Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A cool Matt Kenseth wins a fiery Daytona 500 | Armchair Report is a trademark of Sport Media Report, LLC

A cool Matt Kenseth wins a fiery Daytona 500 | Armchair Report is a trademark of Sport Media Report, LLC

Mike Shaner

Matt Kenseth is the Steve McQueen of NASCAR. He outlasted time and overcame floods and graphic explosions to win his second Daytona 500. After leading a race high 50 laps Kenseth calmly drove his car to victory lane, and without a hint of fatigue or a drop of sweat, he shrugged off his epic victory. In former times he may have been wearing dark shades with a chesterfield hanging from his lips. Instead he just gave a closed mouth smile and said: "I am glad it all worked out.” 

Torrential downpours on Sunday forced 43 adrenaline filled drivers, who had been waiting since the last race in November to get back on the track to wait one more day. Finally, 29 hours later the engines roared like stealth bombers as the field motored past the start finish line to take the green flag.
The anticipation of 43 anxious drivers with starry eyed dreams of winning the most prestigious race in NASCAR was finally being realized as they powered down the back stretch approaching 200 mph. After 3 months, and then an extra 29 hours, all they had to do was race, and then less than two minutes later, it came to an explosive end for four of the favorites. Jimmy Johnson spun setting off a domino effect that took out Trevor Bayne, Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch, and David Reagan. Bayne summed up what they all must have been feeling: “this is devastating.”
So after all the planning, hoping, and waiting the field got to run one full lap before competition was slowed for the caution period. For Patrick, Busch, Bayne, and Johnson, it was over. For the rest of the field it was just another round of frustration in what had turned into an excruciatingly long weekend.
As the race restarted, the drivers seemed to calm a bit, if for no other reason than actually wanting to make a few laps. This time they made it to the 13th lap before Ryan Newman cut a tire bringing out the second caution of the young, but already exhausting race.
After the restart the field seemed content to race but not get too racy. There was a caution on lap 64 for debris, and then another on lap 81 when Jeff Gordon’s usually reliable Hendrick motor gave out, but nothing explosive.
Things would soon heat up again as the racers dashed for a $200k bounty given by NASCAR to the leader at the halfway mark of the 200 lap event. Terry Labonte elected not to pit for new tires under Gordon’s caution in an effort to gain track position. Labonte, who prophesized that staying out on old tires seemed “like a good way to get wrecked,” saw his prediction come true six laps later as he spun into the sixth caution of the night.
This set up a 10 lap battle royal to halfway that was culminated by Denny Hamlin frantically Pushing Martin Truex Jr. to the lead. Truex poked his nose across the finish line to collect his money and then disappeared into the night.
The race ran smoothly for the next 59 laps, stopping twice for minor cautions, and it seemed we were headed for a rapid conclusion—and then things got hot, literally. Juan Pablo Montoya exited pit road under caution all by himself. He pressed the throttle and then without warning something in his car broke tossing him into a safety vehicle filled with 200 gallons of jet fuel. You can imagine the terrific explosion that followed.
The truck and Montoya’s car were sizzled to a crisp. The carnage looked like something from an old Vietnam movie, and once again the drivers had to wait—and wait—for over two hours. While the cars were waiting under red flag conditions, and the drivers found various ways to amuse themselves, rain once again threatened to end the race. Imagine the irony if after all of the waiting and all of the drama, the race had ended with an explosion and drowned with a drizzle.
Alas, it was not to be. A 500 mile race that was scheduled to end Sunday afternoon would conclude sometime Tuesday morning with a 40 lap sprint. Tired anxious drivers boxed up for a 100 mile street fight on a questionable racing surface had all the makings of a spectacular finish.
With 22 laps to go Marcus Ambrose, Casey Mears, and Arik Almirola touched and spun to bring out the 9th caution of the night, huddling the cars back up for a dangerous 20 lap sprint to glory. Matt Kenseth, steady as always, was leading followed by Biffle, Earnhardt Jr, Kevin Harvick, and Denny Hamlin.
9 Laps later Jamie McMurray cut a tire and spun into the wall collecting Carl Edwards, Brad Keslowski, Kasey Kahne, and Arik Almirola. This bunched the field up once again, setting the stage for a big crash with 4 laps to go, and naturally sending the already epic race into overtime.
Matt Kenseth led the field to a green white checker finish. Dale Earnhardt Jr. nuzzled right up against Greg Biffle’s rear bumper trying with all his might to push him to the lead, but Kenseth held his line as they took the white flag.
The trio muscled their way into turn one, out of turn two, and down the backstretch for a final time. Earnhardt was pushing with all he had, the longer Biffle waited, the harder Earnhardt pushed, and Kenseth just stayed cool. As they drove into turn 3, Biffle still didn’t make a move, and coming out of turn 4, an exasperated Earnhardt pulled out on his own to pass Biffle for second as Matt Kenseth took the checkered flag and won the 55th running of the Daytona 500.
Earnhardt said it best after the race “Matt was just too strong.” On this fiery night, it could be said that Matt was just too cool.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Matt Kenseth Wins the Daytona 500

Mike Shaner

After a 29 hour rain delay, a 2 and a half hour fire delay, and a green white checker finish Matt Kenseth wins the strangest (and the longest) Daytona 500 in history, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr, Greg Biffle,  Denny Hamlin and Jeff Burton. Be sure to check here tomorrow for a full race recap

Daytona 500: Carl Edwards involved in crash with 13 laps to go

Mike Shaner

Jamie McMurray cut a tire with 13 laps to go and set odd a domino like crash involving Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, and Brad Keslowski. Matt Kenseth will lead the field when they restart with around 8 laps to go. Something tells me this may not be the last yellow flag we see tonight. 

