Quotes of the Week UPDATE
BOB BAHRE, Former NHIS Owner of New Hampshire International Raceway
Bruton Smith would "be foolish to move a race from here. If he wants another one in Las Vegas, he ought to take it from Atlanta (another SMI track). That place never sells out" (Reacting to rumors that Smith will move one of the two NHIS dates to Las Vegas)
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, 4-time consecutive Champ Car World Series Champion, Winner of season finale Gran Premio Tecate race in Mexico City; 2008 Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 driver
"You know, we tried to do the best we could to stop the pressure from building around us, but there was just no way out. Everybody was really emotional today, and I was, too. I had to leave a couple of times before jumping in the McDonald’s car. I couldn't hold it. It was really, really strange just to finally realize that it was going to be the last time. When I closed the visor it was all business. I knew it wasn't going to be easy because the Push to Pass and the fact that it increased the importance of it this weekend, it was going to be super hard. We just had the better car and the team once again just pulled it off. We had a good start and great strategy and great speed, and that's what it's all about. There was no better way to finish off this chapter of my career. I really felt like everybody deserved it in the team, and it was on my side to finish it off because the cards were on the table and played pretty much. It was up to me to make the best use of it."
"Bulls***. I've been dusted a few times this year for doing things that I haven't done, and I'm really disappointed because I tried to do the best I can. Like yesterday when I had to give up my qualifying run, not to interfere with Justin, and trust me, that was the toughest thing I had to do in a long time because the very last thing I wanted to do was to just have a non‑qualifying session like I had. This morning was just the same crap, period. I rolled down the pre‑grid like I had been instructed, I took the stuff from the finish line, yeah, I dropped the clutch on my box, I didn't come to a stop, I didn't do a stop. The problem is Tony [Cotman] doesn't seem to be able to put in writing what he thinks, and that's the real problem." (Commenting after Tony Cotman docked Bourdais and his NHLR teammate, Graham Rahal, 22 seconds from their 70 seconds of P2P allocation for the Gran Premio Tecate race in Mexico City because in the morning warm-up they stopped in their start line boxes and laid down rubber, specifically against the competition bulletin Champ Car had put out earlier in the day.)
FLAVIO BRIATORE, Managing Director, Renault F1 team
“Personally, I wish F1 could be run by Bernie [Ecclestone], supported by Max [Mosley], as a dictatorship,” said Briatore. “That isn’t possible any more, because the F1 world has become so corporate. So we must introduce a majority-rule system with the new Concorde Agreement. At the moment, nothing can be decided without unanimity. You wouldn’t even run the residents’ committee of an apartment block like that, let alone a global $3 billion sport. It’s crazy.”
JENSON BUTTON, F1 driver, Honda Racing F1 Team
"The car was a complete dog and I'm just not interested in racing like this any more," Button said. "I remember after Hungary this year wanting to hit something. I'd won that same race 12 months previously and now I was there sitting in something which was undriveable. I have to start winning and if I don't then I have to be ruthless," he declared. "There's an option in my contract which means we can all sit down and discuss the future at the end of the season. If things don't work out, that's exactly what I'll be doing," he said of the year ahead. "I'm not saying I expect to win the world title, but I do expect a dramatic improvement." (Button has once again threatened to leave the team if there is not a big improvement. He of course makes this threat every year, and every year Honda falls further behind. At this rate they may need to acquire some stolen McLaren or Ferrari design secrets to catch up.)
BRIAN FRANCE, Chairman and CEO, NASCAR
"Some of them [open wheel drivers], I think, will bring audience," France said. "Hornish in the Midwest, for example. Juan Pablo has brought us some fans. But we're not looking for them to bring us an audience, per se; we're looking for them to validate the level of competition. All the guys who are joining us either are champions, or have been champions, in wherever they've raced. They're some of the best in the world. I suppose there would be a point where it works against the grain for us. We're not even close to that. We are an American sport, but we'd also like to be a more diverse sport, too."
JIMMIE JOHNSON, leading contender and defending NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion, Winner of Checker Auto Parts 500, Hendrick Motorsports
"I certainly don't want to be called the next Jeff Gordon. I am Jimmie Johnson. I've always done it my way," he said. "If you look at our driving styles, our setups, look at everything we do, we are on opposite ends. We do have some common interests, we are close friends. But I am not Jeff Gordon, so let's just get that out of the way. Homestead is going to be a stressful weekend. We've got seven more days, I'm just going to try to keep my mind clear and focus on the things we need to do," Johnson said. "This is kind of where we were last year. We just have to go down there and be smart and see how it shakes out." (Johnson took command of the Nextel Cup championship Sunday, winning at Phoenix International Raceway to open a daunting lead over his teammate in the race to the title. It was his 10th win of the season -- most since Gordon won 13 in 1998 -- and barring a collapse in next week's finale, Johnson will become the first driver to win consecutive championships since Gordon did it in 1997 and 1998.)
JEFF GORDON, 2nd in the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup, Hendrick Motorsports
"It's over," Gordon said. "Even if they have trouble and we still win it and we accept the check and the trophy, that's not the way you want to win a championship. We've gotten beat, bottom line. They've done the job to deserve to be champions, and we haven't. It's unfortunate. And right now I'm just frustrated with the way we're running, when we've run well all year long and had gotten ourselves in a great position -- and it just hasn't worked out for us. You go into it trying to figure out if it's your year and if you've got what it takes. I really thought we did, but it just wasn't meant to be this year. Jimmie's a great driver. He's driving the wheels off of it. But those guys are doing everything together -- and that's why they're winning races and why they're where they are in points right now. Those guys have flat-out killed everybody," Gordon said of Johnson's No. 48 team. "You've got to give credit where credit is due, and those guys deserve a lot of credit. We didn't step up and win the races when we needed to. We gave them a run for a while, but now we have to figure out how to get the best finish we can at Homestead and go into the off-season on a positive note. We've got to go to Homestead and try to end the season with our heads held up high and do something to take us into the off-season," Gordon said. "We've done the consistency thing and we've gotten beat. So obviously we've got to figure a way to get the performance up, if we're going to compete with these guys in the future. I really thought the average finish that we have would do it, and it hasn't -- because those guys have been that spectacular."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE and FRANKIE MUNOZ, Champ Car Atlantic Championship series drivers
“You know, I figured I made more money this year from my work in TV than racing,” said Hinchcliffe. “Me too,” replied Munoz. (Overheard in the Pacific Coast Motorsports hospitality unit in Mexico City where Atlantic driver/color commentator for Champ Car international television feed James Hinchcliffe and Atlantic driver/star of television show Malcolm in the Middle Frankie Munoz lunched.)