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 Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway:
“I let Bono (Kevin Manion, crew chief) worry about the points. He’s really worried about that and I haven’t paid any attention to it. That’s a lot of stress that you can put on yourself when you’re worried about points. So I’ll let Bono and those guys worry about it and we’ll just worry about racing the car.” – Jamie McMurray, finished third
Whenever asked about his current points position, McMurray has consistently responded by saying that he’s not going to worry about it and is only going to focus on his job of driving the racecar. Sorting through the quotes from all of the drivers from Saturday night, it seemed that’s what most of the drivers were talking about. In fairness, McMurray really doesn’t have a great shot at making the Chase. He knows that, which is why he chooses to worry about winning races instead of points racing. If he had been in Mark Martin’s position, it probably would have weighed more heavily on his mind. Still, he is the first driver outside the Chase now and shows no signs of becoming a points racer. That’s always a good thing, right?
“We had a top-five car, it just hard to get track position with people short pitting and just hard to make that up at the end. Overtaking here is so difficult. But I think, it was where we didn’t have car enough to win, but I think we had the car to run where we were all day. It is a bit of a shame, we ran top five all day and finished seventh, that kind of sucks, but we brought our Target Chevy back in one piece so that is pretty good.” – Juan Pablo Montoya, finished seventh
I guess if we want to get technical the car was in “one piece,” even though a tire rub sustained from contact with Jimmie Johnson a few laps before almost changed that. Speaking of Johnson…
Controversy of the Week
“The Ganassi guys, Chip, Juan…we are all friendly and I hate for something like that to happen and I look forward to looking at the video and seeing what really went on because I am really disappointed because I felt we really had a shot at winning this thing.” – Jimmie Johnson, finished 35th
Johnson sounded more like he was referring to the “Glitter and Rainbows 400” where everyone is BFFs than a night race at Bristol. He took it much better than Montoya would have anyways. However, since there weren’t any tempers flaring in this battle, I’m going to give an honorable mention to the pre-race feud between Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. Even though it stemmed from the Nationwide Series race on Friday night, listening to the war of words between the two drivers and a few others during driver introductions was priceless. Imagine what would happen if they handed the drivers a microphone every weekend!
“I will tell you what, love him or hate him, but the little turd did pretty good. Three races in a row and winning right here, that is quite a feat to accomplish.” – Clint Bowyer, finished fourth
If you can’t already tell, Bowyer was referring to Busch’s run at history this weekend. My spell-check wasn’t really fond of Bowyer’s “nickname” for Busch, but he was basically echoing the sentiments of most of the race fans at the track and countless more watching at home. Of course, it was probably a more toned-down version of what many race fans were already thinking and saying.
Crew Chief Quote of the Week
‘We’re real proud of the entire [No.] 18 crew, the M&M’s crew, Doublemint crew. We came off the truck really slow, and the car wasn’t handling well at all, and just really proud of Kyle for sticking with us and giving us good feedback. We had great notes to go off from last night and this morning made a number of adjustments based on feedback we got. And the car was much better today and allowed Kyle to do what he needs to do.” – Dave Rogers, winning crew chief
Basically, the car was set up the way Busch wanted it before the green flag even flew on Saturday night. Definitely makes it easier to win races that way!
Best of the Rest
“Really good pit stops by these guys. I can’t thank Joe (Gibbs, team owner) and JD (Gibbs, team president) enough. This is awesome. I love the opportunity to come out here. I love Bristol and I love winning. And to do it for the first time ever in NASCAR, to sweep the weekend, man, that’s pretty awesome. I don’t know what to think. I’ve been trying to do this since I got to NASCAR, since I got my NASCAR career. Fortunately, tonight I was able to get it done, be the first one to do it. I’m the first in a lot of things.” – Kyle Busch, race winner
“It’s just me trying to stay ahead of him (Kyle Busch) and getting back to the gas a little early. We got together, but we were just racing. It’s no big deal. That’s part of the deal. And if you race Kyle [Busch], you know you’re going to get run into at some point. That’s just kind of the way it is.” – David Reutimann, finished second
“Big picture for us is that you always want to win the race and get those valuable 10 bonus points, but after the troubles that we had at Michigan last weekend, it’s nice to come here and stretch our points over 13th and get a solid top 10 out of the deal. We’ll take the points and head to Atlanta in a few weeks.” – Kurt Busch, finished ninth
“We need to get running better and get running more consistently in the top 10. I mean, we finished 10th tonight but that needs to be your worst finish if you’re gonna ever contend for a championship, so we need to keep working on it and get a little better.” – Matt Kenseth, finished 10th
“We’ve had a heck of a season. Very consistent runs and strong runs. We haven’t won yet, I still think we have a heck of a shot at the championship. I am really happy to be in the Chase again. Right now we are focused on wins and bonus points and I am a little disappointed with an 11th-place finish tonight but it wasn’t from a lack of effort, that is for sure. I hope these fans here had a lot of fun because it was a lot of fun to race. There were a lot of great battles. They have so many amazing fans here in Bristol so thanks for that.” – Jeff Gordon, finished 11th