Today: Apr 21, 2024

The future of NASCAR is coming down the track

Pat Longobardi, Sports Writer-

Last weekend, the 2011 NASCAR season kicked off with long-shot Trevor Bayne winning the 53rd running of “The Great American Race,” the Daytona 500.

In only his second Sprint Cup race, Bayne became the youngest driver to ever win the Daytona 500. 

In the race, there was a lot of action. There was “The Big One” among 17 cars, and there were cars with engine trouble, both involving many contenders to the championship. 

Despite leading only six laps overall, Bayne, who started 32nd, took the lead with four laps left, and held off Carl Edwards on the green-white-checkered flag finish for the win. 

This was a great moment to see a rookie, who just then turned 20-years-old one day earlier, win this race. It was even better when the excited Bayne could not find Victory Lane to start his celebration.

Going into this NASCAR season, the Daytona 500 had a different type of feel to it with many different story lines unlike any other time in NASCAR.

This race had drivers who changed teams, sponsors, car numbers, and crew chiefs, especially Hendrick Motorsports. There was the unveiling of the new points system. Jimmie Johnson is the defending champion, after a great ending to the 2010 season, and is going for six titles in a row. Finally, this race marked 10 years since the passing of Dale Earnhardt. During lap three of the race, the crowd fell silent and held up three fingers in honor of Earnhardt. 

Although Bayne won the race, he did not earn points toward the Sprint Cup standings. Bayne is a Nationwide driver, and is not entered for that tier of races. Bayne is only scheduled to run select Sprint Cup races. 

Those plans might change in no time. 

When a driver wins a race like this, all mentalities change. Their confidence goes sky high, and the mentality that they can be a contender in big races comes into play. The problem is if a driver can hold that momentum towards the upcoming weeks during the season.

Although people get praise for winning a title, winning this race goes right up there with winning a title. Bayne can be on the same steps as those who won this race before, and with winners of the title itself.

Although this race already has its history to it, to have a young, up and coming driver like Bayne win this type of unexpected race signifies that anything can happen in NASCAR.

This race was like the Kentucky Derby, you never know if a long-shot is going to win. 

Bayne will have to carry this win as a stepping stone for the future. This will help him when he does drive full-time in the Sprint Cup. Bayne gets something bigger besides the chance to compete for the top title in NASCAR. Bayne gets a historical title, in the biggest NASCAR race. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog