Wallace called into standby duty twice at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP)
Wallace was Plan B for two teams.
The part-time driver was asked to serve as a standby for Harvick and nearly ended up replacing Allmendinger.
''Well, that was drama,'' Wallace said minutes before the 400-mile race at Daytona. ''It was a feather in my cap for these car owners to think of my superspeedway driving.''
Harvick's pregnant wife, DeLana, returned to North Carolina earlier in the day, and Harvick was keeping close tabs on any potential contractions. So Richard Childress Racing lined up Wallace just in case Harvick had to rush home.
Allmendinger, meanwhile, was temporarily suspended about 90 minutes before the race for a failed drug test, forcing Penske Racing officials to scramble to get Hornish back to the track.
In case Hornish couldn't make it on time, Penske officials asked Wallace to be ready to climb into the No. 22 Dodge.
So that meant Wallace potentially getting in a Penske car - the team also has Miller Lite as a sponsor on its No. 2 Dodge - wearing Harvick's Budweiser firesuit.
''It was a little uncomfortable for everybody,'' Wallace said. ''What happened with all the sponsors and all the automakers, this was all people helping people at this point.''
DODGE'S FUTURE: NASCAR Chairman Brian France is hopeful Dodge will still be in NASCAR next season.
The Sprint Cup Series currently has four manufacturers - Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota and Dodge - but Penske Racing is switching from Dodge to Ford at the end of the season. Dodge has yet to announce any replacement teams.
Nonetheless, the manufacturer introduced its 2013 car in March, shortly after Penske announced its defection.
''I hope they will be here, (parent company) Fiat has got racing in their DNA, so I hope they'll be here,'' France said. ''They have a great-looking car and I'm sure they were disappointed with how things played out. My hope is they'll figure out a way to stay in the sport. It's hard to come in and out of NASCAR, and it's hard to come in, so I hope that after they've put all that effort to come in that they'll stay in.''
There's been speculation as to who could partner with Dodge, and it's included reports Dodge is courting current IndyCar Series team owner Michael Andretti to start a NASCAR team. Other organizations mentioned as possible Dodge factory teams have been Richard Petty Motorsports and Furniture Row Racing.
Roger Penske currently builds the only Dodge NASCAR engines in his North Carolina shop, but it's assumed he'd sell it to a new Dodge team if he chooses not to build his own Ford engines.
BOWDEN'S THOUGHTS: Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden attended his first NASCAR race Saturday, serving as the grand marshal for the Sprint Cup race.
And, yes, Bowden's down-home vernacular was a big hit at Daytona.
''Drivers, start your dadgum engines,'' he said, drawing rousing applause.
Long before he delivered the command to start the race, the always polite coach weighed in on college football's four-team playoff, his adjustment to retirement and convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky and the affect that scandal had on late Penn State coach Joe Paterno's legacy.
Bowden said he could have ''lived without'' a playoff.
''I coached for 57 years. I played it 10 years before that. We never had a playoff and everything turned out OK,'' said Bowden, who led the Seminoles to two national championships (1993, 1999). ''The fact that 1 and 2 matches up, to me that's the big thing. Nobody gives a dadgum about runner-up. Some might say, `Well, yeah, but No. 3 always complains `cause they get left out. There's 1 and 2, but No. 3 should have been there. Well, go ahead and get four of you and No. 5's going to be upset.
''So we're not going to solve that part of it, although it wasn't a big part. I never thought I would see a playoff during my lifetime. Of course, still haven't seen one yet.''
Bowden wore black pants with an FSU logo. When asked if they were part of his severance package, he quipped, ''Boy, I took everything I could.''
Bowden stays busy in retirement with speaking engagements and will even retire to Florida State for the first time since his ouster to be honored this fall. So what else is he working on?
''My golf game has improved, but the score has not improved,'' he said. ''I still can't even break 90. It makes me sort of mad.''
Bowden also kept an eye on the Sandusky developments. The former Penn State defensive coordinator was convicted last month on 45 criminal counts of sexually abusing 10 boys, some of them on campus. The charges led to Paterno being fired last year.
''I sure hate what happened,'' Bowden said. ''I wouldn't dare try to judge it. I just hate it for Joe. ... Thank goodness he doesn't have to face all these stuff.''
Does it taint Paterno's legacy?
''There is no way it can be dodged,'' Bowden said. ''That's the sad thing about it. Here's a guy that spent 60 years on the football field with an impeccable program and all of a sudden when my grandchildren and your grandchildren talk about Joe Paterno, it's going to be that. Boy, I sure hate it. But there's that other side, too. There's those kids that were molested. And dadgummit, that's probably the most important thing of all.''