Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bryson's F.U.E.L takes on Car Warriors

Bryson and LaLa motivated the Street Customs team
as they took on the task of Car Warriors. 
Jim Smith, proud father to Bryson from Bryson’s F.U.E.L, is taking his message of childhood cancer awareness to the national spotlight.

As owner of Street Customs and Restorations based in Mooresville, NC, Smith will be appearing on SPEED TV’s hit show Car Warriors.

As seen in the promo clip, Smith and his team focus on Bryson as their motivation.
SPEED aired a season preview on February 24th but the Street Customs episode airs on March 7th at 9pm ET. The premise of the show is simple: Two teams are given 48 hours to rebuild an entire car from a hunk of junk. Each team must focus of the body, drivetrain, suspension, interior, electronics and of course drive ability of the car. Throughout the 48 hours challenges arise, it is not so straightforward. There is limited supplies and host Jimmy Shine has challenges for the team to overcome if the want the same parts. Winner take all. In the end, the winner walks away with their car and the loser walks away empty handed.

That task is a huge undertaking for anyone; 48 hours to rebuild a scrapped car? That is insane! But with a talented team and motivation anything is possible.

What better motivation then Bryson and all the children battling childhood cancer?

Bryson will play a prominent role in the design scheme of the car build, but you will have to tune into see the finished product.

"A picture of Bryson and LaLa (his stuffed dog he has had since birth) was our motivation" said Smith. "The whole thing kind of took a life of its own. From Car Warriors usually being about drama, tension and people not getting along once the 48 hours starts to wear on you, but we held our cool because we (the team) have a history in racing and we are used to the pressure cooker situations. The stories that ends up coming out of it is about Bryson, that he is my drive and motivation."

Not once during the 48 hours did Smith take a  break; he did not take a snooze, stop to eat - nothing. Why? Because of Bryson!

"My motivation was to see this car finished, to win the competition for my son. To take this car, when and if we win, to car shows and lease it out to car shows, we can make some money for Bryson's F.U.E.L and bring awareness to childhood cancer. I would like to have someone like Barrett Jackson auction the car off, if we won, having all the money go to our charity. What I would really like to do, someday when Bryson is 16, is give him that car. Tell him the story of when he was 5 years old and had cancer, dad did this TV show and here is this car we built in your honor and for your foundation. That would be really cool."

Jimmy spoke with such excitement over the possibilities for the car, which online has been hinted at as being a 1972 Chevelle, that we have to wait with anticipation to see IF they won. Either way, it is great exposure for such a worthwhile cause.

Are you in the Mooresville and Charlotte areas? Bryson's F.U.E.L will be out in full force to celebrate the night the show is broadcast. They are hosting a party at Mooresville SportsPage  and would love you to come out and join in. SportsPage is a steadfast sponsor of F.U.E.L, hosting a "Give back to F.U.E.L night" every Wednesday, donating a portion of their proceeds to them.

In other news

Bryson's F.U.E.L. on board the Hot Honeys
No. 13 truck of Johnny Sauter
Bryson's F.U.E.L is making waves. The Bryson FUEL logo can be seen riding aboard the No. 13 truck of Johnny Sauter and that is just a start. Richard Childress Racing also has sported and will in the future display the F.U.E.L. logos.

Extending beyond NASCAR, Jason Line and Greg Anderson ProStock drag racers are also showing their
support of F.U.E.L.

You too can support Bryson and all the children battling cancer, visit Bryson's F.U.E.L website for more information.

Congratulations to the Street Customs team on their win! 
Bryson and LaLa on the back trunk of the car.

Amanda Ebersole brings the readers of Skirts and Scuffs interviews and insight into the people who make NASCAR the sport we all love. Besides interviews, Amanda also writes her weekly columns In the Rearview Mirror and NASCAR By the Numbers. Catch up on all Amanda's writing by clicking here. Feel free to contact Amanda via Twitter or e-mail. 

Suspension Won't Stop Chad Knaus

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
Champion crew chief Chad Knaus faces a harsh penalty today handed out by NASCAR. Knaus has been suspended for six races and fined $100,000 dollars. In addition, the No. 48 car was docked both 25 driver points and 25 owner points. Car chief Ron Malec also faces a six-race suspension.

The penalty came from pre-race inspection for the Daytona 500; the No.48 car was found to have illegally modified C-posts. The No. 48 team stands by their words, saying that this is the same exact car that they used at Daytona and Talladega last year.

Johnson goes into Phoenix -23 points, 49th in the standings and -70 behind the leader. The possible silver lining in this: Rick Hendrick is appealing it, and while the suspensions are being heard and ruled upon Knaus and Malec are allowed to be at the track.

Hendrick Motorsports quickly released this statement after the suspensions were released:

"Our organization respects NASCAR and the way the sanctioning body governs our sport," team owner Rick Hendrick said. "In this case, though, the system broke down, and we will voice our concerns through the appeal process."

This isn’t the first time Knaus has been suspended from races; in fact Knaus has quite a record. In 2007 he was suspended for illegal modifications to the car at Sonoma and faced a similar fine of a six-race suspension.

I do believe Knaus should be fined, but a six-race suspension is harsh for a car that never was on track, versus a car that was on track and failed. I believe NASCAR needs to be fair and knowing the right way to penalize teams is part of that.

Whatever the final outcome may be, this bump in the road won’t stop the duo of Johnson and Knaus from coming back and winning. Knaus is a very smart man and this is just a minor setback. Whether he’s suspended  for six races or if the team wins the appeal, you can bet Knaus will be back and he’ll be ready to win!

No. 48 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Team Penalized For Infractions At Daytona International Speedway

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 29, 2012) – NASCAR has issued penalties, suspensions and fines to the No. 48 team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as a result of rules infractions found on Feb. 17 during opening day inspection for the Daytona 500.

The No. 48 car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the rule book or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event); and 20-2.1E (if in the judgment of NASCAR officials, any part or component of the car not previously approved by NASCAR that has been installed or modified to enhance aerodynamic performance will not be permitted – unapproved car body modifications).

As a result, crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec have been suspended from the next six (6) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship events, suspended from NASCAR until April 18 and placed on NASCAR probation until May 9. Additionally, Knaus has been fined $100,000.

Driver Jimmie Johnson and car owner Jeff Gordon have been penalized with the loss of 25 driver and 25 owner points, respectively.

Courtesy of NASCAR 

Can't watch the race on TV? Turn on the radio!

Long before television realized that racing was entertaining enough to be televised on a weekly basis, the radio broadcasted NASCAR race events. Between 1960 to 1979, only the important races were televised. In 1979, CBS aired the Daytona 500 in its entirety for the first time. On the last lap of the race, Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison collided cars and got out of them to fight - all while Richard Petty won his sixth Great American Race.

