Gaynalysis – 400 miles in Daytona

The Gaynalysis is just one gay NASCAR fan’s take on the race weekend.  You can read the “straight” recap of the Coke-Zero 400 from Daytona by clicking here.

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“Gay NASCAR” by Keith J. Varadi – 2009

Only a few short hours before the green flag dropped NASCAR’s Steve O’Donnell dropped a bombshell and Twitter almost imploded.  O’Donnell announced that AJ Allmendinger had been suspended for failing a drug test that was given last week in Kentucky.

The announcement started a 72 hour clock in which Allmendinger can request that his “B” sample be tested.   Meanwhile , the Penske Team scrambling to get their jet up in the air for a quick round trip to Charlotte to scoop up Penske Nationwide driver Sam Hornish Jr.

TNT showed footage of the Penske jet landing near the speedway as the pre-race ceremonies continued.  The only thing keeping it from becoming a full-on OJ Chase were helicopter shots of Hornish’s SUV as it raced through the tunnel.

For now, I am going to withhold comment about AJ.  There certainly isn’t anything fun or funny in this situation – and frankly, we don’t know enough.  Allmendinger has made no statement and NASCAR has in no way indicated what substance showed up in AJ’s “a” sample.

When this season started I was among the many who thought AJ would win his first big Sprint Cup race now that he was in a great seat.  I just knew this would be the story that put AJ on the front page – I never thought something so seemly would be the thing that got “AJ Allmendinger” trending.

Sam Hornish was strapped in at the last minute and the race began.  The first half of the race was slow – almost boring – as it ran caution-less with drivers spread out like slot cars.

I like the race but the reaction to the race on Twitter was mixed.  The bottom line for me is that the 2-dogs-f’ing style of tandem racing is gone.  NASCAR made some huge aero and cooling changes – but they made the cars so prone to overheat that even running in a big pack for long was dangerous.

Those who were watching on TV may not have seen a lot of passing…. but the stats don’t agree!  Tony Stewart started in the rear of the field and took the #14 to victory lane.  Biffle and Kenseth got separated in a late pit road mistake – but quickly regrouped and drove it back to the front.

It seemed as if Kenseth was going to take the best car of the day to victory lane except Tony Stewart made an amazing move to grab the lead out of turn 4 on the last lap.  Biffle and Kenseth’s draft was split up and Biffle was trying to follow the #14… but he had Joey on his outside and Harvick on the inside… they tried to put three race cars in a compact-only parking spot.

The resulting crash bottled up most of the field – Kenseth, Stewart and Burton made it through cleanly and Smoke was up front when they crossed the line.

I will admit to making some “boring” jokes during the first half of the race – but the last half gave me everything I want from a Super Speedway.  Clusters of cars and big wrecks where no one is hurt!

The scariest moment of the night was actually at slow speeds in the pits.  Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman got tangled up leaving their pit stalls.  This sent the #39 spinning wildly towards the pit box of Brad Keselowski.  Members of the #2 crew and NASCAR officials sprinted out of the way of Newman’s out of control car.  Luckily, no one was injured but Keselowski’s car suffered some significant damage to the rear bumper and quarter panel.

That brings me to this week’s Q4G Shout-Out – awarded to the entire Blue Deuce Team.  HEYYYYYYYYYYYY FELLAS!  Nice work.  I am sure everyone was a little shook-up after nearly getting smashed and having to repair their race car – the team and  Brad brought it home P12 – a solid finish with the hand they were dealt.

Tony pulled out a great win – snatching the victory from Kenseth’s hands….. but the Media will be focusing on the AJ story this week and Smoke’s win may be lost in the shuffle.

ALSO – Congratulations to Kevin and DeLana Harvick – who welcomed their son Keelan Paul Harvick into the world on Sunday, July 8th.

 

Tony Stewart Foils Kenseth, Biffle, Wins Daytona Thriller

[ via NASCAR Wire Service – by Reid Spencer ]

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Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Tony Stewart had an answer for the dominant pair of Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle.

In winning Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, Stewart side-drafted and separated Kenseth and Biffle, who had surged into the lead during a two-lap run to the finish, then pulled away for his fourth win in the last eight July races at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

As Stewart approached the checkered flag for his third win of the season and the 47th of his career, a massive wreck in Turn 4 skewed the finishing order behind him. Stewart’s 47th victory broke a tie with Hall of Famer Buck Baker for 14th all-time.

All told, Stewart has won 18 races at Daytona, but, much as it did with Dale Earnhardt Sr., the big prize continues to elude him.

“I don’t know, but I’ll trade ‘em all in for just one Daytona 500,” Stewart said of his four July victories. “This is 18 wins at Daytona — we just haven’t got the right one yet. But all of ‘em are special, and it’s cool to do this.”

Jeff Burton came home second and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leader Kenseth third (after leading a race-high 89 laps), with Joey Logano and Ryan Newman completing the top five.

Biffle, involved in the last-lap crash after he and Kenseth separated, finished 21st despite having led 37 laps.

