Daytona 2012 Shootout Afterthoughts from a NASCAR Fan’s View

Not everyone was happy with the results of the 2012 Shootout at Daytona Saturday night. There were rumblings from certain areas that they were going to be tearing up a lot of racecars and it was gonna be costing everyone a lot of money. Of course you know, most of those statements were from owners of teams as they recognized that something needed to be done to stop the carnage that became evident Saturday night. But, when the drivers were asked what they thought, they said they were having a lot of fun and enjoying themselves immensely. (Of course, they didn’t quite say it like that. I guess if the truth be known, unless they were owners themselves, they weren’t too worried about the wrecked cars. Besides… this was the Shootout.)

From this fan’s view, the best word to describe the race Saturday night (which is always a little rough and a bit on the wild side) would be “wreck-fest” and I don’t think many would disagree with me on that. There were a lot of wrecked cars all during the night and there was more than one big one that happened as the drivers got used to pack racing once again. And then there was and that ever present problem (discovered, in particular, when the two car draft became the norm) of bumping and pushing on the left rear bumper at the wrong time, causing the front car problems and often sending it spinning out of control. Of course that wrong time I mention would be as they enter the turns, just in case you’re wondering.)

Even with all of the spinning and bent up metal, the overall consensus was that this was one of the best Shootouts ever. I don’t disagree with that and it just goes to show that almost everyone likes to watch good close racing and finds it exciting.

I have to agree with many that commented on the race that it was really good to get back to that thing called “pack racing” especially on the Super Speedway at Daytona. The “Two Car Tandem” racing was interesting for a while, but nothing beats the two and three wide bumper to bumper, door handle to door handle pack racing lap after lap at almost 200 miles per hour .

Kyle Bush was the winner of the event (which is not new news, but worthy of commenting on.) He showed his great car handling abilities and impressed just about everyone when he saved his car from spinning into obvious oblivion had he not done so. (He did so not once, but twice.) It wasn’t a cake walk for him to end up in Victory Lane but there was absolutely no one that could say he didn’t work for it or deserve it. Yeah, it’s true… because he did make those two fabulous saves, he was right where he needed to be for his slingshot move on Tony Stewart coming out of turn four to take the checkers slightly ahead of him at the finish line.

This fan wants to make a quick comment about NASCAR and the racing we witnessed Saturday night. Once again NASCAR has proved they are interested in what is best for the fans and the sport. The changes they made that resulted in minimizing the “two car draft” (and appears to have given us a return to “pack racing”) worked well and are sure to give all NASCAR fans a great show and good racing throughout this week’s events. I know I can’t speak for all of you, but as for me, I’m looking forward to the 54th running of the Daytona 500 even more than I was before the changes were made. I can’t wait for the Duels on Thursday or the 500 on Sunday.

After the way last season went, especially with the drama of the Chase going right down to the last lap, NASCAR had it’s work cut out to try and match the level of competition, excitement and drama from last year. If the Shootout is any example of what we have to look forward to in 2012, especially on the Super Speedways, then I’d say they’ve got a good jump on it. All I can say is, Hold on, 2012 is gonna be another great one…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© January 21, 2012 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman and
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