Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members and car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway.
The Auto Club 500 gave us a full 500 miles of racing, but it was a race that felt a whole lot longer. After a true marathon out west, here is how the rookie class of 2009 fared.
Well, another Daytona 500 has come and gone, and many are still talking about it. The 2009 NASCAR season is officially underway, and this year Speedweeks had many compelling stories to discuss. It started with the Budweiser Shootout that had Kevin Harvick virtually replaying the 2007 Daytona 500 with a last-lap pass for the win. Then, there were the Duel 150s that saw Jeremy Mayfield, Scott Riggs and AJ Allmendinger squeak in the field by the skin of their teeth (or in Mayfield’s case, flat top). Enter the Camping World Series Truck race next, where Todd Bodine was black-flagged, single-handedly took out half the field, then held off Kyle Busch for the win. And finally, there was the Nationwide Series event that was pretty tame until Jason Leffler sent Steve Wallace for a ride, followed by Shrub attempting to blow Smoke up out of the way.
Chief among those bemoaning their poor fortune was Elliott Sadler. The Emporia, Va. native came into Speedweeks under something of a cloud, having invoked legal measures this winter to keep his seat in the No. 19 car. In this treacherous economic climate, it was tough to blame the amiable 12-year veteran for pulling out all the stops to stay in his ride, but there was no doubt the pressure was on for him to perform from the get-go. On the one hand, a fifth-place finish was just the points in the bank he needed; on the other hand, it was a Mark Martin-esque case of “so close, yet so far.” Sadler, who was fortunate to assume the lead after benefiting from a timely caution, paced the field for 24 laps while weather threatened to end the race at anytime. That gave him the confidence a win was possible… but just when he had it sitting in his grasp, Kenseth passed by to take the lead a whole one lap before the rains came for good.
Some teams came out of the block strong following good runs in Sunday’s Daytona 500. Due to the nature of restrictor-plate racing, fate can play a major role in which teams are successful and which head to California hoping to get their season on the right track. And while it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of NASCAR’s Super Bowl, following intermediate track races at California, Las Vegas and Atlanta will play a much larger role than Daytona in determining which teams and drivers are actually contenders and pretenders for the championship. Here are the Hot, Warm and Cold drivers following the Great American Race.
This week’s Rookie Report is based on the results of a rain-shortened Daytona 500. What is important to note is the race would’ve finished all 500 miles – if the green flag didn’t fall at the ridiculous start time of 3:40 p.m. ET. When are the networks going to realize that fans want racing, not marathon pre-race shows?
The 2009 Sprint Cup season officially kicked off Sunday afternoon with the running of the Daytona 500; and with that, the battle for the Top 35 is on. For those of you new to the sport, the Top 35 teams in owner points are locked into the starting grid each week. For the first five races of the season, NASCAR uses the owner standings from the previous year, then reverts to the current season’s standings from there on out. So while the Top 35 are locked in for the first few races, the jockeying for position has begun with the bubble teams in an effort to transfer into a locked in spot when the series visits Martinsville in a month and a half. Read on to see who improved their position and who is already behind the 8-ball in this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown.
1 – number of times winner Matt Kenseth led the Daytona 500 Sunday.
With 2009 offering one last chance to shape the story of the decade, more outlandish stories beg to be written. Jimmie Johnson will be looking to set a record never thought possible, especially under the Chase playoff format – four consecutive Sprint Cup titles. To do it, he’ll need to fend off perhaps the strongest field of challengers he’s ever had, with Carl Edwards, Mark Martin and Kyle Busch the trendy picks to break his streak. In the background looms one of the better rookie battles of the decade in Joey Logano vs. Scott Speed: NASCAR’s handpicked future messiah against the quirkiest newcomer it’s had in years.
Welcome to the first 2009 edition of Running Their Mouth! Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Nextel Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members and the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Bud Shootout at Daytona International Speedway.