Speed and Franchitti survive first stock car race
Scott Speed learned what a stock car looks like from underneath when he saw another car on his hood during the ARCA Re/Max 250, but the former Formula One driver finished seventh in his first stock-car event at the hairy Talladega Superspeedway. Another open-wheel driver gaining his first experience in a stock car was defending Indy Racing League champion Dario Franchitti, who finished 17th in the restrictor-plate race.
"I lacked the experience to get myself to the front," Franchitti said. "The car was a little bit tight, but it was more me than the car.
"I'm looking forward to the short tracks. I might be insane, but I'm looking forward to going to Bristol and Martinsville."
"The thinking and the reaction are a mile slower," Speed said about comparing the restrictor-plate racing to Formula One. "You have a lot more time to think about things and it's much more a chess game."
In his one incident, Speed got into the back of Phillip McGilton.
"He just stopped in front of me and the next thing I know, he's on top of my hood," Speed said. "We were all pushing each other, and it just kind of happened. ... I feel really bad for the guy.
"I was looking underneath his car."
"It definitely was learning on the job," Franchitti said. "Pretty much everything surprised me. I'm glad I learned this way today. It's going to take a while, some testing, to get ready for next season because right now [the car] was better than I was."
Although he qualified sixth, Franchitti had to start at the rear of the field for an engine change.
"I'm not happy with my performance," Franchitti said. "I'm happy with what I learned today. ... My performance could have been better. I'm trying to think about the long game here, think about next year as I'm learning."
"I did a lot of better when chaos happened," Speed said. "I seemed to pick my way up [then]. I've got a lot more to [learn], which is staying in the lines and using my draft.
"It was an incredible race. It was super exciting. It was a very eventful race."
"I would be really not liking life if I had to go into Cup [immediately]," Speed said. "I think most people in my position would feel the same way.
"You don't want to go into Cup and still need to learn. You want to go into Cup and perform. It would be silly to do that."