Nascar Fans Will Return

17 02 2008

 Daytona 500 winner Newman wants a Sprint Cup championship next

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida: For some drivers, winning the Daytona 500 is the goal. Ryan Newman considers his win in NASCAR’s Super Bowl a good start to an even bigger ambition.

“Honestly, the main goal right now is to win the Sprint Cup,” Newman said Monday, less than 24 hours after earning the biggest victory of his life. “We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, that being the first race and going to 36 races. Without a doubt, our main effort and our main focus is to win that Cup.”

Newman’s victory in the 50th edition of The Great American Race came with a big push on the last lap from Penske Racing teammate Kurt Busch and gave team owner Roger Penske a win he has coveted since he first arrived in NASCAR in 1972


Drivers to Watch

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — No one has acknowledged seeing The Punch, but it has already gone down in Nascar lore alongside the great fights in stock-car history. Tony Stewart versus Kurt Busch in 2008 may not top Cale Yarborough taking on Donnie and Bobby Allison after a wreck on the last lap of the 1979 Daytona 500.

Drivers to Watch
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Ric Field/Associated Press

Bobby Allison pinning Cale Yarborough after a wreck on the last lap at the 1979 Daytona 500. More Photos 

But it is conveniently compelling.

According to the reports repeated in the news media for days, Stewart punched Busch in a closed-door meeting with Nascar officials after the two bumped and battered each other’s racecars during a practice session at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 8.

How fortunate for Nascar, which has advertised for weeks that it wants the drivers in its premier Sprint Cup series to show more emotion as a way to lure back fans who may have soured on the sport. Voilà, there’s Stewart — who last year accused Nascar of manipulating action on the track à la pro wrestling — suddenly in the middle of the brouhaha that played perfectly into Nascar’s desired story line for 2008.

Nascar officials could not have scripted it any better.

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