Well, Daytona Speed Week has come and gone, we saw the new gen six car showcased all week, and with the new car there seems to be new handling and drafting problems. The big headlines came after Saturday's Nationwide race. The week started out with Danica Patrick claiming the pole for the Daytona 500, Jeff Gordon was milliseconds slower and took the second position in the front row.
The Budweiser Duel 1 was won by Kevin Harvick, the Budweiser Duel 2 was won by Kyle Busch. Friday night was truck night with the Camping World NextEra Energy Resources 250, this race was supposed to be 100 laps but to Kyle Busch's chagrin it yellowed at lap 99 keeping him maybe out of the winners circle and giving Johnny Sauter a much deserved win.
Saturday saw the Nationwide DRIVE4COPD 300, with good conditions and a great field, Tony Stewart came out the winner after a violent crash on the last lap that took out the leaders. Kyle Larson's car split in half and sent at least 30 spectators to the hospital after his front half went through the barrier fence and sending a wheel into the crowd. After all the work needed was finished by 2AM, the Daytona 500 went off as planned on Sunday.
With all the hype that surrounded Danica, this writer feels the start of the race by actor James Franco was a bit odd, but that is just me. The race had several crashes and that seems to bring out the concerns of the gen six car not having great drafting capabilities. With most of race being run in a single lane mode the few times a driver tried to go it alone seemed hampered by the lack of downforce the cars had and even when tandem racing was tried it appeared the highside single lane was the best answer.
Danica appeared to answer the critics by finishing eighth and not being out of the top ten all race, it was apparent that she had some problems trying to pass and gain the lead for more than the five laps that she led, but with every race ahead of her she should gain the confidence needed.
Jimmie Johnson only had the lead for seventeen laps but that was enough to give him his second 500 win, Jr. drafted ahead for his third second in four years having Mark Martin push him, and giving the double nickle third place.
All in all I thought the racing was good, I think the gen six will be a good fit when some of the newby bugs are ironed out, and I hope a season which started out with the hype and hope that this last weekend showed, keeps going the same way for an increase in fan support.