|ESPN.com: Newton||[Print without images]|
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Leftover sights and sounds from Thursday's media day at Daytona International Speedway:
• Denny Hamlin is bummed. Doctors have told him he won't be able to play basketball for 18 months because of the torn ACL in his left knee suffered two weeks ago playing hoops.
Why so long? Because Hamlin can't have surgery until after the Sprint Cup season due to the length of the recovery. He then must wait another six months before the injury is healed enough to handle cuts.
"What bothers me the most is I'm not able to do what I love to do," said Hamlin, considered by many a favorite to win the title despite the injury. "Everybody has a hobby outside of racing. If you told them you couldn't do that for a year and a half it would bother them."
The good news is Hamlin has tested the knee inside his No. 11 Toyota and all was fine -- just as doctors said it would be. He's had a brace designed for support, but because the fit is so tight when he's in his seat he likely won't use it.
• Hamlin's knee kept the first part of his interview session from being all about last year's feud with Brad Keselowski.
Keselowski wasn't so fortunate.
Asked if he's cleared everything up with the driver that purposely took him out in the Nationwide Series finale last season, Keselowski said, "I don't know. I feel good about it. On my end, it's clear. You have to ask him on his end. I'm cool."
Asked if he had a face-to-face with Hamlin during the offseason, Keselowski said, "I saw him a couple of times face to face. We didn't talk life or anything like that."
• Baby boomers? Four-time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon and his wife, Ingrid, are expecting again. Their second child is due sometime in August.
"What's going on in our sport right now?" Gordon said.
Must be in the water. The wives of Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Juan Pablo Montoya, Elliott Sadler and Carl Edwards all are expecting.
• Thoughts and prayers of drivers and media are with Lynda Petty, the wife of seven-time champion Richard Petty. She has been diagnosed with Central Nervous System Lymphoma.
Lynda Petty is being treated at the Brain Tumor Center at Duke University.
How much Richard Petty will be at the track during Speedweeks is uncertain. He missed the media tour in Charlotte, N.C., two weeks ago to be at Duke for a doctor's appointment.
• Tony Stewart didn't wait for the first question to be asked before calling me a bloodsucking reporter, or something like that. Oh, well, Stewart has called other reporters -- and me -- worse.
And he did smile when he said it. He also answered all of my questions, too. No blood was spilled. Good interview.