Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johson: What they're saying at Pocono
TONY STEWART (on Kurt Busch’s actions and how they can affect his career):
FROM AN OWNER’S PERSPECTIVE, GUYS LIKE KURT BUSCH HAVE A LOT OF TALENT. IF A GUY LIKE THAT KEEPS GETTING HIMSELF IN TROUBLE, WILL HE ALWAYS STILL HAVE A RIDE BECAUSE HE’S SO TALENTED, OR WOULD YOU EVER SHY AWAY FROM SOMETHING AS AN OWNER?
“You definitely have to look at that, for sure because you know half of the battle is getting a good partner and sponsor. And if the sponsors are leery, then it puts you in a bad spot as an owner unless you have unlimited funding and can just put in there whoever you want, it’s definitely a huge concern.”
Clint Bowyer (On how to win the pole at Pocono)
What will it take to earn the pole at Pocono?
"I don't know -- something the size of grapefruits I'd say."
TONY STEWART (on faster speeds at Michigan and Pocono):
IS THERE A CONCERN WITH HOW HIGH THE SPEEDS ARE GETTING AT POCONO AND MICHIGAN?
“I don’t think so. The safety of these cars has come a long way and race track safety too with the soft walls. So, you know, I don’t think you are ever really concerned about it until something bad happens. But, I’ve been to race tracks and I’ve seen crashes at 60 mph that hurt people a lot worse than 160 mph. So, I feel pretty confident with the safety package that we have, with both the race track side and with what NASCAR has done with the cars.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR (on shortened Pocono race).
Will the shorter distance make for a better race?
"I would like to think it would. That's kind of the reason they did it was to try and make it better. One thing is for sure, it will be different. The strategy will be different. I'm not sure how the fuel mileage deal plays out with how many pit stops and what our windows are right now, but I'm sure it will definitely be different. Obviously with the track being changed, that's really probably a bigger change than a 100 mile less race. I think still the focus is on how the racing will be on the new pavement more so than how it will be with 400 miles instead of 500."
Greg Biffle (on how his team and Matt Kenseth are outperforming Carl Edwards)
ANY THOUGHTS ON WHY THERE SEEMS TO BE A PERFORMANCE GAP BETWEEN YOU AND MATT AND THE 99? “That’s a good question. They copied the 17s setup for the start of today and weren’t very happy with it and then they came back and looked at what we were doing on different things on our car with air-pressure and other things. It looked like there at the end they jumped up the sheet. They ran a 51.50 in race trim on the second lap on tires, which is pretty fast. That’s the same thing I ran, so I think they got going right at the end of that session in race trim. It’s hard to tell because a lot of guys are in qualifying trim, a lot of guys are in race trim. I don’t know where they’re at on tires. You put new tires on and you slow down, so that makes it difficult to find out where you’re at too because the guy that’s on 20-lap tires and pulls out of the garage, he can lay down a fast lap, but the guy that goes and bolts new tires on is half-a-second slower. It’s sort of backwards. Some guys are in q-trim, some guys are on old tires, new tires, so it’s a little hard to get a handle on it, but I think they’re gaining on it. It’s been that way the whole season. I can’t answer that question. I don’t know why either.”
Jeff Gordon (on Kurt Busch’s suspension)
“I was a little bit surprised. I know what Kurt was saying was out of line. You never know what is going to constitute sitting at home for the weekend. Obviously a lot of these things are happening you have to regulate certain areas of the sport. You would think he had gotten enough wake up calls, but certain things continue. The one thing I will say is that I really support Bob Pockrass in this situation. I don’t think Bob asked anything out of line. I don’t think he provoked anything. I think he was just following up on some things that Kurt really was leading to. I think Bob is one of the premier writers, investigative reporters in the garage area. I think nobody works harder than this guy. The job of the media is to create entertainment for people to watch and read. We as competitors have to understand that side of it. If you don’t like his question don’t answer it. It doesn’t mean that you have to go to the level that Kurt went to in how he responded to him.”
Jimmie Johnson (on his momentum and its effect on the Hendrick teams)
THE ROLL THAT YOU’VE BEEN ON SINCE DARLINGTON, THE MOMENTUM THAT YOU’VE GATHERED, DOES THAT MOMENTUM BLEED OVER TO YOUR TEAMMATES?
“It does go through the organization. When any member of the team runs well or wins, all the other drivers, crew chiefs, and engineers focus on that setup and what in that setup worked for them and what can we apply to our car, or do we need to completely get rid of what we were using and go that route. It stimulates conversation and also direction. It only goes so far. I really think the most useful momentum is the momentum of your own team running well. It just builds confidence in all the people that make decisions, even the guys that go over the wall and have to perform. When you are able to pull into victory lane, it just reinforces everything you do and gives you the confidence that everyone needs. Luckily all four of our Hendrick cars have been running very, very well, so we’ve been reaping the rewards of both forms of momentum.”
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