Make that a 20 lap sprint: Kenseth is leading followed by Biffle, and Earnhardt Jr.

Mike Shaner

Marcus Ambrose, Casey Mears, and Amirola, touched and spun with 22 laps to go bringing out the 9th caution of the night. The cars are boxed back up for a dangerous 20 lap sprint to glory. Matt Kenseth, steady as always, is leading followed by Biffle, Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, and Denny Hamlin. 

The Daytona 500 comes down to a 40 lap sprint

The cars are back on the track and the racing is ready to resume. A 500 mile race that was scheduled to end Sunday afternoon will conclude sometime Tuesday morning with a 40 lap sprint. The track is questionable, the drivers are tired and anxious. They are boxed up for a 100  mile shootout. It has all the makings of something wild, something spectacular. Wake up!

Maybe the Daytona 500 just didn't want to turn 54 | Armchair Report is a trademark of Sport Media Report, LLC

Maybe the Daytona 500 just didn't want to turn 55 | Armchair Report is a trademark of Sport Media Report, LLC

She can also be malicious. Her sense of humor is unique to say the least. She will lure you in with a seductive smile, an inviting glance, and then just as you are sure--just when you think you have her, that she loves you--she will throw a sea-gull in your grill for reasons only she can understand.

Juan Pablo Montoya crashes under caution with 40 laps to go in the Daytona 500

Mike Shaner

Juan Pablo Montoya inexplicably lost control during a caution period and slammed violently into a jet-fueled dryer ignitng a magnificent blaze. Turn 3 at the Daytona International Speedway is engulfed in flames. The type of fire that could only be born from 200 gallons of jet fuel.

 This remarkable scene may be the most bizarre incident to ever occur at a race known for bizarre incidents.

Regardless of who wins the Daytona 500, this will be the story of the night--of the season. The Chevy truck carrying the jet fueled dryer looks like a matchbox car after crossing paths with an 8 year old pyromaniac. Fortunately, no one was injured--but how will Montoya, who has a propensity for crashing, ever live this down? Surely, there was some mechanical failure and Montoya can't be blamed for this awful event, but still...

With 50 laps to go Matt Kenseth leads the Daytona 500

Mike Shaner

The Daytona 500 is 3/4 of the way done and I have a feeling things are about to heat up. Matt Kenseth leads what has been a relatively tame race since the opening lap, but they are nearing the end and some of them smell rain in the air. Look for a frantic 50 (or less) lap dash to the end!

Martin Truex Jr. wins $200k by leading at the halfway mark of the Daytona 500

Mike Shaner
_Martin Truex Jr. just won a $200k bonus for leading at the halfway point of the Daytona 500. The race has been mostly uneventful since a 1st lap crash, but things did heat up a little bit as drivers were hungry for the halfway bonus. If you were betting now Truex might be a very good pick.

Jeff Gordon will not win the Daytona 500

Mike Shaner
5:38 PM

Jeff Gordon just blew an engine on lap 81 bringing out the races 4th caution. It has been a rough night for Rick Hendrick, who's team is going for it's 200th victory in NASCAR's Sprint Cup series. With Jimmie Johnson's crash on lap 1 and now Gordon's mishap only Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne are left carrying the Hendrick Banner.

Jeff Burton leads at the quarter way mark of the Daytona 500

Mike Shaner
5:10 PM

A 1st lap pile up involving Jimmie Johnson, Trevor Bayne, Danica Patrick, and Kurt Busch seems to have settled the field down. At the 50 lap mark the field is content to follow each other around. Jeff Burton is leading and no one seems anxious to get too racy. Greg Biffle is in second followed by Regan Smith, Joey Lagano, and Marcus Ambrose. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is running 8th as the field is readying for scheduled pit stops. Look for things to start heating up soon as drivers jockey for position to win the $200k bonus paid to the driver leading at halfway.

Ryan Newman brings out 2nd Caution

Mike Shaner
4:37 PM PST

Ryan Newman cut a tire causing him to spin and bring out the 2nd caution of the race on lap 12. No serious damage was done and Newman will be able to continue uninhibited. This was also the first chance this season for the pit crews to show their stuff. Carl Edwards won the race off pit row and will lead the field when they go back to green.

