Believe It Or Not, One NASCAR Driver Tweeted From Inside His Car Just After The Juan Pablo Montoya Crash

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How about this. After the insane Juan Pablo Montoya crash from tonight’s Daytona 500, driver Brad Keselowski sent out a tweet from inside his car, showing his many followers what he saw as the track went up in flames.

Who ever would have thought that today, we would be able to see a track-side view of the Montoya flames, courtesy of a driver? If you’re not following @Keselowski, this is what you’re missing:

The picture in question was of the fiery crash involving Juan Pablo Montoya and a jet drier truck in Turn 3 at Daytona International Speedway. After officials red-flagged the race to clean up the mess, Keselowski tweeted several more photos and began interacting with racing fans on his Twitter account.

Before the crash, the 28-year-old had a little more than 87,000 Twitter followers, but he gained thousands of new followers during the break in action.

“Nobody else has a phone,” Keselowski said when interviewed from pit row. “They should get one to see what is going on.”

“They keep making fun of it, but I’m having a good time. It’s great to talk to the fans.”

Keselowski has been of the leading voices on the social media front for the auto racing series. His NASCAR Camping World Truck Series No. 19 truck featured Twitter handles from 2,600 fans that were selected through a contest on his blog.

After the restart, Keselowski was involved in a multi-car crash on Lap 187 and within a minute of the wreck he tweeted, “Nothing we could do there … Never saw the wreck till we were windshield deep. #daytona500.”

“(I got) a lot (of followers), but I’d take the win first,” Keselowski told FOX television following his release from the care center.

When asked about Keselowski’s tweeting during the red-flag break, Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he wasn’t interested in tweeting.

“That’s just how Brad is,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “We did take the phone and put it to use and checked the weather.”

Of course driving safely is very important so please, do not tweet and drive.


Note: Fortunately Brad Keselowski didn’t pull out his phone until his car had stopped. During the Daytona 500’s red flag which came as a result of Juan Pablo Montoya running into a jet dryer that subsequently burst into towering flames, Keselowski began chatting up fans on his Twitter page.

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2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Phoenix

LAS VEGAS (Feb. 29, 2011) – Kurt Busch returns to his hometown this weekend for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway hoping for another change of fortune.  The 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion, who will be driving the No. 22 Pennzoil Ultra Dodge Charger this weekend, craves success on the track that means so much to him personally.

“We’re coming back to Vegas hoping for the kind of change we’ve experienced at some of the other tracks recently,” said Busch, who finished eighth at Phoenix on Sunday and is up to second-place in the series’ point standings entering this weekend.  “We’re really hoping for the type of turnaround that we’ve enjoyed at tracks like Charlotte (Motor Speedway) and Daytona (International Speedway).  We’ve been able to taste success finally on those tracks and Las Vegas Motor Speedway is definitely No. 1 on my ‘hit list’ now.”

In his 10 career races at LVMS, Busch has yet to win and has only one top-five finish and two top-10s on his resume.  While he has an impressive 5.2 average start (his best on any track), he has a 21.9 average finish (his worst on any track).  Busch contends that his Vegas luck is bound to turn sooner than later.

“We have shown a lot of potential through the years in the Vegas races, but we’ve yet to be able to put together many strong showings from beginning to end,” said Busch, who trails younger brother, Kyle, by three points (80 to 77) entering Sunday’s battle on their hometown track.  “Last year’s race is pretty representative of how our history has been on the Vegas track.

“We had a really fast Dodge Charger there last year and wound up winning the pole,” Busch said of his fast lap of 28.614 seconds (188.719 mph) that stands as the track’s qualifying record.  “We started out really on the loose side, but had worked to get the car back under us and we were moving back toward the front.  On a restart at about the 100-lap mark (Lap 94) Jamie McMurray and (Juan Pablo) Montoya crashed in front of us and I was just a sitting duck and got collected.  It was just so typical of how our luck has played out in the Vegas races.”

