How crazy was Friday night's Crown Royal International Race of Champions event?
Just look at the beat-in bumpers of the cars that survived, the damaged bodies of the ones that didn't and listen to the guys who were along for the ride.
"That's the wildest thing I've been involved with for a while," said ARCA series driver Frank Kimmel, who finished third in the 12-car race at Daytona International Speedway.
Nextel Cup's Matt Kenseth won the race, which brings drivers of various series together in identically prepared cars. Kenseth won only after fending off 2005 Busch Series champion Martin Truex on the final lap. Truex got outside Kenseth high in Turn Two and tried to come down in front before he had cleared him, and the two hit and wobbled into the backstretch before Kenseth regained the lead.
"It was pretty exciting because neither of us lifted [off the gas] all the way through," said Kenseth, who beat Indy Racing League driver Sam Hornish to the finish.
World of Outlaws sprint car driver Steve Kinser had the wildest ride of the race. With five laps to go, he was sent airborne and slid down the track on the roof of his car after he was bounced out of a pack of cars doing much of the bump drafting that has been the hot topic in preparation for the Daytona 500.
"It was bang-bang-bang right down through there," said Kinser, who was unhurt despite being trapped under a crumpled roof for several minutes. "Maybe Tony [Stewart] knows what [he's] talking about."
With former Buffalo Bills quarterback and team co-owner Jim Kelly watching from the pit box, Paul Tracy qualified the No. 34 Chevrolet in the 37th of 43 positions for today's NASCAR Busch Hershey's Kissables 300 (1 p.m., TNT). Tracy, the Toronto native who won the 2004 Champ Car series title and is set to run at least five Busch races, was one of just two drivers who had laps slower than 180 mph with his 179.946 (50.015 seconds).
"The car's set up for [the race], not for qualifying," said Tracy. "We knew we weren't going to qualify good, and we were guaranteed in the race, so we're set up to go racing."
The pole went to J.J. Yeley in the No. 18 Chevy, which he drove to a lap of 183.094 mph (49.155 seconds).
Todd Bodine and the No. 30 Iracing.com Toyota came up just short of a fourth straight victory in the Craftsman Trucks series when he finished second to Mark Martin in the GM FlexFuel 250 on Friday night. Bodine had a chance to catch Martin in a green-white-checkered finish, but as the field took the green flag, an incident well back in the pack brought out another caution flag, effectively ending the race. Only one green-white-checkered finish is allowed.
Bodine's Germain Racing team, headed by Lockport natives Mike Hillman (team manager) and Mike Hillman Jr. (crew chief), finished last season with three straight victories. Ted Musgrave, who just joined Germain Racing in the No. 9 Toyota last month, finished third, and the teammates were intent on catching Martin.
"There's no doubt I would have had him, with Teddy behind me," said Bodine. "But we're sitting here and we're proud of our race team getting a second and third."
Rookie David Stremme had the fastest lap at 191.335 mph (47.038 seconds) in the No. 40 Dodge during Friday's Nextel Cup practice, with Robby Gordon's No. 7 Chevy right behind at 191.331 (47.039).