NASCAR Notebook: Vacation didn’t heal wounds in Gordon-Bowyer feudCoincidentally, Bowyer and Gordon both vacationed in St. Bart’s in the Caribbean, and both attended a New Year’s Eve celebration on rapper Sean "P. Diddy" Combs’ yacht.
By: By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service, Superior Telegram
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon were in the same place at the same time on New Year’s Eve, but that doesn’t mean there was a meeting of the minds between the feuding drivers.
After Thursday morning’s Preseason Thunder test session at Daytona International Speedway, Bowyer side-stepped questions about the status of lingering hard feelings stemming from last November’s crash at Phoenix, where Gordon freely acknowledged he wrecked Bowyer on purpose as payback for previous racing incidents.
Coincidentally, Bowyer and Gordon both vacationed in St. Bart’s in the Caribbean, and both attended a New Year’s Eve celebration on rapper Sean "P. Diddy" Combs’ yacht.
"I was on the damnedest boat you’ve ever seen in your life," Bowyer said when asked if he had run into Gordon — figuratively — during the party. "I’m from Kansas. We don’t have big boats in Kansas. We don’t have very big bodies of water, so I think he was on that same boat, but there was a lot of other people on there, and there was a big time being had.
"Yes, he was on there, and I think it was on the same island. I’m pretty sure he was on there. It was pretty late — put it that way."
Pressed as to whether he and Gordon had "bonded" during the vacation trip, Bowyer replied sarcastically, "Yeah, we held hands and walked on the boat and discussed the past year and enjoyed ourselves throughout the whole vacation.
"That was the one person that I definitely wanted to vacation with. I couldn’t wait to get there for that very reason."
Asked how he and Bowyer ended up at the same party on the same boat, Gordon quipped, "The question is how he got on the yacht."
Gordon was equally coy about whether anything had been resolved.
"It was just an amazing event that P. Diddy had," said Gordon, who has been vacationing at St. Bart’s for the past few years. "We were just hanging out, having a good time, and on walks Bowyer and (Kevin) Harvick and a couple of other folks…
"We talked. We talked — and I had a great New Year’s."
DANICA PATRICK: TOO EARLY TO SET SPECIFIC GOALS
Though she was third fastest in single-car runs in Thursday morning’s test session, Danica Patrick said it’s too early to establish specific metrics for her first full season of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing.
Nevertheless, she hopes NASCAR’s new "Gen 6" race car will favor her driving style.
"It’s a new year, it’s a new car, and a lot of stuff changes," Patrick said between sessions. "So I’ll be working full-time with (crew chief) Tony (Gibson) and the guys now, and I think everything changes a little bit, and you can never really know what to expect.
"I think we just need to get started on the season and get these first few races out of the way and start to create some baseline for what we’re expecting and what we’re shooting for."
Patrick reaffirmed what she had indicated earlier, that she will not try to run the Coca-Cola 600 Cup race and Indianapolis 500 on May 26
"I can confirm to you today that I will not be doing the Indy 500," Patrick said. "I’m just going to do the Coke 600. The team and I decided to focus on Cup. It’s going to be plenty of work as it is, and it’s going to be important for me — running for the championship full-time for the first time — to really keep myself focused with the Cup car.
"But if I do do the Indy 500 moving forward, it will be with (sponsor) GoDaddy."
KESELOWSKI EXCITED BY SWITCH TO FORD
Michigan native Brad Keselowski didn’t have to travel far to Ford Motor Company, but he liked what he saw on a Monday visit to the Detroit auto maker.
Keselowski won the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in a Dodge, even though Penske Racing had announced early in the year that the organization that fields Keselowski cars would switch to Ford between seasons.
Keselowski left his meeting with the Ford brass enthused by his prospects for 2013.
"The level of engagement from the very highest levels is remarkable," Keselowski said. "It shows the commitment that Ford has, and I have never experienced that before.
"That makes me feel very confident that, any bit of adversity or any hurdle we have to climb, we can do it, because we have a dedication of resources and top-notch people."
KENSETH TOPS THE CHARTS
The transition to a new race car and new team didn’t faze Matt Kenseth, who was fastest in Thursday’s first test session at Daytona. Driving the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota after an offseason move from Roush Fenway Racing, Kenseth also posted the fastest 10-lap average during the morning session, running an average of 192.757 mph on his third through 12th laps.
As part of a four-car draft with fellow Toyota drivers Kyle Busch and Mark Martin, JGR teammates Denny Hamlin and Kenseth were 1-2 after lunch, with Hamlin posting the fastest lap of the day (195.712 mph) late in the session.
Multicar drafting was the exception rather than the rule on Thursday, however, as most teams concentrated on single-car runs.