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©2000 Dwight Drum…Safety Net Plus, Inc.

 Racer Quotes

© 2000-2007 Dwight Drum
    Story by Dwight Drum

Please enjoy the words from great racers, owners and crew chiefs displayed without images so that the words are the focus and not an afterthought. All quotes were acquired by 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.

In the past the public hasn't always kept pace with the race. In the present, more choose to cheer the competition. We simply choose to select and display, fast thoughts. We hope you read and acquire, deep speed.

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Driver Thoughts

“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.

"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

"It's just all about opportunities, knocking doors down and see who answers."
Denny Hamlin when asked about giving advice to those who want to be race car drivers.

"If you think you've stopped learning, you're going to get lapped."
Robby Gordon was fast to answer if motorsports drivers ever stop learning.

"Way too much thinking for me."
Kevin Harvick when asked: Looking at how the Chase has sort of played out here and you're sort of talking about how maybe luck is going to play a big factor into it. Is it possible that you could sort of take maybe that factor out of it by points racing, take the luck factor out of it by points racing, and conceivably if you're points racing you'd probably be leading the Chase right now? Again, it might be easier said than done, so I'm wondering your take on that.

"For us there is no difference between second and tenth, it's win or nothing."
Denny Hamlin explains his mind-set going into the Chase for the Championship as a rookie.

"Hopefully we can bring the car home with more pieces than the last time."
Former Formula 1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya talking about learning to race stock cars and about the Iowa track where he crashed in an ARCA RE/MAX event.

"I was driving the car around the high groove and all of a sudden the wall jumped out and slapped the side of the car."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. talking about a SAFER barrier at Talladega that wasn't aligned with the track all the way around… "So, it kind of jumped out and grabbed me."

"I think we're our biggest competition. I think the racetrack's the biggest competition. If we go and race the racetrack and try to go around the racetrack faster than our competition, then that's the goal. I look at it as a competition between us and the racetrack because it's all about lap time."
Jeff Burton when asked who was his toughest competition.

I'm a straightaway guy - I only go around corners if I'm on fire, trust me. I love what I do, but I love all motorsports - Indy Car, Formula, all of that. But drag racing is my love.
John Force when asked if you would consider driving and owning in NASCAR.

"You can go from having all your stuff together and really feeling good about yourself to really figuring you can't run a lick."
Jeff Burton when asked if he had a veteran edge.

"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 to

"Speed is relative. Does it feel fast going 70 miles per hour down an eight lane highway? No, probably not, but I bet it does if you are going down some single lane dirt road. It’s the same in a race car. It depends on the track."
Kyle Petty when asked about feling speed in race cars.

"The totem pole on our team is horizontal. It's not vertical. Everybody is on the same pole at the same time. Everyone is on the same level. Nobody is larger than the team."
Chip Ganassi about expanding his NASCAR team to three cars.

It's a high-speed, high-banked soup bowl. It's a monster. It's Bristol's Big Brother."
Kurt Busch about the "Monster Mile" at Dover International Speedway.

"It's go time. We need to score points, a lot of points, every race."
Jimmie Johnson about having a bad start in the Chase for the Championship

"The racing is no different if it is day or night except you see the lights and the sparks. You run the race the same. The day or night doesn't really affect the race."
Ken Schrader when asked about night races.

"Over the years I have raced on just about every type of surface, including an occasional unplanned excursion on grass, as well as a few other tracks that might make some of today's drivers reconsider their career choice. I've seen it all and done it all, with about the only thing I haven't raced on is mud."
Warren "The Professor" Johnson about track experience in his long drag racing career.

You can't buy or create it. It's just something that you have."
Jimmie Johnson. When asked about NASCAR drivers need to adapt and learn on the NEXTEL Cup level.

They can look inside themselves and say, look, maybe I'm doing something wrong here and fix it.”
Carl Edwards when talking traits in good drivers.

“If you do this long enough, you get some pretty thick skin. Everybody has to realize that we’re going to be doing this for a long time and you have to appreciate today and tomorrow. "
Doug Yates responding to the loss of Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler at Robert Yates Racing in season 2006.

"Well, dad was really aggressive, and Jeff wasn’t very aggressive. It seems like he’s getting more aggressive as he’s getting older. Jeff is really, really smooth, where dad was sort of barbaric with the race car. They were very different in their driving styles.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. when asked: How do you compare Jeff Gordon and your dad as race car drivers?

I always have fun. I don’t really go without fun too long.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. When asked, are you having more fun this year?

“I think any driver that ever gets closed-minded into thinking ‘This is the way it worked last year, I think this is the way we have to keep doing it.’ I think they'll be left behind and shuffle to the back.”
NASCAR driver Scott Riggs when asked if a driver ever quits learning.

"I don't care how good you are, you have to have that feeling in your gut that you want to win every week when you go out there.”
Tony Stewart, two-time NASCAR champion, when asked about common traits of champions.

