Tag:Daytona 500
Posted on: February 14, 2010 9:23 am
Edited on: February 14, 2010 1:21 pm
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Daytona 500 prerace blog

9 a.m. ET

So I've made it to the track.

Looks to be a great day for racing albeit a bit on the chilly side. The sun is shining, the skies are a bright blue and temps are supposed to be climbing into the mid-50s by race time (currently we're still in the low 40s).

I'll be dropping some notes here and there throughout the morning, but I welcome any questions or comments you may want to throw my way.

9:40 a.m. ET

For what it's worth, Jeff Burton was fastest in final practice, followed by his Richard Childress Racing teammate Kevin Harvick, Marcos Ambrose, David Reutimann and defending Daytona 500 champion Matt Kenseth.

Burton also ran the most laps during the final practice session -- 60 -- but that's due in large part to the fact that he had to switch to a backup car after crashing in his Gatorade Duel race.

Another RCR driver, Clint Bowyer, ran the fewest laps -- 11. He was 19th on the final speed charts. Overall, the RCR gang feels pretty good about their chances today.

10 a.m. ET

The King, Richard Petty, has just walked into the media center and is giving an update on his wife, Lynda. He says she has a very rare form of cancer. It's very aggressive, he said, but very treatable.

"We appreciate all the prayers and thoughts for the family," Petty said.

Listen to Richard Petty news conference (4 minutes, 50 seconds)



10:15 a.m. ET

1960 Daytona 500 winner Junior Johnson is the grand marshal of today's race.

He said he wasn't very happy with his car that day, but thanks to attrition, he found himself in the winner's circle at the end of the day.

"Basically I stole the race, I didn't win it," Johnson said.

You've got to love the honesty.

More from Junior Johnson:

Asked whether dominance like Jimmie Johnson's is good for the sport, Johnson replied, "It's not good for the fans, but it's sure is good for the drivers."

He also believes he was a better driver than owner.

Listen to Junior Johnson news conference (10 minutes, 46 seconds)

10:30 a.m. ET

I can't recall if this is my fourth of fifth year coming to the track for CBSSports.com, but there's definitely a different vibe with the start time moved back to just after 1 p.m. ET. A lot more energy from everybody.

All the other previous years I came, the race started after 3 p.m. I definitely prefer the earlier start time, I may just get home at a reasonable hour.

10:31 a.m. ET

Hee-haw, Tim McGraw in the house. He's the prerace entertainment for today. No sign of Faith Hill though Frown, otherwise I'd definitely have to break out my camera.

10:48 a.m. ET

Now we have crooner Harry Connick Jr. -- wearing a New Orleans Saints hat -- in the media center. He'll be singing the national anthem before today's race.

He says he forgot today was Valentine's Day (did you remember?), but that his family doesn't generally do much for Valentine's Day anyway.

11 a.m. ET

Driver meeting is under way. Note that I've also added audio from Richard Petty and Junior Johnson above.

11:30 a.m. ET

Latest word about cars headed to the rear of the field ...

Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton and Michael Waltrip (backup cars)
AJ Allmendinger, Carl Edwards (engine changes)

Very interesting that two cars using Roush-Yates engines have had to change them out. Could there be problems during the race?

12 p.m. ET

Just made the trek from the infield media center to the press box. It's an absolutely beautiful day. Could be a tick warmer, but that's really picking nits.

Race is just a little more than an hour away. I'll probably start the RaceCenter blog about 12:30.

12:30 p.m. ET

My official pick for today is ... Kasey Kahne. He seems very, very pleased with his car and has been on top of his game during Speedweeks.

Kurt Busch is my No. 2 fav. He always in the mix at restrictor-plate tracks, just hasn't been able to pull out a win.

Then, of course, there are the usual suspects -- Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick. They've been among the front-runners all Speedweeks as well.

What about Dale Earnhardt Jr.? I just don't know what to think of him right. He may be up there, but for a rare restrictor-plate race, he's not one of my favorites.