Although it may be more entertaining to watch the race on TV because you see the action, the collisions, and the wild battles between the cars to pass each other, radio stations are still broadcasting the race.

Before you jump in and tell me the radio is too old school to be cool, hear me out. Races run 36 weekends a year, including the hot summer months, and we all have things to do and family to visit. Some want to get outside for a swim in the pool or a boat ride while others just need to catch up with the kids. Whether you're headed out for bar-b-que, driving to work or the beach with the guys/girls, or busy cleaning the house, you don't have to miss out because you aren't able to sit in front of your television for four hours of racing.

What do we do? Deal with it, miss the race? Sure. Or, you could turn on the radio, maybe even the internet, and listen to the race on a local station. Depending on the track you can hear the races on either Motor Racing Network (MRN) or Performance Racing Network (PRN) affiliates nationwide. The announcers don’t sit around gossiping about their opinions of what they do see like a bunch of frat boys at a rush party, they actually give a creative, explicit detailed play-by-play of all the action on the track. There are a few guys hanging around different sides of the track to give descriptive detail of the scenes, and they don’t hesitate to show enthusiasm either. It’s quit intense and arousing at times; you’re often left to sit at the edge of your seat, or like me starring at the radio (thinking if you stare long enough you’ll actually see the race coming from the radio).

The guys don’t have TV’s to see the action they may miss, they have to pay attention to all of the activity, and they don’t have the opportunity to have an instant replay to help them see what happened, like you’ll see on TV. They’ve got to be on their toes, and in sync to where the last guy left off.

Sure, there are commercial, station identification breaks, and sponsor plugs, but that’s just a small part of deal. If you turn the TV on, and leave it on mute, you’ll notice the radio is ahead of the television, and you get to hear who wins the Daytona 500 before you see the cars turn the last corner, like I did last Monday night.

As a writer, I truly believe that listening to what is happening helps with the story I’m going to write (I even listen to novels on audio – to help with my fiction writing - because it helps me hear what I should be writing). The point I’m trying to make is, there really aren’t any good reasons to miss a race anymore, so you should stop making excuses.

Genevieve works with children during the day, but is a writer – all the time. She’s currently living single, working out, hanging out, and spending time with her niece on Lake Norman in North Carolina. Other writing projects she has are: Charlotte Fitness Examiner on; a novel, and television script. She also takes the time to write about Charlotte nightlife, relationships, fashion, politics, and has written a few movie reviews. Genevieve can be reached on twitter at @C_Genevieve

'Alan Kulwicki – NASCAR Champion: Against All Odds' Tells the Whole Story

Credit: Paula Thompson
He was the driver that went against the grain, the driver that gave everything he had to win a NASCAR title…he was the driver that did it his way. Alan Kulwicki wasn’t a household name, related to someone famous, or driving for one of the top teams in NASCAR. In the end, however, there was one thing he became that others have only dreamed of – Winston Cup champion.

2012 marks the 20th anniversary of Kulwicki’s title run in 1992, likely the most exciting championship battle until the 2011 battle between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards. Kulwicki was the “Underbird,” as his Ford was labeled, running against the Junior Johnson-owned Budweiser No. 11 of Bill Elliott and the Havoline No. 28 of second-generation driver Davey Allison. There were many years of racing leading up to that momentous occasion, and Alan Kulwicki – NASCAR Champion: Against All Odds by Father Dale Grubba, a Roman Catholic priest from Wisconsin who became a racing fan in the early 1960s, chronicles those years.

From his early days in karting to his short track and American Speed Association (ASA) days, from the day he sold his belongings and moved to North Carolina to the final hours leading up to his trip aboard N500AK, his private plane that crashed near Bristol Motor Speedway on April 1st, 1993, Father Grubba captured the story of Kulwicki, a story that was sometimes tragic but always inspiring.

Stories of Kulwicki’s days in the Wisconsin racing circles, such as his involvement in a fatal on-track accident that nearly made him give up racing, and stories of an amazing week in New York City as Cup Series champ surround the story of what became a short-lived career, the likes of which will never be witnessed again in NASCAR. While Stewart did win the 2011 title as a driver/owner, he didn’t do it like this.

An interesting aspect of this book: Father Grubba begins it with that fateful flight and crash, the impact it had on those closest to Kulwicki, and the sad trip his hauler took around Bristol for the final time…as a Kulwicki fan, it left me in tears.

In 10 short years, Alan Kulwicki left his mark on NASCAR. This book will leave a mark on fans who are looking to find out the rest of the story.

'Alan Kulwicki – NASCAR Champions: Against All Odds' and many of the other books you’ll see reviewed in Race Fan’s Book Shelf are available to purchase from Coastal 181 (

Krishtian and James Buescher's Love Story Has a Fairy Tale Ending

Presenting Mr. and Mrs. James and Krishtian Buescher
Credit: Jose Villa and
The season was over, finishing third after competing for the championship and James Buescher had his sights set on a bigger prize. Buescher married his longtime love Krishtian (Kris) in what is nothing short of a Hollywood style fairytale wedding. 

James and Kris opted for a destination wedding. As she told me in our last interview, they chose to wed in warm and sunny Costa Rica, surrounded by 80+ family and friends. 

I chatted with Kris as she and James drove the almost 17-hour-long trek from their home in Texas to Daytona to prepare for the race. Little did they know what would await them in the end. 

After a whirlwind wedding experience kicked off by an appearance on the TV show "Say Yes to the Dress," the whole planning process had been easy for the new Mrs. Buescher. Remaining calm, cool and very collected, she was no Bridezilla as she might have been given the size of her wedding. 

"It was absolutely amazing!" Buescher said of her wedding and the whole experience. "Both of us were really laid-back the entire time, even the wedding day, and it rained! As I was taking my bridal portraits it started raining, then it had stopped but as I started walking down the aisle it started raining. James was like 'Oh my god she is going to be so upset' but I was really excited because it is supposed to be good luck for it to rain on your wedding day. I was smiling really big." 

"Our wedding planner was so amazing, there was no problems and it could not have been any more amazing," Buescher said. "There was no stress for me at all. I was even sleeping in the car as we waited out the rain before the ceremony. My dad had to wake me up to go down the aisle." Talk about being chill - I do not think many brides would be sleeping moments before they walk down the aisle, but Kris was at ease. 

First she said yes, then they said I do! 
The dress 

That moment came of heading down the aisle, we had all seen Kris' dress on TV but James had not seen it (as tradition dictates). Of course I wanted to know his reaction!

