The first real look at competition with the new car for NASCAR came Thursday night at Daytona with the Bluegreen Duels. The race in Los Angeles was a pleasant preview but was not the best showcase for the aerodynamics and side by side pace racing. The coliseum may have showed us some of what to expect at places like Martinsville or Bristol but the real test for the new car will be at pack speed.

Duel one went off without major incident. Brad Keselowski took the win for position lining up on the inside for the Daytona 500.

Brad Keselowski – Winner of Bluegreen Duel #1 (2-17-2022)

It was also a bit of a win for Kaz Grala and Money Team Racing. A pit speed penalty put them way back but a last lap pass put them ahead of JJ Yeley to make position for racing on Sunday.

The second Duel put some crunch into the final laps as Joey Logano made an impulsive move to block a pass from Chris Buescher. The result of that left the #22 spinning while Buescher went on for the win. Logano later acknowledged it was a bad move which has the #22 team scrambling with a damaged car.

Chris Buescher – Winner of Bluegreen Duel #2 (2-17-2022)

Also noteworthy, Greg Biffle is back in a Cup car for the Daytona 500. His last Cup season was in 2016. He “raced in” for a spot on Sunday for New York Racing.

The front row from qualifying Wednesday has defending Cup Champion Kyle Larson on the pole with team mate Alex Bowman on the outside. Rousch Fenway Keselowski team mates, after sweeping the Duels, start in row 2.

Austin Cindric and 2021 500 winner Michael McDowell are in row 3.

A big batch of the hottest names in NASCAR are starting back in the field. Kyle Busch starts 10th and Chase Elliott starts 11th. Martin Truex Jr is 14th, Kurt Busch is 17th and Logano is in the 20th spot.

Kevin Harvick, William Byron and Denny Hamlin start mid pack or further back. With talent spread throughout the field at the start it is cranking up to be a really good race. The challenges of the new car on the teams and the long form race of the Daytona 500 is going to test every aspect of Cup racing for the checkers.

We’ll see drivers with new teams. New teams facing hard competition and a new car putting a challenge to everyone on the track. It’s a new season that has already shaken convention with a race on a football field. The Daytona 500 is the biggest reveal on a sport that is taking on a challenge to keep racing into the future.

There are some that are still crying for the past. We can’t go back. The race is on and it’s in front of us.

Penske team mates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano both had wild rides at the Geico 500.

Logano was caught up in the touch and spin pinball that happens at Talladega with the speed and thin margin for error collide. The #22 got around and caught air after a touch from a loose Denny Hamlin in the #11 and Ricky Stenhouse in the #47. Several other cars took damage but it was Logano in the air. The car tumbled and rolled and came to a stop wheels down in the grass.

Logano was OK but a bit outspoken on cars still able to spin and fly. He mentioned spoiler height as a possibility to keep cars on the ground and later interviews looking forward to the new car for 2022.

Brad Keselowski was in the mix but it was the final lap when it came into play with the #2. Keselowski led just one lap, the one that really counts, and took the checkered flag. 27 drivers were noted in the lead throughout the race but it was Keselowski at the end.

Next up, NASCAR rolls into Kansas.

Change. It is inevitable and often ironic. The calendar has changed to 2013 despite the best efforts by Mayans and “ancient aliens”. The wheel keeps turning. It’s round. That is its only real job, after all.

NASCAR, however, has thrown the wheels of change into a blender and hit the “All In” button. It wasn’t all “NASCAR”, per se, but the results leading to the first green flag of 2013 leave the previous season well in the shadows.

For instance, Brad Keselowski drives a Dodge with Penske Racing and Miller Lite to the championship. Fairly early in the 2012 season, Dodge introduced a 2013 version of the car. However, Dodge pulled their support for 2013 NASCAR as the “Chase” began to shape up. A Dodge wins the “Cup” and goes to moth balls. Ironic? Tragic? Economy of choice? (more…)

We laugh. We had no ball in the basket, so to speak, so we laugh.

St. Patrick’s Day weekend was busy for motorsports with the opening of Formula 1, American Le mans, plus AMA Superbike. All of this while NASCAR was running at Bristol.

We laugh because we took a peek at the first week NCAA bracket results and we feel we made the right choice to watch racing this weekend. All of those folks who poured over stats and predictions to create a bracket were kicked in the pants by teams like Lehigh, Norfolk, Ohio and South Florida…

The crying over torn bracket forms was drowned by green beer.

Sorry. You could have saved yourself some frustration by settling in with a good motor race. Ultimately, you would get more out of it. Basketball isn’t going to do a thing to enrich your life. Motorsports can save you money and possibly your life. Over the top…? Maybe… However, racing tests engine, fuel, safety and other technologies that make their way into the car you drive, ultimately benefiting your budget and family safety.

That said, there was quite a bit of speed fun over St. Paddy’s weekend. (more…)