Congratulations to rookie David Ragan, who finished fifth from a 35th-place starting spot in Mark Martin’s old No. 6 ride and just his third Cup start ever.
Charlie Brown, meet Mark Martin. Lucy, meet Kevin Harvick. The Daytona 500 trophy, now, that would be the football Harvick stole away.
Jimmie Johnson: Johnson won last year’s Daytona 500, and his 32nd-place result in last year’s Firecracker 400 ended a streak of five finishes of sixth or better in Daytona points races. On the plate tracks lately, the Hendrick cars always seem to be contenders.
This week kicks off a brand new season for the Nextel Cup Series. For all the drivers and teams, points reset at zero and the slate is wiped clean, as 51 teams battle for the championship trophy that will be handed out in nine months. But just because everyone’s points are the same right now …
10. Mark Martin: “I didn’t HAVE to win one, I get in the Shootout forever-which is handy, ’cause that’s how long I’m gonna race!”
Brett Bodine held a Q&A answer on the Car of Tomorrow at Daytona this week to appease the fans, and recent reports actually state that dozens of cars have been approved. Is this all positive PR spin, or a sign things are actually heading in the right direction?
“Benny Parsons is not only the person I owe my NASCAR career to but he was a true friend to me from the day we met. I will always appreciate his friendship and what he did for me. Knowing he’s not going to be there to come up and ask me how things are going when I walk into the garage at Daytona is probably the hardest thing to accept.”
“Bobby Hamilton was a great guy and a good friend. This sport is really going to miss him. He was a hard, clean racer and a really talented driver. We started racing right about the same time and he was a fierce competitor. He knew what he wanted to do and he made it happen.
A ninth-place finish in the final points standings in what looks to be your last legitimate season for a championship might bring many drivers down. In past years, it may have brought down the spirits of Mark Martin.
Evaluate Juan Pablo Montoya’s Cup debut.