(WOMR file photo)
With all of the off-season rule changes, a smaller 2 gallon radiator, radiator intake moved up higher into the front bumper area, lowering the cooling system pressure regulator pop-off valve value, less total area of rear spoiler (less height and width), and lowering the bottom of the rear bumper, collectively, these changes have caused the death of “the two car tango”. With the death of the two car tango formally pronounced last night during the Bud Shootout, there is the resurrection swarming the angry bees, or pack racing at the restrictor plate race tracks of Daytona and Talladega.
Going into last night’s Bud Shootout, the race teams were not really sure how all those off-season rule changes would affect the handling characteristics of their Sprint Cup car. Even though those same race teams had a couple of days last month testing at Daytona, the fact was that they were only “testing”, not in actual race conditions. Nevertheless, those “actual race conditions” were illuminated for the race teams last night in the Bud Shootout.
Last night during the Bud Shootout, the inaugural race for the 2012 Speedweeks, the fans got what they have yearned for in racing. The 29 car field moved around the 2.5 mile superspeedway like a swarm of agitated bumble bees! And like days of old, the racing was very fast, very exhilarating, and was two and three wide for the majority of the 75 lap race. Likewise, that pack mentality was the ignition source to the three “big ones” that occurred in the Bud Shootout.
Notwithstanding the rules changes, and the aggressive driving that occurred in the Bud Shootout, the 75 lap event kept every single fan, both at the track and on TV, on very edge of their seat.
The mere fact that Kyle Busch attempted to crash three separate times throughout the course of the race, somehow miraculously pulling off a world-class recovery each time was breath-taking. Coupled with the fact that with each one of those “near crashes”, Busch had to hit pit road for some temporary fixes to continue racing.
Now the kicker!
It was ol Kylie who pushed Tony Stewart to the lead on the white flag lap of the “overtime”, “green-white-checker” restart. It was KyBu who continued pushing Stewart down the back straight and through turns #3 and 4. And it was Kyle who pulled out to try a “vintage slingshot” maneuver to successfully pass Stewart to win the race in the final few feet prior to the start/finish line. Kyle’s winning margin over Tony Stewart was .013 seconds, the closest margin in Bud Shootout history!
In light of the aforementioned facts, it is WOMR’s opinion that the Bud Shootout was just a preview of what we are going to see in the coming week at Daytona. The Duels on Thursday will be the most exciting races that we have seen in recent memory, guaranteed! I will also go out on a limb and echo that same guarantee for the 54th running of the Daytona 500, you gotta trust me on this one!
What are your views on the new/old way of racing at the restrictor plate race tracks?
See you this week from “The Great American Race”, the 2012 Daytona 500!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!