Race React: The 2017 Daytona 500

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I happened upon a wreck, and a race broke out! For better or for worse, the 2017 Daytona 500 was eventful. Drivers were aggressive in the race’s later stages, some of NASCAR’s lesser known names got their day in the sun, and fans of Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart were grinning ear to ear at race’s end.

In two years, the elder Busch brother has gone from the outhouse to the penthouse. Remember the 2015 edition of the Daytona 500? A race without Kurt and Kyle? While Kyle was shelved with leg fractures, Kurt was suspended over allegations of domestic abuse in the matter of ex-girlfriend Patty Driscoll. He won’t say it, but Kurt must be feeling a sense of vindication with trophy in one hand, and new bride Ashley on his other arm.

In his 16th attempt, the 2004 champion is a Daytona 500. I’ll never forget Busch pushing former teammate Ryan Newman to the 2008 victory, and for year wondered if that was as close as he was ever going to get.

So this is what victory lane at Daytona looks like. Actually, retired driver and current 41 car owner Tony Stewart has won his share at Daytona International Speedway. While he’s won just about everything else at the venue, Smoke never succeeded in taking home a trophy from the Daytona 500. What he couldn’t do as a driver, he’s done as an owner. That would would happen sooner or later, but who thought it would be Kevin Harvick and not Kurt Busch getting Stewart the 500 win?

Personally, it was cool to see the likes of Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson, AJ Allmendinger, Paul Menard and Chase Elliott up near the front. Is it wrong for this writer to admit it was nice to see someone other than the usual suspects in the spotlight? We haven’t seen he last in the latest bunch of young guns up towards the front. As for the veterans we don’t see so much of, let’s not forget the latent rise of Martin Truex Jr.

Because yours truly has obvious skin in the game, he has to keep an open mind about all the changes. With a hopeful wait and see attitude, 2017 isn’t off to a bad start. You really have to love it if you deal in sheet metal.