Digital Headbutt

A sports blog about stuff…stuff that involves things.

2007 Daytona 500 Live Blog

Posted by Mike on February 18, 2007

I live in North Carolina, so I am morally obligated as a “journalist” to cover the biggest event (Daytona) of one of the state’s biggest sports (NASCAR). Some of the big headlines:

  • Jimmie Johnson: Can Jimmie Johnson defend his NEXTEL Cup Title? The Short Answer: Yes. The Long Answer: Probably not.
  • Cheating: Six drivers were penalized this week for violating car specifications, five of whom lost their crew, including all of the crew chiefs for Evernham Motorsports. Most notably, Jeff Gordon qualified first but will start 42nd because his car was an inch too low, and Michael Waltrip’s crew chief was suspended indefinitely and Waltrip was docked 100 championship points for a foreign substance found on his car’s intake manifold. While it’s justifiable to punish a driver for cheating, we’re not entirely sure what the substance was, or if it improves the performance on the car. I think he got punished that badly because he drives a Toyota. And speaking of which…
  • Toyota’s Entry Into NASCAR: Okay, let’s just admit it. NASCAR’s hating on Toyota has absolutely nothing to do with their cars, or their money, or fear of competition. It is one issue and one issue only: they don’t want any stinkin’ Japanese companies in the quintessential American sport. That is the issue, nothing less and nothing more. But if you’re going to think that way, consider this: more Toyota cars are built in America than any of the “American” companies who put their cars in NASCAR (GM, Ford, Chrysler). They employ more auto workers in America than any of the American auto companies, which in turn puts more money in American pockets. In this sense, they are every but as American now as the other companies, if not more so. As an American, I think they have every right to participate in NASCAR. Just don’t let the British in.
  • Juan Pablo Montoya: VIVA COLOMBIA! Montoya, who was previously a fairly successful open wheel racer (3 wins and 30 top-3 finishes in 5 years in Formula 1) has made the jump to NASCAR, and will drive Chip Ganassi’s 42 Havoline car at 36th. I’m personally excited because he is NASCAR’s first Spanish speaking driver, which means it’s only a matter of time before we see NASCAR on Univision. And if the 2006 World Cup is any indication, it a lot more fun watching Daytona in Spanish. He’ll be a good driver, but I have only one thing to say to him…SHAKE N’ BAKE! (thanks Loser with Socks)
  • David Gilliland Starts at the Pole at Daytona: Wait…What?
  • Their Pick to Win: Tony Stewart (position: 3)
  • My Pick to Win: Clint Bowyer (position: 11). Why? He has the best NASCAR name. That and he was one of the best rookies of 2006. I got a feeling today about Clint. Let’s get it on!

3:31 pm: The race begins!

3:32 pm: 2 laps in, the top 5: Gilliland, Stewart, Kurt Busch, Stremme, and Dale Jr.

3:34 pm: Jeff Gordon has already jumped from 42nd to 34th after 4 laps. My pick, Clint Bowyer, is still 11th.

3:35 pm: Juan Pablo Montoya has moved up one spot, fro 36 to 35.

3:36 pm: Thru 8 laps: 1. Gilliland, 2. Stewart, 3. Kurt Busch, 4. Dale jr., 5. Denny Hamlin.

3:37 pm: Bizarre ad: Crazy, mutant, desert…guys.

3:42 pm: Dale Jr. has slid to 13th, while Gordon is now in 21st. My pick, Bowyer, has fallen to 17th.

3:44 pm: Matt Kenseth has made it into the top 5.

3:45 pm: We have our first crash! The victim is Boris Said (#60).

3:47 pm: Wow. The Daytona ads are even weirder than the Super Bowl ads. And less gay.

3:48 pm: Sorry Jeff Gordon. I just couldn’t resist.

(I first heard this song in 2000 by Tim Wilson on the John Boy and Billy Radio Show. The following is how it was sung live.)

Jeff Gordon’s Gay!

Jeff Gordon’s Gay

At Least that’s what them ornery Earnhardt fans always say

They swear he’s using Vaseline on the 24 Chevrolet

Jeff Gordons Gay

He Must be Gay

He wears Rainbow Colors

He’s a handsome fella

Standin’ in Victory Lane

With a Gorgeous Wife

With a check in her hand

Sippin’ that gay champagne

Those Earnhardt fans

Up there in the stands

all Chokin’ on bread ana Spam

say Gordon’s Gay

Every time he turns

and hugs Ray Evernham

Jeff Gordon’s Gay

He Must be Gay

He’s probably whistlin’ Elton John

or Spandau Ballet

He’s got the Rainbow Warriors

singin’ YMCA

Jeff Gordon’s Gay

He Must be Gay

He’s got four Winston Cup trophies

Sittin’ at home on his trophy shelf

But I’ll bet he couldn’t pick one up

At least not by his self

Jeff Gordon’s Gay

He Must be Gay

At least that’s what the boys who lose on Sunday always say

They swear he’s using Vaseline on the 24 Chevrolet

Jeff Gordon’s Gay

He must be Gay

And next year he’ll drive the long pink Caddilac

For Mary Kay.

whoo-hooooooo!

3:50 pm: After the caution ends, the top 5: Kurt Busch, Gilliland, Stewart, Dale Jr., and Ryan Newman. Newman underachieved last year, people forget that when he first came into NASCAR he took it by storm, winning 9 races in his 2nd or 3rd year.

3:54 pm: Gordon is up to 17th, Johnson is up to 11th, Bowyer is down to 21st, and Montoya has yet to crack the top 30.

3:56 pm: After 25 laps: 1. Kurt Busch, 2. Stewart, 3. Kyle Busch, 4. Stremme, 5. Newman.

3:58 pm: I happen to like Tony Stewart, but I shop at Lowe’s, and I don’t like Jimmie Johnson. Is that so wrong?

4:07 pm: Top 5 thru 40 laps: Kurt Busch, Stewart, Kyle Busch, Gilliland, Newman.

4:12 pm: I’ts down to a leading pack of four, The Busches, Stewart, and Gilliland, with Newman and Harvick giving chase.

4:15 pm: Stewart has taken the lead. He’s followed by Kurt Busch, Newman, Gilliland and Harvick.

4:25 pm: Our first major pit of the day at lap 64. the top 3 (Stewart, Busch, Gilliland) did not pit yet. My boy Clint Bowyer has cracked the top 10 and is now in 9th. Montoya is having car troubles and has fallen to 42nd.

4:28 pm: The rest of the field pits the next lap. The top 3 remain intact, and Dale Jr. gets back in the top 5 out of the pits.

4:34 pm: Bowyer has made his move. The leading pack is up to 7, and Clint is 6th.

4:37 pm: The leading pack, thru 75 laps: Stewart, the Busch brothers, Harvick, Bowyer, Gilliland, and Newman. Montoya is 39th, and the leading Toyota is 25th.

4:41 pm: We are at the 2nd caution of the race (it has something to do with Kyle Petty), and then Robby Gordon crashes into Gilliland in pit road.

4:43 pm: The problem for Petty is a shredded right rear tire.

4:51 pm: Stewart got penalized for driving too fast out of pit road. He’s fallen back to 40th. This means the new top 5 out of the caution are the Busch brothers, Harvick, Newman, and Denny Hamlin.

4:53 pm: Hamlin is up top 2nd, Gordon has come up to 10th, and Bowyer has fallen to 14th. Johnson and Stewart are way back.

4:59 pm: As we near the halfway point, Kyle Petty and Scott Riggs have dropped out of the race.

5:02 pm: After 100 laps, the Busch brothers are leading, with Newman, Jeff Burton, and Hamlin rounding out the top 5. Gordon is in 10th, Bowyer is 16th, and Johnson, Stewart, Montoya, and Gilliland remain in the back of the pack.

5:06 pm: Oh look, they’re making another left turn! How fascinating.

5:07 pm: Oh yeah, Kevin Harvick’s blinged out. The last thing I need to hear about is the gold leaf on his helmet, and a comparison of it to the Sistine Chapel because they have the same kind of gold leaf. That’s like comparing fine Belgian Chocolate to a Frostee because they both have cocoa.

5:14 pm: The top 5 (85 laps to go): The Busch brothers, Hamlin, Burton, and Newman.

Why haven’t we seen a car get totaled yet? This a restrictor plate race! We’re supposed to have a 10-car pileup by now! I’m disappointed. What’s worse, Bowyer is down to 19th.

5:18 pm: Kyle Busch has fallen to 7th, while Martin Truex has come out of the pack and into 3rd. Denny Hamlin is 2nd to Kurt Busch.

5:22 pm: With 75 laps to go, Kurt Busch is still leading, but Jeff Green who started 31st, has gone up to 5th. Meanwhile, my pick Bowyer has dropped to 20th, and Biffle had cracked the top 10.

5:26 pm: After what looks to be the 2nd-to-last pit stop, Kurt busch is still leading, with Hamlin in 2nd, and Johnny Sauter, who started 41st, in 5th.

5:32 pm: Who cares who’s leading? My pick, Clint Bowyer, has plummeted to 40th, or the send worst driver still racing. Yeah, that was a fantastic call, Mike! You just nailed that one! Meanwhile, Stewart is back in the top 10.

