Nothing would have been sweeter than to see veterans Mark Martin or Rusty Wallace in victory land at the end of the Daytona 500. Alas, that was not meant to be. Both racers are ending their decorated careers in NASCAR Cup series racing at the...
Nothing would have been sweeter than to see veterans Mark Martin or Rusty Wallace in victory land at the end of the Daytona 500. Alas, that was not meant to be.
Both racers are ending their decorated careers in NASCAR Cup series racing at the end of this season. Martin and Wallace will both end their careers without a Daytona 500 win on their resume.
"I wanted to win this race," said Wallace. "But, that is OK. It really isn't OK, but I told everybody if I didn't win it wouldn't be the end of the world. I put on a good performance out there all day and my car ran strong all day. I was in the lead pack, top five and top 10 most of the day. I really thought I was going to finish a lot better than 10th.
No matter how disappointed Wallace may be he has no intention of slipping back into the series for one more chance at the big hurrah.
"I'm done with it," Wallace said. "I've had a lot of fun, and I enjoy it. I was hoping it wasn't going to come down to the green-white-checkered. With 18 laps to go we had plenty of fuel and we were running great. We had a good dancing partner hooked up and it didn't happen. We'll just go to California now. I am looking forward to that one."
Wallace's best finish in a Daytona 500 is third in 2001. Wallace had to go to a back-up car after a crash in his Twin 150 time trial race Thursday.
Martin's hopes started to fade before the event when he was swept up in the same wreck as Wallace caused by Kevin Harvick slamming into Jimmie Johnson's rear coming through a turn.
Pat Tryson (crew chief) and the No. 6 Roush Ford team worked furiously to rebuild the broken race car and not have to give up track position and go to a back-up car. The crew worked on the car all day slowly moving Martin into contention to compete with the leaders.
In the end, Martin fell just short finishing sixth. His career best finish in the Daytona 500 was a third in 1995.
"The car worked good, the guys fixed it back right," said Martin. "Better than right. It ain't no big deal (to not ever win a Daytona 500). I don't have any major love for this place."