1979 was the first time CBS showed the Daytona 500 live, flag-to-flag (Thank You, Ken Squier for getting CBS to do that). I’m thinking that year a few of us got together and watched it at my apartment on Webster Street.

In the 40-plus 500s run since, my wife Julie and I have hosted a bunch of 500 parties, with a few years of up to around 40 guests. We have missed a few parties because we were in Daytona for the race.

We had a great time with pools that paid for things like, first guy interviewed outside his car, first guy to get upside down, first guy to hit any wall, first guy to spin 180 degrees (or better) and first car shown being aided by a wrecker. And let’s not forget a fan favorite – first car shown applying duct tape to it.

Because of the virus, Julie and I watched this one alone. With a nap or two, she gave up around midnight. I, of course, watched it all.

Let’s hope it’s the last time we watch it alone.

Michael McDowell

Before Daytona, McDowell had started 357 (spanning 14 seasons) Cup races without a win. He only had four top 5s and 12 top 10s going into last weekend. He failed to finish in 136 races, his average finish was 29.89. The 34-year-old spent many seasons as a start-and-park guy.

If he stays in the top 30 in points, he’s in the playoffs. Last season he finished 23rd points with 588 points. Corey LaJoie was 30th with 408 points.

He is one of eight drivers to get his first win in the Daytona 500. He joins Tiny Lund (1963), Mario Andretti (1967), Pete Hamilton (1970), Derrike Cope (1990), Sterling Marlin (1994), Michael Waltrip (2001) and Trevor Bayne (2011).

For the third time in the last five years, the Daytona 500 winner led only the final lap. In fact, with the race finishing under yellow, he only led a few yards. Kurt Busch did it in 2017 and Austin Dillon did it in 2018.

Ross Chastain

During the rain delay, Chastain took a road trip to the local McDonald’s to pick up some food for his team.

When a McDonald’s employee spotted him, she asked, “You just came from the race track?” “Yeah! We’re racing, whenever it stops raining.”

She handed him a drink and three paper bags, confirming that he’d ordered “six of everything”.

“We’re feeding the whole crew!” Chastain said. He was wearing his fire suit and baseball cap with the McDonald’s logo on it.

Chase Elliott

Elliott has won five of the last seven Cup Series road course races, including the last three consecutively.

His five wins have him tied for seventh on the all-time road course wins list with Dan Gurney, Darrell Waltrip and Tim Richmond.

If he wins this Sunday, he will join Bobby Allison, Richard Petty, Ricky Rudd and Rusty Wallace in a tie for third-most series road course wins with six each.

Jeff Gordon leads the series in road course wins with nine (five at Sonoma and four at Watkins Glen). Tony Stewart has the second-most road course wins with eight (four at Sonoma, four at Watkins Glen).

This season the Cup guys will race on seven road courses including one in the playoffs.

Start-Finish Line

Did anyone notice the yellow stripe painted just before the start/finish line at Daytona? Why is it there, how long has it been there, and does any other track have one?

I’m guessing the winner is the first guy to the black and white line and the yellow strip only aids in a photo finish.

In football the ball has to “break the plane” of the goal line. In hockey, I believe the entire puck has to cross the line.

ROTY

Only two drivers are running for the 2021 Cup Series Rookie of the Year honors. They are Chase Briscoe and Anthony Alfredo. I say there should be at least four guys in the running or they should bag it for the year.

Trucks Running for Bonus Money

Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis announced bonus money and prizes provided by Camping World for the 2021 season.

The first winner was Ben Rhodes, who won the NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona and was awarded a $25k driver bonus and $25k road crew bonus.

The team leading the driver’s points after the Kansas race, May 1, will receive a $50,000 road crew bonus. The team leading the points after Knoxville, July 9, will receive a $75,000 road crew bonus.

Year-end bonus will go to the team who leads the most laps during the season with a $50.000 driver bonus and a $25,000 road crew bonus.

The championship driver will receive an electric pickup truck and a Lordstown electric (Class E) RV.

