Dear NASCAR: How does Kurt Busch slam into Tony Stewart’s car while on pit road, almost hitting Stewart’s jackman in the process, only to walk away with the new standard of a 100-point docking and a $100,000 fine. Meanwhile, Ted Musgrave gives Kelly Bires a pop after a wreck at Milwaukee, while still on the track, mind you, no crewmen anywhere close, and gets docked 50 owner and driver points, $10,000, and gets suspended for a race?
Each week, we’ll go through all the media reports, interviews, PR, and our own stuff to find the best quotes from Sunday’s race that best captures the story of how the weekend unfolded, straight from the drivers themselves. This week, Beth Lunkenheimer gives us a sneak peek at what drivers were thinking after the Auto Club 500.
It could have been ugly. We got lucky; but it could have been tragic. The 2007 Daytona 500 was marred with crashes. There was no Big One, just a bunch of Little Ones, but a couple of those looked deceptively bad. Bottom line… there was nothing about those crashes in that race that made it fun to watch.
Jimmie Johnson: Johnson scored his first ever career Cup victory at California back in 2002 (yes, kids, they were racing stock cars way back in 2002). In addition, Johnson has scored three runner-up finishes at Fontana, one of them in this race last year. That’s a total of four first or seconds in eight career Cup starts at the track.
Should NASCAR stay consistent with NOT throwing the yellow on the final lap if the wreck happens behind the leaders, as they did in the Daytona 500?
The only smoke at the track wasn’t from the leftover Victory Lane celebration; plenty of teams saw their chances for victory go up in flames as the final 50 laps of the race were filled with wrecks, busted sheet metal, and broken spirits. So who left Daytona in a blaze of glory, and who left putting out the flames of rage and disappointment? Read this week’s Who’s Hot and Who’s Not to find out.
“I was cheering for Greg Biffle or Mark Martin to win, obviously. Mark is my mentor and got me where I’m at. Obviously, I wanted him to win and if he couldn’t win, I wanted to Greg to win because he’s a teammate, but it didn’t work out that way. If there are cars on both sides, there’s only so much you can do. I was on the outside and Mark was on the inside, so I really couldn’t do anything.” – Matt Kenseth
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.
Today’s Season Preview Topic: What driver enters the season under the most pressure to make the Chase, and why? Will they succeed or fail?
Truth be told, Paul Dana was not a household name in motorsports; at least, not yet. Putting aside his former career as a journalist to pursue his dream, the 30-year-old was preparing for just his first full season on the IRL circuit, quietly landing a deal with one of the best teams in Rahal Letterman Motorsports. He’d be teammates with budding superstar Danica Patrick and Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, even with a resume of just three previous IRL starts.