Congratulations to Kurt Busch for winning the 2011 Bud Shootout.
This was definitely an exciting, well as exciting as it can be with that few cars on the track. I wasn’t sure what kind of factor the new racing surface would on the racing tonight. All I can say that was definitely some fast racing out there on the track. The average race speed from the first 25 laps was 196.857 mph. Throughout all the interviews and coverage this week, the surface of the track was all the talk. Many of drivers as well as commentators were saying it was going to be more like Talladega. Drivers are just not going to be able to go as wide as they can at Talladega. All I know, if the racing is this exciting with just 24 cars on the track, what is it going to be like with 43 cars? I for one can’t wait until next Sunday.
As with restrictor plate racing there were a few incidents on the track. The biggest one occurred early in the 50 lap segment. Regan Smith got into Carl Edwards who then turned into Dale Jr. This incident took out several cars for the evening. Another crash with Kyle and Mark Martin pretty much ended Kyle’s night. From what I could tell of the incident, neither one really did anything wrong. Neither one seemed very upset about the crash. Mark, as I knew he probably would, apologized for the incident. He wasn’t sure what happened, but he was having a good time out on the track. A similar incident occurred between Michael Waltrip and Tony Stewart. It wasn’t anything, in my opinion, either one did, it was just a racing incident.
The last laps of any race at Daytona gets dicey. The four cars on the lead pack (Newman, Hamlin, Kurt Busch, and McMurray) were all waiting for the last minute to make their moves for the lead. It came down to Newman/Hamlin pairing and the Busch/McMurray pairing. I was holding out hope that Newman would hold his line, but it wasn’t the case. Out pulled Denny as the four pack headed toward the final turn. Unfortunately, Denny went below the double yellow line as the checkers began flying. This is a big no-no at Daytona. This violation resulted in Kurt being named the winner of the Bud Shootout and Denny finishing 12th. After the race was over, Denny said he had a choice to make either to crash into Newman or not. He chose to not hit Newman. I sort of like his explanation since it was just the Bud Shootout. I guess sometimes you have to make a decision and live with it. He wasn’t too upset about it. I mean it was just the Bud Shootout in his opinion. I wonder if he would feel the same way next week?
I really don’t know what happened to Tony tonight. He was racing up front during the first part of the race, but during the second segment not as competitive. I wonder if he received some damage in the dust-up with he and Waltrip. Either way, he never really got back up front to make a challenge for the win. Tony paired up with Denny several times during the night, but Denny didn’t seem to be able to keep up with Tony. That’s alright for Tony. His teammate, Ryan Newman, finished 3rd tonight. I for one am happy for Stewart Haas Racing.
Tomorrow is qualifying for the front row for the Daytona 500. I would love to see a SHR front row with Tony in the P1 spot. But who knows what kind of qualifying it will be tomorrow. The rest of the field will be set on Thursday with the Gatorade Duels. I won’t be able to be home to watch the races, but you can bet I will be listening to the race on NASCAR.com.
The Bud Shootout is just enough of a racing fix to get me through until Friday night when the trucks take the track for the start of the 2011 NASCAR season!