(WOMR file photo)
It has been a long, cold winter.
I have been suffering from “lack-of-NASCAR-racing” for about the last 96 days! To help my withdrawals, I have had to supplement my NASCAR fix with some really good modified and late model dirt track racing from, both my home track of Cocopah Speedway in Yuma, as well as the dirt track in Tucson.
Well, Friday marked the beginning of the Daytona Speedweeks. The Bud Shootout competitors were the first drivers to gain access to the race track.
With all the rule changes for the 2012 season, a smaller radiator capacity, now just two gallons, lower water pressure regulator pop-off valve, relocating the intake to the radiator into the front bumper area, decreasing the size of the rear spoiler, and increasing the size of the rear bumper, 2″ closer to the ground, to restrict air underneath it, the teams are dealing with many new variables. For most of the first half of the first practice period, the drivers were feeling out their cars and the new handling characteristics.
Bud Shootout Practice
It appeared that the first practice session was going to be kind of mundane, and mild-mannered. However, as the session matured, the driving became more aggressive. It didn’t take too long before a driver made a mistake. The 2011 Sprint Cup champion, Tony Stewart, got into the back of Kurt Busch, turning Busch around in turn #3. Busch then collected Stewart, A.J. Allmendinger, Brad Keselowki, and also caused a little bit of damage to Jeff Gordon’s left front fender. So it didn’t take long for the carnage to begin!
Once that litter, and the crumpled sheet metal was cleaned up and pulled up on the rollback (aka tow truck), the Bud Shootout practice resumed. However, shortly after resuming the Bud Shootout practice, the Florida rain began to fall, ending the practice session for the day.
Nevertheless, it was good for the soul to see the Sprint Cup cars out on the Daytona International Speedway Friday afternoon. Even though this was only the cars that qualified for the Bud Shootout, total of cars numbering 25, it signaled what is to come in the next few days at “The World Center of Speed”, Daytona International Speedway!
A bunch of angry bees
As I was watching the Bud Shootout practice this thought was running through my, somewhat demented brain; the sight of the Cup cars running around the speedway like of bunch of angry bees gives more credence that spring in on the way than listening to Punxsutawney Phil‘s prognostication just 14 days ago!
Can you hear those 800 horses singing in perfect eight cylinder harmony? Can you hear Kurt Busch swearing and attacking his crew on his radio frequency? Can you hear Ky Busch’s crew chief begging Busch not to wreck Hornaday at Texas? Can you hear the sounds of Mike Joy, Larry Mac, and ol DW behind the microphone saying, “Boogity, Boogity, Let’s go racin’, boys?
Can you hear the engines?
Well folks, I sure can!
It is just 4 days til I jump on a plane for my annual trek back to “The World Center of Speed” to get my dose of the Duels, the Trucks, the Nationwide, and the running of the 54th Daytona 500!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!