The return of NASCAR for 2016 was a smashing success. I mean, if smashing cars was the intent, they could not have done better. By the time the Sprint Unlimited, which is actually limited to 25 drivers, came to a conclusion, someone had tallied up that an estimated $2.5-million in damages had been racked up.
After drawing the pole position for the Sprint Unlimited, the driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet hoped to start his quest for a third Daytona 500 victory with a strong performance in the 75-lap exhibition race. Those hopes were quickly dashed on lap 44.
Denny Hamlin opens the season in victory lane. The driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota led 39 laps on his way to scoring the victory in the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway. He overcame an early race incident with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to win the race.
"I think the most frustrating part of it for me was not to finish this first race back. But these guys have done so much and worked hard and gave me a great car. Not gonna get 'em tonight. We’ll have to get 'em in the Daytona 500."
This week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads down to Daytona International Speedway to kick off the annual ritual of Speedweeks. This consists of 10 days of activity that culminates on Feb. 21 with the 58th running of the Great American Race, the Daytona 500. But before we officially start the season, we need to get back into the racing mindset. To do that, we run the Sprint Unlimited.
After a one-year sabbatical, Matty's Picks is back for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. I had a great year last year, enjoying a few races from the stands as a fan, but I'm back in action this year on the keyboard and behind the camera lens bringing you my less than expert picks for the races each Sunday.
I assume you're a racing fan, so I won't bore you with the obligatory explaining of every minute detail when it comes to beating and banging and the competition and heartbeat of what makes motorsports so thrilling. Racing can be summed up in one word, competition.