Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A year in NASCAR quotes

NASCAR drivers often leave us with some memorable quotes through a season, so strolling down memory lane, we pulled together a list of our favorites (in no particular order).

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
Tony Stewart has a gift of providing some great quotes throughout the season. Early in the Chase (at Chicagoland), Stewart said, "We got rid of some dead weight earlier this week, so it's made it a lot easier. It's been a big weight lifted off our shoulders." Darian Grubb’s response to that was also shocking, "Maybe he's talking about (firing) me and I just don't know it yet." Weeks later, Grubb was informed that he would not return as the crew chief for Stewart in 2012.

Heading into Homestead, Tony Stewart was confident; he knew he was going to win. Stewart was asked during the Chase title contenders' press conference: if it came down to him and Carl Edwards on the last lap, would he take action? Stewart said this: “I'd wreck my mom to win a championship. I'd wreck your mom to win a championship!”
Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
During the Chase, Stewart was asked if he enjoyed "poking" Carl Edwards. Stewart’s reply showcased his sense of humor: "I don't poke Carl. I've made it real clear. I like women."


During the season finale at Homestead, “Smoke” was faced with some challenges but his attitude remained in check. "They're going to feel like s*** after we kick their a** after this." A short time later he went on to say, "They [Edwards' team] are going to really feel worse when we've been to the back twice."


Showing a new level of class and putting a face to victory in defeat, Carl Edwards said during his post-race press conference at Homestead, “I told my wife, 'If I can't win this thing, I'm gonna be the best loser NASCAR has ever had.'"


Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
Racing throughout the season created many memorable quotes. Dale Earnhardt Jr. thought it was snowing in Charlotte due to the trash flying in air. “I think it's snowing out here,” he said over his radio. When asked to start and park, Jennifer Jo Cobb took a stand. "I'm not a start-and-park driver. I'm here to race,” said Cobb, igniting a controversy against start-and-park drivers. Denny Hamlin was hung out to dry at Talladega, with no dance partner in sight. His take: "I couldn't find a date for the prom ... so I just hit on everyone's mom!" Finishing in the top 10, Hamlin’s speed method proved to work. While racing at Daytona, Danica Patrick took time to quote "Talladega Nights": “How does that movie go, slingshot engaged!”


Although each driver is competing for themselves, racing at Talladega and Daytona created the tandem and teamwork was in play. Working together for the win was the Hendrick Motorsports tandem of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson. Via their in-car radio, Earnhardt Jr. said to Johnson, “I'm going to push you like hell, no matter what." Johnson was ready and waiting to head to the front: "10-4 man, let's do it." After winning, Johnson offered up his prizes to Earnhardt Jr.: "Take the damn flag. I'll give you the trophy, too." Politely, Earnhardt declined: “No, I don't want the trophy. I'll take the flag, though."


And of course, there are those quotes that follow on-track incidents and are often anger-invoked. After an incident with Juan Pablo Montoya at Atlanta, Clint Bowyer simply said, "You can’t race around the jackass!” Martin Truex Jr. was furious at his pit crew in Richmond after several bad pit stops. "You're all f**king fired! Every g**d**n one of ya!" Following the race, most of the pit crew was replaced, so that threat was followed through. The now infamous Ron Hornaday vs. Kyle Busch crash at Texas brought this quote from Hornaday: “He’s such a candy-ass, he won’t stay around to get a whooping like he’s supposed to get." On the opposite end, Kyle Busch had an accident with Elliott Sadler during the Bristol NCWTS race. During his interview afterward, Busch said, "Yeah, sure he did [do it on purpose]. Where's his paycheck come from?" (Elliott Sadler was not driving for Kevin Harvick Inc. in that race; he was driving for Joe Denette Motorsports.) After Brian Vickers and Tony Stewart had a dust-up at Sonoma, Stewart said, “If they want to block, that's what is going to happen to them every time for the rest of my career." Vickers offered this, “It's unfortunate. He made his bed at that moment, and he had to sleep in it." Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch let the words fly after Richmond, though Busch did most of the talking after several on-track incidents. "I know we're in his head,” Busch said, though he later recanted that statement. "He's got to learn how to race,” said Busch as he spouted off. Busch went as far as saying Johnson is the “five-time chump." Johnson took the high road, not exchanging verbal jabs but simply saying, "I'm sure I'll go find him and talk to him and he'll run his mouth.”


Not limited to the Cup Series, one of the most memorable quotes actually came in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. After leading the race and restarting with just two laps to go, Johnny Sauter was black-flagged for crossing lanes before the start/finish line. During his interview, he simply said, “God Bless America!” Best line ever! No swearing, no blaming anyone - just patriotic pride. Sauter also had another quote that stuck out to us. During the season finale Ford 200, rain hampered the race. Suddenly Sauter screams, “IT’S RAINING!” NASCAR threw the red flag and the race ended; Sauter won and was just 6 points short in the championship points battle. While beatin' and bangin' with James Buescher, Kevin Harvick had an internal dialogue which included this: "Don’t be Kyle Busch. Don’t be Kyle Busch."


Social media forums such as Twitter have provided us some great insight into the drivers this season. Jimmie Johnson took to Twitter in May with a public plea. “Hey Kevin Harvick, can I have my horseshoe back? Please?” DeLana Harvick replied, “oh come on, can't he keep it for just a little while longer? :)”  And after his extremely hard wreck at Charlotte, Johnson once again took to his Twitter page, simply saying, "Hello soreness..."


And call this the "oops" moment of the season. Chad Knaus was caught on RaceBuddy during Talladega saying, "If we win this race, you have to crack the back of the car. Got it?" Knaus was worried about the bump drafting knocking the car out of alignment if they won the race. NASCAR spoke to Knaus afterwards and for the remainder of the season they inspected the No. 48 at random.


The death of IndyCar star Dan Wheldon had a tremendous impact on the motorsports community this season. Danica Patrick drove in IndyCar with Wheldon and honored him with a tribute paint scheme at Texas Motor Speedway. “It feels comforting in a way, to be honest. I kind of feel like I have a little angel in a way,” said Patrick, speaking about her tribute car.


The most memorable quote for many was simply, “Are you kidding me?!” uttered by Trevor Bayne as he won the Daytona 500. The jubilation in his voice made you smile and his Cinderella story swept the nation.


With just 89 days until Daytona, we certainly hope for another celebratory line like that once again.

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