FYI WIRZ: NASCAR's Top Five Daytona Drivers Talk Before and After

Dwight DrumCorrespondent IIIJuly 4, 2010

Maybe they should have renamed Daytona's 2010 July race to the Daytona Coke Crash 400. 18 cars scored a DNF, and ended up in the garage, while 25 battled the remaining laps. Some of those cars seemed to limp through the final turn.

Historically, every lap was the last on the old surface as it’s time (maybe past time) for repaving. 

It’s rumored that the start-finish line of the old pavement will be removed and donated to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Chevy dominated this weekend’s top five. Ford and Toyota each placed two in the top 10, but the dominating Joe Gibbs Racing team faltered. Only JGR’s Denny Hamlin’s Toyota lagged across the line in 24th position.

Week 27 top producers Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton talk before and after hot Daytona.

Kevin Harvick [No. 29 Chevrolet] First

“Daytona has been a really good race track for us, so we go there with the intentions of having a chance to win,” Harvick said.

“But, it is still restrictor plate racing, so you go there and it’s still a crap shoot as far as how it all turns out. I know it’s time and I know you have to do what you have to do, because, obviously, there are a lot of issues underneath for them to decide to repave it. 

"So, we’re going to miss the handling issues you have at Daytona and all the things that you always fight and it will be a lot like Talladega with a much narrower surface than what we have at Talladega. But, hopefully, it will eventually get back to having some bumps.” 

"This has been a great place for us,” Harvick said. “Daytona has been one of those magical places for us since we started coming here.

"I don't care so much about the trophy. I want some of the pavement from the start/finish line out there so this is pretty cool."


Kasey Kahne [No. 9 Ford] Second

“Handling is big in the 500, but this race is hot and the track has been hot for months,” Kahne said. “Some people will be able to go faster and be on the throttle more than others. You’ll be lifting (off the throttle) no matter what.

"This track will be real slippery. You just really need to work on getting the car to drive around the corner and turn and not be too loose.”

“I hit the wall once when I hit oil and spun just about all the way around and hit the wall, and then they wrecked all in front of me,” Kahne said.

“So I definitely would have been in that wreck so I avoided that by running into the wall myself and then the others were in my mirror. I'm definitely happy to run second. I was just relieved to get out of here with a good finish.”


Jeff Gordon [No. 24 Chevrolet] Third

“That old pavement – how it wears, what it does to the tires, how the cars drive on it and how you have to drive it as a driver – is the best,” Gordon said. “We’re going to miss that old pavement. New pavement just doesn’t wear out the tires like old pavement. When we come back here for Speedweeks, it’s going to be a totally unique and different Daytona. That can be great – or not.”

“It was a fun night for us with all those crashes and green-white-checkered and double-file restarts, it was pretty wild out there,” Gordon said. “Got to thank the fans for sticking around. These rain delays like this are never any fun for anybody, but without our fans sticking around and supporting us, we wouldn't be here.”


Dale Earnhardt Jr. [No. 88 Chevrolet] Fourth

“It’s always been one of my favorite tracks,” Earnhardt Said. “Everyone seems a little more relaxed and laid back at Daytona in July. It’s a fun race.”

“We just missed a lot of wrecks and got lucky with the finish,” Earnhardt said. “We didn't have a car to compete tonight. I apologize to all the fans. Thank the National Guard and all of our sponsors for their support. We'll try to do a better job next week. We don't want to get lucky every time."

Jeff Burton [No. 31 Chevrolet] Fifth

“Based on our performances at the two restrictor plate races this year, I think we’ll be really good,” Burton said. “I have high expectations this weekend. Daytona is all about handling and if we can get the car to handle well, we’ll be in good shape.”

“That is a great finish,” Burton said. “It is disappointing. I mean, every week it seems like we lead these races and we are up front at the end of the race. We just can't find a way to finish it but, when we do it is going to be big.”

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