From the Crossville Chronicle – Crossville, Tn. Wednesday February 20, 2008
By Joe Dunn / email@example.com
The 50th running of the Daytona 500 was the culmination of one of the most exciting ‘Speed Weeks’ ever at Daytona International Speedway, with a super success for Penske Racing South.
Through a week of qualifying, practice and the Gatorade Duels, 43 cars took the green flag Sunday afternoon in the ‘Super Bowl’ of auto racing. The drivers expected to finish up front were the Big 3 of Hendrick Motor Sports, 4 time Nascar Champion – Jeff Gordon, 2 time Nascar Champion – Jimmie Johnson and Nascar’s most popular driver – Dale Earnhardt Jr., all multiple winners at Daytona. Junior was setting the stage with his wins of the Bud Shootout and one of the Gatorade Duels, so his fans had visions of the triple crown of Daytona. But once the green flag drops all bets are off, it’s anybody’s game.
The hottest driver of the day was the driver that Hendrick discarded to make room for Junior. Kyle Busch lead 8 times for 86 laps and earned the 10 point bonus for leading the most. Kyle and teammate Tony Stewart were the big threat all day as the took Toyota to an all new level in Nascar. But Ryan Newman and his teammate Kurt Busch were near the front most of the day, but on the last restart on lap 197, Jeff Burton lost the lead to Tony Stewart. Stewart held that lead till the last lap, holding off a charging Newman, but when Stewart slipped down the track, Newman with a big push from Kurt Busch passed him on the high side and off they went for the win.
The win was Newman’s first in 81 races, his last win came at New Hampshire in September of 2005. This was the first Daytona 500 win for Newman, as well as owner Roger Penske. In addition, for Penske Racing it was the first restrictor plate win and the first one – two finish in Nascar Cup racing for Penske. The win paid $1.5 Million plus a special bonus from Dodge Motorsports of $1 million. Following Newman and Busch across the line were, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Reed Sorenson, Elliott Sadler, Kasey Kahne, Robby Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Greg Biffle in 10th place. Rookie of the race was Sam Hornish Jr. who finished 15th.
In addition to Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s wins of the Bud Shootout and the first Duel, other winners for the week included Denny Hamlin, winner of the second Duel, Tony Stewart, winner of the Nascar Nationwide Series Camping World 300 and Todd Bodine, winner of the Nascar Craftsman Truck Series Chevy Silverado 250.
The top three Nascar Series head to the west coast next to California Speedway at Fontana, California. Race schedule for California includes, The truck series Saturday at 2 PM (ct) on Fox, The Nationwide Series Saturday at 6 PM on ESPN2 and the Nascar Sprint Cup series, Auto Club 500 Sunday at 2:30 PM on Fox.
Crossville Raceway recently released the 2008 schedule of racing for the local track on Hwy 70N in Crossville. The season will begin with two open practices on Sunday March 30 and Sunday April 6, both sessions will run from noon til dark. The track moves back to Friday Night action this year with the first race on April 11, gates will open at with hot laps at 6:30 and racing starting at 7:30 PM.
Regular weekly classes for 2008 will include Late Model Sportsman, Open Wheel Modified, Pro Street, Street Stock, Mini Stock, Pure Mini Stock and Cruiser Cars. In addition there will be ‘Fans Race side by Side’ nights where fans may compete in single lap races for trophies in their ‘Street car’.
The Southern Regional Racing Series returns in April for some fast action Super Late Model Racing. Other’s visiting the track will include the Advance Auto Parts Tennessee Thunder Series in June, the O’Reilly Auto Parts United Sprint Car Series and the Ray Cook Southern Nationals, Super Late Model show, both in July.
Other Special Event racing programs are being planned and will be announced when the details are finalized.