NOTEBOOK: Edwards glad to have the fastest car
Pole winner hasn't won 500 since 2000
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The pole winner hasn’t won the Daytona 500 since Dale Jarrett in 2000. Carl Edwards is undaunted.
“We’ve been able to do the things we’ve done in the past at these restrictor-plate races, but I don’t have a win yet,” he said.”We’ve had some really good runs with cars that were not this fast on qualifying day.
“I’ll take a little extra speed any time. There are times, no matter what anybody says, when you’re running around in that pack and you can tell one car is just a tick faster than the other. For me, it’s a good feeling to know that I’m going to get in this Fusion on Sunday and I’ve got as good a car as anyone, even if it’s just psychological or a placebo and doesn’t mean anything. It’s nice to have that feeling.”
Hard feelings aren’t fun: During 2011, Matt Kenseth had several on-track dust-ups with Brian Vickers, who is still looking for a Sprint Cup ride since his team, Red Bull, went out of business.
When asked about Vickers, Kenseth said he hadn’t put much thought into Vickers’ absence or whether or not the rivalry between the two had anything to do with Vickers’ failure to find a ride.
“I think it’s never fun if you’re part of a conflict with anybody,” Kenseth said. “They’re always fun to watch, but being part of them is never much fun. I don’t know what effect that would have on where h is at or not. I don’t really know.”
It’s that open mind: Regan Smith finished second in his Duel on Thursday. He’s making a name for himself at restrictor-plate tracks.
“I enjoy plate racing,” he said. “It’s a different type of racing, definitely. I don’t know how good or bad I am at it, but I enjoy it. I think I go into it with an open mind. A lot of guys probably don’t have that open of a mind when they go into it. They maybe beat themselves before they get here. I just go with the flow.”
Racin’ deals: Travis Pastrana, NASCAR’s next extreme driver, plans to compete in seven Nationwide Series and 11 K&N East races this year. … Goodyear will continue as NASCAR’s official tire supplier through 2017. … The sponsorship wheels are turning. Budweiser will be corporate sponsor of Speedweeks as a whole, replacing its longtime identification with the Shootout, which makes sense since the Shootout will again be geared to pole winners, specifically, Coors Lite Pole winners.
Surprisingly, the Daytona 500 will be run on the same weekend next year. The race will be run on Feb. 24. This year’s late scheduling was supposedly due to the possibility of an NFL players’ strike pushing back the Super Bowl. That didn’t happen, but Daytona officials apparently like the later date, anyway. … According to Dodge officials, they don’t build trucks anymore. The Chrysler trucks are now simply known by Ram, and that’s what they prefer in reference to their entries in the Camping World Truck Series.
Monte Dutton; 704-869-1841; twitter.com/montedutton