Garage Chatter: Daytona 500

Mexico City may prove learning experience for teams: During Busch Series Mexico testing in January NASCAR crew members learned an important lesson about being in a foreign country. Several crew guys ventured out to a bar in downtown Mexico City ...

Mexico City may prove learning experience for teams: During Busch Series Mexico testing in January NASCAR crew members learned an important lesson about being in a foreign country. Several crew guys ventured out to a bar in downtown Mexico City against the advice of NASCAR representatives.

After ordering four beers they got a check for $787 American dollars. When they asked the bartender to explain why four beers cost $787 they were told they couldn't leave until they paid their bill.

"It was clear that we were either going to get shot or go to jail," said a crew member who preferred to remain anonymous. "It was just easier to pay the bill. We won't be going out race weekend. We should have stayed at the hotel."

Let's hope the rest of the crews follow that advice come March.

Sadler admits to rookie mistake: Just when Elliott Sadler thought he had the monkey of last season off his back, his Daytona dreams slipped a little during the Twin 150 races on Thursday.

Sadler slid through his pit stop and had to back-up before the team could pit the car. He ended up catching between two gears and breaking the transmission.

"I had to put it in reverse to get out of the way of the 49 car," explained Sadler. "When I put it in reverse and then back to first gear it just kind of hung in between gears and I broke the transmission.

"It's a tough break. I had a pretty decent car. I got hung out right there with Jamie (McMurray) one time and had to go to the back. I was kind of working my way back up, but it was just a rookie mistake by a non-rookie. It was just a stupid mistake on my part. I should have let my guys push me back. I just got trapped in the pits and tried to rush out too quick. It was my fault."

Sadler will now have to take the green flag from the 39th spot on Sunday.

"It's big because you don't want to be around all that stuff in the 500 starting in the back," said Sadler. "But I put myself in that position and I'll have to try to get out of it Sunday."

Goodyear hoping tires won't be an issue on Sunday: The talk at Daytona all week has been the tires. A few of which have come of Cup cars looking like someone took a cheese grater to them. In response, Goodyear took seven tires back to its facility in Akron, Ohio for further examination. The test, however, showed no common factors between any of the affected tires.

Goodyear's assumption is that it is a reaction to the new tire compound being used this year and extra pressure on right side tires.

They have taken a total of 900 tires out of circulation citing fears of "tread delamination". Officials insisted there would not be a shortage of tires for Sundays' event.

"We want to do everything we can to provide the best product we can," said Goodyear's Stu Grant. "We met with NASCAR at 7 o'clock this morning after we got our data and told them what we were going to do and explained our results."

Harvick doesn't have many friends left: After causing a multi-car crash in his Twin 150 event on Thursday, Kevin Harvick is the loneliest man in the Nextel Cup garage. Harvick was running second when he bumped Jimmie Johnson (who was leading) in turn two. The tap turned Johnson and collected the cars of Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin and Joe Nemechek.

The entire group involved berated Harvick for over-aggressive driving and demanded that either car owner Richard Childress or NASCAR do something about Harvick's rough driving style.

"It's a shame. He just tore up six or seven good race cars,'' said Johnson, "I hope Childress fires him or does something about him, or NASCAR does. This is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.'"

Nemechek had a better way to exact his revenge. He bounced a water bottle off Harvick's head as he passed him in the golf cart coming from the infield care center.

No one was seriously injured but Harvick did complain of chest pain.

"I just spun him out, and I feel sorry for the teams and everybody involved," Harvick said.

NASCAR called all parties involved to the trailer to smooth out any lingering grudges. No penalties are expected to be levied against Harvick as NASCAR representatives stated they felt it was a racing incident.

It's a real shame for Wallace and Martin who are both retiring this year and running their last Daytona 500's. Martin was especially emotional he felt that his primary car could compete for the win and that he has no shot at a victory in his back-up car.

"I couldn't see anything but the back end of the 29," said Martin. "I'd be better off not interviewing. We don't have another race car like that. I believe I could win the Daytona 500 with that car, but I don't know if they can fix that. It's wrecked."

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Jimmie Johnson , Elliott Sadler , Mark Martin