Final crash raises questions about caution

first_img Harvick, declared the winner of NASCAR’s biggest race by 0.020 seconds, said he wasn’t thinking about the color of the flags. “Mark got back in front of me for just a split second there, and all I was thinking about was getting to the finish line,” he said of the two-lap overtime dash to finish the race. After crossing the line, Martin, sounding stunned, said on his radio: “They waited. We were ahead. They just left the green out while they were wrecking.” Later, Martin said he wasn’t waiting for a yellow flag and never slowed down. “NASCAR was doing their best to get an exciting finish for the Daytona 500,” he said. “I had no idea what happened behind me. I was ahead when they were wrecking. My spotter said they were wrecking. My focus was basically on beating the (No.) 29 (Harvick) to the line.” Kevin Harvick and Mark Martin raced the final few hundred yards to the finish line at close to 200 mph, separated by just inches. Just behind them, seven cars crashed, and those still in the big lead pack banged and bounced off each other. COMMENTARY Asked if he thought the race was over when the cars began crashing behind him, he said, “I never saw a yellow flag, and I kept racing with everything that I had. I’ve been racing for over 30 years. I know one thing for sure, I never thought twice about the prospect of the race going yellow. “I could hope, because we were ahead at one time, coming off the (fourth) corner we were still ahead.” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said the yellow flag did not come out until after Harvick and Martin had crossed the line, even though the crashing began when the two leaders were a couple hundred yards from the finish. He explained it by saying the cars that were crashing were “already off the track and on the apron,” adding NASCAR did throw the yellow flag when Clint Bowyer’s Chevrolet flipped onto its roof, slid through the grass and caught on fire. “At that point, the 29 was ahead of the 01 (Martin) and had taken the checkered flag,” Poston said. That explanation didn’t please everyone, but Martin, a longtime NASCAR star, said he wasn’t going to complain. “Nobody wants to hear a grown man cry, all right?” Martin said. “That’s what it is, and I’m not going to cry about it. That’s the end.” It was a weird finish to one of the wildest Daytona 500s ever. The race was pretty dull through the first 150 laps, with two caution flags for minor incidents and the field running mostly single file. After darkness fell and the cars began to handle better, the race got, well, racier. There were five multi-car wrecks in the final 50 laps, including the big one at the end. The wild finish was set up by a three-car crash on the backstretch just five laps from the scheduled 200-lap distance. NASCAR red-flagged the race long enough to clean up the mess in turn two, restarted the cars under caution and didn’t put the green flag back out until lap 201 for the two-lap overtime dash – what they call a green-white-checker finish. As the leaders drove off turn four, Kyle Busch, who started the final lap just behind leader Martin, skidded out of control and hit Matt Kenseth. Before the melee was over, three-time Daytona 500 winner Jeff Gordon, two-time winner Sterling Marlin, Greg Biffle, Elliott Sadler and Bowyer all were sitting battered in the grass. “It looked like the (No.) 5 got loose, and then we all wrecked,” said Biffle, referring to Busch. “It’s the biggest race of the year. You wait until there’s 10 to go, and you go. That’s what I did.” Jeff Burton, Harvick’s RCR teammate who somehow got through the crash unscathed, called the final wreck a shame but said, “The risk versus reward ration changes as the laps wind down. “At the end, we’re racing harder than we should. There’s just not enough grip to take it that last step, and you saw what happened.” “I hate late-race cautions in restrictor-plate races,” Burton said. “I was happy to see it because we needed it, but you know in the Daytona 500, it’s going to get ugly.” This one was uglier than most. Mike Harris covers motor racing for The Associated Press. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Where was the yellow flag? NASCAR’s rules dictate that the field order is frozen the moment the yellow flag flies and the caution lights come on around the track. On Sunday, in the key moment of the Daytona 500, the green flag stayed out as chaos ensued. last_img read more

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Candidate seeks space from N ez

first_img“I’ve gotten all these things done on my own, through my own campaign,” Furutani said. “I stand on my own two feet. Nobody handpicks me, or needs to.” Furutani, a board member at the L.A. Community College District, has worked for the past three years as a consultant for N ez on education and on issues affecting the Asian Pacific Islander community. He has taken a leave to pursue the campaign. Furutani also has served as a Los Angeles Unified School District board member, and has emphasized his experience, saying it will enable him to “hit the ground running.” Gipson has been a councilman for only 21/2 years, but argues that in that time he has been exposed to a broader range of issues relevant to the Assembly district, including crime, economic development and environmental concerns. Furutani reported $287,000 in contributions as of the end of October, mostly from the Asian Pacific Islander community. In the same period, Gipson took in only $75,000, including $30,000 of his own money. Gipson complained that N ez’s support for Furutani is “one of the reasons it’s so hard to raise money in Sacramento.” At the Monday forum, however, Gipson avoided criticizing the speaker and did not highlight the speaker’s connection to Furutani. “That’s not my thing,” Gipson said later, adding he was surprised that Furutani was so critical of N ez. “He made comments I wouldn’t make about my boss.” The only one who trumpeted the issue was Mervin Evans, a perennial candidate who most recently finished last out of 17 contenders for the 37th Congressional District. Raising his voice to a shout, Evans said that N ez was “on shaky ground – shaky as fried ice cream,” and argued that a new speaker should be selected. Furutani, Gipson and Evans are the only Democrats in the Dec. 11 primary to replace Laura Richardson, who was elected to Congress in August. The winner of the primary will go on to a general election on Feb.5, where he will face Republican business owner Evelyn Robertson, Libertarian Herb Peters and Charlotte Gibson of the American Independent Party. The district is overwhelmingly Democratic, meaning the top Democrat in the primary is all but guaranteed to win the seat. [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre N ez’s support has helped Furutani build a 4-to-1 fundraising advantage over his opponent, Carson City Councilman Mike Gipson. Furutani has also won the endorsements of the Democratic Party and the L.A. County Federation of Labor, consolidating his position as the establishment favorite in the Dec. 11 special election. But N ez has recently been taken to task in the Los Angeles Times for charging lavish expenses from European trips to his campaign and for funneling corporate contributions to charities he controlled. In a subsequent interview, Furutani reiterated his criticism of the speaker, saying the stories may prompt N ez’s donors to wonder how their money is being spent. “I think it is a problem the speaker has to address and he is addressing,” Furutani said. “Everything clearly says he hasn’t done anything illegal. But the problem in politics is perception, and that’s the problem I have.” Furutani stressed that he had earned his numerous endorsements without the speaker’s help. Warren Furutani has worked full time as a consultant for Assembly Speaker Fabian N ez and has the speaker’s crucial support in his campaign for the 55th Assembly District. But lately that support has become a potential liability as N ez finds himself caught up in a pair of campaign finance scandals. In recent days, Furutani has worked to distance himself from his employer. “The speaker is in absolutely, definitely a difficult situation,” Furutani said at a campaign forum Monday night, adding that N ez should be “held accountable by his constituents.” last_img read more

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