[NASCAR] RaceDay Pulse 2.20.2005


Green Flag Dropped – 2:22 PM
Invocation – Dr. Tim McNeil
Flyover – The Bald Eagle (!) and F-15s
Color Guard – D.C. Joint Military Forces Color Guard
National Anthem – Vanessa Williams
Command to Fire Engines – 2:10 PM by Matthew McCaughnehey
Race Purse – $17,623,980.00
Checker Flag Dropped – 6:05 PM (Approximately)
Time of Race – 3 Hours, 43 Minutes (Approximately)

Welcome to Inside Pulse’s official post race coverage of the Daytona 500! We’ve got plenty of highlights for you from a wild race! Along the way, we’ll have special notes from The NASCAR Guy, who was kind enough to help me keep some informative notes along the way. We’ve got six hours, 43 cars, tons of heartbreak and thousands of words to work with, so let’s get it on!

* Your hosts are Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond in the Hollywood Hotel.

Track Notes
* First Green/White/Checker Finish in Daytona 500 History.
* Eleven Cautions (6 – Wreck, 4 – Debris on Track, 2 – Engine).
* 1st Caution – Lap 15 (#18 Bobby Labonte loses his engine).
* 11th Caution – Lap 197 (#09 Kasey Kahne is into the wall).
* Fans from 20 Different Countries at the 2005 Daytona 500 Live.
* The Daytona 500 is being televised in 23 Different Countries.
* $17 Million Purse (Richest in NASCAR History).
* Tony Stewart leads most laps and at Halfway (bonus points awarded)

Daytona 500 Pre-Race Coverage
We had a fairly uneventful pre-race show this year, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Early on, and we get a Johnny Damon sighting! World Series Champion representing! The Power of Christ compels you! The Power of Christ compels… oh, look, Roger Clemens is here, too.

* Does anyone else find the Darrell Waltrip/Rusty Wallace scuffle to be eerily similar to the Triple H/Scott Steiner World Heavyweight Title match from the Royal Rumble two years ago? Yikes…

Speaking of things that are equally as scary, the NASCAR Guy takes time to note that Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame should never, ever sing again. That, and those annoying VISA Commercials must end. Amen!

Ten Laps w/ Tony Stewart – Tony Stewart scares the ever-loving crap out of me. Seriously, the guy looks like he could kill. And Darrell’s quip about Myers being safe because Tony was restrained? Pure genius. D.W. is the reason why FOX has the best race coverage. That, and because Wally Dallenbach is a tool.

No Wonder the World Hates Us – I’ll skip over most of the Tribute to America ‘festivities’ here, though the NASCAR Guy notes that Five for Fighting was pretty good. Maybe I’m a product of Generation Next, but all this regulation crap following Boob-gate is a bit excessive. Should we all suffer because Janet Jackson felt a little frisky in Houston? Yikes. There was nothing particularly patriotic about the festivities, outside of Vanessa Williams doing okay with America the Beautiful.

The 47th Running of the Daytona 500

* Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip are in the booth, as always.


Listen to those engines purr, baby! Yeah! Jimmie Johnson takes the lead from pole sitter Dale Jarrett into Turn 1, and Michael Waltrip gets shuffled into the middle. Ye Gods. The Inside Line is working well today, it seems (early on, at least). Mikey is coming back, and Junior slams into Jarrett! D.J. is off the pace as Tony Stewart passes for the lead! Dale Jarrett has dropped from 3rd place to 30th in the span of one lap. Michael Waltrip seems to have taken Junior’s place as Tony’s DEI drafting partner this year, because they’re working well together early on. Kyle Busch is into the wall on Lap 6, but keeps it together. Scott Riggs is having a good run in 3rd place, but gets shuffled out by a charging Jimmie Johnson. Mark Martin after starting near the back is up to 15th place!

CAUTION! Lap 15 – Bobby Labonte Loses His Engine
We have our first caution of the day. Bobby Labonte just doesn’t have it over the last… oh, I don’t know, three years or so. If anyone has had a huge decline in the sport, it’s Bobby Labonte. The NASCAR Guy: Bobby Labonte – Bad Luck or a Terrible Slump last year. This year is starting bad, too. All the leaders are in for four tires and fuel; a few near the back will gamble on two tires and fuel only. Your restart order: Scott Wimmer (!), Jimmie Johnson, Mike Skinner, Tony Stewart, and Jeremy Mayfield (!!!)

