Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rating the Budweiser Shootout: 5 Stars *****

The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opened in grand fashion with a 200 mph high-flying act that included bumps, flips and a photo finish. The 2012 Budweiser Shootout gets a no-brainer of a 5 Star Rating.

What a race, folks. NASCAR officials, drivers and fans have been wringing their hands all offseason about what type of racing would be on display once Speedweeks began at Daytona International Speedway.

Well, I think all of that worry can now be channeled into great excitement and anticipation of what lies ahead for the rest of the week.

This race had just about everything that makes race fans sit on the edge of their seat for an entire race. It even had a pretty exciting photo finish to cap off the night.

Race fans wanted the large restrictor-plate racing packs to return to Daytona and Talladega superspeedway racing. The Bud Shootout sure provided that. Nobody could hook up in a two-car draft and pull away from the crowd. The three-wide swarm of cars that is one of the most adrenaline-spiking sights in all of sports was back.

When drivers put on a show like they did Saturday night, the number of laps remaining hardly seems to matter. There’s almost no time to look to the top of the television screen to see how much of the race is left because the action is so intense on the track.

For those who like big wrecks, those are back too. Some people will say all wrecks are a bad thing. That’s fair. No reasonable person wants to see even their most hated driver get hurt. But, those wrecks make highlight shows for a reason, and boy did we have some big ones Saturday night.

Jeff Gordon had the most spectacular crash of the evening as his car slid out of Turn 4 on on the driver’s side window and then flipped three times before settling completely upside down.

Kevin Harvick and Michael Waltrip also had scary adventures when their cars caught on fire during one of the big wrecks. Thankfully, everybody came out of the race unhurt.

Even with all that went on in those wild 82 laps, Kyle Busch stole the show.

Busch’s #18 car was completely sideways on two separate occasions and yet he never spun out. Both times he made ridiculous saves to keep from crashing. Sparks showered the track and the front of the car crinkled, but Busch miraculously held on to the car to stay in contention.

Not only did he stay in contention, but he went on to win the race.

Not only did he win the race, but he did so in spectacular fashion by inching out Tony Stewart at the finish line by .013 seconds, the closest finish in Budweiser Shootout history.

A photo finish is like a walk-off homerun in baseball. It is simply the most exciting thing that can happen at the end of an event.

The best part of all of this is that the shootout is only the first Cup race of Speedweeks. There are still three other Cup races, a Nationwide race and a truck race that could very well be just as exciting.

Oh boy, strap in for one heck of a week. The Budweiser Shootout was great, and if NASCAR doesn’t change any rules the rest of Speedweeks is shaping up to be just as good.


  1. right on the was a superb race and we'll likely run out of fingernails to chew on next Sunday, lol

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