Trevor Bayne became the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500 last Sunday. While Bayne looked strong in practice and during his Gatorade Duel at Daytona on Thursday, he had only one Sprint Cup Series start under his belt. He had never won any type of NASCAR race. His highest finish before Sunday was third in last year’s Nationwide Series. Bayne was never considered a serious challenger for the 500 crown.
The Daytona 500 took place this past Sunday to officially begin the NASCAR betting season. The new sticky, asphalt track surface at the Daytona Speedway offered one of the most exciting upset races in years at the event. Recent track speeds were reported as high as 206 mph during last week’s Shootout. NASCAR requests made slight alterations to the carburetor restrictor plate in order to slow down the pace a bit. Nevertheless, two-car packs were common at the Shootout and also at the recent Gatorade Duels. Nose-to-tail drafting techniques were prominent during the 500.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had won the pole in practice runs last weekend, but lost it on Wednesday due to wrecking his car. Crashes could be more prevalent due to the tightly bunched runs taking place. Junior is still listed as the pole-sitter on the official lineup, but he will start at the back of the pack as the race begins on Sunday. He won the Daytona 500 in 2004, but hasn’t won a race in his last 93 starts. Kurt Busch, who won the Gatorade Duel, last week started on the pole last Sunday for the Daytona 500. Busch also won last week’s Shootout.
As is custom, the winning team, Wood Brothers Racing, and driver, Trevor Bayne, unveiled the No. 21 Ford inside the Daytona International Speedway Track Tours building behind Turn 4 on Monday morning. The car will stay parked there on public display for one year.