Martin starts late wreck, finds more Daytona woes
Veteran Mark Martin started on the pole, led more than a dozen
laps early and was closing in on the leaders late.
Then his ride around Daytona International Speedway ended like
so many others have for him – in the garage and out of
Martin started a 15-car pileup with a few laps remaining
Saturday night, leaving him 0 for 53 in Cup races at NASCAR’s most
”I knew it was going to get crazy,” Martin said.
It certainly did.
Martin turned down in front of Joey Logano shortly after a
green-white-checker restart, got clipped and started spinning in
front of a pack of others. Martin could do little to avoid the
melee, collecting Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer and
others. Logano acknowledged afterward that he was merely being
aggressive in the final laps.
”Mark was trying to come down in front of me,” said Logano,
who wound up third. ”I could have backed off and let him in, but
it was the end of the race so I was wide open, I didn’t care. …
We were going to team up, but I went in there guns blazing and see
what the heck happened on the other side.”
Martin finished 33rd, leaving him winless in 26 starts in
Daytona’s July race. He also is 0 for 27 in the Daytona 500.
BAYNE’S BAD LUCK: Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne was hoping
for a repeat trip to Victory Lane at Daytona. Instead, he got an
Bayne wrecked on the fifth lap of Saturday’s race and finished
40th, ending his return to Sprint Cup competition way sooner than
”It’s not fun, I can promise you,” Bayne said. ”It takes
about a half second and you say, ‘Oh, here it goes,’ because you
get sideways and you know the point of correction. … I just hate
that it was us. It’s gonna happen again tonight, I’m sure, but it’s
just really unfortunate for us. I wanted to back up what we did
here in February, obviously, but we aren’t gonna get the chance to
Bayne was running in tandem with Brad Keselowski, but Keselowski
turned Bayne around when he seemingly started pushing too close to
the left rear.
”I don’t know if I turned down more getting in (turn one) or if
he kind of came up across our bumper,” Bayne said. ”Either way,
our bumpers caught wrong and it sent us spinning.”
Bayne’s season has been a whirlwind.
He became the youngest Daytona 500 winner in February, but he
failed to capitalize on his surprise victory. He soon found himself
in the Mayo Clinic being treated for what he now believes was Lyme
disease. After taking several weeks off, Bayne returned for the
Nationwide race at Chicagoland but felt run down. He was hoping to
find more normalcy at Daytona, but ended up with a short stint
behind the wheel.
”I can’t explain what I’ve been through this year,” Bayne
said. ”It’s tough at times and it’s good at times, but I just know
that I’ve got really good people behind me. … So that gives me
confidence. If I didn’t have that and I didn’t have my faith and
everything else, right now that would be a pretty bad blow, I can
promise you that.”
NO BONUS: David Reutimann and Martin Truex Jr. had extra
incentive to win Saturday’s race at Daytona – and stick together in
Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman told his teams
before the race that he would pay them $1 million for a 1-2 finish
in the 400-mile race. He would give the winning team $250,000 and
the second-place team $750,000. Yes, the runner-up would have
received more – because teamwork and the pushing car in Daytona’s
tandem drafts have become so important since the famed track was
”Everyone gets it,” Kauffman said. ”It’s a team thing. If
you’re P2 and you’re coming around the last turn, a lot of things
are on your mind. So will this change anything? I don’t know. But
if it all worked out that Michael Waltrip Racing was 1-2, I’d be
pretty happy with an extra million going to the guys.”
It didn’t, though.
Reutimann and Truex both were involved a 15-car pileup during a
green-white-checker finish. Reutimann finished 25th, 10 sports
higher than Truex.
PENSKE PROGRESS: Roger Penske credited the recent upswing of his
two-car NASCAR organization to operating under a one-team
philosophy. But, he doesn’t exactly discredit the notion that Kurt
Busch’s tirade in May had an effect.
”Sometimes you need a vibration, a little noise in the house,”
Penske said before Saturday night’s race at Daytona. ”I don’t
think there’s one silver bullet that you can point to as the fix,
but conversation is always good and Kurt endorsed the plans that
came from those conversations.”
Busch was terribly unhappy with the performance of the No. 22
team through March and April, and it boiled over at a race in
Richmond in an expletive-laden rant on his in-car radio. Behind the
scenes changes were made after that race, and both Busch and Brad
Keselowski have turned it up since.
Busch won three straight poles and last week’s road course race
in Sonoma, and he’s fourth in the Sprint Cup standings after
finishing 14th at Daytona. Keselowski won the pole at Charlotte,
the race at Kansas and was 10th at Sonoma to move up to 22nd in the
standings. He finished 15th Saturday, leaving him with nine races
to move himself into contention for the Chase for the Sprint Cup
”I think Brad has been able to show some speed, and Kurt
appreciates that,” Penske said. ”Both drivers are highly
motivated, which is a good thing, and people don’t realize that
Kurt wants to be the fastest car on every lap of every race, just
like his brother. That’s not a bad thing.”
The trick, Penske said, is for the organization not to get
complacent just because it’s running better.
”We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves,” Penske said.
”There’s a lot of time left. Brad has the win, and that’s
certainly very important and that’s certainly put him in position
to make the Chase. But we’ve got to look at this one week at a
STAR POWER: Country music star Martina McBride performed an
hourlong concert before the race, singing some of her most popular
tunes, including ”Broken Wing” and ”Independence Day.” In a
not-so-stunning admission, McBride said widely beloved Dale
Earnhardt Jr. is her favorite driver. She joked that her hair had
little chance to hold up in Florida’s stifling summer heat and
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher served as the grand marshal,
delivering the command to start engines. He said he grew up a
NASCAR fan and had ”butterflies, that giddy feeling” in his
”It’s a great honor for me,” Fisher said.
With 18 starters returning this fall, Fisher also acknowledged
high expectations for the Seminoles in 2011. They are a popular
pick to win the Atlantic Coast Conference and maybe compete for the
”They’re predicting us to win it, so I asked them the other day
if they could send me the trophy,” Fisher said. ”But they
wouldn’t send it down there. I guess we have to go win it, I hope.
We feel good about our team coming in.”
Radio personality Todd Clem, better known as ”Bubba the Love
Sponge,” drove the pace car.