AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
This year’s running of the legendary Daytona 500 NASCAR race was interesting to say the least.
The tale starts with a storm, quite a large rain storm, that left the track soaking wet through Sunday, causing NASCAR officials to push the race back a day. This was the first time in the Daytone 500′s 54 consecutive years of running that the race has been displaced a day thanks to rain. The rain troubles continued into Monday morning, causing NASCAR to once again push back the race to 7pm Monday night.
Finally the track dried and the scene was set for the great American race. Things started off with a bang after a serious wreck in the second lap. There were a few pile-ups throughout, but the wreck-of-the night award goes to Jaun-Pablo Montoya, famed F1 driver turned NASCAR left-hand turner.
Montoya was running well back from the pack coming into turn three under a yellow flag when some mechanical bit on his car failed, causing the car to careen directly into a jet dryer truck that was out blowing debris off the track. The result was a fireball of epic proportions, which is more enjoyable to watch now because we know that both Jaun Pablo Montoya and the driver of the jet dryer were, for the most part, unharmed. The track jet blowers on these trucks are powered by kerosene, which unfortunately started spilling all over the track after the crash, further augmenting the flames.
After another two hour and five minute delay under a red flag, the drivers got back to racing, but not before driver Brad Keselowski managed to tweet a picture he took from the behind the wheel of his #22 Dodge Challenger. Keselowski’s live tweeting from pit row gained him over 100,000 twitter followers in the two-hour gap.
You can find the crash video, Keselowski’s twitter pics and other highlights from the 2012 Daytona 500 below.
GALLERY: Daytona 500 Brad Keselowski Pictures
Now this is one subject that’s likely to polarize opinion, the fact that a Toyota Camry, will pace the 2012 Daytona 500 in February.
A generation ago, the very notion that a Japanese car would be leading the field during a NASCAR race was almost unthinkable, now, it appears to be a reality. However there is some logic to this. The Camry has, for the last 13 out of 14 years, been the best selling car in America and since 1986, all of those sold here, have also been built here, at Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky assembly plant.
As the car has woven its way into the heart of America’s psyche it’s started popping up everywhere and it seems to have been greeted with a growing amount of enthusiasm, even amongst stock car racing insiders.
“NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway provide a uniquely American platform for manufacturers to display their technology, innovation and overall automotive excellence,” remarked Joie Chitwood III; President of Daytona International Speedway. “After nearly eight years of competing at NASCAR’s highest level, I’m pleased to have the 2012 Toyota Camry pace the DAYTONA 500.”
Toyota has been competing in NASCAR since 2004, beginning with Tundra pickup based stockers in the World Truck series. It has won five consecutive manufacturer’s titles in that series, while propelling drivers to the championship on three separate occasions (Jeff Bodine 2006 and 2010; Johnny Benson 2008).
In 2007 Toyota began running Camrys in the Nationwide Series and has since claimed 60 wins and three manufacturer’s cups as well as propelling Kyle Busch to the driver’s title in 2009.
Getting back to pace cars, Toyota has already used Camrys at the following NASCAR tracks: Auto Club Speedway of Southern California, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Dover International Speedway in Delaware, California’s Infineon Raceway, Kansas Speedway, Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, Nashville Superspeedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, Richmond International Raceway; Wisconsin’s Road America and Watkins Glen International.
So, the very notion of a Camry pacing the Daytona isn’t perhaps too much of a stretch, though Toyota could perhaps use this opportunity to try and make the pacer at least a little bit exciting.
Click here to read AutoGuide’s 2012 Toyota Camry Review or watch the video review after the jump: