Oh the stories… The spin on the spins… The “behind the grandstands” commentary…

William Byron won the day late Daytona 500. Alex Bowman was right there with him for 2nd place. Hendrick Motorsports earned a 9th Daytona 500 win (Tied with Petty Enterprises).

“He wrecked half the field to do it!”
“They planned it – Byron drove right into the back of Brad!”
“Whatever – All the good ones got wrecked”

And other such talk. You’d think it was an election year with all the finger pointing conspiracy nonsense… (Wait… Oh… Yeah…)

To be fair (stop… we’re not in Canada) the drivers that got knocked about called it out as hot racing up front with laps winding down. Anyone not expecting someone to get loose and cause a super speedway “big one” just doesn’t watch racing very often.

Yes, Bowman gave Byron a push but was not lined up square and Byron went up and then down into Brad Keselowski. Side draft off the 22 of Logano seemed to catch the 24 and push it back down towards the 6 of Keselowski. The 6 spun in front of and around the 24. The 24 went below the line and caused the 38 of Todd Gilliland to check up and spin back into the field. Cars went into billiard mode and bounced about in smoke and rubber and metal.

The race actually finished under yellow. The restart put several up front with Byron being chased into the final laps. The 7 of Corey LaJoie, the 1 of Ross Chastain and the 2 of Austin Cindric got a bit touchy going for any advantage over the 24. The contact took them all off pace and kicked off the yellow just beyond the cut line for the 24 to set a re-start. The timing put Bowman just next to but a bumper back giving Byron the win.

Straight up I’m not a big fan of Byron. There is no doubt of his skill set with wins and growing performance consistency. It may just be the appearance of money and favoritism, real or not, of his somewhat sudden appearance and advancement through the upper tiers of NASCAR. It is not the digital iRacing heritage as that is actually kind of cool to come in that way. Perhaps there is a level of hard running late model drivers around the Country being skipped for shots at a seat while some much younger hit a streak of luck with bits falling into place at ease as if advancing levels in a video game.

Maybe it’s just the Liberty University connection. Have you been to Lynchburg…? If so, you’re not at all surprised by the Daytona “big one”. Everybody in Lynchburg drives like they expect God to save them…

Doubles on doubles. William Byron came into Martinsville with some momentum of an early season win. He already notched his playoff spot with a March win at Atlanta. However, there was a lot of hunger from a lot of drivers coming into the 75th year of racing at the historic raceway.

Racing was set to start with Chase Elliott on the pole. However, the weather took center stage about the time of driver introductions with cold rain and some reports of a snow flurry blowing by. The rain held the scheduled start for a bit over an hour before the track went green.

It was Chase Elliott’s race to lose while running up front for the start through the finish of stage 2. Byron, however, was on the bumper of the #9 for both stages and managed to win the race out of the pits for the run on stage 3.

Byron held on for the remainder of the race even as green flag pit stops cycled through. A late race tap of the wall by Todd Gilliland left the door open with a green-whit restart. Joey Logano made a bump move but Byron hung on to the #24 to take the win. Logano came in second with Austin Dillon coming in the third spot.

The other double beyond the second Cup win for 2022…? William Byron had also won the Camping World Series race at Martinsville on Thursday night.

William Byron does a burnout with the Camping World Truck win at Martinsville Speedway

At the end of the racing for Blue Emu weekend at Martinsville, William Byron came away looking for space for two Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks. Perhaps there was some old #24 magic blowing about as Jeff Gordon was around the pit and garage area and both he and Byron noted a long-time friendship. Byron spoke how Gordon would give him pointers or things to watch well before his actual driving career hit its stride. It took time, he said, but those conversations began to fall into place the more laps he ran at the “paperclip”.

William Byron celebrating a 2nd Grandfather Clock at Martinsville Speedway

Next up is Bristol – Racing on the dirt!

The Top 5 at Martinsville – The Blue Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400

  • William Byron
  • Joey Logano
  • Austin Dillon
  • Ryan Blaney
  • Ross Chastain

FULL Photo Gallery

Racing is back. We’ve been stuck in Florida for two months but racing is back. The IMSA ROLEX back in January through a double shot at Daytona and a swing to Miami… That’s just a lot of Florida!

It has been interesting! First time winners at Daytona and an early season checker for William Byron at Homestead certainly threw the odds players under the bus but pushed some names out from the shadows.

Byron placed his second Cup win in the column at Homestead with new crew chief Rudy Fugle. One week before at the Daytona Road Course, Christopher Bell notched his first Cup win. Michael McDowell is on a bit of a streak with top 10 finishes following his Daytona 500 win.

Now… Finally… We’ll see a different view that doesn’t include Florida beaches. NASCAR is moving into the traveling schedule with the next stop at Las Vegas and the Pennzoil 400 (presented by Jiffy Lube).

We’re about to see racing start their moves around the country. Vegas, Phoenix then back east for Atlanta and the much anticipated dirt race at the famed stadium of Bristol. More short track action follows at martinsville, with Richmond to follow. From there it’s Talladega!

The season will be in full swing with the only questions remaining will be who’s in front and who is able to attend. Fans and the localities are hungry to get out and about and the covid vaccine rollout is putting more laps on the board. How all of this will combine for race attendance into the Spring is yet to be seen… But the hopes are high.

For now… The question remains if there will be another surprise winner at Phoenix or will one of the veterans, eager to put the young guns in the mirror, make their mark on the track?

While the big series are scratching at the headlines, the small “weekender” tracks across the country are blowing off the dust of Winter and prepping to go. Many already have had their first laps…

Keep the eyes and ears open for those vaccines. Get registered to get it if you’re not already. 2021 is shaping up for a return to “normal”… Or, at least, something close to it.