Race Weekend Central

Running Their Mouth: AAA 400

Best Quote:

“The drag racing is a lot of fun. There’s a lot of technique and what you have to do to get your tires warm and to feel the traction when you’re coming up through the gears. It’s important. I love racing, I don’t care what it is. The way that you can get an advantage on guys on restarts is to feel the rear traction and if it’s slipping, to not be full-throttle and baby that throttle perfectly. I felt that was the difference-maker today. I was able to wrestle the lead away from (Jimmie) Johnson on the outside. On the final restart, when we had the inside lane, I pulled away with a great launch right out of the hole. Pro Stock racing, I have to thank all those guys for having fun and doing that. It’s all a matter of how your setup is for your own car. You have to get that throttle pedal just right on restarts. I’ve always prided myself in trying to get good restarts and not lose spots.” – Kurt Busch, race winner, on how his drag racing experience paid off on Sunday.

Who knew that NHRA Pro Stock experience would pay off for Kurt Busch in his victory over Jimmie Johnson? On the surface, both forms of motorsports are very different from one another. In particular, drag racers just go in a straight line for a few seconds while NASCAR drivers race up to 600 miles at around 200 miles an hour for three and a half hours. But Busch’s insight revealed that when it comes to restarts, the Pro Stock experience Busch has paid dividends at the end of this weekend’s race, with the driver utilizing both knowledge of the proper tire grip and hitting all the necessary gear shifts on cue. Perhaps his fellow Chase contenders might want to start thinking about moonlighting in the NHRA as well?

Funniest Quote:

“Does that mean you’re going to leave me alone? All you media people leave me alone about being down in points?” – Jimmie Johnson, runner-up

What a difference a week makes. One week ago, several members of the media had Johnson on the ropes and were speaking of possible tension between he and Chad Knaus. This week, following his runner-up finish at Dover, the proverbial egg is now on the face of those same media members who penciled Johnson out of the Chase hunt. Have we not learned anything in the last five seasons? Johnson’s team is one that, no matter what the circumstances, can never be counted out, while his track record at Dover has always been strong. This was a bounce-back race the No. 48 team desperately needed. Don’t look now, but Mr. Five-Time is knocking on the door.

Crew Chief Quote Of The Week

“The biggest thing was that he was giving great feedback. We were just trying to figure out how to get our car going. It took our car 10 to 15 laps to settle in where we thought that we would be. We made some adjustments and brought it to life earlier in the runs and that was a big key for us getting on top of that and finding a direction. It was probably hallway through the race when we finally got a hold on what direction we needed and we got the breaks of getting the (pit) stops and make those adjustments.” – Steve Addington, winning crew chief for Kurt Busch

Kurt Busch might not have had the most dominant car in the field, but he was certainly among the better cars today, especially at the end. Crew chief Steve Addington managed to incorporate Busch’s feedback into the car with proper adjustments and, at the end of the day, it was Busch who was the “concrete king-pin” at Dover. If Addington and Busch can put together a consistent next seven races, this could very well be a team right in the center of the discussion for the Sprint Cup championship. To go from the inspection fiasco last week to victory this week has to mollify Addington greatly.

Hard-Luck Quote Of The Week:

“It is tough. It’s frustrating. If I were Jimmie I would be so frustrated I gave up that win, I mean he otherwise had a perfect day. It would probably bother me all week if I were Jimmie (joking). I go shooting, that helps (joking). It is tough. I think someone wrote a long time ago, I don’t remember which book it was, but my buddy Carl Fredrickson had this book at his house and it said that you don’t succeed by being the guy that does everything perfect, you succeed by being the guy that minimizes the mistakes because everyone is going to make mistakes. They are very difficult to get over. Today, I think both of us were fortunate. We finished up front. We didn’t cost ourselves a ton of points, but we’re race car drivers. We’re gonna think about what we did wrong and try not to do it again, but it seems like as soon as you’ve got everything figured out, you start forgetting things you remembered a long time ago and start making the same mistakes over again. It’s very difficult.” – Carl Edwards, third, on how he’s going to get over his pit-road mistake

Poor Carl Edwards. In the closing laps, Edwards was turning laps faster than Kurt Busch or Jimmie Johnson, but unfortunately for Edwards, an untimely pit-road speeding penalty wound up being what perhaps kept Edwards out of victory lane. Make no mistake, to rally from a lap down to third place following the penalty is nothing short of amazing, but one cannot help but wonder what might have been had Edwards not made that uncharacteristic blunder.

Best Of The Rest

“I can only drive this car. We can only work on this car and can’t control what anybody else does. We had a pretty solid day today. We were able to lead a little bit. There were times in the race when we were pretty dominant. We didn’t have our worst run at the end and were able to drive back to fifth. My guys did a good job on pit road, so we’ll just keep working on it.” – Matt Kenseth, fifth, on other guys in the Chase finishing ahead of him

“It’s deceiving because you shave points off, but then you lose two spots . It’s alright. It’s the margin. You’re back, which is all that matters. We’re still in the thing, so you keep fighting and keep doing what you know how to do and hope that your Michigan setup works pretty good at Kansas.” – Kyle Busch, sixth

“Denny had a nose right there, but it was lap four. Those guys would expect you to give them some room, but he just stuffed it down in there and jacked me sideways. It was no surprise, and as I started spinning toward the wall I just hammered the throttle. I didn’t think it was gonna hit the wall, but then I was afraid that everybody behind me would come piling in. I’d like to say it was all driver, but luckily I tapped the brake and kept it on the throttle it straightened back up to where I didn’t stop in front of anybody and, thank God, everybody behind us was alert and kind of got it slowed down. I’d say it was 60 percent driver and 40 percent luck. I’ll give myself a little bit of credit.” – A.J. Allmendinger, seventh, on his early save on lap 5

“That’s racing. That is all I can say. I have had a lot of stuff happen to me over the years good and bad and you just have to roll with the punches. I don’t think I am B.S.ing myself when I think that we brought a good car to the track. We improved it from practice and I thought we weren’t really that good in practice and I thought we improved on it and we kind of went toward where Jimmie was and it helped my car so we know that was a good direction so we know that for next time we come here because I really have a hard time with this place lately and need to get something figured out here. There was a couple promising things today but we didn’t finish like we wanted to.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr., 24th, on a day-long rally going sour late

“Well, we’ve got seven weeks to worry about it. So we’ll see.” – Tony Stewart, 25th

“You know the saying, ‘If it weren’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all?’ Unfortunately, that’s the kind of day we had in our No. 38 ‘Drive Sober’ Ford Fusion today. It started with a loose plug wire and then we had a setback with a penalty for a pit road violation and then we blew a tire and got into the wall. Not the day we were hoping for with the ‘Drive Sober’ campaign. Our Ford Fusion actually was pretty good. We just had all these other things trip us up.” – J.J. Yeley, 34th

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