The biggest race of the year has so many different emotions. There’s happiness that it’s finally here, the eagerness for the green flag, and the anxiety of trying to get in position to win.
But then there’s teams knowing what this race has meant for so many individuals. It was 20 years ago when the sport’s icon, it’s rock, finally achieved his moment in victory lane. It took him 20 years of heartache, close calls, and unfortunate moments that cost him from getting that trophy. But seeing the No. 3 pull into victory lane, finally winning the Great American Race, it was a moment of feeling complete.
Unfortunately, 17 years ago to the day, that icon left us all in the final lap, in the same race, leaving a void that has never been filled.
For the Richard Childress Racing team, this race has so many different emotions, and it brings all those emotions back to the front of everyone’s minds.
But, on this day, the right move at the right time once again brought a different kind of emotion. One last lap, and one last pass. The controversy of that final pass sent one driver into the wall, but brought another to victory lane. The No. 3 is back in victory lane, with Richard Childress celebrating both as a car owner, and as a grandfather. Austin Dillon did not need to save fuel to win this one, he only needed to lead the one lap that mattered. That he did, and in doing so brought home the biggest win of his entire life, and a win that seemed to be appropriate for the car he was in, and the day the race was held.
It didn’t mean a victory for any League writers; in fact just two managed to place in the top-10 at race’s end. The points are done for this week, and here’s where they stand after an exciting, and agonizing, Daytona 500:
Ashley Hull – 48 – Ryan Blaney finished 7th (0) 1
Rob Blount – 41 – Joey Logano finished 4th (0) 0
Misan Akuya – 21 – Jamie McMurray finished 16th (0) 0
Klarissa Mitchell – 21 – Jamie McMurray finished 16th (0) 0
Rob Tiongson – 18 – Kyle Larson finished 19th (0) 0
Ashley Hobbs – 10 – Kevin Harvick finished 31st (0) 0
Penny Whitecotton – 10 – Kevin Harvick finished 31st (0) 0
Dustin Parks – 7 – Chase Elliott finished 33rd (0) 0
Trisha Rodisch – 7 – Chase Elliott finished 33rd (0) 0
Billy Fellin – 5 – Brad Keselowski finished 32nd (0) 0
Sal Sigala Jr. – 5 – Brad Keselowski finished 32nd (0) 0
Ashley McCubbin – 0 – NO PICK SUBMITTED (0) 0
Next Race: The majesty of Daytona has ended, and many teams agree the season now truly begins. Brand new rules to build off what was used a season ago now get their first test. The plates come off, and the speeds stay about the same. But, the biggest difference will be trying to put the rubber to the road. The next track has a worn out surface that has seen a lot of action over the last 20 years, and at one point last year was talked of getting repaved.
The drivers did not want it, and got their wish. The old surface at the Atlanta Motor Speedway is ready to welcome NASCAR back once again, and every driver is loving that the worn out surface will put the driver at the forefront, and make them figure out handling.
If there ever is a place that has earned the handling term “slide-ways,” this place certainly has it.
The League participants are off and running, and it’s time to get back into the groove. Those picks are to be locked in and secured by Thursday, February 22, at 10 p.m. ET for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.