The 53rd Daytona 500

Congrats to Trevor Bayne for his win in the Daytona 500!!

February 18, 2011 TGIF!

Tonight, it's 2008 Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon from

Aussieland. Merci Belou.

And, Practice makes perfect.

At least that's what I'm hoping for this year's Daytona 500. Every year gets better but we all still look back at least 10 years... The Dale Earnhart Nascar Era. A bitter-sweet time again this year with a milestone memorial, and from top of the Pole -- to starting at the Finish. Certainly more than a moment of silence is due, for both Senior and Junior.

Like I mentioned yesterday, say nothing when there is nothing good to say. And, get over it! ;-)

Without further ado, here's the 53rd Daytona 500 Lineup,

- - 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet
- 24 Jeff Gordon 2 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet
- 22 Kurt Busch 3 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge
- 31 Jeff Burton 4 Caterpillar Chevrolet
- 78 Regan Smith 5 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet
- 33 Clint Bowyer 6 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
- 29 Kevin Harvick 7 Budweiser Chevrolet
- 15 * Michael Waltrip 8 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
- 17 Matt Kenseth 9 Crown Royal Black Ford
- 18 Kyle Busch 10 M&M's Toyota
- 4 Kasey Kahne 11 Red Bull Toyota
- 92 * Brian Keselowski # 12 K-Automotive Dodge
- 42 Juan Pablo Montoya 13 Target Chevrolet
- 1 Jamie McMurray 14 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet
- 43 A J Allmendinger 15 Best Buy Ford
- 2 Brad Keselowski 16 Miller Lite Dodge
- 5 Mark Martin 17 Chevrolet
- 11 Denny Hamlin 18 FedEx Express Toyota
- 27 Paul Menard 19 Menards/Peak Chevrolet
- 56 Martin Truex Jr. 20 NAPA Toyota
- 39 Ryan Newman 21 U.S.Army Chevrolet
- 99 Carl Edwards 22 Aflac Ford

- 48 Jimmie Johnson 23 Lowe's/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet
- 00 David Reutimann 24 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
- 14 Tony Stewart 25 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet
- 16 Greg Biffle 26 3M Ford
- 83 Brian Vickers 27 Red Bull Toyota
- 37 Robert Richardson Jr.(i) 28 North Texas Pipe Ford
- 09 * Bill Elliott 29 Phoenix Construction Chevrolet
- 7 Robby Gordon 30 SPEED Energy Dodge
- 47 Bobby Labonte 31 Kroger/USO Toyota
- 21 Trevor Bayne(i) 32 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford
- 46 * J J Yeley 33 Red Line Oil Chevrolet
- 6 David Ragan 34 UPS Ford
- 9 Marcos Ambrose 35 Stanley Ford
- 77 Steve Wallace(i) 36 5-hour Energy Toyota
- 71 Andy Lally # 37 Super Eco-Fuel Saver Chevrolet
20 Joey Logano 38 Home Depot Toyota

- 34 David Gilliland 39 Taco Bell Ford
- 38 * Travis Kvapil(i) 40 Long John Silver's Ford
- 87 * Joe Nemechek(i) 41 AM FM Energy Toyota
- 36 * Dave Blaney 42 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet
- 32 * Terry Labonte 43 U.S. Chrome Ford

February 17, 2011

As my spaghetti sauce simmers, I'm winding down

from a huge day at work. I really cannot complain

because I work for the best company and Team. And, I

can work from anywhere, anytime, in the World. Life is


I digress... :-)

Nascar is back and the Daytona 500 is just a few days

away. Thank you whomever and where ever you are, for


Every year I am amazed that it gets better, just like the

fine Argentine wine I'm sipping(as my spaghetti sauce

simmers... we don't say pasta sauce in my Nonna's

hometown, it's spagette.)

My old love - Nascar, and my new-found love of

Argentina(best wine and polo players, ouufff, Argentina

men) are keeping me content and fulfilled.

Not to mention watching the Duels and submitting my

Nascar Yahoo Fantasy picks(I've restrained from

playing any other Fantasy pool... for now...) just put me

in a great mood. Typical pre-Spring-fever feelings.

Hats off to Kurt Busch and Jeff Burton who won the

Duels respectively. I won't mention Junior's loss of the

pole because I don't have anything good to say.

Thankfully, this year, Andy Lally has a full time Sprint

Cup ride and he's going for the rookie of the year. I

believe only 1 other new fulltime driver is up for the

challenge and do we know if there's a trophy for it this


Wow, that was a long sentence and I'm out of breath.

Must be that Spring-fever taking my breath away.

I really needed it since my Robert had the most terrible accident recently

in Rally racing. My 2011 hopes for F! all gone. But, he

will be back. He must come back. Anyone who knows

me knows, he is my new magician. Get Well Soon Mr.

Kubica! I need you!

And if that wasn't tragic enough

Renault/Lotus/MamaPetrov hire Heidfeld as

replacement driver. OUCH!

Walk like an Egyptian for Liuzzi!

So, on this terrific Thursday evening, enjoy whatever

you're eating, doing, watching, reading, or thinkng. Life

is sweet and It's meant to be indulged.

February 14, 2011 - Valentine's Day

Jacques Villneuve finally made the podium in Andros Trophy Iceracing over in Europe. So now, I have my fingers crossed that he's on his way back to North America to start some serious Nascar-door-knocking. Wishful thinking. :-)

In the meantime, it's that special time of year again... the 53rd running of the Great American Race - The Daytona 500.

Finally, the Nascar 2011 Season has started and what a start it has been so far.

Earnhart Jr. won the pole and Jeff Gordon is locked-in and will start the legendary Daytona 500, 2nd. Both can relax and work on optimizing their rides during the Duels. A great job and I'm sure Dale's fans are hoping his 400th Nascar race will be the magic one. As with every year, it ain't over until it's over. I'm sure there are many surprises ahead.