Camping World will also tap into a $100,000 fund for incremental bonuses or team needs throughout the season. Camping World requests that if a Truck Series team or driver needs help securing sponsorship or has interest in exploring B2B opportunities on behalf of a potential/renewing partner, to reach out to NASCAR (CampingWorldTrucks@nascar.com).

Bobby Labonte

I was watching a show with Labonte on it and was surprised when he said he drove the No. 43 for Petty Enterprises. I have zero recollection of that. I was trying to think who the sponsor was or who the crew chief may have been. Nothing, I would have lost a bet if someone would have asked me – true or false.

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m pretty good with racing trivia. So I did some research and was amazed to read he ran the 43 for three years, 2006-08. In 108 starts, he never won and only had three top 5s and 13 top 10s. His average start was 22.1 and his average finish was 22.23. His crew chief was Robbie Loomis and General Mills was the sponsor.

To The Back Twice

Not only did Erik Jones have to start in the rear of the field for the Daytona 500 due to an engine change. By rule, the 43 has to start in the rear this weekend at the Daytona Road Course, too.

Rule 20.6.1.2.e (Single Engine Rule), if a backup engine must be installed in the primary vehicle during the event, that vehicle will be subject to all of the following:

– If the engine change occurs before the qualifying races, the vehicle must start at the rear of the field for the qualifying races.

– The vehicle must start at the rear of the field for the race, providing that vehicle earns a starting position in the race.

– The vehicle must start at the rear of the field for the next Race in which the vehicle earns a starting position.

How About Someone With a Clue Reporting on Racing

Don’t you just love it when some twit on a local TV network reports on the Daytona 500, just because his boss saw the wrecks? In some cases the guy doing the piece has never seen a race and doesn’t even know if they allow passengers in the cars or not.

I just shook my head when this one reporter said, “A giant pile-up saw 16 cars involved with several of them ending up in a muddy field.”

Last Week’s Photo

Lloyd Hutchins Jr., an expert on the early years of racing, answered my email on who drove the 75. He replied, “Yes, the color was red. This car was owned by Albert “Jigger” Couillard, of Barre, and he also owned Couillard’s Oil Co, as well as Barre Coal Co. His brother Leo furnished our wrecker service for a portion of 1960, before Dick Blake took over, with his wrecker. This photo is dated September 1960 and Rex Shattuck, of Monkton, was the driver by then.

“In 1961, Jigger added a second car, the No. 12, driven by Norm Chaloux of Barre. During the ’60 season, Norm drove a white painted ’35 Ford coupe (No. 12) owned by Ken Squier and Chaloux. They purchased it from Armand Laquerre (Joey’s father). Norm and Armand were a team, racing ’49 thru ’58 with the No. 88 on the car. Armand wanted out, so Squier bought it. Because Charlie Ely already owned the No. 88, Chaloux and Squier chose No. 12 for their car.

“At that time, Norm was driving oil and gas delivery trucks for the local Cities Service fuel dealer, and had done so since returning home from World War II. Late in 1960, the fuel dealer sold out to Hartford Oil Co. in White River, and Norm went to work for Jigger, delivering fuel oil.

“Ken’s father, Lloyd Squier, was the ‘official owner’ of No. 12 during the ’60 season (because Ken didn’t want the appearance of an ownership conflict), so Jigger was encouraged to take it over, with Chaloux working for him; and the Squier’s would be out of owning the car.

“For the ’61 season, Jigger fielded two ’40 coupes, both red, No. 12 and No. 75, with Chaloux and Shattuck driving, for a so-so season. Jigger wanted more performance from his teams, so for the ’62 season he retired the ’40 coupes and built two ’33/’34 Ford coupes. Jigger’s teams did some better that season, with the lighter coupes, but he was not totally happy and sold both cars at season’s end. Rex Shattuck bought the No. 75 and returned with it in ’63, painted red and numbered 9. I do not know what became of the No. 12. Maybe Shattuck bought both??”

And that, race fans, is why Lloyd is considered an expert.

Thank You, Lloyd.

Until Next Week

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