This week’s story lines:
1. Matt Kenseth wins the 2009 Daytona 500:
2. Dale Sr. will be remembered on 2/18/09:(EGR PR)
3. Gilliland to drive the TRG #71 car for the four races:(TRG PR)
4. David Starr to drive the Blackjack Racing #51 at Calif:
5. Kyle Petty not happy about merger:(st.petetimes)
6. Rusty Wallace, Inc. considering Cup move with RCR help: (nascar.com)
7. DirectTV Hot Pass free:(directtv.com)
8. Is Dale, Jr. running out of time for championship?(espn)
Sunday February 15th marked the 51st running of The Great American Race, better know as the Daytona500. With a testing ban at all NASCAR sanctioned tracks, the teams did little to no testing at all this winter. So when the haulers pulled through the tunnel prior to the Bud Shootout, about ten days ago, it was the race teams first glance at “the world center of speed” since the race in July of 2008.
The races of Speedweeks 2009 were very exciting. The Bud Shootout had a new format for getting into the race,which put a different twist on that race. It has become a manufacturer’s race now. Nonetheless, it was an exciting “shootout” Kevin Harvick taking home all the marbles!
The Duel 150’s were very exciting and really action packed races with Jeff Gordon winning the first race and (TLVW) Kyle Busch winning the second duel. Both of those races were action packed and very tight racing!
On Friday, The Camping World Truck race lit the night sky at Daytona. It was a very action packed 250 mile race. There was many lead changes and of course the impatient drivers making risky moves! But that is the hallmark of this series, which serves to increase the use of the “rollbacks” and tow trucks at the track!
On Saturday the Nationwide Series was main attraction at Daytona. It sounds repetitive, but the Nationwide boys also put on one whale of a race. There was lots of side-by-side racing throughout the entire pack, not just the front runners! The final results was that Tony Stewart(The Smoker), won the race in the #80 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy. This new affiliation occurs because of The Smoker’s new team, Stewart-Haas Racing, buys their cars and engines from Rick Hendrick.
On Sunday, under threatening skies, THE GREAT AMERICAN RACE takes center stage at Daytona. With the threat of rain in the back of all the race teams minds, the green flag drops and the drivers strategy is that they need to race hard immediately. The reason for that mind set is that the race may be called officially over once they complete the half way mark. So the race pace and moves were furious and risky!! The racing was two wide, three wide, and sometimes momentarily four wide!!! The drivers were racing every lap like it was the last one! The drivers were really trying to get to the front by the halfway point, just in case the rains arrived.
It reminded me of an old song by Steeler’s Wheel. The lyrics go something like this “clowns to the left of me jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you”!!!!! The rains came and went intermittenly thoughoutthe race, but it finally cut loose and the race was called with Matt Kenseth in the lead and delcared the winner.
This reporter, along with his sidekick Jim, arrived at Daytona for the four action packed days of racing starting with the Duel 150’s and culminating THE GREAT AMERICAN RACE, the Daytona 500. There is something magical about Daytona that you must experience if you are a race fan! There are only two venues that stand head and shoulders above the rest, Indianapolis and Daytona. Having been to both venues several times, the atmosphere is charged with electricity and a great anticipation resonates throught the grandstands prior to the races there. However, it is this reporter’s opinion, that Daytona has now far exceeded the gala at Indy( you can thank Tony George for singel-handedly mortally wounding open wheel racing)!!! Tony George’s arrogance played right into the hands of NASCAR and allowed them to really grow their brand starting with the 1996 season, that was the first year of the IRL/CART split!
P.S. There is candle light vigil at DEI headquarters tonight to honor Dale Earnhardt, Sr. It was eight years ago the he lost his life on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. He was in third place behind the eventual winner Michael Waltrip , and in second was his son Dale Jr. Both of those cars were out of his stable at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. This repoter is reasonably sure that THE INTIMIDATOR is quite proud of the way his son has handled himself since that tragic day, February 18, 2001!!
REMEMBER, I LOOKED IT UP SO YOU WOULDN’T HAVE TO!!!