A Truck Race for the Ages

February 18, 2011
by Lee

It is now time for the Camping World Truck series to get their season underway on the new surface at Daytona in the NextEra Energy Resources 250. I like watching the truck series. I cannot say that I have a favorite driver in this series; it is more about pure racing in this series. Watching the trucks is like watching what the Sprint Cup series was about six or seven years ago.

The first lap is completed without incident. Thirty-six trucks on the track with good racing all over the track. The drivers are going two and three wide in a giant pack. Michael Waltrip looks good and moved up from the top third up toward the front.

Keep in mind that no restrictor plates are used on the trucks at Daytona. The bulkiness of the trucks and lack of aerodynamics in the trucks keeps them at a safe speed on the track without a restrictor plate.

Great point made by the announcers on Speed, including Darrel Waltrip that you will not see the trucks run in a two car hookup during this race, for the most part. The nose of the trucks and the backend of the trucks do not line up properly to stay in a touching two car draft. With this fact, the pack racing and staying just behind another truck is the order of the day.

Twenty laps into the race and most of the trucks have now lined up nose to tail in one lane. The time to ride around and log laps has come. Not unexpected at this point. The drivers are also starting to talk pit strategy.

Justin Marks of the #66 Go Pro truck makes his way to pit lane on lap 25. It appears that Marks has lost some hood pins and his hood is flapping in the breeze. The diagnosis is that the brace broke and some 200 mph tape is applied to the hood.

Green flag pit stops on lap 31 have now begun. Pit stops are generally gas only since the tires have great wear.

Joey Coulter brings out the first caution on lap 37 of 100. Coulter was running with a pack of cars on the high side and lost a tire. Joey clocked the wall and pancaked the right side of the truck. Coulter will appear to have his race ended with that wreck. No other trucks were involved in the incident.

Green flag comes back out and the trucks basically run in a pack. Caution comes back out on lap 53 when sheet metal flies off of Donnie Neuenberger’s truck.  The piece is off the bed area of the truck. It was an odd place for some sheet metal to come loose and end up on the track. Trucks cannot make it the rest of the way if they stop now. Although they cannot make it all the way, the entire field will stop for fuel and some trucks take a variety of two or four tires.

It is now Lap 65 and Justin Marks brings out the caution again. This time the hood flies up and covers up the windshield. Marks runs the wall for a bit and his truck is used up. Another truck was almost involved in the incident, but appeared to make through. Trucks hit pit road for a variety of strategies again. May be close on fuel to make it all of the way to the end, especially if the green white checker comes out.

BIG WRECK on lap 74 as a gaggle of trucks slam into each other and the wall. The 5 truck of Travis Kvapil loses a tire and collects at least five or six trucks on the high side of turn three. Trucks continued to wreck behind the 5 all over the track. At least 15 trucks involved in the wreck. Kvapil was running around fifth or sixth spot. The wreck was made bigger by Neuenberger when he had a Milka Duno moment of not using the brakes when a wreck is happening in front of him. Neuenberger is personally responsible for taking out at least five of six cars. Lengthy caution on this one, but there was no indication as Speed went to commercial that the red flag would be out. Watching the replay again, I have to agree with DW, Neuenberger may have not had any brakes when the caution came out.

While there is a break in the action, looks like a great crowd at the Daytona International Speedway tonight. Speed weeks have featured good crowds for the races. If I have seen correctly, I believe that tickets are still available for Sunday. Even if they do not sell out Sunday, from what we have since last Saturday night, NASCAR is off to a good start this season with great racing on the track.

Back to green with 20 to go. Elliot Sadler is on point in the #2 One Main truck.

Seventeen laps to go and caution is back out. Multi truck accident starting just before the opening to pit road. The 77 truck of Justin Lofton has a problem and spins into David Star. The truck then hits David Star again in the door. In what will be the avoid a wreck of the race, Jennifer Jo Cobb makes a hard left onto pit road and avoids the accident. Nice driving by Jennifer to keep her truck in one piece.

Ten laps to go now and Elliot Sadler continues to run up front. Michael Waltrip is in the bride’s maid position.

Four laps to go and the caution is out with another BIG WRECK. Best way to describe this one, the entire field is involved with the exception of Elliot Sadler and Micheal Waltrip, well at least the lead pack of trucks. Kyle Busch was pushing another truck to the front while spewing steam and water out of the overflow valve on the front of the truck. Busch got pushed out of the way to the high side, and all hell broke loose. The entire lead pack with the exception of the front two cars wrecked. Somehow it was a truck in the middle of the pack causing the entire incident. We will try to find some video of this one and the previous big one as well. Nobody did anything wrong per say, just hard racing getting close to the end of the race.

Speed is showing a graphic that only five trucks on the track have not been damaged tonight. Amazing stat.

What a finish to the opening race of the truck series. On the day we remember the ten year passing of Dale Earnhardt, the man who took the checkered flag in the 2001Daytona 500 for his first win in what is now the Sprint Cup Series, takes the win tonight with a pass of Elliot Sadler coming out of turn 4. With his first win the Camping World Truck Series, Michael Waltrip takes the checkered flag. Michael Waltrip becomes the 22nd driver to win in all three of NASCAR’s top touring series. Nothing more to say but Mikey deserves it, and congratulations.

See you tomorrow for the Nationwide race.

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