May The (Lack Of Down)Force Be With You In Atlanta

This weekend, the Cupsters, cable guys, and truckers all congregate at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Because why not.

Atlanta is an oddity in that it’s big, fast, and slicker than an used car salesman who dabbles in insurance on the side running for office. Because it’s not nearly big, fast, and slick enough, NASCAR is rolling out its new aero package for the Sprint Cup cars this weekend. Less downforce! Softer tires! The pace car passing everyone after ten laps as drivers slow to a crawl in order to stay on track! WHOOO! Seriously, I get NASCAR wanting to make it tougher in order to encourage that passing stuff they’ve heard is popular among fans. Here’s hoping they didn’t go too far in the other direction.

Favorites? Let’s see, which active driver refers to being sideways on the track as hitting the sweet spot … oh yeah, Kyle Busch. Although keep an eye out for Rapid Roy the stock car boy, a dirt track demon in his ’57 Chevrolet.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone.

Look Ma – No Big One At Daytona!

The most remarkable thing that happened at today’s NASCAR 35th Annual Powershares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway XFINITY Series opening race for 2016 – say that three times fast, I dare you – was what didn’t happen. Namely, a massive wreck on the last lap. See, Cupsters? It can be done.

Also remarkable was Chase Elliott’s ability to not only keep his car pointing forward while during the aforementioned last lap Joey Logano was doing his best to trade his front quarter panel for Elliott’s back quarter panel, but hold off Logano period and snag the win. We know the kid has skills, but his driving today officially took him into mad skills territory.

Other than a couple of early incidents when people got a little excited and insisted on sharing the wealth with others, the race was remarkable pileup free. A nice change of pace. As is usually the case with restrictor plate races, things settled down to a lengthy stretch of everyone playing choo choo, but near the end it shook out into good racing mercifully minus bad decisions on anyones part resulting in Mater being the first one to cross the finish line.

On to tomorrow.

Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Photo courtesy NASCAR Media

It’s Daytona! It’s The XFINITY Series! It’s Liveblogging!

Okay, let’s see if I remember how to do this …

The 35th Annual Powershares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway provides our kickoff for the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series. But of course you know that, or else you wouldn’t be reading this. Or you might, if you’re nostalgic for real blogging. But I digress.

All eyes are on Erik Jones, the wunderkind flying the Toyota flag high. But, since this is XFINITY, in all likelihood it’ll be a case of not paying that much attention to who actually wins, as it’ll most likely be whichever Sprint Cup driver decided they wanted to get out of the motorhome for the day. The driver I’m looking at to make an impression is Darrell “Bubba” Watson Jr. Kid has the skills, the backing, and wouldn’t it be awesome to see a black NASCAR champion? You don’t get a trophy in November because someone in marketing wants you to.

And away we go …

Lap Two: There will always be a twinge seeing the #3 at Daytona. That said, remember there is an entire generation of NASCAR fans to whom Dale Earnhardt is in the same category as Richard Petty: a name from a past of which they have no memory as they weren’t there.

Lap FIve: Already? Be nice if we had seen what happened.

First Commercial Break: Yes, Cialis, hanging drapes always makes everyone horny.

And one-stop portfolio management of multiple stocks. Sponsoring a NASCAR race. Um, sure.

Lap Ten: Mom! Mom! WAKE UP! Anyway, back to the race.

Lap Twelve: Well, they’re trying to make three lanes work.

Lap Thirteen: Oops. They are going to have to sell some extra boxes of Reser’s macaroni to pay for that. And will FS1 ever show us a replay of what happened?

Okay, they showed it (sort of). Chase Elliott bumped the 18 (Bobby Labonte), there wasn’t enough room because they were doing the accordion dance up front, then the 43 got caught up in it behind, and things went rapidly downhill from there.

Lap Eighteen: And we’re back. Can we actually race for a while?

Lap Nineteen: Middle is working pretty well. So is the outside lane. And the inside lane. What can go wrong?

Lap Twenty-Two: Oh goody, another caution. At least this time it wasn’t a multi-car melee.

Lap Twenty-Three: Interesting … everyone can make it from here on one more stop. One would assume one and all will take advantage of this.

Um … one would assume incorrectly were one to assume this.

Hey look – kids are at the race! Hey look – SOMEONE BOUGHT A TY DILLION T-SHIRT!

Lap Twenty-Seven: And we’re back (again). Have at it, boys … sort of.

Lap Twenty-Eight: I wish Kevin Harvick did every NASCAR race. He brings a world of knowledge to the broadcast booth, and he’s not afraid to share it.

Lap Thirty-One: Tire rub. Might want to go grab a new shopping cart wheel, Kyle Larson.

Lap Thirty-Three: Looks like things have settled down. Not surprising. Probably stay that way for sixty laps or so. Saying that should bring about five-wide for the lead in a lap or so.

Lap Forty-Three: Everyone has taken the chill pill. More or less.

Yet Another Commercial Break: Time to announce my Unpopular Opinion Of The Day: I believe Amy Schumer is seriously hot. Okay, back to racing.

Lap Fifty-Five: Single file slip ‘n slide.

Lap Fifty-Seven: So if you didn’t pit on lap 23 or thereabouts, you’re pitting now and will have to pit again, but if you did pit on lap 23 or thereabouts you can make it on one more stop after running another ten laps or so, therefore … if the race stays green throughout this cycle it’s not going to make a lick of difference provided there is a caution after this set of stops to bunch up the field.

Lap Seventy-Four: No caution, so everything is as it was, more or less. String up front (four cars), a small gap, then two abreast. Which will join the front four shortly.

Lap Eighty-Three: To the surprise of approximately no one, Joey Logano is leading. Five-car train up front. Five or so car train running well behind. Might be able to catch the front line, but it’s not a given.

Lap Eighty-Eight: Second train is getting closer. Should catch the first train in a lap or so. Question is how long will everyone be content to run in a single line. Also, one more pit stop for everyone.

Huge shoutout by Harvick for my man Bubba. #ThumbsUp

Lap Eighty-Nine: Stratergy talk!

Lap Ninety-Five: Pit stops. Don’t screw up, boys.

Lap Ninety-Nine: I’m thinking that if it’s a last lap duel between Elliott Sadler and Joey Logano, advantage Logano.

Lap 100: Sadler may or may not be presently thinking it’s good to have a teammate who’s racing more or less for the fun of it.

Lap 101: Caution. Insanity looms.

Lap 106: Um, Danielle Trotta? You are a very attractive young woman. But that outfit is, shall we say, kind of distracting. Be a bit more professional next time, please. Anyway, back to racing once again.

Lap 109: I doubt anyone is all that interested in pushing Logano to the front, because should he regain the lead it’s most likely game over.

Lap 110: Front six are now the front nine.

Lap 111: Or not.

Lap 112: Getting antsy up front.

Lap 114: Not much breathing room. Logano trying to make it happen from the outside lane.

Lap 116: Waiting for Suarez and/or Wallace to dive in front of Logano.

Lap 118: Anyone going to make a move?

CHECKERED FLAG: Whew! Chase Elliott holds off Joey Logano for the win. Impressive. Even more impressive: no last lap mayhem. Think the Sprint Car crew can do the same? (Probably not.)

Wrapup in a bit.

Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images
Photo courtesy NASCAR Media