Denny Hamlin, suffering from a sore back that kept him out of practice for the event, made an ill-fated move exiting the tri-oval on Lap 153 of 160, triggering a multicar wreck that thinned the field for the final restart. All three Joe Gibbs Racing cars — those of Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano — were involved, as were the Michael Waltrip Racing entries of Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr.

Kenseth led the field to the restart with Stewart to his outside and Biffle behind him. But Stewart got a push from Kasey Kahne and surged into the lead, only to have the Biffle-Kenseth pairing roar back past him.

But with an artful side-draft, Stewart unhooked the teammates, and pulled ahead while Kenseth waited for Biffle.

“I don’t know — it seems like we made the wrong moves at Talladega (in May) by not keeping Greg with me and getting separated,” said Kenseth, the 2012 Daytona 500 winner. “Today, I think I shouldn’t have worried about it, once we got separated off of (Turn) 2, and I was under Tony.

“I think I should have just stayed with him and drag-raced him to the finish.”

A caution on Lap 124 for a seven-car wreck that destroyed the Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson interrupted the dominance of Roush Fenway Racing teammates Kenseth and Biffle, who both had committed to pit road before the caution flag flew.

Pit road closed with the yellow, however, and Kenseth continued without stopping. Biffle, on the other hand, drew a penalty for stopping while pit road was closed and was sent to the rear of the field for a restart on Lap 131.

One of the last drivers to pit after pit road opened, Kenseth also restarted deep in the field, but before long, he and Biffle hooked up and began rolling to the front in the outside lane. When Brad Keselowski’s spin in Turn 2 caused the fourth caution on Lap 144, Kenseth and Biffle were running seventh and eighth, respectively.

The first caution didn’t come until Lap 81 — one lap past halfway — when Sam Hornish Jr., driving the No. 22 Dodge in place of suspended AJ Allmendinger, blew a tire and wrecked on the backstretch. Hornish was a last-minute substitute for Allmendinger, whose failed drug test from last weekend at Kentucky was announced Saturday afternoon, along with his suspension from NASCAR competition.

The caution was a huge break for Stewart and Keselowski, who had fallen a half-lap down during the first cycle of green-flag pit stops. Stewart made excellent use of the reprieve and soon worked his way to the front of the field.

Keselowski’s good fortune was short-lived. During pit stops under caution for Hornish’s crash, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon went three-wide and tangled on the way to the exit from pit road. Newman’s Chevrolet turned across the nose of Kahne’s Chevy, and slid into the back of Keselowski’s Dodge, which was parked in its pit stall.

Alert and nimble, Keselowski’s crew and a NASCAR official scattered and escaped injury. And with full credit to the pit crews, all four cars effected repairs and remained on the lead lap. Ultimately, all four survived to finish in the top 12.

Note: Kenseth’s lead in the standings grew to 25 points over Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was collected in the last-lap crash and finished 15. Biffle is third, 44 points behind Kenseth.

“In the Red”, by Jade Gurss, A Must Read for any NASCAR Fan

A book review by Adam Lovelace, stay tuned to Queers4Gears.com for an interview with Jade Gurss.

Jade Gurss is the owner of fingerprint, inc, a sports publicity company. Jade provided publicity and media relations for Anheuser-Busch and their sponsorship of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s number 8 Budweiser NASCAR team from 1999 through the 2007 season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and is the author of “In the Red”. “In the Red” follows Dale Earnhardt Jr. throughout the 2001 Daytona 500, a race in which his father would lose his life on the last turn of the last lap of the race, and the rest of the 2001 season.

“In the Red” begins with Jade Gurss telling the reader about Dale Jr.’s appearance at the 2001 Winston Cup Preview (Winston being the title sponsor of the series at that time) in which Jr. tells of a dream he had about winning the Daytona 500. Dale Jr. is asked about where his father is in the dream and the answer gave me goosebumps then and gives me goosebumps to this day every time I hear the story.

JadeGurssThe 2001 season saw Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. team up for the the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona just weeks before the Daytona 500. Father and son finished 2nd in their class and 4th overall. Jade takes us through the Rolex and gives the reader insight into the relationship between Earnhardt and Dale Jr. in a way that most fans never get to see from the usually private Earnhardt family. “In the Red” takes you behind the scenes of the Earnhardt family and the tragedy they went through in 2001.

From the 2001 preview, to the Rolex, to the Daytona 500, to the dark weeks that followed, “In the Red” will take you on a week to week, up and down, roller coaster ride of emotions through the entire 2001 season. Whether you are an Earnhardt fan or not, whether you are even a race fan or not, “In the Red” is a very compelling read and a must for any racing fan.

Jade Gurss is also author of “Driver #8” which chronicled Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s rookie season, as well as co-author of “DW: A Lifetime Going Around in Circles”

Follow Jade Gurss:
@JadeGurss, @InTheRed2001 on Twitter
“In the Red” on Facebook
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Follow Adam Lovelace:
@aclovelace on Twitter