No Cup Work For Ward Burton
Of the Daytona 500 winners on hand Sunday for the 50th running of the event, many of them haven't turned a lap at speed -- at least not in a competitive setting -- in years.
And that's why Ward Burton
stood out from the crowd. No, Sterling Marlin
wasn't in the starting lineup, either, but he at least had his chance to earn a spot via Thursday's Gatorade Duel.
Burton never had the chance -- and suspects it'll be tough for him to get another chance at making a NASCAR start. Burton made 16 starts with Morgan-McClure Motorsports last season, but he wasn't expecting to be with that team this year -- even if Morgan-McClure had found the sponsorship to keep it in operation.
So Burton was on hand Sunday, but he has no idea when he'll next visit a Sprint Cup track.
"I don't like being at the racetrack at all [if he's not driving]," said Burton, who won the race in 2002. "I've enjoyed seeing people and hanging out with Bobby Allison
and some of the other [past winners], but I'll still probably always have the fire in the belly and it's just not a lot of fun.
"But what a great event -- and what I owe racing is really beyond words for the things I've been able to accomplish off the racetrack. ... I'm glad to be here for the 50th running, but I'll be glad when I go back to Virginia, also."
Burton is busy focusing on his family and business interests in addition to doing a lot of work toward wildlife conservation.
"And I'm catching myself getting involved with all kind of federal issues like carbon credits and different things," he said. "All find and dandy. No time to sit on the couch, but I wouldn't have it any other way."
-- Mark Ashenfelter
Bubba In The Garage?
Could James "Bubba" Stewart leave motocross to pursue a career in NASCAR?
"I'm trying to convince him four wheels are better than two," said Max Siegel, the president of global operations at Dale Earnhardt Inc.
Stewart was Siegel's guest on Sunday; it was the first Cup event he has attended. The 22-year-old phenom said Siegel has "hinted around with it a lot" about putting him in a developmental program.
"Yeah, I'd like to try it," he said. "Once I came down, saw all the people, all the merchandise, that definitely interests me."
Stewart reminded that there were five times as many people at the 500 [185,000] as there are at a motocross event.
-- David Newton