Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Daytona 500

Some people cheer up when they hear that spring training has begun, because they interpret that as a sign that winter is coming to an end.  For me, the Daytona 500 fills that role.  Here are the last 10 winners of the Great American Race:

2003:  Michael Waltrip (# 15) (Chevrolet)
2004:  Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (# 8) (Chevrolet)
2005:  Jeff Gordon (# 24) (Chevrolet)
2006:  Jimmie Johnson (# 48) (Chevrolet)
2007:  Kevin Harvick (# 29) (Chevrolet)
2008:  Ryan Newman (# 12) (Dodge)
2009:  Matt Kenseth (# 17) (Ford)
2010:  Jamie McMurray (# 1) (Chevrolet)
2011:  Trevor Bayne (# 21) (Ford)
2012:  Matt Kenseth (# 17) (Ford)

The last time a Pontiac won this race was in 1983, when Cale Yarborough got his third of four titles.  NASCAR hasn't been the same since.

Here are the last 10 winners of the Winston Cup (or whatever it's called now):

2003:  Matt Kenseth (# 17) (Ford)
2004:  Kurt Busch (# 97) (Ford)
2005:  Tony Stewart (# 20) (Chevrolet)
2006:  Jimmie Johnson (# 48) (Chevrolet)
2007:  Jimmie Johnson (# 48) (Chevrolet)
2008:  Jimmie Johnson (# 48) (Chevrolet)
2009:  Jimmie Johnson (# 48) (Chevrolet)
2010:  Jimmie Johnson (# 48) (Chevrolet)
2011:  Tony Stewart (# 14) (Chevrolet)
2012:  Brad Keselowski (# 2) (Dodge)

Last year was the first time a Dodge had taken the title since 1975, when Richard Petty drove a Dodge Charger to the crown.  The last Pontiac to win it all was in 2002, when Tony Stewart won the title in a Pontiac Grand Prix.

The big story coming into this race was that Danica Patrick had become the first woman to win a pole position in a Winston Cup race.  But since the race started, Jeff Gordon has led all 14 laps run today.

Any other observations will go into the comments.

84 comments:

  1. So far, it's been all green flag racing. Here is the top 10 through 24 laps:

    1. J. Gordon
    2. D. Patrick
    3. K. Busch
    4. K. Kahne
    5. A. Dillon
    6. C. Bowyer
    7. J. Johnson
    8. K. Harvick
    9. G. Biffle
    10. M. Kenseth

    ReplyDelete
  2. In the 27th lap NASCAR called a caution for debris on the track -- I suppose mainly because a wrapper of some kind was stuck to the grille of Jeff Gordon's car. So now everyone's zipping in and out of the pits.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Danica Patrick had a lousy pit stop, and she falls from 2d to 9th.

    ReplyDelete
  4. On lap 31, the green flag comes back out.

    ReplyDelete
  5. While I was eating lunch, Kasey Kahne spun sideways and created a major wreck. As a result of this wreck, the following major drivers have been eliminated from contention: Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, and Casey Mears.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Meanwhile, the race is back under green. Here is the top 10 after 50 laps:

    1. M. Kenseth
    2. J. Johnson
    3. D. Patrick
    4. J. Gordon
    5. Kyle Busch
    6. J. Logano
    7. A. Dillon
    8. M. Truex, Jr.
    9. D. Hamlin
    10. G. Biffle

    ReplyDelete
  7. Jeff Gordon is reporting that his water is hotter than he would like. Not clear yet what that means. He's still running fourth.

    ReplyDelete
  8. They have a new car body in NASCAR this year, and we don't have the two-man drafts that were so prominent in recent years. Right now all the leaders are running in a long, single draft.

    ReplyDelete
  9. On the Internet, the NASCAR fans are complaining that the new car has discouraged passing. Everyone continues in a long draft. One person just tweeted, "Is everyone enjoying the parade?"

    ReplyDelete
  10. Here is the top 10 through lap 60:

    1. M. Kenseth
    2. J. Johnson
    3. D. Patrick
    4. J. Gordon
    5. Kyle Busch
    6. J. Logano
    7. A. Dillon
    8. M. Truex, Jr.
    9. D. Hamlin
    10. G. Biffle

    If you're wondering whether the field is just going around and around in single file with no one passing anyone, the answer is "yes."

