We're finally here, set to officially begin the new FURCAR season with the Daytona 500. Set at an incredibly famous track who has seen untold amounts of stories unfold and legends be born. What will our drivers see today? With these new cars no one is sure; the Daytona Duels helped fill in more of the missing pieces about what to expect but it's still a crapshoot out there today as our thirty drivers take to the track. The festivities are over, the invocation is finished, and the National Anthem has been sung. Drivers and crews fill the pit lane as they talk last-minute tactics and hug friends and kiss loved ones before climbing into their machines.
Some eccentric cheetah gave the command to start engines and pit road rumbled to life and the FURCAR record field thirty drivers began to peel off pit road. Pole position for the race belonged to the green fox, Beino with an impressive qualifying run, able to hold off the whole field after being the second driver to take to the Q-run. To his inside was Roxanne Clement, eager to show off the abilities of her new AMX on the track.
Four pace laps and seventy dreadfully slow miles-per-hour later, every fan was standing and cheering wildly as the pace car peeled off to give Beino command of the field. The green flag was in the air and the race was on!! The 2013 Daytona 500 was under way and the drivers took their two-row formation into the first turn as they gained speed. Beino and Clement stayed side by side as they pulled out of turn two with the fox gaining momentum on the backstretch thanks to rookie Jo Speed in third. The cars flew into the third turn and Beino made his way in front of Clement and she would ultimately push him through the tri-oval and across the line to lead the first lap, fans still on their feet and going nuts.
For the first five laps the shape of the field stayed pretty much the same except Kasey the Husky had managed to move up six spots and Belic, the title defender, looked like he was having issues, dropping from his fifth starting position back to seventeenth when he was unable to get himself back in line and in the draft. By lap ten the cars had managed to form into a mostly single-file line still following the #13 at this point. Belic had gone back a few more spots to just outside the top-20 and over his radio the bear was saying that his gauges were on the fritz and his motor was going sour.
On lap eleven right as the leaders crossed the stripe the caution flag was brought out as Cheesebeagle's #300 slid through the infield grass as a result of some early close-quarters racing between he and the #42 of Moon Mochi in a battle for the fourteenth spot. They had already touched a couple times during the opening laps in the fight for that position, out of turn four, though Cheesebeagle was in the high line and came down into Mochi a bit hard, unsettling both cars, but the #42 was able to hang on and continue going straight whereas the beagle's car turned back up into the outside wall and smashed the front end, managing to slide back down the track through multiple drivers without hitting anyone before coming to a stop right on the Daytona logo. RaceToTheCheese Racing would have to wait another year if they want to claim victory here.
Under the caution most teams decided to stay out on the track as it hadn't been long enough for worn tires or even low fuel with the uncertainty of how valuable track position would be yet. However, Belic brought his Guinness/FurFright Toyota down the pit road and, when his crew opened the hood, smoke came pouring out pretty much sealing the fact that his day was done. His crew could be seen scattering from the car as he roared out in displeasure. On pit road Ice road lion could be seen in his pit, one of the few deciding to take fuel this early. This would set him back in twenty-eighth on the restart down from his starting position of fourth, having been as far up as second. Last season's Rookie-of-the-Year Duzzy Valo would join him in the final row on the restart.
The green flag was out once again but this restart did not go so smoothly. Beino missed a shift on the start causing a huge log-jam behind him as cars tried to drive around him but some were not able to escape the mess. Rookie Dart Wuffy, who was in ninth on the restart, checked up and was nailed from behind by fellow rookie Swift fox, which ended up turning his car up the track and into Jasper Erickson who was in tenth, totaling all three cars on only lap fifteen. Oren Hart and Kenku got together as well but would survive with minor cosmetic damage. Beino was scored in the seventh position when caution #2 came out.
Under this yellow flag most teams decided to hit pit road, if nothing else, to calm nerves after the incident. Over-the-wall crews went into a flurry of activity but still all precision in the chaos. Except for Duroc's crew whose jackman tripped on an air-gun cord and fell on his face with the heavy equipment but was unphased enough to rebound right back into action and only lose a few seconds instead of a few minutes. Most teams took two tires and winning the race off pit road was Moon Mochi. However, the big winner was Ice road lion who had pitted just a couple laps earlier under the first caution so he was on point for the next restart with Daytona Duel #1 winner on his outside, Mark and rookie Eric taking positions in the second row.
