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Roger Penske currently builds the only Dodge NASCAR engines in his North Carolina shop, but it’s assumed he’d sell it to a new Dodge team if he chooses not to build his own Ford engines.


BOWDEN‘S THOUGHTS: Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden attended his first NASCAR race Saturday, serving as the grand marshal for the Sprint Cup race.

And, yes, Bowden’s down-home vernacular was a big hit at Daytona.

“Drivers, start your dadgum engines,” he said, drawing rousing applause.

Long before he delivered the command to start the race, the always polite coach weighed in on college football’s four-team playoff, his adjustment to retirement and convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky and the affect that scandal had on late Penn State coach Joe Paterno’s legacy.

Bowden said he could have “lived without” a playoff.

“I coached for 57 years. I played it 10 years before that. We never had a playoff and everything turned out OK,” said Bowden, who led the Seminoles to two national championships (1993, 1999). “The fact that 1 and 2 matches up, to me that’s the big thing. Nobody gives a dadgum about runner-up. Some might say, `Well, yeah, but No. 3 always complains `cause they get left out. There’s 1 and 2, but No. 3 should have been there. Well, go ahead and get four of you and No. 5’s going to be upset.

“So we’re not going to solve that part of it, although it wasn’t a big part. I never thought I would see a playoff during my lifetime. Of course, still haven’t seen one yet.”

Bowden wore black pants with an FSU logo. When asked if they were part of his severance package, he quipped, “Boy, I took everything I could.”

Bowden stays busy in retirement with speaking engagements and will even retire to Florida State for the first time since his ouster to be honored this fall. So what else is he working on?

“My golf game has improved, but the score has not improved,” he said. “I still can’t even break 90. It makes me sort of mad.”

Bowden also kept an eye on the Sandusky developments. The former Penn State defensive coordinator was convicted last month on 45 criminal counts of sexually abusing 10 boys, some of them on campus. The charges led to Paterno being fired last year.

“I sure hate what happened,” Bowden said. “I wouldn’t dare try to judge it. I just hate it for Joe. … Thank goodness he doesn’t have to face all these stuff.”

Does it taint Paterno’s legacy?

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