[media-credit id=22 align=”alignright” width=”286″][/media-credit]Daytona was once again a thrill ride, with action from start to finish. But enough about the Nationwide event. The Cup side, well the final few laps sure provided something to talk about, but the tandem racing of Friday actually trumped the Saturday evening affair.
Don’t get me wrong, if you determine how good a race was by how much wreckage was featured, you got your money’s worth in each. However, that tandem racing Friday was interesting, with a lot of skill required as the cars had to swap out every few laps to turn the dash dials from red back to blue. Some did it well. Some, such as Mike Wallace, did not, as he went from being the leader to junking himself and a few of his buddies. Kurt Busch won it, even though ten laps before he was a pusher who pushed until all the important dials turned crimson and his coolant was flying away like Old Faithful on wheels. Still, when it counted, he was the man crossing the line first. Austin Dillon was fourth, crossing the line sideways.
Tony Stewart upped his career tally to 47 Cup victories taking the Saturday night feature. 14 seasons and at least a win in each of them, usually three or more including a trio this campaign. Tony will be back to defend his title in the fall run.
Usually, the leaders tend to gravitate to the front of the pack by the time things end, but Daytona was different. Dale Earnhardt Jr got caught up in a wreck coming to the line and wound up 15th. Martin Truex Jr was 17th, Greg Biffle 21st, Kevin “Pops” Harvick was 23rd, Denny Hamlin 25th, and Clint Bowyer 29th. Carl Edwards was sixth at Daytona, but sits more than 30 points behind the 10th place Bowyer. Carl needs win, even one will do for the moment. As for the two wildcard berths, just 16 points separate Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, and Kasey Kahne.
They will be out to seek a second win this Sunday at New Hampshire, while Edwards and Paul Menard can mess things up among those hoping to “be in via win” should they take the checkered flag. Can we expect a televised thrill ride this weekend? Probably not, but at least we get to watch the TNT boys one final time before Rusty and Brad return to us.
Oh, I wonder when A.J. Allmendinger will return to us? Good clean living guy blind sided by a positive drug test, or does this have any resemblance with the Jeremy Mayfield saga? I don’t know, but what we do know is that Sam Hornish Jr is in the car, when his Nationwide duties allow him, while Allmendinger is out until this is cleared up.
Is Bill Elliott out for good? Elliott has not run full-time since the end of the 2003 season, a year he won his 44th Cup race at Rockingham. His last good finish was a 9th at Indianapolis a year later. His last race was Saturday at Daytona, and at present he has no plans for his next one. It has been a long goodbye for the 56-year old, Throughout much of the 1980’s and 90’s, Bill Elliott was simply, dare I say it, awesome.
Finally, welcome to the world, Keelan Harvick, NASCAR’s rookie of the year for 2032. What, too soon? A lot of good people were born in July, but modesty prevents me from saying more on that. In the meantime, enjoy the week.