July 7th, 2013
“Subway Firecracker 250”
DAYTONA, FLORIDA- The NASCAR Nationwide Series began the second half of their season at the most famous track on the circuit. 100 laps were scheduled for the two and a half mile super speedway. This is a race that is scheduled as close to Independence Day every year. The “Pole Setter” was once again Richard Childress driver Austin Dillon (3). This was his sixth consecutive oval track pole received in seven weeks. The only pole he did not get in the last two months, was at Road America in WI. That was a road course race. Travis Pastrana (60) began the race in second, for the second consecutive week. Both race cars had special paint schemes for the holiday weekend. Red-White-Blue was a common theme for the race. Due to some poor finishes the past couple weeks by points leader Regan Smith (7), the top five are separated by only 20 points now.
In the opening ceremonies, Rev. L Ronald Durham provided the Invocation. LT. Manny Nunez sang the National Anthem. Former racer and Daytona 500 winner (3x) Bobby Allison was the Grand Marshall. The In-Race Reporter was Kurt Busch (1) in a special paint scheme to remember the “Days of Thunder” car of Cole Trickle. This was to also bring peoples thoughts to all our servicemen and women who return from overseas with PTSD (Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder).
The “Dash for Cash” returns at this race, with a $100,000 bonus going to the driver closest to the front at the end of the race. There are four drivers that are competing for this bonus, Brian Vickers (20), Elliott Sadler (11), Kyle Larson (32) and Austin Dillon (3). Whichever driver finishes best, will get the bonus and will be eligible for the bonus at the next Dash for Cash eligible race in New Hampshire.
In other racing news: NASCAR confiscated roof flap spacers from sixteen teams at Daytona. There are penalties expected to be levied this week. NASCAR states that these spacers for the hinge car of the roof flaps were out of tolerance. The teams affected are: Joe Gibbs Racing: Busch, Kenseth and Hamlin. Michael Waltrip teams: Bowyer, Truex Jr., and Michael’s car. Roush racing teams: Biffle, Edwards and Stenhouse Jr. Richard Petty racing teams: Ambrose and Almirola. Penske racing teams: Keselowski and Lagono. Wood Bro’s team: Bayne. Germain racing team: Mears. Earnhardt –Ganassi racing team: McMurray.
The race ran very clean and green for the first half , before the famous “Phantom Debris” caution came out on lap 48. No debris was ever shown to the viewers of the race. The field had separated quite a bit, as the leaders were close to half a lap ahead of many of the top contenders. Joey Lagono (22) and Sam Hornish Jr. (12) were easily the class of the field. The teammates led almost all the laps in the first 48 ran.
The second caution came out on lap 71, when Reed Sorenson (40) had engine troubles on track. Plenty of oil was left on track from his race car, for clean-up to be needed. After the restart, Matt Kenseth (18) was pushing Brian Vickers (20) towards the front, as he clipped his back corner and sent Vickers into the grassy infield. No caution was thrown, as Vickers was able to keep his car going back onto the track. He did fall from the front all the way back to the last car on the lead lap (33rd).
On lap 88, Mike Wallace (01) slowed on track and was not able to get back to pit road, as an electrical issue stopped his car from continuing on in the race.
On lap 96, a mini “Big One” happened with several cars. Travis Pastrana was following teammate Trevor Bayne through the field, and was clipped by Cole Whitt (44). This sent Pastrana across the track, collecting Robert Richardson Jr. (23), Jason White (24), Jeffrey Earnhardt (79), Jamie Dick (55) and Brian Scott (2). Pastrana’s car was completely destroyed. The other cars had plenty of damage, with Scott only having some minor damage to the front of his car.
A “Red Flag” was thrown to clean the track. The red flag was out for just short of ten minutes, before they returned to yellow flag conditions. This resulted in a Green-White-Checkered finish to the race.
Prior to this caution coming out, Lagono and Hornish Jr. had been shuffled out of the lead, after leading 67 laps of the race. Matt Kenseth (18) and James Buescher (34) were able to get away from the field on the restart and Kenseth took the victory.
The rest of the top ten were: Elliott Sadler (11), Kurt Busch (1), Austin Dillon (3), Kyle Larson (32), Sam Hornish Jr. (12), Regan Smith (7), Joey Lagono (22) and Trevor Bayne.