This restart was much more smooth, all cars getting up to speed and staying double-file. Ice road lion was able to pull out ahead of Mochi and the field soon settled back into the single-file system. It was clear these new aerodynamic packages made pulling out of line much more of a risk as verified when fourth place Eric had a good run on Mark down the backstretch and pulled down low to go by fifth place. Croco chose not to move out and push him, which quickly sent him back outside the top-10 without the draft.
In mid-pack FURCAR's famous female felines, (See what I did there? That's called alliteration, highly respected in the journalist world) Tigris and K'gra, managed to hook up on the bottom lane and gain quite a bit of ground as they stayed bumper to bumper and by lap 59 they had made it up to the leaders. It was time for more pit stops at this point though and since the race was still going at full speed that would make for some very treacherous pit-entries, especially for our remaining rookies. But over the three laps it took for the entire field to cycle into and out of the pits everyone was very professional about it; no brakes locking up, no over-sliding pit boxes. Ice road lion didn't have a blazing pit stop though and by the time everyone had taken fresh tires and fuel he was third behind Tigris and Mark. On the very next lap though as the field was re-grouping Edscott in his #42 machine went up in smoke as his engine blew just coming out of turn two. No one else was caught up in the incident but the caution came out once more as oil was now covering half the track with Edscott coasting back to the pits.
After a very lengthy ten caution laps and over two tons of Speedy Dry, we were set to get going again. Mark of Howling Wolves Racing led some initial laps but gave way to Tigris. Drivers had settled down for the most part going through two complete green flag pit cycles with only one additional car gone from the race: Duzzy Valo had to take his car behind the wall for a transmission failure. By the time we hit forty laps to go, Furry Mike, Eric, Kasey, Slidewolf, and even Kenku with his duct tape-covered fenders had led at least one lap. Even though things had been clean with so few laps remaining drivers were taking more risks, taking less time to think about their next move, and generally being more ballsy.
Now, without further ado, allow me to introduce "The Big One." The wreck at Daytona that every driver fears and most fans hope for. Lap 161 going into Turn 1, Furry Mike was leading the pack and right behind him was Kasey the Husky, followed by Raz Yoshi. Raz had good speed going into the turn from a nice draft out of the tri-oval and decided to move to the bottom lane to try to pass Kasey, who made the decision to head down to block the move. While still a legal move he should have waited to hear from his spotter if he was clear or not, and, instead of blocking the yoshi's Chevy, he clipped him right in the nose, causing the #30 to spin down the track and the #35 to swerve back up into the wall. Now when cars spin out this far up they're going to cause a lot of mayhem in the rest of the field. Rookie Furry Mike drove off down the backstretch seeing nothing but smoke in his rear-view. Back in Turn 3 cars were slamming into each other, into walls, some flipped, some had their splitters and front-ends shredded in the grass, then more cars got involved and once the dust had settled only nine cars made it out cleanly enough to compete for the win. Shockey Rai and Eric who would end the race in tenth and eleventh respectively finished more than 30 laps down after making quick repairs. Drivers who would not finish the race as a result of the wreck: Kenku, K'gra, Kasey, Mochi, Tigris, Hart, Duroc, Yoshi, Wildfox, Ice road lion, Chilton, and Furris.
The race was red-flagged for almost a half-hour while debris was cleared from the track and cars hauled back to the garage. All drivers involved were treated and released form the Infield Care Center, including Croco Chilton who ended up flipping three times as he tumbled before ending up on his roof. The media went crazy over the results of the wreck but in the end it came down to nine drivers with a shot to win it. And after the red flag was lifted and pit stops were made to assess fuel and tire needs, there were twenty-one laps remaining as Zeke Bawlbowolf led the field to green .
The #29 machine had quietly climbed up through the field all day and was poised to take his second victory of Speed Weeks after winning Daytona Duel #2 on Thursday. Beino was on his outside and quickly settled in right behind the rookie after they exited turn 2. Beino would eventually get past Zeke with drafting help from Furry Mike going to the low side, who would take the lead a couple laps later with help from Zero who would then lose the lead to Clement. At five laps to go, the bottom had somehow decided not to work anymore and the drivers were back into that precarious single-file formation with Clement leading three rookies, everyone waiting for their moment to go for the win.
