RACING QUOTES – PAST AND PRESENT
In the sport of auto racing, it’s difficult to get good enough, quickly enough, to get a shot at driving professionally. While many are able to find mentors early in their career, the wisdom, logic and humor left behind by many great drivers of the past is available to all through quotations. This is a collection of some of the best quotations from all motorsport disciplines. I hope it triggers some ideas, starts some laughs and stirs some memories from the past. – Hans
“Finishing second means you are the first person to lose” – Gilles Villeneuve.”
In my day the drivers were fat and the tires were skinny” – Unknown.
“Racing drivers have balls, unfortunately, none of them are crystal” – David Coulthard.
“Why did I take up racing? I was too lazy to work and too chicken to steal.” – Kyle Petty, Stock Car driver.
“It was a Ford, so it didn’t really matter” – Mark Skaife answering a question about a car fire in a touring car race at Barbagallo.
“I already tried that. Something heavy metal like. And sunglasses. But it didn’t work; I went to the gas station and when I left the guy at the counter said, ‘bye Mr. Schumacher”.- Michael Schumacher on trying not be recognized…
“Loads of overtaking is boring. You go fishing and you catch a fish every ten minute it’s boring. But if you sit there all day, and you catch one mega fish, you come back with stories that you caught a fish this big (indicates a big fish), instead of this size (indicating a small fish)” – Eddie Irvine on the lack of overtaking in F1.
“You know you’re in trouble when the first person to get to you after a wreck is carrying a beer.” – NASCAR driver, Jimmy Horton, speaking of his accident at Talladega in 1993.
“The car is such a dog we should have tied it to the fence” – Dick Johnson, former Australian Touring Car Champion, discusses an obviously less than brilliant vehicle.
“F1 won’t change me” – Jenson Button, just weeks before dumping his girlfriend of five years and buying a Ferrari.
“Give me a few bits of wool to stick on the car, a good gust of mistral wind, and I could come up with a better aerodynamic package on the bridge at Avignon” – Jean Alesi on the dreadfully inefficient Prost AP02.
“He’s just a total bloody idiot. Always was, always will be.” – Derek Warwick on Rene Arnoux.
“Oh, we’re just looking for the ear.” – Niki Lauda replying to somebody asking what the former world champion was doing back at the site of the 1976 accident that nearly killed him at the Nordschleife circuit.
“I am a non discriminating driver. I want to kick everybody’s ass” – Greg Ray, IRL.
“The track is my canvas. My car is my pencil” – Graham Hill.
“Ukyo Katayama is undoubtedly the best formula 1 driver that grand prix racing has ever produced.” – A questionable quote from commentating legend, Murray Walker.
“Anyone who doesn’t speak English isn’t worth speaking to.” – Bernie Ecclestone.
“Clark came through at the end of the first lap of the race so far ahead that we in the pits were convinced that the rest of the field must have been wiped out in an accident” – An onlooker describing Jim Clark’s incredible first lap speed at the 1967Belgian GP at Spa.
“My game is going wrong – the star is setting.” – Ascari speaking to Fangio in 1955 – just four days before his death at the wheel of a sports car.
“Jimmy ranked with, perhaps even out-ranked, Nuvolari, Fangio and Moss and I think we all thought that he was in a way, invincible. To be killed in an accident with a Formula 2 car is almost unacceptable.” – Bruce McLaren speaking of the great late-Jim Clark.
“Drivers are just interchangeable light bulbs – you plug them in and they do the job.” – Teddy Mayer, McLaren.
“And that is Ralf Schumacher – son of Michael.” – Murray Walker, ITV commentator?
“I think I’ve proved that, in equal cars, if I want someone to stay behindme… well, I think he stays behind…” – Gilles Villeneuve.
“Break a leg” – Grid Girl at 1999 British GP offering some ‘advice’ to Michael Schumacher pre-race. A few hours later Michael was in a hospital and his leg was in plaster, following an early race shunt.
“I used to complain that this thing was underpowered, I must have been mad” – Chris Amon after driving a 1970’s F1 car up the hill at Goodwood.
“Aerodynamics is for those who cannot manufacture good engines” – Enzo Ferrari prior to the advent of the Daytona Cobras.
“I’m fine, but I’m going to need to change my shorts when this race is over.” – Greg Moore over the car to pit radio after a spin in the Michigan 500.
“It’s been 2000 years since a Good Friday was this bad” – Benetton tech boss, Pat Symonds speaking at the 2000 British GP, the site of another dismal performance.
“No, it will never have enough power until I can spin the wheels at the end of the straightaway in high gear” – Mark Donohue on the Can Am Porsche 917.
