News Column

NASCAR Meets with Keselowski After Driver Vents to USA Today

Feb 24, 2013

Randy Covitz, The Kansas City Star

Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski was summoned to a meeting with NASCAR chairman Brian France and International Speedway Corp. CEO Lesa France Kennedy after Brad Keselowski made some critical remarks about the direction of the sport in a USA Today story.

NASCAR chief communications officer Brett Jewkes said Keselowski wasn't penalized or facing punishment. "Brad has opinions, some informed and some less informed," Jewkes told USA Today. "The meeting was to improve the latter."

Keselowski tweeted afterward, "Spent some time with the Lesa and Brian from the NASCAR team after yesterday's article, the passion we all share for our sport is amazing!"


Don't forget Gordon

The hype surrounding Danica Patrick becoming the first woman to start a Sprint Cup race from the pole today may have overshadowed Jeff Gordon, who will start on the front row next to Patrick -- but that's OK with Gordon, a three-time Daytona 500 champion.

"I think we are in the best position to win the race," Gordon said. "Everybody has sort of been under the radar other than maybe (Kevin) Harvick winning two races. I think those two look very strong, with a great chance to win the Daytona 500. Obviously, Danica brings a lot of attention and that is fantastic for our sport. For us we are just doing our jobs, doing our thing and we have a great race car, great race team.

"It's nice to be able to just go about it without too much attention on us, too many expectations and hype so that there are not any distractions."

Fastest in practice

Dale Earnhardt Jr. turned the fastest lap of 198.592 mph in the final Sprint Cup practice Saturday, followed by David Gilliand (198.421) and Clint Bowyer (198.242) of Emporia, Kan.

But the best 10 consecutive-lap average belonged to Aric Almirola (196.195), Carl Edwards of Columbia (196.132) and Mark Martin (195.937). Bowyer was fifth (195.768) and Earnhardt was sixth (195.745).


In case of rain ...

There's about a 40 percent chance of rain today, but should a shower interrupt the race, NASCAR has introduced its Air Titan track-drying technology that should considerably shorten those two-hour delays by up to 80 percent.

The new system, created by the NASCAR R&D Center in the wake of last year's first postponement in Daytona 500 history, will use compressed air to efficiently and reliably push water off the racing surface and onto the apron where vacuum trucks will remove the remaining moisture. Jet dryers will follow each Air Titan to dry excess water left on the racing surface, as well as any debris.

It's possible NASCAR will be able to transport the Air Titan to other tracks, including Kansas Speedway.

"Keep in mind that this has never been tested during a race or during full rain conditions at a track," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's senior vice president of racing operations. "So we've still got some work to do once we see it, if we do see it in play, and we'll learn from there and make sure we've got the best model going forward possible for other tracks."

Joe Gibbs on Andy Reid

Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs, while at Washington, coached against Andy Reid twice a year during 2004-07 when Reid was at Philadelphia, and Gibbs gave the new Chiefs coach a ringing endorsement.

"I like Andy Reid," said Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. "One of the things you like about Andy is you solve one-third of the problem when you get him because he's offense, and he's going to have a good offensive scheme. He did a real good job of handling their talent.

"I didn't like coaching against him. I used to always say about the NFC East, let's get some bad coaches and bad owners. "

Source: (c)2013 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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