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DATE News (chronologically)
06/17/08
racing news
Quotes of the week  UPDATE #2 A quote from Tony Stewart has been added.

"Ask Mike Helton -- I don't know what we're allowed to say and what we're not. I'm just thankful we're allowed to be here and be a part of this. It's just a privilege for us to be here and, according to Friday, we've all got it a lot better than a lot of us think. We're not allowed to have opinions now. We've all got it made here. We've all got it great. At least that is what we've all been told." (After Tony Stewart finished fifth in Sunday's race at Michigan, he was upset with several things, including how bad his car performed in the race and how Earnhardt Jr. was allowed to pass the pace car several times during the final caution period. But when asked how he felt after the race, Stewart tweaked Helton and NASCAR with his comments.) Tony Stewart, NASCAR driver, Joe Gibbs Racing

06/16/08 "We're in a world -- 2008 -- the first time a woman ever came close to getting the nomination for the presidency," he said. "And a black man did. [With that in mind,] it would probably behoove NASCAR to really be into diversity. We know that America is changing, but we have to change all the important institutions within America for us to have respect not only for ourselves, but for other people to have respect for us. And we have to do it with a real eye toward doing the right thing.

"You know, when people have already said to me and to her: Well, you probably knew what you were getting into when you went to NASCAR; you have to have thick skin and all of that. And you know what my response to that is? No and No. You don't have to have thick skin when someone's calling you 'Nappy-headed Mo.' You don't have to have thick skin when someone says, 'You're on colored people's time.' OK, you don't have to have thick skin when someone pulls their pants down and shows you their penis. You don't have to have thick skin. What you have to do is tell these people that are doing these outrageous things -- can you imagine that one of these officials said to her that [his buddy's daddy] is high in the KKK and he wanted her to know that. And I don't believe that she has to have thick skin. I believe they have to abide by the law.

"I'm a lawyer approximately 31 years; this case will not change my life. But I want to change the culture at NASCAR. And so does my client. You can't just hire women or people of color and not change the culture. You just can't get Magic Johnson and put his name to [NASCAR's Diversity Programs] and say you're diversified. You can't get one black woman, give her a job, and say you're diversified. You can't have five black officials out of 200 and say you're diversified. It doesn't make sense." Benedict Morelli, the lawyer for Mauricia Grant in the $225 million discrimination lawsuit against NASCAR

06/16/08 "The 2008 Le Mans 24 Hour race will become part of history as a unique race. It was a tense race for the whole duration of 24 hours. We didn’t enter the race as the favorite, but our success was the result of good performances and a faultless showing – and we achieved that against strong opponent. I think you couldn’t imagine a better race for the spectators. Audi once again showed that its slogan Vorsprung durch Technik [translation: Advancement through Technology] is true." Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport

"Wow! What a race. This was the extension of Allan (McNish), Dindo (Capello) and myself from last year. We just grew into the race getting better and more confident all the time. We forgot all that talking that we can’t win together or can’t win with the ‘yellow’ car. Thanks to Audi! They trust in us. They prepared us a race car which we could race and really push hard through 24 hours to win against great opposition from Peugeot. We did a perfect race thanks to our engineer Howden (Haynes) and all the people in the background including Ralf Jüttner and Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. They all made the right calls in terms of the right tire choices during this crazy showers. Allan deserved to finally win Le Mans with Audi. Dindo is a fantastic Italian gentleman and very fast. I hope we can do many more Le Mans races together." Tom Kristensen, LMES driver, Audi Motorsport

"My congratulations go to Audi. We were here as challengers, and I think we gave them a good run for their money. It was a thrilling duel and we will be back next year to fight again. We go away with much that was positive, too. We came exceedingly close to pulling off an exploit and I believe we produced a first class overall performance. It was towards the end of the night that we lost all chance of winning but we managed to finish hard on the heels of a very worthy opponent. That's something I won't forget in a long time. The drivers and all the technical squad did a great job and we all have the motivation to win. We establish objectives for ourselves; that's how we progress." Michel Barge, Director, Peugeot Sport

“No comparison [24 Hours of LeMans vs. Formula 1].  You have to have phenomenal reliability, but also the drivers play such a key role, primarily in not falling off.  It's rarely a race that's raced from beginning to end. You don't race for 24 hours; you compete for 24 hours, and it requires a different strategy.  There's no race. They all suddenly realize that survival is the important thing. It is counter to the spirit of Formula 1; you very rarely slow down in Formula 1.”  Ron Dennis, F1 Team Principal, McLaren

