Opening weekend at Daytona is done, so how'd we do?

Kevin Harvick won the Bud Shootout, but the story is still all Danica

2/8/10 in NASCAR   |   Debi_L   |   11280 respect

After a couple of months off from racing, it all got underway on Saturday, with qualifying and the first race of the season, the ARCA race featuring Danica Patrick in her debut.  That was quickly followed up with the Bud Shootout, but even the excitement of that opener was overshadowed by Danica's performance in the ARCA race.

Qualifying for the Daytona 500 aired first on Saturday, with the result being an all Hendrick front row.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. held the pole position briefly, only to be overtaken by veteran Mark Martin.  Martin, at age 51, barely beat the bearded Dale Jr., with the two having almost identical times and speeds.  The winds were a distinct factor in qualifying, but the speeds were still a good 2 miles an hour faster than last year's pole position.  The rest of the qualifying times will determine the starting positions for the Gatorade Twin Duels, set to run on Thursday.  As we've said before, the qualifying process for the Daytona 500 is the most complex and confusing in the Sprint Cup series.  Suffice to say the starting positions for the race will be determined after the duels are completed.

The hype for the ARCA race was bigger than it has ever been.  Not only was Danica Patrick in the field, but ARCA regular Alli Owens was also competing, along with Milka Duno, Leilani Munter and Jennifer Jo Cobb.  The ARCA races are traditionally a wreck fest, and this race was no different, although it was a little tamer than most.  Leilani and Milka were soon out of the race, as was Jennifer Jo, leaving only Alli and Danica to put it out there for the ladies. 

Nelson Piquet Jr., another open-wheeler making the foray into stock cars, was also in the field, but all eyes were on Danica.  The race was broadcast on SPEED and with Darrell Waltrip giving color commentary, both Alli and Danica got lots of attention.  Alli raced in third position for most of the day, only falling out of the top five in the last few laps of the race when the men hung her out to dry as she made a bid for the lead. 

Danica took a spin through the grass at one point later in the race and when the in-car camera caught her quick reactions i the car, she gained a new and enthusiastic fan in ol' DW.  She quickly recovered, pitted for tires and some minor repairs and returned the to track, at the very end of the cars still in the running on the track. 

Her racing experience and skill shone next when she was able to muscle her way back to the front.  Watching her fight for the best possible position on the last lap of the race, beating and banging fenders with Ricky Carmichael, shut up almost every naysayer who said she would fail.  Granted, it was an ARCA race, but her finish in that race has resulted in she and her team agreeing to let her fun the Nationwide race at Daytona this coming weekend, instead of series regular, Kelly Bires.  Dale Earnhardt Jr will run the second JR Motorsports entry.
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2/10/10   |   calbear   |   4 respect

Helll yeah!

2/9/10   |   Captain_Chaos   |   287 respect

wrote:
I think it is great too.  I just hope she realizes this is going to be alot harder than the Arca race.  I remember Jr's first "Nationwide" race at Daytona..........his car wound upside down after a crash!

I think she does - i mean she has been talkign to JR, Tony and JPM - that is a WEALTH of knowlege and advice to draw from.

2/9/10   |   Captain_Chaos   |   287 respect

CRAZY_LADY wrote:
wish martin was driving it she was ok she did go but nationwide awhole dif. game

that is a very true statement - but don't you kinda wanna see what she can do in the Nationwide? I do.
Women in NASCAR have been ridiculed, at least where I live since Tina Gordon was driving. not to say she was a bad driver, but she never could do well in the high levels.
personally i think its great that Danica wants to give it a go.

2/9/10   |   CRAZY_LADY   |   355 respect

wish martin was driving it she was ok she did go but nationwide awhole dif. game

2/8/10   |   maddhatter6691   |   7911 respect

Go Danica

2/8/10   |   Debi_L   |   11280 respect

Lizzo wrote:
Love ya, Captain! Way to stick your neck out, although I must say I am impressed with alot of the guys on here talking facts and not just bashing cause of gender. Must be why I hang around on this site!

 (can you tell I'm out of respect?)

2/8/10   |   Lizzo   |   324 respect

Captain_Chaos wrote:
well the problem is - a large majority of men refuse to acknowlege that a woman may have a chance to be successfull (boy why do i get the feeling i shouldn't have said that :P). she should have a pretty good experience in NASCAR. as for JR - im not a Jr fan as much as others, however i do want him to do well. i think now that the crew cheif situation is done - and he seems to have his head on right this year - i think he will do fine this year and be up towards the front.

Love ya, Captain! Way to stick your neck out, although I must say I am impressed with alot of the guys on here talking facts and not just bashing cause of gender. Must be why I hang around on this site!

2/8/10   |   Debi_L   |   11280 respect

Captain_Chaos wrote:
I havent seen many of the Haters either - will Danica be successful? who knows - but im all for giving her her fair shot. as for Junior - i have seen a different attitude from him as well - and to me his weekend this past weekend spoke Volumes of what could potentially be this year.

