NASCAR and its tracks have all kinds of contingency plans for emergencies, but sometimes you just have to learn from experience. It seems safe to say all the work that went into dealing with the crumbling of asphalt and the pothole that emerged during the 2010 Daytona 500 played a role in NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway’s ability to deal with the jet dryer explosion and resulting fuel spill on the track this year.
It was surprising how little Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards factored into this year’s 500. The two drivers who battled down to the wire for the 2011 Sprint Cup title had fast cars at Speedweeks — Edwards won the pole for the 500 and Stewart won his 150-mile qualifying race on Thursday. Both were involved in late-race accidents in the 500, and neither ran up front for long.
I don’t know if Danica Patrick is going to be a great NASCAR driver, and neither does anyone else. What she deserves is the opportunity to find out — and without unrealistic expectations piled on her. She also doesn’t need TV announcers who constantly try to bolster her “case” by making outrageous claims. Example: Claiming Patrick, who hadn’t yet run a lap in a Cup race, is the “face” of NASCAR.
Unofficially, Keselowski became the first driver to Tweet during a live event.
His Tweet earned him thousands of new followers. Asked how many he got, Keselowski replied: “A lot, but you know I’ll take the win first.”
Menard managed to stay out of trouble and finished sixth.
“We just kind of rode around the first half of the race anticipating some big wrecks; there were a couple but not as many as we thought,” he said. “I figured it was time to go about Lap 120 and try to work our way up there. I really couldn’t do a whole lot of passing. It was hard to pass.”
3 keys to victory
1 Driving a Ford appeared to at least give you a head start, and Kenseth and Biffle showed they were fastest. Biffle led 44 laps, mostly in the first half. Kenseth led 50, mostly in the second half.
2 Hamlin led the most laps of any driver, but as the race wound to a close, he just couldn’t seem to get in a good position to work with Earnhardt Jr. in hopes of getting around Kenseth and Biffle.
3 Say what you want about the efforts of Biffle and Earnhardt to get around him, but Kenseth had a fast car. He didn’t lead the final 38 laps — the longest stretch by any driver in the race — for nothing.
The effort by NASCAR and Daytona officials to get the track in racing condition decided the outcome. It was the difference between a shortened race with Dave Blaney as the winner, and 30 drivers still having a shot.
StDriverCarLaps*Pts14Matt KensethFord2024725Dale Earnhardt Jr.Chevy2024232Greg BiffleFord20242431Denny HamlinToyota2024259Jeff BurtonChevy20240637Paul MenardChevy20239713Kevin HarvickChevy2023781Carl EdwardsFord20236912Joey LoganoToyota202361022Mark MartinToyota202351130Clint BowyerToyota202331226Martin Truex Jr.Toyota20233137Marcos AmbroseFord202311432Bobby LabonteToyota202301524Dave BlaneyChevy20230163Tony StewartChevy202291714Kyle BuschToyota202271843Terry LabonteFord202271941Tony RainesFord202252021Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Ford20202118Ryan NewmanChevy202232239Landon CassillToyota202222333David GillilandFord20121246Regan SmithChevy200212536Casey MearsFord199192638David ReutimannToyota196182710Elliott SadlerChevy19602834Joe NemechekToyota19402920Kasey KahneChevy189153011Michael McDowellFord189143119Jamie McMurrayChevy188133223Brad KeselowskiDodge187123327Aric AlmirolaFord187113415A J AllmendingerDodge177103540Trevor BayneFord16403635Juan Pablo MontoyaChevy15983742David StremmeToyota15673829Danica PatrickChevy13803928Kurt BuschChevy11354016Jeff GordonChevy8154117Robby GordonDodge253428Jimmie JohnsonChevy124325David RaganFord11