Trevor Bayne wins the Daytona 500

The Daytona 500 could not have had a more storybook finish if it had been scripted by a very gifted writer. 20 year Trevor Bayne cemented his status as the face of the next generation of NASCAR stars, and returned one of the oldest and most respected teams to victory lane. To put this in perspective the Wood Brothers had not won the Daytona 500 since 1976, and had not visited victory lane since March of 2001 when an upstart Elliott Sadler drove the famed #21 car to victory at Bristol Motor Speedway.

This is something of an upset victory, even though Bayne had a tremendous speed weeks earning the respects of the NASCAR garage by performing very well in the draft, and not making any crazy rookie moves that would have jeopardized someone’s day. The better news for NASCAR is over 30 million people tuned into watch this race on TV. That makes this Daytona 500 the most watched NASCAR race in three years.

The better news for NASCAR is as the race progressed more fans kept tuning in. This may just be the start of a NASCAR resurgence after several down years in terms of TV numbers. They got to see the youngest ever Daytona 500 champion and the resurgence of a long time race team. Hollywood itself could not have written a better script for the beginning of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup racing season.

Of course along with this came news that next year’s Daytona 500 will be pushed back till February 26th. NASCAR is trying to sell this as itself giving up the early cup series off weekend that usually come in March to effectively make the Sprint Cup season one week shorter but was a clear move to avoid airing the Daytona 500 against the NFL’s Super Bowl should the NFL increase its regular season by two weeks.

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