Rating the Race – The Duels at Daytona

by Ron Thornton On Thu, Feb. 21, 2013

Photo Credit: David Yeazell

Photo Credit: David Yeazell

Why I watched…

These twin races were to determine which cars made the Daytona 500 and who did not. Only the front pole sitters, the best six from last season, the best four qualifying times not already in, and former champion Kurt Busch were locked in. The rest had to go, had to make the moves, had to…

Who am I kidding? From what we saw in qualifying it would have taken a miracle for Brian Keselowski to make the race. Going in, I doubted we would even notice him out there after five laps and owner’s points would not save him. That left just one more who was going to head home empty. Mike Bliss would have been advised to be digging for a Top 16, as he was also most likely to adios amigo. Of course, wrecks or equipment failures could change that, but there was not much drama with only two going home early and two entries already looking pretty weak. The real reason I watched is because it was Daytona and promised to provide me with one hell of a good afternoon of entertainment.

The races…

Nothing unexpected. Brian K did not have a car good enough, and that was demonstrated early. Mind you, Carl Edwards and Trevor Bayne finished behind him in the opening race after Denny Hamlin wiggled and punched Carl into the fence, who then collected Bayne. In the second, Bliss was at the rear of the field all on his own, even trailing the ill-fated Ryan Newman.

To be honest, as much as SPEED’s Mike Joy tried to build up the drama, there was none. No one trying to make the race in the Duels had less points than the two who failed to make the grade. Once it became evident that neither of those cars would finish in the Top 16 in either race, the fat lady sang her song then moved on to make the big bucks as the next spokesperson for Weight Watchers.

Our pole duo did not lose anything. Danica Patrick faded back and then rode out the race observing the action before her. A speeding penalty left Jeff Gordon trying to play catch-up, yet both stayed out of trouble and will be at the front when it really matters; to start the Daytona 500.

Rating the race: 7/10…

I was not hitting the fast forward button but, like the cars on the track, I basically held my position. It was interesting, it was entertaining, but the “wow” factor will have to wait until the weekend. It was visually good to view, and like Jaws Waltrip I truly love the new gyro-cam, but without the drama it was just a solid few hours of television on a Thursday afternoon. After suffering through this week’s episode of the New Normal, to mention one example, I will take it. That was a half hour I’ll never get back.

** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)SpeedwayMedia.com. **
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  1. Mark Mitchem says:

    I have to disagree on the Gyro Cam . I have raced and it looks nothing like what you see on that cam . When your moving that fast it appears as if the track lays down flat for you even if it don’t . Not to mention that cam is being controlled by someone . I cant tell you how many times I seen it go into an angle the opposite direction that it should have . It also makes it very difficult to view the racing . Dumbest idea ever .

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