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 Toyota/Save Mart 350K at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma.
“I thought he (Marcos Ambrose) broke or something. I didn’t know what was going on. Unfortunate for him; he was the fastest car at the end and I know he is kicking himself for whatever went wrong there. You have to maintain pace-car speed; they said he had to go back behind the No. 9, I said ‘OK, I’ll take this,’ and off I went and had a great day.” – Jimmie Johnson, race winner
“I think [Kevin Harvick] was the victor of this whole thing once before when it happened to me at Montreal. It has happened before. I’m sure he was trying to save fuel and it just wouldn’t refire. (NASCAR) does have a rule that says you must maintain speed. That’s the same thing that happened to me at Montreal a couple years ago. Am I happy about it? It is what it is, you know. It’s about racing. What I am happy about is NASCAR did stay consistent.” – Robby Gordon on the Marcos Ambrose incident, finished second
“I think the double-file restarts promote a lot of that (aggressive driving). You have to take what you can get and when you have guys on different tire strategies, it’s hard to judge the speed. Then you have some slow guys and some guys that are faster, so you have a little contact here and there.” – Kevin Harvick, finished third
“We were a little bit off at the start, but I just needed to settle in, and we made the car a little bit better there. I felt pretty good the last 70 laps, so it was a good race. I’m glad we were able to finish strong with our Budweiser Ford and, hopefully, it was a good show. I know it was exciting from my seat and probably a lot of the other drivers’ seats.” – Kasey Kahne, finished fourth
“Under the last caution, the team told me to save fuel, but unfortunately the car stalled and wouldn’t crank over. I’m disappointed. It’s NASCAR’s house and I’ll always play by the rules. I don’t agree with it, I don’t like it and that’s only because I lost the race. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but we’ll go away and come back stronger next time.” – Marcos Ambrose, finished sixth
“We were getting good fuel mileage and I knew how I needed to drive it to make it to the end. I just took my time. We had a pretty good racecar, but after about lap 25 I lost the rear tires and really couldn’t do a whole lot with it. We need to work a little harder at it, I guess. It’s probably partly driver, but the car was pretty good. I just didn’t have good enough tires to race those guys at the end. They had way better tires than I did. Robby Gordon is just a little bit better driver and he ended up second.” – Greg Biffle, finished seventh
“When we were leading there at the end, if it would have gone green like in previous years, we would have won the race because on old tires there was no one better than us. It was just racing. It was double-file restarts. The only thing I was disappointed in is at the end of the race Tony Stewart just ran in and took the side of my car out after the checker.
“He’s one of my heroes, so that kind of upset me a little bit, but, all in all, a good day to come out of here with a top 10 after not racing full-time. I’m tickled. A top 10 for us is like a win.” – Boris Said, finished eighth
“Yeah, when Jeff [Gordon] spun all the guys, we got hit, came into the pits and we couldn’t put the left-front tires on it and we ended up like 30-something. But it was fun. This Target Chevrolet was so fast today; I had a blast. That’s what we need to do is get good finishes and days like this when we can finish well are important. It was a little more aggressive than normal, but it was fun.” – Juan Pablo Montoya, finished 10th
“We had some luck on the restarts really; where people were and how they were running into each other and stuff. It was a good day for us. I think you just do whatever the heck you want on the first part of the race and then you say, all right, we need to make it to the end. I ate up the car a little bit, but not as bad as some people. We didn’t really get aggressive until the end.
“I took care of the car all day and the brakes were good. The car worked good at the end of the race. I don’t get that pumped up about it; I just get relief to be able to go home and not be ticked off. But that’s every week. I feel like I can run in the top 10 at the Glen on a good day. I don’t feel like that here yet.” – Dale Earnhardt Jr., finished 11th
“Well, it was fantastic; unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The first two hours compared to the last hour was a big difference. People got more aggressive. The last 20 minutes, it just got nuts! Nothing prepares you for that other than doing it. I’m a little bit sorry that Carl Edwards came over to me after the race, but I got shoved into him and he spun around. He did not know that and was really angry. So, I’m sorry for that. But this was a really great day for me. I learned a lot and had fun.” – Jan Magnussen, finished 12th
“That incident with Clint [Bowyer], he came off the corner and drove me like I was never there. I got back into him and, I don’t know, everybody is aggressive. Everybody is really close, and I think it’s a good and bad thing. It shows how close the Sprint Cup Series is, how great a racing this is and how tough everybody is, but, at the same point, we’re just battling to death on lap 1.
