I bid you welcome gentle readers, and a cordial “Howdy” to our assigned reader of all things NASCAR on this fine day. Every year, right around this time, your scribe comes down with an illness that can only be described as “Daytona Fever.” (Note: she did NOT say “Daytona Day”, which has proven harmless and not at all contagious)
Did everyone enjoy the Rolex 24 at Daytona this past weekend? It was again a Cadillac that won overall, albeit a different one from last year. This year it was the #5 Action Express Racing Caddy Dpi owned by Bob Johnson that put the rest to shame while setting new records for the most laps run in the 24-hour timed race (808) and the most miles recorded (2,876.48 miles), which are kind of the same thing when you think about it… but a record’s a record.
Four Cadillacs started the race, and all four experienced overheating problems, with two succumbing to engine fatalities in the early going. The #10 and #90 finished 45th and 50th (last) respectively. The #31, also from Action Express, finished 2nd. The winning drivers of the #5 were Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Filipe Albuquerque.
In GT Le Mans, a pair of Fords from the Chip Ganassi camp were the stars of that show, with the winning #67 driven by Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon. Second place #66 was driven by Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais. Winning and backing it with a second place finish is nice, but there’s more. This win marks the 200th overall for Chip Ganassi Racing. Congratulations to all involved!
Moving on to the GT Daytona class, the winning car was the #11 GRT Grasser Lamborghini Huracan GT3 (Whatever that means) driven by Mirko Bortolotti, Franck Perera, Rolf Ineichen and Rik Breukers. I know that’s right, but something seems all inside-out. This is the GT Daytona class, which was part of the Grand-Am Series before the merger, yet it’s won by a foreign car driven by drivers whose names I had to check and recheck for spelling. The GT Le Mans class was won by a Chip Ganassi Ford. Something seems wrong with that picture to me, but I guess folks are free to enter whatever class they fit into… rules wise.
Well, that was the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, which traditionally kicks off SpeedWeeks… or used to until a certain football game got in the way. While some folks are planning snack menus and tailgate parties for this Sunday, I already made out the racing schedule for the following weekend.
Isn’t that pretty? Of course, it’s made by these two loving but slightly arthritic hands for my website, where the schedule can always be found on the Race Info Center. In the week following we’ll see many practices from several series… ARCA, Trucks, Xfinity, Cup for the Twin 150s and Cup for the Daytona 500. There will be qualifying for every race, though I’m not certain ARCA qualifying is televised. Darn! I think I’m coming down with Daytona Fever! It’s very contagious, so beware!
Your scribe saw something today that really warmed her heart. There will be an Earnhardt in the Daytona 500 this year after all, marking 40 years and no, it won’t be Dale Jr, though he will be Grand Marshall. It will be Kerry Earnhardt’s son, Jeffrey. Derrike Cope and his StarCom Racing leased the Charter from Richard Childress Racing that had been on the #27, which will not run this year. Sponsorship comes from VRX Simulators and veteran crew chief Tony Furr will be directing from atop the pit box. Jeffrey will be driving the “Double Zero” car, a Chevy Camaro and is signed for the entire season. As the guy on the “A Team” used to say, “I love it when a good plan comes together!”
Yep, it’s definitely Daytona Fever! I seem to come down with it right around this time every year… and there will be an Earnhardt in the Daytona 500!
Guess I’d better take my Daytona Fever to bed and rest up until next week gets here. I just got a peek at the “complete schedule” and it appears nothing happens until Thursday and then the flood gates open and it will be non-stop action until the checkers fall at the end of the 500. That’s the DAYTONA 500, in case you somehow missed the memo.
This is a race fan’s favorite time of the year. It’s so great to imagine the wonderful things that will happen throughout the coming race season. Before the green at Daytona, everyone has a clean slate. Nothing has yet been encumbered or otherwise sullied. No one has any points; no race points, no stage points, no playoff points. My car is as good as your car… until proven differently. I love the anticipation that builds as the racing grows nearer. That used to be reserved strictly for the racing, but these days, it’s amusing for a scribe to try to guess what the new “buzz words” coming out of Daytona and Charlotte might be. Last year, they all seemed to key on the letter “E”… Experience, Edgy, Encumbered, Enhanced. If we’re following natural progression, then this year, they should all start with “F.” Not sure I want to go that route, so let’s call it a day and we’ll all meet here next week, same bat time, same bat channel.
The little treble clef tells us it’s time for our Classic Country Closeout and this week we’re in for a real treat. This one is long… almost 2 hours in all, so you might have to come back to hear it all… or let it play as you do other things on line. This is a star-studded cast of members from the Grand Ole Opry in the 1950s… too many to mention. Please enjoy:
Be well gentle readers, and remember to keep smiling. It looks so good on you!