TNT Quotage From NASCAR Sprint Cup Race in Sonoma

TNT Quotage From NASCAR Sprint Cup Race in Sonoma

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TNT Quotage From NASCAR Sprint Cup Race in Sonoma

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Let’s do some quotage from TNT’s Sprint Cup coverage from Sunday.

Notes from TNT’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coverage from the Toyota/Save Mart 350 in Sonoma, Calif. – Sunday, June 20, 2010
TNT’s coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series continues on Sunday, June 27 with the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 presented by Captain Morgan live from New Hampshire International Speedway. Countdown to Green begins at Noon (ET) and the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 presented by Captain Morgan begins at 1 p.m. (ET).
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Countdown to Green
Lindsay Czarniak (host), Kyle Petty (analyst) and Larry McReynolds (analyst)
Petty on the Joe Gibbs Racing team becoming the more dominant racing team, replacing Hendrick Motorsports in the future: “If you’ve got a Kyle Bush and if you’ve got a Denny Hamlin and if you’ve got a Joey Logano in the wings, you’re looking at a team that has the potential to be the Hendrick organization of the future because they’re building.”
Petty on the tides turning in NASCAR with emerging dominant drivers: “I think we see a turning of the ship, it’s a big ship. Jimmie (Johnson) has won four championships in a row. You don’t just take over the reigns from (Rick) Hendrick, from Chad (Knaus) from Jimmie Johnson in 10 or 11 races, I just don’t think you can do that. But they found a chink in the armor somewhere. Jimmie has made a couple of mistakes this year that have taken them out of at least being in contention for a couple of those races.”
TNT’s Ralph Sheheen sat down with three members of Hendrick Motorsports; No. 24 Jeff Gordon, No. 48 Jimmie Johnson and No. 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Johnson on teammates feuding, including he andteammate Jeff Gordon:  “It’s competition. We have a great deal of respect for each other, for the company we drive for and we get out on that racetrack and we’re always trying to walk that line in the right way.  I certainly lost my cool in a few cases, and then made a mistake in Talladega which kind of set the thing off and made it even more excited. But I’m glad that’s behind us and now we’re talking about the Gibbs guys and even Joey (Logano) and (Kevin) Harvick.”
Sheheen: “What were you thinking, Dale, with all that going on?”
Earnhardt: “I just grabbed some popcorn, sat back and enjoyed the show. I was loving that. It’s just like anything else, when you’re in the middle of it, you’re not happy about it, but when you’re able to just sit back and watch it, it’s always entertaining.”
Earnhardt on his efforts to try to improve from last season: “Well, you know we just want to improve on last year so badly. We came into the season seeing some areas where we had gotten better, but we’re not, we’re still a team that needs to improve on a lot of things, and we’ve got to do it in a hurry…see little spots where it’s getting better, but we still have yet to put together complete races.  We got a lot of great people at Hendrick to help us and to get where we want to go.”
Gordon on whether the three of them discuss ways to keep NASCAR moving forward: “Honestly, NASCAR does a great job and this group here has been in those conversations with them and every time I’ve been in a talk with NASCAR and you start to see the whole picture, you go ‘wow, I sure am glad I’m not making those decisions.’  Because from a competitor side of it it’s easy for you to say, ‘I’d do this and this and that,’ but then once you see the ramifications of all that, you go, ‘wow, they’re doing a really good job. ‘ They’ve got a lot of information at their fingertips.”
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson joined the TNT rig during Countdown to Green.
Johnson on NASCAR fans who dislike his consistent championships: “During any time I’ve seen someone have gre
at success, and I saw a little of it from afar when Dale Earnhardt was dominating, people really didn’t like that. So I am very proud to have a lot of people not happy that I’m winning and I hope to keep that going.”
Johnson on mistakes made this season and the attention paid to them: “When you’re in the garage area, in your pit, on the race team, this stuff happens throughout the course of any race season and we’ve been through it before. There’s a lot more attention paid to it. I have to look and say that’s because of the high expectations based on the four championships we’ve won. I’ve watched Jeff (Gordon) experience it and I’m stepping into that category as well. There is a huge magnifying glass on you and your race team. You’ve just got to learn to deal with it, accept it and go on. I’ve always made mistakes, I made some that were more noticeable than others, but I think a lot of is because people are paying attention and expect so much out of this race team. We’ll go on and as long as I can be clean in this final 10 races I’ll be in good shape.”
No. 14 Tony Stewart on whether he races for points or races for a win at this point in the season: “You don’t even worry about the first part (points), you just worry about the second part and that’s go for the win. Gene Haas and everyone from Haas Automation is here, along with the Office Depot and Old Spice people. This is a big race for us. We go into every week worrying about the win, when you get closer to Richmond you worry about points the last couple of weeks, but right now if you win the race the points take care of itself, so just going for the win.”
