Daytona Truck race postscript The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series opened up their 2013 season with the February 22nd running of the Next Era Energy Resources 250. By the time the race was concluded, it was clearly evident that NASCAR's tail gate brigade is well on the way to another amazing season.
THUMBS-UP. Johnny Sauter came to Daytona with four previous starts and four previous wrecks along with an average finish ratio of 25.75. He spent the first half of this race riding around at the back of the pack. Late in the event, when it was go time, Sauter got a push assist from team mate Todd Bodine that put him in the hunt for the win. Sauter left the track with his first ever win at Daytona, as well as his first top ten finish, along with his seventh series career win. It was sweet redemption for Sauter. This time last year he was "this" close to a Daytona win when he was taken out during a last lap wreck and the potential win became a 17th place finish.
THUMBS-UP. Johnny Sauter's post victory burn out was a spectacular combination of white and yellow smoke. It turned out that the rear tires of his truck were on top of the double yellow lines located at the bottom of the track. The burn out was so powerful he literally melted the paint off of the track's surface.
THUMBS-UP. Toyota, and their Tundra Trucks, also had a very good evening at Daytona after winning their seventh, consecutive, race at the speedway as well as their 100th series' win.
WHAT'S-UP. We were all deprived of a spectacular Daytona finish in this event due to a yellow caution flag on the final lap. During the final moments of the race, Sauter, Kyle Busch and Ron Hornaday Jr were lined up nose to tail gate in what was aptly described by the SPEED Channel broadcast team as being "the calm before the storm." On that final lap there was contact between James Buescher and Jeff Agnew. The Agnew truck went hard into the wall with drivers Joey Coulter and John King also getting caught up in the melee. With turn one partially blocked, NASCAR had no choice but to throw the yellow and checkered flags to conclude the event. Busch, Hornaday Jr, Justin Lofton and Jeb Burton completed the top five.
WHAT'S-UP. On lap 55 a 13 truck pile up occurred in turn three. This spectacular incident was triggered by driver Brendan Gaughan who made a move from the high line to the middle lane in an attempt to drive into a hole between two race trucks. After multiple video replays of the incident, one has to wonder what Gaughan was thinking. The hole he was attempting to drive through was barely big enough for a Honda Civic let alone a Chevrolet Silverado Truck. The three wide move resulted in contact and the multi truck accident.
THUMBS-UP. The event's award for making chicken salad out of chicken do do goes to driver Matt Crafton. With 16 laps remaining in the race, Crafton was charging to the front in his Thorsport Racing Toyota when a flat tire forced an unscheduled stop. Now in the back of the pack, one lap down, Crafton caught a major break when, with five laps remaining, the fifth yellow flag of the race flew due to another crash. Crafton received the lucky dog pass. On the restart he charged from the back of the field to a credible ninth place finish during the remaining final laps.
THUMBS-UP. This race was another strong reminder of why we fell in love with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to begin with. Since its inception in 1995, NASCAR's tail gate party has thrilled its fans with close racing and stunning finishes. On many occasions, when all three of NASCAR's national series were present for the same weekend, it was the trucks that often put on the best race of the three events. Dave Grayson
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