A year removed from Daytona 500 glory, 2012 was a step back for Trevor Bayne.
Regan Smith finished a somewhat disappointing 18th on Sunday after having a shot to wind up much higher. However, about halfway through the race he restarted on the outside of the front row next to Brad Keselowski. After racing Keselowski hard through turn 1 and the South Chute, the two had contact in turn 2. There did not appear to be any malice in what happened, but both drivers never truly recovered.
He didn’t end up in Victory Lane, but Martin Truex Jr. has been knocking on that door for weeks, and it won’t be long now for the Mayetta, N.J. native, who finished sixth on Saturday night. Truex and his Michael Waltrip Racing team have been red hot since last fall at Talladega, when they snatched up four top-10 finishes in five races to finish the year. Truex picked up 2012 right where he left off, with five top 10s in the first seven races and no result lower than 17th. Truex led four times for more than 60 laps on Saturday, flexing his muscle and it looks increasingly like this driver is on the brink of not only a win, but more than one of them.
The late-race focus might have been on Tony Stewart and his battle with Jimmie Johnson for the win, but Stewart has to be extra happy after this one since teammate Ryan Newman managed to quietly move through the late fracas and grab a fourth-place finish with his own Stewart-Haas Racing car. Newman flew in under the radar, weaving among the Roush Fenway triumvirate who had been fighting amongst themselves and stole the show – along with a top-five finish in the process.
You get one guess at this one. Trevor Bayne’s fast Ford and his tandem-drafting skills made him the toast of Daytona Beach before the green flag for the Daytona 500 dropped.
Despite the best efforts of Kyle Busch to run him down, Carl Edwards topped a dominant evening with his 35th career Nationwide Series win Saturday night in front of a stellar crowd at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne rounded out the top 5.
Though Edwards led 101 of the 195 laps led en route to victory, side-by-side racing at the front of the field proved plentiful, with each of the drivers in the top 5 taking turns at the front. Goodyear seemed to get the tire situation under control after fielding rocks at Bristol a week ago, with the rubber proving to wear on the abrasive Atlanta service. Drivers throughout the field were seen visibly wrestling with loose race cars throughout the 300 miles.
“More Drivers Die in the Month of August” The headline in the local paper barely caught my eye, as it had all the panic I associate with pointless statistics and surveys. More people on vacation, drinking with friends, and traversing unknown roads results in — drum roll please — more fatalities on the highways. Complacency …
Kyle Busch was able to stretch 107 laps out of a tank of fuel to drive to victory Saturday night.
Usually the villain of the race earns the title on the track. Usually that guy is left wondering when he’ll be loved because he caused something he may or may not regret later. But this week’s winner wasn’t even in the race. Carl Edwards’s mom, it seems, inadvertently gave her son a mild case of food poisoning with Friday night’s dinner, and the driver was feeling the effects during the race on Saturday. Teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was on standby, but Edwards finished the race, ending up third and taking over the points lead to boot. Maybe he needs to have her cook that again at Homestead…
Time changes us all. Sometimes we don’t even know it happened, and then something occurs to remind us we aren’t exactly the same people we used to be. I am a Jeff Gordon fan — unabashedly, enthusiastically, can tell you his faults and his strengths — but not a crazy stalker-chic fan. He’s been my …