If you caught this years Daytona 500, it seemed as though the race would never get started, and then it almost seemed as though the race would never end. Lucky for Dale Earnhardt Jr. (being the night owl that he is) the race went to 1:00 Tuesday morning. Matt Kenseth claimed the checkered flag at Daytona International Speedway, Dale Jr. came in second, while “The Biff” finished in third.
Right out of the gate it seemed as if something was in the air at Daytona. Jimmie Johnson hit the outside wall on lap 2, taking with him Kurt Busch, Danica Patrick and also a couple of other drivers.
There were wrecks and crashes all night long, the biggest one came from Juan Pablo Montoya when he was trying to catch up to the field, while the track was under a caution. Montoya came out of the pits after complaining that there was something wrong with the car. As he made his way around the track something broke in the rear end and send the Target machine skidding sideways right into the tracks jet dryer truck which exploded on impact.
Both Juan and the driver of the track truck were ok, and evaluated. Juan was checked out and released from the medical center right away, while the truck driver was kept for observation and then released. Montoya’s car sat in the infield grass in a smoldering heap.
This week the Camping World Truck Series is off, the Nationwide Series will run on Saturday, and the NASCAR Sprint Sup Series will run on Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway.
Jimmie Johnson seems to be the fan favorite at Phoenix with 14 top tens and 4 wins, and Jeff Gordon also knows how to get the job done at Phoenix with 2 wins and 18 top tens. Both driver should be a great pick for you fantasy league. It will be interesting to see how Jimmie Johnson does this week with a new fill in crew chief for the short-term.
If you watched the Budweiser Shootout on Saturday night like I did, more than likely you were at the edge of your seat for the entire race. NASCAR has done a great job with all of the changes that they made in the off-season to their super speedway package.
They worked hard to get the cars back to pack racing that the fans have longed for over the past couple of seasons, and by golly it’s BACK! The two car tandem seems to be gone and we’re back to pack racing!
The Budweiser Shootout Saturday night was one of the best that I’ve seen in years. A guy could push the guy in front of him, make a charge for the lead and then pull out of line with enough horsepower to control his own destiny. That was what we were missing and what seemed to be back during the Budweiser Shootout. That race was so good I’d watch it again.
How about that Kyle Busch save. Halfway through the race he all but lost the car in the middle of the pack. He turned to the left and then to the right, sparkes were flying everywhere off the front air dam and somehow he gathered her up and kept on cruising along at 200 mph.
If that wasn’t enough for you, on the green-white-checkered restart Kyle Busch pushed Tony Stewart towards the front as they created a 200 MPH freight train that took off from the pack; coming out of turn 4 Busch broke formation, made the slingshot move around the right of Stewart and took Stewart right at the finish line winning the Bud Shootout by half a fender!
If this is a preview as to what’s going to take place during the Daytona 500 next Sunday, I think the race fans are in for a treat. This should be one of the best Daytona 500′s in years.
Video Borrowed from YouTube:
Kyle Busch Save During The Race…THIS IS CRAZY!
Saturday night the lights will be lit at Daytona International Speedway, kicking off the 2012 NASCAR Speed Week. If you haven’t watched the Bud Shootout in the past this is always a great race to watch. It’s a non points race, so there’s always plenty of hard racing to go around under the lights of Daytona!
The starting positions will be drawn on Friday, by luck of the draw. As a driver your starting position will be totally random. The race is 75 laps with a 10 minute pit stop after the first 25 laps. Under the first caution teams are allowed to take on a fresh set of tires, adjust the chassis and refuel.
The race starts at 8:10 PM on FOX Sports
Last year Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 7th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series under his new crew chief Steve Letarte. The previous year he had finished the season in 21st place in the points standings under his old crew chief Lance McGrew.
Although he still hasn’t won a race since 2008, Dale Jr. and Steve Letarte made huge strides and really improved over the 2011 season. He could have easily shot Kevin Harvick up the hill at Martinsville to reclaim the lead and put an end to his winless streak, but Dale said he wanted to race him clean, and I’m sure Junior Nation can respect that.
Then there was the Coca-Cola 600 when Jimmie Johnson blew up, Dale Junior was coming to the checkers and ran out of gas! Kevin Harvick ultimately once again claimed a victory during that race.
Dale also hung out at the back of the pack under Chad Kanaus’s request in an effort to stay out of trouble for the race which ultimately worked against junior to the point where, when he got out of the car he said he was done sand bagging at these tracks.
I think in the 2012 season Dale will finally end his dry spell and claim the checkers more than once.
Video Source YouTube:
Danica Patrick has announced that instead of racing in the Indianapolis 500, that she would run NASCAR’s longest race of the year in the Sprint Cup Series,which is the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In 2005 Danica Patrick finished 4th in the Indy 500, claiming the highest finish by any female driver.
Danica will be racing in the Nationwide Series for Jr. Motorsports during the 2012 season, and has 10 races that she plans to run in the Sprint Cup Series on a limited schedule for Stewart-Haas Racing.
Danica said that she would love to run in the Indy 500 again one day possibly pulling a double between the two different series, and could possibly add the Brickyard 400 onto her schedule as her 10th race to be run in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
When Darian Grubb left Stewart-Haas Racing as the top dog, he wasn’t exactly sure where he would end up.There he sat as a champion crew chief for the 2011 season, and also without a job, as he was told that he would be let go at the end of the season by Tony Stewart.
Rumors had it that he might even stay at Stewart-Haas Racing but in a different role. Then there was an offer from Rick Hendrick at Hendrick Motorsports, who said that he would be more than happy to create a position for Darian.
After all of this, Darin Grubb has landed himself a position over at Joe Gibbs Racing as the crew chief for Denny Hamlin who drives the # 11 FedEX machine.
Denny Hamlin lost the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship in 2010 by only a few points to Mr. “Five Time” Jimmie Johnson. He wasn’t a factor for the chase in 2011, so Joe Gibbs decided it was time to change things around a bit, and plucked Darian from the unemployment pool, then decided to put him to work as Denny’s crew chief for the 2012 season.
Darin made some great calls during the Chase Race, and netted Tony Stewart 5 wins with 12 races to go in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season. This enabled Tony Stewart to inch out Carl Edwards, who ultimately tied with Stewart for the championship, however the crown went to Stewart for his 5 wins of the season to Carl Edward’s 1 win.
I think that this pairing with Darian Grubb and Denny Hamlin will really turn the 11 team around for the 2012 season. It’s going to be pretty interesting to see how all of this pans out.
Kasey Kahne drove the Red Bull machine to a victory last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway; Kyle Busch is at bay and on probation for his truck racing incident, and if you’re not on Brian Vickers bad side, and your name is Tony Stewart or Carl Edwards, you might just win the Nascar Sprint Cup Chase this weekend at Homestead.
Just three points… yes that’s right THREE!, separate first and second place Chase contenders Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart.
Last weekend at Phoenix, both contenders traded positions back-and-forth, like two heavy weight titans battling for every inch of real estate to get that extra point.
Edwards has been great all season, and Stewart has really started to pour it on at the end of the year, to make it not so easy for Edwards. Both guys went back and forth all race long last week, and still three points are all that remain for Stewart to over take Edwards.
This has to be the closest battles in Sprint Cup history. The race this weekend should be a great one to watch.