Restart on Lap 18. Jeff Gordon is on the move early, but Michael Waltrip will lead Lap 20! Now it’s the outside line that is moving. Dale Jarrett still has a tight race car, and the Wallace brothers (Mike, Kenny, and Rusty) are all running in the back. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is having radio trouble, though he gets it under control quickly. The Hendrick boys finally hook up at Lap 24. Michael Waltrip, Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch continue to lead as we hit Lap 25.

CAUTION! Lap 27 – Ricky Rudd & Elliot Sadler Crash in Turn 4
Kyle Busch and Mike Wallace are also involved. Rudd went for a crazy ride there. All the leaders pit again, and Michael Waltrip will lead them off pit road. Kevin Harvick is having trouble on pit road.

Restart on Lap 31. Mark Martin and Sterling Marlin have hooked up in the draft; Martin is up to 6th! Mikey, Tony and Jeff Gordon are leading the way as we close in on Lap 50 here. Casey Mears is stuck in the middle of the track, which is not a good place to be right now. Matt Kenseth… is out after losing his Engine! Holy crap! Jimmie Johnson is back in the mix now, as he and Martin take the outside line past Scott Riggs. Michael Waltrip leads through Lap 50 while Stewart surrenders 2nd place to Kurt Busch. We’re about 8-10 laps away from our first batch of Green Flag pit stops. Mike Skinner will start us off after cutting a right front tire down. The leaders are all in by Lap 63. Mess on Pit Road! Jeff Burton gets underneath Dale Jr. and spins him out! Thank goodness no one was in Dale’s path, or else that could have been a disaster. Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson are busted for speeding down in the pits. Whoops!

The NASCAR Guy – Speeding on Pit Road: A No No!

Jeff Gordon wins the race off of pit road and is the leader at the 65 lap mark. Nothing much going on right now. The NASCAR Guy gets a funny jab in at Dale Jarrett: “If Dale [Jarrett] races the truck, he’d probably do better now than he did in the first twenty laps!” Michael Waltrip and Ryan Newman swap paint on Lap 82, but nothing results. We’re in a holding pattern across the track… whoops, there that goes.

CAUTION! Lap 86 for Debris in the Tri-Oval
Elliott Sadler gets the lucky dog pass (IE first car a lap down gets a free pass back onto the lead lap). All the leaders pit, and Tony Stewart reclaims the lead off of pit road. A crew member on Boris Said’s team is injured during his pit stop somehow, but he looks to be okay. Kyle Busch and Mike Wallace rejoin the race, but both are long out of contention.

Restart on Lap 90. We’ve got 2/3 Wide racing from fifth place on back! Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Dale Jarrett are finally moving towards the front now. Tony Stewart continues to lead as we near the halfway point. Jamie McMurray and Scott Riggs moves into the Top 5. Riggs is having a heck of a run. The NASCAR Guy notes the same. Tony Stewart gets bonus points for leading at the halfway point of the race. It also means that the race is official from this point on, should it end early for whatever reason.

CAUTION! Lap 105 for Debris in the Tri-Oval
We seem to be hitting a pattern here with this debris junk. Wimmer claims the lead after most everyone pits. The NASCAR Guy notes that Martin Truex Jr. is also having a good run in his first Daytona 500 appearance.

Restart on Lap 109. Scott Wimmer leads into Turn 1, but it doesn’t take long for Michael Waltrip and Tony Stewart to get by him. Mark Martin is having some circuit problems in the #06 Viagra Ford, and may be out of contention. 88 Laps to Go! The first eight are all single file, but it gets messy from there. This is where big wrecks occur: when you have fast cars moving up and slow cars moving back in a giant jumble. Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson are drafting together! So much for those hostilities, I guess. Kasey Kahne is on the move! The leaders all hit pit road for some more green flag stops. For some reason, NASCAR isn’t running pit times this year. Tony leads off pit road, followed by Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Michael Waltrip and Mark Martin! Go Mark!

