ve had a good car at times, but just not a good enough one to drive up through there. We were just kind of doing our best, and all of a sudden I felt a big vibration. I thought I had a loose wheel, but then they said the splitter was vibrating and then I don’t know; it must have broken off and cut the right-side tires. I just went along for a ride. I got pretty lucky, actually, with it … as a group, we’ll go back, review everything, and try to see what we’re missing. We’ll pay attention to the competition.” – Jeff Gordon, finished 23rd
“I felt like we were pretty good coming up through there. Right at the end, I felt like we had a good car, a good top-10 car. [Juan Pablo] Montoya got in the fence there and just kind of pulled down and stopped in front of us. I was side-by-side with somebody. I didn’t even see him hit the wall, I didn’t even know there was a car in the wall until he came across the No. 47 (Marcos Ambrose‘s) hood, and there he was. I ran right in the back of him, nowhere to go.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr., finished 27th
“A tough start pretty much cemented our fate today. I was just trying to let things sort out at the start of the race when the No. 18 got loose. I went underneath him… no point driving behind him… not sure if he clipped us or got into somebody else, but I got clipped in the right rear. I tried to keep it from spinning out, but just needed 12 inches to keep it off the wall. It sucks. We work so hard, and looked forward to racing here. We don’t make it half-a-lap before trouble finds us.” – Sam Hornish Jr., finished 30th
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