Petty on No. 14 Tony Stewart always racing for the win versus points: “Tony (Stewart) has always had one strategy: win. I’ve never seen Tony be a points racer. There are some guys who talk that talk and walk that walk too. Tony never talks the talk about being a points racer. He’s come to win this race, he’ll go to win next week in New Hampshire, he’ll go to win Daytona, he’ll go to win Chicago and when we get to Richmond the points will be where they are.”
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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Racing: Toyota/Save Mart 350 from Infineon Raceway
Announcers: Adam Alexander (play-by-play), Wally Dallenbach (analyst) and Kyle Petty (analyst); Larry McReynolds (analyst) contributes from the in-field with the TNT Offtrack Robotic Car (TORC) with Lindsay Czarniak (host)
Pit reporters: Marty Snider, Ralph Sheheen, Phil Parsons and Matt Yocum
Petty on the TNT Summer Series of races appealing to No. 14 Tony Stewart: “The TNT races seem to fit Tony (Stewart). This is where Tony gets it done, this is where his workmanlike ethic and everything he does, this is the grind of the year and when the grind comes, he rises to the top. This is the heart and soul of his year.  If he doesn’t perform at this time of the year than don’t look for him at the end of the year to pick up the pace.”
Dallenbach on the amount of pressure on No. 47 Marcos Ambrose: “I don’t think you put any more pressure on a certain racetrack than you do any other track you go to. But in Marcos Ambrose’s situation, all his sponsors are here this weekend and this is his best opportunity to win a race. So there is a little more pressure, but a driver puts too much pressure on himself anyway that I don’t think he feels it any more or less.”
Dallenbach on how much a driver thinks about strategy prior to a race: “I think as a driver you just want to drive the race car. We’re not really good at strategy, we just wait for our crew chief to tell us when to come in. Obviously, we’re basing a lot of that decision on how the car is driving and what we need for the race car, but a driver never goes into the race thinking strategy.”
Petty on not using the steering wheel to stay in the car: “When I first started driving, the King said this, ‘the steering wheel is for steering, not for hanging on.’ Don’t hold yourself in the car with the steering wheel.”
Dallenbach on the upcoming races being difference makers in the Chase: “There are different racetracks coming up that can really shake things up. You’ve got the road course, then you’ve got New Hampshire with the flat one mile then you’ve got Daytona and anything can happen. These next four races are really key with getting
through with as many points as you can.”
No. 26 Boris Said’s crew chief Frank Stoddard on pit crew strategy while running in third and Said’s complaint that he was unable to hear Stoddard: “With Boris, if I’m not in the car actually turning the wheel into the pits he struggles with anything I ever say to him. The clearest thing I can do would be to ride co-pilot in there. It’s tough, what I said is if the top five stayed out I wanted to come (in), I felt like everyone behind us would come. And if the top five came I wanted to try to stay and hope that maybe eight to 10 guys stayed out behind us. We didn’t really need these cautions because we drove a way to where probably only Jimmie Johnson was going to get by us before we pit. We were going to be in pretty shape at the end, but that’s ok, this will work out. We’re not bad.”
No. 56 Martin Truex, Jr. on his run in with No. 24 Jeff Gordon which resulted in Truex being finished for the day: “There was no reason for us to be in that position on that restart. Guys (are) driving without respect on restarts. I was five or six cars clear of the No. 24 (Gordon) going into No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) and for some reason he turned me around. It’s ok, what comes around goes around, these guys don’t to have any respect for me, I’m not going to have any for them and I’ll get them at Loudon. It comes down to every week we have these double file restarts and everyone’s head gets all ridiculous, everyone loses their head and drives like idiots. It doesn’t make any sense. Everything’s fine until we have restarts. Then it’s like guys running 10th are going to win the race. It’s just stupid, it’s uncalled for. The unfortunate part is all the guys from my team worked so hard, we had an awesome car running in the top five all day long, just hate it for Napa and everybody involved. We were looking at having a really good day and having a lot of fun and it got ruined by one stupid move.”
Snider: “Jeff did apologize, did that message get to you?”
Truex: “No, but does it matter? We’re sitting here at the trailer and he’s out there going to run for the win. It’s all right, we’ll get him.”
Petty on No. 56 Martin Truex, Jr. not being a driver he would mess with: “I don’t believe I’d mess with Truex. He’s one of those quiet guys like (Matt) Kenseth and those guys. You don’t mess with the quiet guys. It’s ok to mess with mouthy guys like me, I’m not going to do anything, I’m just going to run my mouth about it. But the quiet guys? No, don’t mess with them.”
Alexander: “You’re kind of quiet, Wally.”
