The Drive Tuesday 2-28-12-One of Nascar’s most successful and recognized crew chiefs, Larry MacReynolds, checked in with The Drive to discuss last night’s Daytona 500, Montoya’s crash, Dale Earnhardt, Jr and Danica Patrick.
MacReynolds was thrilled with the way the Daytona 500 turned out, even with several bizarre events marring the race. He felt this was definitely the most dramatic 500 to date, but thought it helped make this one of the greatest 500′s in history. He also feels strongly that Nascar is taking in the opinions of fans to help grow the sport.
“Just when I think that I’ve seen everything that can possibly happen…I thought two years ago when the pot hole developed down in turns one and two…I felt that went straight to the top of the charts but what an up and down, bizarre Daytona 500 weekend. It’s never been rain delayed, it’s never been postponed to the next day…the thing I’m the proudest of? …All of the up and downs that we’ve had as a sport, when I look at all of the things involved…nobody ever gave up on anything…that we were not going to get the race started [or restarted]…it was determined to make it a great Daytona 500……all during last year the fans got louder and louder about ‘get rid of this two driver tandem racing’…Nascar listened and got rid of it…Nascar tried to please the majority…We were back to big pack racing for most of that 500 miles last night.”
MacReynolds agreed that Juan Pablo Montoya’s crashing in to the jet dryer was a bizarre, freak accident he still isn’t sure how it with a whole two and a half miles of track to crash on, he managed to crash on the section that had the jet dryer. MacReynolds also believes that moving the race to Monday night was a good decision as far as the fans were concerned because it gave the race the chance to shine on prime time.
“We certainly would have liked to run [the Daytona 500] on Sunday afternoon. The stage was set…we can’t control the weather and all things happen for a reason…I am so glad Nascar made the decision to not stay out there Sunday night. We would have been going against the Oscars and NBA All Star game…I loved the decision that was made…let’s get this thing in prime time on Monday night…it kind of felt like Monday Night Football a little bit…we had a great crowd last night at that race…”
MacReynolds touched on two drivers that the fans were pulling for big performances out of and were disappointed in-Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. He thinks the two drivers had plenty of issues in the race, but believes both will have promising seasons in 2012.
“Even though [Earnhardt] is a little disappointed to how close he came [to winning]… he is walking away feeling like he got a good start to the season…[Dale and his people,] they have got to figure out how to put the beginning, middle and end of the season together. That has been the nature of Dale Earnhardt, Jr’s career…he didn’t have a partner [at the end of the race]…Dale didn’t have anyone to work with him when he really, truly needed it.”
Danica Patrick he feels has the drive to succeed, no matter how poor her finish is. He sees a fire and drive in her unparalleled in the Nascar circuit, something he admires in the young woman.
“She is tenacious. The girl is going to race in Nascar and make it. Of course, she doesn’t come back and run a Sprint Cup race until Darlington, but she will be running full-time in the Nationwide Series…maybe it’ll be good she will be able to focus on that…what she tried to do would have been tough for any of [the Nascar] stars [going back and forth between Indy cars and stock cars]…the girl is like a sponge. She absorbs things faster than anyone I’ve ever seen.”