And though NASCAR's competition officials processed more than 1,000 scans in the offseason at the R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina, Sunday was the first run-through for a full field of cars in pre-qualifying inspection for the Daytona 500. That earned him an opportunity with Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Super Late Model team and from there Byron kept advancing, never spending more than a year in one series but always taking the championship hardware with him when he would go on to the next challenge.
Patrick finishes her racing career as the highest-finishing female driver in the Daytona 500 (eighth, 2013) and Indy 500 (third, 2009).
Bowman, 24, had won Earnhardt's vote as his replacement after he retired at the end of last season. And that's given John Probst, NASCAR Managing Director for Competition and Innovation, some peace of mind as the system makes its debut in the days leading up to Sunday's Daytona 500 (Sunday, 2:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM).
Denny Hamlin had the second-fastest speed at 195.092 miles per hour in a Toyota from Joe Gibbs Racing. At upcoming races, however, the field strings out, making the new setup problematic as one or two cars would fit into the 4:3 frame at a given time with the standard TV camera angles developed years ago at each venue. "Its Daytona", he said. It's a dream come true to get to drive for Hendrick Motorsports. He got his assignments turned in early before traveling to Daytona International Speedway for pole qualifying. It very well could have an impact on the race as nearly everyone in the field is now accustomed to running the race without many handling issues. Keselowski had the race in control, and Kyle Larson made contact with Jimmie Johnson on the final lap to trigger an accident that allowed Keselowski an easier route to victory lane.
"Reasonable expectation would be just to finish first, but that's going to take a lot", he said.
"I think it's still a little surreal".
"I couldn't have written a better story about how this would all fall into place, Patrick said recently". Bowman raced just three times on the national level last season, two Xfinity Series races and one in the Truck Series, and filled his time using a simulator as he waited for Earnhardt to retire. But I'm sure it would have been extra, you know what I mean? I do it basically before I get to the racetrack, and it's fun. "I think the hard part was getting to that point".
But she's not. Just days before her last stock auto race, Patrick is at peace with leaving the track.