Throw back. Old school. Retro

Posted by imelda sovzky on Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Throw back. Old school. Retro. Use whatever moniker you like, and it’d fit this past weekend in NASCAR.
First you had the Shootout at Daytona, the annual fan-favorite preseason race at Daytona International Speedway. After an offseason – and more – of testing and fine-tuning, pack racing is back. For the most part, drivers abandoned the two-car tandem for the big packs of old. It made for a wild race, and a sparkling finish. Kyle Busch’s slingshot move on defending series champion Tony Stewart gave him his first Shootout victory. The margin of victory of .013 seconds was the closest in the race’s history.
Now fast forward to Sunday morning. As competitors put the finishing touches prior to Coors Light Pole qualifying, a major announcement hit the mailboxes of media everywhere. Next season’s eligibility for the Shootout had been released. Pole winners from 2012 and past winners of the event would be locked in, eligibility rules mirroring those from 1979 to 2008. It was a return to the event’s roots.
Shortly after, at 1 p.m., Daytona 500 qualifying began. Carl Edwards, taking advantage of a powerful engine and an opportunistic qualifying draw, laid down a lap of 194.738 mph. It was the fastest Daytona 500 pole winning lap since 1999 – more than a decade ago.
Last weekend set the strong foundation for the second and final week of Speedweeks. Up first is the two Gatorade Duel races, a final chance for those not already locked into the Daytona 500 to make the show.
On Friday night, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series opens its season at Daytona in the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at 7:30 p.m. on SPEED.
On Saturday afternoon, the stars of the NASCAR Nationwide Series run their season-opener at Daytona in the DRIVE4COPD 300 at 1:15 p.m. on ESPN.
And, of course, the 54th annual Daytona 500 culminates Speedweeks. NASCAR’s biggest race starts at 1 p.m. on FOX.

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