NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Running Their Mouth: 2010 Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono

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 Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway:

Best Quote

“I’m fine. I’m OK. I’m a little sore, I think, from where the belts grabbed me. It knocked the breath out of me pretty good, but it’s definitely the hardest hit I’ve ever had in a racecar. These new cars are built to be safer, and if I can get out of that and walk [away from] that, I think it did its job.” – Elliott Sadler, finished 33rd

A few years ago, Sadler’s crash would have been devastating, causing a crippling injury or worse. So as much flack as the current car has taken, you can’t downplay how amazing the safety innovations have been. Sadler couldn’t have hit a worse part of the racetrack, yet he still walked away from the incident and was able to give an interview ten minutes later. The real issue here, going forward, is fixing some of the safety hazards at the racetrack. It only takes one freak accident for things to go horribly wrong, and Pocono has come way too close to that line many times. Let’s get it fixed!

Worst Quote

“It’s a long day, but that’s a Ford in victory lane. Ford makes the best cars on the road, and here at Roush Fenway Racing we’ve been working really hard on these Fords – it’s cool to see Greg [Biffle] get that victory. That’s a good run for us, that’s a great points run. I’ve got to thank Aflac and Scotts and all these fans for sticking around, but Aflac always has me under their wing.” – Carl Edwards, finished third

I felt less like I was reading an interview and more like I was reading the script to a new Carl Edwards commercial. I understand drivers need to pay tribute to their sponsors, but Edwards seems to be kissing some major corporate butt here. It’s aggravating to think you’re listening to and watching an interview, and instead it turns into a commercial. But I guess that’s why Aflac has Carl under their wing!

Controversy of the Week

“I got wrecked on the straightaway. Jimmie Johnson drove straight through us.” – Kurt Busch, finished 33rd

“I have to take a look at the video and see exactly what happened there. We were just racing going down the back. He and the No. 33 (Clint Bowyer) I think it was, were side-drafting real hard. I just came up to bump draft him and push him along down the back straightaway. So, we did make some contact. I was just trying to bump-draft him. We were already wobbling, I bumped him, then it was wobbling some more, and then eventually it did a lazy turn to the right and into the wall. I certainly feel bad. I am glad the No. 19 (Elliott Sadler) is OK. I understand he took a heck of a hit. Last thing I wanted to do was cause a wreck or crash the No. 2 or anything like that. I feel bad about that, but we were all just racing real hard down the back.” – Jimmie Johnson, finished 10th

These two cannot seem to avoid each other. Though both have refrained from any post-race scuffles, Busch and Johnson continue to have on-track run-ins seemingly every time they have to race close together. Johnson went on to say that he expected Busch to “take a shot at me” the next time the opportunity presented itself. Could this be the next round of, “Boys, have at it?”

Funniest

“I forgot what to do. This is big. I was really excited to see Elliott Sadler win yesterday in the Truck Series and I kind of feel the same right now. We know we have a great team, I know I can do it behind the wheel, and we were able to prove it today.” – Greg Biffle, race winner

When asked in victory lane how big this win was, Biffle responded by saying, “I forgot what to do!” Biffle broke a 64-race winless streak with Sunday’s victory, and the emotion on his face was just priceless. The last three weeks, we’ve had some fresh faces taking the checkered flag, and watching their reactions has been nothing short of heartwarming. However, Biffle’s response about not knowing what to do because it’d been so long since he’d won was probably the best reaction of all!

Crew Chief Quote of the Week

“All you can do is use all the tools at your disposal for the whole race and see if you can make something work. We got the car a little better as the race went on, but we certainly weren’t as good as we wanted to be today. We came out of here with an 11th-place finish. We did what we could today, and now we want to figure out what we can do on Friday and Saturday to get the car better for race day.” – Travis Geisler, crew chief for Sam Hornish Jr.

Everyone expected Hornish Jr. to fall back on that final restart, racing on old tires while everyone else had gotten at least two under the last caution period. For several laps, though, Hornish was able to hang out in the top five until his tires finally started going away. It was very impressive, and 11th is probably higher than they would have finished without staying out. Geisler deserves a pat on the back!

Best of the Rest

“This is what we need right now. This is what we’ve been looking for. We’ve got to just keep plugging away. We’re not all the way there, but we’re gaining on it and that’s encouraging. This is the time of the year when you want to be building momentum and not losing it. So, I’m pretty happy with this weekend.” – Tony Stewart, finished second

“Our car was [not] that far off all day. We just couldn’t get the handle on it and never really had a dominant car like we had in the past. It was a new car, so we kind of have to work through things, but still, we came through the field as good as anyone, I guess you could say. To get a top five, I’m fortunate, really, that the race went the distance.” – Denny Hamlin, finished fifth

“I’m bummed out that we just can’t catch a break. It just seems like when we get ourselves in position to win the race, it just seems like we can’t catch that break. You make those breaks by working hard, team work, good fast racecars and putting yourself in the right place. The way the weather was today, it didn’t work out for us, and that has kind of been the story for us as far as victories are concerned.” – Jeff Gordon, finished sixth

“That was a good finish. We should have had a better finish last week in Indy, and we probably should have been top-five today. But we’re turning the corner. We cut our point deficit almost in half. If we keep running in the top 10 every week, we can make the Chase. That’s what we’re trying to do.” – Mark Martin, finished seventh

“We didn’t have a very good car today, but the one thing we did have was a good car for, like, five laps. So, I was hoping they would have to run another 10 under yellow when it was raining. We got the most we could possibly get out of it today.” – Sam Hornish Jr., finished 11th

“The No. 33 Hartford Chevrolet team fought hard all race long. Shane (Wilson, crew chief) made adjustments throughout the race, and we finally got our car dialed in during the late going. It was still a disappointing way to end our day (getting involved in the Johnson/Busch wreck). We needed to finish ahead of a few of the teams that we are battling in the point standings, and they gained on us today. It’s a step back, but we have a strong team that never gives up. We’ll head to Watkins Glen looking to have a good points day and hopefully make some ground up on the guys ahead and behind us.” – Clint Bowyer, finished 15th

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