Will Kenny Wallace race in the Daytona 500?
We are all looking forward to some good racing today, but don't expect anyone who is locked in to be making too many rash decisions on the track. None of the locked in drivers want to take a chance on wrecking their primary car, but those drivers who qualified poorly might chance a good finish up front in order to advance on the starting grid.
With pack racing back, rather than the two car tango, chances for a wreck, especially "The Big One" are even more prevalent. Teams are more likely to treat the race as more of a practice session than an actual race. Of course, there are those drivers who need to race, who need to push for the front. Kenny Wallace is one of those drivers (that's his car in the picture), as is Michael Waltrip (who is in the 40 car this year - 55 -15=40, go figure). Last year's winner of the 500, Trevor Bayne, is already locked into the race, but if he races in to a better position, Kenny will automatically be locked in. The hardest part for Kenny will be keeping the car clean and undamaged. As was documented on Speed last night in "Chasing Daytona", Kenny only has one car. He and RAB Racing purchased one of the speedway cars from Red Bull Racing, but they only got one car. If something happens to the car in the Duel, Kenny will have nothing to drive in the big race. No one wants to see that happen.
Of course, much is being made of Danica Patrick's race today. Kyle Petty is being called a Danica hater on Twitter, simply because he said he will reserve judgement on her success in the series until she has run a few races. Well, duh! Danica is unlikely to be aggressive today. Yes, she has had a few practice sessions and she has been in the Nationwide races on the Super Speedways, but this will be her first time in the big leagues at Daytona. I imagine she will be trying to keep her race car clean while gaining that experience. Will she lead the race? Possibly. Will she win? Unlikely.
One thing the teams shouldn't have to worry about today will be the overheating issue. NASCAR allowed the teams to increase the PSI of the pop off valve from 25 to 28. This will allow the engines to run a little hotter without blowing off the steam we saw during qualifying. It should also allow the cars to run in a pack a little longer. Whether it makes a huge difference will remain to be seen.
The racing is about to begin. Post your picks, talk your trash and give it your best. The Live Thread is open!