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RACER QUOTES   Story and photos by Dwight Drum
Web work by Larsen & Drum

Enjoy the words from great racers, owners and crew chiefs displayed without numerous images so that their words are the focus. All quotes were acquired by RaceTake.com (formerly Zoomster.com) through face-to-face interviews, teleconference questioning, and motorsports press releases.

Answers selected represent the best thoughts of those who dare to push a motor to ultimate speed within the confines of a racetrack. It's no mystery that racers apply gray matter to asphalt and concrete routinely. Fast words and high-speed brains have always been common to racing.

Fast thoughts from racers often describe the best about deep speed. The following words are just a few caught when wheels stopped and minds kept rolling.

Driver Thoughts
"It was such a dramatic escalator that I was on. It was at 90 degrees. I was going straight up like a rocket ship into space. And I was thrown in with the sharks. They said sink or swim in this Cup deal."
Kurt Busch explaining timeline, how he went from Late Models to Craftsman Trucks to Sprint Cup Series.

“We’d do it for free if we could get somebody to cover our house payments.”
Top Fuel racer Larry Dixon explaining the depth of love that many drivers have for the sport of drag racing.

"Staying after it is hard to do in this sport, as we all see the changing face of this sport. I think for us, it's a humble approach to really being hungry and getting after it, and feeling like someone is always breathing down your neck."
Coach and owner Joe Gibbs explaining what it takes to stay on top in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

"We have to get a new alarm clock for the driver."
Pro Stock drag racer Warren Johnson talking about one of two things he needs to turn a season around. The other is consistency.

"It's better sometimes to be lucky than good."
Kurt Busch after rain helped him win his first race in 2008.

"I have to win races. It's not even an option."
"I think I like all of the pressure. I feel weird without it."
Joey Logano's take on winning and pressure.

“You have to dedicate your life. When you do things like Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt to where you dominated; you’ve got to give up something. Because you’ve got to live every day like an addiction."
John Force defining the drive he needs to do therapy and prepare to win again.

"It's all about yourself. It's about you not allowing yourself to mess it up."
Jeff Gordon about hot streaks in racing.

We got a fire in us but it ain't an inferno." Tony Eury Jr. talking about the importance of life outside racing.

"If I was running as good as Kyle is right now, I would be racing snowmobiles somewhere on my off days."
Clint Bowyer about Kyle Busch's hectic racing schedule.

"I'd rather drive my Funny Car at 300 miles per hour, without a parachute, than sing karaoke."
Ashley Force admitting to being more shy than bold (In some ways).

"Faster, quicker, faster -- until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death -- or you run out of money."
Ian Turboville, British Nitro Harley-Davidson drag racer, describing the need and the cost of speed for his motorcycle named "Mr. Spokehead".

“A week is a long time around here." Carl Edwards joking about the length of his new contract, but added. "It's multi-year."

"I'll be honest with you, when that parachute hits I just kind of let the harnesses do their thing. That's probably the greatest feeling in drag racing. It feels like it's trying to strain 200 pounds of driver through those seven way belts."
Jack Beckman describes an abrupt slow down after 330 mph.

"It's just about getting out there and getting my hands dirty."
Kyle Busch explaining his racing in Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Trucks.

"It's not supposed to be easy. It's not supposed to be driving down the interstate."
Carl Edwards explaining that in racing some cars are going to be faster.

"Basically, when you hit the throttle it accelerates to at least 100 mph and it gains another 200 mph in four seconds."
Tony Schumacher about a Top Fuel launch.

"You can compute, work the post machine and microscope the car until your tools bleed, but nothing, absolutely nothing, is as valuable as track time."
H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler about having an open test at Lowe's Motor Speedway

"I've been in this since 89. When we went from V-8s to V-6s, everybody jumped up and down. When we went from V-6s to V-8s, everybody jumped up and down again. Only the strong survive. If you're weak in this sport, you get kicked to the curb."
Kenny Wallace talking about changes in NASCAR Series over the years.

"You don't have time to doubt yourself."
Top Fuel Dragster driver Hillary Will talking about confidence.

"It's just a lot easier just to be kind of plain-Jane and know that when you leave the track Sunday night you don't have to go to work Monday and Tuesday putting out fires."
Tony Stewart talking about making comments that people don't like.

"When I first started you could get away with saying things working for my daddy. My job now is to stay out of Rick's office as much as I can."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. talking about working for an organization that his father didn't build.

"A great race car driver in a bad car doesn't make great results. A great car and a bad race car driver doesn't make great results. You have to have both. It's the combination of driver and car."
Jeff Burton defining a winning NASCAR driver.

"You hate to crush that."
Anthony Lazzaro, Grand-Am Rolex Series Autometrics Motorsports, driver talking about crashing a car and spoiling the hard work of team members.

"The longer you race the more you realize a lot of it is out of your control."
Scott Wimmer concluding what happens to drivers as they get more experience.

"I do the rookie meetings and I always tell these guys that the Lajoie seats, safer barriers, Hans devices - that's just made brave young kids - more stupid. They feel like they are invincible."
Andy Belmont warning all about the limits of safety features.

