Race Weekend Central

Running Their Mouth: 2011 Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas

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 Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

Best Quote

“Yeah it means a lot coming off of Phoenix. I went home last week and I had no clue. I just didn’t know how things were going to go from there. You only don’t get a good racecar like that very often, but we had another one today. I got to thank the Air Force, the Thunderbirds, they let me fly with them on Thursday and this trophy is going over there in their hanger. They taught me a lot about discipline and believing in what you do and I can’t thank them enough and all of our armed service personnel who serve everywhere. This is a great day.”- Carl Edwards, race winner

See also
Carl Edwards Bounces Back to Claim 2011 Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Victory

Talk about going from anguish to euphoria. At this time last week, Edwards was taken out of a race through no fault of his own with a car capable of winning and was about as down as one guy could get. This week, while he didn’t have the best car of the afternoon, he managed to grab the grail of success (or the giant novelty Kobalt tool for that matter), capitalizing on Tony Stewart’s misfortune. While it’s really too early to tell if this will be the year Carl Edwards claims his first Cup championship, one cannot help but be encouraged by what they have seen out of a resilient Edwards so far.

Funniest Quote

“No, there wasn’t. It’s really unfortunate. We had a great racecar. That Snickers Peanut Butter Squared Camry was fast today. We chased down [Tony] Stewart there and unfortunately the air is so sensitive today that you get within a five car-length cushion and you just can’t close anymore, I kind of got stuck behind him through traffic. The car was running awesome before that and then unfortunately we had a tire go down there. It got us a little behind.

“The guys did a great job changing tires. We got out and we were the lucky dog, fortunately – lucky us. Then, on the restart there, I was going to bide my time and try to get back through traffic with plenty of time to go and ‘kablooey’ – it just broke. I really hate it for these guys, they worked really hard. Hopefully the [No.] 20 (Joey Logano) and the [No.] 11 (Denny Hamlin) don’t have the same problems today.” – Kyle Busch, finished 38th, on whether there was any warning on what happened with his racecar

Perhaps we can finally detect some maturity in Kyle Busch. After a “blazing exit” at his hometown track, the Kyle Busch of past years would likely have pitched a conniption fit worthy of a toddler at the media or his crew. But this year’s model of Kyle Busch is at least putting a humorous spin on, to quote Lemony Snicket, “a series of unfortunate events.” For use of the word “ka-blooey” in a post-race quote, Kyle Busch deserves a maximum bro-fist for a simple, yet humorous analogy of his afternoon.

Hard-Luck Quote

“We just gave one away today.” – Tony Stewart, runner-up, on how he felt about the race

Stewart certainly has to be leaving Las Vegas with a sour taste in his mouth. He leads 159 laps, clearly had the car to beat and has to settle for second? Stewart was clearly unhappy about having to settle for a second-place finish and after dominating the race, one can’t blame him for the frustration. The question now; does Tony go to Bristol and bounce back from this disappointment, or do the negative overtones of this Sunday carry over into Thunder Valley?

Worst & Most Controversial Quote

“Second sucks.” – Tony Stewart, runner-up, on finishing second

Never before has finishing second been so eloquently stated. Not even being tied for the points lead could mollify the sting of this loss. Hunter S. Thompson once wrote a book entitled Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. Stewart was putting fear into all of his competitors for nearly 400 miles, but left loathing the fact that he finished second. You can chalk it up to the decision to go for four tires or a pit-road penalty or whatever you will. The fact of the matter is, despite having the dominant car, Stewart had to settle for second, which in his words, “sucks.”

Crew Chief Quote of the Week

“It definitely didn’t hurt the decision-making process to see them run extremely well with two tires. So yeah, I guess I was taking notes. Their car was very good regardless and I thought our only opportunity was to leapfrog them on the racetrack and hope we were able to hold them off.”- Bob Osborne, crew chief for Carl Edwards, on how the No. 99 team performed Sunday

In a city familiar with gambling, one has to give Bob Osborne credit for a very bold gambit in taking two tires compared to four. It was likely the only chance Edwards had of raining on Stewart’s pending victory parade. And with that call, the rain came and cleared the way for Edwards to score his 19th career win and take a great deal of momentum into Bristol in two weeks.

Best of the Rest

“It was a great day. It was a great first top five for RPM. I have to thank Richard Petty for believing in me and giving me a shot and Stanley and everybody. It is going to be a great year. We had great pit stops and a good crew today. There was a ton of good energy out here today, just a ton of good energy. I am really happy with the finish.” – Marcos Ambrose, finished fourth

“I know he wasn’t happy for one reason but he could be happy for another. It was a good double top five for us at Stewart-Haas Racing. Just proud of everybody on the Haas Automation Chevrolet and Stewart-Haas for giving us the opportunity. We fought back. We were really loose for 80% of the race and the last two runs when it cooled down and we could just kind of ride. We were three seconds behind or whatever, there was no sense in trying to catch up to the other guys.”- Ryan Newman, finished fifth, on his teammate’s unhappiness post-race

“It’s fun in this hauler, man. When you’re running good everything is easier to do. But I really enjoy brainstorming with Steve [Letarte] and I think having worked with him, I’ve become better at helping him just in a short period of time. But it’s fun to brainstorm with and work with him and I just want to do go. Failure at this point is completely unacceptable and I’ve got to put it all out on the line and do everything I can to make this work.

“If it don’t work with him, I got nowhere else to go. I got no other options, really other than just to race myself into oblivion with my own team and Tony Jr. and them guys. But I want this to work. I want to be in a CoT the rest of my career as long as I can and I want to be successful and so I’m just trying to work hard man. We’re getting better. It feels like it’s working.”- Dale Earnhardt Jr., finished eighth, on working with Steve Letarte

“Today was finally the good start to our season we have needed. We have to keep it up and chip away at the points inch by inch each week. We made the most of everything today and got every drop we could out of the car – the guys did a great job in the pits and with adjustments. Everyone gave 100% and that’s all you can ask for.” – Brian Vickers, finished 10th, on how it felt to finish in the top 10

“I am proud of our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford team today. We had some minor things out there like hitting that wall early, but they did a great job to keep us in the race, get us back on the lead lap. I am just really proud of my team today. We will learn from it and head to Bristol in a couple of weeks and I am really looking forward to that.” – Trevor Bayne, finished 20th

“Yeah, it was tough, definitely a hard hit. I am thankful for those SAFER barriers.” – David Gilliland, finished 37th

“The day actually started out pretty good for the DuPont Chevrolet. We were further up toward the front than I thought we would be based on practice yesterday so pretty happy with that. But, the track kept tightening up and we just couldn’t stay up with it so we started falling back a little bit on those restarts. We were definitely were fighting a tight condition right there, but I certainly wasn’t expecting to blow a tire like that going into [turn] 3. Thankful for the SAFER barrier here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and a safe racecar.”- Jeff Gordon, finished 36th

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.

Share this article

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com