What Did He Say?
I bid you welcome gentle readers, and a cordial “Hey there” to our assigned reader of all things NASCAR on this rather soggy day. Your scribe is going to be very honest with you today and admit this column isn’t exactly new. I can remember offering the quotes within for a second time when still at Insider Racing News. Ron Felix didn’t much care for reruns, but the piece was wearing a new dress and shoes. He asked me if we’d run it before. My answer was, “The preface is new and the closing is new. The quotes, by their very nature, remain the same.” It ran again.
The following passages are some truly quotable quotes from throughout the years. Some are funny; some are serious; some border on the ridiculous and a couple have been appropriately edited in order that your children might read them. I hope y’all have as good a time reading these as I did unearthing them. Please excuse the insertion of my comments in parenthses, but some are hard to resist.
The first two are from a long-ago meeting of “Winged Warriors”:
"I don't think bigger spoilers are the answer...what we need is a rear wing like you saw on the Dodges in the late 60's."
"Forget that, we're not going back to the Batmobiles!"
NASCAR Top Cop Bill Gazaway, answering Ricky Rudd's comment
(Um…didn't we go through the wing thing once again on the “Car of Tomorrow?” Those that choose not to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Here we have a couple from gentlemen who were lucky to be able to say anything, let alone something witty:
"When I saw the wall coming through the car, I knew I was in trouble."
Mike Harmon, after walking away from a gruesome crash during a Busch Grand National practice session at Bristol
"When I started out on asphalt and wound up on dirt, I knew I was in trouble."
Jimmy Horton, after exiting Talladega the hard way (over the wall and onto a dirt lane outside and well below the track) in 1993
The boys in the booth all claim to be “Trained Broadcast Professionals,” but they have their moments, just like the rest of us:
Childress recently went polar-bear hunting up in the Northwest Territory near
FOX commentator Larry McReynolds
"I’ve always said your legacy is what you leave behind you."
Darrell Waltrip, enlightening Fox TV viewers
"Lowe’s Motor Speedway is one of those tracks where the sun usually sets in the west."
MRN radio commentator Barney Hall
Drivers of course, are always articulate, sometimes to a fault. Here’s a few from the men behind the wheels:
"The track is so fast, it’s not made for racing. It’s made for speed."
Ryan Newman, on Texas Motor Speedway
"At this point, I think if I saw someone on the side of the road selling horseshoes, I would stop and buy one."
Bobby Labonte, in the midst of a tough season
"We’ve got heavy hearts in the backs of our minds."
Kurt Busch, expressing his feelings on then owner Jack Roush in the aftermath of Roush’s injuries in a plane crash
"I thought maybe he needed a psychologist, first off for owning a race team and secondly for hiring me."
Bill Elliott on Ray Evernham
"They’re going to have to come in here and bulldoze the place."
Rusty Wallace, complaining about New Hampshire Motor Speedway
"Don't come here and grumble about going too fast. Get out of the racecar if you've got feathers on your legs or butt. Put a kerosene-soaked rag around your ankles so the ants won't climb up there and eat your candy a**."
Dale Earnhardt on slowing down races (Comment made regarding New Hampshire Motor Speedway ~ popular place it seems… Most folks will swear he said that about Talladega. If he did, he repeated himself. NHMS, fall race of 2000… the one where they ran the one-mile track with restrictor plates following the deaths of Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin.
“God created bumpers and… Bumpers were made for bumping!”
"I taught you everything you know but I didn't teach you everything I know"
"I keep trying to get Junior to come back to the track and help me. I asked him at Bristol, 'Junior, just come over and stand in the pits with a headset on the wall like you used to.' And he said, 'Boy, you ain't running good enough for me to help you.'"
Darrell Waltrip, when he was an owner/driver…referring to Junior Johnson
“Money buys speed. How fast do you want to go?”
This next bunch is all from the same man; someone I could have listened to for days without ever getting tired of listening. Here are just a few from the “Gentle Giant,” Buddy Baker:
"Ernie Irvan could go bear hunting with a switch. He ain't never afraid."
Discussing Rick Hendrick and Felix Sabates - "Well I don't know which one has more money but I'll tell you what. Either one could burn a wet mule with hundred dollar bills."
(Recent divorce proceedings prove he was right about Felix, I'd guess)
On a newly re-paved
(No big deal today. Repaves seem to be the order of the day, and I haven't seen a rattlesnake anywhere but Phoenix… and it was real)
On being asked to do a TV piece on conserving fuel - "I told them they better get somebody else; that I didn't know anything about saving gas."
"Man, I've hit everything but the lottery."
On the Gibson Guitar Buddy himself won at Nashville - "I was like a pig with a wristwatch"
From Hickory Speedway "Short track racing is by all means a contact sport"
Then, of course, there are always the words of wisdom that emanate from the hierarchy of NASCAR itself:
"Certainly it's not a playoff. No matter what we do, it will not be a playoff format. A playoff implies a lot of things, notably best 2-out-of-3, single elimination. We're not talking about something like that. We're talking about something that still has a big element of consistency."
Brian France, when we moved from “Tweaking the point system” to the “Chase.”
"It is what it is."
Finally, I'm going to add one of my very own, which at the time had little to do with racing. Is anyone reading this that was ever into CB or Amateur Band (HAM) radio? "Back in the day"… the day in this case being the 1960s and 70s, everyone was into radio of some sort. It was perhaps the forerunner of the cell phone… and it was fun. There was a form of greeting and becoming acquainted with other operators known as a QSL card. It started with the Amateur Band, but was borrowed by the CB Band. I was both. KPQ7664 (CB) and WN2ISL (Amateur)
(73's and 88's were numerical greetings in radio lingo, loosely denoting "greetings" and "salutations.")
I had some beautiful glossy black QSLs made up with gold embossed lettering, which simply said, "73's From the Lilley Pad." I do recall passing out a lot of them at race tracks a bit later in time. Anyone ever see one?
Time now for our Classic Country Closeout and today we’re going Blue Grass to the max, with Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain boys! Please enjoy…
Be well gentle readers, and remember to keep smiling.
It looks so good on you!