The Sprint Unlimited
There was a new name and a few new wrinkles with fans voting for several aspects of tonight’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway. The once consistent factor however was the unpredictable nature of the race.
Only 19 cars in the field lined up for this non-points event which was run in three different segments as voted on by NASCAR fans. The first segment was 30 laps in length followed by a second segment of 25 laps and finally a third and final 20 lap race to the finish. Unfortunately by the time the first segment of the race was complete only 12 cars would remain on the track as a large accident on lap 15 took out seven cars including two Joe Gibbs Racing teammates.
The accident happened toward the front of the field when Tony Stewart made contact while running second and triggered several cars behind him to bottle up into one another. Kyle Busch in the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota Camry would come together with Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota and both would find their hopes of victory dashed early.
The only JGR entry to escape the early race accident was Matt Kenseth, who was racing in the safest spot on the track at the front of the field. Kenseth proved to have perhaps the strongest car on the night, although his teammates never really had the opportunity to showcase their new 2013 Camrys. Kenseth started his No. 20 Dollar General Toyota 12th, but wasted very little time in moving toward the front and took his first lead of the night on lap five. He would go on to lead the next 24 laps before giving way to Stewart just before the conclusion of the first segment. Kenseth would regain the lead again on lap 62, but found the inside lane was difficult to maintain the momentum and was unable to hold on for the win. He would go on to finish the night in fifth.
Kevin Harvick of Richard Childress Racing would capture the win, while Greg Biffle was second, Joey Logano third, and Tony Stewart fourth. There were three cautions for a total of four laps.
The starting front row for the Daytona 500 will be decided Sunday during a qualifying session at 1 PM. The rest of the line up for the Daytona 500 will be decided by a pair of Duel races on Thursday afternoon. Tomorrow’s qualifying session will be broadcast live on Fox at 1 PM, while the Duel races can be seen on SPEED starting at 2 PM on Thursday.
The Great American Race will once again provide the official start to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season when Fox broadcasts the Daytona 500 live from Daytona International Speedway next Sunday, February 24 at 1 PM. The race will also be carried on Sirius NASCAR radio channel 90.