“Your stomach goes up in your throat. But you have to drive the roller coaster.”
Angelle Sampey, NHRA drag racer, describing what it's like to ride a Pro Stock Motorcycle at 190 mph.

"The most intense thing you do. Whatever makes you see stars. Whatever trips your trigger and makes you forget anything else that’s going on in your life. The ultimate roller coaster ride. "
Clay Millican,Top Fuel Dragster driver, describing what it feels like to race at 330 mph.

“I have to remind myself to breath. I have to remind myself to brake. I’m trying to see. I’m trying to hear. I not only smell it, but I’m feeling it. As it starts to shake, I’ve got to get off the throttle. I use all my senses in four and a half seconds.”
Hillary Will, Top Fuel Dragster driver, describing what it feels like to race at 330 mph.

“Your brain has never really caught up to what you are doing.”
Funny Car drag racer Ron Capps describing a typical 325 mph run.

"I do it because I love it. Whether I win or not, it motivates me to win again. When I lose it motivates me to win. ”
John Force, 13-time NHRA champion, after saying that winning isn't everything.

I'm not a robot; I have a personality and I have emotions. I have a humorous side to me and an angry side to me."
Jeff Gordon when asked about showing anger at the racetrack.

After season 2005:

“I’m kind of quiet but when I put my helmet on, it’s like you flip a switch. I’m ready to go.”
Martin Truex Jr. when asked about the “way calm” part of his personality.

“The madder I get, the faster I go.”
Martin Truex Jr. when asked about what goes on inside him during a race.

“Hopefully the trees wouldn’t hurt me.”
Martin Truex Jr. when asked hypothetically about being taken to a quiet forest where the trees don't know him.

"The wall always wins."
Boris Said talking about any wall you hit in motorsports.

"Today races are won with what you bring to the track. You have to unload -- when you pull that gun out of that trailer, that thing has got to be loaded with some heavy firing ammunition and it's got to be ready to go. And if it's not, you can't fix it at the racetrack anymore."
Jeff Burton about state-of-the-art environment that has developed in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing.

"I’m just trying not to get run over. That’s number one. Number two is you gotta catch the guy in front of ya.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. talks about racing at Bristol Motor Speedway

“I want to race and win as much as I want to breath.”
NHRA POWERade three-time Pro Stock Bike drag racing champion Angelle when asked to describe the drive within her.

“The thrill of racing and driving the car out of control with no police chasing you. ”
NASCAR Driver Boris Said when asked what he like best about his job.

For me, there is no such thing as an offseason… thankfully. We’ll continue to run the dirt car whenever we get the chance, and the thing about it is: once the Nextel Cup season is over, it kind of frees up your weekends. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Ken Schrader, NASCAR driver and (any track-any where-any time-driver) comments about the off season for rest.

Each week I just try to focus on a top-10 finish. It’s hard, and I try not to worry about where anybody else is on the track. You just get what you can get.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. about winning a race in the NASCAR Nextel series.

You’ve got to be on the edge and have a little horseshoe with you every now and then.”
NHRA POWERade Funny Car driver Gary Scelzi when Gary Larsen asked him the Zoomster question: Your speed records can’t be all luck. What has contributed to your consistency?

“I first raced in 1976." With tongue in cheek he added, “I started last and finished second. That early success was bad because it made me think I could do what I’m doing now.”
Andy Belmont, ARCA and NASCAR driver about his start in racing.

"To win at Bristol, let alone sweep races at Bristol, it’s awesome. I came to a lot of races here when my dad drove them. He made this place magical if you're an Earnhardt fan, and me being one of 'em. I might not have done it like he did it, but that was pretty damn close. He had some great races here. That's why this place is so magical to me. Good Lord. What a great day!"
Dale Earnhardt Jr. about winning at Bristol:

"Other than the sun not being on the track, the Pro Stock cars, that don't have the luxury of the liquid dynamite or belt-driven tunnel ram that the fuel cars enjoy, will have to make the best of whatever air is there.
Warren Johnson, NHRA Pro Stock car legend speaks again.

“I’m ill as a hornet if I don’t run well.”
Bobby Hamilton when asked by Debbie at about the aging of his competitive spirit.

"If we can send a guy to the moon we can certainly go a quarter of a mile and not get hurt."
Don Prudhomme's statement about drag racing teams keeping up with safer composites in racing tires.

"Funny Car racing at night? There's nothing more spectacular," Force enthused. "The fans love it, but it's fun in the car, too. Big ol' header flames shootin' up taller than the car. It's a rush. You don't need fireworks. We bring our own."
John Force describing NHRA POWERade drag racing at night.

"I'm still playing Hot Wheels only now mine's a 2,400-pound Mustang."
Eric Medlen, Funny car driver for John Force Racing, thinking about his youth and his opportunity to drive in the NHRA POWERade series.

"Us winning on fuel mileage is about as likely to happen as a blizzard in the Bahamas."
Rusty Wallace on the prospect of winning a race on fuel mileage.

"I don't think the DuPont crew would mind if they had to push the car to Victory Lane again."
Jeff Gordon about running out of fuel after winning a race.

