Racing exciting again at Daytona with packs

DAYTONA BEACH -- Pack racing is back at Daytona International Speedway. No more of the boring two-car tendems that looked like a bunch of mini trains wheelin' around the track. And boy was it a welcome site here at Daytona International Speedway for Saturday's running of the Budweiser Shootout.

I have been going to Daytona since the mid-1990s and seeing the retiurn of pack racing was exciting and, of course, breath taking with the big wrecks that come with it. The scariest in the 2012 shootout was Jeff Gordon barrell rolling off turn 4 on lap 55 and his No. 24 DuPont Chevy sliding down the track on its roof. It reminded me of 1997's Daytona 500 where the late Dale Earnhardt found himself in a similar situation.

Earnhardt walked away from that one only to lose his life four years later on turn 4 of the final lap when he slammed into the wall. And like Earnhardt's violent crash of 1997, Gordon's was violent, but, he, too, walked away injury free. Thank God.

I love NASCAR racing and I'll explain why as we get closer to the Daytona 500 next weekend.

One driver in particular excited about the return to pack racing at the track following the shootout was defending Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart, who said: "I had fun racing at Daytona again, which I haven't had for a while. This is better than having to sit there and stare at the back of a spoiler for 500 miles."

Amen to that.

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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper serving the Daytona Beach-Orlando metro area via, launched April 7, 2008, as Florida's first around-the-clock online newspaper. Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters with scores of regional, state & national journalism-industry awards for nearly 100 breaking news & investigative reporting stories in Florida, New York, Massachusetts & Connecticut.
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