“I don’t know if it should be [like that], but we’re racecar drivers. We shouldn’t be out there riding around and just collecting money. We should be out there trying hard, so, hopefully, the fans enjoyed it. It’s great racing. At times it’s really fun and at times it’s frustrating, but that’s what makes the series so great.” – AJ Allmendinger, finished 13th
“It was a frustrating day. We got taken out by [Jeff] Gordon and it’s just frustrating. This is one of the best tracks for us and one of the good chances we had this year for a top 10. It’s a shame. He took out Martin Truex [Jr.] for no reason. The [No.] 33 (Clint Bowyer) and me were side-by-side and he got two-for-one there, so he was just kind of knocking everything out of his way. It’s just tough for my race team.” – Elliott Sadler, finished 17th
“The thing that started our demise was really the [No.] 24 and the [No.] 83 wrecking us in turn 7, because that put us in the back and everyone from 15th place on back drives like idiots those last few laps. You have to drive very defensively to not wreck, but we came out with a 25th-place finish. It’s salvageable, but it’s not even racing out there those last 10-15 laps.” – David Ragan, finished 25th
“Today was wild. It was a huge learning experience for me because it was my first time ever on a road course in anything, let alone a Sprint Cup car. It was a very physical race. It’s more like bumper cars where if you can’t pass them, you just knock them out of the way. We got used up a little bit. That yellow stripe on the back of our ExtenZe Ford Fusion says, ‘Use me,’ I think, but I learned a lot.” – Kevin Conway, finished 28th
“It’s all a product of double-file restarts on a road course. It looked like we had a top-five finish with five laps to go. I just knew that something else was going to happen, especially when they put the [No.] 47 (Ambrose) behind us. I tried to give the [No.] 24 (J. Gordon) all the room that I could, but he got into us so hard that he cut down our right-rear tire and we had to pit under green and lost almost 30 positions.” – Kurt Busch, finished 32nd
“Kurt Busch had everything coming to him that I gave him because he gave it to me on the restart before that, so I don’t feel sorry about that. I certainly do with Martin. With Elliott [Sadler], I feel bad. I was racing him hard, he was blocking me, but we were trying to race somebody else, too, and that was probably my fault as well.” – Jeff Gordon, finished fifth
“Tough day, but it happens. These guys worked really hard to get this car put back together and get back out there. It’s frustrating because we were pretty good with points, even with the damage. I definitely learned a few things for next year. All you can do is get back to it next week and we like going to New Hampshire. We’ll put this behind us.” – David Reutimann, finished 34th
“On any other given day at an oval track, everybody is a little bit more patient with each other. If you run into somebody [on an oval] most likely they’re going to bump you back in the next corner. Here, if somebody gets into you there’s the chance that you’ll never see them again because it’s a road course. Everybody just takes advantage of that and it’s not a fun way to race. We didn’t have a very good day to begin with and we were just trying to bring our Mobil 1 Dodge home [in one piece].” – Sam Hornish Jr., finished 36th after a wreck
“He (Jeff Gordon) was six, seven car lengths behind me coming into [turn] 11, and I didn’t think I had anything to worry about. The next thing I know, I’m spun around. There’s no way he should have been where he was. Now, I know he’s going to say Juan [Pablo Montoya] was trying to pass me and I was trying to block him. I don’t care. Just because he’s trying to pass you, it’s alright for you to spin me out? No. Let him pass you then.
“I would have let Juan [Pablo Montoya] pass me. If it was either get passed or spin out Jeff Gordon, I would have lifted and get passed. That’s the difference between me and him. That’s why I’m here, that’s why he’s out there and that’s why I’m pissed off.” – Martin Truex Jr., finished 42nd
“He (Martin Truex Jr.) should be [upset], you know. And whatever is coming back to me, I understand. When you blatantly get into a guy like that, you can say you are sorry all you want and I certainly had no intentions on what happened with him. I have the No. 42 (Juan Pablo Montoya) behind me dive bombing me into the braking zone and where I made a mistake is trying to out-brake him. I will try and explain that to Martin.
“I feel terrible because Martin races a lot of guys clean out there. He had a good run going and I ruined that for him.” – Jeff Gordon, finished fifth
“Going through the gear, going to get the green – piled up on the front as hard as I could on the brake. People crashing in front of me. I crashed in front of some people, and people crashed in the back of me. It looked like someone in the front brake-checked. It was not like a normal accordion feeling. It was like a real stop.” – Max Papis, finished 43rd
About the author
The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.