NASCAR Hoorahs & Wazzups: The Budweiser Duels Edition
By Dave Grayson
The February 21st Budweiser Duels qualifying races gave us considerably more to talk about than just setting the final line up for the Daytona 500. The 150 mile twin events gave us a detailed look at the performance capabilities of NASCAR’s new Generation-Six race cars under very stringent competitive levels. We also enjoyed the drama that comes with qualifying for one of the most prestigious races in the world that pays approximately $250,000 for finishing last.
HOORAH. Kevin Harvick has displayed a lot of strength during the Speedweeks preliminary activities and proved it again by winning the first Budweiser Duel. That win followed his strong performance from the previous weekend when he won the Sprint Unlimited invitational race. It appears that all of this so called “lame duck driver” talk can now be officially retired for good.
HOORAH. It appears that Kevin Harvick has a very special good luck charm for the 2013 season. It’s his adorable and handsome seven month old son Keelan. Prior to the start of the Sprint Unlimited, Dad placed his son in the seat of his Budweiser Chevrolet and then later that night won the race. He repeated the process prior to winning the first Budweiser Duel. Do you think plans were made to place the baby in the car prior to the Daytona 500? Bet the last dollar in your wallet on it.
WAZZUP. With only eight laps remaining in the first Budweiser Duel, a four car crash brought out a yellow flag. Denny Hamlin’s Toyota got loose and turned into Carl Edwards’ Ford. Edwards spun around and went hard into the wall nose first. Cars driven by Trevor Bayne and Regan Smith were also caught up in the accident.
WAZZUP. In what has been horrible racing luck for Carl Edwards, and his #99 Roush Fenway Racing team, this incident marked the fourth time he has been involved in an accident since Speedweeks began. Right after the race, his crew began the busy process of repairing and prepping the car Edwards drove in the Sprint Unlimited which will be pressed into service for the Daytona 500.
WAZZUP. Some unexpected bad luck presented itself during the final lap of the first Budweiser Due for Martin Truex Jr, the driver of the Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. The hard plastic window, on the passenger’s side of the car, blew off resulting in a black flag. Truex came across the finish line in sixth but was later dropped to 19th. However, his previously posted qualifying speed allowed him to make the Daytona 500 line up.
HOORAH. The beneficiary from Truex’s bad racing luck turned out to be driver Scott Speed. With Truex being dropped in the final finish order, Speed’s final finish in the race was elevated one position. That move elevated Speed to the, you guessed it, final transfer spot and earned him a berth in the Daytona 500.
HOORAH. Kyle Busch also displayed some strength, in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, and won the second Budweiser Duel after fending off a late race challenge from runner up Kasey Kahne.
WAZZUP. Jeff Gordon appeared to have the car to beat during this race but it all unraveled during a green flag pit stop. With 20 laps remaining Gordon came in for gas and two tires only to be informed that he had to serve a penalty for speeding on pit road. During that same pit sequence, drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Terry Labonte were penalized for being too fast while exiting the pits.
WAZZUP. The real heartbreak of this race was experienced by NASCAR veteran Mike Bliss whose window safety net mysteriously became unhooked resulting in a mandatory appearance on pit road. Bliss lost a lot of time on pit road during the repair process and finished 22nd in the race. Unfortunately that finish, combined with his previous posted qualifying speed, simply was not good enough for the team to earn a starting berth in the Daytona 500.
HOORAH. NASCAR’s new Generation-Six race car really looked good on the track during the course of the twin Budweiser Duel’s 300 miles of racing. It’s apparent that the drivers have made quick work of adjusting to the nuances that often comes with a new car. It’s also apparent that the Gen-Six car is going to provide the fans some very good racing in 2013.