That'll do it for the prerace blog. Catch me on the RaceCenter.



Daytona 500 links
Daytona preview with Pete Pistone and Lauren Shehadi

· Daytona 500: Predictions | Profiles | RaceCenter | Winners | Records

· Duel 1 results | Duel 2 results | Bud Shootout results

· CBSSports.com NASCAR chat replay | Power rankings | Poll Position
Category: Auto Racing
Tags: Daytona 500
 
Posted on: February 12, 2010 9:22 am
Edited on: February 12, 2010 7:46 pm
 

Nationwide qualifying canceled, Trucks postponed

A cold, dreary, rainy day here at Daytona International Speedway has finally come to an end.

It appeared there was a chance to get the Truck race in tonight, but after a couple of hours of clears skies, the rain returned. So the Truck race has been postponed until 7 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Earlier in the day, Daytona 500 practice, which was scheduled from 1:40 p.m. to 2:40 p.m. ET had to be canceled as well as Nationwide qualifying, which was set for 3 p.m. ET. Kyle Busch will start from the pole for the Nationwide race, based on last year's owner points.

Posted on: February 15, 2009 9:54 pm
 

Daytona 500 thoughts

I'm never pleased when a race is shortened, especially a race of this magnitude. But what I think what makes this rain shortened race different than most others I've witnessed is that the didn't really come as a surprise to anybody.

Everybody was racing as if it was the last lap of the race because they knew the skies could up any minute -- except Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin who inexplicably pitted late in the race. I still question that call.

I think Kenseth was a fair winner. He started 39th, but he marched to the front and stayed there once he got up there. Certainly he was helped by the wrecks that sabotaged the efforts of Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Jamie McMurray, but he did have a good car. Maybe not a great car, but a good car. You never know, he may have had something for any of those four if he ended up having to race them.

Of course the big story is the wreck caused by Dale Earnhardt Jr., but I'll withhold comment until Tuesday's Feud of the Week. Bet you can't wait.

Good night from Daytona.

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 15, 2009 10:32 am
Edited on: February 15, 2009 2:56 pm
 

Daytona 500 weather

2:55 p.m. ET

Final updated before I shift over to the RaceCenter race blog

Strangely, while bit of sun have started to peek through the clouds, there is a slight drizzle. Doesn't seem to be enough to delay the start of the race, however.

That's all for these updates. Join me on the RaceCenter blog.

1:50 p.m. ET -- non-weather related

While you await the start of today's Daytona 500, I hope you've taken the time peruse our various Daytona features. I slaved over those driver capsules I have you know.

Daytona 500 preview with Pete Pistone and Lauren Shehadi

Daytona 500: Driver capsules | Champs & records | Did you know?

2009 Daytona paint schemes: 00-12 | 14-29 | 31-48 | 55-99 

Long, dark winter gives way to promise with Daytona on tap

NASCAR can thank 1979 Daytona 500 for prominence

I'll also be providing commentary on our RaceCenter starting approximately 3 p.m. ET, so be sure to check it out.

1:30 p.m. ET

Still no change in the weather. Apparently the storms aren't really expected until around 5 p.m. ET. But that comes from the meteorologists, so take that for what it's worth.

Should it rain during the race, NASCAR can't call it an official event unless 101 laps have been run. Now even if more than half the race has been run, NASCAR would still try to fit in the entire event if it felt in could dry the track in a timely manner. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it though.

12:30 p.m. ET

Meteorologists. Who needs them?!? (no offense to any meteorologists who may be a reader of this blog).

So far, so good on the weather front as the radar continues to show no signs that the rain is going to reach the track. It's going to be overcast, cool and little breezy, but at the moment it looks like that's about as bad as it will get.

From fsu1dogs: If it does rain will they try to wait it out and run into the night or wait untill tomorrow?

I'm feeling pretty good that it's not going to rain, but if it does, how NASCAR proceeds really depends on the type of rain and how the radar looks.

