NASCAR Media day 2018 kicked off this week and while the sport thankfully hasn’t instituted any hair brained rule changes yet, the news has been aflush with story after story about the upcoming season. Of course a lot of that probably has to do with young guns like, William Byron, Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney and Darrell Waltrip Jr leading the sport into the future, its also due to the wild statements drivers have made so far.
Maybe first time fans won’t be able to appreciate all the haymakers drivers threw on Tuesday, but those that have followed the sport for a long time will know what is being discussed and see the importance behind it. In fact, media day did everything including setting the stage for future rivalries this season, opening the dialogue to changes that might need to be made in the future and much more.
5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr comments on racing Danica Patrick.
You have to feel for Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Not only did he and Danica Patrick break up during the off season, he also had to see his former girlfriend of five years dating Packers QB Aaron Rodgers after only a short time. If all that wasn’t bad enough, he then walked into the media center only to be asked about how he would race his former girlfriend in the Daytona 500. That has to be a huge slap in the face to someone that won two races and made the playoffs last year.
“I don’t think I’ll race any differently,” Stenhouse Jr told reporters on NASCAR media day, . “I try to respect everybody around me, especially at speedway races. You don’t want to put somebody in a bad spot because you’ll put everybody in a bad spot. I’ll go out and race just like I’m racing everybody else and see how it plays out.“Heck, when we first started racing we got in crashes anyway,” he added with a laugh. “So it is what it is. I’ll just go compete as hard as I can. I plan on putting myself in position to win the race.”
4. Kurt Busch looks to the future.
Defending Daytona 500 Champion, Kurt Busch, spoke about what he would do after NASCAR and while he should probably be thinking about winning more then one race this year, he also talked about what he would like to do after he retires from the sport. Fortunately for Kurt Busch fans that have followed him since his groundbreaking 2003 Cup Series championship, he wants to stick around and do some television work!
“I feel like I have a lot more to do in racing, whether it’s the NASCAR level or anything else, sports cars,” Busch told the media during NASCAR media day in Charlotte, “Done some drag racing, done some Indy Cars. But to me, I’m just trying to learn more about the whole product that happens with racing and that is to work with guys like FOX or NBC. … Just trying to continue to move forward and to learn all that I can.”
3. Alex Bowman addresses JR Nation
Dale Earnhardt Jr might have handed his #88 Chevrolet over to newcomer,, Alex Bowman, but the rookie of the year candidate showed who still wore the paints in their little relationship during NASCAR media day. While one would think that the media would lump in on the new wave of NASCAR drivers rising up the ranks of the sport, they for one reason or another couldn’t stop asking about Dale Earnhardt Jr.
With that being said, its not unlikely that Bowman would have to field some questions about taking over the most popular drivers ride, but one has to wonder why they couldn’t focus on his accomplishments after awhile. Sure, Bowman was able to get a few things in here and there about being hungry for wins and success, but those were often overshadowed by the times he blatantly pandered to his new fanbase.
2. Chase Elliott wins at whining
Unfortunately for Elliott, who entered media day on Tuesday after one of the most controversial seasons of his car, he didn’t make things any better by seemingly whining to the media about not winning a race. That wouldn’t have been so bad if he actually took more responsibility for his end of not winning races, but he just looks so bad trying to act like other drivers are racing him too rough.
“I think there were times, not just in that situation, that I was a little taken advantage of in how I race people and maybe with too much respect at times,” Elliott told the media when asked about the incident between him and Denny Hamlin at the end of last season,” I think that’s what he was getting at with that comment,” Elliott said. “And I do think there was probably some truth to that.”
1. Kyle Busch eggs on the media during interview
Whether he was serious or not remains to be seen and could be subject of debate for the next several months, but Kyle Busch was asked about what he thought about younger drivers being given all the attention by the media at the start of this season and decided to let the media have it by claiming that the media coverage was bothersome and stupid!
“It is bothersome,” Busch said told reporters when asked about the slew of younger drivers coming into the sport. “We’ve paid our dues, and our sponsors have and everything else, and all you’re doing is advertising all these younger guys for fans to figure out and pick up on and choose as their favorite driver. I think it’s stupid. But I don’t know, I’m not the marketing genius that’s behind this deal. You know, I just do what I can do, and my part of it is what my part is.