"With the car we have right now there is no stopping us.  This will make no difference.  It hasn't knocked me confidence wise.  Personally, I think the rule is silly. We are in a race.  How can you red light at the end of the pit lane?  But that's the rule and I accept it. Going forward the mood is strong.  The fact is we destroyed everyone in Canada.  I'm really looking forward to the next race in Magny-Cours.  I start 10 places back in the next race. It's a bit harsh really, I didn't aim to ruin anyone's race. This makes me stronger."  Lewis Hamilton, F1 driver, McLaren-Mercedes

“It’s the surface that is the biggest part for the crashes, but then after you crash you don’t want to be tagging the wall.  Yes, if there were no walls here [Mid-Ohio], I would race here in the rain. But the fact is there are a bunch of walls here and I will not race in the rain. Even though, supposedly, there were all these track changes that DMG or AMA or whatever it is now, called and said and approved for racing in the rain, but they forgot to ask the riders. The facts are that nothing has been changed. So they can get on my bike and race in the rain if they [France Family and AMA leadership] want.”  Ben Spies, reigning American superbike champion

"I'm not a gambling man. I don't even like going to Las Vegas to put $20 down. But if we ran out of gas, we were going to finish 25th. If we came in and pitted, we were going to finish 25th. So I told him we were going to go for it. We were either going to win or run out of gas and finish 25th. I was pretty sick. I was like, 'OK, we're done. I could make 200, but 202? We're in trouble.' I told him as soon as the caution comes out, shut it off."  Eury said later that "coasting around like he did is probably what got us the win." Tony Eury Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s cousin and longtime Crew Chief, Hendrick Motorsports

“Boston Ventures has bought into family organizations and this is a family organization.  (New Petty Enterprises CEO) David Zucker at the press conference said to my dad, ‘I can call you 'King?'’  And he said, ‘you can call me 'boss man'.’  My father still comes to the race track at 70 years old, that’s who he is.”  Kyle Petty, NASCAR driver and car owner, Petty Enterprises

"They understand that the car [Car of Tomorrow] is new, and that it's going to evolve, and we're going to learn more, and maybe three years from now we'll look back at what we have today and say, 'Man, can you believe that's the way we did it'  because there will be some things we'll find that will just be like, 'Man, that's way better; let's go in that direction.' So I think they're doing more than we give them credit for. They're thinking and working and trying and wanting to improve and that we should, us drivers, should do less complaining. As a driver you just pent up the anguish that you had about the situation, and you misinterpret NASCAR's position and their approach and what they're really doing.  They're doing a lot with the car now. They're coming up with some new ideas and new ways to make the car not quite as sensitive in dirty air, and they'll be testing that soon, hopefully. I think it's great that they feel like the car can evolve. It should, as every car that's been involved in the sport has evolved. This car should as well. I feel like they know that, and they're open to it. You want to make the car where it has more front grip and drives better in dirty air and turns down in the corner better, at the same time, I like the way the rules are stricter on this car. It's a very difficult situation to have both." Dale Earnhardt, Jr., NASCAR driver, Hendrick Motorsports

"I wanted to make a couple of comments regarding a couple of items that are in the news for us. One of the comments is in respect to a lawsuit that was filed on Tuesday and a subsequent investigation we have under way to review those claims that were made. I think I mentioned earlier in the week that the most disappointing thing to me is that we found out about the alleged claims after you did in the media via a national lawsuit that seeks a lot of money. That's very disappointing, because if any of those claims turn out to be accurate and have substance, we would have liked to have known about that two years ago so that we could have reacted and done something about it. It is inconsistent with anything from a policy standpoint of how a work environment for our officials should be. It is not consistent with anything - our values or what have you. To have never, ever raised it other than in a lawsuit is disappointing to us. Nevertheless, we have started an investigation that is under way. We are treating in very seriously as we would when we have these types of investigations." Brian France, CEO and Chairman of NASCAR

"It’s unfortunate, because Marco’s driving like he’s going to lose his ride. Four other drivers complained after the race; they all came up to me after the race complaining about how Marco was driving. I don’t know, he’s just got to reshape his attitude a little bit.  He's just got a horrible attitude about everything, and he just seems to be — I mean, he’s a talented driver, he’s just needs to drive within the limits and he’ll bring home great race cars. Right now, he’s just driving over his head at the moment.” Ryan Hunter-Reay, IndyCar driver, Rahal Letterman Racing

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