“Are you here to race or to crash?” – Chico Landi addressing driver safety concerns in Brazil in the 1980’s.
“You might think that’s not cricket, and it’s not, it’s motor racing.” – Murray Walker.
“It’s almost worth retiring just so I can speak to you…” – Alex Zanardi speaking to Louise Goodman on TV during the former’s awful 1999 Grand Prix season.
“Only a few more laps to go and then the action will begin, unless this is the action, which it is.” – Murray Walker.
“The man’s an animal” – John Cleland speaking about Steve Soper, at Silverstone BTCC race, 1992.
“…if they have any more drive thru penalties, they’re going to have to start selling burgers and fries in the pit lane” – Charlie Cox commentating on a drive through penalty for Laurent Aiello at Silverstone BTCC round, 1999.
With reference to a driver in the Pro Truck race – “He ran out of talent about halfway through the corner”- – Buddy Baker
“You’re a pack of ********s!” – Race winner Jim Richards responds to a booing crowd on the podium of the controversial 1992 Bathurst 1000.
“You’re a pack of lovely, lovely people” Jim Richards makes up for his 1992 speech after winning the 2002 event.
“The little Mexican ******* tried to kill me!” – Jo Siffert on Pedro Rodriguez.
“Unless I am very much mistaken…I AM very much mistaken!” – Murray Walker.
“The passport changes but the blood doesn’t” – Italian-American, Mario Andretti on the lure to drive at Ferrari.
“I knew I’d been beaten by the best driver in the world.” – Rene Arnoux on his epic last lap battle with Gilles Villeneuve at Dijon 1979.
“When the flag drops, the bull**** stops” – Anonymous
“He’s broken our camera lens; that’ll be six grand please Derek!” – Murray Walker after Derek Warwick crashed into the remote TV camera during a BTCC race.
“Presumably it’s vitamin C they put in that Orange Arrows, Murray…” – Commentator Martin Brundle shows why he isn’t a comedian.
“I want to win a couple of Indy Car Championships and I want people to say that Greg Moore was one of the best CART drivers that was ever around.” – Greg Moore, speaking in 1997. In October 1999, Moore was killed in an accident at Fontana.
“Rene Arnoux is coming into the pits … lets stop the startwatch” – Murray Walker, BBC commentator.
“When you’re racing, it’s life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting.” -Steve McQueen (from the movie ‘Le Mans’)
“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.” -Mario Andretti
“If you wait, all that happens is that you get older.” -Mario Andretti
“Newman’s first law: It is useless to put on your brakes when you’re upside down.” -Paul Newman
“On a given day, a given circumstance, you think you have a limit. And you then go for this limit and you touch this limit, and you think, ‘Okay, this is the limit.’ As soon as you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.” -Ayrton Senna
“Every car has a lot of speed in it. The trick is getting the speed out of it.” – A J Foyt
“Be born rich.”- Janet Guthrie’s advice on succeeding in racing
“I love this kind of racing, (but) these guys sure change their personalities in race mode. They’re like Doberman Pinchers with a hand grenade in their mouths.”- road racer Boris Said speaking of NEXTEL Cup drivers.
“It don’t mean s**t right now… Daddy’s won here 10 times.”- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“If you don’t cheat, you look like an idiot; if you cheat and don’t get caught, you look like a hero; if you cheat and get caught, you look like a dope. Put me where I belong.”- Darrell Waltrip
“Respect is one of those things that you walk a fine line. If you’re a pushover, they’re just going to think you’re a wimp. And if you race them too hard, then you’re just an a-hole on the track. You have to race them competitively.” – Danica Patrick
“There’s cheap racing, there’s expensive racing, and there’s damned little in between.” – Smokey Yunnick
“All Right You Sons-a-Bitches, Let’s Have a Race!” – Smokey Yunick
“You don’t race cars, you race the rule book.”-Smokey Yunick
“Once you raced, you never forget it…and you never get over it.” -Richard Childress
“If your gonna’ play with rattlesnakes, you better know what rattlesnakes do.” – Smokey Yunick
“Theres only one lap you want to lead…and that’s the last lap.” -Ralph Earnhardt’s advice to Dale
“Early on, the cars were getting faster and faster. And with good reason: Everybody was cheating.” -Richard Petty
“We had the wrong gear, wrong springs, wrong shocks, and the wrong car. We had the right beer, but other than that, we go stomped.” -Sterling Marlin, sponsored by Coors Light
“We’d cheat on 15 things and do two or three things that’s very obvious. NASCAR’d catch the obvious ones and you still got through with what you wanted to get through with” – Richard Petty
“Everyone else ran a 5/8-in. gas line. I chose to run a 2-in. gas line, which was obviously much too big, but it was 11-ft long and held almost 2 gallons of gas. Nobody ever [specified size]. A week after the race, gas lines couldn’t be over a half-inch in diameter. The day I did it, however, it was not illegal.” – Smoky Yunick
“Calling upon my years of experience, I froze at the controls.’ – Stirling Moss
“It is amazing how may drivers, even at the Formula One Level, think that the brakes are for slowing the car down. – Mario Andretti
“It is not always possible to be the best, but it is always possible to improve your own performance.” – Jackie Stewart
“It’s basically the same, just darker.” – Alan Kulwicki – on racing Saturday nights as opposed to Sunday afternoons.
