• Feb 21st 2011 at 10:46AM
  • 56
If you're saving your 2011 Daytona 500 viewing experience for a later date, you'll want to go ahead and skip this post all together.

Still with us? This year marked the 53rd running of the biggest race in NASCAR, and thanks to a completely re-paved track, the event saw a record 74 lead changes between 22 drivers. The new sticky asphalt also led to plenty of side-by-side racing with more than a few pile ups as a result. But all of that carnage happened to open the door for one very unlikely winner.

Wood Brothers Racing took home the checkered flag for the first time since 1976 with 20 year-old Knoxville, Tennessee native Trevor Bayne behind the wheel. Never heard of him? We aren't surprised. This Daytona 500 only marked his second Sprint Cup series start. Bayne led the last six laps and successfully fought off a last-minute rush by Carl Edwards to take home the $1.46 million purse and become the youngest-ever winner of the Daytona 500. While Bayne was only scheduled to run five races with Wood Brothers this year, this win just might change his schedule.

[Source: ESPN | Image: Glenn Smith/AP Photo]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I agree with the annoying talking heads . If they were driving real stock cars & weren't covered in sponsor stickers no one would even need those gate-mouth ya-da ya-da's.
      But unfortunately if you just mute the talking-heads you won't be able to "HEAR" those big V8 engines .
      Surely some smart computer whizz-kid could figure out how to mute-out the constant chatter & just let us listen to the "RACE" cars !
      • 4 Years Ago
      Damn. I wish I had watched the race.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I wish my DVR hadn't stopped recording at the end of the scheduled broadcast, with 18 laps to go.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I live in Knoxville and have never heard of this kid. Congrats though!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good race, typical Daytona/Superspeedway racing. I know it won't change but it's unfortunate that it stunts many teams' season when they crash out early.

      Overall, I really like how the car looks this year (compared to last). The new nose looks much more 'stock car' though we'll have to see how that affects the 1.5 mile tracks.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I love car racing. Say what you will about NASCAR but it is car racing. Sure they turn left 800 times but until you drive at speed on a banked track STFU. It is not easy.
      I love F1 but fully realize that almost all forms of auto racing are compromised except driving to work in the morning.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Say what you will about this win for Trevor as being on based on "luck", but that insults his work during the race.

      So many of the so-called superstars were complete idiots - taking chances - losing control - not thinking. Many weren't even a factor when they were in the race. Many couldn't figure out drafting in two car packs. Many were whining no one would partner up with them.

      But throughout the race Trevor was CONSTANTLY moving to the front as a "pusher" to someone else. When there were situations that would have put him and others at risk, he would back down and reset - after years on the circuit, Kyle Busch hasn't figured that common sense move out - Trevor has already shown he is every bit a gentleman racer as David Pearson who also drove that 21 car and made the Wood Brothers famous.

      Trevor also was no luckier in this race than any other winner of a restrictor plate race. He has as many chances to be caught up in wrecks as anyone else. Being in the front in a two lap shootout also is no guarantee of a victory. When David Regan was black-flagged for getting out of the double file restart before the finish line, that was no luckier for Trevor than Jimmy Johnson benefiting from a mysterious pit-road speeding penalty on Kevin Harvick in the season finale at Homestead last year. And Trevor, having to go through another restart without a normal drafting partner, was really looking to pull BEHIND another driver even though he was in first place. But when the opportunity presented itself, Bobby Labonte pushed Trevor to the front and off he went.

      The last two laps of the race were a microcosm of Trevor's character. Instead of blocking like I've seen Jimmy Johnson, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Jeff Gordon, Trevor just raced. His post race interviews pretty much summed up his feelings about the last lap, but his rookie conduct was exemplary. When other more experienced drivers suddenly went stupid on the last lap and allowed Carl Edwards and David Gilliland to pass them on the inside, usually the handwriting is on the wall for the front runner. Edwards' pack had the momentum, but Trevor still raced clean. In the end, Edwards pulls behind Trevor and took a look up the track and then darted down behind Trevor - taking second while Trevor crossed the line in first.