“The car pulled in half and I’ve never seen that, ever. A tire came off the car just as I put the parachutes out and it literally pulled the car apart. I just feel so helpless and vulnerable. I’ve been on fire from here to Australia. I’ve had some burns, but I’ve gotten out of every crash and never had a scratch. I’ve never had a broken bone (before) so this is all new to me.”
John Force describing a crash that broke his leg and hand in Dallas 2007

"I do the rookie meetings and I always tell these guys that the Lajoie seats, safer barriers, Hans devices - that's just made brave young kids - more stupid. They feel like they are invincible."
Andy Belmont warning all about the limits of safety features.

"I think we have gotten through those brain dead moments on both our parts. Now we just love to race one another hard and clean."
Jeff Gordon describing racing with Tony Stewart during a joint press conference.

"It's more of a chess game. You're thinking three laps down the road where you can be and how to make the car do what you want it to in the draft with the other guys."
Scott Speed describing the how NASCAR differs from Formula 1.

"It's still the best job in the world either way."
David Reutimann talking about the toughness of preparing physically and mentally for racing.

"It keeps the engine noise going."
Andy Hillenburg talking about his recent purchase of Rockingham Speedway and the fact that NASCAR teams are testing there.

"You've got to out-engineer, out-think, and out-run people."
Jimmie Johnson expalining what a team has to do be competitive in NASCAR.

"It's like playing poker. We've had good cards all along, we just didn't know how to bet them."
Kurt Busch commenting on the arrival and contribution of crew chief Pat Tryson.

"They are going to throw a green flag and a checkered flag with or without me. That's just the way the sport is."
Jason Keller talking about losing a seat or keeping a seat in NASCAR.

"If you could turn the clock back and you're younger you'd lose all that experience you gained. I'd much rather have the experience verses the youth right now."
Veteran Driver David Green talking about youth and experience in racing.

“If I knew that we’d win the championship every year. There’s no blueprint. Every year is kind of like a snowflake – they’re all different."
Tony Stewart when asked what will it take to win another championship.

"With wins come momentum."
Jeff Gordon talking about winning.

“My foot said go before my brain did.”
Top Fuel drag racer J.R. Todd explaining a red light foul during quarterfinals at Sonoma.

"The right place at the right time happens if you let people know that you are there."
Max Papis explaining how a driver moves up to professional levels.

"Winning cures all problems."
Kevin Harvick when asked about winning after of drought of losing.

"You had life by the tail and didn't know it."
Kyle Petty talking about the differnece between racing today as a driver/owner and racing a decade ago for the Felix Sebates team.

"We just need some luck, however I can get that. I don't know. There's not a store where you can go buy that."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. describing what his team needs the the most.

"There's bigger things in life that I've faced. So, this is only a little stone. We've been climbing mountains lately."
John Force explaining not qualifying for the 16 car starting lineup after 395 consecutive race day starts. The miss came when John Force Racing returned to action after team member Eric Medlen's death.

"I go race to race to race, and that's how I've always done it. I focus as much as I can on the upcoming weekend and when we leave, I start focusing on the next race. Maybe I have a one-track mind." Jeff Gordon talking about his approach to races.

"Well, streaks come together and we can't explain why it goes on or what causes it. But we certainly don't want to change anything in case it's something that we don't notice. But we show up every week and do all that we can to win and put ourselves in position to win and sometimes things just click for a month or two."
Jimmie Johnson explaining winning streaks.

"Anything can happen in this sport. We've seen teams dominate one year and just can't hit their tail the next year."
Denny Hamlin talking about momentum year to year in NASCAR racing.

"It's going to be different kind of equipment, different rules. I don't care what year it's in. I think if you're a race driver, you're a race driver."
A.J. Foyt when asked if drivers have changed in his five decades of racing cars.

"The butterflies start going when the national anthem stops playing."
Helio Castroneves describing a routine race day.

"You have to have a good blend of aggression and patience."
Danica Patrick defining a champion race car driver.

"The level of competition, modern day, the bar is getting raised so high that I think the best way to explain it is we're on 'kill' now more. You've got to be on your game from the time you come off the truck." Andy Belmont describing routine racing hurdles.

"When I think of the pace that I drove my first race, everything was happening a million miles an hour. Now when I get in the car everything happens so much slower."
Dan Wheldon, IndyCar champion, explaining how experience changes a driver.

"I think the most I ever raced for on dirt was $10,000. I can buy some cool toys and have a lot of fun with a million bucks!”
Clint Bowyer talking about the million dollar prize in the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge

"I thrive on stress. I always say I give heart attacks, I don't get them."
John Force talking about racers handling stress.

"You like to see that positive aspect of stuff. We like to always be optimistic about this. I mean we want to go out there and rip their throats out, but we like to be nice about doing it."
Jack Beckman, NHRA Funny Car driver, when asked what words he likes to hear most.

"Hey, I woke up the green side of the dirt, so it's a good day."
Andy Belmont talking about one of the first days of the 2007 ARCA RE/MAX racing season

"Confidence is a big part of any sport, but as far as sports psycholgy, I met with one last year before the season, and hell I just felt stupid after that, so I try to stay out of there."
Clint Bowyer laughs when he talks about sports psychology

"My father could look straight ahead but concentrate on something on the very edge of his vision, almost nearly behind him."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. explaining abilities of champions.

Addtional Racer Quotes   © 2000-2009 Dwight Drum

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