Race Weekend Central

Running Their Mouth: 2011 Toyota Save Mart 350 at Sonoma

Welcome to another edition of Running Their Mouth, with some of the best quotes of this past week at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma to see which drivers were doing just that after a wild, wreck-filled 350 kilometers.

Best Quote

“No, they haven’t and I don’t think they will. They know that Tony [Stewart] and I have been around long enough to know how to handle these things ourselves. We’re both grown adults. It’s not like we’re rookies and we’re learning the ropes. We know the deal, they know the deal — we’ll figure it out. I’m sure Tony and I will talk this week. We don’t need them to tell us.” – Brian Vickers, finished 36th, on whether NASCAR has said anything to him about his on-track altercation with Tony Stewart

The “Have At It, Boys!” approach is alive and well according to this statement by Vickers after his on-track issues with Stewart. It certainly seems as if all the on-track issues are exactly that, and it seems like Stewart and Vickers are both going to move forward from what happened without any further issues between the two. The manner which Vickers handled himself post-race was impressive, as a lesser man would have been lunging at Stewart. Instead, Vickers has taken somewhat of a laissez-faire approach to the incident and it now appears to be as much ancient history as Rebecca Black’s “Friday” YouTube video.

Worst Quote

“Ask him, he’s the one that wrecked me. We through the corner and I just got on his bumper a little bit and moved him a little. Got a good run and I guess he didn’t like it. I mean, it is just hard to run with people who have never run well on road courses or have no experience at it. It cost us a ton of points today. But no, you have to talk to smart people.” – Juan Pablo Montoya, finished 22nd, on whether he’s going to talk to Brad Keselowski after being wrecked by him in the closing stages of the race

Apparently, in “The World According to Juan,” it must be OK for him to punt drivers aside; yet when payback is doled out to him, he whines and pouts about it. With Kasey Kahne and Keselowski both irritated with Juan, not to mention his run-ins with Ryan Newman in the past, it might be smart for Montoya to try not to irk any more drivers for a while. Otherwise, someone could very well do worse to him than what Newman did several weeks back at Darlington.

Funniest Quote

“I’m not looking forward to going to Daytona, not with the way the drafting is there. But, we’ll just have to see if we can get lucky out of there. What is after Daytona? Will be glad to go there. New Hampshire? I love that place. (LAUGHS).” – Dale Earnhardt Jr., finished 41st

The checkered flag at Infineon just couldn’t fall fast enough for Earnhardt. In the last two weeks, Dale hasn’t finished in the top 20 due to circumstances not of his making, and what had been a strong season has gone slightly off-kilter. But what was really surprising was to hear Earnhardt state that he’s actually not looking forward to Daytona, which in the past has been a good track to him.

There is no questioning that the dynamics of the two-car draft have changed the way drivers race each other at the track. But when Earnhardt is saying he’s not looking forward to Daytona, that’s definitely a statement that will make the ears of NASCAR fans perk up.

Most Controversial Quote

“I probably had it coming because I dumped him earlier but I dumped him because he was blocking. If anybody wants to block all year that’s what I’m going to keep doing so they can handle it however they want. It was payback, but I dumped him first and I dumped him because he was blocking. I’ve been complaining about the way guys have been racing all year.

“I like Brian [Vickers], I’m not holding it against him at all. I don’t care if it was Ryan Newman I would have dumped him too. If they want to block that’s what is going to happen to them every time for the rest of my career.” – Tony Stewart, finished 39th

After his words last week, criticizing the way other competitors were driving and his actions this week, Stewart has made it clear to his fellow competitors that if they mess with the bull, they are going to get the horns; in this case the chrome horn. Stewart made his statement early in the race after his assertion that Vickers was blocking him, so Stewart took it upon himself to not-so-kindly move Vickers out of the way.

About 50 laps later, Vickers repaid the favor and destroyed the back end of Stewart’s car, ending his day for all intents and purposes. But Stewart, by wrecking Vickers, has made a statement to his fellow drivers that he’s mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

Best of the Rest

“We just had to conserve our rear tires. That was the main thought. Once we had enough fuel to make it, I started to pick up my pace. I didn’t want guys to think they had a shot at us and I was able to stretch it out.” – Kurt Busch, race winner, on his two-tire strategy and how he pulled it off

“I am so proud of my Stanley car and my Stanley team to get a top five out of what could have been a very tough day for me. Todd and the guys worked hard all day and got us into a good position there at the end. We weren’t able to get the million dollars for the Children’s Miracle Network kids, but thanks to Stanley they will get $100,000. I want to thank Stanley for putting me in the car and believing in me and I am looking forward to what we can do the rest of the way and when we get to the Glen.” – Marcos Ambrose, fifth, on his day

“That’s no big deal to me. I don’t know. He was running me all over the racetrack. He knocked my fender in for no reason. We were a lot, lot faster than him. I just had enough. I wasn’t going to get pushed around. He pushed around before and I was sick of it. I think that’s a small story. That’s not a big deal. We finished sixth. I’m pretty happy about that.” – Joey Logano, finished sixth, on what happened with Robby Gordon

“It was all strategy. I mean, we got up to about 14th or 15th there and just kind of stalled. The car was really loose. Then we got in a little wreck and tore it up even worse. As the run would go on, we would just get so loose. The car has a lot of damage on it. A lot of credit to these guys for getting it fixed for the strategy. It was the best ninth place finish I can ever remember.” – Kevin Harvick, ninth, on his rollercoaster day

“I don’t take any pride in all that stuff, but at some point you have to run your own deal. It was pretty obvious that it was eat or be eaten and I wasn’t going to be eaten.” – Brad Keselowski, 10th, on what happened with Montoya in the closing stages

“I am really proud of our team today. Peter [Sospenzo] and the guys gave me a really great Taco Bell Ford Fusion this weekend. We had an issue with second gear toward the end of the race there, so we lost a few spots, but I had a lot of fun running up front all day. I asked the guys on the radio during the race if there was an award for passing the most cars ’cause, man, it sure seemed like I was passing cars all day. Great day for our team and now we get to go back to Daytona.” – David Gilliland, finished 12th, on his day

“That was crazy just like always. The car was pretty good and I think from about mid-race on we kind of got loose. The track, there was so much crap on the racetrack and we kept adjusting. Everybody was running into each other out there. I got into a couple guys and got them angry and then I had one guy dump me. I just tried to keep fighting. We are getting there. If we can get some luck on our side we might actually be up front where we deserve to finish. It could have been a lot worse and 13th isn’t great, but it could have been a lot worse with 20 to go. Now we can go have more fun at Daytona.” – AJ Allmendinger, finished 13th, on his day

“I just got wrecked by [Joey] Logano. It is what it is. We were on track for exactly what we wanted to do. There was a big difference in tires and that was disappointing. They brought two date codes and we got the wrong one for qualifying. We had a strong run. We lost track position, fought back and then lost when the [No.] 20 punted us.” – Robby Gordon, finished 18th

“I do know we got together with David [Reutimann], I just drove underneath him there. He might not have seen me. I just got on the curb and was almost saving it, but it didn’t quite work out. He got setup by the [No.] 17 car (Matt Kenseth). I was just part of it, part racing. Then we were building our speed back up there and got a couple laps and come off turn 11 and the [No.] 66 car (Michael McDowell) was there and I’m not sure what all happened, but next thing I know I’m in the fence.” – Bobby Labonte, finished 38th, on what forced him to the garage

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.

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