To start, I’d actually like to quote a hockey player, Mark Messier, from the Lay’s commercials.
– “Betcha can’t quote just one…”
#5 – Oshweken Mini-Stock driver Dave Bailey, 1996. After doing a pirouette on the nose of his four cylinder racer during a huge crash on the front straight, Bailey described looking straight down at the track through the windshield.
- “I opened my eyes, looked out the windshield and saw a car driver under me, so I closed them again.”
#4 – Paul Tracy at the Molson Indy right around the turn of the century after being called out for a practice incident by Bruno Junquero.
- “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, and people with glass jaws should shut the hell up!”
#3a – Rusty Wallace after some contact with Jeff Gordon in a battle at Richmond right around 2000. Rusty got out of the car, had a few words with Jordan and then turned towards the camera. This wasn’t a case about what he said, but rather how he said it.
The reported asked him what he said to Jeff Gordon.
- (irate Rusty) “What did I say to Jeff Gordon?”
- (instantly calm Rusty – without missing a beat) “…Our Miller Lite Ford ran great today. They guys worked hard all night, and we had a pretty good finish… good night in the points.”
#3b – Rusty Wallace on the Jim Rome show, when asked how much he had to trust the guys he was racing with.
- “The difference between NASCAR and other sports is that if the guy beside me screws up going 200 miles per hour, I’m going to flip 18 times and end up in a ball of fire.”
For anyone familiar with the nationally syndicated Jim Rome show this could mark the exact moment when Jim Rome went from anti-NASCAR to pro-NASCAR, and he still replays the quote all the time.
#2a – Earnhardt had some epic quotes over the years, but my personal favorite was during an interview while the Intimidator was strapped in his car waiting to fire the motors at Atlanta in 1989. The pit road reporter basically said, “Dave you dominated this event in the fall of 1988, and you’ve brought back the same car for the spring race. What did you do to the car between now and then?”
- “We waxed it.”
#2b – In the late 90’s, Earnhardt crashed at Talladega in late July, then started and was relieved at Indy, but put his Chevy on the pole the next weekend at Watkins Glen. When asked about his injuries from the Dega crash after his pole winning run, Earnhardt said simply,
- “It hurts so good.”
On race day morning a flood of homemade t-shirts with that quote on the front surfaced at the Glen and I do recall reading somewhere that they made a couple dollars off the back of that Earnhardt quote.
#2c – One more Earnhardt quote, this time after flipping down the backstretch at Daytona in the mid-90’s following a late-race crash in the 500. While climbing the ambulance, Earnhardt looked back at his battered number 3, and had an idea, saying to the tow truck driver,
- “See if it will crank. See if it will turn over.”
The motor was still alive, and Dale climbed back in and drove it to pit road.
#1 – In probably the most important event in NASCAR history, the 1979 Daytona 500, Bobby Allison’s line speaking about the post-race tilt at the inside of turn three.
- “Cale kept punching my fist with his nose.”
Honorable mention – Buddy Baker during the Monday rain delay in Michigan, August 2007 (a race that would eventually run on Tuesday), and very ironic given the amount of rain out and delays this 2009 racing season..
- “I don’t see why everyone is getting all excited - like we’re going racing – when the jet dryers have their windshield wipers on, it’s never a good sign.”