Daytona 500 Includes NASCAR Murder Trial, Alien Invasions, Gun-Toting Kyle Busch, F-Bombs & Locked Out Driver

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You know who asked the pressing, time-sensitive questions on Daytona 500 media day just days ahead of the NASCAR season-opener?

Nope. Wasn’t the AP, or the Times (duh), or the Washington Post (double duh). It was OutKick, because yours truly has you covered from top to bottom.

And if I wanted to head over to Daytona International Speedway at sunrise, stand for the better part of eight hours, maybe mix in a couple day Busch Lights and ask dozens of professional drivers who would lead the NASCAR Cup Series garage against an impending alien attack, then that’s what I’m going to do.

You’re welcome! And yes, we got some controversial answers that will surely lead to some in-fighting during Sunday’s race.

Elsewhere, Kyle Busch wouldn’t shut up about his recent arrest in Mexico (just kidding, but you’ll see), defending Daytona 500 winner Austin Cindric served jury duty on a murder trial, Kevin Harvick is going NFG this year (again, you’ll see), and more!

This is your special Thursday, Daytona 500 Media Days edition of Monday Morning Pit-Stop! Let’s talk guns, UFOs and murders.

And, I reckon, some NASCAR, too.

Martin Truex Jr. elected NASCAR leader against aliens.
Martin Truex Jr. is apparently the best alien hunter in the NASCAR garage. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

NASCAR drivers talks UFOs, elect leaders during alien invasion

So, I guess we should start with this one since the US of A is literally shooting down a UFO every four minutes it seems.

With that in mind, I figured it would be a good time to check in with the fellas in the Cup garage to see just how prepared they were for an eventual conflict. Let’s be honest, it’s probably (not?) coming.

The question was pretty simple: in the event of an alien invasion, who would you trust most to lead the way in the Cup garage?

“Martin Truex Jr.,” said Erik Jones, a former Daytona winner himself. “I think we could come up with a pretty good plan. He’s a hunter, and so am I, so I feel like I could go in with him and make a plan. I think we could survive off of the grid for at least a minute.”

One vote for MTJ! And, spoiler alert, it wasn’t the last.

In fact, after doing a quick (just kidding, it took eight hours) straw poll, Truex Jr. appeared to be the guy most drivers wanted to hitch their wagon to.

Ryan Blaney received a couple votes. So did Chase Elliott – “because he can fly,” reasoned William Byron – Austin Dillon, Brad Keselowski and Daniel Suarez all did, too.

And how about THIS for a fun fact: former NASCAR driver Paul Menard received two votes because apparently he’s some sort of doomsday prepper.

Paul Menard!

Paul Menard.
Paul Menard is a NASCAR doomsday prepper apparently. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

“He’s a survivalists and outdoorsman,” Blaney said. “He knows everything about everything and I would trust him to lead our army against the alien invasion.”

Blaney, by the way, probably received the second-most votes to lead the way – including one from Truex himself, who reasoned that Blaney’s love of Star Wars and video games would probably be a big boost.

“I mean, subconsciously, maybe,” Blaney said. “I mean, it’s gonna happen eventually. You just have to be ready for it.”

William Byron, Kyle Larson do not instill much confidence around the NASCAR garage

Daniel Suarez, who apparently is a big paintball guy, said he could probably handle some aliens.

Chase Elliott figured he’d do OK for a while. Brad Keselowski said he’d be a terrible fighter, but would do well in a General role away from the battlefield (he’s not wrong, by the way).

And Truex, of course, agreed to ultimately lead the way after winning the electoral vote.

“Sure, I think I’d be part of the leading group,” he said with little no excitement at all, which is perfect.

After all, we’re not looking for a comedian to lead the fight, we’re looking for a leader.

Austin Dillon, another hunter, voted for himself and frankly I’d follow him, too. I mean, you’re telling me THIS GUY ain’t gonna clear the way for me in an invasion?

Austin Dillon has great mustache for Daytona 500.
Austin Dillon has the best mustache in NASCAR. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

And now, to the losers of the garage. The fellas who don’t inspire us much in this hypothetical (for now) attack.

After some more polling, it appears everyone would prefer if William Byron and Kyle Larson just stay in the back of the pack for a while.

“If the aliens are like, 5-foot-10, I got it,” Suarez said before transitioning to poor Larson and Byron, who are both well under 6-feet. “They’re just kind of quiet and smaller. I think Larson would (hang out in the back). He’d be like, ‘F–k this, guys.'”

