Saturday, February 7, 2009

Who Will You Be Watching In The Shootout?

The Budweiser Shootout will have the largest field in its thirty-one-year history tonight. Right off the line, rookies Logano and Speed will be on my radar, but not because I feel that they will be in the running. Rather, their entry in the Shootout seems unwarranted and given their recent racing modes*, they could negatively influence the outcome of this important first race of the NASCAR season. (*Logano’s last lap at the Toyota All-Star Showdown and Speed’s ARCA season finale)

If they had to qualify their way in, I would feel more charitable towards their participation. It should be interesting to see how well each driver adjusts to the “big time” and interacts with their fellow Cup drivers. Since my son has raced against both gentleman, I clandestinely hope that they will raise to this remarkable opportunity.

Now my driver for this race has to be Jamie McMurray. Driver McMurray will start the race right in the middle of the pack. While he did not have such a great run at Daytona last year, McMurray finished out the 2008 season on a hot streak with three podium finishes. Further, the last six 2008 races found the #26 in the top-ten five times and the top-five three times. Momentum can be central on team performance.

Additionally, the return of Crew Chief Donnie Wingo, who has more than fifteen years of NASCAR experience, makes good sense to me. Driver and Crew Chief already have history and a respect for each other. McMurray and Wingo worked together at Ganassi.

"Donnie and I have been friends for years," said McMurray. "Even when he wasn't my crew chief, I would still call and talk to him - not just about racing - but anything. He is one of the hardest workers I know, so to be able to have him come over to Roush Fenway and be a part of this No. 26 Crown Royal / IRWIN Industrial Tools team is really exciting.

Lastly, Jamie McMurray has a good history at the Daytona International Speedway. He won the Pepsi 400 there on July 7, 2007. In twelve starts, McMurray has one win, two top-five, and three top-ten finishes.

Okay, now you know who I will be cheering on. Who is your favorite Budweiser Shootout driver?


Firecracker! said...

Just made it home from work, my second job. Missed most of the ARCA race but I'm just in time for the Shootout. I have to hope it is Jeff Gordon (although he is starting in the back...bad draw...) or I also hope that Kyle will at least be in front, fighting for the win. Whoever wins it will be exciting and here they go!!!


NASCAR Race Mom said...

Lots of accidents in the ARCA race.

Jeff Gordon is really doing well - eighth!

My guy McMurray is in second!

NASCAR Race Mom said...

Well Jamie McMurray did not win the Budweiser Shootout, but he couldn't have come any closer. What an exciting race and a super job by the #26.

I am sorry that the rookies Logano & Speed were out of the race so soon - kind of wanted to see how they would run.

Firecracker! said...

I could be ornery and say, "I think we just saw how they'll run!" ;) But I won't because neither of them caused it...just caught up in it. Yet, I thought it was quite picturesque how the two rookies handled the situation, compared to how the experienced Jeff Gordon maneuvered his line beautifully though it all. Great race...Jamie did very well!! I'm sure you will enjoy watching him in Las Vegas. Jeff came in forth, boy his car looked really fast at times today. Hope that means good things to come for the 500! :)

NASCAR Race Mom said...

Gordon's go-karting background showed as he wove himself through the carnage. Reminds me of Moses’ style.

Jamie McMurray really lived up to my expectations. He has to be really happy with his dominant run and second place finish.

I can't wait till Las Vegas!