Especially since this track has lights, NASCAR is going to do everything it can to make sure the race gets in today. So if we were to get a light shower, things might be delayed for a bit, but we should still.

If we get a deluge and the radar is looking dark green, then NASCAR could call things early. But the way things look, I'm just not seeing that.

11:40 a.m. ET

Not a weather update, but the media center is getting sernaded by Keith Urban. I'm not a huge fan of his music, but the particular song he just sang wasn't too bad.

He seems to be a very polite, easy going dude.

11:30 a.m. ET

Things are looking a bit more promising at this hour.

It remains overcast at the track, but on the radar it appears most of the showers are raining themselves out well before they reach the area. And they also seem to be very light showers if they do manage to reach the track.

10:30 a.m. ET

Right now it's overcast and damp, but not raining.

The forecast calls for a 60% chance of rain and the radar shows a long line of showers blowing in from the northwest.

http://www.weather.com/weather/map/
interactive/USFL0106?from=36hr_topnav_undeclared

Cross fingers. The Daytona 500 has been rain shortened three times, but never postponed. We're still a few hours away from the scheduled drop of the green flag.

I'll keep you posted throughout the morning and afternoon about any changes in the weather or possible delays of the race.

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 14, 2009 10:58 am
Edited on: February 14, 2009 11:14 am
 

Newman, Stewart wreck in final practice

Stewart-Haas teammates Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman will shift to backup cars for the Daytona 500 after wrecking during final practice.

The two were drafting when Newman's right rear tire blew out. As he spun he collected Stewart.

It's the second car Newman has lost this weekend. He says the third car they're pulling out is the one they were planning to use at California.

Stewart's team is pulling out the car they used to finish third in the Bud Shootout.

Posted on: February 17, 2008 10:02 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2008 10:16 am
 

Daytona 500 final thoughts

So there's a thread started by CowboysForever9 titled Daytona a letdown?

Now I can see why this particular member might be disappointed. Their avatar does feature four Hendrick drivers after all. After dominating the headlines all week, Hendrick Motorsports simply failed to live up to expectations today. Jeff Gordon was the only Hendrick driver to show any strength, running top three the first half of the race until a suspension part failed him.

Earnhardt Jr., though he ran top five, top 10 all day, really wasn't a factor. Fourth was about the best he could do on his own. Pit strategy got him into the lead and he couldn't really hang there very long. Johnson and Mears were involved in crashes.

Overall, I thought the race was pretty good. Did you know there were 81 green-flag passes for the lead around the track, and 42 official lead changes at the start-finish line. The 42 lead changes were the most since 2001 and only the fifth time since 1972 that there were 40 or more lead changes during the race. The 16 leaders were the second-most in Daytona 500 history.

Kyle Busch definitely had the best car. The late cautions, however, worked against him. If he had had a slightly longer green-flag run to the finish I'd say he definitely would have won.

Probably.

The complexion of the race really changes once the sun goes down. Cars that were great early aren't always there at the end. Busch was, but perhaps he wasn't quite as strong on the cooler track.

Stewart was kind of in a no-win situation there at the end. But he probably should have stayed high and raced head-to-head with Busch. That likely would have ensured at least one of the Gibbs drivers won. But instead he pulled low. Was he trying to block Busch or hoping he'd be able to get a stronger push from his teammate that from Newman. Who really knows? He was in a tough position.

Stewart has now finished top 10 in five of his 10 Daytona 500 starts. It's the only race he has yet to win at Daytona.

Congratulations to Ryan Newman and Roger Penske. It's been a long time coming for the owner of 14 Indy 500 trophies.

That'll wrap it up for me from Daytona. Good night everybody.

Category: Auto Racing
Tags: Daytona 500
 
Posted on: February 17, 2008 9:32 pm
 

Dodge post-race quotes

REED SORENSON (No. 41 Target Dodge Charger)
ON THE RACE: “The first half of the race was so hot and slick. You could see everyone out here separating. We took the conservative side on tires. We just tried to keep an eye on the leaders – if we could still see them we were happy. We knew there were going to be cautions at the end. We just took care of the tires, took care of the car and went after it there at the end.  

