Tag Archives: Daytona 500

Matt Kenseth Wins an Explosive Daytona 500

[box] Article first published as Matt Kenseth Wins Explosive Daytona 500 on Technorati.[/box]

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. – Matt Kenseth survived rain, fire, engine overheating and a fast charging Dale Earnhardt Jr., to win the 54th running of the Daytona 500, his second victory in the Great American Race.

At the finish line it was Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Greg Biffle. Denny Hamlin took 4th and Jeff Burton rounded out the top five. Paul Menard, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Joey Legano and Mark Martin filled in the top-ten.

Sunday rain pushed the race to Monday and then to late Monday. Drivers nerves were tweaked tighter than a Carolina wino when the race finely went off at 7:00 pm. One lap into the event five-time champ Jimmie Johnson ended up in the outside wall bringing out the first caution. It was a short race for Johnson.

The crash set the tone for the rest of the race as drivers threw caution to the wind and drove hard from flag to flag. The second caution came out on lap 13 when Ryan Newman looped his racecar in the middle of the pack. He was able to restart the car and get going.

Caution number 5 came out on lap 64 for debris on the track and the next on lap 81 when former champion Jeff Gordon exploded an engine going into turn three shattering his hopes for another Daytona win.

Caution 7 flew on lap 89 when Terry Labonte clipped Marcos Ambrose coming off turn 4.

Martin Truex Jr., was the leader at the halfway mark and took home the $200,000 bonus.

Clint Bowyer brought out the next caution on lap 129 when his car stalled in the second turn. On lap 157 David Stremme blew an engine and spun in front of a small pack of cars and was lucky to come through as the only victim.

On lap 157, with the race still under caution, Juan Pablo Montoya had mechanical issues on the backstretch and lost control of his race car. Montoya collided with a jet dryer working on cleaning debris up by the outer wall. The violent crash ruptured the jet-fuel cell which exploded in heavy flame.

The event brought the race to a complete stop as firefighters and safety crews quickly went to work to extinguish the fire and protect the racing surface. All in all the cleanup took nearly two hours to complete.

When the race resumed on lap 166 Matt Kenseth was the leader and for the next 34 laps nobody presented a serious challenge.

There were two more cautions in the closing laps including a multi-car mishap on lap 196 involving Tony Stewart, Dave Blaney, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Landon Cassill, Kyle Busch, and Ryan Newman.

The race ended on a green-white-checker finish on lap 202 with Kenseth, Earnhardt Jr., and Greg Biffle, the top 3 cars.

Danica Patrick Guaranteed for the Daytona 500?

[box type=”info”] Article first published as Patrick Guaranteed for Daytona 500? on Technorati.[/box]

Danica PatrickCHARLOTTE, N.N. — If Tony Stewart has anything to say about it Danica Patrick will have a guaranteed starting spot for the Daytona 500. Few rookies get that opportunity.

If the deal comes together Patrick’s #10 GoDaddy machine could be on the track for much of the 2012 Sprint Cup season.

Stewart Haas Racing is  negotiating with with Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) that would transfer the owner points accumulated by Dave Blaney last season to the #10 car owned by Stewart. The top 35 owner points get automatic slots into the first 5 races. TBR’s 33 points would give Patrick her guaranteed spot on the Daytona grid. Her starting position would be determined by qualifying speeds.

Patrick is contracted for 10 Sprint Cup races. She is scheduled to run full-time in the Nationwide series for car-owner Dale Earnhardt. TBR driver David Reutimann would drive the GoDaddy #10 in as many of the other 26 races as finances allow. When Patrick is at the wheel, Reutimann will drive one of the TBR cars.

As part of the arrangement TBR will benefit from technical and pit crew support from SHR.

Patrick expressed genuine concern about making the Daytona 500 field back in mid-January. “There’s not that many spots (open). You’ve got cars that they’ll put everything into just running this race. I’ve heard they tend to be pretty quick.

“You don’t want to take chances. It’s not the right time to do that. Everyone wants to get into the race, and I’m sure GoDaddy would like to be sure of that happening. Eliminating as many questions is probably a safe route.”

Fast, Fast, Fast

Courtesy: NASCAR Media

It’s official – the new surface at Daytona Speedway is fast, fast, fast.

Sprint Cup teams have been testing setups and drafting at the “Birthplace of Speed,” since Thursday morning. Every driver passing through the media center is raving about how fast it is.

During the morning session on Saturday, Joe Gibbs Racing team mates Joey Logano (No. 20 Home Depot Toyota) and Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Toyota) swapped spots tailing each other and set the day’s top speeds with just over 197 mph.

“I feel like we’ve got a decent speed in the Home Depot Toyota,” said Logano, who had the morning’s fastest lap (197.516 mph, 45.566 seconds). “Usually in single-car runs we were probably a 15th-place car, but I feel like we’re a top-five car in single-car runs right now. That’s exciting to know.”

With the Daytona 500 only four weeks away, teams are feverishly getting ready for the 2011 season. This week’s testing at Daytona has sent a message through the garage summed up best by NAPA Auto Parts driver, Martin Truex Jr., when asked to give a preview of what to expect in the 500. ““It’s going to be wild. It’s going to be fun. I love racing here. Here and Talladega are some of the most fun races for us as drivers until you get in a wreck, and then you’re just pissed off, and you’re pissed off until you come back and hoping to finish the next one.”

That’s tellin’ ’em, Martin!

When defending race winner, Jamie McMurray, was asked about the new surface, he said. “The track is really good and the racing is going to be closer to what Talladega has except for the fact the track is quite a bit narrower.”

We’ve never seen racing at Daytona like we are going to see it this year.  Teams will be comfortably running three and four wide all day, and faster than ever at this speedway.

Racing at Daytona starts on February 12 with the Budweiser Shootout followed a few days later with the twin qualifiers on February 17.