Finally, "Drivers Start Your Engines!" Finally, "Boogity, boogity, boogity!" Finally, NASCAR gets the new season started!
The Sprint Unlimited was a wreckfest. Well, that's no surprise. The only result that counts is winning, so crew chiefs tell their drivers to go for broke. "Don't bring anything back but the steering wheel," they say, and some of them didn't even get the steering wheel back!
In the end, it was Matt Kenseth in Victory Lane. He was fast and he made some exciting and daring moves to go to the front. So, cheers to Matt for putting a check mark in the win column after going all of last year without a win. Maybe that's a good omen.
If you're looking for a balancing bad omen, look no farther than poor Clint Bowyer, who was wrecked in the Unlimited and wrecked again in qualifying. Two times on the track, two cars destroyed. Well, maybe he's getting all his misfortune out of the way early.
Clint spilled his guts about his opinion of knock-out qualifying for the Daytona 500. He's definitely not a fan. Neither am I. I think the fastest cars should qualify up front, not the drivers who are the luckiest about being able to put themselves in the right position. I don't like seeing the cars sit at the end of pit road until there's barely enough time to make a lap. But, of course, you could say the same about restrictor plate racing itself. It is always more about positioning than anything else.
Having said that, I was happy with the final results. Jeff Gordon winning the pole for his last ever Daytona 500 seemed like serendipity and having his teammate, Jimmie Johnson, right beside him makes it even better for me.
Carl Edwards is going to make it into the race based on speed even though he's starting with no owner's points. That's good. Carl is one of the best drivers with one of the best teams. It would be a shame if we didn't get to see him compete.
And we already saw hard feelings galore, most notably Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick. What a surprise. Take your helmet off, Kevin!
Seeing the field without him makes me realize how much I will miss Marcos Ambrose. I hope he does spectacularly well back in Australia. He is one of a kind.
This is a personal snit of mine but I will not be rooting for Kurt Busch. Seems to me that he is Gene Haas' pet and Danica's team was raided to give Kurt her crew chief, Tony Gibson, and her pit crew. Of course, I'll have to eat my words if she does better with the new bunch....and I hope that happens.
Life is hard for NASCAR fans. Not only do we have to remember new numbers and paint schemes and crew chiefs, we have to memorize all the new names resulting from the baby boom that has been going on, and continues to go on, in the sport. Regan Smith is currently on baby watch and Baby Busch is due in May, I think. Since NASCAR tends to run in families, we already have a whole new crop of drivers for the next generation.
So, we've had a taste of racing this weekend - just enough to whet our appetite. Now it is onward to the Great American Race!
I totally agree with you about quals yesterday. Them sitting on pit road for so long was just ridiculous. jimmie barely made it through to have a lap. the countdown was at .01 when he crossed the line. It is awesome that him and Jeff are front row for the 500! Lookin forward to seeing the Duels on Saturday and the 500!