In the meantime, get your Daytona or favorite driver's gear at Shop the NASCAR Superstore! The Official Online Store of NASCAR.

Here's a great recap of this past weekend's Daytona 500 Qualifying:

By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 13) — The pressure’s off Dale Earnhardt Jr.—until next Sunday, that is.

In Sunday afternoon’s qualifying session at Daytona International Speedway, Earnhardt edged Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon for the top starting spot in next Sunday’s season-opening Daytona 500.

Turning a lap in 48.364 seconds (186.089 mph), Earnhardt claimed the 10th Coors Light pole award of his career and his first at a restrictor-plate superspeedway. He’ll try to win NASCAR’s most prestigious race for the second time in the 400th start of his Sprint Cup career.

What Earnhardt—and Gordon, for that matter—won’t have to worry about is racing for position in Thursday’s Gatorade Duel 150 qualifying races at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. Under the unique qualifying procedure for the Daytona 500, the two fastest drivers in time trials are locked into the front row.

The rest of the field for the 53rd running of the Great American Race won’t be set until the Duels are completed.

“The main thing (the pole) does for me is take the pressure off Thursday’s race,” said Earnhardt, who will start from the top spot in the first qualifying race. “I can go out and have fun and not worry about where I finish or getting a good starting spot for the Daytona 500.”

Gaining a slight edge through Turn 1, Earnhardt narrowly beat Gordon (48.396 seconds, 185.966 mph) for the top spot on the grid.

It was the third Daytona 500 front-row sweep for Hendrick Motorsports, which placed Ken Schrader and Darrell Waltrip first and second in 1989. Mark Martin won the pole for last year’s 500, with Earnhardt starting on the outside of the front row.

Rookie Trevor Bayne (185.445) was third fastest in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford, followed by Richard Childress Racing teammates Paul Menard (185.422), Clint Bowyer (185.223) and Jeff Burton (185.071).

Bayne was elated by his strong run—and equally impressed by the drivers starting ahead of him.

“If I’m going to get knocked off by somebody, I’m sure the fans were glad it was Dale Jr.,” said Bayne, who briefly held the second spot before Earnhardt’s pole-winning run. “But to be sitting third behind two of the most well-known drivers in NASCAR—and Jeff Gordon my childhood hero—I mean, this is incredible.”

Bill Elliott (17th fastest), Travis Kvapil (20th) and Joe Nemechek (21st) all earned guaranteed spots in the 500 as the three fastest drivers among those required to qualify on speed. Terry Labonte also knows he will start the race, thanks to a provisional available to the most recent past champion not otherwise qualified.

Four more starting positions are available in Thursday’s Duels, two from each race.


Qualifying for the Daytona 500 is unlike any other auto racing qualifying procedure. Drivers have two chances to qualify for the season-opening race, as opposed to the usual format of one qualifying session per event.

The first chance comes via Daytona 500 Qualifying, which will be held Sunday, Feb. 13. The other chance is the Gatorade Duel at Daytona, two 150-mile qualifying races held on Thursday, Feb. 17.

Below is a breakdown of the Daytona 500 qualifying procedure:

Daytona 500 Qualifying Day

• Each team may run two laps with the fast lap setting the qualifying time. The two fastest qualifiers earn starting positions one and two and are the only guaranteed positions, filling the front row for the Daytona 500.

• The Gatorade Duel at Daytona, two 150-mile qualifying races, will determine starting positions for the Daytona 500 beyond the front row. In the event of cancellation, the field will be set according to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule Book.

Gatorade Duel

• The eligible highest ranked 35 in 2010 car owner points will be assigned to Gatorade Duel races based on their final 2010 car owner points. Cars with odd-numbered owner points positions will compete in the first Gatorade Duel race; even-numbered owner points positions will compete in the second race.

• The only exception is that the fastest qualifier from Daytona 500 Qualifying will start on the pole in the first Gatorade Duel race and the second fastest will start on the pole in the second race, regardless of 2010 car owner point standings.

• Owners who failed to finish in the top 35 of the 2010 car owner points will be assigned to the Gatorade Duel races based on qualifying times. The fastest qualifying owner goes to the first Duel race; the next to the second race and alternating through remaining entries.

• The actual starting grids for the Gatorade Duel races are based on qualifying times.

Daytona 500 Lineup

• The two fastest qualifiers set starting positions one and two.

• Finishing positions in the Gatorade Duel races determine the other starting positions in the Daytona 500.

• The top two non-top 35 teams in each Duel race will earn a spot in the Daytona 500.

• Based on their finish in the first Duel race, the eligible highest-ranked 35 in 2010 car owner points plus the two highest finishing non-top 35 teams will be lined up on the inside row (odd-number starting positions).

• Based on their finish in the second Duel race, the eligible highest-ranked 35 plus the two highest finishing non-top 35 teams will be lined up on the outside row (even-number starting positions).

• The remaining positions will be filled based on qualifying.

o If one or both cars on the front row are not top-35 teams, the number of cars that get in based on time are reduced accordingly.

• The 43rd starting position will be assigned to any car owner who has the most recent eligible past NASCAR Sprint Cup champion who did not make the 500 field by any other method providing the driver competed in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. If the 43rd position remains unused it will be assigned to the next highest qualifying time.

Bottom line, here’s who gets locked into the Daytona 500 field:

– The top-two qualifiers from Sunday.

– The remaining top-35 guaranteed starters.

– Four drivers from the Gatorade Duel at Daytona (two non-top 35 from each race)

– Remaining drivers not making the field through the above methods can fall back on Sunday’s qualifying times or being a past champion.

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