"He had tears in his eyes and when I saw him, I started to tear up. So as I saw him I looked up at the sky and started giggling (so that I could not cry) and it make him laugh. He didn't cry like I wanted him too but he was pretty shocked when he saw me. My dress wasn't something he expected, he was really happy with it." 

Upon returning home from their honeymoon, James and Kris together watched the episode of "Say Yes to the Dress." 

After seeing the episode, James had empathy for Kris and her experience. He said to her 'Oh my God, I cannot believe that! You had to be so stressed out!' It was eye-opening for him to see the trials and tribulations that Kris went through just to choose a dress. (Men have it so easy!) 

The cake(s)

Next to the dress, the cake is a big deal and for Kris, hers almost didn't make it. She learned after the fact that her cake almost crashed onto the floor!

"Our wedding cake almost got knocked over at the reception. Thank goodness I was so wrapped up in the moment that I did not realize and no one told me until we got home from the honeymoon. Had I known the wedding cake almost fell over, I probably would have had a heart attack!" 

Not to be outdone, Kris expanded on the tradition of a groom's cake. With James being a racecar driver, of course, it would only be fitting to have a race-themed groom's cake, but Kris did not stop there.

Kris counts this as her favorite wedding picture.
"They sculpted his whole race truck, down to the details on the decals and everything. Then they had him in his firesuit and me in my dress, which looked exactly like the one I had on. As my wedding planner pushed the cake out she had race car sounds on and I had gotten a clip from XM radio when the one race where he had taken the lead. So as the cake comes out, it was playing and says 'And James Buescher takes the lead,' it was really cool! He was really surprised by that."

The first dance

The first dance, the moment all eyes focus on you, but the only eyes you see are the eyes of your new spouse. 

The song? Nick Lachey's This I Swear. 

And onto the race season we go...

The wedding has now passed and Mr. and Mrs. Buescher have their sights set on one thing - RACING! 

"We are ready for the racing season. James is so pumped about his new teammates this year (Miguel Paludo and Nelson Piquet Jr.) that I think we have a lot to look forward to. They did a lot of testing in the offseason and he thinks they have a lot to work with, way more then they have had before. I think that is a good sign, considering he thinks that and they were running for the championship last year," a confident Kris said. 

Did that really happen?
Victory lane at Daytona sealed with a kiss.
Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

James occasionally runs double duty for Turner Motorsports and to start off the year, did the Daytona double dip. The Turner trucks were incredibly strong in the NCWTS, but fell victim to the madness. James finished in 17th which was not indicative of his strong run. 

Take 2 - Saturday's Nationwide race. Mayhem ensued towards the end of the race, Buescher had played it smart, drove cleanly the entire race and had himself in position when it counted. As the leaders crashed, Buescher capitalized for the win! James Buescher became a first time-winner in NASCAR, though not in the Truck Series as everyone expected!

Celebrating alongside of him in victory lane was his new wife Kris.

*Update - 2012 has been the year of the Bueschers, James won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship with Kris by his side. 

Amanda Ebersole brings the readers of Skirts and Scuffs interviews and insight into the people who make NASCAR the sport we all love. Besides interviews, Amanda also writes her weekly columns In the Rearview Mirror and NASCAR By the Numbers. Catch up on all Amanda's writing by clicking here. Feel free to contact Amanda via Twitter or e-mail. 

TV Schedule: March 2-4

Sprint Cup drivers race on Phoenix's new asphalt in November 2011.
Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
NASCAR leaves the sunny beaches of Daytona behind for the hot desert. The Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series descend upon Phoenix International Raceway.

Phoenix was repaved for the first time in its history last year, in time for its fall race weekend. Changes include widening the frontstretch, reconfiguring pit road, pushing out the famous dog-leg curve and tightening the curve radius, and installing variable banking to promote side-by-side racing.

The Camping World Truck Series is on hiatus until March 31 at Martinsville.

Track facts
Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, Ariz.
Length: 1-mile tri-oval
Type: Short oval
Banking: 10-11 degrees in Turns 1 and 2, 10-11 degrees in apex of dog-leg at Turn 3, 8-9 degrees in Turn 4, 3 degrees on the frontstretch, 9 degrees on the backstretch

Subway Fresh Fit 500 Format:
500 kilometers, 312 laps

2011 winners:
Spring: Jeff Gordon
Phoenix: Kasey Kahne

Bashas' Supermarkets 200 format:
200 miles, 200 laps

2011 winners:
Spring: Kyle Busch
Fall: Sam Hornish Jr.

The following is a schedule of track events and TV coverage this weekend. All times are in Eastern Daylight Time.

Friday, March 2:
12:30 p.m. NASCAR Live, SPEED
1 p.m. NNS Practice, SPEED
2:30 p.m. NSCS Practice, SPEED
4 p.m. NNS Final Practice, SPEED
5:30 p.m. NSCS Final Practice, SPEED
7 p.m. Trackside, SPEED. Guest: Brad Keselowski.
8 p.m. NSCS Practice (re-air), SPEED
9:30 p.m. NSCS Final Practice (re-air), SPEED
11 p.m. Trackside (re-air), SPEED
11:30 p.m. NNS Practice (re-air), SPEED

Saturday, March 3:
11:30 a.m. The 10, SPEED
12 noon NASCAR Performance, SPEED
12:30 p.m. Trackside (reair), SPEED
1 p.m. NNS Qualifying, SPEED
2:30 p.m. NSCS Qualifying, SPEED
4 p.m. NNS Countdown, ESPN2
4:30 p.m. NNS: Bashas' Supermarkets 200, ESPN2. Green flag: 4:45 p.m.

Sunday, March 4:
4 a.m. NNS: Bashas' Supermarkets 200 (re-air), ESPN2
11 a.m. NASCAR Now presented by 5-HOUR Energy, ESPN2
11:30 a.m. NASCAR Performance, SPEED
12 noon SPEED Center NASCAR Edition, SPEED
12:30 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay, SPEED
2:30 p.m. NSCS Pre-Race Show, FOX
3 p.m. NSCS: Subway Fresh Fit 500, FOX. Green flag: 3:14 p.m.
6 p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane, SPEED
9 p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane, SPEED (also re-runs at midnight at 9 a.m. Monday)

Hendrick Garage: Daytona 500

Dale Earnhardt Jr. passes Greg Biffle for second place on the last lap.
Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR
The day fans have been waiting for was finally here, The Daytona 500. What was meant to be an exciting race on Sunday wouldn’t happen thanks to rain. In the 54 year history of the Daytona 500 this was the first rain delayed race, which would end up becoming a Monday night "primetime" race. How would a Monday night race affect the Hendrick cars?

