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• Kyle Busch -- "I would presume so, but I don't know. I mean, our job entails us sitting on our ass and not doing a whole lot besides moving our arms and legs. But we sweat an awful lot and work awfully hard. I don't think you could just jump up off the couch and do this. You've got to be at least somewhat in shape."• Carl Edwards -- "Definitely we're athletes. The only way I can explain that is that I thought I was really in good shape and I was tough and all that. And then I ran my first Craftsman Truck Series race. And I couldn't believe how hot it was and how taxing it was. It's not like you're in the car lifting weights, but it's really tough, especially when you start to focus, just because of how hostile the environment is. I don't know if any of us would do that well in a footrace, but definitely, these guys are tough." • Denny Hamlin -- "For sure. I don't think anyone could just jump in these race cars and run four hours like we do. There's just no way. For four hours of just kind of running in circles, you've really got to figure out the best way to stay focused. And the best way to do that is to stay in shape and not let the car wear you out." • Jeff Gordon -- "We are. You see more and more guys training, as hot as these cars are inside. Every athlete goes through a different type of physical and mental challenge in their sport. There are some sports where I think the guys are more fit, and in that sense you could say are better athletes. But in my opinion, in poker, those guys are athletes. Being able to do what they do for a week straight, playing all those games for hours on end and the focus they have to have. To me, that's an athlete. " • Michael Waltrip -- "Yes. There are three things you have to be to be athletic, in my humble opinion. One is, you have to have strength. It takes strength to drive one of these cars for 500 miles. You have to have endurance -- you've got to be tough. And your brain has to work at such a high level, under heat, intensity and pressure. Those are the same things any athlete has to do in order to have success." • Jeff Burton -- "If you look at the definition of what an athlete is, there's no denying that we're athletes. Am I the same athlete that a Michael Irvin was? A Charles Barkley? I don't know. If you look at a center versus a point guard, they're two completely different athletes playing the same game. If you look at a lineman versus a wide receiver, that's two different types of athletes playing the same game. We have a skill set that enables us to be successful at this sport. That's not to say I believe I'm in the same condition as one of the premier wide receivers or point guards -- I'm not. But just because I couldn't do what they do as well as they do, I'm willing to bet they can't do what I do as well as I can, either. Because I'm not a basketball player doesn't mean I'm not an athlete. And because they're not a race car driver doesn't mean they're not an athlete." • Jimmie Johnson -- "Absolutely. And whoever doesn't think that we are should go to the Jeff Gordon driving school, or one of the schools that are out there, and go run eight laps and see what it's about. We absolutely are athletes." • Kasey Kahne -- "I've played a lot of basketball and a lot of baseball. So I kind of understand what they do to a certain point with coaches who run you. So as far as being in that kind of shape, we're not. But I don't think you have to be like that. I try to stay in good shape, Carl Edwards is in great shape, Jeff Burton, there's a lot of people in great shape that can go out and play basketball right now just on a pickup team for sure just to have fun. But I don't think you have to be in that kind of shape to race in the sport. I think what you have to have is the focus for four hours without ever losing the focus, and the drive to pass people and win races. Can I run 5 miles straight? Do I have to do that to race? I don't think so."
-- Ed Hinton