Race Weekend Central

Running Their Mouth: 2011 AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta

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 rain-delayed AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway:

Best Quote

“I think this is turning out to be a great year. Alan Gustafson (crew chief) and all the engineers and all the guys that work so hard; the awesome pit crew, man we’re having a lot of fun right now. And when you can drive a racecar that drives like that one, it makes me look like a hero but they’re the heroes in my mind.” – Jeff Gordon, race winner, on whether he feels this is the year for him to capture his fifth championship

Gordon’s late-career renaissance has been nothing short of remarkable this season. After going into the season with a nearly two-year winless streak, Gordon has found victory lane three times this year, tying, and [today] surpassing Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for third all-time in the wins list (although according to Allison, he has 85 career wins as well, but that’s neither here nor there).

One cannot help but pencil in Gordon as a potential favorite to win the Chase this year thanks to his resurgence this year and finding the right crew chief for him in Gustafson.

Funniest Quote

“Yeah, we’re just having a terrible year. So hopefully we can pick things up a little bit. (CONTINUES TO LAUGH AND SMILE).” – Jimmie Johnson, finished second, on having the points lead by 21 points over Kyle Busch

For all the talk of people saying that Johnson has struggled this year, those detractors may want to take a good look at the top of the points standings as ol’ “Five-Time” is currently on the leaderboard. Granted, his amount of wins this year has not been nearly as impressive as years past, but Johnson has, yet again, managed to take the points lead and find himself as the top dog for the time being.

While he will likely lose the points lead due to a lack of wins when the Chase field is reset, the fact that Johnson is currently leading the points in a so-called “down year” can only make those who follow the sport laugh at the irony.

Most Controversial Quote

“He (Juan Pablo Montoya) races everybody that way, that is why he sucks. You can’t race that way in this sport, plain and simple and I’ll call him out for it. I think that is how about everybody in the garage knows what they are up against anytime that [No.] 42 is around. He is like a pinball out there because he is a bully.

“There has got to be some give and take. You are out there racing for nothing. He dive bombs the restarts and then before you know it he’s in the way and wrecking somebody. It is just frustrating. I knew what I was up against anytime you are racing against him. It doesn’t help my situation.” – Clint Bowyer, finished 36th, on what happened with Montoya

Add another driver to the growing “I Hate Juan Pablo Montoya” fan club. After Montoya made contact 10 laps earlier with Bowyer, the Kansas native claimed he was dive-bombed by Montoya when video evidence, if not completely vindicating Montoya, certainly implicates both drivers for causing the incident, Bowyer for coming up the track too soon and Montoya for not yielding his line.

Although, by the same token, with less than 100 laps to go, no one is going to yield their line in racing. But the bottom line is one more driver is now irate with Montoya’s overly aggressive nature. One has to wonder how many drivers will be sending Montoya a Christmas card this year.

Best of the Rest

“Richmond was a fun race last May, it was well documented. I can’t have people not stop talking about it. Maybe we can bounce back and get that behind us and go and attack Chicago, one of my favorite racetracks, and go and get in the groove of the Chase. Every position counts. Everyone needs to click on all eight cylinders on our team.

“Just our Dodges right now, [Brad] Keselowski’s in. We’re in. We’re a two-team effort for our Dodges and here we are with our Dodge Chargers running with the big boys. We’re right in this mix. I feel really proud of my guys today.” – Kurt Busch, finished fourth

“The starting and stopping makes it hell on everybody and it’s no different in the seat. You just want to go, like c’mon, make this thing happen. There were a couple of times I was ready to race in the rain just to get going. That’s the way it is but glad that we’re all able to survive out a long week. Really happy and proud to get this race done for all the work everybody has put in from the track to the teams to the fans that came back.” – Brad Keselowski, finished sixth, on how difficult Tuesday’s race was

“After the rain we didn’t do anything to the car. We just put a set of tires on it and it was junk. We adjusted on it a little bit and put another set on, but we got really loose at the end and couldn’t keep up. I don’t really know what happened. We had a lot of speed and it was pretty fast the first half of the race, but I don’t know what happened after that one rain delay. We just struggled after that.” – Matt Kenseth, finished ninth

See also
Beyond the Cockpit: AJ Allmendinger on King Richard, a Career Turnaround & More

“We know the chances are still there. It’s still wide open when it comes to having a chance to go win and anything can happen after that, but, for me, like I said from the beginning, the Chase, for me, doesn’t define the season. I’d love to get in the Chase, that’s the ultimate goal, but as a race team we keep getting better. If we can go into these last 11 races that we have and get to Homestead and be far better than where we started, that, to me, is a great season. We’re getting there. We still have a little ways to go, but every week I feel like we improve.” – AJ Allmendinger, finished 10th

“We’d have to look at the points and see how it’s gonna shake out. I bet there’s still a mathematical chance that we could win Richmond and get into the top 20 and make the Chase, and that’s certainly the mindset we’re gonna have. We’re not gonna give up no matter what. We can still have a great season. There are five or six tracks coming up where we’ll be a threat to win at, but this is gonna make it a lot harder.

“The month of August was really tough for us. We had some speed in our car. We had a car that could have won the race in the right position, but you can’t do that with no engine.” – David Ragan, finished 35th

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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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