Kasey Kahne - No. 5

Kasey Kahne, the new kid in school, was hoping to have a great night at the 500. So
far he hasn’t had much luck at Daytona. During the Bud Shootout he wrecked and after an accident in practice, he would have to go to a backup car. Kasey Kahne started the race in 20th position and for the most part stayed quiet. On Lap 90 Kahne started to make noise, restarting 5th and a push from his teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., sent him to the front.

Green flag stops were quickly underway when Elliott Sadler hit Kahne on pit road causing minor damage. The fenders were damaged but Kahne’s crew quickly got his car fixed up and back out on the track. The last 35 laps would prove to be the caution laps, with 10 to go Kahne got collected in a wreck and would finish 29th.

Jeff Gordon - No. 24 

3-time Daytona 500 winner Jeff Gordon returned to the track with hopes of becoming a 4th champion. Starting in 16th, Gordon quickly moved to the front, no holding back. After leading on Lap 58 something went wrong with Gordon’s car. Sticking his hand out Gordon started to wave letting other drivers know to pass him. On Lap 91 Gordon’s engine blew, the 3-time Daytona 500 winner had to retire from the race, finishing a disappointed 39th.

“There has been so much reliability testing that if we had seen some high temps or some high water pressure, then I would have kind of expected some of this to happen,” Gordon said. “But I was actually seeing some surprising low temps and low pressures. I don’t know, maybe something was off there.

Jimmie Johnson - No. 48

5-time champion Jimmie Johnson was hoping to add another Daytona 500 win to his belt. But Johnson had his night cut very short. On Lap 2 Elliot Sadler got into the back of Johnson sending his car into the wall as he also got slammed by an oncoming car. Johnson ended his night a very disappointing 42nd.

“I’m OK,” Johnson said after the wreck. “I’m just really bummed-out for this whole Lowe’s team. To work as hard as everyone did at Hendrick Motorsports to get this Lowe’s Chevrolet and to have it barely complete two-and-a-half miles of green-flag racing is pretty sad. Disappointed, but nothing I can do about it now. We’ll just go on and go to Phoenix (International Raceway) and set our marks on winning that race.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. - No. 88

The one thing that Dale Jr wants more then anything  is to end his winless streak. Could Earnhardt Jr. do it at a track he’s had much success at?

For the whole race Earnhardt Jr. stayed up front, never venturing to the back, as he said earlier in Speedweeks. The No. 88 car was extremely fast all night long but never could out run the Fords of Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle.

With 3 to go Earnhardt Jr. started 3rd and never lifted off of pushing Biffle hoping for a drag race to the finish. But Biffle wouldn’t move with Earnhardt Jr. as the checkered flag waved. Earnhardt pulled out and tried to give Kenseth a run for his money. Earnhardt didn’t have enough for the high powered Fords and finished 2nd.

“I told Greg that I was going to push him on that last restart, and I pushed him,” said Earnhardt Jr., who now ranks second in the driver standings. “I thought he was waiting and waiting, and he looked like he might have been trying to make a move on that last straightaway. But I kind of waited until the last minute, and nothing was happening so I just pulled out and went around him."

Here is a funny quote from Earnhardt Jr’s scanner that made me and a lot of other fans laugh. As Terry Labonte got spun by Macros Ambrose, Jr. said, "Awe man, who would turn the Iceman around?"

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Deuces Wild: Pit road woes and social media follows

The blue deuce ready for action.
Courtesy of @keselowski
Few races are as exciting as the Daytona 500, but for Penske Racing’s newest driver the excitement was short-lived. Starting from the 15th position the driver of the the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Dodge, AJ Allmendinger, avoided two early race incidents only to have his hopes of winning dashed by a freak pit road accident involving Ryan Newman.

While exiting the pits Newman’s No. 39 Chevy lost a tire which forced him to stop in the middle of pit lane. With nowhere to go Allmendinger ran into the rear of the car causing substantial damage to the “double deuce.” Forced to the garage for repairs, the team was an innocent bystander for the rest of the evening and was relegated to a 34th place finish – not what the "Dinger" had in mind for his first points race with the team.

Penske Racing’s other driver, Brad Keselowski got more television time for his social media antics than for his prowess on the pavement. During the two hour rain delay the driver of the “Blue Deuce” increased his Twitter followers by the thousands as he tweeted from his stopped car on the track. After climbing from the No. 2 @keselowski continued to entertain other drivers and the viewers with his photos and commentary surrounding the Juan Pablo Montoya jet dryer debacle. Keselowski did admit that his fellow competitors think he’s a little crazy.

Although there were initial rumblings that Keselowski might be penalized for having his phone in the car during race conditions, most fans found the interaction enjoyable and NASCAR, using their own Twitter account on Monday, said:
#NASCAR will not penalize @keselowski for his use of Twitter during last night's #DAYTONA500.
Nothing we've seen from Brad violates any current rules pertaining to the use of social media during races. As such, he won't be penalized.
We encourage our drivers to use social media to express themselves as long as they do so without risking their safety or that of others.
Keselowski ultimately finished 32nd after getting caught up in a late race incident.

The Penske deuces might not have been wild, but the Daytona 500 sure was.

In The Hunt with Richard Childress Racing

Welcome to the inaugural post of “In The Hunt” with Richard Childress Racing. Over the course of the season I hope to not only recap the races for you, but to introduce you to the crew members and relay any interesting news or witty banter from the RCR group. Think of it as a weekly safari. 

                                                                          Photo courtesy: NASCARMedia                                                                                 RCR's Nos. 29, 27, and 31 in traffic      

“Geez, we haven’t even gotten the race started!” ~Kevin Harvick on his radio about first-lap crash.

When the Houston ABC affiliate mentions the race on the morning news as “Disastrous Daytona 500,” you know the race was eventful. While RCR’s Elliot Sadler, in the No. 33 sponsored by General Mills and Kroger, brought out that crash when he got into Jimmie Johnson, the other Richard Childress Racing drivers managed to avoid being directly involved in the chaos and scored solid finishes.

Jeff Burton in the No. 31 CAT Chevy wound up fifth, followed by Paul Menard’s Peak/Menard’s No. 27 in sixth and Kevin Harvick in the No. 29 Budweiser ride finished seventh despite a late-race charge that didn’t quite get him to the front.

While he only led two laps under caution, Paul Menard pushed Denny Hamlin to the lead where the duo stayed for a long while, until Burton took the lead with the help of Greg Biffle. Menard said, “We just kind of rode around the first half of the race anticipating some big wrecks; there were a couple, but not as many as we thought. I figured it was time to go about Lap 120 and to work our way up there, but it was hard to pass. We could get two cars pushing for about half a lap or so before you could separate them. It was just a lot of riding around the bottom. Sixth is still a good finish and a solid start to our season."
While Burton and Menard stayed near the front, Harvick lurked until about 50 laps to go. The No. 29 stayed in the top five for almost the remainder of the race but was unable mount any significant challenge to the Fords of Biffle and later Kenseth.  Harvick said, "Right off the bat we got into a little argument with the cone (the orange commitment cone) there. We had to come in and fix the hole in the nose. We just decided to take care of the car for the first 100 laps and make sure it didn't get too hot. Then there at the end, we just couldn't get everything organized.”