Four laps to go and it was getting dicey as Mark and Zero tried to hook up on the bottom but were sent to the back of the field as that top groove was just too strong. Clement held strong to the lead as they went through 3, 2, and 1 laps to go, her spotter trying his best to keep her calm and focused. It was not her day unfortunately. Coming out of Turn 2 the cars behind her had good momentum going and second place Jo Speed moved right up to her bumper, but he knew he wouldn't stand a chance if he moved out of line to pass her and stayed put. However, the car behind him, Bawlbowolf, gave the #44 a hefty bump draft, enough to push Jo into the leader just as they were about to go into Turn 3. It wasn't enough to spin Roxanne but she definitely got out of the groove as she saved the car from getting into the wall and gave Speed a clear lane ahead. He kept his pedal mashed to the floor and looked behind him to see Roxanne's incident got some cars to check up on their brakes a bit. His spotter and crew chief knew he was going to win at that point once the cars behind him lost momentum, and they were going hysterical in his headset but he was so focused on the track that he couldn't hear them. There was no wrecking behind him but there would be no way the chasers could catch him. The crowd’s yelling could be heard over the sound of the engines as Rookie Jo L.T. Speed would win the Daytona 500 in his first FURCAR race. The checkered flag waved furiously from the paws of the flagman as the cars behind Jo jostled for finishing positions and it was almost halfway down the backstretch on his cool-down lap when he came to his senses and realized that he had just won. A few veteran drivers gave the rookie congratulatory "donuts" on his side panels as they bumped him out of sportsmanship.
He drove back around to the front stretch and as other cars peeled into the pits to go to the garage he stopped on the start/finish line and proceeded to do the longest burnout of his life, getting the tri-oval covered in tire marks until he finally brought it down pit road and ended up doing what every rookie wishes they didn't; he missed the entrance to victory lane since he had no idea where it was. He was redirected and made his way to the Winner's Circle and from that point on this entire week would be his and his alone until the green flag waves at Phoenix. He celebrated with his crew as FURCAR scorers posted the final results.
Behind the rookie, Caldoon made a run out of nowhere to claim second, Furry Mike and Beino banging off each other down the final few hundred yards though the rookie nabbed third by millimeters. Zeke Bawlbowolf took home fifth. Slidewolf, Roxanne, Zero, and Mark finished out the field of lead-lap cars.
So after one race the points standings mirror the race results with Rookie Jo Speed in the top spot and Championship-title defender Belic way back in 29th. Speed also holds the current Rookie-of-the-Year lead position with Mike and Bawlbowolf nipping at his heels.
So we've waited months for this and now race one here at Daytona is finished.
Field of super-talented drivers? Check. Cinderella story? Check. The Big One? Check. Thirty eager racers hungry for a win? Check. This all sets up for a great race next weekend when FURCAR travels to the "Jewel of the Desert" in Phoenix, Arizona. We'll see you all there!!
Week 1 Standings – Daytona 2/24/13
1) (3) Jo L.T. Speed (Flame Driven Motorsports #44) – 190 (ROOKIE)
2) (26) Jackie Rae Caldoon (Teatime Trackers #02) – 187
