Martin's hopes dashed after Twin crash

Martin's hopes dashed after Twin crash

Mark Martin began Speedweeks hopeful that he would earn the win in what is to be his last Daytona 500. Thursday, Kevin Harvick may have taken that dream away from him. Jimmie Johnson spins out of control. Photo by Eric Gilbert. "I ...

Mark Martin began Speedweeks hopeful that he would earn the win in what is to be his last Daytona 500. Thursday, Kevin Harvick may have taken that dream away from him.

Jimmie Johnson spins out of control.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
"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."

Martin was running in the top five during his Twin 150 event, when Kevin Harvick, who was running second, thought it would be a super idea to bump draft leader Jimmie Johnson coming through turn two.

"Pat (Tryson, crew chief) says he's gonna fix that car," said Martin. "If we want to win and they can fix it right, we can certainly win from the back with that thing. But we don't have another car here or any other car that we could borrow I think I can win in. That's the one."

What the heck was Harvick thinking?

Harvick's actions set off a multi-car crash that ruined not only his own car, but the cars of Mark Martin, Dave Blaney, Rusty Wallace (who is also running his last Daytona 500) and Joe Nemechek. Everyone involved went to a back-up car except Martin and Johnson.

Johnson's car already looks like it was never in an accident but Martin's team is working furiously to rebuild their broken ride. Fabricators were held over to work on the No. 6 Ford as it suffered major cosmetic damage.

Martin is set to start 32nd in his primary car and Johnson sits on the front row in the No. 48 Chevy. The rest of the cars will have to start from the rear of the field.

Harvick attempted to defend his actions but he's so off the deal in the Nextel Cup garage that he's not going to get any help in the draft on Sunday. For a driver rumored to be vying to fill the seat of Wallace in the No. 2 Dodge next season, maybe he should have showed better judgment and not tore up one of their $250,000 race cars.

"I just got to him and he checked up and I got to him and I couldn't get off of him," said Harvick. "I just spun him out and I feel sorry for the teams and everybody involved. It's not something where you want to bump draft in the middle of the corner. But, I hate it for all these GM Goodwrench guys. But, I just got to him and he slowed down and got sideways and I got the back of him."

For Martin it's not the way he wanted to start off his year long "Salute to You" retirement tour. For Harvick, it's a hell of a way to start off what is sure to be a long, lonely year for the 29-year-old hot shot.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Jimmie Johnson , Eric Gilbert , Dave Blaney , Mark Martin