– We can all agree there were a number of great moments in Sunday’s Daytona 500, but there were eight cautions. Only 11 drivers finished on the lead lap and the first big headline crash coming at the end of stage 1. Let’s go on board with Daniel Suarez.
Time to go next level with the Daytona 500 and those incidents on Sunday at Daytona. That was the end of stage 1 when drivers were getting really, really aggressive. And it got started with some blocking. So now I want to fast forward, lap 102, the incident you were involved in and once again, blocking played a role. Let’s roll the tape here. And right out front is Ryan Blaney. There goes Elliott. Here’s Brad Keselowski. We freeze it. What do you anticipate is going to happen here, Kevin?
– Well, at this particular point, the high line obviously got a good run, and I was in the bottom. I got shuffled to the bottom. And they were cycling to the end the straightaway. But right here, nothing. I think everything’s perfectly fine.
– Calm as can be.
– Calm as can be.
– Well, you thought wrong. [LAUGH]
– I thought way wrong.
– Because the 9 comes down to block the two, and it’s pretty much game over.
– Yeah, and when you look at all these wrecks, for the most part, blocking is usually what causes the wreck. And in this one, Brad went to pull out and the nine tried to block at the same time, and they both wrecked.
– You see Brad angling down. You’ve got some room here. You feel like you’re going to be OK?
– I feel like I’m going to be OK at this point because I feel like Brad is either going to spin all the way around the corner on the apron or he’s going to hook up the racetrack. So my mindset at this particular point is to try to go straight up the racetrack in case he does hook back up the racetrack.
– We play it out, and we’ll see what happens from here on board camera. And there’s a hard hit. Are you always in your mind mentally preparing for moments like this? You said you didn’t think anything would happen. Reality is it can happen at any time.
DANIEL SUAREZ (VOICEOVER): Well, you don’t think about it because really all’s you’re thinking about is trying to make moves and put yourself in the right position. But you seem tank slapping there. And at this particular point, you’re hoping that the steering wheel starting to go back left. But when that splitter hooks on the apron, it shoots it back up right, and then it’s kind of like a can opener down the side of my car.
HOST (VOICEOVER): It certainly looks like he’s come here and you’re going to drive-through, keep yourself alive. Unfortunately as you said, that splitter hooks the bottom of the race track. You were that close to getting through there, Kevin.
DANIEL SUAREZ (VOICEOVER): Yeah, it wasn’t that far. It was probably about a foot, but usually that’s what it comes down to is a few inches here and there as to what makes your day.
HOST (VOICEOVER): Now, as an old car owner, I want to ask you to cover your eyes because we’re going to reveal the numbers from lost vehicles during Speedweeks. During the clash, nine cars taken out of the 17 entered. We lost 12 of the 40 cars in the two dual events on Thursday evening. The truck race saw 18 of 32 knocked out, 31 of 40 on Saturday. And in the Daytona 500, 29 wrecked race cars, 59% of those that took the green flag had damaged the end of the week. Shannon.
SHANNON (VOICEOVER): Thanks, Adam. Larry, I’m calling you out right now because pre-race, before the Daytona 500, you said that you thought that these teams went to work on these cars in the garage based on what they learned in practice. So this what we saw on Sunday, was it an aggressive issue, was it a handling issue or both?
LARRY (VOICEOVER): I think it’s a tale of two tapes when I look back at the clash in the dual races, I think there were certainly more handling issues that were going on. And I’m not saying that did not exist yesterday. But to me in the Daytona 500, it was more about aggression. But to me, Hendrick Motorsports, they are the poster group as far as torn up race cars because the three different races that are– Jimmy Johnson in his 48 car wrecked in every single race.
Now obviously William Byron and Alex Bowman, they were not in that clash. But when you think about all the cars and all the drivers in those different races, they had 10 entries in the three sets of races, and they tore up 8 race cars. The only cars that did not get tore up was Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman in their respective duel race.
SHANNON (VOICEOVER): So we know that Hendrick Motorsports has tons of resources. But when you lose that many race cars, you’ve got guys working on those cars at the shop extra hours. Does this set them back?
LARRY (VOICEOVER): Well, it doesn’t help the cause, Shannon. But when you look at the depth of Hendrick Motorsports, these cars win-lose or draw, wreck or no wreck, they would not be used again until Talladega over two months away. By the time we get the Talladega, yeah, I’m sure they put a lot of hours in rebuilding new cars and repairing these cars. But they’ll not even know the difference.
SHANNON (VOICEOVER): Talladega going to look like Daytona did yesterday?
LARRY (VOICEOVER): I wouldn’t bet against it.
SHANNON (VOICEOVER): Wouldn’t bet–