NASCAR Notebook: Bowyer has no interest in running Indy 500
MAY 22, 2014 6:13p ET
BOWYER BACKS AWAY -- If NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer harbored any secret fantasies about racing in the Indianapolis 500, he disabused himself of those notions earlier this week. And all it took was watching one piece of video -- Kurt Busch wadding up his Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda Monday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he spun at about 220 miles per hour and went hard into the SAFER barrier. Busch walked away unhurt, but his car was destroyed.
Bowyer was back in Kansas when the crash happened and it took him a while to find out about it, but when he did, it opened his eyes.
"I've been cutting hay -- bailing hay -- all week long and haven't really been following Twitter or anything," Bowyer said. "And I did go home, got in bed and I was watching TV and I didn't even know Kurt had wrecked that day and I was like, 'Holy cow.' No, that doesn't look one iota of fun at all."
Bowyer said he was surprised by the severity of the impact. "That was a hard hit and just from looking at it -- those things (Indy racers) blow apart and you see us wreck and it kind of flat-sides the right side and you're like, 'You'll be okay.' You see them things blow apart and you're like, 'Man, is he even going to get out?' No, it doesn't look like fun, but it's fun to watch."
JUNIOR'S WOODS -- Not only is Dale Earnhardt Jr. one of the most popular drivers in NASCAR, he's one of the most eclectic, or maybe even outright eccentric. After all, the 200-acre tract around Earnhardt's home near Mooresville, N.C., features an entire Western town called Whiskey River.
And the woods are, quite literally, an automotive graveyard, filled with the wrecks of about 80 race cars. Earnhardt has the infamous Chevrolet that Juan Pablo Montoya crashed into a jet dryer at the 2012 Daytona 500 -- Chip Ganassi made Earnhardt promise not to show pictures of it -- and he also has the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet that Jimmie Johnson drove when he got crashed on the second lap of the same Daytona 500. Earnhardt also has cars from neighbor Brad Keselowski and a bunch of other teams.
"The hard part is that if people want to know if there are tours and can they come look at it," said Earnhardt. "I feel kind of bad because it's on my property. It's like that Western town that I built. It will be there way after I'm gone and someone will walk back there and say, 'What the hell is this doing here? And who put it here?' Then my name will come up and they will remember me."
Earnhardt said his newfound appreciation of social media has drawn attention to his cars. "I think it's the Twitter thing," Earnhardt said. "I think people are learning about me on Twitter over the last little bit. We've collected cars there for a long time. It's not like I go looking for every wreck that we have or anyone has. A lot of times they're offered up or I'll call up a buddy that's a crew chief or something."
DOGECOIN, REDDIT RETURNING -- After raising money by selling more than 5,000 T-shirts in just six days, digital currency provider Dogecoin and the reddit Internet community will sponsor Josh Wise and the No. 98 Phil Parsons Racing entry at the fall race at Talladega Superspeedway. A 16-year-old reddit user saw the unsponsored No. 98 earlier this year and launched a campaign to raise money for the team. The result was that Dogecoin sponsored the No. 98 at the Talladega race earlier this month. Passionate followers then voted Wise into the Sprint All-Star Race last week, scoring a stunning upset over last year's Sprint Fan Vote winner Danica Patrick.
"We're just a small team," said Wise. "When we were initially approached with this idea, we never expected it to get as big as it has become. We've been able to accomplish some pretty amazing things with the help of the Dogecoin and reddit communities. It means so much to us to have all that support. We're working as hard as we can, to do the best job that we possibly can, each and every week."
PAYING TRIBUTE -- Jamie McMurray's No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet will carry the name of Captain Jeffrey Bowen, a fallen firefighter who was a 13-year veteran of the Asheville, N.C., Fire Department. Bowen was killed in 2011 when responding to a four-alarm fire in an office building.
The recognition of Bowen's service to his community during Memorial Day weekend is the result of the relationship between McMurray's sponsor, LiftMaster, and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
"As a veteran firefighter, Captain Bowen is a hero in his community because of his bravery in service, and I am proud to honor him, with his name on our race car during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway," said McMurray. "First responders such as Captain Bowen are members of our community and they go above and beyond to keep us safe. A win in the Coca-Cola 600 would be special, but it would be an honor to drive into Victory Lane with Jeffrey's name on our race car."
GOODYEAR GIVES BACK -- For the fifth consecutive year, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is conducting its "Goodyear Gives Back" charitable program benefitting the Support Our Troops organization. All Goodyear tires at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend will carry the "Support Our Troops" logo on the side. Also, Goodyear's charity auction at www.Goodyear.com/GivesBack features autographed NASCAR memorabilia, VIP race experiences and rides on the Goodyear Blimp.
Goodyear will match funds raised through the charity auction up to $50,000. So far, the Goodyear Gives Back program has provided more than $800,000 in cash and products to help troops and their families.