Daytona resurfacing gets raves; best quote of the year, and more
‘The Mayor’ Jeff Burton summed it up, saying "Everybody is happy with the surface. The tire combination seems to be really good. "It's much smoother, has a tremendous amount more grip, but it's still Daytona. They didn't try to change the banking from the bottom to the top, do all that stuff. They just kept Daytona and put pavement on it. I'm glad that's what they did."
A wider pit road was a popular change for some drivers, including Jamie McMurray.
"It's really nice to get that little bit of extra room on pit road. Pit road speeds are really fast when you come to [restrictor] plate tracks. Typically we have the smallest brakes on the car that we run all year long, so pit road is also trouble. So the fact they widened that 10 or 12 feet is really nice."
And if you didn’t think NASCAR fans were dedicated, a bunch of them showed up just to watch the test. Now that’s a dedicated race fan if I’ve every seen one.
Drivers taking part in the test included Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Juan Pablo Montoya. A notable absence was Mr. ‘Five-Time’ Jimmie Johnson, who was too busy juggling his championship trophies to worry about a Daytona test.
Quote of the year
I saw a list of the best quotes of the year, but really there are only two that i see contending for the best of the year. “Have at it, boys” and “His wife wears the firesuit in the family and tells him what to do, so it's probably not his fault”… The first one defined the season, and the second one is the best smacktalk I’ve heard in a long time in NASCAR.
There are some other contenders, such as Mike Ford’s really bad decision to talk smack after Hamlin won Texas, and the whole “golden horseshoe” comment from Harvick, but those two take the cake in my book.
Hendrick ex-fiancee goes on ‘The Bachelor’
For all of his triumphs, Rick Hendrick has gone through his share of serious struggles, and the loss of his son has to be the hardest. Everyone remembers the tragedy of the Hendrick Motorsports crash in 2004, which claimed the life of Ricky Hendrick. And in a twist I either never knew, or had totally forgotten, apparently just days after Ricky’s death his girlfriend found out she was pregnant. So an incredibly sad day for the family got even sadder. Now, five years later, Emily Maynard – who now has a 5-year-old daughter named Josephine (and nicknamed ‘Ricki’) will compete on ‘The Bachelor’.
6.5 million bucks is peanuts to Red Bull team
Scott Speed said he was surprised by his dismissal from Red Bull and that his contract was through 2013. He denies the report from the team that he had be at a certain position in points for the contract to be valid, and seeking 6.5 million bucks in his lawsuit.
"They can't say 'We'll give you three more years' and then at the end of the season say 'Just kidding,'" Speed said this week. "They think they have a way of getting out of my contract. I think they're crazy."
So who’s telling the truth? I believe that Kasey Kahne’s arrival meant Speed was out the door whether it was allowed by his contract or not. And since they just won Formula 1 drivers and constructors title and have hundreds of millions of dollars coming from those accolades, I don’t think they really care if they have to pay Scott Speed a couple million dollars. That’s like us regular folks letting the cashier at the gas station keep your pennies instead of taking them as change.
Kenseth, Fennig together again
If recent years, Matt Kenseth has had more crew chiefs than Kim Kardashian has had boyfriends … (hint; she’s had a lot). Luckily for Matt, who made a great run in the Chase and ended up fifth in points, Jimmy Fennig will be returning as his crew chief in 2011 … his first sign of consistency since his glory days with Robbie Reiser. Roush is wise not to break up the duo after the Chase performance, but time will tell if it’s a longer-term union.
New NASCAR book
If you’re looking for a gift for the hardcore NASCAR fan in your family … especially those who love to learn the history of the sport … the new book, The Evolution of NASCAR: A Historical Collection, features photographs and artwork from the entire history of the sport.
From Red Byron and Lee Petty to the current crop of drivers, the entire history is discussed in a “scrapbook” format. The book begins with a forward from NASCAR Hall of Famer and seven-time champion Richard Petty and includes an afterword from former NASCAR vice president of communications, the late Jim Hunter.
The 144-page hardcover book is available for $49.95 in bookstores, or you can order at the NASCAR.COM Superstore or www.WhitmanVaultBooks.com.
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