"We had a good evening,” said Burton. “We ran in the front most of the night and were able to keep ourselves in good track position. We thought we had a really good shot at it. Paul (Menard) was hooked up to me and we were coming pretty hard on them going into three. The group on the outside got a run on him and just sucked the air of each other. It's so hard to get tandemed-up. In the past, we could get tandemed-up a lot better. NASCAR did a great job. To be honest, I didn't think they could make these kinds of changes, but they did a great job of breaking up the tandem. It made for a completely different race."

Sadler had some fuel system issues but managed to finish 27th, ahead of all the drivers involved in the crash he inadvertently caused. Not only did he take out Johnson, but Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch, David Ragan and defending race champion Trevor Bayne incurred damage in what would be but the beginning of an action-filled night. "It's really unfortunate. I was really excited about the opportunity to race in the Daytona 500 again this season and we knew we had a good car. It started to lose fuel pressure before the halfway mark and Gil (Martin) and the guys did what they could to get us to the finish. It's not what we hoped for with the General Mills/Kroger Chevrolet but hopefully we can learn something from it they can use at the next restrictor-plate races."

By the numbers: 
No. 27 Paul Menard:      Start - 37              Finish - 6                Laps Led - 2               Points - 6
No. 29  Kevin Harvick   Start - 13             Finish - 7                Laps Led - 0                Points - 7
No. 31 Jeff Burton         Start - 9                Finish - 5                Laps Led - 24             Points - 5  
No. 33 Elliott Sadler     Start - 10                Finish - 27                Laps Led - 0             Points - n/a

Quote of the race: Harvick’s spotter, Billy Odea, during the red flag, "Those blimps are awfully low. I don’t ever want to ride in a blimp. They look scary.”

MWR Weekly Wrap-up: Truex grabs $200k and Martin leads team efforts

Mark Martin, Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. - Team MWR 
NAPA Knows How to get a $200,000 bonus!

Martin Truex Jr. was leading at lap 100 and netted the halfway award money, a prize reestablished by NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway.

In response to the nice bonus, Truex's longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex tweeted "momma needs a new pair of shoes!!!!" Good luck spending that cash, Martin, Twitter consensus has that you should finally buy a ring and pop the question.

In racing news...

MWR had a strong showing in the 54th annual Daytona 500. Led by Mark Martin, the team posted 10th, 11th (Clint Bowyer) and 12th (Truex Jr.) place finishes.

Mark Martin's debut with MWR was a success. Avoiding any damage and leading for 2 laps, Martin and the No. 55 team performed strongly all evening. As Martin took the lead, boss Michael Waltrip tweeted: Woo hoo! @55MarkMartin @aaronssports leads! Uh led!

In his post-race comments, Martin said: “I had a great night. I’m really happy how our team worked together. I told everyone before the race to remember how long 500 miles here really is. I was really reminding myself that what happens in the first three-quarters of the race doesn't matter. So we were just riding until the end. We could see the front at the end and I thought we had a shot with Martin pushing us but we came up just a bit short. Still, it was a great night for my team, Aaron’s, Michael Waltrip Racing and everyone."

Clint Bowyer's night was not as easy. Running in the top five for portions of the race, a miscalculation of fuel mileage was a costly error for the 5-Hour ENERGY team as they ran out of gas on Lap 128. Losing two laps to the leader, the Aarons' Lucky Dog put Bowyer back on the lead lap with just 12 laps to go.

"I’m not sure exactly what happened, but for some reason we ran out of fuel. My team never gave up and we were able to get back on the lead lap. Heck, I thought we had a shot there at the end. All in all, a really good run for us considering everything we encountered.”

The aforementioned Truex Jr. had about the same results of his teammates, add in the bonus and leading seven laps.

“I pushed as hard as I could and I just couldn't go anywhere at the end. We had a good NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota all day. We started to run hot there in the end and that was about it for the race when it came to any real challenges with our car. Chad and the guys did a great job to improve our car since the Duels. We led laps and led at halfway for the bonus. We just didn't lead at the end. Good day all-and-all for the entire Michael Waltrip Racing organization.”

For your viewing pleasure head over to view this hilarious MWR commercial for AAA insurance.

Amanda Ebersole brings the readers of Skirts and Scuffs interviews and insight into the people who make NASCAR the sport we all love. Besides interviews, Amanda also writes her weekly columns In the Rearview Mirror and NASCAR By the Numbers. Catch up on all Amanda's writing by clicking here. Feel free to contact Amanda via Twitter or e-mail. 

Under the Spotlight: Blaney Nearly Wins First Race By Default

Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR
The infamous jet dryer that delayed the last 40 laps of the 54th running of the Daytona 500 almost won Dave Blaney his first victory in 398 races, but ultimately led to a 15th-place finish and landed him the fifth highest topic on Twitter worldwide.

The incident involving Juan Pablo Montoya happened around Lap 158. Montoya was attempting to catch up with the pack while under caution, but lost control of his car and plowed into the jet dryer that was on the track at the time.

The accident resulted in a two-hour red flag, for a race that had already been postponed to Monday due to rain for the first time in the history of the season-opener. The drivers climbed out of their vehicles to investigate the incident and according to Dale Earnhardt Jr., ended up discussing everything except racing.

Several drivers were huddled around Blaney, who was sitting in the best position possible in the event that the race were to be called off if the track was unable to be repaired or if the weather took a turn for the worst. The driver of the No. 36 Ollie's Bargain Outlet Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) started Monday night’s race from 24th, a very respectable position for an underfunded team.

Since entering the Sprint Cup Series full-time in 2000, Blaney has earned two poles, four top fives and 28 top 10s with 105 DNFs. Of all the drivers to be up front in the season-opener, Blaney was probably one of the most unlikely candidates.

After a caution on just the second lap of the race, one for a crash involving five-time champion Jimmie Johnson, Blaney’s crew chief Ryan Pemberton made the call for Blaney to stay out and restart the race in 20th.

After several pit stops, including one to repair a popped tire which caused damage to the front fender, Blaney stayed toward the back of the pack until after the midway point of the race and once again made his way toward the front, ultimately ending up in 15th.