ON THE LAST FEW LAPS: “It was pretty fun there at the end. We had a lot more grip there at the end. We got two or three wide and pushed each other really hard and there happened to be about four Dodges lines up at the end. Everybody on the team has done a great job since we got here and I think that says a lot about what we can do this year.”

WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR MIND AS YOU CROSSED THE FINISH LINE: “I was happy. Everyone on the team was.”

KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)
ON THE RACE: ”To give my teammate a shot and to push him victory makes me feel like we won this thing as well right along with him.”

ON TEAMMATES AT DAYTONA: “You have to have teammates when you are restrictor plate racing. You have to work together whether you are on the track or off the track. Penske Racing deserves this. It’s our first ever restrictor plate win and we came through with a one-two finish.”

ON STARTING AT THE BACK: “We had to work our way to the front and then we got caught speeding on pit road. This is just a team effort and I’m really happy for this Miller Lite Dodge.” 

DONNIE WINGO (Crew Chief, No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger)
ON THE RACE: “Well, with about 12 to go it looked like it was going to be pretty good. We fought being loose all day. We finally got it pretty good and finally got the opportunity to kind of get wedged up in there and we kind of got shuffled out and somebody got in the left rear of us and knocked us out. It knocked the left-rear corner panel down on top of the tire and we had to come in and get it off or it was going to smoke the rest of the race and probably blow a tire out.”

ON REED SORENSON’S FINISH: “We’re tickled to death. Anytime one of our cars can run good, I mean that’s good for the whole organization. That’s what we’re all in here together for.”  

SAM HORNISH, JR. (No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger)
ON THE RACE: “We were just trying to learn and make the car better every time we had a pit stop. It’s a big thing for me to just try and learn more and more each time we go out there. I tried to just be smart and not get ourselves into too many problems.”

HOW HAPPY ARE YOU WITH A 15TH-PLACE? “I’m about as happy as I can be with a 15th place finish. I want to win every time we go out there, not to be disappointed about it. We came in with a goal that if we were in the top-20 we would be happy with that.  Not only were we able to do that, but we were able to see one of our teammates win so that was great.”

ON PENSKE RACING TEAMMATES: “I’m stoked. This is a big puzzle that we’re trying to put together here and put all of the right people in the right places. We’re just moving forward and trying to do the best that we can. As far as the team as a whole, to have two veteran drivers finish first and second in the Daytona 500 and a rookie driver finish in the top-15 – I feel pretty happy about that and I know that Roger (Penske) does too.”

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
ON THE RACE: “We just had a good car. We had a really good car all race long. I think we were in the top 10 all day long at all times. I was really happy with our Budweiser Dodge and Allstate and everybody that’s a part of it. The team did a good job with the pit stops, the car was great, just everything was really good today. It was awesome. We got sixth.”

ON WORKING WITH THE OTHER DODGE DRIVERS: “Yeah, everybody was up there. I lost Kurt (Busch) I was going to push him, and Reed (Sorenson) and Elliott (Sadler) were pushing me. I was pushing (Ryan) Newman. We all tried to help each other the best we could. A Dodge won, so that’s pretty awesome for Dodge and all of us.”

HOW GOOD DOES THIS FEEL AFTER THE FRUSTRATION OF LAST SEASON? “I finished seventh here last season, so it’s a good start. We were much better today than we were last season when we should have finished about 20th, but I got through that wreck. It’s a strong day for us today and hopefully it is like that all year long. Hopefully we’ll run in the top 10.”  

ROBBY GORDON (No. 7 Jim Beam Dodge Charger)
ON THE DODGE DRIVERS: “First, second, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and 11th – pretty darn impressive. Hats off to all of the guys at GEM (Gillett Evernham Motorsports) and the motors and everybody else that worked on all these cars and hard work, so congratulations to Dodge and obviously the two Penske boys. It looks like they got their restrictor plate program figured out. They’ve always been there, but never had the results. I looks like they delivered today.”