3) (28) Furry Mike (WWE-Furs Racing #21) – 171 (ROOKIE)
4) (1) Beino (Yoshi Motorsports #13) – 171
5) (25) Zeke Bawlbowolf (Zeke Bawlbowolf Racing #29) – 159 (ROOKIE)
6) (17) Slidewolf (Team Vault-Tec #9) – 158
7) (2) Roxanne Clement (Sunshine Racing AMX #53) – 155
8) (8) Zero (Alcoholocaust Motorsports #00) – 150
9) (7) Mark (Howling Wolves Racing #64) – 142
10) (22) Shockey Rai (Carolina Speed Racing #86) – 141
11) (27) Eric AKA Phantom (Phantom Impulse Racing #41) – 140 (ROOKIE)
12) (20) Kenku (Wonder Drink Racing #88) – 140
13) (23) K’gra (Ragdoll Physics Racing #21) – 138
14) (30) Kasey The Husky (KTH Racing #35) – 131
15) (13) Moon Mochi (Monster Blue Eyez Nation #42) – 124
16) (6) Tigris (HyperLynx Racing #84) – 119
17) (15) Oren Hart (Sunshine Racing AMX #77) – 119
18) (12) Duroc (Hog Juice Racing #50) – 116
19) (24) Raz Yoshi (Yoshi Motorsports #30) – 116
20) (10) Wildfox (Wildfox Motorsports #34) – 115
21) (4) Ice road lion (Jetpack Racing #40) – 115
22) (18) Croco Chilton (Crocosaur Racing #15) – 112
23) (9) Chris Furris (K9 Racing North America #85) – 111
24) (16) Duzzy Valo (G-Shep Racing #09) – 103
25) (11) Edscott (SABco Autosport #42) – 103
26) (14) Jasper Erickson (iBolt! Racing Group #25) – 102
27) (21) Dart Wuffy (Wolf’s Den Racing #88) – 94 (ROOKIE)
28) (29) Swift Fox (SF Racing #45) – 90 (ROOKIE)
29) (5) Belic (Kodiak Racing #76) – 82
30) (19) Cheesebeagle (RaceToTheCheese Racing #300) – 81
SEASON (points behind next driver, positions moved this week)
1) Jo L.T. Speed (Flame Driven Motorsports #44) – 190 (ROOKIE) (n/a, +0)
2) Jackie Rae Caldoon (Teatime Trackers #02) – 187 (-3, +0)
3) Furry Mike (WWE-Furs Racing #21) – 171 (ROOKIE) (-16, +0)
4) Beino (Yoshi Motorsports #13) – 171 (-0, +0)
5) Zeke Bawlbowolf (Zeke Bawlbowolf Racing #29) – 159 (ROOKIE) (-12, +0)
6) Slidewolf (Team Vault-Tec #9) – 158 (-1, +0)
7) Roxanne Clement (Sunshine Racing AMX #53) – 155 (-3, +0)
8) Zero (Alcoholocaust Motorsports #00) – 150 (-5, +0)
9) Mark (Howling Wolves Racing #64) – 142 (-8, +0)
10) Shockey Rai (Carolina Speed Racing #86) – 141 (-1, +0)
11) Eric AKA Phantom (Phantom Impulse Racing #41) – 140 (ROOKIE) (-1, +0)
12) Kenku (Wonder Drink Racing #88) – 140 (-0, +0)
13) K’gra (Ragdoll Physics Racing #21) – 138 (-2, +0)
14) Kasey The Husky (KTH Racing #35) – 131 (-7, +0)
15) Moon Mochi (Monster Blue Eyez Nation #42) – 124 (-7, +0)
16) Tigris (HyperLynx Racing #84) – 119 (-5, +0)
17) Oren Hart (Sunshine Racing AMX #77) – 119 (-0, +0)
18) Duroc (Hog Juice Racing #50) – 116 (-3, +0)
19) Raz Yoshi (Yoshi Motorsports #30) – 116 (-0, +0)
20) Wildfox (Wildfox Motorsports #34) – 115 (-1, +0)
21) Ice road lion (Jetpack Racing #40) – 115 (-0, +0)
22) Croco Chilton (Crocosaur Racing #15) – 112 (-3, +0)
23) Chris Furris (K9 Racing North America #85) – 111 (-1, +0)
24) Duzzy Valo (G-Shep Racing #09) – 103 (-8, +0)
25) Edscott (SABco Autosport #42) – 103 (-0, +0)
26) Jasper Erickson (iBolt! Racing Group #25) – 102 (-1, +0)
27) Dart Wuffy (Wolf’s Den Racing #88) – 94 (ROOKIE) (-8, +0)
28) Swift Fox (SF Racing #45) – 90 (ROOKIE) (-4, +0)
29) Belic (Kodiak Racing #76) – 82 (-8, +0)
30) Cheesebeagle (RaceToTheCheese Racing #300) – 81 (-1, +0)
1) Jo L.T. Speed (Flame Driven Motorsports #44) – 20 points (n/a)
2) Furry Mike (WWE-Furs Racing #21) – 17 points (-3)
3) Zeke Bawlbowolf (Zeke Bawlbowolf Racing #29) – 14 points (-3)
4) Eric AKA Phantom (Phantom Impulse Racing #41) – 7 points(-7)
5) Dart Wuffy (Wolf’s Den Racing #88) – 6 points (-1)
6) Swift Fox (SF Racing #45) – 5 points (-1)