2/8/10   |   Captain_Chaos   |   287 respect

Captain_Chaos wrote:
well the problem is - a large majority of men refuse to acknowlege that a woman may have a chance to be successfull (boy why do i get the feeling i shouldn't have said that :P). she should have a pretty good experience in NASCAR. as for JR - im not a Jr fan as much as others, however i do want him to do well. i think now that the crew cheif situation is done - and he seems to have his head on right this year - i think he will do fine this year and be up towards the front.

I havent seen many of the Haters either - will Danica be successful? who knows - but im all for giving her her fair shot. as for Junior - i have seen a different attitude from him as well - and to me his weekend this past weekend spoke Volumes of what could potentially be this year.

2/8/10   |   Debi_L   |   11280 respect

Captain_Chaos wrote:
well the problem is - a large majority of men refuse to acknowlege that a woman may have a chance to be successfull (boy why do i get the feeling i shouldn't have said that :P). she should have a pretty good experience in NASCAR. as for JR - im not a Jr fan as much as others, however i do want him to do well. i think now that the crew cheif situation is done - and he seems to have his head on right this year - i think he will do fine this year and be up towards the front.

I agree with both your points.  I think Danuca's success Saturday was a surprise to a lot of people (I haven't seen many Danica haters since Saturday - at least not publicly - have you?)
And I see a different Dale Jr this year than we have in years past.  He seems to be taking it all a little more seriously and in my mind that is good.  I expect him to ither be in the running for the win at Daytona, or in the garage because he got caught up in a wreck.  Of course, I hope for the former, rather than the latter.

2/8/10   |   Captain_Chaos   |   287 respect

Debi_L wrote:
Last couple of years I have made a big deal of Dale Jr's early successes and felt almost like I jinxed him, so although I congratulate him sincerely forhis front row start, I'm going to remain cautiously optimistic and not bring too much attention to him at this point.  As he said, it's one small step and there are a whole lot more to be made.
I do agree Danica has impressed.  She obviously has prepared sincerely and seriously for this venture.  She isn't taking it lightly.  I'm sure she can read to a better ability than most fans and has seen all the hatred and ill wishes from commenters all over the net.  I hope she does succeed because the success will bring fans to both NASCAR and IRL.

well the problem is - a large majority of men refuse to acknowlege that a woman may have a chance to be successfull (boy why do i get the feeling i shouldn't have said that :P). she should have a pretty good experience in NASCAR. as for JR - im not a Jr fan as much as others, however i do want him to do well. i think now that the crew cheif situation is done - and he seems to have his head on right this year - i think he will do fine this year and be up towards the front.

2/8/10   |   Debi_L   |   11280 respect

Captain_Chaos wrote:
I think Danica proved to a lot of people that she can compete and not just immediately be fodder to finish dead last of tear the car up. I don't think she will win this year - but ill say it now - a top 15 for sure - and any NASCAR fan will readily admit that that is a HUGE step.

what I think hasn't gotten enough press (and peopel will probly laugh) is Dale Jr's efforts this past weekend. he went out and made a statement concerning his ability and desire to be successful. peopel wondered how he would do, and went out and almost snagged the pole position. if THAT doesn't get some people looking his way and not just dismissing him outright - nothing will.

Jr is gonna be a good driver this year - I stand by my 3 win prediction and chase birth this year.

Last couple of years I have made a big deal of Dale Jr's early successes and felt almost like I jinxed him, so although I congratulate him sincerely forhis front row start, I'm going to remain cautiously optimistic and not bring too much attention to him at this point.  As he said, it's one small step and there are a whole lot more to be made.
I do agree Danica has impressed.  She obviously has prepared sincerely and seriously for this venture.  She isn't taking it lightly.  I'm sure she can read to a better ability than most fans and has seen all the hatred and ill wishes from commenters all over the net.  I hope she does succeed because the success will bring fans to both NASCAR and IRL.

2/8/10   |   Captain_Chaos   |   287 respect

I think Danica proved to a lot of people that she can compete and not just immediately be fodder to finish dead last of tear the car up. I don't think she will win this year - but ill say it now - a top 15 for sure - and any NASCAR fan will readily admit that that is a HUGE step.

what I think hasn't gotten enough press (and peopel will probly laugh) is Dale Jr's efforts this past weekend. he went out and made a statement concerning his ability and desire to be successful. peopel wondered how he would do, and went out and almost snagged the pole position. if THAT doesn't get some people looking his way and not just dismissing him outright - nothing will.

Jr is gonna be a good driver this year - I stand by my 3 win prediction and chase birth this year.

2/8/10   |   fooltomery   |   21 respect

People are always amazed when they see a bear riding a bike.  But it's not that the bear is riding the bike well...it's that the bear is riding the bike at all.

(muttering to himself) Dang, what directory did I put those bikini pics of Danica in?

2/8/10   |   drn0iswatr   |   731 respect

glad to see Danica get some pub that doesn't involve her sitting on top of a car in a bikini....not that there is anything wrong with that....