ON THE CAR: “My car was good. I was just surviving and trying not to put myself in position to tear my car up until about the last 40 laps.”

ROBBY GORDON (No. 7 Jim Beam Dodge Charger)
HOW WAS IT WORKING WITH THE DODGE BOYS: “It was good. They said we were going to run the high line and I have to be honest with you I was good enough with a 10th-place finish that time. I didn’t think we were going to go from 10th to first after the restart. We moved up a couple spots which is not bad and we were beating and banging pretty hard.”

HOW MUCH MOMENTUM DOES THIS GIVE YOU HEADING INTO NEXT WEEK? “It’s definitely a good start. Now we just have to see how many points we’re going to get taken away from us. At least we got a good baseline before they start taking them.”

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 40 Dodge Journey Dodge Charger)
ON THE RACE: “We finished – that’s about all I can say right now. The guys gave it their absolute best and we had great pit stops all day long. The car was a little slow, but the problem was that anytime anyone got behind me and I was in the middle of the pack the car was unbelievably loose. I had to run at the back or I was going to crash. I think I need to work to give the guys better information to set the car up. We need to work on that, but we learned some stuff today, which was good, and I have a lot to learn about drafting.”

Category: Auto Racing
Tags: Daytona 500
 
Posted on: February 17, 2008 9:28 pm
 

Chevrolet post-race quotes

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS – Finished 39th:
“We had suspension failure. We had some issues testing; all of us did. We prepared for it and felt like we had the issues fixed. The suspension is just so tough on these cars with these bumps here. You don’t know what’s taking all the load. You keep fixing one thing and it just keeps creating another issue. It’s unfortunate.

“The DuPont Chevrolet was awesome. We were having a blast up there. I didn’t feel like anybody had anything for the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) and the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) when I was running up there and I was pretty darn proud just to be hanging with them. I’m sure that No. 20 (Tony Stewart) will probably be a factor before it’s all over too. I just hope (Dale Earnhardt) Junior and Jimmie (Johnson) and Casey (Mears) and those guys can get up there and work with them.  But we were the only ones I felt like could keep up with them. And we were just cruising.

“We didn't understand what was happening. We started wearing the right front tires out. I knew something must be wrong so we came in and looked at it, sure enough we had a failure. We are going to fix it and see if we can get out for a few laps.

"We have been working hard at the shop to prevent this kind of thing from happening.  It is really a product of the type of suspension in these cars with these bump stops. It is just so hard, especially on a track like this. It wasn't safe for us to be out there. The handling went away and I didn’t know why because the DuPont Chevrolet was awesome.

ON WHO IS TOUGH: "The No. 18 is tough, so was the No. 11 but I don't know what happened to him.  Probably the 20 before it is over.  Junior looks pretty good. I hope my teammates get up there and make something happen against those Toyotas because I didn’t see anyone who had anything for them."

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S IMPALA SS – Finished 27th:
WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE IN THAT ACCIDENT?
“The No. 77 (Sam Hornish Jr.) got loose inside of me or something went on there where he just barely got me and turned me around. I thought we were going to make it without getting hit real hard, but we had a little bit of contact. We stayed on the lead lap and did a good job there, but we had lost track position early in the day and we were fighting to get it back all day and it was really difficult to pass anyone out there.”

ON NOT HAVING THE RUN HE WANTED TODAY
“This is a big race. I wanted to win this race. I felt like we had the car, especially in the beginning of this race that was capable of doing it. But we just lost track position and it was impossible to work through traffic and get the track position.”

