The list of drivers who’ve won in their 400th career start, including Sunday reads like a Who’s Who of Who’s Mattered within this sport. Four of them are Hall of Famers: Richard Petty, Lee Petty, David Pearson, and Dale Earnhardt, Sr. paired with the sport’s most successful independent, Dave Marcis. It’s a number that, however …
The time and effort that has been poured into the rollout of the Gen-6 Cup car is probably more than the GDP of most Third World countries. The manufacturers have cooperated with each other in unprecedented fashion, and NASCAR has worked with all of them to make the cars as equal as possible while still maintaining the characteristics of the street cars they represent. The release has been forced down the throats of the fans, media and drivers to make sure everyone is on the same page as NASCAR tries to move back to the head of the sports landscape, or at least in the passenger’s seat next to the NFL. Unfortunately, after the first eight days of exposure on the racetrack in competitive events, the report card is somewhere between a C- and an F.
*Sprint Cup: Camrys Go Kaput At Daytona* Heading to 50 laps to go in Sunday’s Daytona 500, it wasn’t a question of _if_ Toyota would be the first foreign manufacturer to win the race but _who_ would have the honor of holding the trophy. At one point, the top six drivers were all running Camrys, pulling away from the pack in a rare display of one make’s dominance over the field. Would Matt Kenseth stay on cruise control, dominating the race to the tune of 86 laps led and win the 500 back-to-back? Or how about Kyle Busch, recovering from a jack problem on pit road to run solidly inside the top 5? Could the third man in the Joe Gibbs Racing trio, Denny Hamlin, snooker them both? Or would one of the three Michael Waltrip Racing entries, driven by Mark Martin, Clint Bowyer, or Martin Truex, Jr. take control?
It was a wild weekend for NASCAR. The span of a few days has rarely generated so many talking points, so much controversy, and such a wave of emotions. From Larson’s controversial move in the inaugural Battle at the Beach to a lackluster Daytona 500, and everything in between, we were never without discussion and speculation.
What came with all of those storylines, however, was a largely unanticipated step by the sport back into the “real world,” or, as some call it, “mainstream.” For the most part, this transition began with Danica Patrick’s pole-winning run a week ago for Daytona 500 qualifying. Though Patrick had already generated quite a bit of buzz outside of the walls of the NASCAR garage, it wasn’t until she actually pulled though with some results that everyone, and I mean _everyone_, began to take notice.
“We basically just had a body issue. The nose caved in, the hood caved in a little bit, but the guys did an awesome job with the Quicken Loans Chevrolet to get it fixed. You are rightm we did a lot of pit stops and I kind of lost track of what was going on. …
_Saturday, NASCAR’s day at the races in Daytona turned disastrous. Here’s all the information we can gather, in question-and-answer format to the horrific ending which has left dozens of fans hurt and a long night of repairs ahead for track officials._
*Last Updated: 12:00 AM, Sunday 2/24/13*
In NASCAR’s Nationwide race, the final corner of the final lap was a dogfight between leader Regan Smith, second-place Brad Keselowski, and other drivers behind them, closing fast. Keselowski, sensing it was time to make his move, pulled to the outside, getting even with Smith’s rear bumper before the driver came up to block. The resulting contact turned Smith hard right in front of the whole field and kick-started a vicious Demolition Derby incident that lasted all the way to the start/finish line.
As I sit here staring at a computer screen and an empty Word document, I struggle with how to begin. After all, at the beginning of the day, as I prepared to watch what I expected to be a great Nationwide Series race, never did I anticipate what we’d be talking about at this moment.
Such a freak accident. It’s not often that fans are impacted directly by what happens on the racetrack; but, as Kyle Larson’s race car flew through the air and into the catchfence, most of us watching immediately knew the consequences of what we had just seen Saturday afternoon. We saw fire, half of Larson’s car in the infield, and a good chunk of the other half, along with a tire and many other pieces, flung into the grandstands. Our stomachs sank, a lump formed in our throat, we said a silent prayer, and collectively held our breaths.
If there is one universal attribute in racing that runs through the very veins of every driver, crewman, official and fan, it is passion. Passion has always run strong in the NASCAR community, passed from one generation to the next as seamlessly as water, or sometimes unexpectedly ignited in someone new at the sound of an engine or the smell of warm oil. Passion makes good drivers better. It pushes crews to find the miniscule advantage, one that mans the difference between winning and finishing second. It makes fans support their drivers from their early days, to the height of a career, then through the fading twilight into retirement with an optimism that always serves to keep them believing. The sport fuels the passion, and in turn, the passion drives the sport. It’s a part of every race, every pass, every win.
_Editor’s Note: Anyone looking for information on the last-lap crash, which injured 33 fans will find it elsewhere on our website. The following is just a race racap only… check out the links below for the latest information we have — as well as reaction to the incident._
“Horror Story Ending To NASCAR’s Nationwide Race: Latest News & Updates”:https://frontstretch.com/tbowles/42405/
“NASCAR Nation: Outreach, Not Outcry, Should Be Our Approach”:https://frontstretch.com/sbedgood/42403/
*Inside The Nationwide Series: COPD 300*
As smoke cleared from a last-lap horror, “Smoke” the driver was wheeling his way into Victory Lane once again at Daytona. Tony Stewart, who had spent most of the day riding comfortably in the back of the pack timed his move perfectly to surge forward during the race’s final stretch. His winning percentage here, as a result in the Nationwide cars has jumped to an absurd 50%, with seven victories in 14 career starts – including five of the last seven.
_Author’s Note: This article may tick you off. I am not a monster; I am simply a man that lives in reality._
The reality of what happened on the final lap of the Nationwide race… not on the track, but in the stands is a tragedy. It is a tragedy because people got hurt.
The latest stats that I have from reliable sources, as of this writing is a total of 33 injured in all; two are in critical condition and one of them has life-threatening injuries. (As of this morning, both patients have been upgraded to stable).
My sincerest thoughts and prayers are going out to all those involved.
A serious incident marred the end to Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Daytona. As the cars were coming to the checkered, leader Regan Smith was turned by Brad Keselowski and “this multi-car melee ensued.”:http://deadspin.com/5986464/todays-nascar-nationwide-race-at-daytona-ended-with-kyle-larsons-car-going-through-the-security-fence-and-torn-in-half In the aftermath, Larson’s car hit Keselowski’s, head-on then turned in a dangerous angle into the outside wall where the front …
Johnny Sauter’s used to being the wreck at Daytona as his history here, in the Truck Series looks like a Demolition Derby. Entering Friday night, his four starts were DNF, wreck; DNF, wreck; 17th after a late spin; DNF, wreck. It’s the type of disastrous start that’ll kill your confidence. Until, of course, you put …