Brother of former Cat driver Ward Burton sees how much Daytona 500 win means
Three weeks from today is the 50th running of the Daytona 500.
It's a huge race. Every driver wants to win it. And for those who have, such as Ward Burton, it's the highlight of a lifetime.
'Over Christmas I went to Ward's house, and his Daytona 500 trophy was in his house there,' Jeff Burton said during the recent Sprint Cup media tour. 'You know, I don't know what it was about it, but I saw that trophy and it was like it was the first time I had ever seen it. My son was down there, he's 7, and I said, ‘You know what that is?' He's like, ‘Yeah, that's the Daytona 500 trophy.' It was pretty special seeing that trophy.'
Burton noted his brother, at this point, does not have a ride for this season. And yet …
'Having that trophy sitting there, that's the biggest race you can possibly win in our sport,' he said. 'That's something that no one can ever take away from him, and that's something that he'll always cherish and his family will. That's a special thing.
'Any win is a big win, but … if you look at a trophy like that and have that sitting in your house, that's a different kind of win. It's one of those that lasts forever, and it has so much meaning, the importance of it.'
Three more weeks, and another driver gets to experience that feeling.
Three major series announced changes to their qualifying formats in the last couple of weeks.
First, NASCAR has made it so all of the cars without guaranteed spots, that is top 35 in Sprint Cup and 30 in the Nationwide and Craftsman Truck series, will all qualify together at the end of the session.
In NHRA, where weather plays such a big role in times, especially in the nitro classes, only the top 12 times from the first day of qualifying will carry over to the second day.
Those times are not locked in and can be improved upon if conditions are more favorable the second day. Those 12 drivers also can be bumped. The move just gives drivers who had misfortunes, particularly in the Friday night session, a better shot at getting in the field.
Also this week, the IndyCar Series announced qualifying at all oval races will be four laps, like the Indianapolis 500, instead of two.
Also like Indy, the time will be the average of those four laps.
ESPN took some big steps to fix what many fans considered problems with its NASCAR coverage last year.
The announcement Dale Jarrett will take on the majority of the duties as analyst is very welcome, as is the news Allen Bestwick will be assigned the host role. I still contend that position is unnecessary.
There still are some issues to be dealt with there — let's hope the Draft Tracker has been retired — but at least the folks realized there were problems and took action.
The two sons of NHRA Top Fuel driver Doug Herbert were killed in an automobile accident Saturday morning in Lake Norman, N.C.
Jon Herbert, 17, and James Herbert, 12, died when their car collided with another vehicle.
Doug Herbert was testing in Phoenix at the time of the accident. He also has a daughter, Jessica, who is 9.
Condolence messages may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
PIT STOPS: As expected, the NHRA has filled its TBA slot with a race at the new dragstrip at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The race is Sept. 11-14. … Jerry Toliver has been added to the slate of Funny Car drivers at Don Schumacher Racing. … NASCAR has taken steps to standardize starting times for Sprint Cup races this year. Eighteen of the races will have 1 p.m. (Central time) starts this season, up from 15 last year. … Michael McDowell has been selected to replace Dale Jarrett at Michael Waltrip Racing. McDowell won four races and nine poles in ARCA last year, earning Rookie of the Year honors. He'll drive the 00 car while David Reutimann will take over the 44.
Jane Miller is the Journal Star motorsports columnist. Write her at 1 News Plaza, Peoria, IL 61643, call (309) 686-3207 or e-mail email@example.com.?