“That was our goal; to get as many points as we could in case something happens with qualifying in the next few weeks,” said Blaney following the lengthy season-opener. “I’m just glad we had the finish we had and got a lot of good exposure for our team and Ollie’s during the broadcast,” he said.

In the October 2011 race at Talladega, Blaney earned TBR their best finish of third. In the spring event at that same track, the driver led 21 laps.

Next week, Blaney will race in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, alongside teammate David Reutimann, who will make his TBR debut driving the No. 10 Chevrolet.

Other unexpected performances in the Daytona 500 include: Jeff Burton who finished fifth after starting ninth; Joey Logano who finished ninth in his best Daytona 500 performance to date; Marcos Ambrose who finished 13th even after wrecking and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. who, after managing to avoid all wrecks, finished 20th, one position ahead of where he started.

Earnhardt Jr. and his teammate Kasey Kahne were the only two Hendrick drivers left on the track for much of the race after Johnson and Jeff Gordon were both involved in earlier incidents. Earnhardt Jr. had a very successful Daytona 500, spending much of the race up in front, managing to avoid all of the chaos and pulling out a second-place finish in the last possible seconds of the race.

With much of the focus on the eventful Sprint Cup Series season-opener, it’s easy to overlook the results from the other events throughout Daytona Speedweeks. John King, driving for Red Horse Racing in his debut season, won Friday’s Camping World Truck Series race. King, who is currently ranked first in the point standings, has just two career wins – both in late models.

Saturday’s Nationwide Series trophy was taken home by James Buescher who ended up first despite running in 11th in Turn 4 of the final lap – luckily for him, all of the drivers in front of him wrecked, clearing the way to his first career victory to add to a record of only two top fives and six top-10 finishes.

Talkin' Trucks: John King pulls off an amazing win at a rookie!

John King, rookie driver for Red Horse Racing, celebrates in victory lane at Daytona.
Credit: Red Horse Racing 
Daytona International Speedway takes experience, luck and being in the right place at the right time. Two out of three ain't bad, right?

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie John King was in the right place at the right time, probably had a fair share of luck on his side but was completely lacking experience. The Red Horse Racing driver has never been to a big track as intimidating as Daytona.

Speaking four days after the win, it still has not sunk in for King.

"It's four days later and I still cannot go to sleep when I lay down at night. Just thinking about it, it's unbelievable! We are just so fortunate to be able to have such a good run in our first attempt there, guys race there their whole careers and cannot get a win. It's something else, I am very blessed, that is for sure."

The pressure to win is always intense, but the pressure to perform in your first race for a new team is magnified tenfold.

King and DeLoach in victory lane.
Credit: Red Horse Racing 
"A whole new groups of guys, who have only spent a few weeks together then we haul off to Daytona, a track I have never been on in my life. I had never drafted before in my life, never pushed before, never done any of those things and it says a lot for the whole organization at Red Horse Racing. We have a lot of support, great leadership through Tom DeLoach and everyone does their jobs. You've heard the saying, everything falls into place, well that is kind of what happened."

Looking at the race itself, King started in 23rd but elected to hang back in the rear of the field. He and teammate Timothy Peters planned that move well in advance to avoid the melees that are a product of plate racing. Turns out, that was a smart move because King and Peters were able to play it smart and make their move when it counted.

The win was not without a little bit of controversy, though. King unintentionally wrecked Johnny Sauter as Sauter was leading the race headed for the win.

"I started rolling out of the throttle to sit and wait a minute and I couldn't stop. Once I got to him, I could not get off of him and I wrecked him. It wasn't until after the race that I learned I did have some help from behind. We were all hooked up, it was just one of those unfortunate events. It would never be my intention to wreck someone, I do not think I have ever wrecked anyone intentionally in my whole racing career nor would I under those circumstances."

With just over a month until the next race, King is raring to go!

"I am focused and just the support we have from TRD and Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing engines, it's a fairy tale deal. Got a great crew chief (Chad Kendrick) and I cannot wait to see what transpires over this year."

Headed into Martinsville, King has all eyes on him. His story has captivated NASCAR fans attention and is now the driver to watch. Competing for Rookie of the Year honors, King will be running the full season with Red Horse Racing as the team continues the sponsor search for the young driver. I think the win at Daytona may help that situation.

Front Row Report: Daytona 500

David Ragan (No. 34) gets collected in an early wreck on Lap 2.
Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR
David Ragan, David Gilliland, and Tony Raines all came to Daytona International Speedway with high hopes that they could be the one to become the 2012 Daytona 500 champion, which would bring much needed money as well as recognition to Front Row Motorsports. Rain fell on Sunday, forcing NASCAR to postpone the race until noon Monday. However, Mother Nature intervened on Monday, too. Rain delayed the start of the race until Monday night. The rain delay was only the start of the bizarre twists that would befall the Daytona 500.

The Front Row Motorsports drivers were viewed as underdogs, but there was talk all week leading up to the race that a driver from the organization could be crowned as a Daytona 500 champion. The Ford drivers had been dominant in the practice sessions at Daytona, and things looked promising for Ragan, Gilliland, and Raines. Unfortunately, that would not be the case. Especially when pack racing is so unpredictable. Ragan’s night ended just as soon as it had begun when he was collected in the multi-car crash on Lap 2. Gilliland was involved in a crash late in the race, but held on to finish despite the damage to his racecar. Raines was able to avoid late-race trouble to be the highest-finishing Front Row Motorsports driver.

David Ragan, No. 34 Scorpion Truck Bed Liners Ford -- Start: 25th, Finish: 43rd

After a lot of uncertainty during the off season, David Ragan found a new ride with Front Row Motorsports after being let go from Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the 2011 season. Ragan, who saw his chances at winning the 2011 Daytona 500 disappear after being penalized on a restart later in the race, returned to Daytona with renewed determination to get the job done this time around in the No. 34 Scorpion Truck Bed Liners Ford.

Unfortunately for Ragan, he would never have a chance to see if he could put himself in contention for the win again. Just after crossing the start/finish line to complete Lap 1, a multi-car crash unfolded as Elliott Sadler, in the No. 33, got into the back of the No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson. As drivers scattered to avoid the melee, Ragan had nowhere to go as he slammed into the left side of Johnson’s car. The damage to Ragan’s car was too much to repair, and the No. 34  team was relegated to a 43rd place finish.

David Gilliland, No. 38 MHP/Power Pak Pudding Ford -- Start: 33rd, Finish: 23rd.

One year ago, David Gilliland came close to winning the Daytona 500 when he finished 3rd. He had high hopes he could do just as well on Monday. Gilliland was forced to start the race from the rear of the field after his primary Daytona 500 car was damaged in a crash during the first Gatorade Duel on Thusday. Once the green flag waved, Gilland was content to keep his No. 38 MHP/Power Pak Pudding Ford in the back for much of the race.

