Michael Waltrip driving emotional last race at Daytona

Monster paid $20 million for the title sponsorship. NASCAR Hall of Fame member Dale Earnhardt finished second five times. Jimmie Johnson going for a record eighth championship.

Dale Jr., it seems, has made others realize that just because you have racing on the brain doesn't mean you have to give up your brain to racing.

Naturally, other storylines will develop.

Coach (Joe Gibbs) and Barney (Visser, Furniture Row Racing owner) have a great relationship and that is so important as we move forward in our quest to continue as one of NASCAR's contending teams.

What he's yet to master, he said "is the aggressive blocking, making the vehicle as wide as it can be at the end of the race to hold that position".

He said he would have preferred not to have wrecked Sorenson, but insisted it was unintentional and noted the race was his first time in a Cup vehicle at a plate track.

The time and the place are finally right for Michael Waltrip. Junior, a newlywed who wants to raise a family, is truly concerned with life after racing. But there was just really wasn't anything that was going to make me leave Hendrick Motorsports.

Manufacturer envy - It's been a while since we've heard the whining of one manufacturer with an edge over another. I went to Talladega, and we got a 12th-place finish, and I ran up front a little bit, then I decided we would try to have one more competitive run down here this year.

All these years later, as he contemplates his last ride on this monster track, Waltrip has had time to flesh out a philosophy about that moment. There's still camping in the infield, and the RV's are still lined up, but a four-day stretch encompassing the qualifying races on Thursday through the Great American Race on Sunday is about the extent of racing now to kick off the season in Daytona.

Our No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota will get another test Thursday night in the 150-mile Can-Am Duel qualifying race, which will determine our starting spot for Sunday's Daytona 500.

What Logano remembers most of all about winning the Daytona 500 is a gift he received from Mario Andretti. "Peyton Manning, he went out on top", he said. Good decision. ... It's been 22 years since back-to-back Daytona winners (Sterling Marlin) and it's only happened three times. Not to mention the fact that he would have started Speedweeks with a win in the Clash had he not be wrecked by Denny Hamlin.

What They're Saying: "It was cool to see him settle down". If the best orthopedic surgeons in the world often can't figure out what causes back pain, think of the added complexities neurologists face when dealing with brain bruises. - Jeffrey Earnhardt, on the marriage of his uncle Dale Earnhardt Jr.to Amy Reimann on New Year's Eve.

  • Julie Sanders