NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France spoke about his desire to shorten the length of weather-related delays today, saying, “I declared to our team a couple years ago `let's change the way we do it, let's innovate, let's get a system, and the goal is to improve it by 80 percent.’ If we're drying Daytona, where it usually took two and a half hours, we get it down to 30 minutes. That's the goal.”
Kurt Busch spoke optimistically about his new with Furniture Row Racing, saying his brief stint with the team at the end of 2012 will pay dividends this season. "It was great to have those six weeks to get team communication up and to feel comfortable,” he said. “We want to be a western-based team that can compete with the big dogs."
Richard Petty commented on Dale Earnhardt, Jr., as part of an announcement introducing Earnhardt as a new spokesmen for Goody’s Headache Powder. "He is very mature to begin with as far as the way he handled stuff that was thrown on him," said the seven-time NASCAR champion. “It was thrown on him because of his dad. He's done a very good job of being able to handle it and not winning races. He's been able to handle the pressures. I've got all the admiration because of that, the way he handles stuff."
Always the highlight of any press conference, Clint Bowyer did not disappoint, expounding at length on a number of topics, both in and out of the sport. Asked about the so-called “hangover effect,” where drivers who contend for championships sometimes struggle the following season, Bowyer said, “I’ve had a lot of hangovers, you fight through them.”
Asked if he will emulate Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Mark Martin by ramping-up his exercise program this season, Bowyer replied, “Those weights are heavy. Last time I noticed, that steering wheel is not nearly as heavy as those weights are. So when that happens, I guess I'll go to lifting weights."
Martin, meanwhile, surprised many by revealing that he will not return to MWR when his contract expires at the end of the 2013 season. "I don't expect to be in (the No. 55 Toyota),” he said. “That's not my goal. My goal is to see Rodney (Childers) and the 55 car race for a championship.”
And finally, Bowyer asked a German reporter if it was acceptable to “Redneck it up” during his stint with AF Waltrip Racing in the upcoming Rolex 24 at Daytona. "I'm going to redneck it up big time," he said. "Should I wear cowboy boots in the Ferrari? With the firesuit tucked in? That's full-on redneck."