Trevor Bayne, Jimmie Johnson, and Danica Patrick crash on lap 2

Mike Shaner

After a 29 hours rain delay the 54th annual Daytona 500 finally got underway.  1 lap later Jimmie Johnson, Trevor Bayne, Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch, and David Reagan all saw their chances at victory vanish. Jimmie Johnson's wildly violent spin set it in motion, the rest were just casualties. Johnson is the only one who is completely eliminated from the event, but at a track where aerodynamics mean so much even mild damage is a death sentence. Be sure to check in later for updates.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Waiting in Daytona

UPDATE: The Daytona 500 has been postponed for the first time in history. It is scheduled to run at 12:00 PM EST Monday.

Mike Shaner
2-26-2012 2:00 PM
The build up has been spectacular. The preliminary events have left us starving for more. This has been one of the more exciting speed weeks at Daytona in recent memory. That makes this rain delay even more frustrating. I have a feeling, once this race is finally ran, it will have been worth the wait. I just hope it's today so most of us can actually watch it. Be sure to check us out over at armchairreport.com
For full coverage.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Matt Kenseth Guts the field in second Gatorade Dual 150 from Daytona

Mike Shaner
February 22, 2012
Daytona Beach Florida- If the first of the Daytona qualifying races was somewhat bullish, the second was dazzling. Matt Kenseth white knuckled his #17 Ford Fusion to victory with a Da Vinci like performance.  Kenseth outlasted teammate Greg Biffle (who led the most laps) to give car owner Jack Roush his first victory in 25 twin 150 qualifying races. Biffle started on the pole and led the first three laps before being overtaken by Kenseth.

 J.J. Yeley experienced car trouble bringing out the race’s only caution on lap 6. Kenseth took the restart and powered away until Joey Logano passed him for the lead on lap 12. At that point, Kenseth faded back and seemingly away, forgotten but not gone.

Logano lead until Lap 18, when teammate Kyle Busch decided to take a turn at the front. Busch, fresh off a victory in last Saturday’s Bud Shootout lead the next 5 laps before Biffle charged to the front with a thunderous push from Kenseth. Inexplicably, Biffle then pulled up and left Kenseth to fend for himself, once again regulating him to the back of the pack, out of sight but still lurking.

Biffle dominated from that moment, leading the next 35 circuits, but with two laps remaining Kenseth, with an unlikely assist from Chevy driver Jimmy Johnson, motored his way to the front. Over the next two laps Kenseth put on a clinic, showing both muscle and precision.  

Kenseth and Johnson were running on the high side passing cars in a furious display of gasoline fueled adrenaline, when Biffle moved up to block. Kenseth, as with the stroke of a brush, or the cut of a scalpel, turned low to simultaneously pass Biffle and lose Johnson. Johnson fell back to third, while Biffle finished fifth. Non factors Regan Smith and Elliott Sadler finished second and fourth respectively. Matt Kenseth proved to be a brilliant tactician on Thursday, the only question is: Did he peak three days to soon?

First Daytona Qualifying Race Started Fast, Fizzled, and Ended With a Bang

Mike Shaner
February 22, 2012

Daytona Beach Florida- The first of two Daytona 500 qualifying races today started fast and ended with a bang. Carl Edwards started from the pole and lead the first lap before being over taken by Tony Stewart on the next. The two exchanged places again on Lap four. On Lap five the crowd erupted as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Powered his Chevy into the lead. Halfway through lap six the crowd was whipped into frenzy as Trevor Bayne and Dale Jr. Swapped the lead down the back Stretch. 
On Lap 9 Michael McDowell got into the left rear quarter panel of David Gilliland turning him into Paul Menard and Juan Pablo Montoya bringing out the first of two caution flags. Brad Keslowski was also swept up in the aftermath. 

Denny Hamlin, who did not pit acquired the lead at this point and kept it until lap 44 when he pitted for gas and surrendered the lead back to Tony Stewart, who held on to win. Michael Waltrip gave the next real excitement when he spun on lap 52. 
Danica Patrick had a solid day, running near the top 10 until her brutal last lap crash regulated her to 16th place and ended the event with a bang. The race was brutish and besides a few glimmers of electricity, somewhat boring. There were 4 lead changes in the first 9 laps and then nothing for the final 51. Dale Jr. was second followed by Marcus Ambrose, Carl Edwards, and Jeff Burton. Denny Hamlin, who led the most laps finished 9th.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Halftime: Lakers 52 Portland 30

L..A. is pounding the Trailblazers 52-30 at halftime. At this point it appears the Lakers could play with 3 monkeys, an armadillo, and a walrus and still win by 10. Basketball is a fickle sport though; who knows what the second half holds?

Blake and Bynum out scoring Portland

With 1:30 to go in the first half the Portland Trailblazers have managed a measly 23 points. That's one less than Blake (14) and Bynum (10)

Lakers dominating Portland as first period closes

Kobe Bryant is leading the lakers to a dominating performance against the Portland Trailblazers. The lakers are winning 29-7 at the end of the first period.

Bryant has 8 1st period points including a spectacular spinning layup with 40 seconds to go.

The lakers are dominating both sides of the ball holding Portland to only 7 points and allowing them to make just 3 of there 16 field goal attempts.