“Oversteer scares passengers, understeer scares drivers.” – Anonymous
“The price for men in motion is the occasional collision…” – Carroll Smith
“When I look fast, I’m not smooth and I am going slowly. And when I look slow, I am smooth and going fast.” -Alain Prost
”When you win a race your on top that day, so take it for what its worth, have a good time and party, cause the next day when you get out of bed, the meter goes back to zero again.” – Bobby Allison
“You will never know the feeling of a driver when winning a race. The helmet hides feelings that cannot be understood. – Ayrton Senna
“You win some, you lose some, you wreck some.” – Dale Earnhardt
“No, no, he didn’t slam you, he didn’t bump you, he didn’t nudge you… he *rubbed* you. And rubbin, son, is racin’” – Harry in Days of Thunder
Buddy Baker speaking of an ill-handling Cup car at Darlington when TNN did the race: “I wouldn’t get outta’ the electric chair to drive that thing”.
Kyle Petty describing Bobby Hillen’s point of view after Hillen creamed him during a minor spin-out at Talladega: “Here comes that blind boy again”.
“Passin’ Earnhardt is like trying to take a bone out of a Pit Bulls mouth.” – Buddy Baker
“Only meant to rattle his cage a little bit”- Dale Earnhardt after putting Terry Labonte in the wall at Bristol
“Parts don’t break. We break them” – Carroll Smith
“It was very fast in a certain kind of turn. Unfortunately, none of the tracks had that kind of turn.” – Anonymous
“‘Cause you don’t hit the wall as hard when you screw up.” – Richard Petty, when asked why he usually drove the high line, next to the wall.
“Make that 11!” – Smokey Yunick, (while driving away with no gas tank) after being told his car was disqualified from the Daytona race for having 10 violations.
“Auto racing began 5 minutes after the second car was built”~Henry Ford
“If ya’ ain’t first,You’re… last.”- Ricky Bobby
“I saw Elvis at the 300ft mark…” – John Force
“As far as cheating goes, they’ll never stop it. The only way it can be done successfully, only one person can know about it.” Smokey Yunick
“It was like flying jet fighters in a gymnasium out there today” – Dick Trickle
“There are two ways to do this… My way and the Wrong way.” – Dale Earnhardt
“You’re not a racing driver, you’re an idiot!” – Ayrton Senna yelling at Jordan’s Eddie Irvine after the 1993 Japanese Grand Prix
“I’ve had a jackass driving for me, and now I am rid of him.” – Junior Johnson commenting on Darrell Waltrip’s switch to Hendricks after the ’86 season.
“It’s the last straw for Roush Racing. We’re officially retiring as Kurt Busch’s apologists effective today.” – Geoff Smith, Roush Racing president after the team suspended Kurt Busch
“You know, when Arnold Palmer came on TV with an old tractor and told me to buy Pennzoil, I bought that, and when Dale Jarrett advertises UPS, I can go along with that, too. But I don’t think having an 18-year-old, somebody who’s probably gotten five packages in his life and they were all ‘Girls Gone Wild’ videos, tell me what delivery service I should use would have much effect on me.” – Kyle Petty
“The winner ain’t the one with the fastest car, it’s the one who refuses to lose.” – Dale Earnhardt
“Ernie Irvan could go bear hunting with a switch. He ain’t never afraid.“– Buddy Baker
“With ten to go, I didn’t have a code of ethics.”– Buddy Baker
“You can tell that you’re in trouble when you feel the air on the back of your neck instead of in your face.” – Buddy Baker
On a newly re-paved Darlington – “The new asphalt is like putting a tuxedo on a rattlesnake.” – Buddy Baker
Buddy was interviewed after a superspeedway race in which he drove through a smoke screen full of wrecked cars. The commentator praised his skillful driving…Buddy’s response was “it’s amazing what you can do with your eyes closed.”