      No, this wasn't about luck. And it wasn't about a car that was unworthy the whole race suddenly being given a victory. This was about a young driver who raced within himself, risked no one else's life, and showed the class and grace that half of the drivers on that track don't have. Maybe Trevor will be a one race wonder - maybe he will be the next big thing. But one thing can be said - when other drivers drove with their heads up their arses, Trevor kicked their butt. And on the day when all the talk was about Dale Earnhardt, it was the words of the Silver Fox who told the kid from Knoxsville, Tennessee to have "fun and to drive smart" which paved the way for the return of the red and white Wood Brothers car back to victory lane. Trevor: 20 years old and in 1st place. Number 21 is back. And I bet they didn't cheat like Jimmy Johnson has been caught doing 13 times during is five-peat.
      • 4 Years Ago

      A racing line is a racing line. It takes a great deal of physical strength and endurance to sit in a hot car and keep to that racing line.

      Many of us prefer our racing lines to be up and down, rather than left and leftish. That's the big criticism with NASCAR and to an extent Indycar too.

      I don't care for banked racing. I respect the dedication the drivers have to their fitness and focus on a racing line. It is my preference that each lap should be a significant driven distance and take (under normal green flag) a significant amount of time.

      I don't need NASCAR to race at circuit and road courses to substantiate it. It's a brand developed on ovals. But can you tell me that ovals are more exciting than road courses?

      If so, why? It's not a criticism. I hope you don't take it that way.
      • 4 Years Ago
      You would never known it from the broadcasters on Fox, but the really important story was the success of Kurt Bush and Dodge. For some reason this group of talking heads downplayed, if not outright ignored, the Dodges. Sure, there were only four Dodges out there, but Kurt Bush won two races at Daytona this week and was running up front with two other Dodges all afternoon at Daytona. Dispite the lack of numbers, the Dodges and Kurt Bush in particular, continue to provide the TV networks and NASCAR with its worst nightmare. Dodge, after decades of NASCAR trying to negate and marginalize their superior Chrysler engineering, still can dominate the far more numerious and better funded Chevys, Toyotas and Fords. With just a little more help from Tony Stewart at the end Sunday, Bush would have put his Dodge in the winners circle for a third time this week at Daytona. That's the big story from Florida this week. GO DODGE!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oh yeah not the kid winning the Daytona 500 on his first try, not the big names that crashed out due to the tandem racing....Kurt Busch's 5th place finish is the big story. Not even David Gilliland's unlikely 3rd place matters.......
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't know if I'd call anything that Dodge has done recently 'domination,' but Busch did have a good car yesterday. I think they'll compete at a much higher level this year than they have in the past. Hopefully, it's to the detriment of the Hendrick cars...I'm so tired of seeing Jimmy Johnson win by just 'playing it safe.'
      • 4 Years Ago
      Congratulations to the kid. Not a Nascar fan but many friends are. One of my friends mentioned that Wood Brothers has been in this forever as a small team with one car, so that's a 2fer in my book.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Glad to see the rookie win. However, the race itself was pathetic. I don't like the new "double team" racing at all. In my opinion, it's what caused all the accidents yesterday. I'm a big fan of the Sprint Cup, but if they continue to race like that, then I'll have to give up my love for the sport. I like the races where everyone is for himself - that's where the real men are - like Earnhart Sr. I wonder what he would have thought about that race were he watching . . .
      • 4 Years Ago
      Trevor Bayne has a Roush/Fenway contract for the full 2011 Nationwide Series. Prior to the start of the season all drivers were required to commit to one of the three NASCAR series for championship points and Bayne picked the Nationwide Series for obvious reasons. I believe he also a contract for 17 races with the Wood Brothers for 2011 but those might be shared with Bill Elliott. I know he has one for the first 5 Sprint Cup races for sure.
      • 4 Years Ago
      74 lead changes. Last year in Formula 1 there were 38 in the whole year, and most of those were because of pit stops.
        • 4 Years Ago
        one pass on f1 track is worth whole season of nascar passes (excluding sears point and watkins glen)

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