5:37 pm: With less than 60 to go, the top 5: Kurt Busch, Rudd, Kyle Busch, Hamlin, and Stewart. Dale Jr. Is 14th, Jeff Gordon is 33rd, Johnson is 22nd, Montoya is 27th, and you don’t want to know about Clint Boywer. He’s a lap down because he was penalized for knocking down a cone coming into pit road. His goose is cooked, barring a big crash.

5:42 pm: With 50 laps to go, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart are now battling for the lead. Stewart, who was once 40th, is now 1st.

5:46 pm: Suddenly, Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch total each other’s cars. Stewart accidentally swung too close to the yellow line, began to lose control, and Kurt Busch bumped him just enough to send him out of control. Stewart’s car was totaled, and Kurt Busch managed to drive into the shop for repairs. Kyle Busch is now in the lead, with Martin Truex Jr, in 2nd, and Carl Edwards in 3rd.

5:58 pm: Coming out of the caution with 40 laps to go, Martin Truex Jr. is in the lead, followed by Mark Martin, Kyle Busch, Johnny Sauter and Matt Kenseth.

6:00 pm: Unbelievably, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart are blaming themselves rather than each other for the big crash. I’m even more surprised that Stewart is extremely calm after that crash. I would be pissed off no matter how it happened. But then again, in games like Gran Turismo, I drive like a maniac, intentionally crashing my opponents, riding the walls, and almost never using the brakes.

6:04 pm: The top 5 thru 165: Kenseth, Martin, Truex, Kyle Busch, and Jamie Mcmurray? WTF?

6:10 pm: The pack became too close, and a five car crash was started as Jimmie Johnson lost control. The race goes into another caution and what is likely to be the final pit.

6:18 pm: With 21 laps to go, the race is still under caution, but Mark Martin is in the lead out of the pits, followed by Carl Edwards, Reed Sorenson, Johnny Sauter, and Dale Jr. Clint Bowyer is up to 31st, just ahead of Montoya.

6:22 pm: With 18 laps left Biffle has moved up to 2nd, and Kenseth to 3rd. Martin is still in the lead, and Bowyer is 4.6 seconds off the pace.

6:26 pm: The lead pack seems to have broken into the top 4 and the rest. The top 4: Martin, Biffle, Kenseth, and Truex.

6:28 pm: Another Caution? Geez. Dave Blaney races through pit road, and runs right into Ken Schrader and Clint Bowyer. What’s more, Carl Edwards seemed to damage his car.

6:33 pm: The cars will come out of caution with 10 laps or less to go. Mark Martin is in good position to hold off the competition long enough to win.

6:38 pm: Watch out for Jeff Burton; he’s trying to get into the top 5. Kyle Busch is back in 2nd behind Martin. Bowyer is up to 22nd. He needs to salvage what’s left of my prediction and get into the top half.

6:40 pm: Burton is trying to advance on the inside, while Biffle is trying on the outside. Suddenly Burton drops out.

6:41 pm: McMurray, Rudd, Truex and Dale Jr. crash, and we will get a green, white, checkered finish. McMurray lost control, and the rest were innocent bystanders. The leading pack is down to 5: Martin, Busch, and wait… Is Gilliland back in this one? Wow…

My man Clint Bowyer somehow manages to avoid the carnage. He is now 16th.

6:45 pm: There will now bw a red flag, followed by a green, white, and checkered. We basically only have two laps left. Martin is still in the lead. 28 drivers are still in the lead lap. If there are any more crashes, the race ends.

6:57 pm: The track is clear, and we are back running. Martin is in the lead, followed by Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle, David Gilliland, and Elliot Sadler.

7:01 pm: The green flag is about to come up. Bowyer has somehow moved up to 14th during the red. He is till within striking distance of cracking the top 10.

7:04 pm: Martin is holding on, but no one is trying to pass to the outside.

7:05 pm: There’s a huge crash in the final lap, but Harvick comes around the outside, and just barely beats Mark Martin at the checkered flag! Kevin Harvick wins the Daytona 500 by 1/50th of a second.

He made a move from fourth on the final turn, and barely beats Martin at the line. Unbelievably, no caution is made. On the final turn, Clint Bowyer’s car flips upside down, and drags in its roof across the finish line ON FIRE. He’s okay, don’t worry.

Nobody expected Mark Martin to finish this well, but Kevin Harvick is very lucky the caution wasn’t called. Still, it was an unbelievable race by Harvick, who started 34th. Jeff Burton finished 3rd, David Ragan, a rookie, finished 5th, Kasey Kahne finished 7th, Jeff Gordon finished 12th, my man Clint Bowyer finished 18th upside down, and Montoya finished 19th.

The Bowyer crash looked something like this. Darrell Waltrip made a reference to this clip after the race referring to this crash. I couldn’t believe it when I heard him say it: “You know what this looked like? Ricky Bobby. This was like Daytona Nights!”

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One Response to “2007 Daytona 500 Live Blog”

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