DALE EARNHARDT JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY / NATIONAL GUARD IMPALA SS – Finished 9th
"It was a good Speedweeks. We obviously didn't have enough car there most of the day. We ran well. I am real proud of my team, real proud of the effort that we had this week. I have to thank them; it has been great for me. I have enjoyed this so much. The crew deserves a lot of credit, the motor guys, the fabricators. We struggled a little bit today, just trying to get good, get great. We got pretty good near the end of the race. I made a lot of poor choices where to take my runs and what to do with them. Nobody really wanted to help anybody, I didn't either. You know, you get runs, you go.

"Congratulations to Ryan (Newman) and (Roger) Penske. Ryan is a hard racer and certainly deserves what he got tonight. We are pretty proud. We are going to build on this; this is a great finish for us to start the season. I think we are going to have a lot of fun this year.

"It wasn't tires, we had good grip at the end. The track was cooling off and the car was fine. I got great runs, just made poor choices on what to do with them. That was the difference.

"We started off a little bit tight and we adjusted on it. Tony, Jr. made some good changes that got me great at the end of the race. We had great motors all week and another one today. I am real proud of Hendrick and the effort they gave me because I have had a great time this Speedweeks. I think the year is going to be like that and I am really going to enjoy it.

"I would have liked to finish better tonight, obviously, I think we had a top-five car all day. It is frustrating, but at the end of that race, anything is going to happen and guys get shuffled around. You just kind of take what you can get without wrecking. It is frustrating, but we are happy with a top-10, it'll do.

"I can't really remember the last few laps, I was just kind of stuck. The guys on the outside made great moves to get there. Ryan and those guys did exactly what they needed to do to win. They made some good choices at the end and that is the difference between where we finished and where they finished. We had a pretty good car. The best car didn't win the race. The 18 was the strongest car of the day all day, but I know those guys are probably frustrated. I tried to help him, help Tony there at the end. That is just who I ended up behind and I couldn't do much. I don't know, we were just kind of in a box there at the end, we couldn't make any more moves than we were making and the ones I was making weren't doing any good.  I was getting kind of frustrated.

"But, we are happy with ninth, just take that, try and build on it and have a good rest of the season.  It was touch and go there at the end, I am just glad we got our car home in one piece.

"I would have loved to have had four tires, then we would have been able to come up back through there. We hadn't been great all night. We had been ok and we were hanging on really, to fifth place most of the day. But I don't think we could have drove up by the 18 or 20, the guys that were out-running us all day, I needed to be in front of them.

"When it started cooling off, the grip was great, I didn't really want to pit. If we were going to pit, we should have pitted the first time, we didn't have many laps on our tires, there wasn't any point in doing it then.”

KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 SHELL / PENNZOIL IMPALA SS – Finished 14th:
“We were just slow. They did a great job, really, of working on the car during the day and making it better, but we were just slow. Our car just wouldn’t go.”

JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 AT&T IMPALA SS – Finished 13th:
"On that last restart we weren't fast enough to run up front. We were in a bad spot. I knew we were going to get passed for the lead but it's always fun to lead at Daytona. Finishing 13th isn't a bad start to the season."

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS IMPALA SS – Finished 24th:
"We had a car that was capable of winning the race. The Jack Daniel's Chevrolet was as fast as anything I've ever driven. It’s pretty hard to stomach being taken out when you're leading the Daytona 500. A couple of guys got impatient up front and we were the casualty. The worst part about it is having to wait another year to try again."

CASEY MEARS, NO. 25 KELLOGG’S / CARQUEST IMPALA SS – Finished 36th:
We had a great day all except for that last five laps there.  The guys did excellent job to put us in a great position to win the race. We had the tires, everything we needed to win there at the end.

"Just one of those deal. I don't know, we just need to work on our communication a little bit. Eddie, my spotter, did a great job the whole time. He is so good.  It is a very difficult spot when you are going away from the spotters right there and I know that. I just heard clear, looked in my mirror and didn't see anybody so I went ahead and turned up, cause I knew they had a run. It was too late, I guess.

"Just very, very disappointing, because we had such a great opportunity to win that race."

Category: Auto Racing
Tags: Daytona 500
 
 
 
 
 
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