When the caution came out on Lap 158, crew chief Pat Tryson ordered Gilliland to stay out and not pit with the rest of the leaders. He opted to stay out for one more lap. Just before Gilliland was to pit under the caution, Juan Pablo Montoya lost control of his No. 42 Chevrolet and collided  with a jet dryer. The impact resulted in a huge fire and forced NASCAR to throw the red flag. Gilliland was 4th at the time. As the delay wore on, there was talk that NASCAR could potentially call the race, but emergency crews and track officials had the track ready for racing again two hours after the red flag had been displayed.

Once the red flag was lifted, Gilliland made his scheduled pit stop and remained toward the back of the pack once the race restarted. On Lap 189, another multi-car incident unfolded, and Gilliland was able to avoid it. With less than ten laps remaining once the race restarted, he decided it was time to make his move. His luck ran out on Lap 198 when he was hit from behind and hit the wall on the frontstretch. Even with heavy damage, Gilliland remained on track for the green-white-checkered attempt to finish 23rd.

Tony Raines, No. 26 Santorum for President Ford -- Start: 41st, Finish 19th.

The No. 26 Santorum for President Ford was not locked into the field for the Daytona 500 coming into Speedweeks, but Tony Raines was able to race his way in. Raines’ strategy once the green flag waved Monday night was to remain in the back in hopes of avoiding any potential trouble. It was a plan that ultimately paid off, but it took a lot of work on the No. 26 team’s part to bring home a good finish.

By Lap 60, Raines was a lap down and struggling with an ill-handling racecar. His team made adjustments during every pit stop, keeping Raines in position to be the Lucky Dog and get back on the lead lap when the next caution came out. That caution came on Lap 80, and Raines was back on the lead lap. Just like teammate Gilliland, Raines was inside the top five when the race was red flagged. Raines ran competitively inside the top fifteen once the race restarted and was 11th for the final restart. Raines finished 19th after having to check up to avoid making contact with another driver in the final turn.

Race winner: Matt Kenseth, No. 17 Best Buy Ford

Threats of rain and even a fire on the track couldn’t stop a Ford driver from taking the checkered flag on Monday. Matt Kenseth easily sailed to his second Daytona 500 victory with a hard charging Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Greg Biffle right behind him.

Roush Fenway Rewind: Kenseth Wins At Daytona!

Kenseth celebrates second Daytona 500 win and RFR's 300th
win. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)
At the end of what some have called a “legendary” or “epic” Daytona 500 race, Roush Fenway Racing clinched their historic 300th win when Matt Kenseth drove the No. 17 Best Buy Ford to Victory Lane early Tuesday morning.

Roush Fenway Racing began the race strong, with Carl Edwards and his No. 99 Fastenal Ford on the pole. Sitting next to him on the front row was Greg Biffle in his No. 16 3M Ford. This would be the first time that that Roush Racing had swept the first row at the start of the Great American Race.

Prior to the start of the race, over the in-car radio while talking with Darrell Waltrip, Edwards had this to say about the race. “We’ve got the same plan we had the last race there at Homestead…Just go out, try to lead every lap, try to win this thing.”

Following a strong start and a fast pit stop, Edwards kept his Ford fast and in the top three until he got caught up in the middle of a three-wide pack on Lap 17 and lost a number of spots.

During this time, Biffle stayed strong, run as low as 10th, but gaining position with ease and running in the top three most of beginning of the race.  With drafting help from Marco Ambrose, Biffle began leading the pack by Lap 68.

Kenseth ran in the top ten for most of the first quarter of the race, dropping into the teens on occasion. At Lap 70, Kenseth began overheating, saying his “water system wouldn’t pressurize”. On top of this, he began having radio issues that would plague him the remainder of the race.

Starting at 21st, the lowest start of all of the Roush Fenway racing drivers, first time Daytona 500 contender, No. 6 Ford EcoBoost driver, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  dropped as low as 28th by Lap 52, but remained steady in his position, for the most part.

At the beginning of the halfway mark, three of the four Roush Fenway Racing drivers were in the top ten, while Stenhouse Jr. was running 23rd.  Biffle lead the race for the majority of the halfway lap and looked to be the driver who would claim the $200,000 midway bonus. However, in the last few seconds, Denny Hamlin pushed Martin Truex Jr to the lead. Although Biffle wouldn’t claim the bonus check, he was the driver who had led the most laps for the first half of the race.

At Lap 109, Edwards complained of fuel problems. He stated that his fuel pressure gauge was going up and down and the gauge light was going off and on. It was suggested that there were possible problems with the sport’s new electronic fuel injection.

Kenseth would overcome his previous water pressure issues and take the lead on Lap 145. Prior to this, Biffle had maintained a spot in the top three, occasionally obtaining the lead. Following his fuel pressure problems, Edwards found himself buried in the pack in the 20th position, often with Stenhouse Jr. who was running 21st for the majority of the time.

With 40 laps to go, the red flag would drop, due to an incident with Juan Pablo Montoya’s No. 42 directly hitting the back engine area of a jet dryer (on the track for a caution involving David Stremme). At the time of the caution, Kenseth was running fifth, Biffle was in tenth, Edwards was running 17th and Stenhouse Jr was in the 27th position.

The red flag would last for a total of 2 hours and 5 minutes because of the massive fire and extensive clean-up effort. This break would give the drivers a reprieve and chance to be out of their cars and spend time with one another on the backstretch. Before exiting the car, Edwards, ever the comedian, responded with this to crew chief Bob Osborne’s question, over the in-car radio, asking if he needed anything, “…I would really like a snack cracker over here or something. I was thinking of a…maybe a Ritz or a sub sandwich (in reference to Subway). Maybe a Cheez-It. Cheez-Its would be good.” Osborne, knowing Carl was messing with him and referencing a few of his many sponsors, responded, without hesitation, “ I like Cheez-Its.”

Kenseth was another Roush Fenway Racing driver who turned to comedy to break the stress what was becoming a three day attempt at a 500 mile race. While Edwards was being interviewed by Matt Yocum, Kenseth took the opportunity to mess with Yocum, by tugging on his headset and pulling it up off his head.  Kenseth saw this made Edwards laugh on camera and continued his antics, by flipping Yocum on the backside with a water bottle while Biffle was being interviewed moments later.

When the red flag was finally lifted, Edwards’ laughter was halted when it was announced both he and Joe Gibbs Racing driver, Kyle Busch, would have to restart from the rear of the field, due to both drivers pulling tear-offs from their cars’ windshields during the red flag.

The yellow flag remained until there were 34 laps to go. On the last caution lap, the four leading drivers (Dave Blaney, Landon Cassill, Tony Raines, and David Gilliland) all went down pit road, placing Matt Kenseth in the lead when the green flag was waved.

Halfway through Lap 166, Biffle would move ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr. to take over second place.

On Lap 175, Kenseth remained in the lead with Biffle still in second. Stenhouse Jr ran  19th, while Edwards struggled to return to the front of the pack in 26th position.  During this time, Kenseth battled radio issues again, when he could hear both his crew and Mike Calinoff, his spotter, but neither could hear him.

Edwards was hit on the front bumper in a pack wreck that caused the ninth caution, on Lap 187, but the damage was only minor. Edwards, however, lost ten positions after having to pit. He would restart in 23rd.

With seven laps to go, Kenseth still maintained the lead, with Biffle in second, constantly battling with Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the position until he finally fell to fourth position with six laps to go.

With four laps to go, Joey Logano seemed to have tapped Stenhouse Jr, who was running 12th. This caused Stenhouse Jr. to move up into reigning Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart, bringing out the tenth caution of the race, also forcing a Green-White-Checker finish.

Winner of the 2012 Daytona 500 - Matt Kenseth.
Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR
With this wreck, Kenseth found himself in the perfect position. Despite a small run by Biffle, Kenseth would take the checkered flag and win his second Daytona 500 (his first being in 2009).

Biffle finished third after a last-minute fight with Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was able to inch past Biffle at the finish line.

Edwards would finish eighth, a solid top-ten finish despite restarting at the back with 40 laps to go.

The wreck on Lap 196 would push Stenhouse Jr. back to a 20th place finish.

When asked in Victory Lane if he had thought he had a chance to win the race when his engine was spewing water early in the race, Kenseth responded, with a smile on his face, “Not really. We had a lot of problems. We had engines spewing water…we had a little bit of fuel problem…we lost the tachometer, lost the radios, and I couldn’t talk…what a great race!”

He later said that both he and Biffle had “really fast rockets” and it all boiled down to who was “in the front at the end”.

Biffle’s response to this was that it was “like the 17 had more motor!” and it just “wasn’t meant to be.”

And with a race that had pre-race festivities on Sunday, a green flag on Monday, and a checkered flag early Tuesday morning, Roush Fenway Racing stuck it out and welcomed long-time RFR driver Matt Kenseth to Victory Lane and into the books with his second Daytona 500 win and Roush Fenway’s historic 300th victory. Congrats to Matt Kenseth, his whole team, and everyone at Roush Fenway Racing!

Top Tweets From Roush Fenway Racing This Week:
This week’s tweets will be tweets from the RFR drivers, either in regards to the rain delay or during the rain delay.

Greg Biffle:
“Pouring down now!!!!!! This sucks everyone is ready, fans are ready, now we need mother nature to be ready.” (Sunday afternoon)

Matt Kenseth:
(After retweeting with “LOL” when someone joked that the long rain delays caused the Kenseth family to announce child #4 was on the way)   “Holy cow, the guy was JOKING about the rain delay, NO baby on way!!!”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.:
“Actually lovin the sound of jet dryers right now @DISUpdates normally they make me mad and wake me up #Daytona500” (Sunday afternoon, when there was still hopes of a race that day)

Carl Edwards:
Unfortunately, Carl is #TwitterlessCarl, so there is no tweet from him. You will just have to enjoy his Red Flag humor from earlier in the recap!

Gibbs Garage: Joe Gibbs Racing leaves Daytona with positive momentum and cars intact

Final restart of the 2012 Daytona 500.
Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images.

The Joe Gibbs Racing teams departed a foggy Daytona International Speedway with several feathers in their caps. Although none used those caps in the hat dance, all three drivers took their cars home in one piece – quite a feat at the 2012 Great American race. With two top-10s and a top-15, JGR started the season with positive momentum.

Historically, the Daytona 500 has not been kind to Denny Hamlin. With a career best finish of 17th in both 2008 and 2010, he has never cracked the top fifteen. But after starting near the back in 31st, Denny Hamlin ended the race in third place, his best finish in seven career Daytona 500 starts.

At the halfway mark of the race, Hamlin pushed Martin Truex Jr. across the start-finish line, resulting in the No. 56 team winning the $200,000 bonus purse. Truex’s team owner Michael Waltrip tweeted, “Feel like @dennyhamlin is going to ask me for part of that $200K.”

On top of his top-5 finish, Hamlin led the most laps, leading the race three times for 57 of 202 laps. After the race, he tweeted: “Awesome run for our FedEx team today. Proud of our effort.. So close.”

Joey Logano had a solid start to the season, a big plus for a guy in the last year of his current contract. After starting 12th, Logano stayed in the top 15 for the majority of the race, logging many laps in the top 10 and earning a career best finish of 9th place. In addition, he led two laps, a first-time accomplishment for him in the Daytona 500.

The No. 20 had several close calls, one on pit road and two multi-car wrecks at the end of the race, but he avoided contact every time. With about 15 laps to go, Logano suffered a hiccup when he lost a few positions after shutting off his engine to save fuel, and had trouble refiring it.

Although he thought the Home Depot Toyota was good enough to win, Logano admitted he was pleased with his strong start to the season.

“I’m just happy to get out of here with a top-10 finish and some momentum,” Logano said after the race. “Momentum is a huge deal in this sport and this is the way we wanted to start the year.”

Coming off his win in the Bud Shootout, his 14th place finish in the Daytona 500 might have been a letdown for Kyle Busch, especially since he finished 8th last year. But overall, it was still better than his average Daytona finish of 17.6.

Busch started in the 14th spot, wearing his new brown firesuit in honor of M&M character, Ms. Brown. Fans on twitter got a kick out of Busch’s trip to the portable toilet as soon as drivers were allowed to exit their cars during the red flag. Sometime during the red flag delay, a tear-off was removed from the No. 18 windshield, sending Busch to the rear of the field for the restart. Even with this setback, Busch was able to gain numerous positions and recover from a sideways slide near the end of the race.

Busch tweeted, “Played it smart, patient, methodical, and was in pos to have a shot 2 win w 2 to go and got spun. Just all about luck. Ready for phx!!”

Joe Gibbs Racing headed to Phoenix with all three teams in the top 15 in points. Not a bad showing for this crazy rain-postponed, fire-delayed race.

Beth Bence Reinke writes "Gibbs Garage," Joe Gibbs Racing Sprint Cup team recaps, for the 2012 season. Her Skirts and Scuffs column, “Faith on the Frontstretch,” explores the role of faith in motorsports.
Beth is the author of Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a devotional book geared toward female NASCAR fans. Follow Beth on Twitter at @bbreinke or reach her at