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Time to Park It: O’Reilly Auto Parts 253

Another first-time winner in just two races...NASCAR is on a roll right now.

I guess NASCAR could say it is 2-for-2 on the season in one aspect that no one really expected.  No one really expected Michael McDowell to take home the Daytona 500 one week ago.  Sunday the favorite in the race ultimately had trouble, and admitted to having made mistakes in the race when it mattered most.

That said, Sunday’s race certainly felt like what one would expect from a road course event.

These races have a tendency to be chaotic at the right moments, while being rather average for a majority of the time.  A long course like Daytona has, it is bound to happen.  And yet, it’s not even the biggest road course that the series will see this year, that being Road America.

But, Daytona does have it’s own identity and own perks when NASCAR comes.  This year, it gave a unique twist to Speedweeks since this track wasn’t even on the schedule or considered until late LAST season, after the 2021 schedule was announced.

At the same time, maybe NASCAR is onto something since if they decide to keep the Daytona road course on the schedule.

This track has everything one could ask for, since there’s finesse areas in the tight corners, some quick acceleration areas to set up passes, and there’s some high-speed drafting areas, just like on the big track that was ran one week prior.  It’s more technical than the Roval at Charlotte, but it is not as technical as say Sonoma.  It is a track that has only been run three times since last September, with no qualifying, no practice, and no prior races.  It literally was the ultimate “Run what ya brung” kind of race.

And in the end, the winner was not one that was expected, but did put a cap on a historic weekend for NASCAR.

Last week’s truck winner decided to double down, taking home his second win in two races.  Then, an absolute pure rookie in the Xfinity Series, the grandson of his car owner and still reeling from the loss of his dad, makes his first start…and wins.

To cap off an already historic weekend, the Cup Series would see it’s second first-time winner in two races.  It was 1950 when that last happened, 71 years ago, when the “Cup” series was still just strictly stock and were doing a different kind of road racing, that being on asphalt and the sand of Daytona.

Could anyone predict Michael McDowell and Christopher Bell as the first two winners of the season?

Even I could not see that coming, nor could many teams.  But, it certainly got the sport a lot of attention in a positive way, and that could mean a lot of positive things to come as the months pass.

That said, the time has come to park it since now Daytona is left in the mirror, at least until September.  But, Florida is still where the sport remains.  It’s time for Miami to get a visit.  Let’s just hope the weather cooperates for a majority of the time this upcoming weekend.

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