Weekend at Daytona
Now that I’m on the recovery side of having the flu, I’m in a better mental state to throw out some blog stuff...So here goes.
Friday we saw practice for the Budweiser Shootout. This after Kurt Busch, who’s primary sponsor is Miller Lite, drew the pole position from a Bud bottle Thursday. Irony, it seems, has a sense of humor.
Rather than take advantage of his draw to have his colors flying in the face of the event sponsor, Busch decided to rekindle the love-hate relationship with Tony Stewart that arguably goes back a year to the 500, but more resembled the events at Dover. As they raced down the backstretch and into turn three, Stewart apparently failed to measure twice before he cut once, and Busch wound up in the wall. More on the Stewart side of this in a minute.
Busch took it upon himself to let Tony know he was upset by crashing into him as they rolled onto pit road following the incident. Not once, not twice, but THREE times.
I can understand Tony being a hard head, but I think the picture would have been clear after the first contact. He then decided to impede Tony’s way into the garage area.
I don’t think this is what NASCAR had in mind when they said they were going to “let the personalities out.” Kurt was an idiot. He cut Stewart off (ala Dover) and smashed himself into the wall. I would think he’d have gotten the point last year on this.
When there’s a car outside of you trying to make a pass, you may want to consider the implications if you throw the block. Especially in practice for a non-points event. File this one for “Duh Magazine.”
As for Stewart...This guy is the definition of a hypocrite on the racetrack. He gripes because this driver or that driver got in his way, or didn’t back off, or was too aggressive too early. Anyone see a pattern here?
Stewart lives by the “Do as I say, not as I do” moniker, and it’s time he got called on it. If these two want to have a meeting of the minds, then get them parked, get a camera and a couple of NHL linesmen, and let them have at it. THAT would be good television. (Take notes, NASCAR, you just got a freebie to raise your ratings.)
Otherwise there seemed to be a lacking of the word “patience” in the practice session, again for a non-points race. Thus the bumper Clint Bowyer laid into Ryan Newman, crashing six or seven perfectly good race cars. Bonehead move of the day award to the driver of the 07 car.
Saturday’s ARCA race was entertaining. I would have liked to see Alli Owens wait for the guy who spun her out (her second of the race, the first one looked self-inflicted) and pulled a little Danica attitude with him. Again, more entertainment value for the dollar. I want to see women succeed in oval-track racing, but guys pushing them around is low-class.
To the Bud Shootout we go. Uh, any questions? It was Hendrick cars and Tony Stewart up front all night. No surprise there. I made three points in an email to Bobby V on ESPN radio (and he read them on the air! ) about the race:
1. It was only a matter of time before Dale Earnhardt, Junior got his first win in a Hendrick car.
But is it any surprise it came at Daytona? No.
2. Speaking of Hendrick, is it any surprise that the four team cars (Junior, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, and Casey Mears) performed so well in the race, much less in the new car?
No. Lookout competitors, you may be in equal cars, but Hendrick is still the best and deepest team in the sport.
3. It’s no surprise that Tony Stewart was up front, even with the new Toyota.
What was more impressive was the fact that they repaired that car after the set-to with Kurt Busch in Friday’s second practice and it almost won.
Congrats, Junior. Welcome to the (winning) family! Oh, those in Junior Nation who still hate Hendrick: What do you say now, fools?
Let’s wrap this up with a couple of notes on Sunday’s qualifying for the 500:
Obviously the wind played a major factor, as speeds went up when the gusts died down. No surprise that Jimmie Johnson is on the pole.
What’s even bigger is the guy starting next to him: Michael Waltrip. WOW. Way to go Mikey. Talk about going from zero to hero in one year. The “unknown substance” issue that damned his season last year is long gone and greener pastures await MWR.
David Reutimann is guaranteed a starting spot based on his time and it would take a crash in the Duel 150 by Kurt Busch to keep DJ out of the race.
At least on Sunday it can be said that one person with a last name starting with W was given accolades for turning around failures in life and coming back strong from adversity. Too bad the same can’t be said for the loser who was given five Grammys Sunday night who’s shown none of those tendencies.
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