Garage Chatter: Gatorade Duel 150's

Knaus rumors fly: Garage rumors suggesting that No. 48 Hendrick Chevrolet crew chief Chad Knaus is angling to get fired are about 4 months off the mark. It had been suggested that Knaus used certain websites and reporters last season to float...

Knaus rumors fly: Garage rumors suggesting that No. 48 Hendrick Chevrolet crew chief Chad Knaus is angling to get fired are about 4 months off the mark. It had been suggested that Knaus used certain websites and reporters last season to float rumors that he may be leaving the Hendrick organization as a motivating point in contract negotiations.

Considering Knaus long history of visits to the NASCAR hauler it would be a little absurd for him to try and get canned during the Daytona 500 when all the decent gigs have already been snatched up.

Knaus is expected to be out for at least a handful of races with fines and a possible point penalty to be announced Tuesday.

Bump drafting issue for teams outside of top 35: There are a lot of nervous drivers in today's Gatorade Duel 150 races this afternoon. With NASCAR disallowing bump drafting in the corners, drivers cannot afford to slip up and get the black flag from NASCAR.

Look for Robby Gordon and Scott Riggs to try and play it safe and just make the field. In the uber competitive NASCAR of the new millennium missing the Daytona 500 can have disastrous consequences on not only your season but your relationship with your sponsors.

Other drivers vying for spots are: Kevin Lepage, Kirk Shelmerdine, Paul Menard, Stanton Barrett, Larry Foyt, Scott Wimmer, Randy Lajoie, Morgan Shepherd, Derrike Cope, Mike Wallace, Mike Skinner, Chad Blount, Chad Chaffin, Kenny Wallace, Larry Gunselman, Andy Belmont and Carl Long.

Edwards wants a break: NASCAR managed to turn Carl Edwards's constant smile into a frown during Sunday's Budweiser Shootout. Edwards got slapped with three penalties for NASCAR, two for driving below the yellow line to gain position and one for speeding on pit road.

"Give me a break," said Edwards. "You can't just run a team into the ground like that for no reason."

It was pretty plain on television that Edwards at least one of the times he drifted below the yellow was to avoid being part of multi-car wreck. NASCAR somehow did not see it that way and demanded that Driver 99 come to pit road.

Edwards refused for quite some time before finally acquiescing and making the stop in the pits. When he pulled in, he was too fast, which slapped him with the speeding penalty.

Pundits wonder what Edwards did in the off-season to fall out of grace with the sanctioning body. After all, judges have their favorites.

Busch draws ire: Kurt Busch is somewhere breathing a sigh of relief, because this week his brother Kyle is the most hated man in NASCAR garage. Various drivers and crew chiefs expressed their concerns with Busch's over the top aggressive driving during Sunday's Budweiser Shootout.

NASCAR twice told the driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Chevy to "settle down" behind the wheel. He is apt to find little friends in the draft for Sunday's season opener.

Hines/Contreras to share ride: Tracey Hines will share driving duties of the No. 14 Dodge in the Busch series with Carlos Contreras this season.

Sadler unsure 'bump-drafting' rule will calm down the field: Elliott Sadler also expressed concerns after the Budweiser Shootout about the aggressive driving going on during the race. He doesn't think NASCAR's no 'bump- drafting' in the corners rule is going to do much good.

"The Shootout was crazy last week," said Sadler. "It was like Martinsville at 190 miles an hour and that was only 20 cars, so I have a feeling the twin races and the 500 is gonna be pretty crazy."

NASCAR hopes that the new rule which results in a driver being black- flagged if they are caught bump-drafting in the corner, but Sadler disagrees that the new rule will settle drivers down.

"I think they're gonna be as crazy as they can be because there is so much competition nowadays," Sadler commented. "The field is not gonna split up. We're gonna run in a big pack and everybody knows now that the quickest way or the best way to pass people is bump-drafting.

"We're nailing each other. My helmet just about got knocked off a few times on Sunday during the Shootout, so it's pretty rough racing. You can't police who bumps and who doesn't, but I think if you come up with a rule change to weaken the front ends a little bit, I think that would help us a lot."

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Derrike Cope , Mike Skinner , Kenny Wallace , Randy Lajoie , Kevin Lepage , Robby Gordon , Mike Wallace , Kurt Busch , Larry Foyt , Andy Belmont , Chad Blount , Larry Gunselman , Carlos Contreras , Scott Riggs , Kirk Shelmerdine , Scott Wimmer , Stanton Barrett , Carl Edwards , Carl Long , Elliott Sadler , Chad Knaus