Well, now that we all have seen the new format and rules in action, I don’t think anyone could ask for more.
Well all fans alike sat on the edge of their seat waiting for the famed words ” Gentlemen start your engines!” I could not help but wonder what we all had been asking ” Are all these changes going to prove for an exiting race?”
In the first stage it seemed as if it was going to be the same old drafting super speedway race. How ever that changed with about 12 laps in when the Joe Gibbs Toyotas in a suprise move pitted as a team. They had a plan to stay together and run to the end of the segment without another stop. It was a move that would prove detrimental to some and fruitful to the #18 camp picking up the stage 1 win. However with mistakes by Matt Kenseth and Daniel Suarez it put both drivers laps down in in dangerous territory. It later proved even worse as, both were caught up in wrecks that would end their day.
Then stage two began and it seemed as if everyone flipped a switch and the aggression was on. In stage two there was some very hard racing going on all throughout the pack. Most notably Jamie McMurray who got blamed for the cause of a wreck that seemingly was not his fault at all. The stage came to a close with the win by Kevin Harvick.
Stage three started the same way the second ended. The aggression put a lot of cars on the five minute clock and many in the hauler headed home early. The crews seemed to have some issues with the five minute clock as well. Then when everyone settled in we got a long green flag run with some single file racing. How ever the strategy would prove to be tricky as not many of the front runners were sure they could make it on fuel. As expected the stage racing proved for a fantastic finnish with Kurt Busch becoming the Daytona 500 Champion as Chase Elliot ran out of fuel along with many others.
Stage racing proved to give the excitement as well as the strategy back to the sport we all love. This Daytona 500 will go down in history as one of the most exciting.
The question remains did the crews and crew chief’s see this the same way? This week I will answer just that as I sit down with rear tire changer for Penske Racing, Dwayne Ogles. I will be asking him questions pertaing to the new five minute clock and how the new rules package affect the team’s strategies. If you would like to ask any questions post them in the comments and I will do my best to have them answered.
Congratulations to the whole Stewart Haas Racing family and the 2017 Daytona 500 Champion Kurt Busch!