    ReplyDelete
  11. Here is the top 8 through 70 laps:

    1. M. Kenseth
    2. J. Johnson
    3. D. Patrick
    4. J. Gordon
    5. Kyle Busch
    6. J. Logano
    7. M. Truex, Jr.
    8. D. Hamlin

    ReplyDelete
  12. Beginning in lap 72, we are starting to get a lot of green-flag pit stops.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Pits are basically done. Here is the top 10 through lap 80:

    1. D. Hamlin
    2. M. Truex, Jr.
    3. M. Kenseth
    4. J. Johnson
    5. J. Gordon
    6. G. Biffle
    7. J. Logano
    8. D. Patrick (another bad pit stop)
    9. D. Earnhardt, Jr.
    10. C. Bowyer

    ReplyDelete
  14. In lap 85, we got a caution for debris on the backstretch. It's the third caution of the day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And two of those three cautions were for debris.

      Delete
  15. With the debris caution, everyone's coming back into the pits.

    ReplyDelete
  16. On lap 89, the race goes back under green. Danica Patrick had a good pit stop that time, and she is now in the lead.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Here's the top 7 through 91 laps:

    1. D. Patrick
    2. C. Bowyer
    3. D. Hamlin
    4. M. Waltrip
    5. M. Kenseth
    6. M. Truex, Jr.
    7. G. Biffle

    ReplyDelete
  18. On lap 93, Denny Hamlin passes Patrick to take the lead.

    ReplyDelete
  19. On lap 95, Matt Kenseth has passed Hamlin and now he's in the lead.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is better stuff now, as there are multiple lines of cars running parallel to each other.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Here is the top 10 through 100 laps:

    1. M. Kenseth
    2. D. Hamlin
    3. D. Patrick
    4. C. Bowyer
    5. J. Johnson
    6. M. Waltrip
    7. J. Burton
    8. M. Truex, Jr.
    9. G. Biffle
    10. J. Logano

    ReplyDelete
  22. Earnhardt, Jr. is currently running 11th.

    Gordon is running 14th.

    Mark Martin is 15th.

    Keselowski is 17th.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Through 105 laps, we're all back into a single line, being led by Matt Kenseth. Kenseth is trying to become the first driver since Stirling Marlin in 1994 and 1995 to win the Daytona 500 two years in a row.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Here are the leaders through 110 laps:

    1. M. Kenseth
    2. D. Hamlin
    3. D. Patrick
    4. C. Bowyer
    5. J. Johnson
    6. M. Waltrip
    7. J. Burton
    8. M. Truex, Jr.
    9. G. Biffle
    10. J. Logano

    ReplyDelete
  25. Michael Waltrip's performance is remarkable. He wasn't expected to be competitive -- he's basically driving a car that's a tribute to the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting. But there he is in sixth place.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I don't know what happened to Jeff Gordon's car, but he appears to be out of contention. He's fallen back to 30th place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My guess is that its water got too hot.

      Delete
  27. After being in a wreck and falling 90 laps behind, Tony Stewart has returned to the race track.

    ReplyDelete
  28. The cars are still going around and around in a single line -- they look remarkably like cars in the races I used to do with my toy cars when I was a kid.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Here are the leaders through lap 120:

    1. M. Kenseth
    2. D. Hamlin
    3. D. Patrick
    4. C. Bowyer
    5. J. Johnson
    6. M. Waltrip
    7. J. Burton
    8. M. Truex, Jr.
    9. G. Biffle
    10. J. Logano

    ReplyDelete
  30. By the way, Kenseth has changed teams since last year. When he won in 2012, he was driving the number 17 Ford. Now he's driving Joe Gibbs's # 20 Toyota.

    ReplyDelete
  31. On lap 124, Michael Waltrip -- who had gone longer than everyone else without a pit stop -- went off to get fuel. Everyone else should be pitting within the next 6-8 laps.

    ReplyDelete
  32. On the Motor Racing Network, they are being very complimentary of Danica Patrick -- who is running 3d in what is only her 11th Winston Cup race.

