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 Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway:
“I wouldn’t trade winning those races to be in the Chase and finish 10th, and I still would not trade those two wins to be in the Chase right now. It’s a really big deal to win those two races. To win Loudon is a big deal, but it’s still not the Daytona 500 or the Brickyard 400.” – Jamie McMurray, finished third
I keep expecting McMurray to break down one of these days and admit he’d really like to be in the Chase for the Sprint Cup and contending for the championship. But still, he maintains that he’s content in the situation he’s in and enjoying himself. I can’t help but wonder if other drivers would feel the same way in McMurray’s position. There are drivers in the Chase that McMurray consistently outruns, and he seems to have no problem with it. This guy is one of a select few drivers you definitely cannot accuse of points racing…
“Yeah, I would have settled for second. If you [knew] exactly how much gas you have it would be different, but you never know. It’s part of the sport, always has been. It’s what makes it exciting when you never know until the last lap what’s going to happen.” – Tony Stewart, finished 24th
I did love when Stewart said, “I’m not happy, that’s for sure, but we went down swinging.” However, I hate the mindset that settling for second place is better than taking a shot at the win. Obviously, they did gamble for the victory, but I assume that the next time they’re in a position to do so, they’ll take the safer approach and settle for a second or third-place finish. I hope I’m wrong, but second is a whole lot more points than 24th.
Controversy of the Week
“I got into turn 1 a couple of times over my head, trying to get what seemed to be a sixth to a 10th-place car up into the top five. I almost clipped [Jeff] Burton once, just trying to drive in there and ended up getting [Joey] Logano. I apologize for that. I was just over driving. I wasn’t quite in the zone. I wasn’t quite feeling it today. We survived. We needed to have a good day today and not just survive.” – Kurt Busch, finished 13th
The race was relatively quiet as far as having drivers upset with each other, but Busch seemed to be on a mission to hit every car on the track. The 1-mile oval was a bit slick due to some changing weather conditions during the race, and Busch certainly wasn’t the only one sliding around. While it didn’t seem like many drivers were overly irritated with Busch, he was clearly frustrated following the event after getting into several cars. Honorable mention to Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson, who also had their share of bent sheetmetal.
“Well, 40 laps before that, I knew when he started – you could tell by Shane’s (Wilson, crew chief) voice that I needed to start saving fuel, and I did that. I thought I did. He told me I needed two laps, so I was thinking about four. (laughing)” – Clint Bowyer, race winner
Good to see that Bowyer has 100% trust in his crew chief.
Crew Chief Quote of the Week
“It’s definitely a big deal (winning). Means a lot to me. Come here a lot of times, got to win a Nationwide race with Kevin [Harvick], ran good here with Brendan [Gaughan] in the Truck Series, but to win a race in Cup; family is here, (I) came and watched the first Cup race here when Rusty [Wallace] won up in the stands, so it means a lot.” – Shane Wilson, winning crew chief
Congratulations to Wilson on winning his first Sprint Cup race as a crew chief! I’m sure there’ll be plenty more to come.
Best of the Rest
“As soon as you’re spun and you’re backwards, immediately your focus has got to go to get a good day out of this, what can we do to get a good day, whether it’s now we have to play strategy to get back up front, or we just hope that there’s other attrition. Either way, normally I think years ago, I really would have kind of flipped out, but I think now I’m just a little bit more relaxed.” – Denny Hamlin, finished second
“I think if we had the track position, we were as fast as the No. 14 (Tony Stewart) at times and the No. 1 (Jamie McMurray) and all those guys that were up there battling for it at the end. We just needed the track position.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr., finished fourth
“We didn’t have a great day today. We didn’t have a great weekend, honestly, and to be able to come out of here with a top five says a lot about everybody on this Shell-Pennzoil team. So we will just keep fighting, and if we keep doing that on our bad days… we will be in good shape.” – Kevin Harvick, finished fifth
“I think that’s just sort of what happens with the Chase. I think everybody gets excited, and the intensity builds up and it pushes guys to be a little bit more risky. But for us, we realize that we still have nine more races to go. I just don’t think you can win it here this weekend. You’ve got to make sure that you get everything out of your car and your team, and we did that today.” – Jeff Gordon, finished sixth
“That was ugly, but I’ll take it. To struggle the way we did today and still come out of here with a seventh-place finish is pretty amazing. Our TUMS Toyota was loose in and off all day, and I really couldn’t get a handle on it. Rodney (Childers, crew chief) and Dax (Gerringer, race engineer) really did a great job working on our fuel and pit strategy. We took a pretty big gamble by staying out toward the end and not pitting, but with the way the cautions worked out it was pretty good — we saved fuel and picked up a top 10. I can’t thank our team enough for the job they did today and TUMS for their support.” – David Reutimann, finished seventh
“Where do I begin, I don’t know. I guess I’ll start with yesterday. I thought I was driving the car right and apparently I didn’t set the car up right. We were about two-tenths off yesterday, and I thought it was just a factor of those guys getting more speed out of their cars. In essence, it was off. We just didn’t get it set up right. It was mainly my fault. You know the guys fought hard and Dave (Rogers, crew chief) made some good calls. Any time that we got speed off the corner and then we missed it in the center of the corner — any time we got speed through the middle, we couldn’t get down the straightaways. We were battling back and forth with tight and loose. We just got what we could out of it today. Fortunately, our bad day right now is ninth versus some other guys.” – Kyle Busch, finished ninth
“We’ve gone through a lot of different things trying to figure out why we haven’t been able to run as well as we did last year. We didn’t have a great run today, but we did what we needed to do. I passed about six cars on a restart to get back in position for the Lucky Dog. It took about 30 laps before we finally got the caution. The Mobil 1 Dodge was pretty good today. It just wasn’t as good as we needed it to be at the end.” – Sam Hornish Jr., finished 10th