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The 51st Daytona 500 ended after just short of 400 miles due to rain.  Matt Kenseth in the 17 Dewalt Ford was out front at the right time was the ultimate winner. 

1 - Being In The Right Spot At Right Time - Hands down this award goes to Matt Kenseth.  Matt was second behind Elliott Sadler on lap 143.  Three laps later, Kenseth passes Sadler with a push from Kevin Harvick for the lead.  Later in that same lap, the caution flag waves as Aric Amirola goes around after making contact with Kasey Kahne.  We would stay under yellow as rain began to sprinkle the speedway and ultimately lead to a red flag with Nascar making the race official 16 minutes later. 

2 - Tires - One lap after Tony Stewart takes the lead over Dale Jr., Travis Kvapil was the first casualty of a blown tire as he hit the wall on lap 55.  Jeff Gordon had bad luck that actually turned into good luck.  He pitted on lap 113 (just 27 laps after his last stop) because he felt his right front going away.  The abnormal tire wear was thought to have been caused by a different camber setting than other teams.  Despite being a lap down, he was able to get his lap back when David Stremme had tire problems causing a debris caution. 

3 - Big Wreck - Yahoo Sports has already labled the crash on lap 124 involving 10 cars as Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s fault.  Jr. was behind Brian Vickers (both were a lap down).  Jr. moved low for a pass when Vickers went low for the block.  Jr. was down on the apron and tried to move slightly back up (his only other option at that point was drive it in the grass), making contact with Vickers turning him up the track causing chaos and throughout the field.  It ended Kyle Bush's run for the win as he was up front all day long.  Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, and Jamie McMurray were some of the other frontrunners whose day went sour in a heartbeat.  From what i saw of the wreck, Jr. had a big run on Vickers and he went for the block.  Jr. couldn't very well go in the grass that would have caused a huge back up behind him that would have caused a huge wreck also.  Jr.'s only option was to try to inch his way back up the track and that's when Jr. caught Vickers in the quarter panel sending him into the wall and setting off the melee. 

4 - Big Surprises - The top of the list has to be Richard Petty Motorsports with the flag bearer being A. J. Allmendinger.  Dinger, who raced his way into the 500 through the Gatorade Duels finished third.  Elliott Sadler, who was just a couple of laps away from the win himself, slid to a respectable fifth.  Reed Sorenson in the 43 car finishes nineth.  Michael Waltrip brings his Napa Toyota home in seventh.  While not so much a big surprise but worth mentioning, Tony Stewart has an eighth place run in his first points race as an owner/driver.

5 - Broadcast - I would give the broadcast on FOX a grade of "C -."Mike Joy does a nice job of facilitating the broadcast.  Larry McReynolds is average as crew chief commentator.  Darrell Waltrip's antics is getting old.  From him yelling "boogity" at the beginning to him just talking too much (he must get paid by the word).  The Digger gopher cam with the cartoon graphic has got to go.  The camera angle is cool, but FOX is using it too much just so they can show that stupid cartoon graphic that they are so proud of. 

Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads cross country to southern California.  The green flag is scheduled to drop after 6 PM EST next Sunday.  I heard it's been raining quite a bit there this past week so hopefully we can have a full race run after we get qualifying in.  I would hate for some of these teams that are out of the top 35 not to have a fair chance of getting in the race.  So til next week, be sure to keep your lugnuts tight. 

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