Several NASCAR drivers and other team members made a point of sending good wishes to the more than two dozen spectators injured at Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Daytona.
“Hopefully they’re doing well today and we welcome them back as soon as they get well,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said.
Halifax Health, a local hospital, said after the race that it was still treating seven patients injured by flying debris when Kyle Larson’s car hit the grandstand fence, and that all the patients were in stable condition.
DAYTONA 500 BREAKDOWN
One moment the three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers were leading NASCAR’s Daytona 500. The next moment two of them were out of the race.
Defending Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth led a race-high 86 laps and, at one point, teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch were running second and third behind him.
But Kenseth’s No. 20 Toyota suddenly began smoking, forcing him to the garage. A few laps later, the same thing happened to Busch’s No. 18 Toyota.
“I’m not sure if it’s an engine or a transmission,” Kenseth said. “Disappointing end to a great day.”
Busch said his car “just broke an engine for some reason. Kudos to all of the guys building these cars, but we’ve got to have engines that last.”
FRANCO FLUBS HIS LINE
“Drivers … and Danica!!! … start your engines.”
With that unique command, actor James Franco ordered the 43 cars to fire up for the Daytona 500.
The duty is normally carried out with the most famous words in racing: “Gentlemen, start your engines.”
Of course, this year was different. Danica Patrick was the first woman to start from the pole in a Sprint Cup race, and Franco hinted beforehand that he was planning an audible. As unpredictable as ever, he passed on a chance to copy the command that was used when Patrick raced in the Indianapolis 500, “Lady and gentlemen, start your engines.”
MARTIN LOSES 50 CENT BET
Mark Martin made big bucks with 50 Cent by his side.
Martin has never been a fan of restrictor-plate racing, which often results in a large number of cars running side-by-side and in tight packs.
But this one ended considerably better than most of Martin’s others. Maybe it had something to do with rapper 50 Cent being in the No. 55 team’s pit before and during the Daytona 500.
“We told 50 Cent if we won the race, he would have to change his name to 55 Cent for one day,” Martin said. “I was trying really hard to get that name change for one day.”
SCHUMACHER WINS NHRA
Tony Schumacher beat Morgan Lucas in the tire-smoking Top Fuel final at the NHRA Arizona Nationals on Sunday for his 70th career victory and fourth at Firebird International Raceway.
Schumacher and Lucas lost traction early and both drivers were on and off the throttle as they navigated the strip, with Schumacher able to get his 8,000-horsepower dragster under control first.
Schumacher had a 4.606-second run at 213.20 mph, while Lucas finished in 4.652 at 258.67.
Ron Capps won in Funny Cars, and Erica Enders-Stevens won in Pro Stock.
Capps raced to his 39th career victory and third at the event, outrunning Matt Hagan in the final round.