Ryan Blaney didn’t have a much better outlook for Larson.

“He’d probably get captured and experimented on,” he said of the former NASCAR champ, who stands at (allegedly) 5-foot-6.

Others receiving votes in this category included Noah Gragson, Ty Gibbs and Denny Hamlin.

“I mean, look at him,” Alex Bowman said of Hamlin – a three-time Daytona winner. “You think that guy is hunting aliens?”

Um … Alex?

NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin is a three-time Daytona 500 winner.
Denny Hamlin. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Austin Cindric served jury summons after Daytona 500 win

Wild ride, right? You think you’re getting that content anywhere else today? Nope! Mainly because I waited till most of the other media-heads had left each driver before asking my alien questions.

Work smarter, not harder, folks.

OK, on to a couple other media day highlights …

Austin Cindric, how’d winning last year’s Daytona 500 change your life?

“I haven’t changed in the slightest,” he said. “Even after winning the 500 I had to take my trash out on Monday and I got a jury summons two weeks later. That was the second edition. OK, I got a deferral and then I told them they could send me one from the weeks I have off. I had Roger’s (Penske) attorney send a letter and everything to make sure.

“I just won the Daytona 500 and so they followed up and they sent me one in December and I had to serve on a jury for a week-and-a-half in December on a criminal murder trial. It was a good life experience, horrible timing.”

See, NASCAR drivers put their pants on one leg at a time, too. Just like us. Jury duty STINKS, but it would be cool to get on a murder trial, I guess.

If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!

Leave Kyle Busch and his guns alone.
Kyle Busch loves his guns! (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Kyle Busch gets testy when asked about his Mexican vacation

You wanna know how to get everyone in the media center to shut up for two seconds? Ask Kyle Busch the question we’re all thinking about, but all too afraid to ask.

Ask him about his recent arrest and prison sentence in Mexico over bringing a gun into the country!

“I made a statement about that earlier and that’s all I’ll say about that topic,” he said Wednesday before someone else promptly followed up by asking Busch why he felt the need to carry a gun into MEXICO.

“Doesn’t matter,” he responded with an accompanying look that still gives me chills 24 hours later.

“I was a (gun) carrier before that,” Busch then said when asked about his gun-toting history.

On a lighter note, Busch did make another weed joke when asked about going from former sponsor M&Ms to current sponsor 3Chi.

“I went from the Candy Man to the Adult Candy Man,” he said.

Thanks for breaking the tension, Rowdy!

Kevin Harvick does not give a f–k this season

OK, couple more notes before we head into Thursday night’s qualifying races …

Kevin Harvick announced last month that this would be his 23rd and final NASCAR Cup season, and he’s apparently going into his final 36 races looking to burn some bridges!

“Dale Jr. summed it up for me by saying it was my NFG tour. If we have to settle scores we will settle them immediately. We aren’t waiting until next week. If it rolls, we are settling them,” he said.

Feel free to look up ‘NFG,’ but I feel like you should be able to piece it all together by now.

Can’t wait to see Kevin Harvick punt someone every single week. Should be incredible.

Travis Pastrana not in the system, then qualifies for Daytona 500

Finally, on our way out, how about Travis Pastrana hopping in a NASCAR Cup Series car for the first time and casually qualifying for the Daytona 500 last night?

The motorsports legend – Pastrana is an 11-time X-Games gold medalist and founder of the Nitro Circus – was one of two non-chartered entries to qualify for the 500 based on time Wednesday night.

The other was someone named Jimmie Johnson.

Welcome back, seven-time!

Personally, I’m just glad Pastrana got into the track. Little do you know, but yours truly and Pastrana were actually in the Daytona 500 credentials building early Wednesday morning trying to get our weekend passes.

And guess who’s name WAS in the system, and who’s wasn’t?

Hint: it wasn’t me! Poor Travis.

Travis Pastrana not in NASCAR system.
Travis Pastrana isn’t a recognizable NASCAR name … yet!

Pastrana had to wheel and deal for at least 20 minutes before finally getting his hard card, and then he was finally on his way. Twelve hours later, he qualified for the Daytona 500.

Twelve hours later, I was on my sixth Busch Light.

Different worlds.

Written by Zach Dean

Zach grew up in Florida, lives in Florida, and will never leave Florida ... for obvious reasons. He's a reigning fantasy football league champion, knows everything there is to know about NASCAR, and once passed out (briefly!) during a lap around Daytona. He swears they were going 200 mph even though they clearly were not.

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