As I was reviewing the Ted Williams HBO documentary, I get the call to go to work at the last second so I’m in the home office, delayed in getting the review to you. I can give you this press release from earlier today. I was busy earlier today working on the Russo/Mad Dog Radio story that I forgot to post this.
Take a look at what the TNT NASCAR crew said at Chicagoland Saturday night.
Notes from TNT’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coverage – Saturday, July 11, 2009
NASCAR on TNT Live! from Chicagoland Speedway
Marc Fein (host), Larry McReynolds (analyst) and Kyle Petty (analyst)
Petty on the first year of Stewart-Haas Racing: “I think they are phenomenal. (Tony Stewart) takes a lot of criticism and I’ll give him criticism to say it’s a Hendrick car and a Hendrick organization, but Tony has built that team, that group has built that Stewart-Haas team. They have put the pieces in place and they’ve got to go out and perform on the racetrack.”
McReynolds on the people working for Stewart-Haas Racing: “You talk about the pieces, to me the thing that he put in place and has done the best job at is the people. I know when a fan looks at our sport they see racecars, they see horsepower and they see all those things. But I think our sport, like any other sport and any other business, is about people. I think Tony absolutely hit a homerun from top to bottom of the people he put in place for Stewart-Haas Racing.”
McReynolds on his disappointment that No. 18 Kyle Busch blames No. 14 Tony
Stewart for the wreck that allowed Stewart to win the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona last week: “The great thing is no one was hurt in that accident. The bad thing is that it takes weeks to build a speedway car and it takes seconds to tear them up, and we saw a lot of tore up race cars. I love what Kyle (Petty) and Wally (Dallenbach) said at the end of that broadcast, no one did anything wrong, it was drivers trying to win that race. I’m a Kyle Busch fan, but I was very disappointed and still am very disappointed that he’s pointing a finger at Tony Stewart. He has a short memory, I know every situation is different, but go back to Richmond last spring when he basically wrecked Dale Earnhardt, Jr. battling for the lead. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”
No. 24 Jeff Gordon joined the TNT pre-race show for an interview.
Gordon on the competition heading into the Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship: “Tony Stewart has come on really strong and you just can’t count out Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin, a bunch of guys who I think are going to be a real threat once the Chase starts. What I’m excited about is our mile and a half program has really stepped up, we’re really strong at the mile and half (racetracks) and we showed that at Texas and I feel like we’ve shown that at pretty much everywhere.”
McReynolds on the announcement that No. 1 Martin Truex, Jr. will drive for Michael Waltrip Racing next season: “Obviously, it’s been a great ride for (Truex, Jr.) at DEI, he won two Nationwide Championships, he won at Dover, he made the Chase in 2007. But with that said, it has been a very bumpy ride and a rough ride for him the last couple of years with things off the racetrack. Two different mergers, three different shops, and in my opinion, one of the main reasons he went to DEI several years ago is not there anymore. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is not there anymore.”
No. 99 Carl Edwards joined the TNT set for an interview.
Edwards on his strategic position as he tries to win the Sprint Cup Series Championship: “I keep telling people last year we won plenty of races and we didn’t win the championship, so I know what it’s like winning those races. Right now the mission is to march up in the points and be in position to win a championship. You look at some of those teams that ran really well during the regular season and then didn’t run so well in the Chase, we don’t want to do that. We’re hoping that some of these troubles we’ve had and the stuff we’ve worked on on pit road and the engineering stuff is going to pay off. If we can peak right there with 10 (races) to go we’ll be good.”
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Countdown to Green
Marc Fein (host) and Wally Dallenbach (analyst)
Stewart on the excitement of racing well in the first year of Stewart-Haas Racing: “It’s always cool to win a race and it’s always cool to win big races, but it’s cool when you do it in your own car. A lot of these guys aren’t car owners and don’t know what that feels like. It was extra special to me winning at the Chili Bowl and it always has been. Obviously winning with everyone at Stewart-Haas has been a lot of fun, it’s been awesome to see how quickly this organization has grown.”
