It was our first look at the newly paved legendary Daytona speedway and the racing didn’t disappoint as three~wide and white knuckle quarters went on just about all night in what is NASCAR’s tune up exhibition to the biggest race of them all, the Daytona 500 which will be run next Sunday. With the smoother surface and newly designed front noses of cars which are now without the dreaded splitter~bracket combination which has caused many a headaches in races past~. Tonight’s speeds reached a record 206 mph in the two~car draft (a rather new phenomenon) whereas it used to be by the means of a large multiple car lineup in the draft to create such speeds and yet even then they’d never reached these new heights of speed as seen now on the new asphalt @ Daytona.
A few notable firsts were also witnessed as a result of the new racing surface and perhaps the restructuring of the cars themselves as they both perhaps provided the highest speeds here seen by stock cars in 20 years, the first win for manufacturer Dodge @ this event as well as the most lead changes in the Budweiser Shootout’s history reaching an astonishing 28 in such a shortened distance as the event was a two~parter with 75 laps total for the night run in two sessions….25 first then a break with pit~stop and then the final 50 for the win~.
My favorites♥ J.J. and Gordon finished in 4th and 6th respectfully after Hamlin was sent to the rear for the finish after illegally passing under the double~yellow lines which mark the out of bounds portion of the track all around.
And just to note, the commentary in the clip below was done live in the moment but after further review all of the commentators did agree that Regan Smith and not Carl Edwards caused this multi~car wreck……what a night! The 2011 season is officially underway =)!