Dallenbach on No. 83 Mattias Ekstrom who replaced previous driver Casey Mears (who filled in after Brian Vickers announced he will not finish the NASCAR season): “I’ve been impressed with No. 83 (Mattias Ekstrom), he’s done a really nice job. It’s one thing to come into the series and no matter what your credentials are you can lay down a fast lap and continue to run fast laps. But it’s different racing with these Cup guys because these Cup guys are so ruthless. But this guy has run a very smart race so far. I’m really impressed.”
Petty on several race cars making contact with each other with less than 25 laps left to go:  “This is more like bull riding than it is racing.”
McReynolds on No. 47 Marcos Ambrose stalling on the track while trying to save fuel with less than 10 laps to go: “There is no reason (Marcos Ambrose) should have to save fuel, he pitted on lap 80, that’s 30 laps. Unless they are just banking that we might end up with three green-white-checkers, they should be in great shape, especially with these cautions. I have no idea why they’d be trying to save fuel. If they let him go back up there they just gave him a mulligan.”
Petty on No. 47 Marcos Ambrose not knowing the rule that you must maintain a certain speed on cautions, which resulted in his moving from first to seventh place: “Drivers don’t know rules. Sorry, that’s just the way it is. I’m not saying you’re not supposed to know the rules, I’m saying I don’t know the rules. There are certain rules that all drivers know, from being in your pit box, how things work. We laughed about it at the All-Star event this year, that the drivers didn’t know what the segments were, invert, not invert but they didn’t care. They just go out and run as hard as they can lap after lap. A lot of times that’s a driver’s mentality. You just go and drive the wheels off of it. That’s what (Marcos Ambrose) has done today, he has driven the wheels off of it and now he stands a shot at getting beat at a technicality.”
Petty trying t
o make an analogy between NASCAR and soccer in context of the rule that No. 47 Marcos Ambrose broke:
“I’m not a soccer fan, I’ll go on record saying, but the World Cup and the final call bringing back that third goal the other day, which was a 2-2 tie …sorry man, that’s just the rule, that’s the way it works.”
Dallenbach: “He’s way out of his element. He has no idea what he’s talking about. You should stop while you’re behind.”
Dallenbach on No. 47 Marcos Ambrose losing a race that will be hard to forget: “This is one you’re not going to forget. These are the ones that are hard to get over, especially when you had the dominant car.”
Petty: “Getting beat is one thing, but when you beat yourself that’s the only person you have to blame. (No. 47 Marcos Ambrose with a) great team, they did a great job today, they rose to the occasion, they’ve just got nothing to show for it.”
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson on the mistake by No. 47 Marcos Ambrose that helped him to his first road course victory: “I thought he broke or something. Unfortunately for him he was the fastest car at the end. I know he’s kicking himself for whatever went wrong, but you have to maintain pace car speed. They said he had to go back behind the nine, I said, ‘ok I’ll take this,’ and I had a great day.”
No. 24 Jeff Gordon on the race and how he handled himself on the racetrack: “Crazy, we had an awesome race car on the long runs and we needed those long runs, we weren’t very good on the short runs. On the restarts you just get used up, guys making it three wide, I’m as guilty of it as anybody. After they started doing it to me I had to do it to others. There are some things I’m not proud of that I did today. Certainly with Martin (Truex, Jr.), I completely messed that up, I’m trying to patch that up. Other things that happened out there were just really hard racing incidents, we fought as hard as we could to bring home the Dupont Chevrolet today.”
No. 24 Jeff Gordon on his accident with No. 56 Martin Truex, Jr. which eliminated Truex from the race: “(Martin Truex, Jr.) should be (pretty upset). Whatever is coming back to me I understand. When you blatantly get into a guy like that, you can say I’m sorry all you want. I had no intention on what was happening with him, I had the No. 42 (Juan Montoya) behind me dive bombing me into the breaking zone and where I made a mistake is trying to outbreak him. I’ll try to explain that to Martin. I feel terrible. Martin races me and a lot of guys clean out here, he had a good run going and I ruined that for him.”
No. 47 Marcos Ambrose on getting penalized after his car would not crank back up during a caution: “I just got told to (save fuel) and I tried to recrank it on that left hand bend on the hill and it didn’t refire. My bad, I just feel really disappointed. I don’t like the call, but it is what it is. I should have had the motor cranked up and it would never have been an issue.”
No. 47 Marcos Ambrose on whether he knew the rule of keeping speed during a caution: “I kept rolling, but it’s a judgment call. I know the rule, I didn’t stop, the car kept rolling, it’s just uphill like 40 degrees. It was just trying to get the motor cranked and it is what it is.”
Toyota/Save Mart 350 Unofficial Results:
  1. No. 48 Jimmie Johnson
  2. No. 7 Robby Gordon
  3. No. 29 Kevin Harvick
  4. No. 9 Kasey Kahne
  5. No. 24 Jeff Gordon
  6. No. 47 Marcos Ambrose
  7. No. 16 Greg Biffle
  8. No. 26 Boris Said
  9. No. 14 Tony Stewart
  10. No. 42 Juan Montoya

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