In what could be a sign of things to come, a pair of twenty-somethings rule the day at the Can-Am Duels. Ryan Blaney overtook teammate Joey Logano to capture the first of Thursday’s duels. After focusing on building a car to win a pole in the past, the 9 team put together a race winning car, and win Chase Elliott did in the second of the Duels.
Also making headlines was rookie Darrell Wallace Jr., who made a nice showing in the first race. While he seems like an old man by comparison, Joey Logano was up front much of the day during his run.
Suddenly, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin have become the old men of NASCAR. Who thought we’d ever see that day? Even Kyle Busch has become something of a grizzled veteran. Times have changed.
Don’t get me wrong, this is good for the sport. It’s interesting that both Blaney and Elliott are second generation NASCAR drivers. In Elliott’s case, he’s now displaying the number 9 on his car- the number his dad Bill used during his glory days, he seems to have inherited a certain amount of the 16-time Most Popular Driver’s fan base. In Blaney’s case, you have to think he’ll pick up fans who gravitate to the “racer’s racer” types as his dad Dave made his biggest headlines in the World of Outlaws.
Thursday’s Duels have set the stage for what should be a compelling Daytona 500 Sunday. If no other reason than the new faces, it’s a new look NASCAR. I’ll leave it to you to determine whether that’s good or bad.
It looks good from here. Kyle Larson is another one of those “racer’s racer” types, William Byron has shown tremendous promise. Then we haven’t even gotten into the Dillon brothers, Alex Bowman and Daniel Suarez. Not only are the faces fresh, it’s most certainly a good thing to see a more diverse NASCAR.
If the Duels showed us anything Sunday’s 500 will not be the same old, same old. It’s a new and hopefully better day in NASCAR.
Would you save or pass on this one?! pic.twitter.com/tKZb2vmsiD
By Yvette VenDerBrinkThey say the most expensive hobby starts with 98 cents, such is the case playing with Hot Wheels cars. Alan, like most of us, was taken in by the vibrant colors and the fun playing with them in the dirt. He couldn’t wait until he could have a a full-sized version of the pint-sized toy for himself. Fast forward, a 1970 Dodge Challenger in bright orange was his […]
A lot can happen during Speed Weeks. Faster than you can turn a lap at Martinsville, you can go from hero to zero. What we’re saying is this isn’t quite a sign of things to come, but Team Penske made quite a statement in The Clash.
Brad Keselowski shook loose of some demons to take the checkered flag. He lamented having “choked away” earlier shots at Daytona glory. Such was not the case Sunday. Packed with Penske power, Keselowski took a car that was apparently in danger of overheating, and led teammate Joey Logano to the finish line. Team Penske newbie Ryan Blaney finished fourth.
In fact, Ford was quite well-represented towards the front of the field. Kurt Busch from Stewart-Haas Racing took third to join Team Penske in the top five. The only non-Ford was the Chevy driven by Austin Dillon that took fifth place.
Speaking of Blaney, he may have been the one Team Penske driver disappointed with his day. The former Wood Bros. young gun made a passing attempt on the final lap that never materialized. Instead of challenging his teammates for a win, he got stuck and found himself settling for a top five. There’ll be better days ahead for the 12.
Of course, a successful Clash is hardly a harbinger. Considering all the practice and the Duels that follow, there’s plenty of opportunity for teams to tweak at a track where so many variables beyond one’s control come into play. For all we know, Team Penske may find themselves chasing the Toyotas who have complained of handling issues this far.
There may be many events at Daytona during Speed Weeks, but each one is an element unto itself, with all the time spent here. You can be a stinker in the Clash and a stud in the 500 if you can adjust quickly enough. It’s happened more than once.
RT if you would save this Z/28 pic.twitter.com/1OqyGdI49c
RT - New | Like - Old pic.twitter.com/rOWakh73ak