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Issue Date: Monday, November 28, 2011 Issue: 5-3 Last Update: Thursday, December 01, 2011
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At-a-glance

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To some, the sport of NASCAR seems like a boring sport.  To people like me, it is very exciting to watch.  The 2011 NASCAR season was one for the ages!  Coming into the 2011 NASCAR season, Lowes Driver #48 Jimmie Johnson had won 5 straight Sprint Cup Championships (kind of like the winner of the Super Bowl).  They had changed the point system so it would be harder for Jimmie Johnson would not win a 6th championship.


Unlike most sports, NASCAR’s biggest event starts off the season, the Daytona 500.  It produced the most unlikely winner: Trevor Bayne.  However, he was mainly competing in the Nationwide Series (the rookie series before Spring Cup) and just came to race to see what it was like, so his victory points did not count.  Carl Edwards, who came in 2nd, let the points for that week.  Next week in Phoenix, the drivers who finished in the top 14 places in Daytona all wrecked out of the race.  Jeff Gordon would win his overall 83rd race. 


The next week in Las Vegas, Carl Edwards would collect his first and only victory of the year.  He would climb back up the points standings.  They had a bye week, and the next week in Bristol would be Kyle Busch’s first win of the season.  But the encloser, Kevin Harvick, would win the next two races in Fontana and Martinsville, which featured a lot of dangerous wrecks.  The race in Texas would be a night for Ford drivers to succeed, as Matt Kenseth drove his #17 car into victory lane!  4 other Ford cars would finish in the top 10. 


The next week was a high thrilling, drafting style race in Talladega.  Jimmie Johnson would win just barley in one of the closest victories ever.  The next race in Richmond would be Kyle Busch’s second victory of the year.  The race in Darlington would feature the second “first ever” victory of the season (Trevor Bayne being the first).  Reagan Smith and his #78 furniture row Chevrolet would drive into victory lane for the first time ever.  But during the race, a rivalry sparked between Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. The mile-long raceway in Dover is nicknames the “Monster Mile” because that is where the most wrecks happen.  Matt Kenseth would not wreck and win a second time that season.


Then came the all-star race.  It did not count for points, but whoever won would win $1,000,000.  Carl Edwards took home $1,000,000 in a thrilling race.  The next race in Charlotte was the longest race, lasting 600 miles.  On the last lap, drivers like Kasey Kahne ran out of gas.  Dale Earnhardt Jr, who had only won 1 race since signing with Hendrick Motorsports, was on his way to collecting his first victory since 2008.  Then he ran out of gas and Kevin Harvick pass him and won again.  The next race was in Kansas.  Brad Keselowski, the 2010 Nationwide champion, got his first NASCAR victory in a long time. 


At the race in Pocono, Jeff Gordon made history with his 84th career win, tying with Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for 3rd all time.  The next race in Michigan would be Denny Hamlin’s first and only win of the season (Where as he won 8 the previous year).  In the seasons first road race in Sonoma,  Kurt Busch would get his first win of the season.  The second race in Daytona was won by rookie David Ragan, the 3rd rookie to get his first win.  The following race would be the first ever race in the Kentucky motor speedway.  The first ever winner would be Kyle Busch.  The next race in Loudon would be won by Ryan Newman, team mate to Tony Stewart, who was hungry for a win. 


In the brickyard 400 in Indianapolis (also the place where the Indianapolis 500 takes place) Paul Menard (Yes, he is related to the guy who owns Menards, his Dad), would kiss the bricks as he became the 4th driver to get his first win.  The first race in August (in Pocono) would also be the first time Brad Keselowski got 2 wins in a season in the Sprint Cup Series.  NASCAR’s second road race would be won by Australian Driver Marcos Ambrose (Ambrose gave up international racing for NASCAR).  This would be the 5th driver, and last, to get his first ever win.  The second race in Michigan would be Kyle Busch’s last victory of the season.  The second race in Bristol would be Brad Keselowski’s last victory, which he won with a broken leg.


The first race in September (in Atlanta) would be Jeff Gordon’s 85th victory, 3rd all time behind David Pearson’s and Richard Petty.  The race in Richmond would be the last race before 12 drivers would battle for the chase.  Kevin Harvick won the race.  The drivers in the chase for the championship were Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowski, and Matt Kenseth.  In order to qualify for the chase, you have to win races and/or finish in the top 10 or 5 consistently.  The first two races for the chase in Chicago and Loudon were won by Toy Stewart, who hadn’t won all year.  Kurt Busch would take the checkered flag in the second Dover race.  The 5 time champion Jimmie Johnson would get his second victory of the year in the second Kansas race.  Matt Kenseth would pull into victory lane in the second Charlotte race.


Then there were 5 races left.  The second Talladega race would be won by Clint Bowyer, who by this time was hungrier for a victory than anyone else.  The next two races in Martinsville and Texas would be won by 2 time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart.  In the truck racing series, Kyle Busch wrecks another driver 140 mph into the wall, in the weekend in Martinsville.  He would be suspended, ultimately ruining any chances for a championship.  After Tony Stewarts 2 wins, there were only 2 drivers left in the chase: Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart, and because Carl was more consistent in the season, he had a lead over Tony.  Tony Stewart led the most laps in Phoenix, but he would finish in third with Carl Edwards one spot ahead of him.  Kasey Kahne would win the race.  The point margin got smaller.


It all came down to the final race on November 20th in Miami.  Carl Edwards was starting in first.  During the race, Tony Stewart bumped David Reutimann, and Tony would have to come to pit road to get the grill repaired.  He was all the way back in 40th.  He passed nearly every car in his #14 Chevy, until they waved a Red Flag due to rain on the track.  When the race restarted, Stewart was more alive than ever, even though Carl Edwards led the most lap.  By the time the final 30 laps had come, Toy Stewart had the lead, and Carl Edwards was desperate to pass him.   In the end, Tony Stewart would win the race and his 3rd Sprint Cup Championship.  The season was one to remember.


In the 2012 NASCAR season, some changes to teams have been made.  David Ragan’s return to Rousch Fenway Racing (Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, and Greg Biffle are also on that team) is questionable.  Clint Bowyer is leaving Richard Childress Racing (Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Paul Menard are also on that team) for Michael Waltrip racing along with Mark Martin, who is leaving Hendrick Motorsports (Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, and Dale Jr are also on that team).  David Reutimann is being released from Michael Waltrip racing (Martin Truex Jr is on that team).  Kasey Kahne is leaving the ending red bull team for Hendrick Motorsports.  Danica Patrick is going to be on the Stewart Haas Team, along side Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman.


This season was one of the greatest.  With all of the changes in teams and sponsorship, the next season should be more or just as exciting.


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1 COMMENTS - add your comment below
11/30/2011 9:55:40 AM by BJ    
Who is your favorite driver, mine is kyle busch.
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