(It's a busy scene at Kansas Speedway this weekend)
NOTES AND QUOTES
Highlights from Friday’s driver availability at Kansas Speedway in anticipation of Sunday’s inaugural STP 400:
JAMIE McMURRAY AFTER VISITING HIS TORNADO-RAVAGED HOMETOWN OF JOPLIN, MISSOURI
“I woke up at about 1 in the morning and you just think about everything you saw, whether it was home or high school or just the town. And then I really couldn’t quit thinking about the stories that people shared with me about their loss. It’s just hard not to think about it.”
"I thought going there and seeing my childhood home was going to be the most devastating thing for me, and I was trying to mentally prepare for that. In reality, it wasn’t. It was to hear the stories and the fear and the voice of the people that went through the tornado. The fear when they told the story in their voice is something that you can’t explain. … [There’s a story] of a father [who] broke both of his arms holding on to his kid [who died]. Isn’t that crazy? I can’t imagine."
DALE EARNHARDT JR. ON HOW HE'D LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED AND THE CONSTANT COMPARISON TO HIS FATHER
"I don’t know why that’s the case. I guess I don’t want to disappoint anybody. My father raced in this sport for a long time and he worked … with a lot of people I work with today. Being his son, I don’t want to disappoint anybody. I don’t want to say anything that will make anyone ashamed of me. I want to run well, but I want to act right, too. In the end, I just want people to say that I was a good person and I was honest. That I was a good guy to be around and a good sport about things.’’
KEVIN HARVICK ON WHETHER HE CAN KEEP THE “GOLDEN HORSESHOE” HE TOOK FROM JIMMIE JOHNSON
“I hope so. I hope we get to keep it. It is fun to be able to have performance in your race cars. I’ve said this about the No. 48 for a long time. They have had performance in their race cars and when they get in those situations where things are going their way, they are able to capitalize and finally, we’re able to capitalize when we have some breaks on pit road and we have fuel mileage, whatever the case may be. You car still has to be still running decent. When you get in those positions and you are able to capitalize on it, it makes it that much better. I hope we get to keep it until November 21st.”
JOHNSON’S RESPONSE ABOUT THE HORSESHOE
“Yeah, we’ve had some fun with it especially on the Twitter space with the whole horseshoe thing. It was something that Kevin said at California and we had some luck come our way. It started then and I couldn’t let it not come back after his good fortune the last couple of weeks. When I was in the situation having things going my way, sometimes things just go your way and other times they don’t and you’ve got to be running well and you have to be in that top-five window to take advantage of good luck. Last week things turned out well for him and I’m on the joking side of it all. I want my horseshoe back and I know he wants to keep it until after Homestead. Through Twitter there has been a ton of other fans, drivers and even crew members lobbying for their need for the horseshoe. So it’s been a fun week messing around with all of it to say the least.”
RYAN NEWMAN WHEN ASKED IF DRIVING A HIGH PERFORMANCE VEHICLE ON THE ROAD WOULD BE HARD
“Oh, my cars run pretty good. I’m like anybody else, I speed. If you go down the interstate very rarely do you find somebody doing less than the speed limit. But it’s that level of respect and it’s that level of responsibility of where you fit in. You’re going to be there matching everybody else’s speed or a little bit over or a little bit under. When you’re three times the speed limit that is way past crossing the line. I’m not saying that because I’ve gone three times the speed limit but in the right place and the right time, when there’s no cars around or people or roads or anything else.”
MATT KENSETH ON WHETHER THINK CAUTIONS SHOULD BE CALLED DIFFERENTLY WITH 200 THAN WITH TWO TO GO?
“Not necessarily. I think they should just be consistent and I think they have been pretty consistent when it comes to that. It is not easy to call a race. You want the fans to see a green flagged finish but you also have to have the safety of the fans and competitors and people on pit road on your mind at the same time. I know when they came back around there was nobody on the track and all the cars had cleared off there, so I don’t know. Part of the reason to have three green-while-checkered finish attempts is so that if you do have a mess like that on a restart then the fans can still see a green flag finish. There was two of those left, but like I said I didn’t really see it. I was on the tail end of the lead lap and I probably could have gotten a top-10 finish. Everybody is in a different situation and us as drivers are always going to look at it as what helps us the best in that particular race.”
TONY STEWART ON WHETHER SHOULD A RACE BE OFFICIATED DIFFERENTLY EARLY IN THE RACE VERSUS LATE IN THE RACE?
“My job is in the garage, I’m not going to get in that drama and that debate. I think it’s asinine to keep people talking about it. Nothing is going on now that hasn’t gone on for years here and it’s always been fine. Everybody is over-analyzing all this.”
KYLE BUSCH ON THE STATUS OF KIMI RAIKKENON AND HIS TRUCK SERIES PROGRAM
“I’m pretty disappointed that a lot of my quotes from last week got taken out of context and misinterpreted. As I did mention, Kimi Raikkonen’s people have paid in full. The contract terms did change. All we did was change -- they were going to run three to five Truck races. Well, they paid for the Truck races, but then he said, ‘Okay, let’s do a Nationwide race.’ So, we took those funds from the end of the year and put them to that Nationwide race. So, they are paid in full for the races they’ve run. We have not had any discussions on further on down the road what he wants to do. As he mentioned, he’s got Rally and other stuff that he’s worried about. We’re not mad whatsoever. We knew things would change so that’s why contracts are always kind of weirded-out anyway. If they want to come and run a few more Truck races, we’ve got the opportunity to do a couple more Nationwide races, and I’m sure myself and Joe Nemechek can put something together. It’s all up to those guys, really."
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