Race Weekend Central

Running Their Mouth: 2009 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega

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 special Nationwide Series peek at what the drivers were thinking following the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway:

“Talladega is such a crapshoot. You can’t expect anything. Can’t expect to win, can’t expect not to win. I knew that I had to get locked into somebody’s rear bumper if I was going to run up to the front. And even then you don’t know if it’s going to work out. I gotta apologize to Carl for wrecking him, but man the rule is you can’t below the yellow line. He blocked, and I wasn’t going below it. I don’t want to wreck a guy but you’re forcing the situation. This is NASCAR racing, and this is cool. I can’t believe it.” – Brad Keselowski

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“Oh, this win is the best thing to ever happen to me. I’d really like to dedicate this race to Neil Bonnett‘s family. Neil died in my car in ’94 trying to do what we did today. I would really like to dedicate that to them and everybody that helped me throughout the years.” – James Finch, car owner, No. 09 Miccosukee Indian Gaming Resort Chevrolet

“I had a deal with Ryan to break away from the pack. They (Brad and Carl Edwards) were smart enough to run in the middle. I couldn’t believe Brad was pushing that No. 99. I couldn’t see what happened on the front straightaway. I had a blast. I love these fans here. It got a little boring sometimes in the middle. I can’t thank my team enough, and I’m so proud of Brad. He did a great job.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr., finished second

“We, Tony [Stewart], [Greg] Biffle and I, just rode around in the back and kind of expecting what happened to happen, and it did. Just kept our nose clean for the most part. Junior was very honorable and stuck to his word and pushed me on that last restart. Congratulations to Brad [Keselowski] on his first win. It’s a tough way to earn one that way, but he’s standing in victory lane. Unfortunately, it’s another destroyed racecar for Stewart-Haas Racing, but it was a solid top five finished and a good points day for us.” – Ryan Newman, finished third

“This is the most intense thing that I have experienced in my racing career. I saw a car flipping through the air. I mean high. I thought, ‘Man, I hope he’s OK.’ I think the one friend I have out there, Kyle [Busch], was a lap down and right behind me with five to go. I mean that’s what pushed us up to the front. I think it’s just a race that worked out for us.” – Scott Speed, Raybestos Rookie of the Race, finished fifth

“I felt like we put ourselves in position to win on the last restart, being third. That’s almost one of the best spots to be in for a restart. A good effort to be sixth today. It’s Talladega. I circled this one on the calendar to just try and survive. I’m glad that we did that. That’s such a good solid effort… to be eighth two weeks ago, a third, and then a sixth today. That’s what we have to do.” – Kurt Busch

“My strategy was to stay out of all the wrecks, and this car doesn’t have a scratch on it other than other people’s metal flying through the air. If you look around the garage, that’s what we wanted to do. Guys were just pushing and shoving all day. The bump drafting is getting maybe a tick out of control. This feels like a victory. A seventh-place finish, we did what we planned.” – Greg Biffle

“Just going down to the end of the race and I thought the [No.] 6 (David Ragan), if we had hooked up to each other and we were going to go. [I] kept backing up and backing up but we never hooked up. I don’t know why. We couldn’t stay together and keep going, so we ended up losing spots because of it and that was kind of that. We didn’t hit anything all day, so that was good. I don’t know. I guess that’s good.” – Joey Logano, finished ninth

“Once we suffered damage to the nose of the car on that first wreck, it was a battle from that point on. We just couldn’t overcome the damage and produce the speed that you need at this track. Considering the problems we were faced with early, it wasn’t a bad result to finish 15th in the National Day of Prayer Chevy. We’re a little down right now, but I guess it could have been worse since we were real close a couple of times of getting knocked out of the race.” – Regan Smith

“What a great experience to race here in Talladega and get a top 20 for GEICO and Germain Racing. I can’t say enough about Mike (Hillman, crew chief) and Ryan (Coniam, engineer) and the rest of the guys on this Germain Racing team. I am very proud to have raced at such a historic racetrack. The fans here are awesome, man.” – Max Papis, finished 18th

“A bittersweet day. We were looking at a good finish and Ryan [Newman] had one, but he earned it the hard way. I’m glad he and Carl [Edwards] are alright.” – Tony Stewart, finished 23rd

“First of all, I’ve got to tell my wife and my mom I’m fine. I’m very fortunate we hit the wall in a way it didn’t crush my roll cage down on my neck because that would have been a lot worse. Brad did a great job. Congrats to him on the win, but [NASCAR] put us in this box and we’ll race like this until we kill somebody and then they’ll change it. I’m just glad nobody got hurt today. I’m glad the car didn’t go up in the grandstands and hurt somebody.” – Carl Edwards

“It’s just a product of this racing with this car here. [Jeff] Burton came by and said he was sorry. He said that is was totally his fault and he didn’t mean to, so what are you going to do? It was like this before, and it’s going to always be like this when we come to these places.” – Steve Addington, crew chief for Kyle Busch, finished 25th

“It was a good day for our Penske Dodge Charger, just a tough finish for us. Just a normal Talladega deal with guys doing a lot of bumpdrafting and a lot of guys doing stupid stuff out there today; it is what it is. We had a good car today.” – David Stremme, finished 31st

“I didn’t know if it mattered if I went across the finish line, but I just wanted to finish the race.” – Carl Edwards on crossing the start/finish line on foot

“We were really good, I was trying to ride and do what we had to do early. I am not sure what happened, some guys just over anxious early I guess and ran out of racing room. It was just unfortunate to have an early ending to our day. We were almost clear of the incident, but almost doesn’t really mean anything in this deal.” – David Gilliland, finished 40th

“Talladega is short for ‘We’re going to crash, we just don’t know when.’ We saw [airborne cars] two times this weekend, so maybe we need to look at things that keep the car down on the ground.” – Ryan Newman

“I felt like it was a pretty good race. It was wild and we had some wrecks, especially the first one that was not quite necessary. I kind of like the yellow-line rule. I think that you can’t necessarily blame what happened at the finish of the race on the yellow-line rule. Guys have been running over each other for years. So I mean, guys get into each other way before we had yellow-line rules. I would hate to think that I had to block people on the apron and every which way to try to win the race on the last lap.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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