CAUTION! Lap 142 for Debris.

Restart on Lap 147. The NASCAR Guy notes that it’s taking longer for the drivers to get the green flag after a debris caution than it is a crash! Michael Waltrip passes Jimmie Johnson for 3rd place, and we’re three wide all the way back. 50 to go! We have another CAUTION during a commercial break, for debris I suppose. We restart with 41 laps to go… and Waltrip loses his engine!

CAUTION! Lap 161 for Michael Waltrip losing an engine
I think I just lost all faith in NASCAR. With Junior running poorly so far, this is not the best of days for DEI. And we have ANOTHER mess on Pit Road, as Kasey Kahne spins Jason Leffler out by the pit road exit, backing up traffic. Junior stays out for an extra lap to collect bonus points, then Tony Stewart reclaims the lead after pit cycles.

Restart with 35 Laps to Go! We run three laps… and Boom!

CAUTION! 32 Laps to Go for John Andretti/Jason Leffler wreck
We seem to be in another one of those pesky caution patterns right now. I smell BIG trouble up ahead. Tony Stewart passes along these words for the television audience, when asked if he needed drafting help to fend off Gordon. Stewart: All I need is me, myself, and I. The NASCAR Guy: Oooh! Burn!

Restart with 28 Laps to Go! Business is about to pick up, as Junior is on the move! The outside line is moving now, and we’ve got bump drafting in the corner. WOW, Jeff Gordon to the outside, but Junior goes low instead! Stewart hangs onto the lead as we hit the 20 to go mark! Whew, a commercial, thank God. Nothing happens during commercials…

The Big One strikes again! We’ve got 11 cars in this one, boys and girls, and it’s a dandy. That no driving piece of waste, Greg Biffle gets loose and nearly takes out Wallace (yes!) and Martin (no!) before settling on poor Scott Wimmer, who takes the Daytona Roll! Three flips and five seconds of spinning on the nose of his car earns him the Daytona Roll Seal of Approval! We don’t have a red flag (yet).

Restart with 13 Laps to… Wait, scratch that.

CAUTION! 13 Laps to Go for a Bunch of Idiots
Who crashes on the restart of a race? Honestly, now. It’s happened twice in three years at Daytona now. Mike Skinner ran all over someone, and took out a host of cars with him. No pitting for the leaders, no sir. We’re in this one until the end.

Restart with 6 Laps to Go! Dale Jarrett is having carburetor problems on the restart. Jeff Gordon is going for the lead, but Junior hangs him out to dry. Stewart moves high to block Gordon… and Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes the lead from Stewart! We’ve got two-by-two racing from first all the way back! Stewart gets bottlenecked behind Gordon and Johnson, and now Kurt Busch will try for the lead. Junior holds him off, and now here comes Gordon, who takes the lead with two laps left! Kasey Kahne is into the wall in Turn 2… and we have a caution!

FINAL CAUTION! 2 Laps to Go for Kasey Kahne wreck
Looks like we’re gonna have a Green/White/Checker finish at Daytona! Whoo! The NASCAR Guy sums up Stewart’s day perfectly: “Well, he was the class of the field for the first 170 laps, at least.” You have to feel for the guy, honestly. He does lead the most laps and lead at Halfway, so he’ll pick up a few extra points for his efforts.

GREEN/WHITE/CHECKER START! Jeff Gordon leads into Turn 1, and Junior is fighting off Kurt Busch. Three wide behind the leaders! We’ve got the white flag; one more lap to go! Junior is bump drafting with Gordon, but Kurt Busch makes a move on the outside of Junior for second! This gives Gordon enough breathing room, as he holds off a charging Busch into Turn 4. Last chance for Busch down the Tri-Oval, but Gordon is too strong, and he holds on to win the 47th Running of the Daytona 500! Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson nearly cause another Big One as they cross the line, then collide after the race again!

