Sitting in church one Sunday, I heard a reference to this very familiar Bible story about a young man who, because of his stance, his courage, and the animosity of his rivals, was put into a den of lions to be eaten. Daniel however, came out unscathed. It was probably not the most opportune time to reflect on this, but I sat there and pondered all the “Daniels” we have in motor sports and how they are rising in the face of challenges that would devour lesser men. These Daniels seem to always snatch the fringes of the headlines from the champions of the sport and make their names known. Some even delve straight into the pit and taunt the beasts with their talent and unwillingness to back down. Here are some of those heroic “Daniels” and a brief on their most epic adventures.
He is 19-years-old and already the biggest thing to come into Formula One racing in quite some time (at least since the man with the lion tattoo). Ricciardo has collided with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, but he fell into a den of his own when he raced Sebastian Vettel toe-to-toe and then commented on his former teammate’s attitude after a race.“ Apparently he said I was a bit aggressive on the radio. Typical,” Ricciardo said. “Unlike 99 per cent of the drivers on the grid I actually tried to make an overtake.” A lot of them are content sitting behind and not actually having a crack.“ I tried a few times but it didn’t work. But I wasn’t content sitting in fourth. “Knowing we were catching the cars in front and Seb was in our way for a podium and a potential win of course I was going to try – I gave it a go.” Vettel was calmer about their battle afterwards, but. I’m sure that this is only the beginning of heated last-lap interactions between the German and the Aussie. At this time of this writing, Riccardo took the top of the podium in Malaysia. He spent much of the race poking until the lion sputtered out. Never shy about capturing a room, here is Ricciardo in action during a post-race press conference.
DANIEL (Daniil) KYVAT
Poor Sebastian Vettel seems to be the target lion for the Daniels these days. His race with Ricciardo notwithstanding, his most noteworthy incident was with Red Bull’s Daniel (Daniil) Kyvat during the Chinese Grand Prix which afforded Kyvat a podium finish. Giving Vettel ample opportunity for a heated exchange afterward. Raikkonen had slid wide into Turn 1 and was then wheel-to-wheel with Vettel when Kvyat came down the inside too. Vettel took avoiding action and hit Raikkonen, delaying both and causing sufficient damage forcing him to pit. The German described Kvyat as “a madman” and his move as “suicidal” over team radio, and then erupted at his Red Bull replacement when Kvyat asked about the start in the drivers’ room on the way to the podium “You ask what happened at the start? If I didn’t go to the left, you’d have crashed into us and we’d all three go out,” Vettel raged. “You came like a torpedo.” When Kvyat retorted that he “was racing“, Vettel replied: “If I’d kept going on the same line, we’d have crashed.” The argument concluded with Vettel declaring “you were lucky this time” to Kvyat. Vettel recovered to second, passing Kvyat in the final stint, with Raikkonen ending up fifth. In the podium interviews, Vettel admitted it was particularly frustrating because the consequence of the incident had been contact between the two Ferraris Kvyat remained unrepentant. “You see a gap, you go for it,” he said. “Yeah, it was a risky move, I agree with Seb, but this kind of move can bring you podiums. “He’s on the podium, I’m on the podium, its fine. “I will keep on risking like this, and I hope he respects that.” What can be lost in words can be best revealed in pictures. Here I the post-race interaction.>
Richard Childress Racing announced at Chicagoland Speedway that Daniel Hemric will drive an entry in their NASCAR XFINITY Series program in 2017. Thrusting yet another young Daniel into the path of the lions paw. “This is such a great opportunity for me,” said Hemric. He continued on to say: “There aren’t words that can describe what racing for RCR means to me, especially considering everything they have done as an organization for our sport. I’m excited to now officially be a small part of the company and am looking forward to working with everyone in Welcome, North Carolina.” These are bold words for a young man who will soon be fresh meat for the victory-hungry predators he has yet to face. However, I am confident that Hemric can compete heartily in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series, seeing as he’s won championships in everything he’s ever taken a seat in. Hemric is battling for a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title in 2016 in the No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford. The deal is a multi-year agreement which shows that Childress is indeed confident in the young driver. It further establishes his knack for picking young drivers for his stable and not blinking an eye. After all, it was Childress who made the surprising move that made 2014 Sprint Cup Champion, Kevin Harvick a household name. Hemric hopes to continue the legacy and confirm Childress’ notions.
Watching him go toe-to-toe with Kyle Bush in Chicago, IL. and win the Xfinity Series race at Dover, DE, Suarez was the impetus for this article. Daniel Suarez is the first Mexican-born driver to win in the Xfinity Series. He has not taken one race for granted. His name is always in commentary and you can be sure to find him in the front of the pack. It doesn’t matter if he’s racing Xfinity or Camping World Truck series. He is showing the lions in his series that he will not roll over and be a chew toy. There is a higher seat waiting for him in the Sprint Cup series. It’s only a matter of time.
While it has no bearing on his abilities on the track, one of my biggest challenges thus far with Daniel has been his interviews. Quite often, I have a tough time understanding him.
These “Daniels” have entered into a volatile sport and come out on top. Some years ago, when something was made of superior quality, you’d say: “It’s a Deusey.” I suppose that these men will have a phrase coined for them when we see superior aptitude in motorsports. Maybe, years from now, we’ll say: “It’s a Daniel.”