Busch’s third-place finish in the 2005 race ranks as his best Vegas finish to date and is his only top-five tally.  He has been running at the finish in eight of the races and has finished on the lead lap in five of them.  Busch’s three finishes of 35th or worse has taken their toll on his career average finish at LVMS.  He has led a total of 53 laps, spread out over five races.

“I just get a strong feeling that our luck on our home track is going to change for the good this time around,” said Busch.  “I only have to look at how things have changed so drastically at tracks like Charlotte and Daytona.  I know we can see that trend continue this weekend at Vegas.”

At Charlotte, Busch had never visited Victory Lane prior to last May.  He certainly changed that in an impressive fashion.  After coming from behind due to a brush with the wall, he dominated the final portion of the All Star Race and claimed his first victory in nine editions of the special non-points race.  Busch came back a week later and posted a dominant win in the Coca-Cola 600, leading 252 of the 400 laps, for his first victory in 20 career CMS Cup races.

Just a few weeks ago, Busch experienced the most successful Daytona Speed Weeks of his Sprint Cup career.  The 2004 series champ won the Budweiser Shootout and his 150-mile qualifying race before having to settle for a fifth-place finish in the Daytona 500.

For Busch, a Durango High School graduate who cut his racing teeth on “The Bullring” at LVMS and other short tracks in the Southwest before making it to the NASCAR big leagues, the annual trip to race in his hometown is always special.

“Just to see all my old friends and hang out is so cool and never gets old,” said Busch, who is spending time early this week enjoying a few days of fun and sun in the Mojave Desert.  “There’s always the special guys you grew up with and the great friends who helped you along the way.  I always make it a point to try to spend time with my old short-track teammates and special friends from my old Star Nursery racing days with owner Craig Keough and those guys.  It’s that kind of background that only adds to me wanting to win so bad at Vegas.  There’s nothing I’d like more than to take that checkered flag and have them all there in Victory Lane celebrating the big win with us.

“One of the projects that I enjoyed a couple of years back was getting my historical photos — the various newspaper clippings organized — trying to get the archives in order,” said Busch.  “There’s this one photo that I have which is one of my favorites — if not my very favorite of all times.  I’m posing by my old Hobby Stock car at ‘The Bullring.’  The angle of this photo makes the background very prominent.  In the background, you can see all the big cranes at work and Las Vegas Motor Speedway being built.

“That photo really is a neat representation of my career,” Busch said.  “I think it depicts what has happened about as well as possible.  When I was growing up and racing in Vegas, I just looked at it as something my dad and I could do together and really enjoy spending that time with each other.  Not in my wildest dreams back then did I think we’d be where we are in the sport today.  That photo will always be super special to me.”

This weekend’s Sprint Cup schedule at Las Vegas Motor Speedway gets under way with Friday’s practice from 12:00 noon till 1:30 p.m.   Coors Light Pole Award qualifying to establish the starting grid for Sunday’s 267-lap battle is set for Friday at 3:40 p.m. local (live on SPEED-TV and PRN Radio).  Saturday’s final “happy hour” practice session is scheduled from 10:10 a.m. till 11:25 a.m. Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 (400.5 miles/267 laps) has a scheduled 12:00 p.m. local (3:00 p.m. ET) starting time at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas facility.  FOX-TV and PRN Radio will provide live coverage of all the action.


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Busch and Shell-Pennzoil Team Win Daytona Shootout

2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Daytona 500 Testing

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Kurt Busch won Saturday night’s Shootout at Daytona International Speedway to score his first-ever career restrictor-plate victory. In what has become commonplace with the seasoned veteran and 2004 NASCAR champ, Busch was quick to heap praise on almost everyone but himself.

“It was an awesome night for our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Team and what a great thrill it is to win the first time out with our new colors,” Busch said. “We finally came home the winner in one of these plate races and I certainly have to thank Steve Addington and my Penske Racing Team for giving me a great race car. All the hard work they have put in over the last several months certainly paid huge dividends here tonight.”