Race Winner: Jeff Gordon (#24 DuPont Chevrolet)

Memorable Quotes and Post Race Highlights
Mark Martin finishes sixth to end the Daytona 500 chapter of his career. Rusty Wallace finishes in the Top 10 as well. A great run for Kyle Petty, who comes home in fifteenth position also. Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knuass whine over Stewart’s “questionable” tactics on the last lap (NASCAR Guy: Huh?), and Stewart responds with a soon-to-be classic quip.

Stewart: “If Knauss wants to talk, I’m easily accessible.”

That draws “oohs” from everyone in the room. Mark Martin also gets some interview space, and he too delivers a classic line:

Dick Bergeren: Can you end your career without a Daytona 500 victory?
Mark Martin: Hey, it’s okay. Just one more shot of Gatorade…

Meanwhile, Jeff Gordon celebrates from Victory Lane…
“Yeah! I can’t believe I just won the Daytona 500! (Waltrip Off Camera – YEAH!!!)

The NASCAR Guy’s Final Notes
* The Dodge Charger looks good.
* Scott Riggs, Martin Truex Jr. are having good runs.
* Casey Mears makes some great saves today.

* Does Boris Said belong? (Addict Says: Yeah, he did okay)
* Kenseth off to a bad start.
* Engine Trouble for Waltrip – Not a Great Sign for the Future.

Unofficial 2005 Daytona 500 Results
1. Jeff Gordon (#24 DuPont Chevrolet)
2. Kurt Busch (Highest Dodge Finisher)
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Scott Riggs
5. Jimmie Johnson
6. Mark Martin (Highest Ford Finisher)
7. Tony Stewart
8. Sterling Marlin
9. Kevin Lepage
10. Rusty Wallace

11. Elliott Sadler
12. Carl Edwards
13. Joe Nemechek
14. Dave Blaney
15. Dale Jarrett
16. Jeff Green
17. Kyle Petty (Ed. Note: I incorrectly had him at 15th Above.)
18. Mike Bliss
19. Travis Kvapil
20. Ryan Newman

21. Brian Vickers
22. Kasey Kahne
23. Jeremy Mayfield
24. Ricky Rudd (202 Laps)
25. Greg Biffle (201 Laps)
26. Casey Mears (199 Laps)
27. Boris Said (198 Laps)
28. Kevin Harvick (198 Laps)
29. Jeff Burton (194 Laps)
30. Mike Skinner (187 Laps – DNF)

31. John Andretti (187 Laps – DNF)
32. Jamie McMurray (184 Laps)
33. Scott Wimmer (182 Laps – DNF)
34. Martin Truex Jr. (178 Laps – DNF)
35. Bobby Hamilton Jr. (173 Laps)
36. Jason Leffler (168 Laps – DNF)
37. Michael Waltrip (161 Laps – DNF)
38. Kyle Busch (148 Laps)
39. Ken Schrader (120 Laps – DNF)
40. Kenny Wallace (39 Laps – DNF)

41. Mike Wallace (35 Laps – DNF)
42. Matt Kenseth (34 Laps – DNF)
43. Bobby Labonte (14 Laps – DNF)

Final Analysis
This is about as good a way as you can start off the 2005 Nextel Cup, my friends. There were a few slow spots in the middle, but the last thirty-five laps were incredible (and the Big One is always fun when no one gets hurt). If you didn’t catch it live, I would definitely find a copy of it from a friend, because it’s a pretty historic race. Jeff Gordon picks up his 70th career win and ties Bobby Allison and Dale Jarrett with 3 Daytona 500 victories. The average speed of the race was 135.1 MPH… very close to the 1959 Daytona 500.

Victory Lane
After going through six hours of racing, I’m just about tired of typing. Unless I get death threats in the Email, I’m going to save the 1st Gatorade Duel recap for an off week that’s coming up, just to have some content up. In that case, Speed Weeks are over! It’s been a long month, damn has it been a long one. Thanks to everyone who helped out over the past few weeks, and for making the Speed Addict feel right at home here at Inside Pulse. A big thank you also goes out to my fellow IP Sports writers, who had to put up with all my crap over the past seven days. I’ll see you all back here on Saturday as we warm up for California. Until then, I’m on a nice, long vacation. This is the Speed Addict. Peace!