Daytona 500: Bud Shootout Drivers React and Look Ahead
NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers got their first chance in competition to find a dancing partner on Saturday night.
The Bud Shootout proved to be just as advertised, with two car hookups being the only game in town.
Pairing up with another car, a driver could gain speed and closing rate on the leaders and once to the front, it was the only way to stay there.
After the race, several drivers talked about the preferred method of racing at Daytona and what it means for next week's Daytona 500.
Here's a quick look at some of their thoughts.
Kurt Busch, Driver of the Shell Pennzoil Dodge and Shootout Winner
On running up front in the two car breakaway:
"It's an unbelievable experience to race out there in this two-car tandem and to be able to feel the air around you and to have that guy behind you pushing.
"It is so much fun inside the car when you have things going your way. I bet the guys that lost the draft are out there just sitting there filing their nails going down the back straightaway because they've got nothing else to do."
On the dynamics of drafting:
"With the way the two cars hook up, it's just the length from the front bumper to the rear bumper of the two cars.
"So it's just taking an overall measurement, and the air comes off that first car and must land right behind the spoiler of the second car because if you hit there and try to draft a foot apart, you can never hook up. You never get that extra speed."
Jamie McMurray, Driver of the Bass Pro Shops Chevy, Finished 2nd
On the high speeds with the draft this year:
"You can't tell the difference if you're going 180 or 220. I've never went 220, but you can't tell a difference in the speed."
On having control of the car when it's in the hookups:
"I don't know that it's more in control.
"You know, one thing that I heard Ryan say earlier that I didn't realize like at Talladega is when we have the restarts and you get locked together, when you're getting up to speed is when the cars are hard to drive.
"Once you get up to speed and your rpms level out, and I heard Ryan say this, and it's so weird, it's like you're not pushing the guy. It's like you're real close and when you're the guy in front you'll tap the brake, ooh, you'll feel him still be there.
"I don't know, it's just so much different than what we've had in the past."
Greg Biffle, Driver of the 3M Ford, Finished 5th
On learning the intricacies of the two car draft:
"It’s really hard to see when you’re doing that two-car push what’s in front of you.
"It’s kind of different. We’ve never done this before, pushing like this, so it’s just something new.”
On his expectations for the Daytona 500:
"I really think we’d have more fun if there was 20-25 of us together, but it’s more fun when the pack is bigger than just pushing two cars around the whole time, but the 500 is gonna be different. There will be a lot more cars out there, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Denny Hamlin, Driver of the FedEx Toyota, Finished 12th
On the out-of-bounds penalty that cost him the win:
“That yellow line is there to protect us and the fans in the stands safety and I just chose to take the safer route. A win in the Shootout is not worth sending the 39 (Ryan Newman) through the grandstands. For me, as fast as we’re running—if I get into his left rear, that car will go airborne."
On the skill and timing of running in the draft:
“It’s an art. There’s an art to it whether it’s a big 40-car pack or it’s a two-car tandem. There’s an art to all of this.
"For me, it was hard. It was strategic trying to get back up to the front during the right time. Ultimately we didn’t get it done, but still I think the fans saw a great finish. It was three-wide at the line for a win and I see the Daytona 500 being no different.”
Carl Edwards, Driver of the Scotts ez Seed Ford, Finished 21st
On the accident that ended his night:
"I was in the middle and I don’t think he knew my nose was in there. I was probably hidden by the 88 and he just kept coming down.
"I was like, ‘No, no, no, no,’ and then he got me across the right-front. I probably could have stabbed the brake and backed out of there, but I didn’t know exactly what was going on behind me.”
On the aggressive racing in the draft on Daytona's new surface:
“It was pretty wild.
"I think this race and next week’s race is gonna be wild. I think the fans are gonna get what they pay for.”
Joey Logano, Driver of the Home Depot Toyota, Finished 18th
On being collected in an accident and missing a chance to win at Daytona:
"I got tore up in that and I think I got hit about five times. It’s unfortunate. I thought we had a shot at winning this one.
"I was having fun out there and thought we were going to be good. It’s frustrating, but at least it wasn’t for points. I just want to win here.”
Matt Kenseth, Driver of the Crown Royal Black Ford, Finished 13th
On the frustration of not being able to find a drafting partner:
"It’s not really that great having a whole bunch of groups of two and when you can’t do anything without that it isn’t really that much fun.
"If you’re the pusher, you can’t see a thing and with going 207 miles an hour and pushing someone when you can’t see, it’s not a lot of fun."
Michael Waltrip, Driver of the NAPA Toyota, Finished 15th
On the evolution of the two-car drafting concept:
“It developed from two cars going faster than anything else. Race car drivers aren’t that smart, but we figured that one out in a hurry."
On the comfort level in the draft:
"Most of the time when they push you don’t wreck, but then when circumstances change, it just got me loose and I wrecked.
"You do it lap after lap after lap and it gets a little bit hairy. If you remember correctly, it’s always been hairy here, so maybe it’s a little bit lesser of two evils.”
Ryan Newman, Driver of the Wix Filters Chevy, Finished 3rd
On the safety of the high speeds during the Shootout:
"199.5 versus 206.5, I don't know that you could feel it, and I've always said the most important thing is we keep the race cars on the racetrack.
"So whatever we've worked on with our liftoff speed, if the car is going backwards, sideways, whatever else to keep the cars down, that's what NASCAR needs to focus on for making the race safe."
On getting a good position in qualifying for Thursday's 150 mile races:
"I hope I hit the front row and can sit back and just watch the duels on Thursday, because it's fun to be a part of it, but when you've got guys in there that are mixed up trying to go for making that race, it's going to get really crazy."
Kyle Busch, Driver of the M&Ms Toyota, Finished 16th
On the relationship between speed and accidents:
“I don’t know that there’s a problem with the speed.
"Maybe with what we’re doing with the speed we’re carrying, but it’s just a product of what we’ve got here. To me, there’s no relation in speed as to why we’re wrecking. It’s just the maneuvers and the by-product of the game right now.”
On the quality of the Daytona 500 with the two-car drafts:
"I think it would be a better race to see us all grouped up rather than the two car deals and pushing each other around.
"We just saw Tony (Stewart) and Michael Waltrip have the same problem that Mark (Martin) and I did. It’s not that we did anything wrong. We’ve seen it a few times tonight. Unless we want a 10-car shootout at the end of the race, I don’t know if that would be a good Daytona 500.”