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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Racing from Chicago presented by Papa John’s
Announcers: Ralph Sheheen (play-by-play), Wally Dallenbach (analyst) and Kyle Petty (analyst); Larry McReynolds (analyst) contributes from the in-field at the TNT Offtrack Robotic Car (TORC)
Pit reporters: Adam Alexander, Lindsay Czarniak, Marty Snider and Matt Yocum
Dallenbach on how to avoid being distracted by a broken water gauge, an issue No. 11 Denny Hamlin faced early in the race: “Somebody fixed that (water gauge) for me one time during a pit stop. They took a piece of duct tape and covered up the gauge and it was a distraction no longer.”
TNT’s Lindsay Czarniak interviewed No. 31 Jeff Burton after he wrecked shortly after a double-file restart shootout style.
Burton on his wreck late in the race and his feelings on the new double-file restart shootout style rule: “Long night, we had a decent car. I came into the pits there and the thing fell off the jack and I got three laps down. Just ridiculous. Just all kinds of things happening to us. I know double-file restarts are exciting and all that, but it’s the fourth week in a row we’ve been wrecked in a double file restart and I’m about done with it. It’s a shame, four weeks in a row double-file restarts and we’ve been in a wreck and haven’t caused one of them. I know it’s exciting to watch and all that but I’ve had enough of it.”
Petty on drivers being able to capitalize on getting a wave around in order to improve position in the race: “Here is a wave around car running in the top 10. We saw the No. 42 (Juan Pablo Montoya( car at Pocono in the first TNT race (as the) wave around car who finished in the top 10. We’ve not had a lot of wave around cars this year, once they changed and went to the double-file (restarts) they’ve been able to capitalize on it. But the ones who have been able to use that rule to their advantage have gotten themselves back in the race and have had good finishes. When you look at the mile, mile and a half racetracks, you end up with 12 or 15 racetracks which is the heart of what the season is. It’s not the Daytonas, it’s not the Poconos, it’s not the road courses and the short tracks, this is the heart of what the racing is and if you can capitalize on the wave around here and make that rule work for you, that’s a big deal.”
TNT’s Matt Yocum interviewed race winner No. 5 Mark Martin.
Martin on winning the race at Chicagoland Speedway: “That was fun, that’s what life is all about right there. These guys deserve to win. The best car doesn’t usually win, the double-file restarts are to mess the best car up so he doesn’t win to make it good for the fans and it did, but luckily we pulled if off anyway.”
TNT’s Marty Snider interviewed No. 2 Kurt Busch after the race.
Busch on a run-in with No. 48 Jimmie Johnson late in the race: “I felt like we had a good eighth to 12th place car, that’s where our car has been running. The No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson), we got run into at Sonoma, we got run into again, starting to lose faith in his ability to be a three-time champion on the track. I’m disappointed. I gave him room and we got pounded into the fence. I had a left rear tire rub, luckily we got a yellow, got her fixed and finished 17th, so a couple of runs spoiled by the No. 48 car. I’m not digging it.”
TNT’s Marty Snider interviewed No. 48 Jimmie Johnson after the race.
Johnson on his brush up with No. 2 Kurt Busch and the wild racing on the track: “I don’t even know, I think the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) got inside of me and got me loose because he’s on new tires and the two of us (myself and Kurt Busch) touched and he body slammed me after that. That was the least of my problems, the bigger problem I had was when I was leading and the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) pushed me all the way through one and two and eventually I lost control and that’s what put me back there. It was just hard racing. It was one of those days that I thought we had this thing won at one point and then the restart didn’t work out so well for us. Everybody was out of control back in the race, body slamming. The No. 83 (Brian Vickers) and the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) went at for a little bit. We were bump drafting down straight aways, that was some wild racing. I didn’t think we could race like that on a mile and a half.”
Petty on the grudges held by drivers: “I love driver interviews because as you look back on your career as a driver, you remember everybody that wrecked you but nobody you ever wrecked. I can’t tell you anybody I ever wrecked, but I can list everybody that ever ran into anything I was racing.”
Unofficial Results for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Racing from Chicago:
1.No. 5 Mark Martin
2.No. 24 Jeff Gordon
3.No. 9 Kasey Kahne
4.No. 14 Tony Stewart
5.No. 11 Denny Hamlin
6.No. 39 Ryan Newman
7.No. 83 Brian Vickers
8.No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
9.No. 33 Clint Bowyer
10.No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya
ESPN takes over on Sunday. Let’s hope the network improves its coverage from last year.