“After the third flip, I lost control…………” – Don Roberts after crashing in the Jade Grenade at New England Dragway in 1975
1988 when his Pontiac went flipping and tumbling down the front stretch in as frightening a wreck as has ever been seen at the big track.”I was lying there looking up at the ceiling and my wife Lynda walked in the infield care center. All she’d seen was what was on TV … and she come in the door, she looked down and said, ‘Are we having fun?’ ” – Richard Petty
“If someone said to me that you can have three wishes, my first would have been to get into racing, my second to be in Formula 1, my third to drive for Ferrari.” – Gilles Villeneuve
“If I have a love-hate relationship with Martinsville, then we’re missing the love part of the equation.” – Tony Stewart
“Do you think you’ll be driving a race car for the rest of your life?” -Bob Nodolf, who was Matt Kenseth’s driver education teacher in high school, relating a story that Kenseth once got scolded by his English teacher for skipping an English class.
“When I raced a car last it was at a time when sex was safe and racing was dangerous. Now, it’s the other way round.” – Hans Stuck
“The crashes people remember, but drivers remember the near misses.” – Mario Andretti
“When I started racing my father told me, ‘Cristiano, nobody has three balls but some people have two very good ones.”‘ – Cristiano Da Matta
“We drove for the sheer fun of driving because there wasn’t that much money to be made.” – Richard Petty
I feel like it is something that SCCA has loaned NASCAR and I feel like we should give it back to them.” – Tony Stewart, speaking about the Car of Tomorrow.
“Moonshiners put more time, energy, thought, and love into their cars than any racer ever will. Lose on the track, and you go home. Lose with a load of whiskey, and you go to jail.” – Junior Johnson, NASCAR legend, and one time whiskey runner.
“The competition, of course, is No. 1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. He could sell a chocolate popsicle to a woman in a white dress. It’s easy. … Kyle Busch, he wouldn’t be able to sell a favorite candy bar to a kid, I guess.” – Kyle Busch, on whether marketing and sponsor demographics play a role in his search for a new team.
I will continue to get behind the wheel of a racing car as long as I am able. But that could all end tomorrow. ” – Paul Newman
Atlanta in 1989. The pit road reporter said, “Dale 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?” Dale Earnhardt’s response, “We waxed it.”
“Driving for Ferrari – is like driving for the Pope” – Nigel Mansell
“Straights are for fast cars. Turns are for fast drivers.” – Anonymous
“Life is nothing more than a road course… straights, curves, and apexes. Downshift, pitch it in, and hammer the gas. Never underestimate what you are capable of. Don’t be ashamed of anything you do…even when it goes to hell” – Peter Gregg
“When I make a mistake, they don’t penalize me 15 years, they take me away in an ambulance.” – Richard Petty
“Never race anything that you are not prepared to push off a cliff.” – Will Hartje
“Everyone behind me is an incredibly talented driver – Everyone in front of me is cheating!” – Bill Haney
“At some point in every racer’s life he has to make his peace with cheating. I do not approve of cheating … at all. Of course, like every successful racer, I differentiate between taking advantage of loopholes in the regulations, stretching the grey areas and outright cheating. In any given racing series I will not start the cheating. If someone else starts it, I will appeal to them and to the officials to stop it. If my efforts do not succeed, then I’ll show them how it is done.”- Carroll Smith, Drive to Win
“People who enjoy what they are doing invariably do it well.” – Joe Gibbs
“I would have been a much more popular World Champion if I had always said what people wanted to hear. I might have been dead, but definitely more popular.” – Jackie Stewart
Martin Brundle: “Kimi Raikkonen doesn’t seem interested in the proceedings going on up there. Kimi, you missed the presentation by Pele.”
Kimi (nonchalantly): “Yeah.”
Martin: ”Will you get over it?”
Kimi: “Yeah. I was having a s***.”
Martin: “OK, thanks for that! Obviously you’ll have a nice light car on the grid, then.”
“Is it true that sometimes I am bored in the car? Yes. Only when I am in front by a country mile, like in Melbourne last year. Then you are thinking about other things or you’re playing with the buttons on the steering wheel. Then I suddenly missed a braking point. This year unfortunately we haven’t had such race.” – Kimi Raikonnen
“I am not going to miss a bad handling car on an oval track, I can tell you that…and, I am not going to miss racing in the rain.” Bobby Rahal
“My definition of success is how many people I can lead to success.” – Jim Trueman, Owner of Mid-Ohio and Red Roof Inns shortly before his death.
“Racing is all about scientific and technical development. I don’t think a lot of people realize that. I want to influence the younger generation to study their math and science. If I can convince some youngsters that they ought to stay in math and science, that’s what I’m looking for.” – Jim Hall
“We haven’t agreed on a name but it certainly won’t be called Max.” – Flavio Brieatorie on the birth of his second child due in early 2010