Daytona is On Fire
Written by Rob Layman   
Tuesday, 28 February 2012 11:00

Well this was perhaps one of the more bizarre races in the long storied history of the Daytona 500. For the first time in history, the race was rain delayed until Monday. Then through an unforgettable, spectacular incident involving Juan Pablo Montoya and a track jet dryer, the race was actually pushed into early Tuesday morning.

The race itself was pretty typical of restrictor plate racing, with multi car wrecks and lots of carnage towards the end. This year there were no real surprises in the top 10 and no huge drama at the end of the race, but it was still Daytona.

Speed Weeks has now come to an end, and the season begins in earnest. The roller coaster ride will move on to Phoenix in just a few days, and the longest of sports seasons continues on.

Away from the big track there were plenty of races contested on both dirt and asphalt. 14 year old Kyle Benjamin won three out of seven races at New Smyrna Speedway en route to winning the super late model speed weeks championship at the high speed ½ mile. Chuck Hossfield was the tour type modified champ, Jerry Symons captured the Florida modified championship and Dakota Stroup was on top of the pro late model division.

On the dirt track speed weeks scene, super late models had opportunities to race with three different groups over a period of 16 days. The World of Outlaws, Lucas Oil dirt late model series, and UMP/Dirtcar super late models held events as well as two unsanctioned races occurred at six different venues. The only racer to win more than twice was Steve Francis (three wins), a few racers won twice (Darrell Lanigan, Jonathon Davenport, Don O'Neal, Dennis Erb Jr, and Billy Moyer), with four others getting a single win a piece. Just once I'd love to spend these two weeks attending these events, but in my day job it is the busiest time of the year.

Back to Daytona and I'm happy to see that there were no major injuries to any of the racers in any of the events this year. There were several very scary crashes in the last few days with Miguel Paludo, Danica Patrick and "five time" Jimmy Johnson possibly having the scariest of hits.

There were two first time winners as well, James Buescher winning in the Nationwide Series, and highly unheralded John King winning the Camping World Truck Series race Friday night.

As a matter of fact, if I remember right King had only won two or three previous races EVER BEFORE, those being on the short track scene both on dirt and asphalt. Big congrats to them and Matt Kenseth for all being winners at Daytona Speed Weeks.

Until next week keep the shiny side up!