    ReplyDelete
  33. With 73 laps to go, most folks are now coming into the pits. For most if not all teams, this is a four-tire pit stop.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Patrick has not yet gone into the pits, and she now has the lead.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Patrick has a better pit stop this time -- she shouldn't lose much ground. Cars are still pitting, so it's still not clear how everything will shake out.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Here are the leaders through lap 134:

    1. M. Kenseth
    2. D. Hamlin
    3. C. Bowyer
    4. Kyle Busch
    5. M. Martin

    Patrick is in 9th. Jimmie Johnson is in 10th.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Big wreck on lap 137. Many cars at the back of the pack affected, including Trevor Bayne and Carl Edwards. Caution flag returns.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Leaders through 140 laps (under caution):

    1. M. Kenseth
    2. D. Hamlin
    3. C. Bowyer
    4. Kyle Busch
    5. M. Martin
    6. M. Truex, Jr.
    7. D. Earnhardt, Jr.
    8. G. Biffle
    9. D. Patrick
    10. J. Johnson

    ReplyDelete
  39. It looked as though the wreck was triggered when Keselowski spun out, taking out Bayne, Edwards, and various other cars as a result.

    ReplyDelete
  40. In terms of racing, the big question is: can a group of cars running along the bottom of the track keep pace with the cars who will be at the top -- where almost all the racing has taken place so far.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Since these Gen6 cars have never raced in Daytona before, no one really knows what will happen down the stretch.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Carl Edwards has suffered through five separate wrecks during the last week. He's going to be happy to leave Daytona.

    ReplyDelete
  43. On lap 146, we are back under green.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Something has happened to Matt Kenseth, who had the lead on the restart, but who is now pulling into the pits. That's a real shame for Kenseth, who appeared to be on his way to victory.

    They've lifted the hood on Kenseth's car, and his engine appears to be done.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Now something has happened to Kyle Busch, and his Toyota has also gone into the pits. That's two Toyotas -- Kenseth and Busch -- that have disappeared from the race within a lap of each other.

    ReplyDelete
  46. The leaders through lap 154:

    1. D. Hamlin
    2. M. Truex, Jr.
    3. G. Biffle
    4. J. Johnson
    5. J. Gordon
    6. B. Labonte
    7. M. Ambrose
    8. C. Bowyer
    9. D. Patrick
    10. R. Smith

    ReplyDelete
  47. Gordon's car appears to be running much better, as he's now up to fifth.

    Hamlin is also driving a Toyota, so it will be interesting to see how that car holds up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeff Gordon's water probably cooled down.

      Delete
  48. Leaders through 160 laps:

    1. D. Hamlin
    2. M. Truex, Jr.
    3. G. Biffle
    4. J. Johnson
    5. J. Gordon
    6. B. Labonte
    7. M. Ambrose
    8. C. Bowyer
    9. D. Patrick
    10. R. Smith

    ReplyDelete
  49. Leaders through 170 laps:

    1. D. Hamlin
    2. M. Truex, Jr.
    3. G. Biffle
    4. J. Johnson
    5. J. Gordon
    6. B. Labonte
    7. M. Ambrose

    ReplyDelete
  50. On lap 173, cars are coming in for green-flag pit stops.

    ReplyDelete
  51. On lap 178, Jeff Burton hits the wall, and so we are under caution again.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Meanwhile, Martin Truex, Jr. -- who was also driving a Toyota -- is having engine trouble. That's three Toyotas to have engine problems since lap 150.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Somehow, Brad Keselowski -- who has done almost nothing today other than spin out at one point -- is in the lead. On the other hand, he is the defending Cup Holder, so it's not like he doesn't know what he's doing.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Leaders on lap 180 (under caution):

    1. B. Keselowski
    2. M. Waltrip
    3. J. Johnson
    4. M. Ambrose
    5. G. Biffle
    6. D. Hamlin
    7. D. Patrick
    8. C. Bowyer
    9. J. Gordon
    10. R. Newman

    ReplyDelete
  55. Michael Waltrip just pulled in, leaving two powerhouse drivers -- Johnson and Keselowski to battle at the restart. The folks on MRN don't know what happened with Waltrip.

