With an exciting race unfolding at the Auto Club 400 in Fontana, California, Kyle Busch stole the race as Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano continued their feud from the previous week on the racetrack during the last 15 laps of the race. However, as a result of the battle, Denny Hamlin is sidelined for the STP Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway next week at least.
Here’s the 10 things that spun Philly Fantasy Sports’ wheels in this race:
The last 15 laps of this race was great. The aggression in the NASCAR races have returned to form on and off the track.
Denny Hamlin got sidelined for the next race at Martinsville Speedway.
Kurt Busch still protects his brother, Kyle Busch, during the race. He blocked Denny Hamlin momentarily after a couple of laps into a restart.
Don’t ever underestimate KyleBusch in any race. He’s an aggressive driver.
Chrevolets and Fords again top the leaderboards with the exception of Kyle Busch’s and Matt Kenseth’s Toyotas. The Toyotas are making progress.
With the Daytona International Speedway track repaved into three-wide, the frequent use of the two-car tandem and with Dale Earnhard Jr. relying on his backup car, and Junior starting in the back despite qualifying for the pole position, this race should be one of the best NASCAR races of this season. Dale Earnhardt, “The Intimidator,” will be remembered on the third lap of this race in commemoration of his death a decade previous, and this driver has not been forgotten nor ever will be. After all the drama, festivities and tailgating, it’s time to go racing, boys, and this was one heck of a race.
Michael Waltrip incidently pushed Kyle Busch, and Busch slid out in lap 5. Fortunately, for him and the rest of the field, he didn’t collide with anyone else.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s spotter could have possibly caused a collision after J.J. Yeley’s car brought out the caution flag in lap 11. Typical Junior drama and karma, and it began again as he pushed into the head of the pack.
Kevin Harvick blew an engine in lap 22 and officially out of the race. Bad luck for him after 152 races without a blown motor.
Michael Waltrip again pushed into David Reutimann and caused a train wreck on lap 29 into a 17-car train wreck. Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Mark Martin, all Hendrick Motosports cars, were brought into the garage for repair of heavy damage to their cars. Not good news for these Hendrick drivers or for Dale Earnhardt Jr. as he was without his teammates for a major portion of the race.
Brian Vickers out on lap 56, and his engine had officially stalled. Barely into lap 60, nearly one-third of the field had disappeared.
Some cars returned in lap 92 that were involved in earlier wrecks. Brian Vickers, Jeff Gordon, and Jimmie Johnson were some of the notable drivers to make their return.
Kurt Busch led lap 92 with Regan Smith in their two-car tandem again.
And yet another Richard Childress engine blew with Jeff Burton in the garage on lap 94. Childress Racing didn’t have much luck this race, as with Hendrick Motorsports. However, theirs was an engineering problem which should be resolved by next week’s race and not created by the big one caused by Michael Waltrip.
Juan Pablo Montoya spun out in lap 107 with no disaster on the track. The two-car tandems still remained the theme up to this point of the race. Interestingly, Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have paired together — for a short time only.
Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have paired up in lap 110. This pairing should be beneficial to both of these veterans, but it was short-lived.
Clint Bowyer and Paul Menard tandem have maintained the lead for five laps since lap 127. Matt Kenseth, who had fallen a lap down, crashed into the outer wall in lap 134.
Juan Pablo Montoya spun out and collided with Greg Biffle on lap 143. And now the 11th caution flag had been dropped. This race hasn’t been without excitement.
Regan Smith and Dale Earnhardt Jr. hook up in lap 147 and pushed Junior to the lead. This is one potent combination since Regan Smith established himself in the lead pack after the big wreck of lap 29.
Travis Kavapil wrecked on lap 158 and brought out the 12th caution flag, a race record. The final push begun for the drivers and their respective pit crews.
Brad Keselowski crashed into the wall on lap 167, and the 13th yellow flag was brought out.
Kasey Kahne blew a tire out in lap 182, and Jamie McMurray had to resign himself out of the race with an engine issue. Now this race had its 14th yellow flag…
Soon enough, another caution flag…Regan Smith got turned by Kurt Busch caused by Tony Stewart on lap 196.
On lap 204, A.J. Allmendinger spun into Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Newman clipped Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and another caution flag. Junior was taken out of the race, as his karma followed again.
Trevor Bayne of Wood Brothers won the Daytona 500. He had one of the faster cars on the field, but nobody expected this win in NASCAR or their fantasy cohorts. Overall, a very entertaining race — with bookend wrecks, but the big one caused by Michael Waltrip changed the field early in lap 29. The average speed of the Daytona 500 was 132 mp, with the top speed of 201 mph. Most of the cars raced from 170 to 200 mph. Perhaps, like in the football season beforehand, this may be a season of surprises. Certainly, NASCAR began with one. Now onto Phoenix…
This is my list of top 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers to watch in 2011, given their current trends over the past three to five seasons. This is not based on any current adjustments to their respective teams, engines, cars or other factors currently internally or externally, such as the new points systems.
Now to my top 10 list of NASCAR Sprint Cup Drivers, in no particular order:
Jimmie Johnson (48) of the Chad Knaus/Hendrick Motorsports Team. He’s won five straight Sprint Cup championships and going for a sixth.
Tony Stewart (14) of the Darian Grubb/Stewart-Haas Racing Team. He’s been mostly consistent remaining in 7th through the 9th in standings the past three years. He should do more of the same this season.
Clint Bowyer (33) of the Shane Wilson/Richard Childress Racing Team. His team has not been consistent, but he’s always found ways to remain in the Chase. However, he has remained in the top 10 three out of five recent seasons.
Jeff Gordon (24) of the Steve Letarte/Hendrick Motorsports Team. He’s been minimally the top 10 the past five years, if not in the top 5. He should do the same this season, as his team has always demonstrated success.
Carl Edwards (99) of the Bob Osborne/Roush Fenway Racing Team. His team has either been in the top 3 or in the top 10 the past years, but he has demonstrated inconsistency. If football or hockey are indication the changing nature of sports, his team might have a chance for a real push this season.
Denny Hamlin (11) of the Mike Ford/Joe Gibbs Racing Team. Since 2007, his team has been making real strides to becoming 2nd in the standings in 2010 again — like he was in 2006. Whereas some of these teams have been simply inconsistent, this team has been consistently getting better.
Kyle Busch (18) of the Dave Rogers/Joe Gibbs Racing Team. He has always remained in the bottom rungs of the top 10 standings, but he has remained in the Chase for the past five years. He could be another one to watch out for this upcoming season.
For the last three of my top 10, these drivers are always within reach of the top 10 over the past years, and this year, they may be troublesome to rest the field for their shadows always hanging within reach to make a serious mark upon the Sprint Cup Chase.
Jeff Burton (31) of the Todd Berrier/Richard Childress Racing Team.
Matt Kenseth (17) of the Jimmy Fennig/Roush Fenway Racing Team.
Kurt Busch (22) of the Steve Addington/Penske Racing Team. Although not quite as successful as his brother Kyle, he does stay within reach of the Chase.