“But, I have to really thank quite a few of the other competitors and credit them for their help. Jamie McMurray was the man tonight. He drafted with us all during the final segment of the race. He stayed true and I will always be appreciative of that. We had hoped to work with the 78 car (Regan Smith), but when he got shuffled out so early in the race, we had to look for someone else to run with. Mark Martin came to the rescue. We finished the first segment working so well together that during the break I sprinted down to his pits to thank him and get his commitment to work with us again during the final 50 laps.

“We started out running with Mark, but when we got split up we fell to the rear. Jamie and I were both looking for partners and when we hooked up, that was just what we needed to dig our way back up to the front. We hadn’t drafted together in practice, but we’ve had a great history of working well with each other. It certainly was the case in this race. I can’t thank him enough for doing that tonight.

“But, I also need to thank my Penske Racing teammate, Brad Keselowski,” Busch said. “No, he wasn’t in tonight’s race, but he really is due an ‘atta boy’ for helping us win. This is a whole new breed of competition that we witnessed out there tonight. It’s partner racing because of the two-car drafts you always have to be in. When we tested down here last month, it was Brad and I – the 2 car and the 22 car – who stayed down here for all three days trying to figure this new deal out. He came into Victory Lane tonight to congratulate us and I told him to just wait till next week; that it’ll be the ‘double-deuce’ and the ‘deuce’ out there trying to accomplish the same thing.”

Busch started 17th Saturday night. His plans on drafting with Smith fell by the wayside after only three laps. Busch floundered for two laps before hooking up with Martin. They drafted all the way up to run as the second “twosome” on Lap 15, but when they tried to switch positions, they separated and fell back. When they finally regrouped to run together again, the laps had wound down, with Busch running 15th and Martin 16th at the Lap 25 break. Busch sprinted a quarter of the way down pit road with Addington in tow in order to iron out a pact with Martin and the No. 5 Hendrick Team.

Busch and Martin ran well together during the early part of the final 50-lap segment, but they were split seven laps into the session. Martin wound up hooking up with Kyle Busch. Bump-drafting too deep into Turn 1 saw that duo crash out of the race on Lap 35. Shortly after the restart, Busch has drifted toward the back of the field. McMurray had lost his Ganassi teammate Juan Pablo Montoya and needed another driver to run with. When they locked together, it was a powerful combination that moved toward the front immediately. The tandem shot up through the pack and had Busch at the point for the first time of the race on Lap 46.

At the end, it turned into a four-pack run to the finish, with Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin hooked up and racing with the Busch/McMurray duo. Hamlin got under Newman coming down to the line, with Busch on the outside. What would have been a photo finish between the No. 22 car and the No. 11 car was nullified when Hamlin passed below the yellow line and was penalized to the end of the lead lap cars.

At the checkers, it was Busch taking the win, with McMurray second, Newman third, Jimmie Johnson fourth and Greg Biffle fifth. Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart rounded out the top-10 finishers.

“I wanted to give those guys a push hard getting into Turn 1 and I never got to them,” Busch said of the final nail-biting circuit around this 2.5-mile track. “Then my game plan changed to take whatever I could get. I knew the 11 was going to split away from the 39. I was hoping he would do it soon enough. It worked out in our favor at the end because McMurray stayed with us. For Shell and Pennzoil to believe in Penske and me; this is unbelievable to deliver them a victory in this 22 car.”