    ReplyDelete
  56. On the restart, Keselowski's Ford pulls away from Johnson's Chevy.

    ReplyDelete
  57. With 18 laps to go:

    1. B. Keselowski
    2. G. Biffle
    3. D. Patrick

    ReplyDelete
  58. Jimmie Johnson has fallen back to 7th, and he's trying to put together a group of cars on the bottom line.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Johnson's got Hamlin and Clint Bowyer behind him, along with a few other cars, and the inside lane is now gaining on Keselowski's pack.

    Keselowski tried to block Johnson, but he couldn't do it. Keselowski was forced back to the top, and Johnson's bottom-lane group takes the lead!

    ReplyDelete
  60. Now the two lanes are racing dead parallel to each other. Keselowski -- the 2012 Cup Champion -- is leading one group. Johnson -- a five-time Cup Champion -- is leading the other. This is great stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  61. 13 laps to go:

    1. J. Johnson
    2. B. Keselowski
    3. G. Biffle

    ReplyDelete
  62. This is great, great stuff. Now Keselowski has pulled slightly ahead. But both he and Johnson are pulling huge lines of cars, which are weaving back and forth across the track.

    ReplyDelete
  63. 10 laps to go:

    1. B. Keselowski
    2. J. Johnson
    3. G. Biffle

    ReplyDelete
  64. With 9 laps to go, Johnson takes the lead -- AND THEY CALL ANOTHER CAUTION FOR DEBRIS! WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON HERE!

    ReplyDelete
  65. This debris nonsense has got to stop. For about five laps, this was one of the greatest races of all time. Now we're just going around and around under yellow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be fair, there was a pretty big piece of debris that hit Johnson's car. So this caution may have been more legitimate than I originally though.

      Delete
    2. Dick Vitale had a moment like this in last night's game, where he went back and apologized for something he said about some player in a previous game.

      Delete
  66. Leaders through lap 192:

    1. J. Johnson
    2. B. Keselowski
    3. D. Hamlin
    4. G. Biffle
    5. C. Bowyer
    6. D. Patrick
    7. J. Logano
    8. D. Earnhardt, Jr.
    9. J. Gordon
    10. M. Martin

    ReplyDelete
  67. Seven laps to go. Still awaiting the restart.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Here comes the green with six laps to go.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Johnson is now on top and Keselowski is on the bottom. For now, the top group is stronger and Johnson is in the lead.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Keselowski's not getting much help in the bottom lane, and the top lane is pulling ahead.

    The top four are now in the top lane:

    1. J. Johnson
    2. G. Biffle
    3. D. Patrick
    4. D. Earnhardt, Jr.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Now there's only one lane again with three laps to go:

    1. J. Johnson
    2. G. Biffle
    3. D. Patrick
    4. D. Earnhardt, Jr.
    5. M. Martin

    ReplyDelete
  72. Two laps to go. Still going in the same order.

    ReplyDelete
  73. There's a big wreck at the back of the field.

    Suddenly Earnhardt passes Patrick and Biffle to get second -- he tries to get around Johnson but he can't -- JIMMIE JOHNSON WINS THE DAYTONA 500 FOR THE SECOND TIME!!!

    ReplyDelete
  74. Here's the final top 10:

    1. J. Johnson (# 48)(Chevy)
    2. D. Earnhardt, Jr. (# 88)(Chevy)
    3. M. Martin (# 55)(Toyota)
    4. B. Keselowski (# 2)(Ford)
    5. R. Newman (# 39)(Chevy)
    6. G. Biffle (# 16)(Ford)
    7. R. Smith (# 51)(Chevy)
    8. D. Patrick (# 10)(Chevy)
    9. M. McDowell (# 98)(Ford)
    10. J.J. Yeley (# 36)(Chevy)

    ReplyDelete
  75. There were definitely stretches where the single-line racing was tiresome, but on the whole this was a great race, it went right down to the wire, and it was won by the greatest driver in the world, who just barely held off the country's most popular driver. You can't ask for much better than that -- especially if you were rooting for the Chevy's.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Hurrah! We had a fellowship dinner at the church, so I missed this whole race. It was quite exciting to read about it chronologically, however.

    ReplyDelete