Beginning on Valentine’s Day with Media Day through yesterday’s Daytona 500, I can say it has been an interesting Speedweeks 2013. I wasn’t sure what to expect. This was probably the first time in a long time I followed everything that was NASCAR during Speedweeks. I found craving anything NASCAR. I came across several NASCAR events over on ESPN Classic. I loved watching previous Daytona 500s. It was fun to see the cars, the drivers, and yes, the racing. Coverage of the sport has come so far since some of those 500s. despite what Daytona 500 I was watching, they all ended the same way, the winner experiencing the biggest joy of their racing career. It was awesome to see!
I had waited all winter to see the Daytona 500. I had settled in with my snacks and media setup. After some delays with NASCAR.com, I was able to get my Raceview set up. This was going to be a historic Daytona 500. A week ago Sunday, Danica Patrick because the first women to win the pole at Daytona. This was the first points race of the season with the new Gen 6 car. it was just going to be one of those days. I was hoping Tony Stewart would get his first Daytona 500 victory. The day before he had won the Nationwide race tying Dale Earnhardt Sr with 7 wins in Nationwide races at Daytona. It was a very subdued celebration for Tony due to the chaos of the crash. I am still processing all that happened on Saturday. Much has been said about the crash that occurred on Saturday. I just remember seeing Kyle Larson’s car and wondering where the front part of his car was. Then we all knew. His engine and one of the front tires was in the catch fence. His other front tire and what seemed to be part of the axle (I think that is what was still attached) landed several rows into the grandstands. Even though parts of debris landed in the stands, the catch fence did it’s job. It kept Kyle’s car from entering the grandstands. It was just so surreal.
I was hoping for more of the same from Tony Stewart on Sunday. The Daytona 500 has been so elusive for Mr. Stewart. For some reason he has the car to beat on Saturday, but he seems to be snake bit on Sunday. The race started out great. It seemed everyone was minding their Ps and Qs. But around lap 35 that all changed. From what I could tell from the replays, Kyle Busch got into the back of Kasey Kahne. Kasey ended up spinning in front of the field. It looked like Tony was going to make it through, but next thing I know Kevin Harvick gets into Tony. Another Daytona 500 gone! Let’s just say this was NOT A HAPPY TONY STEWART FAN! I don’t normally throw electronic equipment, but in the air my iPad went. I had to restrain from saying some very choice adult words due to my children in the room. But none the less Tony’s day was done more or less. I have to give major props to his crew for getting him back out on the track to get those precious points. As we all know, EVERY SINGLE POINT counts in Cup. What was even cooler, was Tony was helping his crew out on the repairs. (Photo courtesy of Stewart-Haas Racing Twitter Account)
Even though Tony was knocked out early in the 500, his Stewart Haas Racing teammates had a much better day. Ryan Newman finished 5th and Danica finished 8th. All in all the SHR team had a good Speedweeks. Thanks to Newman’s finish in the top 5, everyone can get a Bloomin’ Onion at Outback! Of course once race does not make a season. There are still 35 races left in the season.
I can’t even describe what I felt on Saturday while watching the Nationwide race. On one hand I was excited for Tony’s victory and on the other I was concerned with the drivers and the fans. When I first saw the crash happen I didn’t know Kyle Larson’s car had ended up into the catch fence. All I saw was half of his car and wondering where the rest of the car ended up. I had never seen anything like that before. Then we all knew. The rest of his car ended up in the stands as well as the catch fence. Tony Stewart is a class act. I know as much as he wanted to celebrate his victory and revel in tying Dale Earnhardt Sr, he was more concerned about the fans in the grandstands. I also have to give major props to ESPN in staying with the story despite the fact they were bumping up against the North Carolina and North Carolina State basketball game. But the biggest props goes to SPEED television and their crew. They did an excellent job in reporting this fluid story. NASCAR does everything in its power to protect everyone at the track from fans, to crew members, and to drivers. Even with all the safety devices and procedures in place, NASCAR is still a dangerous sport. Drivers know this. The catch fence did its major job, preventing a race car going at close to 200 mph from entering the grandstands. Yes, parts of the car did end up in the stands, but this could have been so much worse. The engine and one of the tires remained in the catch fence. Thoughts and prayers are with those fans who were injured. I am hoping for a speedy recovery for them.
Here are some other tidbits from Daytona.
- Danica Patrick was the belle of the ball in Daytona. Yes, she receives quite a bit of media attention. But look at what she accomplished during this Speedweeks: winning the pole for the 500, lead a lap during the 500, raced in the lead pack most of the day, and briefly had a shot to win. She finished 8th in the 500. That is the best finish int he 500 since Janet Guthrie in 1980. She finished 11th.
- Congrats to J.J. Yeley for his top ten finish yesterday. This means Kids Eat Free at Golden Corral today! With two kids I was going to take advantage of it today, but with blizzard conditions out here in Raiderland, looks like grilled cheese sandwiches tonight.
- Little Keelan Harvick is such a cutie! He was Daddy’s little good luck charm for the Spring Unlimited & the Dual race. Unfortunately that was it for little Keelan. Daddy was collected in the early crash that took at Tony. Even though Kevin didn’t make history, I think he will be a force this season.
- Not a fan of Rusty Wallace. While watching the pre-race show for the Nationwide race, he stated he didn’t understand why Dale Jr. was racing in the Nationwide race. Wasn’t the goal for Junior to win a Cup championship and shouldn’t that be his focus? Rusty also asked was is it his duty to help build the Nationwide Series or win the championship. He just didn’t understand why he was doing all this stuff. Seriously? Why is he calling out just Junior? Why not call out Tony Stewart? I mean Tony was racing in Nationwide on Saturday. He also own a Cup team. He also has Tony Stewart Racing and Eldora Raceway. Plus he races at other tracks when he is not racing in Cup. Seriously Rusty…ugh!
- To borrow from a Mac Davis song (Happiness is Lubbock, Texas)…hey Carl, what is the best view of Daytona? In your rearview mirror. Man Daytona wasn’t kind to Carl. He was involved in 5 crashes (4 during Speedweeks and one during testing in January).
And finally the “Fan Driven 400” at Pocono Speedway! Today is the deadline for submitting idea for the name of the June 9, 2013 race at Pocono. You can submit your idea at walmarturl.com/FanDriven. Three submissions will be chosen and fans can vote from March 11 to April 8. additional information about other ways to be involved in the “Fan Driven 400” check out my post at https://trixiestrailerpark.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/fan-driven-400/. Good luck!