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 Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen at Watkins Glen International:
“Congratulations to Juan [Pablo Montoya] — he had a great race. It was a lot of fun racing there in the middle part of the race. It was neck and neck. We’re both not running for a championship, so there wasn’t much left out there. It was a real thrill to compete against a guy like that.” – Marcos Ambrose, finished third
Ambrose has every reason in the world to be bitter, suffering some of the worst luck in the NASCAR garage area. Yet Ambrose continues to show some admirable sportsmanship with comments such as these. The Australian truly enjoys racing, and to say he’s a good road racer is an understatement. Eventually, he’s going to win his first race in the Sprint Cup Series, and fellow competitors will probably be saying the same things about Ambrose that Ambrose said about Montoya.
“It’s so stupid. We are racing for eighth to 10th place. Just guys dive bombing each other. That’s the way these road-course races are.” – Denny Hamlin, finished 37th
I understand Hamlin was frustrated, and this comment was made in the heat of the moment, but what exactly was he expecting? Jimmie Johnson crashed on lap 72 after contact with Jeff Burton and Kyle Busch, and Hamlin was unfortunately caught up in the accident. Clearly he’s going to be upset. However, the incident was just a product of hard racing. While 20 laps is still a long ways on a road course, it was crunch time. None of those drivers were going to pull over and let the other one go, whether they were racing for first or 10th. Passing on a road course is very difficult, and sometimes the best you can do is take a chance, hold on tight and hope for the best….
Controversy of the Week
“Overall, just for us to finally put a nice exclamation point on a road-course race without having anything go wrong, not running out of fuel, not having a flat tire, not getting run over by a Hendrick car feels pretty good.” – Kurt Busch, finished second
While there were several run-ins on the track on Sunday that could have fit this slot, Kurt Busch’s comment was just too classic to pass up. It’s no secret that Busch and Johnson aren’t the best of friends, and Busch’s comments on Friday in which he referred to the Hendrick Motorsports drivers as “pretty boys” seemed to be a continuation of the feud. Even after the race at WGI, Busch still won’t let up and continues hurling insults even an entire race later.
It’s hard to read this comment and not chuckle. As simple of an explanation that it was, it was worded so perfectly as to generate a laugh or two. I think most drivers should use this exact phrase to describe later run-ins, as most wrecks end up being nothing more than a battle for the same spot on the racetrack. Justin Lofton and Brian Ickler in the Camping World Truck Series race and Jason Leffler and Colin Braun in the Nationwide Series race could have used the same explanation. So, while Said was frustrated by an early end to the day, at least he was able to maintain a good sense of humor.
Crew Chief Quote of the Week
“It’s huge. It’s big for our sponsor and Target’s first time in victory lane. I still want to win on an oval to prove this point, but we’ve been fast every week. The Brickyard two weeks ago was my fault, and hopefully this makes up a little bit.” – Brian Pattie, winning crew chief
After all the verbal abuse he has taken from driver Montoya and that gut-wrenching loss at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, no crew chief seemed more deserving of a victory than Pattie. Pattie was very emotional in his post-race interview, choking back tears as he celebrated his first victory as a Sprint Cup Series crew chief. It seemed as though it was more Pattie’s victory than Montoya’s.
Best of the Rest
“It was awesome. We had a great car. We worked really hard all day. When [Marcos] Ambrose passed me, I was OK. I was really saving the brakes. Last two years here, never had a shot at winning because I was always out of brakes. This time, played it really smart and when it was time to go, we had the car.” – Juan Pablo Montoya, race winner
“It was great to race with those world-class guys today. A guy from Colombia and Australia, it’s neat to see the different worlds come together on a road course and see who can come out on top.” – Kurt Busch, finished second
“The car was really strong all day. We didn’t have anything for the [No.] 42, he was on another planet. It felt like if we got around the [No.] 2 on the restart and the [No.] 47 was fading at the end, I am not sure what was happening there, I felt like maybe we had something for them. It was a solid day. It was a good day in the pits. We need to build on this. It is really cool to sign a multi-year deal and have a great weekend.” – AJ Allmendinger, finished fourth
“That is the best lap I have ever run at a road course. We fought hard today and we are building momentum. I think everyone out there today was racing with cautious aggression, us included.” – Carl Edwards, finished fifth
“Really proud to be apart of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing today, and really just happy for Juan and those guys over on the No. 42. We’ve shown all year that both cars are more than capable of winning, and [this] just further cements that.” – Jamie McMurray, finished sixth
“We ran well, we just got in trouble there. Qualifying hurt us. Statistically, I’ve never been very good here. Now that I have this race behind me, it’s time to go race.” – Jeff Burton, finished ninth
“I thought we had a top 10 car. I think there at the end, we were a little bit better than that. The restarts, we struggled a little bit trying to stay out of trouble, too, because everybody was getting knocked around. I think we had a really solid day and came home in the top 10 when our weekend started out pretty rough on Friday. All in all, a good day, no baby and get home and see what kind of week we have.” – Jeff Gordon, finished 10th
“We did a great team effort all weekend, with realistic goals, understanding the speed that we had in our racecar. I couldn’t be more proud of the rock that Alan Gustafson is providing this team and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to stay solid, keep fighting hard, work on our stuff and see if we can get in this thing.” – Mark Martin, finished 19th
“It sucks when you have to drive with people with their heads in the wrong place. [Boris Said] did the same thing every restart. The guy is hanging on to the top-10 barely and races this race once a year or whatever. He bonzais the corner three-wide in turn 1 because that is the only place he could make a pass on the restart. Anyone can do that. He just jammed it in there three-wide and Kevin [Harvick] was already turning in, I was already turning in. There was no place for it.” – Greg Biffle, finished 24th
“I think we overcame a lot throughout the weekend. I know the result doesn’t show it, but we unloaded and had a lot of troubles. We got the car turned around and qualified ninth. Then, I had an early flat tire and rebounded from that and drove all the way through the field back to ninth again and had that contact in turn 11. Jeff [Burton] was just here and it sounds like maybe the [No.] 18 (Kyle Busch) was racing with him and they got in a situation getting into turn 11 and they were bouncing off of one another. I was up ahead of them and I was the next guy in line for the contact. One of those racing deals. Hate that it happened, but what do you do?” – Jimmie Johnson, finished 28th
“It’s just frustrating. We’ve broke a piece of the car, I mean the frame broke both road courses. I don’t know if we’re making them too light or what. Disappointing for everybody.” – Clint Bowyer, finished 32nd
About the author
A graduate of Ball State, Aaron rejoins Frontstretch for his second season in 2016 following a successful year that included covering seven races and starting the popular "Two-Headed Monster" column in 2015. Now in his third year of covering motorsports, Aaron serves as an Assistant Editor for Frontstretch while also contributing to other popular sites including Speed51 and The Apex. He encourages you to come say hi when you see him at the track.
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