“This is a special day,” Busch told the media representatives gathered in the infield media center after the race. “I’ve tried very hard over the last 11 years to break through on a restrictor-plate race. To pull into victory lane at Daytona, I knew that this was a special moment and I sucked it all in. You never know when that chance will be again. I’ve always respected this race track. I’ve always thought of the times that I’ve finished second here, not just in Cup cars, but in the Truck series and IROC. I can’t get mad. I can’t get discouraged. I know that one day it will come back for me. And with the fresh pavement and a new outlook on what this draft was going to be about, basically this is the old-school-style racing with slingshot with two cars tied up together. That’s what it reminded me of. I had flashbacks of slingshots, but you have to have the guy behind you. It’s an unbelievable experience to win here at Daytona. To win a restrictor-plate race at Daytona after years of trying – it’s not a points race – but it’s a very special race and heck, we knocked out the All-Star race last year in Charlotte and we got the Shootout tonight. Steve and I are doing pretty good at knocking out big events together.”

Next up on the 2011 Speed Weeks schedule is Sunday’s qualifying session for next weekend’s Daytona 500. Set to begin at 1:10 p.m., Busch is scheduled out 32nd in the qualifying order. The action will feature live coverage by FOX-TV and MRN Radio (live streaming on

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CUP: NASCAR Changes On Way After Wild Shootout?


Sanctioning body might make another move in attempt to have more control over two-car drafting…

Saturday night’s wild and unpredictable Budweiser Shootout and what its competitive 75 laps might mean for the future of Daytona Speedweeks were popular topics on The Day After Sunday at Daytona International Speedway.
In the garage area, there was widespread speculation Sunday morning as drivers and teams tried to absorb Saturday night’s wackiness that NASCAR will make some sort of rule or procedural change no later than Wednesday in another attempt to change the face and pace of racing on DIS’ repaved course.
Drafting speeds soared over 206 miles per hour during the Shootout, a frantic race won at the last instant by Kurt Busch. And the nature of the race was unlike any other event in the speedway’s 53-year history. Virtually everybody who was anybody hooked up in two-car breakaway drafts during the race and circled the track over and over in that configuration.
NASCAR does not object to the two-car drafts, but officials would prefer that cars not stay hooked up in that fashion for extended runs. A possible change under the hood, in theory, would adjust a pressure release valve to impact water cooling. The second car in two-car drafts risks high temperatures by staying too close on the front-car bumper for long periods.
Although many drivers said they had great fun driving in Saturday night’s race, some didn’t like the entertainment package that resulted.
Kyle Busch, who was crashed out of the race in a too-tight drafting combination with Mark Martin, said the Shootout racing “sucked. I knew what was going to happen. I called it. I knew Denny [Hamlin] was going to dump the 39 [Ryan Newman] off turn four and those guys [winner Kurt Busch and drafting partner Jamie McMurray] would go to the outside. It was predictable.
“It was like you’re watching four cars race off turn four and that’s what you’re going to see at the finish. It’s not like you’re watching 30 cars in a pack for the last two laps.”
Hamlin reached the finish line first Saturday night but was blackflagged by NASCAR for passing Newman below the yellow line and dropped to 12th position. On Sunday, Hamlin seemed to be still startled by Saturday night’s racing display.
“This is a whole different form of racing,” he said. “We’re gone from one type of game to an entirely different one. We’re learning every time on the track. It’s a completely different type of racing. Everyone’s learning every time on the track. It’s a weird, weird game.
“Guys like Tony [Stewart] and those guys who really got good at Daytona and in restrictor plate racing – Jeff Gordon, all those guys, they’re at no advantage over me or Joey [Logano] or anyone. It’s more of a level playing field. It’s who’s going to learn the fastest. It’s about learning quick.”
Hamlin said NASCAR should eliminate the yellow-line rule on the last lap of races and let drivers race “anywhere” for the victory.
Drivers say high speed is not really a problem. Many say they feel no real difference between 185 mph and 205.
“The only way you can tell is by sound,” Kyle Busch said. “You can hear the motor screaming. You look down and say, ‘Wow, I’m going now.’ ”
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for and has been covering motorsports for 28 years. He has written several books on NASCAR, including “NASCAR: The Definitive History of America’s Sport” and “Then Tony Said To Junior: The Best NASCAR Stories Ever Told”. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.


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