Once again, for the millionth year in a row, the Truck Series race at Daytona didn’t disappoint. You could certainly make the argument that it’s perennially the most exciting race of the weekend. There was a huge crash on the first lap, and a horrifying pile-up on the last lap coming to the checkers. In the end, 18-year-old pole sitter Kaz Grala became the youngest driver to win a NASCAR series race at Daytona. Some thoughts…
-What an unbelievable finish. Grala was running sixth when the pack came out of turn two on the final lap. The leaders went three wide, and then absolute chaos… Veteran Matt Crafton got turned, did a 360 flip through the air and landed on Johnny Sauter, as seemingly the entire field crashed behind them. Grala held it wide open on the bottom and was able to slip by and win the race. One of the wildest crashes I’ve ever seen.
-This was the first NASCAR sanctioned race with the new stage points system. You could tell right away that these guys were going to battle for every point, even though it was Daytona. I thought the stages could have maybe been 30 laps each, 20 laps seemed a bit short for an official stage. But I like the system, hopefully it continues to work well.
-The crash on Lap 2 was unfortunate. Seemed like one of those racing deals. Chase Briscoe got Noah Gragson loose coming out of the tri-oval, causing a big crash and taking a lot of good trucks out really early.
-Defending series champ Johnny Sauter won each of the first two stages, and seemed to pace the field through most of the third. Sauter seemed to be in good position in the final laps until that caution with around three to go. After that it was a craps shoot following the double-wide restart.
-Both Nemechek’s, Joe and John Hunter, slipped by the big crash to finish in the Top 5. Great showing for NEMCO.
-I really like Kaz Grala. He seems like a great kid, and hopefully s growing star in NASCAR. I died laughing when he said: “I didn’t know how to do a victory lap, but I’m Polish so I figured I should drive backwards.”
-Another great trucks race at Daytona. It was action packed and exciting through all 100 laps. A lot of good, young drivers in the field learning and making mistakes.
On to Saturday…