“I was in position, I thought, to win the April race at Talladega past year and Brad (Keselowski) got around me at the end”. Incidentally, Harvick is also the +500 favourite to win the Monster Energy Cup points title.
And when Waltrip won his second 500 in 2003, that one was rain-shortened, and thus diminished in another way.
Truex said there is little the team can do to prevent the negative connotations that may arise from the team’s issues. I said that a little tongue-in-cheek yesterday. It’s such a big deal to go out there and win this race.
“At the same time, there’s so much racing between now and Homestead, and the fact that we have to qualify for the playoffs and then stay alive in the playoffs helps take pressure off of me and our organization to do that right now”. He ranks second among active drivers with five restrictor-plate wins, and two of those wins came last season.
“I’m happy, I’m smiling, I’m back”, he said on media day this week.
Hamlin is trying to join Richard Petty (1973-1974), Cale Yarborough (1983-1984) and Sterling Marlin (1994-1995) as the only drivers to win consecutive Daytona 500s. “We’re nearly going to be forgotten”.
He has been out of the spotlight since July of 2016 after being diagnosed with “concussion-like symptoms” but was cleared by doctors to race by the 2017 season. Based on our Pole Day qualifying speed, our team will be in the first 60-lap duel while my new Furniture Row Racing teammate Erik Jones will be in the second duel driving the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota. But, just making it to the end and having yourself in position, obviously we’d love to have a shot to win this thing. On Sunday morning, before racing in the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona, Johnson pedaled 42 miles on a bike. Furniture Row, which added Erik Jones to the driver lineup, had issues with the two cars.
So the only way that Sorenson will not get into the race is if LaJoie finishes ahead of both him and Gaughan in the first Duel. “We’ll see as that goes”.
Not that the seven-time champion hasn’t made fitness a priority over the years.
“I haven’t still been in a pack in the Cup cars on a superspeedway, so hopefully I can learn a lot (Thursday) in the Duels and figure out more about how these cars draft and how to make moves and how to work together”, Jones said. The guess here is that it won’t have a dramatic impact on the latter, just as the original creation of the Chase (now simply the playoffs) didn’t really shake things up in any major fashion.
Two months after Homestead, he stepped up to the microphone at Joe Gibbs Racing and said he was done.
“It’s a definitely a different vibe than any other place”, Logano said. He’s now had a year to think about the agonizing finish. It’s just apples and oranges as far as how they experience and I’ve experienced it. “It makes you pay attention to yourself, and I think there’s nothing better than having somebody like Dale Jr. going so far as to get out of the auto for as long as he did and saying, “Hey, I have a problem” because it makes it more available for everyone else”.