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 AMP Energy Juice 500 at Talladega Superspeedway:
“I tell you, I love restrictor-plate racing. This is what it is all about. This feels awesome to come out here and do this.” – Clint Bowyer, race winner
I’ll wait to be happy for Bowyer after penalty day… just in case.
“It’s what I asked for. I asked for nobody to really get killed here this weekend and to let us settle it on the racetrack where our cars and our teams can make a difference and us drivers can make a difference. That’s what we got. We’ve got a tight one, and I’m looking forward to the last three [races].” – Denny Hamlin, finished ninth
Yes, Denny, we’re all very glad that nobody got killed, too.
Controversy of the Week
“It’s just racing. Junior and I worked really well today and pushed each other a lot; we just didn’t get lined up that time, and I guess he got me in the right-rear quarterpanel and got me turned around. It wasn’t anything on purpose; we just didn’t get lined up. It’s going to happen some more, and things are going to start to get busy right now. It all got started going into turn 3, it got three-wide and it kind of changed everybody’s line a little bit; I think I moved a little different than he thought I was going to. He didn’t do anything wrong; it’s just plain and simple racing.” – Jeff Burton, finished 41st
“I got in the back of [Jeff] Burton and got him out of control. We’ve just been pushing each other all day long and I got into him the wrong way. I seen him in the infield care center and he’s all right. But I had a real good car, an awesome engine – just kinda having fun out there running around, seeing what you can do, and got a little too excited and [our day] ended early.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr., finished 39th
OK, so it was a “reverse controversy.” Both drivers should be pissed at each other, but instead they’re setting a good example by being good sports. It’s not much fun for the rest of us, but hey, at least parents have a lesson to teach their children.
“That’s certainly a big compliment; I wish he wouldn’t pay too close attention and would go about his own business (laughs).” – Jimmie Johnson, finished third
This quote was in response to Hamlin saying that he learned how to race for a championship from Johnson. In fact, it seemed as though Hamlin was following Johnson’s pattern throughout the regular season and decided to pick it up in the Chase. Now, what a “coincidence” it is that both drivers are 1-2 in the standings and separated by just a few spots.
Crew Chief Quote of the Week
“This is one of those places where a lot of people leave upset and a few leave happy. We’re pretty happy with our M&M’s Camry – it was a pretty good car. We could lead, we could push really good, but circumstances at the end – it just didn’t work out for us. We got hung on the bottom and the top line just freight-trained us. We lined up behind the No. 00 (David Reutimann) and there was a small hole and he was able to get up top. Then we lined up behind the No. 20 (Joey Logano) and there was another small hole and he was able to get up. You can’t blame those guys – that’s what they have to do to finish ahead for themselves. We could never find that small hole to get up – we got trapped on the bottom and we got freight-trained there. We got a 28th-place finish out of it. I think this team is a lot more solid than that. That’s what’s disappointing. One of the rewarding things of this sport is at the end of the day you always have a report card – you know how well you performed. It stinks when your report card says you finished 28th, but you know you were a lot better than that. We’ll lick our wounds and get ready for Texas.” – Dave Rogers, crew chief for Kyle Busch (finished 25th)
Busch was pretty relieved to leave the track, too. But while disappointed with that run – especially after winning the truck race Saturday – the last three tracks for Busch, Dave Rogers and company are places where the No. 18 team can excel. They’re still primed to make the most out of what has been a somewhat disappointing season as far as points go.
Best of the Rest
“I knew it was close. We came to the start/finish line, I thought I had beat him, but I didn’t know if the caution had come out at that particular time. Good day at RCR. I just want to thank everybody on this Realtree Chevrolet – all the repairs and work. You just never know how it is all going to wind up here at Talladega and today, we were on the good end of it.” – Kevin Harvick, finished second
“I was just a bulldozer and kept pushing, pushing, pushing. Was able to get the [No.] 56 up there – we were up to fourth and fifth and we were catching the first four cars there. As soon as we got there, Martin had to check up a little bit and that killed our momentum; at that point, I went by him. He tried to get back to me to push me and that was it. I felt like if we were able to get by those guys there coming to the line there then maybe I could have pushed Martin [Truex Jr.] another lap and tried to make a last lap pass for the win. It was fun there at the end. I had a lot of fun in the Home Depot Toyota. We had a good car and just had to be patient the whole race – that was the toughest part is trying to be patient and riding behind these guys and waiting to position yourself there at the end. I was pretty comfortable when I was in the top-seven or eight there with about 20 [laps] to go. Felt like that was where I needed to be and didn’t do anything stupid. I just stayed in line and when it came down to it, I needed to go. We did what the plan was today, but the plan was to win it so we almost did the plan.” – Joey Logano, finished fifth
“We finally finished one at Talladega. I had fun today driving the NAPA Auto Parts Toyota. I had a good car all day. Here, it is all about surviving. We were able to survive. Usually if you can do that, at least for me, I have a shot at winning. I haven’t been able to get it in a Cup car, but we were close today. We had a big run coming to the white flag. We had good help from Joey Logano in the No. 20 car, but the hole closed up on us. Logano was pushing me really, really well for the last two laps. We had a huge run coming. If they didn’t block us, we were going to be the leader at the white flag. I guess it wasn’t meant to be – what are you going to do? We had a good race.” – Martin Truex Jr., finished sixth
“There is just a lot of crazy stuff that goes on here. I’m just happy to have a car that finished in one piece, to be honest with you. We haven’t had that for a long time. That got us it looks like a top-10 finish. Me and Jimmie [Johnson] got hooked up together and drove all the way to the front. I started experiencing some weird things inside the car. It was kind of vibrating. There was a lot of smoke and it smelled like oil. I thought the engine was getting ready to blow up, so he shuffled me out. From that point on, we just kind of fought back. From that restart, I just couldn’t get anybody to go with us. I just couldn’t get anybody that could get on my bumper and make anything happen. But we still held our own and there was a lot of accordion effects going on. Guys pushing and shoving and getting out of control, so we held our own.” – Jeff Gordon, finished eighth
“Well, we had a really good car, but then we had some bad luck and got a flat tire right off the bat. We drove over a piece of debris on lap 21, came in, went three laps down, then came back and still had a chance to win this thing with four to go. I can’t say enough about the guys and how hard they worked. I just don’t know how long we can keep coming to this place, where you can have a one-lap race and have the same drama you have in 188.” – Darian Grubb, Tony Stewart‘s crew chief, finished 19th
“I’m alright. It’s not the most fun run I’ve ever had, but it’s Talladega. It’s one of those things. I hate this place. I always have and always will. I don’t know. I’m not really sure. I wish I could give you a description of what happened. I was just in the middle four-wide, I was getting shoved and I got in the right-rear of Michael, but I was on the brakes as hard as I could be getting pushed as hard as I was. It was just one of those things.” – AJ Allmendinger, finished 32nd