"The heat of battle is serenity. That racecar is serenity. It's just just another day at the office. That's my dream in life, but as soon as they give you that trophy the gut-ache starts again."
John Force... As told to in a one on one interview.

"I don't have a job. I get paid to play."
< Andy Belmont... As told to in a one on one interview./p>

"If it doesn't hurt, it wasn't a big deal."
Michael Waltrip talking about his buddy Kenny Schrader's hard hit and high flames in a crash that didn't produce serious injuries.

"I'm just glad to have a lane."
When Kurt Johnson was told he didn't have lane choice.

"I'm going after Garlits' record. He won the first 50 years. I'm going to win the next 50 years!"
John Force adding his unrelated but great thoughts to one of Dwight's questions.

"You drop the ball once in awhile."
Ray Evernham (Owner Everham Motorsports) When Zoomster asked… How do you balance the juggling of drivers, sponsors, and crew for your NASCAR team?

"You look in all directions."
Mike Ford (Crew chief for Bill Elliot) When Zoomster asked Do you look back for more data or do you look ahead for more results?

"I don't think a switch ever cuts on"

When Debbie Speicher asked NASCAR driver Elliot Sadler…When did you realize you could be a race car driver?

"It's hard work. There are no shortcuts, unless you're rich."
Tommie Johnson Jr. , Funny Car drag racer when asked if he could describe the drive within him?

"There's a shaft of light and then there's the shaft."
Fred Hahn, Summit Racing Pro Mod drag racing champion

When asked… sometimes a shaft of sunlight brightens a path. Has this kind of brightness ever happened to you along the way?

"It is amazing what can be accomplished when nobody cares about who gets the credit."
--Robert Yates

"A lot of racers I know want the armored car to back up to the shop, but they forget you've got to earn what's in the truck."
Andy Belmont when Dwight asked him about obtaining sponsorships for his ARCA racing team.

"If you wake up every morning not wanting to learn something you might as well quit this business."
Tommy Baldwin, Jr.... when asked by Zoomster if the decision making process of a crew chief is an ongoing learning experience?

It's like having a big tractor sitting on top of your shoulder."
Robbie Loomis, Crew chief for Jeff Gordon. When Zoomster asked ...Can you describe what it feels like to be up on the big box, making pit calls, or does it go so fast that you don't feel it?

"It depends on what you hit."
Jimmie Johnson when Dwight at Zoomster asked.. What hurts most after a race?

"No such thing as bad win or a good loss."
Warren Johnson as told to Dwight during his Signature Profile Interview.

"It's a constant thing. If we were perfect why would we ever make a change during a race."
NASCAR Crew Chief James Ince about handling and tire adjustments during a race

"This is the first race of the rest of the season. Daytona is a great place to start the second half of each year's kind of where you go to 'renew' yourself."
Jeremy Mayfield talking about heading into Daytona for the Pepsi 400.

"I guess I'd rather be lucky than good."
Mark Martin…speaking about racing and fortuitous rain delays.

"Stock cars, Indy cars, school buses-and that would be a heck of a place for a school bus race-no matter what they run there, it's going to be big. Everybody's heard of Indy."
Kyle Petty describing Indianapolis.

"I'm not a big believer in the supernatural, but if there's any place on earth that has ghosts, it's Darlington."
John Andretti…describing the difficult egg-shape track, Darlington Raceway, South Carolina

"Anger Management."
Dale Earnhardt …describing the key to winning at the short .533 mile track, Bristol Motor Speedway, Tennessee.


"If you think, you lose."
John Force…describing the electronic Christmas tree in NHRA drag racing.

"Don't ever bet on a drag race."
Don 'the snake' Prudhomme… when asked about a bad run that didn't work out as planned.

"After all, you wouldn't take a mule to the Kentucky Derby."
Warren Johnson…when asked about his spare race motors. He added. "We have three primary race motors. It's reassuring to have a supply of spares as long as they are all competitive."


"It's a kind of a verbal agreement. He tells me what to do, and I do it."
Dale Earnhardt, jr …speaking of the driver/ owner relationship and no formal contract with Dale Earnhardt Sr.

"Once you try to do more than your equipment is capable of doing you get yourself in trouble and you start wrecking."
Dale Jarrett…speaking about driving and the mechanics of a race car.

"I felt like I got drop-kicked a few times."
Scott Pruett …describing his first short-track race at Martinsville, Virginia.


"Our motto is speed, muscle and attitude. Muscle cars, muscle guys, and attitude."
Jerry Toliver …describing the WWF drag racing team.

"If you have a goal or dream, go for it. Do everything to get there before life passes you by."
George Marnell…when asked for additional comments.

"There's two ways to be successful; with youth and enthusiasm or age and treachery."
Warren Johnson…speaking about his good luck and son Kurt Johnson's bad luck when they had to race each other.

"We've made plenty of deposits into the luck bank, now it's time for a withdrawal."
Team Winston Top Fuel Driver Gary Scelzi…speaking about luck.

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