The Dash for Cash will return at New Hampshire, with Sadler, Dillon, Larson and Hornish Jr. racing for the $100K bonus. Sadler won the first round of the Dash for Cash.
The next race is at New Hampshire on Saturday, on ESPN.
“COKE ZERO 400”
DAYTONA, FLORIDA – The Pole Position was won by Kyle Busch (18) over teammate Matt Kenseth (20). Country Music Artist Sheryl Crow was at the track performing. Shaguille O’Neil, Kevin James and Adam Sandler were the Grand Marshall’s for the race. They were also at the track promoting their upcoming movie “Grown Ups 2”. In the Opening Ceremonies: Pastor Ronnie Barton provided the Invocation, The National Anthem was played by the Navy Ceremonial Band as eight “Warbirds” flew over the speedway.
The first caution came out on lap 24, when Paul Menard (27) had an engine failure on track. Menard was running third when his engine let go. There was a fire under the hood for a short time, and Kurt Busch (78) just barely got passed him as he was dropping down and off the track..
On lap 70, Joey Lagono brought out the second caution, when he slapped the wall hard. On lap 98, Denny Hamlin (11) was turned sideways, and collected Juan Pablo Montoya (42) and Martin Truex Jr. (56). Kyle Busch (18) had minor front end damage, as he tagged Hamlin trying to get around his race car.
Danica Patrick (10) showed she knows exactly what to do in the restrictor plate races, as she was running in second place by lap 107. Patrick ran in the top ten most of the race, just as she did in the season started at Daytona. After recent criticism by former driver Kyle Petty, she showed everyone that she belongs in NASCAR.
On lap 126, another small wreck happened that involved David Stremme (30), Greg Biffle (16), Aric Almirola (43), Marcus Ambrose (9) and AJ Almendinger (51).
During the race, TNT and Sprint had a special contest named “Sprint 60 Unlimited” Viewers could call in and text their favorite race car drivers number as many times as they could in a sixty-second time limit. The winner of this contest would win $10,000 for their favorite charity. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) won this contest.
On lap 148, a multi-car wreck happened when Denny Hamlin turned sideways in front of his teammate Matt Kenseth (20). This set off a chain reaction with Jeff Gordon (24), AJ Allmendinger (51), Dave Blaney (7) and David Reutimann (83) all getting damaged in one form or another.
A “Red Flag” was thrown on lap 150 to clean up the mess left by the accident. This was the second consecutive week that a red flag was thrown in a race. This was the second day in a row for a red flag to be used at Daytona as well.
On lap 156, Marcus Ambrose slammed side to side, into Kasey Kahne (5), sending Kahne hard into the inside wall and bringing out another caution. The two cars were running in the top three when this happened. It appeared that Ambrose was attempting to split Kahne and Jimmie Johnson (48) when he hit Kahne hard on the right side of his car. This would make the race go into the Green-White-Checkered finish, as there were only a few laps remaining.
During the GWC restart, another wreck began on the backstretch that involved Carl Edwards (99), Casey Mears (13), Marcus Ambrose (9), Joe Nemechek (87), Scott Speed (95), Bobby Labonte (47) and Landon Cassill (33). NASCAR did not throw the caution, as they had already been shown the white flag. The field was allowed to race back to the checkered flag, and before they could get to it, another larger wreck happened as they came to the finish line. Those involved in the second wreck were: Kyle Busch (18), Danica Patrick (10), David Gilliland (38), Jeff Burton (31), Ryan Newman (39), Casey Mears (13), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (17) and Terry Labonte (32).
While there was plenty of mayhem on the final lap, Jimmie Johnson (48) was able to hold off Tony Stewart (14) and Kevin Harvick (29) for the second victory at Dayton this season. Johnson is only the second driver to sweep Daytona, as he won the Daytona 500 earlier this season also. He became only the second driver to do this, since Bobby Allison did it back in 1982.
The rest of the top ten were: Clint Bowyer (15), Michael Waltrip (55), Kurt Busch (78), Jamie McMurray (1), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88), Casey Mears (13) and Ryan Newman (39).
Danica Patrick was scored thirteenth as she slid across the finish line in the multi-car wreck. The second crash started when David Gilliland (38) turned Patrick sideways coming to the flag. The first wreck on the final lap started when Edwards was run up and into the outside wall. Johnson led nearly one hundred laps, of the 162 they ran.
The next race will be at New Hampshire next Sunday on TNT starting at 12:00 PM EST.