(WOMR file photo)
Denny Hamlin, whose 2013 Sprint Cup season was interrupted for six weeks by a back injury, won Saturday night’s Speedweeks-opening Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway. Hamlin not only won the overall race, but also all three segments of the 75-lap exhibition.
Hamlin’s hot rod was clearly the fastest car in the field, and that was especially important in the Unlimited as a series of wrecks whittled the 18-car field down to eight by the end of the race. Even the pace car was a casualty in the race! Brett Bodine, the driver of the pace car, and another NASCAR official did their best imitation of a race car driver bailing out of a race car on fire, as the NASCAR pace car caught fire during a late-race caution!
(Did I say that there was several instances that whittled away at the field, even the pace car was not immune to the effects of a full moon on a Saturday night!)
Hamlin won the race with a three-wide move on the backstretch on the next-to-last lap at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
Brad Keselowski of Team Penske ran second, followed by Kyle Busch and Joey Logano, who are Hamlin’s JGR teammates.
Kevin Harvick, whose No. 4 Chevrolet was damaged in the nine-car wreck that punctuated segment No. 2., finished fourth.
“The best car won, that’s for sure,” said Hamlin, who won the last race of the 2013 season, at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “Two in a row now. We’re building on something. That was survival of the fittest, that’s for sure.
“With three (laps) to go, we were at the tail end of a very small pack, and it’s really hard to get runs. But this car was phenomenal.”
“It was definitely a race of attrition and we survived, somewhat, to the end,” he said. “We finished second. Obviously came up one spot short, which in a race like this is all that matters. It was just kind of the timing of the runs. I thought it was great racing. The cars are maybe just a tiny bit more responsive than they were last year, but, obviously, if the field gets up by the wall it’s tough to make a move, but, all in all, I thought it was pretty good racing. This format is good for plate racing and I thought it was a decent night. Obviously, if you’re not winning in a race like this it’s kind of irrelevant. None of that stuff matters.”
I guess you could say that Saturday night, at Daytona, there was a “Bad Moon Rising”!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!